The 31 Must-Have Toys for Christmas 2021

Toys for all ages that are sure to delight

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Must-Have Toys for Christmas

The Spruce

Our Top Picks
Great for coding beginners, kids can get Botley to do up to 150 steps and 16 fun interactions.
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Perfect for toddlers and preschool aged children, this two-sided playset features both a home garden and kitchen.
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This interactive LEGO toy brings Mario off of the screen, so your child can build and play with this obstacle course by hand.
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A fun update on the classic Model Magic kit, kids can make dragonflies, chameleons, and more with the included clay and press tool.
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Kids ages 5 and up will love building these characters, with a surprise assortment of parts included in each box.
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This innovative toy comes with 70 pieces and an instruction manual for building castles, igloos, and other structures.
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The included coins can be used to select a "snack" that contains a special surprise.
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This kit comes with red, yellow, and blue sand plus ten different tools to mold the squishy sand again and again.
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This plush, interactive toy is sure to delight little ones with music and phrases from the show.
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Just like its life-sized counterpart, this toy includes realistic features, like a ringing bell and functioning steering wheel.
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Searching high and low for the perfect present for a special child? You can close all of those browser tabs because we’ve compiled a list of sure hits for a variety of ages. These in-demand toys all provide hours of fun, but also feature some sort of learning component you’ll love. (Shhh—we won’t tell if you don’t!)

A few thing to keep in mind as you browse: The best toys are age appropriate, highly interactive to inspire all kinds of creative play, and durable so that they can provide many years of fun.

Here, the must-have toys of 2021.

Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot 2.0 Activity Set

What We Like
  • Teaches the foundations of coding and STEM skills

  • Comes with 40 coding cards

  • 27 obstacle building pieces

What We Don't Like
  • Coding mode can be glitchy

This cool robot-building toy gives kids ages five and up a much-needed screen break, while still teaching the foundations of coding and STEM skills. The set comes with a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, six double-sided tiles, and 27 obstacle building pieces.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen

garden-to-kitchen
What We Like
  • Perfect for toddlers and preschool-aged children

  • Features a home garden and kitchen

  • Plenty of pretend fruits and vegetables to "harvest"

What We Don't Like
  • Small pieces may get lost easily

Perfect for toddlers and preschool-aged children, this two-sided playset features both a home garden and kitchen. There are plenty of pretend fruits and vegetables that kiddos can "harvest," along with plates, cups, and other utensils that can be used for pretend meals.

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course
What We Like
  • Kids can construct their own obstacle course

  • Course can be rearranged and combined with LEGO Super Mario Expansion Sets

What We Don't Like
  • Small pieces may get lost easily

This interactive LEGO set takes one of the most classic video games to new heights as kids construct their own obstacle course with bricks and characters, then watch their creation come to life through the companion app.

Crayola Build A Beast Craft Kits

What We Like
  • Build-it-yourself STEM kit

  • Teaches kids to construct something out of model clay that can move

  • Great introduction to the skeletal system

What We Don't Like
  • Only includes two texture tools

This build-it-yourself STEM kit teaches kids how to construct something out of model clay that can wiggle and move, just like other toys. It's a great introduction to the skeletal system for young children, with all of the fun of making the colorful creatures of their imagination come to life.

What We Like
  • Over 50 pieces

  • More than 30 collectible figurine assortments

What We Don't Like
  • Surprise assortment may not appeal to all

A special dumpster pack with over 50 pieces that can be used to build four separate JUNKBOT characters. To add to the fun: Since there are more than 30 collectible figurines, you never know which assortment you’ll get.

Lakeshore Learning The Ultimate Fort Builder

The Ultimate Fort Builder
What We Like
  • 45 poles and 25 connectors

  • Step-by-step guide for all types of forts

What We Don't Like
  • Blanket not included

Make teetering pillow structures a thing of the past with this fort builder. In the set, you'll get 45 poles and 25 connectors, along with a step-by-step guide for all types of forts. While it's recommended for kiddos 4-11 years old, who's to say you can't pop in?

Ryan’s World Vending Surprise

Ryan's World Vending Surprise
What We Like
  • Working vending machine

  • Includes lights, sounds, and phrases

  • Lots of hidden goodies

What We Don't Like
  • Batteries required

This working vending machine is filled with surprise after surprise! The included coins can be used to select a "snack" that contains a special surprise. As an added bonus, there are lights and sounds that help bring this vending machine to life.

Kinetic Sand Sandwhirlz Playset

sand-whirlz
What We Like
  • Mix and match colored sand

  • Comes with 10 different tools

  • Kinetic sand never dries out

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes with one base

Mix and match the colored sand to create a beautiful and unique creation! This kit comes with red, yellow, and blue sand plus 10 different tools—including a cloud-shaped extruder tube—to mold the squishy sand again and again. Kinetic sand never dries out, so this kit will provide endless hours of fun.

Blue's Clues & You Dance-Along Blue Plush

Blue's Clues & You Dance-Along Blue Plush
What We Like
  • Music and phrases from the show

  • Included guitar acts as a remote control

What We Don't Like
  • Needs many batteries

This plush, interactive toy is sure to delight little ones with music and phrases from the show! Blue can move her head, ear, and paws along with the music, and the included guitar acts as a remote control.

