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The holiday shopping season is already underway, which means you’re running out of time to score some of the year’s hottest toys before they sell out. If you need some ideas for the kids on your shopping list, we’ve got you covered. Our team of experts (and their kids) have been testing toys and games all year long to find the absolute best items for children of all ages.
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If you’re looking for a fun game that’s budget-friendly, or want to find a way to engage your kids on something other than a screen, these are the 16 best gifts for kids that our testers—and their parents—loved in 2022.
►Holiday gift guides 2022: Shop for everyone on your list with this ultimate gift guide
1. A card game that’s fun for everyone in the family: Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza may have a weird name, but it is a seriously great game that’s fun for everyone in the family. It’s fast paced, silly and makes the perfect gift for kids who don’t have the patience for long board games. Bonus points for the fact that adults love it too!
2. A fun way to use STEM skills: Hexbugs Nanotopia
If you’re looking for a toy that will keep them occupied but also puts their engineering skills to work, the Hexbugs Flash Nanotopia is just what you’ve been searching for. Kids can design colorful courses for the quick and wily little Hexbugs, and see how changing the track configuration also impacts the bug’s speed.
We’ve had a Nanotopia set for years, and it never fails to get plenty of use, from toddlers and tweens alike.
3. A way to keep your toddler busy
Looking for the perfect gift for the toddler in your life? Look no further than Lovevery Play Kits. The popular baby brand makes fantastic subscription kits for little ones, and it’s full of high-quality toys that are sure to engage any toddler’s senses.
4. Another Squishmallow for their collection
They’re soft, they’re cushy and kids of a wide range of ages love them. If you’ve got a collector of Squishmallows on your gift list, why not add another one to their collection? With so many designs to choose from, there’s sure to be one that they don’t own…yet.
5. A way for them to make their own Babyccinos
Melissa & Doug always knocks it out of the park when it comes to pretend play toys, and the new Café Barista Coffee Shop playset is no exception. Kids will love making their favorite (pretend) espresso drinks, and serving them up to willing customers. It even includes pastries and a point-of-sale system.
6. A favorite Cocomelon character
If they love JJ from Cocomelon, they’ll love the new interactive Boo Boo JJ Doll that lets them patch up minor injuries while also learning about parts of the body. The soft doll comes with velcro bandages, a stethoscope, syringe and thermometer so that kids can help JJ feel better. Our little testers were huge fans of this adorable JJ doll.
7. A better way to do screen time
Tired of your kids playing mindless games on their tablets? Give them the gift of an Osmo starter kit and make their screen time more meaningful. The kit comes with five educational games that teach skills including math, reading, and problem-solving skills; and they’re all actually fun.
8. A way for Barbie to live that van life
For the Barbie lover who has everything, you can’t go wrong with the Barbie Dreamcamper playset. This is the ultimate in RV-living luxury, with a pool, a waterslide and over 60 accessories so that Barbie and her friends can hit the (imaginary) road in ultimate style.
9. A year’s worth of STEM experiments
Give the science lover on your list a gift that keeps on giving with a subscription to Kiwi Crate. Each month, Kiwi sends a box with a new STEM adventure right to your recipient’s door. Whether they’re a toddler or a teenager, Kiwi offers a kit that’s designed just with them in mind, and our testers have loved every single one they’ve tried.
10. A set of magnetic tiles
If you’re looking to invest in a toy that will have longevity in an overcrowded playroom, look no further than a set of Magna-Tiles. A great toy for kids of a wide range of ages, Magna-Tiles is a perfect first STEM toy that they’ll still play with long after they can spell, well, Magna-Tiles.
11. A doll who comes with a history lesson
If you’re hoping to introduce your doll-loving kiddo to some history, it might be time to splurge on one of the Historical character dolls from American Girl. Each doll comes with her own introductory book to introduce the character and entice your child to read (win win!) and with a wide selection of dolls and time periods to choose from, you’re certain to find one that strikes their fancy.
12. A way to bring the playground inside
Finding ways to entertain active kids inside when it’s cold outside can be difficult. Bring the playground home with the gift of a Stair Slide. Turn your staircase into a slide by fitting the pieces together to the desired length. Additional pieces can be added to make the slide longer, and the pieces stack up compactly for storage when the fun is over.
13. A fidget that’s also useful
If you’ve got a kid who has a hard time focusing when it comes to working on the computer, The Hoglet fidget computer mouse can help. The wireless mouse looks like a hedgehog, and the tactile rubber surface is designed specifically with sensory-seeking students in mind. Plus it comes in a variety of bright and cheerful colors to suit every taste.
14. A not-so-average playhouse
If you’re looking for a playhouse that’s out-of-the-ordinary, the Step2 Adventure Camper fits the bill. The open-concept camper features a molded interior kitchen area with a sink and stovetop, and there’s also a grill, a working doorbell and a variety of play food and utensils. It kept our tiny testers engaged for long periods of time, and it was easy to clean with a quick spray from the hose.
15. An audio reader that does it all
The Yoto Player is a multitasking kid’s music player, podcast player, mini-radio and storybook reader all in one. The Yoto Player also functions as a Bluetooth speaker that you can connect to your phone to play any kid-friendly content you own. Extras, like a nightlight function, as well as a big, bold digital clock face that transforms into a pixel display screen, elevates it from a static speaker to a mini entertainment system for kids.
16. Some kid-friendly bling
If the kid on your gift list likes to accessorize, they’ll be thrilled to find some jewelry from Super Smalls under the tree. Whether they’re into ballgown-worthy faux emeralds or bejeweled hair clips, there are plenty of options that will add just the finishing touch to their holiday finery.
Holiday gifts 2022 shopping guide
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.