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Toy Insider unveils its Hot 20 List of the year's most wished-for toys

Industry experts recommend planning ahead and starting your holiday shopping before you've even finished carving pumpkins due to changes brought on by COVID-19.
Credit: Toy Insider
Hasbro's Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition is expected to leap off the shelves this year.

Attention, shoppers. The first of 2020's trending toy lists for the upcoming holiday season is upon us.

The Toy Insider, a trusted go-to resource for parents and gift-givers, unveiled its expert picks for the best kids’ toys and gifts in its 15th annual holiday gift guide

The guide's Hot 20 list consists of the most wish-for items of the year. 

The STEM 10 (a list of science, math, technology and engineering toys) and the 12 Under $12 (a list of affordable toys packed with play value and unboxing experiences) are also available at toyinsider.com.

Shopping for holiday gifts will look different this year as the Coronavirus pandemic continues: social distancing guidelines are still in place, limiting the number of in-store shoppers; retailers are starting holiday promotions earlier; and consumers are increasingly conscious of their spending during a tough economic year.

"This holiday shopping season will be unlike any other," said Laurie Schacht, Chief Toy Officer of Toy Insider. "It will be in your best interest to plan ahead and grab these hot toys before you start carving out your pumpkins.

"Playtime offers a powerful way of coping with the world we live in, and the wide assortment of toys we reviewed for this year's holiday gift guide showcase the innovative, creative and affordable ways toymakers are serving the needs of families during challenging times.”

This year’s hand-picked selections represent an extensive variety of open-ended toys to keep kids busy; screen-free playthings filled with educational value; toys that promote diversity, sustainability, and accessibility; and affordable toys that fit any budget, among many more categories that are sure to please kids of all ages this holiday season.  

Here's the Hot 20 List:

0-2 years 

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel)

Pick fruits and vegetables, play with the light-up juicer, spin the honey jar, turn the lights on and off, and more with this two-sided interactive kitchen and garden. Includes more than 30 removable pieces and 125 songs, sounds, and phrases.

Speak & Learn Puppy (LeapFrog)

This puppy features head movements, paw buttons, songs, and real-time responses to help teach babies about animals, food, feelings, letters, and numbers. It features three levels of play to grow with babies: babble, talk, and music.

3-4 years 

Blippi Recycling Truck (Jazwares)

This colorful truck features sounds, seven Blippi phrases, and a working lever to collect bins and dispose of the pretend trash. Comes with an exclusive Blippi figure.

Blues Clues & You! Dance-Along Blue Plush (Just Play)

Press the buttons on Josh’s guitar to activate the plush Blue, who will dance along to music from the show and wiggle her ears. Press the guitar strings to speed up or slow down Blue’s dancing.

Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun (Mattel)

This set features multiple layers of unboxing with more than 35 surprises, including Color Reveal Barbie and Chelsea dolls, three Color Reveal Pets, a long-haired wig, slumber party accessories, pet accessories, and more.

HEXBUG Nanotopia (HEXBUG)

Assemble this vibrant nano Flash habitat with snap-together track pieces and obstacles. Comes with three newly designed, light-up nano Flash that move at twice the speed, plus four additional nanos.

Pinkfong Baby Shark Dancing DJ (WowWee)

Kids can dance along with Baby Shark to seven fun songs and popular remixes. Features Dance Detection technology and three game modes to get kids moving, and even helps teach ABCs and 123s.

PJ Masks Transforming 2 in 1 Mobile HQ (Just Play)

Transform the PJ Masks Seeker into a 3-foot-tall Headquarters featuring five levels of play, a lights and sounds control board, drop-down ramps, a ground-level exit ramp, and a cage. Includes a Catboy figure and a Cat-Car.

Ryan’s World Shadow Warrior Ninja Mystery Box (Bonkers Toys)

This stealth dojo storage case is filled with martial arts-themed surprises, including six exclusive mystery figures, a ninja star spinner, a foam ninja sword, a headband, and more. Kids can be just like Ninja Ryan with this set.

Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition (Hasbro)

Touch the top of The Child’s head to activate more than 25 sound and motion combinations. Become the interactive creature’s protector and pretend to harness the power of the Force as The Child closes its eyes, raises its arms, giggles, and more. 

5-7 years 

KidiZoom Creator Cam (VTech)

This kid-friendly camera features more than 20 animated backgrounds that set the stage for creative videos. It also includes on-screen editing capabilities and comes with a green screen and a tabletop tripod/selfie stick.

LEGO Super Mario Adventure Starter Course (The LEGO Group)

Build a level inspired by the Super Mario video games, then play through the level with the interactive LEGO Mario figure. Collect coins for your best score, then rebuild to create new challenges.

Present Pets (Spin Master)

Discover Present Pets, the only gifts that unbox themselves! Unboxing on Oct. 1.

Rainbow High Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment) 

Each of the articulated dolls in the Rainbow High collection — Ruby Anderson, Poppy Rowan, Sunny Madison, Jade Hunter, Skyler Bradshaw, and Violet Willow — comes with two complete outfits and mix-and-match fashion accessory pieces.

Squeakee the Balloon Dog (Moose Toys)

Squeakee is an interactive balloon dog pet that kids can train and feed. He’ll listen and respond with more than 60 sounds and movements activated by voice commands and multiple touch sensors.

Zoe (Healthy Roots Dolls)

This 18-inch doll’s hair is specially designed with curl power. Kids can wash it with real products and style it in different ways, such as puffs and box braids. Zoe empowers kids to learn to love the hair they’re born with.

8+ years

Beyblade Burst Rise Hypersphere Vortex Climb Battle Set (Hasbro)

This customizable Beystadium has four sections for multiple ways to play. Comes with two Beyblade Burst launchers with Hypersphere battling tops that can climb up ramps and drop in from the Brick Plane for head-to-head collisions.

Chocolate Pen (Skyrocket)

Load the pen with real chocolate, then draw, write, and fill the candy molds. The colorful, edible creations harden in minutes and the included warming tray keeps the chocolate melted.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Co.)

The first board game adaptation of the classic Pokémon Trading Card Game makes gameplay an easy-to-learn family experience. Two players can battle with the three included 60-card decks, featuring Raichu, Charizard, and Mewtwo.

Snap Ships Gladius AC-75 Drop Ship (PlayMonster)

Build to battle with the largest and most heavily armed Snap Ship. Follow the instructions to create two different crafts using 124 interchangeable pieces, including an action-ready UJU piece. Includes two pilot figures.