Pottery Barn Kids Ride-On Fire Truck Pedal Car

Pottery Barn Fire Truck Ride On
What We Like
  • Ride-on-style toy

  • Comes with a ringing bell and functioning steering wheel

  • Classic vintage look

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

A larger-than-life gift that’s sure to provide hours of entertainment outside or in a large indoor space, like the basement. The fire truck-style ride-on toy, suitable for ages one and up, comes with everything your child will need to play firefighter: a ringing bell, functioning steering wheel and decorative wooden ladder. It's a truly special gift that they'll cherish for years to come—and its classic vintage look won't look too shabby in your home, either.

American Girl Courtney Doll, Book & Accessories

courtney-doll
What We Like
  • Stylish '80s-style outfit

  • Children will love reading her story

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

With a totally awesome crop top, denim skirt, hot pink tights, and white boots, Courtney Moore is the quintessential '80s girl. Children will love reading her story and following along as she creates her own video game with a female heroine.

Treasure X Sunken Gold Treasure Ship Playset

Treasure X Sunken Gold Treasure Ship Playset
What We Like
  • 25 levels of adventure

  • Comes with figurines

  • Hidden treasures to be discovered within the ship

What We Don't Like
  • Small pieces are a choking hazard

This single boat promises hours of fun, as it comes with 25 levels of adventure—complete a series of challenges to figure out how to save the captain of the ship and destroy the evil sea monster. As they play, they’ll discover hidden secrets within the ship, like weapons, cannons, anchors, steering wheels, and even gold. The ship comes with figurines, so once all of the challenges are complete, your child can still act out pirating adventures.

PJ Masks Transforming 2-in-1 Mobile HQ

PJ-Masks-Transforming
What We Like
  • Two-in-one, transformative toy

  • Features a vehicle lift and three drop-down ramps

What We Don't Like
  • Stickers must be self-applied

Bring your child’s favorite superheroes to life with a larger-than-life 3-foot, two-in-one toy. In an instant, it transforms from a poseable Catboy figure to a cat car vehicle lift with three drop-down ramps.

Spin Master Games HedBanz

Hedbanz, Quick Question Family Guessing Game for Kids and Adults
What We Like
  • Fun for the whole family

  • Categories are simple

  • Educational for kids

What We Don't Like
  • Only 69 picture cards

Take family game night to new heights with a silly game in which participants try to answer the question, “What animal am I?” It’s easy: Players simply grab a headband and card, don it, then ask “yes” or “no” questions to figure out what animal they are.

tonies Toniebox

Toniebox
What We Like
  • Plays a wide range of stories and songs

  • Screen-free fun for ages three and up

  • Personalized messages and bedtime stories

What We Don't Like
  • Only seven hours of battery life

This colorful cube plays a wide range of stories, songs, and more based on the character you've chosen, providing plenty of screen-free fun for ages three and up. You can also choose a "creative" tonie, which can have personalized messages or bedtime stories uploaded to them via an app, so grandma can record a story for bedtime or your child can record themselves singing their favorite nursery rhyme.

American Girl Joss™ Doll & Book

joss-kendrick
What We Like
  • Teaches your child the power of positivity

  • Great for aspiring-surfers

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This year, give your child the gift of a fiercely cool companion. Joss, the American Girl of the year, is a fun-loving surfer girl with a special story that will teach your child the power of a positive attitude, an open mind, and a little perseverance.

Chalk of the Town Speech Bubble Short Sleeve T-Shirt

What We Like
  • Water-based, non-toxic chalk marker included

  • Perfect for camp and birthday announcements

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes with one marker

Consider this the most unique—and interesting!—piece of clothing your child has ever owned. Thanks to a cool patent-pending chalkboard technology, you can use the included water-based, non-toxic chalk marker to design a “new” T-shirt whenever the mood strikes—simply wipe it clean with a wet washcloth.

LEGO DOTS Creative Picture Frames

LEGO DOTS Creative Picture Frames
What We Like
  • Lets children create their own decor

  • Includes six vibrantly colored building blocks

What We Don't Like
  • The largest frame is only about four inches high

For the budding DIYer, a LEGO kit that lets them create their very own decor: working picture frames. The set comes with six vibrantly colored building blocks that easily snap together to make frames up to 4 inches tall and 2 inches wide.

HABA Little Friends Vacation Camper Play Set

haba-little-friends
What We Like
  • Encourages imaginative play

  • Set includes an all-terrain vehicle with a push and go motor

  • Camper with a detachable awning

What We Don't Like
  • Camp chairs are slightly too lightweight

Encourage imaginative play with this fun play set. It includes everything your little one needs to plan a special road trip—an all-terrain vehicle with a push and go motor, a camper with a detachable awning, two chairs, and a figurine.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Monster Burger Truck

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Monster Burger Truck
What We Like
  • Three-in-one set kids won't tire of

  • Working suspension and foldable stairs

What We Don't Like
  • Small pieces may get lost easily

A three-in-one set the kids won’t soon tire of, thanks to multiple levels of play. First, they’ll have to rise to the challenge of constructing their monster truck, then they can pretend to serve up burgers before rebuilding the whole thing into an off-roader or a tractor-pulling vehicle.

