Each year, there are zillions of lists out there of the hot holiday toys and games for the year. And each year, I kind of wonder how they came to that list. (Sorry, I’m picky!) So I thought that this year, I’d put together my own list to help you out.
Here you’ll find 10 of the hot holiday toys and games that are so popular that they really are selling out — but I’m cutting it down it to only those gifts that I’d be truly be cool buying for my own kids, nieces, or nephews. As we all know, sometimes “hot holiday toys” have a use life of about 6 seconds so I’m trying to avoid that with this list.
If there’s something you love, grab it sooner than later. Even while writing this, I was seeing that “in-stock” number plummet on some of these. Not that you should over-buy…but hey, there are always benefits to crossing hot holiday toys off your list early, besides just availability.
We’re so happy that today’s guide is graciously sponsored by our partner, Google Kids Space*. It’s a kids mode filled with quality content designed to help spark curiosity and creativity, so your child can discover, create, and grow.
It’s available on select Android tablets, which make a pretty sweet holiday gift for kids all on its own — especially since tablets start at just $59.
And now, even more of the hottest new holiday gifts for kids in 2021 that are worth checking out early.
10 hot holiday toys and games for kids in 2021
We are of course providing online retailers to make things easier for you, but we also suggest you visit your local shops — toy stores, book stores, card stores, gift stores — and see what they have in stock or can even order for you.
With that, onto the toys! In no particular order…
This post contains affiliate links and some purchases may generate a small commission that helps support our team at no additional cost to you. All 10 items have been selected editorially by our team — there has been no compensation in exchange for inclusion in our guide.
1. Disney’s It’s a Small World Game by Funko
This Toy of the Year 2021 finalist hails from that Funko in collaboration with Disney. We’re big fans of all their games, but their brand new Funko Disney It’s a Small World board game is a stunner. The beautiful 3-D board and all the game pieces bring Jen Corace’s beloved mid-century designs to life, as you try to collect colorful picture cards by spotting scenes from your little boat.
There’s a Collector’s Edition It’s a Small World game too, for you super fans, with an heirloom embossed tin instead of a box to make it extra gifts. Whichever you prefer, streaming the theme song on an endless loop while you play is entirely optional.
2. Barbie Gymnastics Playset
We’ve been impressed (and admittedly surprised, in a good way) with some of the evolutions to the Barbie line over the past several years. From the the Barbie’s Inspiring Women collection that we recently shared, to the evolving careers line, which includes this Barbie Gymnast doll playset. It’s definitely a hot ticket this holiday, with so much attention on Simone Biles and the women’s gymnastics team, who have become IRL heroes to so many kids.
One of the hottest gifts for kids in 2021 is the Pokémon 25th Anniversary Celebrations Elite Trainer Box, which is already selling out everywhere. It contains a huge array of items for trainers, including booster packs, special cards, rulebook, dice, and especially cool — reboots of some of the cooler original Pokémon cards. Like an actual Pokémon, grab it when you see it! Ha.
4. Razor Rip Rider 360 Lightshow Trike
Trikes definitely didn’t look like thehis Razor RipRider 360 Kids Trike when I was a kid! From the folks who revolutionized traveling by scooter 20 years ago, they’ve just introduced one of the hottest ride-on toys, with 60 multi-color spinning LED light effects and a sturdy construction built for 360-degree spins and tricks that makes the RipRider 360 incredibly fun, even if nothing were to light up at all.
At just under $100 it’s a splurge, but not an outrageous one like some of their motorized scooters. This is high on the list of Toys That Will Sell-Out so if you think this will be a hit for your kid, grab it while you can.
5. VTech Kidizoom Print Cam
After years of trying kids’ cameras that fell short, we were so happy when VTech came out with the excellent Kidizoom Kids Creator Cam. But if you want the newest toy, the Kidizoom Print Cam is just out this year, offering more instant, no-wait fun for kids 4 and up.
There’s a lot it can do, but the core of it is that kids can take photos (or selfies, of course), add fun filters, stickers and effects, then instantly print up to 80 black-and-white images with the included paper. Which means there might be a gift in here for the grandparents too — more photos of the kids to tack up on the fridge door.
About our sponsor
Google Kids Space is the exciting new kids mode on select Android tablets, all designed to spark a child’s curiosity to help them discover, create, and grow.
It’s a smart way to give kids a library of quality apps, games, books and videos, all easily sorted through 5 tabs: HOME, PLAY, READ, WATCH AND MAKE. Kids will love the library of books and videos, along with recommended apps and games vetted by child education and media experts — and parents love that part too. Although honestly, if your kids are like ours, they may spend as much time customizing their avatar, with more than a thousand possibilities for kids to explore their interests.
