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Trendy toys, family-fun for the holiday season

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Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 22, 2022

The countdown to Christmas is on. Whether you’re looking for ways to entertain the entire family, or the hottest toys of the year, the Toy Insiderhas a gift for someone on your list.

Below, Toy Insider Senior Editor Jackie Cucco breaks down the trendiest toys of 2022 and games the whole family can enjoy throughout the holiday season.

Prices are listed and provided by the Toy Insider. Check your local retailer for the latest sales on select toys. 

HOTTEST TOYS OF 2022, ACCORDING TO THE TOY INSIDER

SANTIAGO OF THE SEAS LIGHTS AND SOUNDS EL BRAVO SHIP (MATTEL)

  • Cost: $44.99 at Target
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: The Santiago of the Seas Lights and Sounds El Bravo ship is based on the Nickelodeon show about an eight-year-old pirate named Santiago who explores the seas with his friends. The toy comes with a compass, and flashes with lights and sounds, according to Cucco. “[It has] lots of different moving pieces to pop up, treasure chests and pieces that snap off,” she said. “So, it kind of helps them inspire their imaginative play.”

FIDGIE FRIENDS (SUNNY DAYS ENTERTAINMENT)

  • Cost: $19.97 at Walmart
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: For kids obsessed with fidget toys, Cucco suggests Fidgie Friends. Fairy dolls come equipped with bubble pop wings, and the Fidgie Friends mermaid has a tail filled with squishy beads. “Sometimes dolls don't really do anything, but this one just has so many different features and elements to it,” Cucco said. “[This has] lots of different elements that make it sensory and fun to play with.”

MINI BRANDS GOLD RUSH (EXCLUSIVE) CAPSULE (ZURU)

  • Cost: $9.99 at Walmart
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: Mini Brands Gold Rush is popular across TikTok, according to Cucco. Inside the unboxing toy, there are five different capsules that contain tiny collectibles from real brands like Baby Bell, Velveeta, Kool-Aid and Old Bay Seasoning. There are 35 collectibles in the Gold Rush series. “Kids just love opening it,” Cucco said. “It's kind of like a mystery, because each one has different stuff in it.”

MEGA CHOMP RC (SKYROCKET)

  • Cost: $39.99 at Target
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: The Mega Chomp RC is similar to a toy car, but instead of a vehicle, the toy is a motorized shark that chomps the floor as it wheels around the room. “You could turn your floor into shark-infested water,” Cucco said. 

GIFTS THAT FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY, ACCORDING TO THE TOY INSIDER

ALL OF US (WHAT DO YOU MEME)

  • Cost: $17.99 at Target
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: All of Us is a trivia game designed for multiple generations to play together, Cucco said. With over 2,800 trivia questions, the game is designed to entertain grandparents, grandchildren, and everyone in between. “The questions cover history, pop culture and music. So there's really something for everyone. Like, even if you're not good at trivia, chances are you're going to know something across one of these categories.” 

POP IT PRO (BUFFALO GAMES)

  • Cost: $19.97 at Walmart
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: The Pop It Pro game is similar to a fidget toy, but comes with a twist. “This is a game where the pop-its will light up and then you just have to press them as fast as you can and try to follow the sequence of it,” Cucco said. The game can be played solo, with friends, or as a form of entertainment on a long car ride. 

BRAINBOLT GENIUS (EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS)

  • Cost: $26.99 on Amazon
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: Similar to the Pop It Pro game is the Brainbolt Genius. “Instead of racing to pop the bubbles, this one is a memory game,” Cucco said. Lights randomly flash, and the goal is to remember the sequence in which they appeared. The game has five levels, and helps develop memory skills, according to Cucco. 

SCATTERGORIES STACKAGORIES (WINNING MOVES GAMES)

  • Cost: $18.95 at Winning Move Games
  • What makes it a good present, according to The Toy Insider: The game begins by laying out Letter Cards, then flipping a Category Card. “You take a category card, like for example, cities,” Cucco said. Then, the goal is to name items within that category based on the letter provided. “If you have [the letters] A, B, C, you're trying to name cities that start with A, B or C. And you're just going as fast as you can. For one minute, players simultaneously shout out words that fit in the category and stack their pieces on the letter cards. “The point is, you're trying to be the top figure. So you're always trying to guess more than other people,” Cucco said.