The 36 Must-Have Toys for Christmas 2020

The hottest gifts to buy your kid this holiday season

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Treasure X Aliens Dissection Kit at Amazon

"Great for kids who love a "gross-out" factor, this slime toy lets kids dig for treasure inside of an alien's stomach."

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak at Walmart

"Harry Potter fans will love this fun cloak, which uses green screen technology to help the wearer turn "invisible" in photos."

Blume Doll at Amazon

"Just add water and watch the hair on these pint-sized dolls "bloom" into wacky shapes, like cakes, pineapples, or rainbows."

FurReal Cubby Interactive Plush Toy at Walmart

"This expressive cub makes more than 100 cute faces, motions, and sounds, and has the ability to move his eyes, nose, and mouth."

Klutz LEGO Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit at Amazon

"This kit walks kids through the process of making stop-motion movies step-by-step—helping them make real movies along the way."

Nintendo Switch at Amazon

"Nintendo's sleek gaming system can be used as a home console that attaches to a TV or computer, or as a handheld device."

Dynacraft Lion King Plush Ride-On Toy with Jungle Den at Walmart

"You kids can be a part of their favorite Disney movie with this ride-on Simba toy."

L.O.L. Surprise Glamper with 55-Plus Surprises at Amazon

"This glamorous camper comes with an exclusive L.O.L doll, a tricked-out camper van and over 50 fun glamping accessories."

Love to Hug Elmo at Amazon

"Preschoolers will love hugging this interactive Elmo doll, who will respond with songs and phrases in both English and Spanish."

Paw Patrol Mighty Lookout Tower at Amazon

"This tower comes with a working elevator, a zip line, and lots of bells and whistles to keep your Paw Patrol fan playing for hours."

Treasure X Aliens Dissection Kit

Treasure X Alien Hunters Single Pack, With 12-Step Reveal

Courtesy of Amazon 

If your kid is into new toys this is a must-buy. The premise: An alien has eaten a treasure hunter, and it's your kid's job to find the treasure hunter, his weapon, and his treasure inside of the slime-filled alien.

Once the treasure hunter has been saved, the slime can be stored to reuse later. There are 18 different aliens to pick from, each with different hunters and jewels, so you may be kicking off a new collection with this toy. The kit is best for children ages 5 and up.

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak with Exclusive Gift Box Package

 Courtesy of Walmart

Harry Potter had to wait years before he got his invisibility cloak, but mega-fans can now get their own version, which can be used with a photo app called Wow! Stuff to turn wearers invisible.

Wearing the cloak, kids can take pictures of themselves with the app to recreate scenes from the books, and the resulting images make it look as if you've disappeared (the material acts as a sort of green screen).

The 55-inch cloak is best for kids ages 6 and up.

Blume Doll

Think of the Blume doll as a more glam, colorful version of a Chia Pet. How it works: Your kid adds water to the pot and watches the doll "bloom" (see where the name comes from?). There are 22 dolls total, each sold separately, and they all have their own zany hairstyles (think cakes, pineapples, and rainbows) as well as outfits that can be mixed and matched among dolls. Each doll also comes with other goodies, like surprise accessories, stickers, and mini friends, giving this toy some serious bang for its buck.

FurReal Cubby Interactive Plush Toy

FurReal Cubby, The Curious Bear Interactive Plush Toy, Ages 4 & Up

 Courtesy of Amazon


Designed for children age 4 and older, this ultra-expressive cub makes more than 100 cute faces, motions, and sounds, and has the ability to move his eyes, nose, and mouth. In nighttime mode, he makes quiet noises and plays soft music that will hopefully cue your child that it's time to get some sleep as well.

"The furReal Munchin’ Rex is sturdy and well made. It’s withstood my toddler’s rough handling and many drops; and to this day, it still looks as good as new. Because of the plastic hands and legs and the hard structure underneath the fur, the dinosaur isn’t as soft and cuddly as I had hoped (or as it seemed on the box)—but my son didn’t seem to mind."—Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester

Klutz LEGO Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit

Inspire your child's imagination with this stop-motion movie-making kit. The 78-page book walks kids through the basics of making a stop-motion movie, from creating a script and storyline to camera angles and sound effects. It comes with ten pre-set movies to help kids grasp the basics, but the props and backdrops can be used to create unlimited stories later on.

The kit comes with almost everything you need to get started, including the instruction book, 36 props and minifigures, and six different scene backdrops. The only thing you need to supply is a movie software, like iMovie, to put everything together into a short film.

