2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys

Toys are a leading gift for children ages 2-12, according to data from PBM Strategic Insights. In the South, STEM toys, games and puzzles, DIY craft kits and books are big categories for kids on the verge of tween-hood. Last year, L.O.L. Surprise, the gold, dome-shaped toy filled with tiny plastic toys to unwrap, was the big get of the holiday season, as were Fingerlings, the tiny interactive plastic monkeys that attach to fingers. This year, both toys are back with updates along with new toys (and some oldies) in popular categories that toymakers hope will become the season’s must-have.

ExploreCreative Café Barista Bar, $30, ages 6 and older

Girls and boys will enjoy the award-winning Creative Café Barista Bar to make a coffee-free mock-iato or a Neapolitan “latte” with real milk and using chocolate or strawberry powders for decorations. It is available at Amazon and Target.

ExploreL.O.L. Surprise! Surprise House, $200, ages 6 and older

L.O.L Surprise! Surprise House is a wood multistory house with 85 surprises, including a working elevator, moving truck and furniture to unbox. If you're not ready for a whole house, go for L.O.L. Bigger Surprise, $90, which includes more than 60 new surprises. Both items are available at Target and Walmart.

ExploreAir Hogs Supernova, $40, ages 8 and older

Kids can launch, push and spin this indoor flying machine using hand motions without touching the device. The orb uses an on-board system and motion-sensitive lights and sensors to respond to more than 30 movements and perform nine tricks as it levitates in the air. Available at Amazon, Target and Walmart.

ExploreFingerlings Hugs Interactive Monkey, $30, ages 2 and older

Last year’s plastic Fingerlings have gotten bigger and plusher, and they’ll even repeat what you say. Get them at Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and other retailers.

ExploreHarry Potter Interactive Training Wand, $25, ages 8-11 

Harry Potter fans can train like a wizard with this interactive wand, which features 11 different spells that kids can learn from the spell training guide. It uses motions recognition to know when spells are cast. There are four different wands available, include Harry Potter, Hermione, Lord Voldemort and Dumbledore. But hurry, these are selling fast at retailers including Amazon, Game Stop, Target, Walmart and more.

ExploreBarbie Dreamhouse, $200, ages 3 and older

This classic toy has been a popular item for more than 50 years, and it has evolved with the times. The 2018 redesign includes an open-air elevator and a koi pond. The interior is a midcentury marvel complete with a Saarinen-esque tulip table and a sofa that converts to bunk beds. There are more than 70 accessories included with the three-story, eight-room structure, which is more than 3 feet tall. Get it at Kohl’s, Target, Walmart and other retailers.

ExploreK’Nex Thrill Rides: Bionic Blast Roller Coaster Building Set, $120, ages 9 and older

A building set with more than 800 parts, the Bionic Blast Roller Coaster includes rods and connectors, roller coaster track, coaster car and a VR viewer. The K’Nex Ride It! app lets players bridge the gap between physical and digital play by letting them ride the coaster in VR or 2D or build their own coaster on the app. Get it at Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.

ExploreKumi Kreator Friendship Bracelet Craft Kit, $30, ages 8 and older

No knots are needed to make these friendship bracelets. Just load the machine with spools and turn the handle to make up to 10 friendship bracelets of eight or 12 strands. It comes with five different colors of string. Get it at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Kohl’s and JoAnn Fabrics.

ExploreHot Wheels Ultimate Gator Car Wash Playset, $70, ages 5-8

This hot toy is getting rave reviews from kids. Cars start on a crank elevator before getting drenched with water in the water tower and changing color. After a trip through the play brushes, the car gets one more dunk in the whirlpool, where it changes color again. Get through the gator’s jaws and you make it to the end with a clean car. The set can be connected to other Hot Wheels sets for a customized track. It is available at Amazon, Target and Walmart.

ExplorePomsies, $15 each, ages 4 and older

Move over, Hatchimals, Pomsies promise to be the next big thing. The collection of wearable pompom pets are ready to go everywhere on wrists, backpacks or wherever you can attach them by their long, fuzzy tails. They have up to 50 reactions when you play with them, and their eyes light up to show their moods. They even purr. Buy them at Walmart, Target and Amazon.