'Tis the season for giving, and for many families, Christmas gifts for kids are the top priority. However, knowing what toys are trending (and where to get them) is easier said than done. From the latest electronic gadgets to classic favourites, it can be difficult to find out which ones are the must-have items this season. To help you shop confidently, Yahoo Canada asked four retail experts to run down this year's popular toys, from Bitzee Interactive Digital Pets to timeless picks like LEGO.
Bitzee Interactive Digital Pet and Case$30$40Save $10
Hatchimals Alive$15$17Save $2
Cool Maker PopStyle Tile Bracelet Maker$35
Furby Purple Interactive Plush Toy$95
Nerf Elite 2.0 Double Punch Motorized Dart Blaster$30$50Save $20
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, Chase’s Mighty Transforming Cruiser with Mighty Pups Action Figure$43$70Save $27
LEGO Speed Champions 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT-R$25$30Save $5
LEGO City Advent Calendar 2023 Playset$30$45Save $15
Crayola Butterfly Garden Suncatcher Creator$25
Cookeez Makery 'Bake Your Own Plush' Oven Playset$100$110Save $10
Squishmallows Plush Toys$35$40Save $5
According to Doug Wadleigh, Spin Master’s Executive Vice-President and Head of Global Toy Brands, digital pets are definitely trending this season.
"This play pattern naturally appeals to kids because of its interactivity and nurturing nature. Parents love it too, reminiscing about their first digital pet, but these are nothing like what they were in the '90s. Incredible strides made in innovation make today’s digital pet experience so much richer and more dynamic," Wadleigh told Yahoo Canada.
Wadleigh added that retailers are seeing impressive performance with Bitzee.
"I think is a combination of the innovation and unique play pattern of this digital pet, and great value, with 15 pets inside each pod at an attainable price point," he explained.
In addition to new, innovative toys, Wadleigh said increasingly price-conscious consumers are also seeking value.
"As we prepared for the 2023 holiday season, we anticipated that consumers would be looking to purchase at more modest price points," he said.
That's why Wadleigh suggests that the Hatchimals Alive make a great stocking stuffer. He said that it’s "a magical moment for kids at a small price."
Wadleigh also picked the Cool Maker Pop Style Bracelet Maker as one of this year's best toys to shop for the 2023 holiday season.
"The super-easy pop-on bead system means they can create and recreate 10 unique bracelets without any knots, cutting or clasps," he said.
He also suggested that while friendship bracelets are not new, this innovative bead system — and Taylor Swift's Eras tour — have definitely fuelled the friendship bracelet frenzy.
Hilary Wingate, Senior Director of Toys at Walmart told Yahoo Canada that "kidults" are into tech this year.
"Robotics is a big deal, from the cute Furby robotic plush to classic robots. The kids today are really into AI and voice recognition, which is taking their playtime to a whole new level," she said.
That's why she selected the Furby as one of the most in-demand toys for 2023.
Wingate also picked the Nerf Elite 2.0 Duble Punch Motorized Dart Blaster as a popular item for this year's holiday season.
For kids, a Nerf gun is a ticket to countless hours of imaginative play. In a world filled with digital entertainment, the Nerf gun stands out as a tangible, interactive experience that brings people together.
Paw Patrol's squad of animated, rescue-ready pups is still a hit with kids of all ages. That's why Wingate suggested adding this cute set to your holiday shopping list.
The action figure has synchronized flashing lights, sound effects and music.
You can never go wrong with gifting LEGO. This LEGO Speed Champions 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT-R is a replica model car building kit, inspired by the car from "The Lego Movie."
This would be a great gift for the "kidult" in your life to help kickstart a car collection, allowing them to embark on a journey of creative building.
While we're on the topic of LEGO, Scott Churchward, the Vice-President of Merchandising and Kids Learn and Play at Staples, also suggested a 258-piece playset.
"Canadians love LEGO sets. They have products for all ages and are perfect toys that help strengthen fine motor, discovery and exploration cognitive learning," Churchward said.
Churchward added that this advent calendar is "festive, fun and lets kids count down with familiar festive characters, seasonal mini-builds and accessories."
Churchward also suggested this new product from Crayola, adding that it's the perfect gift for younger kids.
"It’s a unique DIY craft set that lets kids make over 25 suncatchers using simple step-by-step instructions. Highly detailed designs that kids can colour and customize help make it easy to create eye-catching clings every time," Churchward said.
Samir Kulkarni, the CEO of Showcase, told Yahoo Canada that Cookeez Makery is one of this year's hottest toys and a must-have for every Christmas list.
"It’s like an Easy-Bake Oven where kids can bake their own plush that comes out warm and scented. It is selling out everywhere and we expect Showcase to be one of the only places to find it this Christmas," Kulkarni said.
It looks like there's no slowing down the Squishmallows craze — and Kulkarni said that there is a huge rise in collectibles for Christmas.
"It’s the fun of finding that hard-to-find character or completing that collection — like the Squishmallows brand new Christmas characters," Kulkarni added.