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.
Shopkins Happy Home
Kids can collect and display the Shopkins Happy Places Petkin furniture pieces, decorating their Happy Home. Choose from Kitty Kitchen, Puppy Parlor, Bathing Bunny or Dreamy Bear sets; $29.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dx3LJC; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2cIKZjO.
My Friend Pikachu
With lifelike movements and realistic chimp sounds, Zoomer Chimp can follow you, stand up on his own and recognize commands through his voice recognition technology. He performs tricks, follows voice commands and more. $119. http://bit.ly/2cTrpyS; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2cCbuUE.
CHiP (Canine Home Intelligent Pet) is a robotic dog that recognizes and responds to commands using the included SmartBand, a rechargeable wearable controller. CHiP responds to hand gestures and voice commands. He also plays fetch and fun games with his SmartBall, interacting all the ways a real dog would. At the end of the day, CHiP knows to head to his special SmartBed to recharge. $199.99. http://bit.ly/2daIju2; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2daq89D.
PJ Masks Headquarters Playset
Based on the hit preschool superhero animated TV show, the PJ Masks Headquarters Playset features three character-themed levels and stands more than two feet tall. The PJ Picture Player allows kids to choose their mission while using the zip line, working elevator, hanging cat rings, trap door and pop-out hatch. Cat Boy figure and Cat Car are included. $69.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dueNTK.
Barbie Hello Dreamhouse
This smart dollhouse goes high-tech with floor sensors that recognize where Barbie and her friends are in the house. There's also embedded speech recognition to control elements of the house, including the slide and elevator. Kids can further customize with the accompanying app. $299.99. http://bit.ly/2d5jxMW; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2d7CGRM.
Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival
This kit encourages girls to build and play while learning engineering concepts. Kids can use the 145 snap-together pieces to create a Ferris wheels, carousel, swings and game tent. Then, attach two motors to bring the rides to life. The set also comes with the Bettina and Jenna dolls. $44.99. http://bit.ly/2dDQSQL; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2cCPKgb.
MarioKart 8 Quadcopter
Based on MarioKart 8, it features a six-axle gyro system for flight stability, a protective cage for the rotors and 2.4 GHz technology for up to seven minutes of flight. $99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dtacME.
Lego Star Wars Resistance X-Wing Fighter
This X-Wing Fighter features opening wings and a cockpit, four spring-loaded shooters, retractable landing gear, removable engine and a detachable BB-8. The set also comes with a building section with a container, toppling tower and fire elements to attach to the building and Flametrooper's weapon. The set comes with three mini-figures. $79.99. More information: http://lego.build/2dfRmfh; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dxaqTQ.
Laugh & Learn Crawl-Around Learning Center
This learning toy features three adjustable levels to grow with baby and four stations to explore, including a self-discovery mirror, jumbo rattle roller, fishbowl clicker and more. Babies will learn body parts, opposites, colors, shapes and ABCs. Parents can also leave a personalized message for their baby to hear; $49.99 at fisher-price.com. More information: http://bit.ly/2deTSCR. Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dtkONK.
Kids can bring Skylanders to life for the first time with stories, puzzles, battles and a new lineup of heroes and villains. There's also a Creation Crystal, which allows players to create and transport their Skylanders to consoles. Senseis includes 20 new characters, such as Crash Bandicoot and 11 former villains. $74.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cGC4kg; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dd2XuK.
Paw Patrol Jungle Playset
This interactive playset transforms from a Monkey Temple into Jungle Headquarters. The set includes lights and sounds, trap doors, control panels, vines to slide down into the jungle explorer vehicle and an elevator that takes the pups up safely. The set includes the new pup Ryder; $49.99 at spinmaster.com. More information: http://bit.ly/2d0Zlw4. For the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dcq9XR.
Little Live Pets Snuggles My Dream Puppy
This puppy moves, feels and responds just like a real pet. Kids can feed this no-mess puppy with his bottle and he'll fall asleep in their arms. Pat his head or rub his tummy and Snuggles will make puppy sounds. $54.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1L6CEwm; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dfCEUh.
Hot Wheels A.I.
This racing system combines high-powered vehicle performance and computer enhanced Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), allowing kids to race a friend or take on a computer. Each car features a sensor on the bottom so the cars can communicate with the track. The Smart Cars are controlled using a controller and can race in three different modes. $99.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dxcOhN; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2d1AINk.
