For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Disney Descendants Signature Outfit Doll Assortment
If your kid is a fan of the movie Descendants, these fashionable dolls that include Mal (as in, daughter of Maleficent), Evie (daughter of Evil Queen), and the rest of the next generation of Disney villains will be a hit. Sold separately.
To buy: $20 to $35, amazon.com.
For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Little Live Pets Clever Keet
Schacht calls this little guy “the smartest bird you’ll ever meet.” He picks up phrases he hears and then mashes them up later in conversation with hilarious results. He also drinks water, dances, swings on his perch, and rides his cart.
To buy: $60, toysrus.com.
For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck
Shopkins are crazy popular. “The minute they hit store shelves, they are gone again,” Schacht says. This extra-sweet playset is great for fun on the go and comes with built-in secret storage compartments.
To buy: $19, walmart.com.
For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Skylanders Superchargers
Skylanders started the “toys to life” gaming category, in which an actual action figure is placed on a portal that’s connected to a gaming console so that the character can then come to life in the video game. “This year, they introduced a team of fierce vehicles including a jet, a boat, and a car,” says Schacht. Available for Wii, Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo.
To buy: $13 to $100, target.com.
For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber
“With the new movie release on December 18, the whole world is Star Wars crazy,” says Schacht. And now kids can customize their very own lightsaber, complete with lights and sounds. Talk about force-ful—there are more than 100 possible combinations!
To buy: $50, kmart.com.
For Kids 6 to 8 Years Old: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon
First there’s the fun of building the Millennium Falcon. Then kids will enjoy hours playing with the Nerf darts, light-up cannon, and hyperdrive sound effects.
To buy: $ 129, walmart.com.
For Kids 9 Years Old and Over: Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Starter Pack
With this toys-to-life game, kids have the opportunity to have all their favorite Disney and Pixar characters—say, Buzz Lightyear, Batman, and Chewbacca—interact together in one game. “It’s just like how a child would play with action figures right out of the toy box,” says Schacht. Available for Wii, Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo.
To buy: $65, toysrus.com.
For Kids 9 Years Old and Over: Girl Scouts Cookie Oven
Why wait for Thin Mints once a year when kids can mix up and bake their very own in this working oven whenever the craving arises? “They taste just like the real thing and come with all the flavors,” says Schacht.
To buy: $60, target.com.
For Kids 9 Years Old and Over: LEGO Dimensions Playstation 3 Starter Pack
The perfect marriage of gaming and old-fashioned building, this toys-to-life game allows kids to play with their creations on and off screen. Available for Wii, Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo.
To buy: $100, lego.com.
For Kids 9 Years Old and Over: LEGO The Elves’ Treetop Hideaway
With more than 500 pieces, this fantastical set featuring the Lego Elves not only fosters imagination, but also encourages basic engineering skills and problem solving.
To buy: $50, lego.com.