Nintendo Switch

As its name suggests, Nintendo's sleek gaming system can be used as a home console that attaches to a television or computer monitor, or as a handheld device. There are currently more than 2,000 games compatible with the Switch, including beloved standbys like Mario Kart, Just Dance (great for family bonding), and Mario Odyssey, which lets kids work on problem-solving and strategizing.

Switch owners rave about the easy-to-use parental controls, which let parents use an app to set time limits, monitor usage, and make sure their kids are choosing age-appropriate games.

Dynacraft Lion King Plush Ride-On Toy with Jungle Den

simba ride on toy


Did your kids love the live-action Lion King movie? Now they can recreate their own jungle moments with this plush, wheeled version of Simba. This ride-on toy makes a fun roaring sound and has an accelerator that moves Simba forward (the maximum speed is 2.5 miles per hour, so you'll be able to comfortably walk next to your kids as they go).

This toy, which is best suited for kids ages 3 and up, runs on a six-volt battery and comes with a "jungle den"—basically an adorable storage spot where it can be tucked away after a day of adventure.

L.O.L. Surprise Glamper with 55-Plus Surprises

LOL Surprise Glamper

Courtesy of Amazon

The glamping craze has hit the toy world as well, with this stylish camper, recommended for kids ages 6 through 10. It comes with more than 50 of the brand's popular surprise gifts and the vehicle also has tricked-out extras like a light-up pool, two-story water slide, and barbecue patio, not to mention a DJ booth (with a stand that can prop up a cell phone) and fashion runway.

The front of the camper can detach to become a separate car, and the set also comes with an exclusive L.O.L. doll.

Love to Hug Elmo

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo: Talking, Singing, Hugging

 Courtesy of Walmart

Looking for the quintessential Christmas toy? He's red, he's cute, and he's fuzzy—what else is there to say about Elmo, a perennial Sesame Street favorite with toddlers and preschoolers? Turns out this "Love to Hug" version, aimed at kids 18 months and older, has quite a few new tricks up his sleeve: He speaks in both English and Spanish, can raise his arms for an embrace (if you squeeze his belly), and once you do hug him, will respond with kisses, songs, and phrases.

Paw Patrol Mighty Lookout Tower

No job too big...more like no toy is too big if you've got a Paw Patrol fan in your house. At nearly three feet tall, this playset, aimed at kids ages 3 and up, is impressively large.

The tower comes with a working elevator, zip line, and six vehicle launch areas. There are plenty of blinking lights and cool sound effects, including control-tower missions dispatched by Ryder.

Note that the set only includes one vehicle and pup (Chase), so if your little one is partial to, say, Skye or Rubble, you'll want to spring for those separately.

Dreamworks Hatching Toothless Interactive Baby Dragon

This toy is an interactive version of Toothless, the lovable protagonist of the How to Train Your Dragon books and movies. The baby dragon's skills include tapping from within his shell, hatching, roaring, answering questions, and ear-wiggling.

Best for children 5 and older, he arrives ready to hatch in his egg. Once he's hatched, kids can feed him with the included fish and teach him new tricks.

Fisher-Price Imaginext Transforming Batmobile

Fisherprice BatMobile

 Courtesy of Amazon

Batman's iconic car is essentially two toys in one: a sleek wheeled Batmobile and, with the touch of a button, a Batplane complete with wings and engines. It comes with a Batman figure, armor, and a bazooka, and also includes two slots for other superhero pals, which you can buy separately.

Tic Tac Toy XOXO FRIENDS Surprise Pack

Tic Tac Toy XOXO FRIENDS Multi Pack Surprise, Pack 11 of 12

Courtesy of Walmart

Welcome to toy shopping in the 21st century: These unwrappable goodies were inspired by Tic Tac Toy, a wildly popular YouTube show where kids "unbox" and talk about various items.

Each toy pack comes with a character, three sets of interchangeable wings, an accessory, and putty. Two of the kits are based on Addy and Maya, the show's kid hosts. Because what's inside each kit is supposed to be a surprise, each of the 12 different kits is numbered so you won't accidentally buy duplicates.

Build-A-Bear Stuffing Station

Build-A-Bear Workshop Stuffing Station with Plush

 Courtesy of Walmart

Crafty kids who love a solid DIY project can create three different stuffed animals using this all-in-one kit, which brings the fun of a Build-A-Bear workshop to your home.

Kids will fluff the stuffing, make a wish on a heart before placing it inside the animal, and dress each stuffy in its own outfit (three different ones are included). The colorful creatures—two bears and a unicorn—also come with birth certificates and accessories. This kit is best for kids over the age of 3.

