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Ashlee Neuman
Senior Editor

14 Top Holiday Toys For Babies, Toddlers And Big Kids

Wondering what the hottest toys of the season will be? The Toy Insider’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide lays it all out for you.

Every year there are a handful of holiday toys that everyone winds up talking about. They’re the season’s must-haves: Kids love them to pieces, stores sell out of them in a flash and parents panic over being late to the party. So how do you get a headstart on your holiday shopping and beat others to the punch?

Experts at The Toy Insider, a trusted go-to resource for all things toys, pored over tons of playthings and selected the top holiday toys for 2017, so you know just what to look for. They considered things like the quality and integrity, originality and play value of products across age ranges and price points, all sure to wow any young child.

“For babies and toddlers, skill development is key. Adorable, interactive play sets that help young ones fine-tune their motor skills, learn basic concepts like colors, numbers, and letters, all while engaging them with fun lights, sounds and movement will be big this year,” says Marissa DiBartolo, senior editor at The Toy Insider. “Toys with personality are big for preschoolers, and those that feature kids’ favorite characters, like PJ Masks and Peppa Pig as well as engaging robotic BFFs, will top kids’ wish lists come Christmas time!”

Here, some of The Toy Insider’s top tech, STEM and all-around hot holiday toy picks for babies, toddlers and preschoolers:

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park
With this interactive playset, toddlers can use the catapult launcher to send Gavin the Go-Kart on a race around the 360-degree loop and off the jump ramp. Four SmartPoint locations trigger fun sounds, phrases and sing-along songs.

For ages: 1+

Buy it: Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park, $40, Walmart.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart
An educational toddler toy that’s super fun? Sweet! Putting their memory and sequencing skills to the test, kids fulfill their customers’ ice cream orders by combining different flavors, toppings and syrups in the correct order, and then ring the bell when the orders are up.

For ages: 2+

Buy it: LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart, $40, Walmart.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Teddy Ruxpin
The storytelling bear from the 1980s is making a comeback! Your toddler can have fun hearing stories and singing songs with this 14-inch plush toy, loaded with 40 animations and three stories. Additional books can be accessed through the free app.

For ages: 2+

Buy it: Teddy Ruxpin, $94, Walmart.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

L.O.L Surprise! Dolls
Talk about delight—as they unbox these collectibles, kids will discover seven layers of surprises, including a message, stickers, a bottle, shoes, an outfit, an accessory and finally a doll they can feed and bathe.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: L.O.L. Let’s Be Friends Surprise! Doll, $10, BabiesRUs.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Peppa Pig Lights & Sounds Family Home
This is your child’s chance to hang out at Peppa Pig’s house! With four floors, seven rooms, 13 accessories and built-in songs and phrases from the beloved show, there’s plenty to delight your tot.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: Peppa Pig Family Home Playset with Lights and Sounds, $60, Target.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

PJ Masks Rival Racers Track Playset
Inspired by the PJ Masks TV series, this raceway lets kids launch Catboy into action as he zips through the loop and around the curve in his Cat-Car to foil Night Ninja Bus from ruining the day.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: PJ Masks Rival Racers Rack Playset, $40, Amazon.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery
Preschoolers can care for their dolls alongside Doc McStuffins in this adorable role-play center. Using a laptop with a light-up screen, a light-and-sound stethoscope, a scale and other fun features, kids can give their patients a thorough checkup for a clean bill of health.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery, $80, Target.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Thomas & Friends Super Station
Little ones can play out adventures with Thomas & Friends engines on this multi-system track set. It offers three levels of play, 10 stations, a crane that can be raised and lowered, turntables, tunnels and four characters: Thomas, Percy, James and Harold.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: Thomas & Friends Super Station Track Set, $100, Target.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

LeapFrog Epic Academy Edition
Named as a top tech toy by The Toy Insider, this tablet is packed with kid-appropriate content (and handy parental controls), including 20 educational games and access to the new learning subscription service, LeapFrog Academy.

For ages: 3+

Buy it: LeapFrog Epic Academy Edition, $120, Amazon.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Luvabella & Luvabeau
These interactive dolls haven’t been released yet and already they’re breaking the internet. Named among The Toy Insider’s favorite tech toys, Luvabella and Luvabeau feature true-to-life facial expressions and movements, and the more your little one plays with them, the more they learn, expanding their vocabulary from baby babble to over 100 words and complete phrases. Thanks to interactive accessories, toddlers will learn to nurture as they feed, burp and soothe their dolls.

For ages: 4+

Buy it: $100, coming soon

Photo: The Toy Insider

FurReal Roarin’ Tyler, the Playful Tiger
What kid doesn’t dream of having an exotic pet? Roarin’ Tyler is a pretty convincing substitute (and doesn’t require kitty litter). This interactive plush pet responds to sounds and touch—roar, and he’ll roar back, or pet him and he’ll react in one of 100 different sound-and-motion combinations.

For ages: 4+

Buy it: FurReal Roarin’ Tyler, the Playful Tiger, $130, Amazon.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Mickey’s Transforming Roadster Racer R/C
With the press of a button, this remote-controlled Mickey vehicle will transform from a regular car to a road racer. It features an easy-grip controller that lets kids steer him forward, backward and side to side, plus four messages from Mickey.

For ages: 4+

Buy it: Mickey’s Transforming Roadster Racer R/C, $50, Walmart.com

Photo: The Toy Insider

Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Set
Science just got super-cool. Named on The Toy Insider’s list of top STEM toys, this colorful carrying case is actually a portable lab packed with all sorts of tools and materials your little one will need for chemistry and physical science experiments. Kids can concoct everything from (safe) potions to glittery pink slime, color-changing mood putty, crystal feathers and much more.

For ages: 4+

Buy it: Thames & Kosmos Barbie Perfect Potion Lab Set, $30, BabiesRUs.com

Dance Code Belle
Kids can get their coding on with this multifaceted dancing doll, also included on The Toy Insider’s best-of STEM list. Learning simple techniques like block coding and connect-the-dots, they can choreograph dance sequences for Belle through the corresponding app. With more than 100 phrases and seven songs built in, the doll offers plenty of interactive activities for kids to immerse themselves in.

For ages: 5+

Buy it: $100, Amazon.com

Published September 2017

PHOTO: Getty Image