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The 21 Holiday Toys to Buy Now Before They Sell Out, According to Trend Forecasters

The 21 Holiday Toys to Buy Now Before They Sell Out, According to Trend Forecasters

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

For the last three years, we’ve walked the aisles of toy fairs and reached out to trend experts for their opinions on what toys would top the charts each holiday season, driving parents crazy on the hunt for sparkly eggs, tiny collectible pets, and rainbow unicorn poop made of slime. This year, we’re continuing the tradition in classic Strategist fashion: Start early, go deep, and update often.

Not to stress you out or anything, but with the imminent release of Frozen 2 and the continued popularity of toys like Hatchimals, Ryan’s Giant Surprise Egg, and L.O.L. Surprise, planning ahead this year is even more essential to holiday-shopping success. You’re going to need all the help you can get. Note: We’ve also got gift guides for kids of all ages, including 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and 9-year-olds. Below, we talked to toy experts to find all the toys you should know about this year — and what to stock up on before they’re all gone.


Skyrocket Blume Doll - Add Water & See Who Grows

Skyrocket Blume Doll – Add Water & See Who Grows

Unboxing and collectible toys were the biggest trends last year, and they have only gotten more popular. They include anything with some element of surprise where you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open it. Adrienne Appell, senior director of communications at the Toy Association told us that these toys (sometimes referred to as blind box toys) have “gotten a little bit more sophisticated,” mixing interactive elements into the reveal. Appell and three other toy experts called these Blume Dolls from Skyrocket Toys some of the most anticipated of the season. Blume Dolls start out looking like a potted plant and come with a little watering can that you use to make the doll spring up out of the dirt. Appell explains “the hair of the doll is made of slow-rise foam, and when you water the “plant” it looks as if your doll is blooming from the pot.”

Chris Byrne, also known as the Toy Guy says, “It’s like magic for kids.” Marissa DiBartolo, editor-in-chief of the Toy Insider says, “The dolls have a unique design and the flowerpot doubles as a customizable play set,” adding that each doll provides “so much play for less than $10.” And Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, likes this toy because it’s such a fun example of the unboxing collectible trend. Skirboll tells us there are 22 different Blume Dolls so once you collect one or two or three, “you can take the foam hair off and change it out with your other Blume dolls.” After the toy blooms, you can open up the pot and find a little mini friend and some stickers to decorate with.


Zuru Pets Alive Boppi The Booty Shakin Llama

Zuru Pets Alive Boppi The Booty Shakin Llama

Last year, we watched — a little perplexed — as Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorns flew off of toy shelves and reappeared on eBay at wildly inflated prices. This year, however, instead of a Unicorn that poops rainbow slime, we have a Booty Shakin Llama named Boppi. Appell, Byrne, and Skirboll told us that this dancing llama is going to be incredibly popular. “You have to Google it,” says Skirboll. “It is so cute, and as I said, I bought most of these toys so they’re all sitting on my desk. It’s even pretty funny to watch it just in the packaging.”


Little Live Pets Scruff-A-Luvs Family Pack

Little Live Pets Scruff-A-Luvs Family Pack

Scruff-A-Luvs, the plush rescue pets whose fur you have to wash and comb to find out if you got a puppy, kitten, or bunny, were a huge hit last year. According to Byrne, they’re part of the “nurturing toy” trend that includes any toy that requires being fed, nurtured, and trained by kids. Byrne predicts that the new line of Scruff-A-Luvs will sell just as well if not better than the originals. New this year is this family set, which includes an adult rescue pet and two babies.


Ryan's World Super Surprise Safe

Ryan’s World Super Surprise Safe

In 2018, Ryan’s Giant Surprise Egg sold out, was restocked, then sold out again at Target, Amazon, and Walmart. Ryan, a real kid with over 4 million YouTube subscribers and a new show on Nickelodeon, has played a huge role in the unboxing trend through his unboxing videos. For 2019, he (and his parents) came up with a different surprise-filled toy, this time in the shape of a safe with a lock. Appell told us the Ryan’s World Super Surprise Safe is one of the toys she and the Toy Association “think is going to move really quickly.”