PLAYMOBIL® Back to The Future Delorean

Playmobil Back to The Future Delorean
What We Like
  • Complete with working lights and flux capacitor

  • Includes character figurines

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have sound effects

Introduce your kiddo to a bit of your own childhood with the iconic time-traveling DeLorean. The vehicle is complete with working lights and the must-have flux capacitor, plus comes with Marty McFly, Dr. Emmett Brown, Einstein the dog, a skateboard, plutonium cores in an accompanying case, and more.

Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition “AKA Baby Yoda”

Star Wars The Child Animatronic
What We Like
  • Touch-activated for movie sound effects

  • Includes a full range of emotions

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This toy, inspired by the fan-favorite character from The Mandalorian, really is out of this world. Simply touch the top of its head to activate familiar sound effects from the movie, including a full range of emotions—happy and excited, giggles and babbles, tired and sleeping, and Force effects.

Ravensburger Disney Hocus Pocus: The Game

Ravensburger Disney Hocus Pocus: The Game
What We Like
  • Fun, cooperative card game

  • Fun for the whole family

What We Don't Like
  • Only for players ages eight and up

Add something new to family game night with this fun, cooperative card game based on the hit Halloween movie Hocus Pocus. To win, players ages eight and up must work together to stop the infamous Sanderson sisters from brewing their magical potion before the sun rises.

Fat Brain Toys Shape Factory

Fat Brain Toys Shape Factory
What We Like
  • High quality, BPA-free materials

  • Fun, engaging, and strengthens spacial reasoning

What We Don't Like
  • Shape sorter could be larger

A fun, engaging toy that puts your two-year-old's fine motor and problem-solving skills to the test, as they explore and experiment to fit all ten shapes into the corresponding compartments.

Mattel Minions Laugh & Chatter Otto Interactive Toy

Minions: The Rise of Gru Babble Otto Large Interactive Toy For Kids Ages 4 Years & Up
What We Like
  • Interactive minion doll

  • More than 20 signature sounds and phrases

What We Don't Like
  • Batteries required

Bring one of their favorite movies to life with an interactive minion doll that comes programmed with more than 20 signature sounds and phrases when you move him in a variety of different positions.

LEGO DOTS Bracelet Mega Pack

LEGO DOTS Bracelet Pack
What We Like
  • Children can create their own jewelry

  • Features five adjustable bands

  • 295 tiles in an assortment of vivid colors

What We Don't Like
  • Only five bracelets in a pack

Children age six and up will delight in creating their very own wearable jewelry out of colorful LEGO DOTS. There’s no shortage of options—the set features five adjustable bands and 295 tiles in an assortment of vivid colors.

Educational Insights Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Recycling Truck

Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Recycling Truck

By using a real, working, kid-safe toy drill to build this cool truck, kids will have fun learning about the basics of construction and engineering, while also improving fine motor skills. Once the truck is constructed, it’s a great vehicle for pretend play—or can be disassembled and reassembled time and time again.

3Doodler Start Make Your Own HEXBUG Creature 3D Pen Set

3DoodlerHexbug
What We Like
  • Allows your child to make personalized, robotic insect body parts

  • Activity guide with five projects

What We Don't Like
  • Short battery life

If your child can hold a pen, this doodler will give them the unique ability to create an endless array of insect body parts to create a personalized and fully functioning robotic structure called a hexbug.

Blockaroo Magnetic Foam Builders

What We Like
  • Easy building system for young learners

  • Make bath time fun, educational, and easy

What We Don't Like
  • Material could be denser

These colorful soft foam blocks offer a new way to build for the youngest set of curious, imaginative minds. The magnetic blocks all click together like magic and rotate 360-degrees to create cool, functional animals, sculptures, and more.

PLAYMOBIL® Scooby-DOO! Mystery Machine

PLAYMOBIL-Mystery-Machine
What We Like
  • Rear doors that fully open to reveal an illuminated monitor

  • Includes the series' iconic characters

What We Don't Like
  • Scooby and Shaggy not included

Jinkies—this is one toy you’ll definitely want to tuck under the tree this year. The infamous Mystery Machine has rear doors that fully open to reveal an illuminated monitor, where you can insert ghost cards to learn more about the Scooby-Doo team’s latest mystery. The set also includes beloved characters—Fred, Daphne, Velma—plus a map, flashlight, spyglass, and other mystery-solving accessories.

VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam

VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam
What We Like
  • Easy-to-use HD camera

  • Built-in microphone and special effects

  • More than 20 animated backgrounds

What We Don't Like
  • Videos can only be uploaded via the included USB cable

For your budding star, an HD video camera on a sturdy tripod with a built-in microphone and special effects, like time-lapse video and more than 20 animated backgrounds.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who covers home decor and gifts for The Spruce. Previously an editor, she's written about everything from bedding to organization and knows what makes a product great. For this list, she considered the recommended age, durability, and how interactive the toy is.

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