Play-Doh Pinkfong Baby Shark Set

Pinkfong, the South Korean company behind the "Baby Shark" earwig, has paired up with Play-Doh to make this adorable marine-themed set. Kids can create the entire family of sharks (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and Baby), plus fish and coral. Along with 12 cans of Play-Doh, the kit also includes a two-sided stamper (for making eyes) and lots of dough shapers in different shapes and sizes.

Fisher-Price Bounce & Spin Puppy

Aimed at kids ages 1 and up (with a maximum weight of 55 pounds), this adorable canine provides a stable-yet-bouncy play spot. The handlebars feature a snazzy light-up roller that little ones will love to spin, and parents can choose between having the toy play music only, or sing the alphabet, numbers, and other simple words.

VTech Mix & Match-a-Saurus

Courtesy of Target.

This dinosaur, aimed at children between ages 2 and 5, comes with nine different tiles. Each represents a character (dinosaur, robot, monster), type of music (ballet, hip-hop, marching), or emotion (happy, angry, sleepy). Kids place the tiles on its back in various combinations and the dino will respond with different sounds and movements.

While the characters and music options are fun, the chance to teach young children to name and understand different kinds of feelings helps this toy really stand out.

Xtreme Bulldozer

Xtreme Bulldozer

Courtesy of Amazon 

If you've got kids who enjoy stopping at construction sites to watch the action, this motorized vehicle, designed for children ages 6 and older, is the closest you can get to buying them a real bulldozer. Not only does it light up and make siren noises, it can actually pull or push up to 200 pounds of stuff.

The bulldozer also has real rubber tires that can plow through dirt or rocks, just like the real thing. It only goes in one direction—forward—and is activated with a button on the top of the bulldozer, rather than a remote control.

Juno, My Baby Elephant


Too cute for words and incredibly lifelike, Juno, My Baby Elephant looks like a cartoon character came to life and landed in your living room. Juno's soft trunk and ears move around to play; she can give kisses, throw her peanut across the room, and even dance.

Kids can use the included peanut and toy mouse to teach Juno tricks or play games with her—she learns more games over time, so kids are never bored. To make sure your kids can play with her as soon as she's unwrapped, pick up a pack of four AA batteries, which are not included in the box.

Realtree UTV

Realtree 24 Volt UTV ride on by Dynacraft with custom Realtree graphics and working Headlights

 Courtesy of Walmart

Tell the grandparents to splurge on this two-person, camo UTV (utility vehicle) and your kids will most definitely be the envy of the neighborhood. Its list of features is impressive and sounds like a car commercial: working headlights, a front rack, and a rear cargo compartment. Aimed at kids older than 3, it has two speeds and even has a place to plug in your MP3 device, making it the ultimate Christmas toy.

Funko Pop! Deluxe: Star Wars - Millennium Flacon with Han Solo

Got a kid who is counting down the days until the new Star Wars movie comes out in theaters? They'll love this Funko Pop! collector's item, featuring Han Solo piloting the famous Millennium Falcon. It's perfect for older kids and teenagers, who won't mind that the piece is intended for display rather than play.

Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard

If your tween or teen is hooked on gaming and they've been angling for a new keyboard, look no further. This one has individually programmable keys, customizable backlighting, and a cushy wrist rest (the height can also be adjusted to keep things even more ergonomic). Kids will love that the keyboard can easily integrate with many popular games, and parents love that it's tough enough to resist the occasional splash of spilled liquid.

Barbie Dreamplane

In the 80s, Barbie rocked a Corvette. Now, she's upped her game with a private jet. As with all things Barbie, the details are impressive: The seats recline and have working lap belts, and the set also comes with fun extras like a snack cart, rolling suitcase, headphones, and even a puppy that fits in his own tote bag (carry-on size, of course). The plane also folds open, so there's plenty of room for imaginative play.


Beyblade Rail Rush

Courtesy of Amazon 

If you're looking for a popular kids toy look no further than Beyblade. These battling spinning tops, originally inspired by Japanese manga, are customizable with interchangeable parts. This battle set comes with a 17-inch stadium, two tops, and two launchers. Kids can scan their toys and use them to play in the company's app, as well.

Beyblades are recommended for kids 8 and up.

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Osmo - New Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad - Ages 3-5

 Courtesy of Target

Suitable for children between 3 and 5, this kit uses your iPad and the compatible game mat to encourage kids to physically practice different skills. They can work on letter formation (using the included silicone sticks and rings), dress a character with cardboard pieces, create squiggle drawings that come to life on screen, solve problems within stories, and more. 