Ryan's World Giant Egg Surprise

Ryan’s World Giant Egg Surprise

But if you missed out on Ryan’s Giant Surprise Egg last year, this Target exclusive is still in stock — for now.


WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet with Tempo Control

WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet with Tempo Control

If you have a child, you have probably heard the song “Baby Shark” an obscene amount of times. You can now buy this shark puppet from the makers of Fingerlings — yes, it comes in a Fingerling version too. Three of our experts (Byrne, Appell, and Skirboll) are betting this plush family of singing sharks will sell like hotcakes. Byrne likes that it “takes a concept that kids love and interprets it into a dimensional way of playing.” He explains that when you do the Baby Shark hand movements “like the jaws of a shark” it triggers the puppet to play the song. Move the puppet faster, and it plays the song faster; move more slowly and it slows the tempo down.


Creatable World Deluxe Character Kit Customizable Doll

Creatable World Deluxe Character Kit Customizable Doll

Both Byrne and Appell think that Mattel’s newest dolls will be something of a runaway hit with parents and kids. “They’re not Barbie,” says Appell. “They’re customizable dolls so you can create your own characters.” Each of the six dolls comes with different clothing and hairstyles, so you can give them short hair or long hair, and style them however you want. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Appell says.


L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco O.M.G. Crystal Star 2019 Collector Edition Fashion Doll

L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco O.M.G. Crystal Star 2019 Collector Edition Fashion Doll

While L.O.L Surprise isn’t new to the scene, all four of the experts we talked to recommend stocking up on them early before they inevitably sell out. There’s a ton of L.O.L. Surprise toys and sets to choose from, including glitter surprise eggs, L.O.L. pets, and even a giant glamper fashion camper with 55 surprises. But out of everything made by L.O.L. Surprise, Skirboll, Byrne, Appell, and DiBartolo recommend the winter disco-themed L.O.L. Surprise Dolls and accompanying chalet-style dollhouse. “That winter theme is going to do really well,” says Byrne, who tells us that, though it’s not a licensed Frozen 2 toy, it takes its wintery inspiration from the film. Byrne explains, “You take the doll kids already love, add a wintery fantasy inspired by Frozen (which is going to be a juggernaut), and you get a really engaging toy.”


L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Chalet Doll House

L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Chalet Doll House

If you’re looking for a big gift, the L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Chalet is one that’ll probably elicit screams of joy. Both Appell and Skirboll told us that all of the O.M.G. Dolls (like the one above), and the Winter Disco Chalet are poised to sell out quickly. The Winter Disco Chalet comes with 95 surprises, including a few dolls, and has an ice-skating rink, a jacuzzi, a fireplace, twinkling lights, a snow machine, and a chair lift.


L.O.L. Surprise! Fluffy Pets Winter Disco Series with Removable Fur

L.O.L. Surprise! Fluffy Pets Winter Disco Series with Removable Fur

Another part of L.O.L.’s winter disco series are these cute fluffy pets with removable fur.


Dreamworks Dragons, Hatching Toothless Interactive Baby Dragon with Sounds

Dreamworks Dragons, Hatching Toothless Interactive Baby Dragon with Sounds

Appell and Skirboll both told us that Hatchimals are as popular as ever. But from the wide array of sparkly and speckly hatching eggs, they say this combination Hatchimal and Dreamworks toy is the one to keep an eye on. “It’s from the movie How to Train Your Dragon,” says Skirboll who explains that you can play games with it like “hot potato” and “Simon Says.”


Pop Pops Snotz Hammer Toys Collections

Pop Pops Snotz Hammer Toys Collections

All of our experts agree that slime is a big trend that’s still growing. “Slime is really huge!” says Byrne, who told us that people are finding different ways to play with it and even hide little toys inside of it. Byrne likes this hysterical slime collecting hammer because it “combines the fun of popping bubble wrap, unboxing toys, and smashing stuff with slime.”


Playmobil Mars Mission Play Box

Playmobil Mars Mission Play Box

Byrne says that STEM-style toys are a big trend he’s been seeing, and though he likes anything from Playmobil, he specifically mentioned this Mars Mission Playmobil toy as one to look out for because it does a good job of “building narrative and fantasy while including some science in there as well.”


