Every year, the Toy Insider panel of experts chooses the hottest toys for the upcoming holiday season. And these typically are the most in-demand playthings for kids all year long. Twenty of the toys are the must-have items on kids of all ages' wish lists, whether they're based on favorite TV shows or movie characters or they're simply selling out in stores. Twelve of the tech-based toys incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity and innovation, while 10 are based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), from the basics of coding and circuitry to complex robotics. To see more holiday gift guides, visit newsday.com/giftguides.
Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck
Kids ages 6 and older can wheel around their Shopkins friends in this ice cream truck. The set features secret storage compartments to hide them and includes two exclusive Shopkins characters and new exclusive shopping bags; $22.99 at moosetoys.com.
Imaginext Ultra T-Rex
This 2.5-foot dino walks forward and roars. With a press of his power pads, his eyes light up and his mouth opens and closes with chomping sound effects. He comes with three Imaginext figures and launchable boulders and projectiles, for kids ages 3 and older; $99.99 at fisher-price.com.
Disney Imagicademy Mickey's Rocket Builder
Kids ages 3 and older can build and customize their own rockets in the physical and digital worlds using the corresponding Disney Imagicademy app as Mickey guides each mission. Action buttons on the rocket trigger sound effects associated with various rocket combinations; $39.99 at disneystore.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1OaC74a
LeapPad Platinum with Imagicard
This Wi-Fi-enabled tablet features a high-resolution, shatter-safe touch screen with more than 1,000 games available. With Imagicard (sold separately), kids use a camera on the tablet to capture cards for magical learning games that comes to life on the screen; $129.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1vD4rDO; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1PWl2Ku.
Minions Interactive Action Figures
Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob (sold separately) include sayings from the "Minions" movie and make funny sound effects as they interact with their accessories. Each figure has articulated arms and a soft skin upper body, for kids ages 4 and older; $39.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1ilL9Nn; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/1NaBrtW.
Meccano Meccanoid G15
Kids ages 10 and older can build and program this 2-foot robot, which features voice-recognition technology and Learned Intelligent Movement to mirror kids' speech and movements. It can say thousands of phrases, tell jokes, play games, initiate conversations, and retain information; $179.99 at spinmaster.com.
Lego Elves The Elves' Treetop Hideaway
This buildable play set for kids ages 9 and older includes three mini-doll figures, plus Enki the panther cub, accessories, a magical portal, a secret compartment and more. More information: http://bit.ly/1M3JiZm. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1kWkNn4
Disney Descendants Signature Outfit Doll Assortment
Meet the teenage descendants of Disney's heroes and villains wearing their enchanted signature looks from the movie. These dolls each come with rooted hair, a stylish outfit, an iconic locket and a sticker, for ages 6 and older. More information: http://bit.ly/1Ml7G4E. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Sc5XDT
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon
This iconic ship opens up into a play set featuring a pop-up blaster that fires Nerf Elite darts, a turbolaser turret, light-up LED cannons, hyperdrive sound effects and more, for ages 6 and older. The set includes exclusive Chewbacca, Finn and BB-8 3.75-inch figures; More information: http://hasb.ro/1RCTTKS; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1HeD9UM
This robotic dinosaur interacts with an included trackball so kids ages 8 and older can take it for a walk, play chase, fetch or beg. Enhance play with a free app; More information: http://bit.ly/1Gzd6wV; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1incT4b
Girls Scouts Cookie Oven
The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven from Wicked Cool Toys allows kids ages 9 and up to bake their own cookies. A real working oven, it comes with tools and mixes inspired by the girls' leadership organization. The oven comes with a mix to create Thin Mints, a spatula, baking pan and a measuring tool; $59.99, additional mixes are sold separately, such as Trefoils, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Carmel, Sugar and more for $6.99 at wickedcooltoys.com.
Star Wars BladeBuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber
Kids ages 6 and older can build their own lightsaber. This set comes with components to create more than 100 combinations with lights and sounds, two independently lit lightdaggers, an expansion hilt, two elbow connectors and more; $69 at hasbro.com.
VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway
This ultimate play set features interchangeable tracks, eight mechanical features, nine SmartPoint locations, a steering-wheel-shaped remote control, music, sounds and more; $60.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1zP1Llq; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/1PWlpoo.
