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When it comes time to buy gifts for kids, you can never be too prepared. Whether you're keeping the birthday-party present cache stocked or are getting an early jump on holiday shopping, it's good to keep abreast of toy trends, hot toys and what the kids are into — especially since you want to strike whenever deals are hot. One good way to do that is to stay on top of Amazon's best-of lists — and it's a lucky thing, because Amazon's 2023 "Toys We Love" list was just released.
We spoke to Anne Carrihill, Amazon’s director of toys and games, about some of the trends the brand has been noticing. "The first is these big moments in pop culture," she says. "So, whether that's Barbiecore, Disney's 100th anniversary or the return of the glorious '90s with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario and Transformers, that kind of pop culture and is translating super well to toys and in a really engaging way."
She also sees a rise in quieter, comforting toys. "These are those stress-relieving toys," she says, "like MGA's miniverse, sensory bins, the LEGO Tranquil Garden, which sort of transcends ages." This also includes dollhouses, DIY crafts or anything that might be considered relaxing. (Hello, weighted Elmo plush!)
And then there are the toys for "kidults," which are kind of for kids, but also kind of for their parents. "Whether that's Lego, Star Wars or Disney, it's these things from childhood that you carry into adulthood," she says.
Whether you're looking for a quiet toy for a toddler or a cute collectible for a kidult, here our some of our faves from the list:
Our Top Picks From Amazon's 2023 Toys We Love List
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, $10 on amazon.com
Educational Insights Kanoodle Extreme, $12 on amazon.com
Paint & Peel Jelly Stickers Craft Kit, $23 on amazon.com
Hasbro Furby, $60 on amazon.com
Moose Toys Beast Lab, $8o on amazon.com
More people on your list? Find more of Amazon's holiday toy recommendations below — or check out one of these Good Housekeeping guides:
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Card Game
When it comes time to gather the brood for family game night, reach for this easy-to-pick-up card game. Each player has to say "taco," "cat," "goat," "cheese" or "pizza" while playing a card, and if the spoken word and the picture on the card match, all the players have to race to slap the pile. The last one to slap has to take all the cards, and the player who gets rid of all their cards first wins! Ages 8+
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Bananagrams: Multi-Award-Winning Word Game
Paint & Peel Jelly Stickers Craft Kit
Collecting stickers is one thing — making your own is even better! Crafters can use the included paint to trace different sticker designs, then add embellishments rhinestones or googly eyes. Once the paint is dry, they have their own sticker. Ages 6+
Even if you've had a Furby in the past, you haven't truly had the Furby experience until you've tried the newly revamped version. Feet make it dance, the colors are brighter and it has even more sounds and interactions. Ages 6+
This game has gone viral for its brain-boosting properties: Challenge cards will start players off with a pattern that they have to re-create — and then finish with the remaining pieces. This extreme version offers bigger and more complicated challenges, but if they like it, you can gift them other Kanoodle variations, like Kanoodle Head-to-Head, Kanoodle Pyramid and Kanoodle Genius. Ages 7+
Part "science" experiment, part action-figure creator, this play set has kids going through an interactive series of steps to conjure up a beastly toy. It has a big "wow" factor as the beast is summoned — and mad scientists don't know if they're going to get a Toxic Tiger or a Primal Panther until the very end. Ages 5+
Marble runs and logic puzzles combine to make one, great game that encourages kids to use their spatial reasoning and logic skills. The pieces combine to make a 3D maze, and players have to figure out how to flip and turn the different sections of the track to get the marble into the red trophy cup to win. Ages 8+
This toy might seem like it doesn't do all that much — just folds and unfolds into different shapes — but trust us, is it mesmerizing. Kids can flip it into more than 70 different configurations, revealing different patterns within, and they can try and form it back into a cube again. Ages 8+
1.2.3 Mickey's & Minnie's Cloud Home
In addition to encouraging imaginative play, this toy also fosters fine motor coordination as kids stack the rainbow pieces, slide the dream planes, insert the raindrops into the cloud, open and close the door and more. It's part of Playmobil's new line with Disney, which also includes a smaller Mickey and Minnie cloud set, a Winnie the Pooh treehouse set and more. Ages 1+
Light-Up Tracing Pad
They'll add new depth and dimension to their artwork with this set, which lets them layer different traceable elements on top of each other to create new scenes. When they're done, they can color in the whole thing with the included colored pencils. The board even lights up to make the tracing easier. Ages 6+
Bowser Action Figure with Fire-Breathing Effects
Think Bowser is scary in The Super Mario Bros. movie? Wait until you see him in real life! This impressive figure has a mouth that glows red and actually emits smoke. (Don't worry, it's not hot.) Unfortunately, the mouth does not sing "Peaches" — you have to supply that on your own. Ages 3+
Creator 3-in-1 Beach Camper Van
