When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
The Shop TODAY team is already unwrapping the hottest holiday gifts of 2018!
2018 holiday toys for kids: Take an early look at year's hottest picks
Yes, it's early. But you deserve first dibs on new Hatchimals, Fingerlings, Disney and "Star Wars" gear! So, here's a sneak peek at the latest toys and hottest finds, with a major assist from Toy Portfolio expert Stephanie Oppenheim and Toy Insider expert Laurie Schacht.
Our office's personal favorite has got to be these adorable Hatchibabies !
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards
- 1. Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home, $129, Walmart
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home
This is Oppenheim's pick for older infants and toddlers. The kid-sized playhouse is big enough for two kids to play together, and the interactive doors and windows are great for hours of exploring.
- 2. Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie, $130, Amazon
Star Wars FurReal Interactive Chewie
Also available at Walmart and Target .
This holiday season, ask Santa for your very own Wookiee sidekick! Make a noise and the Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie roars back.
- 3. Very Hungry Caterpillar Jumbo Puzzle, $15, Amazon
Very Hungry Caterpillar Jumbo Jigsaw Puzzle
Puzzles and games for all ages continue to be a hit with the Toy Portfolio test families, said Oppenheim. This jumbo puzzle takes a little one's favorite story off the page for an activity that even preschoolers will be able to enjoy.
- 4. Women's March Round Puzzle, $22, Amazon
Women March Round Puzzle, 500 Pieces
This 23-inch puzzle depicts images from the Women's March surrounded by a quote from Gloria Steinem. With 500 pieces, it certainly isn't an easy puzzle, but any budding feminist will be up to the challenge.
- 4. Jenga Pass Challenge, $12, Walmart
Jenga Pass Challenge
Also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble .
Jenga got a makeover! Take the classic block-stacking game off the table for an even wilder game of balance. Oppenheim said tweens and teens will enjoy the novelty of this silly activity.
Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, "You're great," try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, "Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience."
- 5. Creativity for Kids Sweater Ornament Kit, $13, Amazon
Creativity for Kids Sweater Ornament Kit
Also available at Faber-Castell .
This craft kit is great for older kids and tweens because it allows them to express their creativity however they want. Plus, these ornaments offer some serious inspiration in the ugly sweater department.
- 6. Harry Potter Wizard Training Wand, $25, Amazon
Harry Potter's Wizard Training Wand
Also available at Target .
Wingardium leviosa! This is Oppenheim's pick for the young wizards you know. The training wand can learn 11 spells and interact with other wands for a game of wizard tag.
- 7. Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, $150, Amazon
Avengers Hero Inventor Kit
Also available at Little Bits .
This is an awesome alternate to a traditional action figure. "Rather than buy a ready-made prop from the "Avengers" movie — kids are challenged to build their own high-tech arm that they can program with their smart phone," said Oppenheim.
- 8. Grand City Station, $130, Hape
Grand City Station
Train sets never go out of style, and this is Oppenheim's pick for a set that's great for preschoolers. The two-level station even has a recorder for making station announcements!
More Hot Holiday Toys We Love
- 1. Hatchimals Hatchibabies, $49, Amazon
Hatchimals Hatchibabies - Ponette
Also available at Target .
Last Christmas, we got Hatchimals twins . Now, the newest version of the toy egg is here. Introducing — hatchibabies! Kids will find a boy or girl baby hatchimal inside the speckled egg.
- 2. Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus, $49, Amazon
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus
Also available at Walmart .
It features 15 unique instruments across five different genres of music, enabling a truly hands-on physical approach to learning as preschoolers mix (and remix) their own musical creations, said Schacht. Best of all, kids are in control of their very own compositions by adding or subtracting instruments, changing the tempo and layering in fun sound effects.
- 3. Air Hogs Supernova, Gravity Defying Hand-Controlled Flying Orb, $30, Walmart
Air Hogs Supernova, Gravity Defying Hand-Controlled Flying Orb
Step into the future with the Air Hogs Supernova. Kids can control Supernova with the power of their hands! They can master more than 30 moves and nine "Super Tricks," perfecting maneuvers that range from simple to complex.
- 4. Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids, $23, Amazon
Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids
Also available at Walmart .
With 50 different colorful experiments designed by Crayola scientists, this lab set teaches kids the magic of science, math and art through color. From an erupting volcano to glow worms and slime, kids can embark on experiments using core Crayola products and household items, stretching their imaginations while enhancing STEM skills.