Kids can take care of the egg and small, interactive creatures will hatch themselves. Little ones can teach them to walk, talk, play games and more. Who's inside? It's a surprise. $59.99. http://bit.ly/2ds1Ytf; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dl5Uul.
Animal Jam Club Geoz Playset
Listen to music, dance under the lights and watch the disco ball spin. This playset comes with the exclusive Diamond Artic Wolf and one scratch off code that unlocks exclusive content in the hit online game Animal Jam. $29.99. http://bit.ly/2cCbQdR; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dl5Uul.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo, a Toys R Us exclusive, recognizes a child's questions and responds in hundreds of unique ways in less than a second. Mikey features movement and position sensors, he signs songs and plays games with kids. $39.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2djl020. For the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dqY7Kn.
Project MC2 We Heart Chemistry Kit
Kids can conduct 10 experiments at home using everything in the kit as well as some additional household materials. Make ordinary powders fizz and foam, create a color-changing mixture, a rolling wave, a color-changing eruption, a glow-in-the-dark test tube and more. $25.50. http://bit.ly/2dshWPD; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dAmt2V.
FurReal Friends Torch My Blazin' Dragon Pet
This plush baby dragon breathes flame-colored mist. Bring the color-changing marshmallow treat close to the mist and watch it "toast," then feed it to Torch and listen as he makes munching sounds. The dragon features more than 50 sound and motion combinations. $79.99. More information: http://hasb.ro/2d7bpfB; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dAmGDu.
This quad-copter can be used indoors and with a smartphone or table. Kids can select one-touch stunts, follow-me mode or take control and fly LUMI while avoiding furniture and walls. Players can also choreograph a series of flight moves and play them back to music selected from their music library. $79.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cNDUQt; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dN5n1W.
Disney My Time Singing Elena of Avalor Doll
Press Elena's gem necklace to hear her sing "My Time," a song featured in the hit TV show "Elena of Avalor" on the Disney Channel. The doll's arms allow her to hold the included guitar as she sings; $29.99 at hasbro.com. For more information: http://hasb.ro/2dpo8gd. For the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dQ7Itg.
Pokemon Sun & Moon
The new additions to Pokemon video games for Nintendo 3DS feature mysterious creatures known as Ultra Beasts. $39.99 each. More information: http://bit.ly/1Tz532V. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dfPhQm.
Lion Guard Training Lair Playset
The popular Disney Jr. television show comes to life with The Lion Guard Training Lair Playset, which stands 3 feet tall and features lights, sounds and secret surprises. The set comes with two exclusive figures, a rock-climbing area, a bungee launcher, a race track, a telescoping lookout perch and more. There's also a working zip line, rock lift and boulder drop; $59.99 at justplayproducts.com. More information: http://bit.ly/2dHzwPP. For the best prices: http://bit.ly/2cQVnTe.
Disney Frozen Northern Lights Elsa
When kids wave their hand over the snowflake and hold it there, they can watch as the Northern Lights are restored and sparkle on Elsa's dress. The doll says 40 phrases and sings "Let It Go;" $39.99 at jakks.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1XBks79. For the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dQ4LIU.
Made specifically for kids, this smartwatch features a touchscreen, alarm, calculator, music and video players, front-facing camera, activity tracker and mini games that detect wrist movement. Kids can also message friends and family via other Kurio or Android devices. $59.99. http://bit.ly/2dalSH5; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dshvVv.
Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace
VTech's Princess Palace features a ballroom, music room, kitchen, parlor and observation tower. There are five MagicPoint locations, phrases, lights and more. The MagicChat lets two characters chat and sing with each other (additional characters sold separately); $54.99 at vtechkids.com. More information: http://bit.ly/2dGHFmR. For the best price: http://bit.ly/2dC8BaS.
This 3D printing pen extrudes an eco-friendly plastic that cools and hardens rapidly, allowing kids to draw in the air. It's designed to be clean and safe for kids, with no hot parts or messy glue. $49.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1cLmJqO; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dDPKwM.
