The Toy Insider, one of the toy industry’s most influential organizations and a trusted go-to resource for parents and gift-givers, revealed the top seven trending toy themes, giving consumers an inside look at the hottest categories and hand-picked favorites that are sure to be bestsellers this holiday season.
“We know that kids love collectibles, and this year these tiny toys are providing kids with more surprises than ever with unique reveals, such as confetti-filled party poppers and treasure kids can actually dig up! Kids are also loving toys they can really get their hands on, whether it’s slime, sequins, or squishies,” says Laurie Schacht, chief toy officer, the Toy Insider. “Speaking of slime, toys and games that dial up the ‘gross’ factor are also getting tons of love. And we’re really seeing a throwback to classic play and retro toys from our own childhood.”
The Toy Insider unveiled its 2018 holiday gift guide this fall, highlighting the most-wanted toys that kids will have on their holiday lists this year. The guide features more than 370 toys from nearly 200 toy companies across its print and online versions. The Toy Insider makes it easy for gift-givers to search for the perfect gift by the child’s age and interests using the handy skill development key.
With more than 20 years of experience, Schacht leads a team of experts who attend major industry trade shows and events throughout the year. The Toy Insider team talks regularly with toy makers, retailers and analysts to remain in-theknow about the hottest toys and trends. The independent organization reviews toys all year long to compile its annual gift guide, including its Hot 20, STEM 10 and Top Tech 12 toy lists. The Toy Insider’s top toy trend selections are based on retail sales and extensive research, providing guidance for consumers as they look for the perfect gifts for the kids in their lives.
Gettin’ gross: Poops and farts and burps, oh my! This year, kids will have a blast with toys that stink—literally. These super silly toys, games, and collectibles bring the laughs and remind us that not everything has to be so serious.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: What’s That Smell? (WowWee), Toilet Paper Blasters Skid Shot (JAKKS Pacific), SMASHERS Series 2: Gross Smashers 8-Pack (Zuru), Pimple Pete (Spin Master), Flushin’ Frenzy (Mattel), Stink Bomz (TOMY), Snot It (KD Games).
Radical reveals: Plain old blind bags are so 2016. This year, collectibles are full of fun reveals and surprises. From beasts buried in slime to tiny dolls hidden in confetti poppers, these toys are just as fun to unbox as they are to collect.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: Party Popteenies (Spin Master), LOL Surprise! Eye Spy Series Under Wraps (MGA Entertainment), Hairdorables (Just Play), Disney D-Lectables Layers of Magic (Imperial Toy), Treasure X (Moose Toys), Orbeez Wow World Wowzer Surprise (Maya Toys), Beaker Creatures (Learning Resources).
All the feels: Tactile play is back in a big way—you feel us? Kids will love these toys full of slime, squishy, and sequin fun so much that they won’t want to put them down. Swipe the sequins to reveal new colors, squish the plushy friends, and feel the slime ooze between your fingers with these irresistible hands-on picks.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: Compound Kings 3 Pounds of Glitzy Slime (WeCool), Shimmeez (Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co.), Smooshy Mushy Baby (RedwoodVentures), Nickelodeon Light Up Slime (Cra-Z-Art), Ooz-o’s (Horizon Group), Ryan’s World Ryan’s Molecules (ORB), Playfoam Pals (Educational Insights).
Classic comeback: Classic play is here to stay. With so many parents looking for alternatives to screen time, toys that encourage open-ended play are big this year. Play sets, building blocks, and puppets are all making a comeback because they let kids use their imaginations and provide unstructured fun.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: Animal puppets (Folkmanis), Antsy Pantsy Build & Play Pop Star Stage Kit (Beach House), Calico Critters Grand Department Store Gift Set (Epoch Everlasting Play), Sky Track Adventure Set (Magformers), Cabbage Patch Kids 35th Anniversary Edition Vintage Kids (Wicked Cool Toys), The Explorers Hidden Temple T-rex (Playmobil), Farm World Adventure Tree House (Schleich).
Pet-a-palooza: We all love our pets. Kids will love to play with and nurture their very own furry friends this year, whether they’re interactive and learn tricks, or teach kids about animal rescue and care. From wearable friends to rideable ponies, kids will discover their new BFF in these animals packed with personality.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: FurReal Friends Ricky The Trick Lovin’ Pup (Hasbro), Rescue Runts (KD Kids), Untamed (WowWee), Fiesty Pets (Jazwares), Rockin’ Rider Sprinkles Stable Unicorn (Tek Nek), Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Pet Rescue Mobile (Just Play), Kid Trax Rideamals Scout Play & Ride Pony (Kid Trax Rideamals).
Retro revival: The nostalgia is real. Millennial parents who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s are eager to share their childhood experiences with their kids today—and toy manufacturers are letting them live the dream. From classic arcade games to iconic brands, this year we’re gonna play like it’s 1989.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: The Oregon Trail Handheld Game (Basic Fun!), Arcade1Up (Tastemakers LLC), Cupcake Surprise (Sunny Days Entertainment), Plasticine Movie Maker Studio (Kahootz Toys), Polly Pocket World Assortment (Mattel), World’s Smallest Tiny Arcade (Super Impulse), Crackers In My Bed (Winning Moves Games).
Un-bored games: Game companies are ditching traditional boards for more interactive gameplay experiences. New family, party, and strategy games bring more fun and laughs than ever before thanks to unique concepts and play styles.
The Toy Insider’s favorites: Tumball (University Games), Spin Off (Buffalo Games), Chow Crown (Hasbro), Yeti, Set, Go! (PlayMonster), Handimonium (Mattel), Cut the Wire (YULU), Flying Sushi Kitchen (RedwoodVentures).
About The Toy Insider
The Toy Insider is the go-to source for product information about children’s toys, tech and entertainment. It publishes two annual gift guides—one for summer and one for holiday—and reviews toys 365 days a year on thetoyinsider.com, a trusted resource for parents. The Toy Insider’s content is produced by an editorial team with more than 75 years of combined experience covering the toy industry. The Toy Insider is published by Adventure Publishing Group, publisher of the Pop Insider, as well as leading trade publication The Toy Book. For more information, visit thetoyinsider.com.