Disney Frozen 2 Into The Unknown Singing Feature Elsa Doll

Disney Frozen 2 Into The Unknown Singing Feature Elsa Doll

Frozen 2 won’t be in theaters until November 22, but you can already buy a bunch of official toys right now. All four experts we spoke to mentioned some sort of Frozen 2 merch, collectibles, dolls and dress-up costumes. DiBartolo says, “You’ll be seeing Elsa and Anna in every toy aisle.” But according to Byrne, Appell, and Skirboll: This Elsa doll that sings “Into the Unknown” is the one to watch. Appell says the singing doll is going to be hot because “it actually has the new song,” so it’ll make all the kids and families who are excited about seeing the new movie feel like insiders. “Parents have seen the first one a million times, so it might be nice to hear Elsa singing something else besides ‘Let It Go,’” adds Appell.


Kindi Kids Snack Time Friends, Pre-School 10

Kindi Kids Snack Time Friends, Pre-School 10″ Doll

Both Byrne and DiBartolo mentioned this collection of big-eyed bobblehead dolls as a way for children 3 and under to get in on the collectibles trend. Byrne says, “They are like Shopkins but for preschoolers,” because they “have a ton of accessories just like Shopkins but theirs are bigger, so small children won’t swallow the pieces.”


Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

Three out of our four toy experts (Skirboll, Byrne, and Appell) say they expect the Nintendo Switch Lite to sell out quickly. “It’s smaller, it’s cheaper, and it comes in a few different colors,” says Skirboll, explaining that parents of tweens and teens might like this lighter version of the megapopular gaming system. It should be said, though, that this version of Nintendo Switch does not connect to your TV.


Fortnite Jumbo Llama Loot Piñata

Fortnite Jumbo Llama Loot Piñata

Unicorns still occupy a big place in children’s hearts, but according to our experts, we will be seeing more and more llamas very soon. Still, you might not have expected to see one as part of a Fortnite toy. “It’s no secret that Fortnite is one of the hottest video games out there,” says DiBartolo who recommends this Llama Pinata from Jazzwares, which she says “brings the game to life.” It also fits right into the unboxing toy trend since kids can smash it open to reveal more than 100 surprise goodies inside.


LEGO Overwatch Wrecking Ball Building Kit

LEGO Overwatch Wrecking Ball Building Kit

According to our experts, giving Legos is always a good idea. But Skirboll says that this specific Lego set, inspired by the video game Overwatch, is the one to buy in advance of the holidays.


Rizmo Interactive Evolving Musical Plush Toy

Rizmo Interactive Evolving Musical Plush Toy

“Kids have to play and interact with Rizmo to watch him evolve,” says DiBartolo, who, along with Appell, recommends buying this little furry monster sooner rather than later. “He loves to sing and dance, and even records what kids sing to him to play it back later,” adds DiBartolo. According to Appell, Rizmo is a plush creature from outer space, but you nurture it to get it to evolve and come out of its little cocoon. The full evolution takes two weeks to complete which means your child will be busy playing with Rizmo for eons in toy time.


WowWee Pixie Belles - Rosie

WowWee Pixie Belles – Rosie

Appel listed Pixie Belles, the little magical pets with removable tails you can wear, along with L.O.L. Surprise and the Baby Shark plush dolls. Like Hatchimals, they’re interactive and light up, make kissing sounds when you hold them up to your cheek, and spin around when excited.


Basic Fun Cutetitos - Mystery Stuffed Animals - Collectible Plush

Basic Fun Cutetitos – Mystery Stuffed Animals – Collectible Plush

When Appel asked if we’d heard of Cutetitos, we said that sounds like a snack food. Lo and behold, Cutetitos are actually one of this year’s hottest toys. “They’re based on memes of people wrapping up their pets like little burritos in blankets,” says Appel. And now they’ve come out with Babitos, a plush blind-box toy. Appel says “they’d make a great stocking stuffer and they’ll be in short supply this holiday season.”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, bed sheets, coffee makers, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The 21 Holiday Toys to Buy Right Now (Before They Sell Out)

Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

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