- 5. Hexbug VEX Robotics Boxing Bots RC Construction Kit, $150, Target
Hexbug VEX Robotics Boxing Bots RC Construction Kit
Kids can build battling robots with this motorized STEM construction kit. The kit comes with one Mock Rocker Bot, a Boxing Bot with more than 380 snap-together pieces. Once kids build and assemble their own robots, these smart-tech self-stabilizing boxers are ready for a match. The robots feature a smart-tech self-stabilizing feature that uses a gyroscope and an accelerometer.
- 6. Hairdorables Collectible Surprise Dolls and Accessories, $13, Amazon
Hairdorables Collectible Surprise Dolls and Accessories
Also sold at Walmart .
These hot new surprise dolls combine fun, fashion and lots and lots of gorgeous colorful hair. Noah and her girl squad have “Big Hair Don’t Care” attitudes and love to share their passions with the world via the Hairdorables channel on YouTube.
- 7. Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit, $70, Amazon
Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit
Nintendo Labo kits offer interactive build-and-play experiences that combine the fun of DIY creations with the magic of the Nintendo Switch system (sold separately). Players can build six Toy-Cons, including a car, plane, submarine, two keys, and a pedal.
Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development. Conversations can be face-to-face or, if necessary, by video chat with a traveling parent or far-away grandparent. Research has shown that it's that "back-and-forth conversation" that improves language skills—much more so than "passive" listening or one-way interaction with a screen.
- 8. Boxy Girl Doll, $15, Walmart
Boxy Girl Doll
Boxy Girls love shopping online for anything fashion — shoes, clothes, bags, makeup, jewelry and more! They can’t wait to receive their online orders in packages shipped right to the door. Unbox the packages with Boxy Girls to discover tons of fashion surprises. Each Boxy Girl comes with four packages to unbox.
- 9. Treasure X Adventure Pack, 9, Amazon
Treasure X Adventure Pack
Also available at Target .
Treasure X combines classic “you dig it” play with the trends of collectible action figures and “extreme” unboxing. With 10 levels of discovery, opening every Treasure X package is an adventure! Every Treasure X pack includes a treasure map, X-Marks coin, X-Cavator digging tool, a buildable figure embedded in “stone” and a treasure chest.
- 10. LEGO DC Super Heroes App-Controlled Batmobile, $100, Amazon
LEGO DC Super Heroes App-Controlled Batmobile
- 11. Voice Originals When in Rome - Alexa Game, $30, Amazon
Voice Originals When in Rome - Alexa Game
Voice Originals is the first family board game to connect Amazon’s Alexa device (sold separately) for a voice-enhanced gaming experience. To play, simply set up the board, fire up the associated Alexa Skill and you're ready to go! Alexa teaches you how to play, keeps score and immerses you in the world of the game.
- 12. Fingerlings Interactive Baby Dragon, $15, Walmart
Fingerlings Interactive Baby Dragon
Also available at Amazon .
Want something bigger? Try new, larger cuddle monkeys called Fingerlings Hugs .
- 13. Lil' Gleemerz Doll, $20, Amazon
Lil' Gleemerz Doll, Pink
Also available at Walmart .
Watch out Fingerlings! These big-eyed lemurs promise to be a stocking stuffer winner. Watch Lil' Gleemerz light up, make cool sounds and play games.
- 14. Disney Princess Horse and Carriage, $149 (originally $199), Walmart
Disney Princess Carriage
Any child will feel like royalty riding this new battery-powered horse and carriage. Go inside the Disney Princess Carriage and push the steering wheel buttons to hear princess music.
- 15. Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck, $60, Amazon
PAW Patrol - Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck with Extendable 2 ft. Tall Ladder, for Ages 3 and Up
Kids who love "Paw Patrol" on Nickelodeon will adore the rescue pups' new fire truck! The ladder extends and there are plenty of flashing lights and sounds.
- 16. Yoda Electronic Mask, $35, Amazon
Star Wars Yoda Electronic Mask
Now, you can channel your inner Yoda with this electronic mask. Open your mouth while wearing the mask to activate Yoda sounds and some ear wiggling action.
- 17. Doc McStuffins Pet Rescue Mobile, $50, Target
Doc McStuffins Pet Rescue Mobile
Doc McStuffins to the rescue! This pet rescue set is a must for Doc fans. Kids will spend hours giving Doc’s adorable pet friend Oliver a check up and diagnosing all those boo-boos.