Kids can build and program this interactive, 3-foot dinosaur. Use Room Guard mode to protect your stuff. If he notices any sounds or change in light, he'll charge at the intruder while roaring. Meccasaur responds to petting and answers yes or no to questions. $99.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dKQPTq. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2cH4JBb.
Kids can build their own video games as they create and animate play spaces, characters and objects. The pieces in the Bloxels game set work with the free Bloxels Builder app to put them on-screen and play. $49.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dLPPz6; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dz4Ovj.
Speak Out Game
Players have to say different phrases while wearing a mouthpiece that won't let them shut their mouth. Players then try to decipher what their teammate is trying to say, and must correctly guess the phrase in order to earn the card. The team with the most cards at the end of the game wins. $19.99. More information: http://hasb.ro/2axr6JC; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2drdoK6.
Code & Go Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set
Build a maze and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for Colby, the programmable robot mouse. Once you program the sequence, watch Colby race to find the cheese. The set comes with 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge and more. $59.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1VTGKSU; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dfAUdE.
The wall-climbing robot has a motorized air suction system that enables it to walk vertically up and down smooth surfaces, such as glass, plastic, whiteboards and glossy laminates. $49.95. More information: http://bit.ly/2dphxlO. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2cGx4MU.
Mighty Makers: Director's Cut Building Set
Follow the interactive, story-based building instructions and learn about the science behind making a movie. Bonus online instructions show how to incorporate a mobile device into the set to make your own movie. Set features 320 parts and pieces, including a buildable camera and stand, a theater with seats, Lily and her dog, Zoom, and adjustable bands that fit most mobile devices. $34.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dahN5T; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2d5cxzJ.
Air Hogs Helix Sentinel
This first-person view video drone allows kids to connect multiple devices to stream live video. There's a built-in, high-speed camera to capture fast moving objects, which can be stored on the included 4GB memory card. The goggles give kids the chance to see things from the drone's perspective. $199.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dVmMbK; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dEEn8Q.
Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar
Kids can develop coding skills with the Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar by arranging the segments in many combinations to send the creature on his path (forward, left, right and more). You can configure the segments in such a way that the toy can reach targets throughout a room; $49.99 at fisher-price.com. http://bit.ly/29PpIDl. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dGGl3h.
Using a touch-screen app, kids can drive the high-tech robot Mebo around the house to pick up snacks, spy on people or even have conversations. There's a point-of-view camera that streams live in high definition. Other features include two-way audio streaming and six-wheel suspension. $149.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dqjNWF; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dVkSYH.
Sky Rover Voice Command Drone
The Sky Rover Voice Command Drone from Auldey Toys responds to 12 commands when spoken through the included headset. Say "take-off" and watch as the drone changes direction and does amazing stunts like 360-degree flips in response to commands. $59.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1kWot8i. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dqwzGj.
VEX Robotics Zip Flyer
This robotic gadget can shoot propellers more than 30 feet in the air once kids build the structure using snap-together pieces. Pull the zip-cord stick to release -- the faster you pull, the higher up they'll go. $12.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dKMpfg. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2ddjdPg.
Sky Viper Hover Racer
The Hover Racer combines drone racing with video game battling. It can fly 20 mph while hovering three feet off the ground. Using the freetoplay app and infrared beacons, players race and battle in a course of their own design. $99.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dqvrCd. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2dx4XMR.
Barbie STEM Kit
This kit includes plastic building pieces and science experiment materials, as well as a Barbie or Nikki doll. Kids can design outfits for Barbie to wear, build a washing machine, rotating closet and more, all compatible with the Barbie Dreamhouse. $29.95. More information: http://bit.ly/2d5bU9f; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2d5cbsT.
BOSEbuild Speaker Cube
Build your own speaker and learn how a magnet and coil make a sound and how a speaker reproduces music. Kids can be coached through the building process through a free companion app that confirms success along the way. Kids can also add colored LED lights and silhouette covers. $149. More information: http://bose.life/2dsZExb. Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2ddfbXl.
Using the Arduino-compatible gamepad, which connects wirelessly to a tablet, kids can learn coding while playing games. In each level of the game, kids can learn a piece of the Arduino programming language and how to use it in order to solve puzzles and challenges and move forward in the game. Kids will also learn to write programs on their computer using the four sensors and invent new applications. $149.95. More information: http://bit.ly/2cO9Z5Y.