Still not sure what to buy for the kids in your life this holiday season? It’s understandable. Holiday shopping for a kid can be hard. The list of hottest toys seems to change year to year. Luckily, Black Friday seems to have come early this year for nearly every major retailer. And Amazon maintains a yearly forecast of the year’s most sought-after playthings. The recently released 2021 Toys We Love List features kids’ favorites from L.O.L. Surprise! dolls to Nerf blasters to a very hungry Baby Yoda toy.
“All of the items in Amazon’s 2021 Toys We Love List are selected by our in-house toy experts,” Anne Carrihill, Amazon’s director for toys and games, tells CBS Essentials. The online retailer surveys a wide swath of the toy industry landscape, ranging from established toy brands to small businesses to startups.
Sounds great, right? One caveat: If you see something you like on this list of popular toys for boys and girls, you may want to grab it now. It’s common for hot toys to sell out several weeks before the holidays — and sometimes even before Black Friday — leaving parents scrambling to buy them on eBay or other third-party retailers for double or triple the retail price. In fact, some toys on our list already sold out or backordered. And with the international president of UPS warning that you should “ ,” there’s all the more reason to shop early, lest you risk your gifts not showing up until 2022.
Here are some of CBS Essentials’ favorite picks from Amazon’s list of the hottest toys of 2021.
5 Surprise Toy Mini Brand Series 1 Collector’s Kit
The only thing cuter than a toy is a teeny, tiny version of a toy. That’s the gist behind this unboxing phenomenon, which combines the appeal of wee collectibles with the thrill of an unboxing experience. This set could include any five of 100 miniature toys and accessories, including, per the maker, rare glow-in-the-dark and gold miniatures, plus “super rare” rose gold miniatures.
Or consider this best-selling alternative: A two-pack set of tiny, surprise toys to unbox, this time themed around favorite finds in your local supermarket. Think tiny replicas of Hershey’s Chocolate Sauce, Jolly Rancher Candy, Icee Slushies and Otter Pops … or those ultra-rare glow-in-the-dark collectibles.
WowWee Got2Glow Fairy Finder
One of the most buzzed about — and often sold out — toys of the year, the best-selling Got2Glow Fairy Finder, available in pink and blue, is a jar designed to search for virtual fairies. Similar in concept to Pokémon and Tamagotchi, kids search for little winged BFFs wherever they roam. Once caught, they function as digital pets. Each jar offers 30 virtual fairies to find, 100 in all. Fairies can even be traded among friends.
At last glance, the WowWee Got2Glow Fairy Finder was back in stock at its $35 price point, but be prepared for a wait; they’re expected to take weeks to ship.
My Squishy Little Dumplings 2 pack (pre-order)
This My Squishy Little Dumplings two pack, slated for release Nov. 30, features rose gold Dixie and gold Dart dumplings, plus 8 mix-and-match accessories.
TeeTurtle Reversible Octopus
What’s a TeeTurtle? It’s a plush toy, made famous on TikTok, that changes moods and colors when you flip it inside out. There’s no shortage of colors, animals, or moods to choose from, either, so you could gift the pink-and-blue octopus shown above … or a reversible corgi. Or a reversible turtle with starry eyes!
The Big Dig working excavator with wheels
The ideal gift for that person on your gifting list who’s obsessed with big machines, construction or just digging holes, The Big Dig ride-on excavator features a 360-degree swivel, reaches up to 33 inches and can dig up to 15 inches deep. For kids 3 and up.
L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G Movie Magic Studios
Every year L.O.L. Surprise! dolls dominate holiday shopping lists. Released in time for the holiday rush, the O.M.G Movie Magic Studios provides more than 70 unboxing experiences, including 12 dolls to shoot home movies with. The box even transforms into a movie set.
At last look, it was back in stock, with Prime delivery in full swing
Star Wars Snackin’ Grogu
If you’ve got a young Star Wars fan on your shopping list, here’s one toy you don’t want to miss: Snackin’ Grogu. Kids can feed Baby Yoda one of the four included menu items, and he’ll react with sound and motion depending on how tasty — or gross — the food is. This toy measures roughly 9 inches tall. For ages 4 and up.
National Geographic Mega Science Series Earth Science Kit
An educational gift that promotes an early love of science, this kit is just one of the many engaging offerings from the educational institute. The Earth Science kit includes 15 science experiences — such as water tornadoes, building an erupting volcano, growing a crystal and two geologic dig kits — sure to keep kids eight and up entertained for hours on end.