Pictionary Air

Best for players 8 and up, this digital version of game-night favorite Pictionary comes with clue cards and a special digital pen used for drawing in the air. It's played by downloading the app and pointing the smartphone camera at the person drawing.

As they sketch, the player will appear on the screen along with their creation, and can even interact with the picture. For even more laughs, use the record and playback features. The game can even be cast onto the TV using Chromecast or AppleTV.

Hot Wheels id Smart Track

id Smart Track Kit

 Courtesy of Mattel

The classic Hot Wheels track has gone digital. Perfect for kids ages 8 and up and designed to be used with a smartphone or tablet, the set enables players to track their cars' performance using the company's app. They can measure speed, count laps, and play games. Like with traditional Hot Wheels, the track can be reconfigured using the various loops, ramps, and curves for endless fun.

Lego Hidden Side Newbury Haunted High School

Aimed at kids ages 9 and up, this 1,400-plus piece set is part of LEGO's Hidden Side universe and features a haunted high school, a ghost dog, and eight different mini-figures.

Although the set is certainly plenty of fun on its own, kids can opt to also use LEGO's Hidden Side app to interact with the finished school, and can even battle ghosts, solve mysteries, and find various objects—their real-life building essentially becomes a backdrop for the digital game.

Avengers Marvel Endgame Electronic Fist

Want to make controlling the universe look easy? Best for older teens (or younger kids with close supervision), this massive, articulated hand is designed for the ultimate Avengers fan. The six infinity pulsate with light, while the fist-lock mode and sound effects make the fist seem especially intimidating. Let's just say your Marvel fan will love it "3,000."

Cool Maker GO Glam Nail Stamper

This creative kit, designed for children 8 and older, will quickly become a sleepover party favorite. Kids can choose their pattern (such as unicorns, flamingos, cupcakes, and more), place it into the machine, apply polish and, finally, stamp on the design. The included polishes are non-toxic and eco-friendly, and although the set comes with enough material for 125 nail designs, refills are also available if you run out.

Hot Dog Dance Break Mickey Mouse

Everyone's favorite mouse has gotten a makeover for 2019—this light-up, dancing Mickey sings a new version of the "Hot Dog" song. Kids can use the "Red Light, Green Light" option to play freeze dance (Mickey turns red when the music stops) or use Mickey to play "Color Detective," where kids can guess which hue he's describing.

Coding Critters: Ranger & Zip

The problem: You love the idea of introducing your four-year-old to STEM concepts like coding, but you'd rather not stick her in front of a screen to make it happen. This dog-themed Coding Critters set teaches programming principles using a book, two characters and fun extras like a ball, doghouse, and slide. Kids can teach their canines to fetch, play hide-and-seek or zoom down the slide.

Baby Shark Puppet

This snuggly, high-tech puppet, recommended for kids 24 months and up, will take your "Baby Shark" singalongs to new levels. Open the mouth and the song will start playing, but with a cool catch: The tempo increases and decreases as you move the mouth faster or slower. There are three different characters, each sold separately—Baby, Daddy, and Mommy—giving you plenty of the puppet show possibilities.

Skip Hop Developmental Musical Guitar Toy

This avocado-inspired guitar, suitable for babies 6 months and older, will help little ones get used to the idea of making music on their own. Spinning the center pit produces four different riffs, and pressing the buttons on the neck will flash colorful lights and play a mix of different songs.

Carpool Karaoke Bluetooth Microphone

If your family loves James Corden's vocal antics behind the wheel, they can get into their own backseat groove with this stylish mic, which can connect to your car's FM tuner either wirelessly or using the aux cord. The microphone has its own volume and echo controls, and depending on use, the rechargeable battery can last up to six hours—that will certainly get you through a large chunk of holiday weekend traffic.

Hover-1 Kart and Electric Hoverboard Combo

Hover-1 Kart and Ultra Electric Hoverboard w/ 6.5" Wheels and LED Lights Combo

 Courtesy of Walmart

Buying toys for Christmas can be tough. This fun set includes a sleek electric Hoverboard and a seat with a rotating front wheel that can be attached to it, creating a go-cart of sorts. It's a more comfortable solution for kids with Hoverboards—and their parents!—who might be nervous about balancing while standing up.

The seat can be adjusted for different heights and there are handles that attach to the pedal mounts to allow riders to steer themselves as they cruise along. Because of the small pieces involved, and the need for parental supervision (this thing moves quickly!), it's best suited for kids older than three.

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