Giant Leonardo Playset
This giant 24-inch Leonardo Ninja Turtle action figure transforms into a sewer lair play set. It features spring-activated surprises, false floors, a skate park and more. Includes an 18-inch Katana sword. Compatible with most basic TMNT action figures; More information: http://bit.ly/1M3N4lG; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1WkmcEz
Design & Drill Brightworks
Kids ages 3 and older can follow any of the included patterns or create unique glow-in-the-dark designs. Drill in the translucent bolts using the kid-friendly power drill and feel just like a real engineer; More information: http://bit.ly/1PTjbXM; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/20e1xBH
The popular toys-to-life video game franchise now includes vehicles. With 20 new characters, kids can speed across Skylands in vehicular combat, race down roaring rapids, and engage in aerial battles. Story-driven gameplay also includes on-foot adventures; More information: http://bit.ly/1Sccleh; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1MXrfk3
Kids First Aircraft Engineer
Kids follow along as the included storybook challenges them to build 10 vehicles with the 71 large, colorful pieces. The kit introduces kids to simple engineering concepts while they build a space shuttle, hang glider, and more. More information: http://bit.ly/1P0yTjy. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Gzhzzz
Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space
The interactive light bar responds to baby's touch with music, lights, and songs. Grows with baby and teaches colors, numbers, the alphabet and cause and effect for ages 6 months and older, while keeping baby busy with ball ramps, a spinner and more; $59.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1cQ6AzH; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/1WkG2KG.
Lego Dimensions Starter Pack
Kids ages 10 and older can merge physical Lego brick-building with interactive console gameplay. Includes a Toy Pad to transport special Lego mini-figures and vehicles into the game, bricks to build the Lego Gateway and three Lego Mini-figures: Lego Batman, Lego Gandalf and Wyldstyle, plus the Lego Batmobile; $99.99 at warnerbros.com.
Mighty Makers: Fun on the Ferris Wheel
Kids ages 7 and older can use 324 parts and pieces to build a Ferris wheel, pirate ship and boardwalk game for character figure Emily. The storybook guides kids as they build, and then they can decorate their creations and enjoy imaginative fun. More information: http://bit.ly/1PXiXhx. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1LEWuCM
Little Live Pets Clever Keet
The smartest bird you'll ever meet, Clever Keet can remember phrases and mash them up to form all-new sentences. He can ride around on his cart, swing on his perch, and dance in his mirror, for kids ages 6 and older; $69.99 at moosetoys.com.
Anki Overdrive Starter Kit
FlexTracks easily snap together, allowing players to quickly create customized battlefields. Face off against friends or AI cars using high-tech, intelligent vehicles. Built-in computers combined with visual sensors ensure players stay on track even during the most legendary battle moments; More information: http://go.anki.com/1P0Anup; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1keVls0.
Kurio Smart Windows Tablet
This two-in-one tablet computer takes kids ages 9 and older from homework to play, with more than 40 preloaded apps. This Windows device has a 9-inch touch screen and includes a detachable keyboard, parental controls, and 32 GB of built-in storage; More information: http://bit.ly/1NDHKVi; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1LEXl6n
Laser Pegs Super Copter
This building kit allows kids ages 5 and older to use tinted bricks to build up to 30 different models, including a Robotic Helper and Solar Voyager. Once complete, light up the creations with the sound-activated triangle power base; More information: http://bit.ly/1P0B5HS; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1keWrUJ
KidiZoom Smarthwatch DX
Features lots of memory so kids ages 4 and older can take tons of pictures and videos. Motion sensor lets kids explore three action challenges. Comes pre-loaded with eight touchscreen games with more available for download. Includes alarm, timer, stopwatch, calendar and calculator; More information: http://bit.ly/1MXwrV6; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1PTmqyl
Goldie Blox Craft-Struction Box
This set combines crafting and construction for an open-ended play experience for kids ages 6 and older. With more than 275 pieces, kids can think like Goldie to prototype and problem-solve. Includes building blocks and bits, stickers, springs, and more; More information: http://bit.ly/1inr6y2; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Gzmb8S
Vex Robotics Robotic Arm
This completely functional STEM-based construction kit is inspired by real industrial robot arms. Kids ages 8 and older can utilize four points of motion to control the arm and pick up surrounding objects with the claw; More information: http://bit.ly/1HeRel0; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1OaWPkn
Disney Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa
Girls ages 3 and older can pass the included microphone back and forth between themselves and Elsa to sing the full-length song "Let It Go" together. Elsa's necklace and dress light up, and she says more than 15 phrases in both English and Spanish; $39.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1XBks79; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/1LZEMYq.