- 18. Disney’s Tangled Maximus, $89, Amazon
Disney Tangled Rapunzel Maximus Horse
Now, kids can have their own loyal friend, just like Disney’s Rapunzel! This lovable horse stands over 2-feet tall and younger kids can sit on it. The toy makes trotting and neighing sounds. Plus, the head moves when reigns are pulled.
- 19. Barbie Dreamhouse, $179, Amazon
Does Barbie have a rooftop pool? You bet. This year, her dream home is even grander with three floors, eight rooms, and a working elevator. Swivel the dollhouse and let Barbie grill on the barbecue!
- 20. KidKraft Farm To Table, $193, Amazon
KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set
This play kitchen is stylish and fun. Kids can grab some veggies and fire up the cooktop. Farmhouse sink makes running water sounds and ice maker dispenses pretend ice cubes!
Katie Holmes (mom to daughter Suri): “I’ve never met a 2-year-old who is terrible. I’m so cool with every stage my daughter goes through. I just think she’s amazing. I hope she’s not looking at me thinking, Mom, are the terrible 30s coming on with you?”
- 21. Luciana Doll & Book, $115, American Girl
Kids are over the moon for this aspiring astronaut from American Girl. The doll is decked out in a cosmic-print dress and holographic boots. And if you’re wondering when the 2019 Girl of The Year goes on sale, don’t worry. It won’t be released until after Christmas.
- 22. Luke’s X-Wing, $65, Amazon
LEGO Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter 75218
Lego doesn't disappoint this holiday season and this X-Wing is one of our favorites. Fly into action with Luke Skywalker in the cockpit.
And, if you want more Lego action, check out Lego Hogwarts Express , it's perfect for Harry Potter devotees!
- 23. Marvel Rising Secret Warriors Dolls, $20, Target
The Marvel Rising collection was announced to much fanfare and the figurines are sure to be popular with young superheroes.
- 24. My Friend Fancy Nancy, $35, Target
My Friend Fancy Nancy
The new Disney Junior television series, "Fancy Nancy," is a hit, and now, Fancy Nancy dolls have arrived. Fans of the hit show may also like the Fancy Nancy Ultimate Dress Up Trunk .
- 25. FurReal Ricky, The Trick Lovin’ Pup Set, $120, Amazon
furReal Ricky, the Trick-Lovin' Pup
Remember that popular FurReal Roarin’ Tiger ? Meet its new sidekick, Ricky, a talented dog who loves to perform cool tricks. He can even shake paws and flip a bone! Also, if you like interactive animals, check out WowWee's new Alive Baby Tiger .
- 26. Imaginext DC Super Friends Wayne Manor Batcave, $35, Amazon
Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends, Wayne Manor Batcave
Also available at Walmart
Last year, the Imaginext Batman was a hit. Now, the Batcave has arrived. There’s also a smaller version for $25 at Walmart .
- 27. Smooshy Mushy Baby Surprise, $15, Target
Smooshy Mushy Baby Surprise
Squishy toys are expected to stay trend-worthy this Christmas. These squishy babies are delivered inside a little baby bottle.
- 28. Fuggler, $31, Amazon
Fuggler Medium 9 inch Plush (ONE SUPPLIED AT RANDOM)
These dolls are the definition of "so ugly they're cute." They were previously only available in the U.K. but this year they've finally made their way across the pond.
- 29. Sesame Street Feed Me Cookie Monster Toy, $30, Amazon
Sesame Street Feed Me Cookie Monster
C is for cookie! Sesame Street fans will be hungry for this new Cookie Monster.Sesame Street's Let’s Dance Elmo Toy is also a top pick.
- 30. Nintendo Switch Bundle, $360, Walmart
Nintendo Switch Bundle
Nintendo Switch bundles are the ultimate starter kit for video game fanatics. The good news? There are plenty to choose from. This new bundle features the game Mario Tennis Aces and 12 Switch.
Nintendo isn’t coming out with a new unit this Christmas, but it will be releasing some software for the Nintendo Switch including Super Mario Party, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and other fan-favorite titles.
- 31. Nerf Laser Ops Pro Deltaburst Blaster, $40, Amazon
Nerf Laser Ops Burst Fire Combat Blaster
You can count on Nerf to always come up with a new blaster or two. This one is made for live-action laser battles.
Some of these items haven’t hit the shelves, but we'll let you know when you do. Keep checking here for updates.
Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:
· gifts for moms
· gifts for 1-year-olds
· gifts for 9-year-olds that aren't video games