Even though we’d love to see ourselves as youthful, it’s easy to be mystified by all the popular toys for children on the market these days. There’s seemingly a big love for animatronic friends, who can honestly tell the difference between a Fingerling and a Shopkin (or a Hatchimal). Naturally when you get ahold of your grandchild’s Christmas list this season you’re bound to be confused by all the non-words that are populating your page. But don’t worry, we’re here to clear things up for you.
So because you want them to have a Christmas to remember (and you want to know what on Earth you’re buying) here’s a brief guide to some of the most popular toys that you may not be entirely familiar with.
*What Are They? *L.O.L. Surprises are balls that contain a doll and typically six little trinkets: a secret message, some stickers, a toy bottle, shoes, an outfit, and an accessory. Typically the dolls have some special ability, like being able to change color with water or cry when you press them. There is also an animal counterpart to this, L.O.L. Suprise Pets.
What's The Appeal? Aside from the surprise? Mainly what kids like is the unboxing aspect: they get to unwrap "seven layers of surprise," a neat little packet of playthings. This "unboxing" trend is big among YouTube celebrities who get sent products for review, so in essence, kids get to subconsciously mimic their favorite stars. It also relies on the tried-and-true formula of "collect them all."
How Do You Get It? You can buy them individually if you're looking for a smart stocking stuffer or get packs of three or six for under the tree. But if you really want to win Grandma of the year, gift them the illustrious Big Surprise Ball containing a staggering 50 surprises.
What Are Shopkins
What Are They? The original concept behind Shopkins is that they're tiny toys based on grocery items. They have little faces and adorable little names based on their personas (like an Apple named Apple Blossom and so on). There's also spin-off toys such as the Shopkins Shoppies (little fashion dolls) and related playsets.
What's The Appeal? Once again, that "collect them all" mentality wins again. But kids also like to barter trade their Shopkins with friends in order to get rare additions to their collection.
How Do You Get It? If you want a solid starter pack for your grandchild, we recommend Shopkins All Star Collection Season 1-7. Otherwise, you can buy packages of themed Shopkins by season. And if you know they have a serious Shopkins addiction, you might want to pick up a Shopkins collector case.
What are Hatchimals
What Are They? Little hybrid animals that children are expected to nurture until they "hatch" from their eggs. After the Hatchimal hatches, the child raises it from baby, to toddler, to kid. Each package comes with one egg, a cheat sheet that tells you how to decode the Hatchimal's "emotions", and an instruction guide. The Hatchimals make noises, sing songs, bicker, dance, and interact with your child or other Hatchimals.
What's The Appeal? There's definitely something about the nurturing process that little girls must love. Watching the Hatchimal progress through the phases gives them somewhat instant gratifications because each stage seemingly lasts only a few minutes of playtime. Plus, there's something exciting about watching the creatures "hatch" from their egg.
How Do You Get It? Right now, Hatchimal twins are hot ticket items because they'll play games and communicate with one another. There's also the new Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Season 2 toys that your grandkids will absolutely adore.
Paw Patrol Toys
What Are They? A variety of toys that are based on the hit Nick Jr. show, PAW Patrol. The series revolves around a group of dogs who use their individual special skill sets (based on real careers) to defend their hometown.
What's The Appeal? The built-in love for the series is definitely what helps to sell it. The extensive, detailed PAW Patrol playsets are also highly coveted to take the cartoon dogs on a variety of new adventures.
How Do You Get It? If you can find out your grandchild's favorite PAW Patrol character, the action figures go for approximately $9.95 each. And if you're looking for a playset they'll adore, the PAW Patrol Sea Patroller and PAW Patrol Rubble's Mountain Rescue track set are going to be highly desired this holiday season.
What Are Fingerlings
What Are They? Little monkeys that, you guessed it, hang from your finger. They're interactive, with the ability to hang upside, talk, sing, burp, and so much more.
What's The Appeal? Their jingle seems to spell it out: "Fingerlings love me, Fingerlings need me, Fingerlings hug me, and they never let go." They're cute, they're little, they rely on your grandchild for love and make fun noises in response.
How Do You Get It? Fingerlings are typically sold individually for give-or-take $14, but be careful: fake Fingerlings have been sighted online, so know how to spot a counterfeit. Fingerling's company, WowWee, recommend purchasing from the original Amazon retailer (i.e. make sure the page says "sold and distributed by Amazon) and double-check what the official Fingerlings distributors online.
What Are Fidget Spinners
What Are They? Think of them as today's equivalent of a yo-yo. Fidget Spinners are simply a two or three-pronged disk that, well, spins on its access.
What's The Appeal? Something about the simplicity, perhaps? A common argument is that fidget spinners are helpful when it comes to relieving tension or nervous energy. However, it may just be more about keeping one's hands busy at all time or learning tricks.
How Do You Get It? You can pick them up pretty much everywhere, for about as little as $2 to $4 (although custom spinners exist that range in the hundreds!)
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