As parents, we appreciate the suite of parental controls you’ll find through the Family Link app by Google, which can be customized to fit your family’s needs.
And because the tablets starts at just $59 — or $99 with a fantastic case included — Google Kids Space makes it even more accessible to bring a new tablet into your home this holiday season.
Learn more about Google Kids Space on their website, including where to find an Android tablet with Google Kids Space built right in.
6. The newest LEGO sets
LEGO sets are always one of the hottest holiday toys each year and we love them for a zillion reasons. One of our favorites this year: The LEGO DC Batman Batmobile. With over 2,000 pieces (whoa) you’ll end up with a pretty incredibly replica of the Batmobile from the Dark Knight Trilogy.
Of course the movie isn’t rated for young kids, and neither is this set — but that makes it a fabulous family activity to engage in together over the holiday break.
If you’re shopping for something the kids can play with by themselves, I’m so in love with the LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Kit, bringing even more STEM learning to play time. This 1,002 piece kit lets them create an entire amusement park with a ferris wheel (obv), buildable toy bumper cards, a swing boat ride — complete with one of those maddening claw machines.
And if you’d rather spend a wee bit less on a great LEGO gift, grab the LEGO BrickHeadz Nutcracker now while you can. It’s under $10 and sold out quickly last year when it first came out.
7. Squishmallows and the new Squishville Playset
Squishmallows are EVERYWHERE, I know! I know! And they’re only getting more popular, which is kind of amazing. The real hot holiday toy this year is the Squishville Play Set — a tiny dollhouse style home that comes with two tiny 2″ Squishmallow pals, and I always love toys that encourage imagination and creative play.
Of course the “limited edition” Squishmallows released this year are always a hot holiday toy idea, but honestly, if you’re shopping for a kid who loves Disney characters, unicorns, a black cat (not just for Halloween!), Santa Claus, or the surprise they’ll get from an 8″ mystery pack of Squishmallows, then that’s the right Squishmallow to buy.
Oh, and don’t sleep on the Squishmallows Food Squad — this cuddly frozen yogurt makes a lot more sense than you might think.
8. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the10 Rings Toys and Gifts
The wonderful Marvel hit, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings is of course spurring lots of of the hot holiday toys of the season. Top among them: this Plush Morris doll with six legs and actual wings that move. In fact, it’s already a hard holiday gift to find, selling out everywhere.
He’s like Morris is the Baby Yoda of 2021!
If you can’t find the plush, skip the knock-offs that ship from China, and instead consider the very cool Shang-Chi: Morris Backpack that’s as practical as it is adorable.
9. Crazy Aaron’s Mini Tins of Holiday Putty
Slime, out (somewhat)… Thinking Putty, in.
We’re huge fans of Crazy Aaron’s ever-growing collection of Thinking Putty and each year, they come out with something new that’s so popular with the kids, it sells out early. This year, that would be the Trio of Holiday Putty in scents like Candy Cane, Ornament, and Rudolph’s Nose. (Can’t say exactly what that last one smells like, but probably better than the other side of the reindeer!)
I’d also recommend checking out the wonderful “Mixed By Me” Thinking Putty Kit from Crazy Aaron’s. It’s a fabulous maker gift for kids — and really, who could say no to the opportunity to make your own glow-in-the-dark putty?
10. A new PS5 or XBox. Of course.
With this week’s announcement that Sony is going to cut back on production due to a chips shortage, what’s arguably the hot holiday gift for kids is going to be extra hard to track down. That goes for both the PS5 Playstation console, and the hot new Xbox Series X or the more affordable Xbox Series S.
Our best tips:
– Track the frequently updated PS5 restock guide on Tom’s Guide and their Xbox restock guide. It’s a great resource!
– Sign up for loyalty programs from Sony, and retailers like GameStop, BestBuy, Kohl’s and Target, which may get you notifications about invite-only early access
– Follow Twitter feeds like @PS5StockAlerts that update you about availability (which is how we got our own PS5)
– If it’s in your budget, consider looking at the higher priced PS5 bundles, which tend not to go to scalpers — er, resellers — as easily when they’re released, making more of them available to us directly.
To find more of the best holiday gifts of all kinds, keep on eye on our 2021 holiday gift guide series.
Thank you so much to our partner, Google Kids Space*, for graciously sponsoring this guide and making it easier and more affordable for parents to find a fabulous tech gift for kids that we can feel good about giving.
*Google Kids Space requires a Google Account for your child. Parental controls require the Family Link app on a supported Android, Chromebook, or iOS device. Books and video content not available in all regions. Video content subject to availability of YouTube Kids app. books content requires the Play Books app. Availability of apps, books, and video content may change without notice.