Given that it’s only October, you’re probably thinking more about Halloween than holiday shopping. But if you have kids on your gift list and want to avoid another Hatchimals debacle (when one of the year’s most sought-after toys sold out before Christmas), it’s time to get serious.
Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, Kmart and Amazon have released their predictions for the hottest holiday toys. If previous years are any indication, many of these toys will be snapped up before you’re ready to start shopping. Here are several toys that you should have your eye on now. They all sell for less than $100, so it won’t be too painful to buy them early.
Hatchimals from Spinmaster
They’re back! And they are on every hot toys list. Hatchimals Surprise Twin-Puppadee ($69.99) is an egg in which a pair of twin creatures are hiding and waiting for some loving attention. Once they break out of the egg, they interact with each other and mature from a baby to a toddler to a kid. Also expected to sell out: the Hatchimals Colleggtibles Egg Carton 12-Pack ($19.99), a stackable, portable case with 12 mini creatures, 10 that are in eggs and two that are hatched.
L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise from MGA Entertainment ($69.99)
Also on multiple lists, L.O.L. Big Surprise is a reusable purse that holds 50 surprise toys, including little dolls and doll accessories. As of publication, it’s in stock at Target and available at Amazon through third-party sellers for a markup. That’s a sure sign of inventory issues.
Pikmi Pops Surprise! Jumbo Dog Plush from Moose Toys ($19.99)
This Toys R Us exclusive, which is already low on stock as of publication, is a reusable lollipop-shaped container that houses a fluffy, sweetly scented and collectible 7-inch puppy that has one to three surprise charms in its hidden pocket. Given the surprise element and the cuteness factor, these puppies will not last long on the shelves.
Fingerlings, which also made multiple hot toys lists, are tiny monkeys that are about 5 inches tall and available in six colors. They hang onto your finger and respond to touch, motion and sound by doing things like blinking their eyes, chatting and blowing kisses. As of publication, only the purple monkey is available at Walmart, all the colors were out of stock at Toys R Us, and the item is no longer listed at Target, despite one or two colors being available last week. All colors are available at Amazon, starting at a markup.
Soggy Doggy Game ($19.82)
Suspense games are a big hit with kids. Players move their game pieces around the board and take turns using water to wash the dog, who sits in the center in a bathtub. The goal is to make it around without getting soaked when the dog vigorously shakes to dry off. Batteries are not included.
Operation Escape Board Game from Yulu ($29.99)
Given the growing popularity of escape rooms, it’s no surprise to see this game on the list at Target. Players must work together to complete three challenges before the clock runs out. If they don’t succeed, the spinner is reset, and the game starts over.
Baby Alive Sweet Tears Baby from Hasbro (exclusive value pack, $49.99 at Walmart)
This updated favorite appeared on the lists of Kmart, Amazon and Toys R Us. Available in blonde, brunette, and African-American, this year’s Baby Alive is more expressive than her older sibling. She smiles, frowns and even gets a runny nose. She can speak English or Spanish, and comes with several accessories, including a thermometer and a bandage. Another popular lifelike baby doll this year is Luvabella from Spinmaster ($99). Like Baby Alive, these dolls are receiving a lot of attention in the press, so they could sell out as well.
Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Baby All-In-One Nursery from Just Play ($63.89)
Not surprisingly, the Doc McStuffins nursery is on several lists, as were its earlier models. Kids can play “Doc” to take good care of their dolls and pets using several interactive features, including a stethoscope, a laptop that makes sounds and lights up, a scale and plenty of tools.
Mayka Toy Block Tape from Zuru ($5.09 and up)
This removable tape from the Walmart list will stick to most hard surfaces, from tables to walls. Kids can attach their Lego and other building-block creations to explore novel angles and levels. Given that building-block toys are nearly ubiquitous these days, a low-priced companion gift like this innovative tape will get snapped up quickly.
Nerf from Hasbro
A Nerf shooter, in one form or another, was featured on every retailer’s hot toys list, so get them early. Some favorites: the Nitro FlashFury Chaos ($25.99) and the Nitro Motofury Blaster ($49.97), which lets kids do stunts with cars, such as shooting them through the air, rather than shooting each other.
Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set ($38.50)
Given the popularity of STEM (which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and coding in particular, many parents will want a toy that teaches this important skill. In addition to having a game board and activity cards, this toy uses a cute, programmable mouse, which makes the game more fun than the competition.
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Buy These Popular Toys Now — Before They Sell Out This Holiday Season originally appeared on usnews.com