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The holidays aren’t cancelled this year. They’re just…modified. Kids are still kids (thank goodness), and they’ll still be anticipating exciting gifts under the tree, in their stockings, or delivered over a few nights in December. While we worry about the state of the world, they dream of toys. The best toys. The kind of toys that bring on paroxysms of joy. But one thing’s for sure: Those toys—the ones the kids are thinking about— will sell out fast. You need to be strategic and make your move now.
In this year like no other, we teamed up with Walmart to give you a leg up—first dibs on the most popular toys at fantastic prices. The 10 toys below are this year’s hottest offerings. They won’t stay on shelves for long. Scoop them up while they’re in stock (as in, today), and rest easy knowing you’re going to come through on Christmas. (Then you can get back to your regularly scheduled worrying.)
The legendary and dynamic lightsaber, a symbol of power on the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, is now in the hands of nefarious warrior Moff Gideon. But this version comes pretty close. Hold down the hilt, and activate lightning sounds. Swing the saber, and let loose crisp battle noises. This mighty tool will generate lots of happiness and imaginative play.
Shop it: Star Wars Mandalorian Darksaber Lightsaber, $25 (was $30), walmart.com
The best toys level up with your kids, establishing themselves as long-term favorites. This is one of those toys. The 231-piece Lego kit for kids five and up is the perfect combo of building and gaming. It comes with a variety of Lego pieces, and an interactive Super Mario that talks, blinks, and reacts to certain sensors. Watch the video here to see the set in action. Kids arrange the bricks to create new challenges for Mario, while he navigates their fantastical worlds and attempts to collect virtual coins. Browser Jr. and Goomba are included. You can buy add-on sets to make things more complex (and fun). Plus there’s a Super Mario app for enhanced play, when the kids are ready.
Shop it: LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course, $60, walmart.com
Sick of your kid stealing your phone to shoot shaky videos of their friends for TikTok? Here’s the solution. Aspiring filmmakers set up their shots using the tabletop tripod/selfie stick and built-in microphone, and edit whatever they shoot right there on the camera screen.
Shop it: VTech KidiZoom Duo DX Digital Selfie Camera with MP3 Player, $33, walmart.com
For little ones eager to save the day in Adventure Bay, here’s the ultimate wooden Paw Patrol play table. It represents hours and hours of daily fun—solo or with a playmate—and provides plenty of space for Skye, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Zuma, and Rubble to go on all sorts of rescue missions (and for human friends to collaborate). There are 73 play pieces and nine feet of track. The plateaus are movable, and the tracks are interchangeable. It’s a dream come true for Paw Patrol fans.
Shop it: PAW Patrol Adventure Bay Wooden Play Table By KidKraft, $130 (was $230), walmart.com
If you’ve somehow escaped the mad craze surrounding The Mandalorian’s mystical Baby Yoda, consider yourself special. But most likely, your kids have been waiting for Hasbro to finally release the animatronic edition of The Child. When you touch his head, this activates Baby Yoda’s 25 sound and motion combinations. There are happy sounds. Excited sounds. Giggly sounds. Babbling sounds. Baby Yoga sighs and opens his eyes and bobs his head. He’s a calming—and fascinating—presence in any home. And we’re pretty sure you’re going to like him as much as the kids do.
Shop it: Star Wars The Child Animatronic, $80, walmart.com
Remember Tickle Me Elmo? Behold the sequel. Blue the dog, star of the Nick Jr. series Blue’s Clues, may come from a different network. But she’s just as beloved as Elmo. On her show, she leaves paw prints as clues when she wants to convey a message. This plush Blue comes with a guitar (her pal Josh plays one on the show) that works to animate her. Blue dances to the music, shakes her head, lifts her ears, and moves her paws up and down. Pressing the guitar strings can speed up or slow down Blue’s dancing. Like everything in Blue’s world, this toy combines fun with learning. Kids will love it. Age three and up.
Shop it: Blue’s Clues & You! Dance-Along Blue Plush, $44, walmart.com
What do you get when you cross a unicorn with a llama? Perhaps the most compelling creature ever to emerge from a giant plastic egg. Hatchimals interactive electronic pets are an undeniable sensation. This one can “grow” 32 inches tall .and is prone to moods—10 of them to be precise—which she expresses through movement. Kids can cuddle her, pet her, hold her, or just behold her in awe as she coos, giggles, bobs, and chases her confetti fruit. With 250 sounds in her repertoire, boring she ain’t. (And something about her—maybe the extra-long neck—reminds us of our friend ET, in a good way.)
Shop it: Hatchimals WOW Llalacorn, $70, walmart.com
Fans of Barbie are thinking about this Slumber Party Fun Set right about now, which is full of surprises. Now, pay attention, because this is tricky for adult brains to process: The set includes two “Color Reveal” dolls (Barbie and Chelsea), plus 50 extra goodies. What on earth is a Color Reveal doll? It’s a silver featureless creature who, once swirled in warm water, reveals her identity. But wait, it gets better: You can use warm water to revert Barbie and Chelsea back to their hidden selves, and then reveal them all over again. Endless fun, plus loads of unexpected goodies.
Shop it: Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun Set, $37 (was $50), walmart.com
Baby Alive, the doll that eats, talks, and pees, has been around since 1973 (are you singing the song right now? We are.) So it’s fitting that she’s evolved a bit. Want to win the heart of a little kid who likes to play mommy or daddy? This is your ticket.
Shop it: Baby Alive Baby Gotta Bounce Doll, Bunny, Bounces with 25+ SFX, $25, walmart.com
Another treasure from Hatchimals, these glittery little pixies feature fluttery wings, poseable heads and legs, and come with a matching unique mystical unicorn animal they can really ride! A never-ending thrill for kids SIX and up.
Shop it: Hatchimals Pixies Riders Original, $15, walmart.com
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