When kids ages 6 and older trace stencils and molds with gel and insert them into the UV chamber, their designs harden into flexible plastic. Connect finished pieces together to build 3-D structures. No heat ensures kid-safe play; More information: http://bit.ly/1jVm7q3; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/20eaF9j
New Nintendo 3DS XL
This portable video game system for kids ages 9 and older features super-stable 3-D via face-tracking technology and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures. Kids can play games solo or connect with other players; More information: http://bit.ly/1NbzOMJ; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1KIMpAB
Crayola Easy Animation Studio
With Smooth Action Technology, only a few poses are needed to create full animation. Personalize animations with 10 customizable characters and five backgrounds. Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices; $24.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1PXaGdb; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Ml9kTG
Sky Rover Voice Command
Kids ages 8 and older can control the Sky Rover Voice Command helicopter using 12 verbal commands ? no hands required. Simply wear the headset and control your helicopter with your voice. Voice Command also features Smart Hover and Auto Pilot modes for easy maneuvering; $44.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1kWot8i; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1PXbpuU
Makey Makey Classic
This circuit kit connects to everyday objects that conduct electricity, allowing them to act as keys from a keyboard, piano, and more. Kids ages 8 and older can connect up to 14 separate objects at once and learn the basics of programming; $49.95. More information: http://bit.ly/1gGyuz5; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1inaZk1
Tomy Toddler Toys Jumbo Jamboree
When pushed along, this one-man-band plays five instruments at the same time. Each body part can be removed and played separately, including the saxophone nose, jingle bell ears, a drum, a harmonica and a xylophone, for kids ages 1 and older; $32.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1P00VvG; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/1M3ehou.
Disney Infinity 3.0
Kids ages 10 and older can play as "Star Wars" characters, battle with lightsabers and fly Star Wars vehicles. Kids can also play as characters from Disney, Disney?Pixar and Marvel franchises; $114.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1XCuNjn; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1kWpoWj
Remote Control Machines: Animals
Kits ages 8 and older can build eight different R/C animals with mechanical insides covered by colorful plastic skins. Each animal moves using a different mechanism, mimicking the movement of the real animal it represents. Control movement with a two-button remote; $49.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1XCvaue; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1XCvppb
Sky Viper HD Video Drone V950
This 12.75-inch drone can record video and pictures in full 720p HD from a birds-eye view. Kids ages 12 and older can perform one-touch stunts and custom camera moves in autopilot mode, and rotate between six modes of flight sensitivity; $89.99 at skyrockettoys.com.
Vex Robotics Hexcalator Ball Machine
Kids ages 8 and older can build this entire machine with snap-together pieces. Use the hand crank to power three hexagonal indexing wheels, which transport balls uphill where they are released onto the return ramp and continue to move in a loop; $43. More information: http://bit.ly/1Sc95Q7; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1MwKab4
The Hello Barbie plays interactive games, tells jokes and inspires storytelling for kids ages 6 and older. Equipped with a microphone, speaker and LEDs that light up when Barbie is activated by a button on her belt; $74.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1NDDAwP; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1NDDLrZ
FurReal Friends Star Lily, My Magical Unicorn
The FurReal Friends unicorn features lifelike movements, has a horn that lights up in different colors and can spread and flutter her wings, for kids ages 4 and older; $119.99 at hasbro.com.
Play All Day Elmo
This lovable monster features more than 150 responses and eight games and activities. Tickle Elmo's belly, hold his hand, give him a kiss or clap his hands together. Features two play settings for toddlers and preschoolers, for ages 18 months and older; $59.99. More information: http://hasb.ro/1MkpihO; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1NpMNpF
Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center
The Pet Vet Checkup Center comes with an electronic stethoscope, kid-powered EKG, otoscope, play thermometer, brush, bandage sticker dispenser and more. Kids ages 3 and older can use the play x-rays to activate lights and sounds, weigh animals on the scale and give them a bath with a pretend water sprayer; $159.99 at justplayproducts.com.