OUT OF STOCK: Hot Wheels City Ultimate Octo Care Wash
Indulge the Hot Wheels fanatic in your life with the recently released Ultimate Octo Car Wash. The play set measures over four feet long and includes a car that changes colors in warm or cold water. Kids ages four to eight will enjoy all the tricks the octopus-themed car wash offers, including loops, ramps and spirals.
Jimu Robot Mythical Series: Firebot kit
The Jimu Robot Firebot kit is a 606-piece motorized model kit that teaches kids about computer programming. Once built, the Firebot can be coded (an iOS or Android device is required) to perform all sorts of actions. The kit includes a DC motor, touch sensor, RGB light, two sets of dragon wings, three smooth motion robotic servo motors and a main control box. For ages 8 and up.
Osmo Math Wizard & the Magical Workshop
Osmo Math Wizard & the Magical Workshop makes learning fun and interactive, providing a smart way to use screen time. While Osmo offers a range of programming for all ages, this one in particular caters to those six to eight, teaching addition and subtraction via hands-on play. In order to use it, an Osmo Base for iPad or Fire Tablet and an iPad or Fire Tablet are required.
OUT OF STOCK: Lego Elf Club House
Here’s the perfect holiday gift to open just a little bit early. The Lego Elf Club House, a new-for-2021 holiday themed Lego model kit, makes for a fun family activity and a great holiday decoration to display year after year. This 1,197-piece Lego set has many intricate details that are challenging enough for adults to put together, plus some easier builds to get kids involved. Stands just over 8.5 inches tall when completed.
Disney Princess dress-up trunk
This imagination-stimulating Disney dress-up trunk, an Amazon exclusive, includes three dresses (a blue Cinderella dress, a pink Aurora dress and a white dress for Belle or Snow White), three bracelets, three rings, three headbands, a necklace, a choker, soft goods tiara and stickers. Fits sizes 4 to 6.
Nerf Rival Curve Shot Sideswipe
This inexpensive Nerf blaster features a 360-degree rotating muzzle that lets you determine the path of each shot: Rounds can fire straight, curve left, curve right or down. The Nerf Rival Curve Shot Sideswipe comes with 12 rounds included. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Funko Games Disney Mickey & the Beanstalk Game
Infuse a little fun into family game night with Funko Games Disney Mickey & the Beanstalk Game, a 3D, interactive board game designed for kids four and up.
UPS pullback toy truck
One of the most exciting parts of the holiday season for kids is when the delivery truck arrives, bringing more presents. This officially licensed UPS toy truck measures 5.5 inches long and 2.5 inches high, making a great stocking stuffer.
Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle
Why settle for a castle designed for one Disney princess when there is one suitable for all of them? Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle, released in August, provides a magical home for everyone from Belle to Tiana to Ariel. The dollhouse comes furnished with rooms designed specifically for each princess and also plays music and lights up to resemble a fireworks show. Disney Princess Royal Collection dolls, sold separately, also made Amazon’s list.
Squeakee the Balloon Dino
Interactive animal toys seem to sell out almost every holiday season. Squeakee the Balloon Dino, designed for ages five to 15, performs a variety of functions — stomping, chomping, laughing, roaring and dancing included. He even plays games, including chicken and tug of war.
Lego Marvel Avengers: Endgame Final Battle: Battle Scene at The Avengers’ Compound
One of the newest releases from Lego, the Battle Scene at The Avengers’ Compound 527-piece set provides Marvel fans with hours of building fun. It also includes Thanos, Thor, Captain America, Black Panther, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Chitauri warrior and Ant-Man microfigures.
Magnatiles 32-piece clear colors set
An alternative to traditional building blocks, Magnatiles function as colorful and magnetic building shapes that piece together to form three-dimensional structures. STEM-approved, they promote important math, science, spatial and tactile skills, and provide hours of fun.
Play-Doh Slime 30 can pack
Whether you divide them up for stocking stuffers or wrap this 30-pack of Play-Doh branded slime and stick it under the tree, kids love this sticky, gooey, colorful compound.
Rainbow High Color Change Car and Avery doll
Equally satisfying as L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, Rainbow High’s colorful dolls and accessories, the newest franchise from MGA Entertainment, quickly filled up holiday wish lists this season. While the dolls refuse to disappoint, this color-changing car, designed to take two full-sized coeds for a ride, will easily steal top gift honors. Add the Avery doll, complete with a closet full of clothes, for a two-and-done gift.
Cards Against Humanity Family Edition
A gift for children and parents to enjoy together, Cards Against Humanity Family Edition serves as a kid-appropriate alternative to the original. It includes 600 cards filled with lots of G-rated potty humor, keeping kids entertained with non-screen time fun.