LEGO enthusiasts and surfing fans will come together to praise this set, which lets kids build a model of a beach camper van and all its trimmings. But in true LEGO Creator form, once they're done with that, they can take it apart and build a summer house or an ice cream parlor, so it's like getting three building kits in one. Ages 8+
GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars
Get kids looking closer at the world around them with these kid-sized set of binoculars. They're perfectly suited for them because they don't have to be focused, and the eyepiece is designed to be comfortable for little ones to look through. Ages 3+
Number Lovin' Oven
This talking oven will have them counting up a storm — two cupcakes, three slices of bread, four pieces of pizza, five levels of heat and more — through catchy songs and phrases. In addition, kids can use it for imaginative play since it also makes sounds like the frying of an egg or the ticking of a kitchen timer. It also comes in blue. Ages 2+
Polly Pocket Pineapple Purse Play Set
This play set is small, but it's still big enough to hold a Polly Pocket doll, a Lila doll, some animals and a boat that holds two figures. When they're finished playing with it, it folds up into a pineapple that can be worn as a purse. So cute! Ages 4+
Are the little ones in your life born to be wild? Get them a trike that matches their vibe, like this one, which has lights and makes realistic motorcycle noises. You can also get a more affordable version in the Harley-Davidson style without the lights and sounds. Ages 2+
Comfy Cozy Monster Hugs Cookie
Trends come and trends go, but one thing that stays constant is that kids love Cookie Monster. This plush is designed to give "monster hugs" with extra-long, weighted monster hands. The whole thing weighs two pounds! Ages 18 months+
Make It Mini Pizza Party
This toy adds a cute DIY component to the miniature collectible trend. Instead of unboxing whole dishes, the ball is filled with "ingredients" for a fun pizza party. Kids can arrange them however they like, then leave them in UV light (like the sun) to "cook." Then, the resin solidifies, freezing the dish the way they had arranged it. In addition to the pizza party set, there are tons of collectible dishes and items to choose from. Ages 8+
Barbie The Movie Collectible Ken Doll
Barbie fans will be pleased to know there are quite a few Barbie items on Amazon's list, including the Barbie Science Lab, the Barbie Closet Play Set, Barbie The Movie Doll and the 2023 Dreamhouse, among others. But kids or kidults can also pre-order this movie-version Ken, who is Kenough with his Stallone-inspired fur coat and banana. It's the perfect accessory for anybody's real-life Mojo Dojo Casa House. Ages 3+
Amazon Exclusive Holiday Fox Plush
This little fox with a scarf makes it feel perfect for the season. At 12 inches, it's a lot to cuddle, and adults can appreciate that it's made from recycled plastic water bottles. Ages 0+
Spy Labs Incorporated Forensic Investigation Kit
Whether they idolize Batman or the characters on CSI, this kit will have them conducting their own scientific investigations, doing everything from trying to identify powders and liquids to examining the world under a UV light. This comes with a lot of lab equipment, plus a 20-page book with instructions on how to solve fictional crimes. Ages 8+
Disney Doorables Squish’Alots
Kids can try to collect squishy versions of all their favorite Disney characters in this blind, house-shaped package, and then they can use the figures in imaginative play. Each package comes with either four, five or six characters, so there's a good chance of getting a fave in each box. In addition, Disney superfans can get the Disney Doorables Disney100 Celebration of Wonder Figure Set, which is also on Amazon's list. Ages 5+
Squishmallows Band Leader Mickey Mouse Plush
Not surprisingly, there are a bunch of Squishmallows on Amazon's list, including Rosie, the pig with a flower crown; Diane, the rainbow-haired bigfoot; the Gryffindor Lion plush (or any of the other Hogwarts house emblems); the 10-packs of fun shapes like cacti and mushrooms and the always alluring mystery three-pack. But our favorite is Mickey because, at 14 inches, he's a lot to hug. Ages 3+
Marvel Stunt Squad Collection Pack
Eight of their favorite Marvel heroes and anti-heroes come in one squat pack, so they can get straight to the fun part — the battles. The set also comes with two launchers that kids can use to fling them around the room, but they're fun to collect and play with without the projectile aspect. Ages 4+
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Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron AT-AT Walker
Perfect for the kid or "kidult" in your life, this set lets Star Wars fans re-create the AT-AT battle on Endor in miniature form. (The AT-AT itself is 10 inches tall, so not teeny-tiny.) It has lights and sounds, and comes with figures including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and various Storm Troopers. Ages 8+
Sitting, pulling up, standing or walking, there's something to entertain every stage. When it's time for walker mode, it can be used from either side, and the wheels keep it at a slower pace. Ages 6 months+
Pokémon Paldea First Partner Plush
Amazon recommends plenty that'll please Pokéfans, including an interactive Pikachu toy, a MEGA construction set featuring five small character builds and a jigsaw puzzle. But for Scarlet and Violet fans, nothing beats this plush three-pack, which comes with all three Paldean starters: Sprigatito, Quaxley and Fuecoco. The 8" stuffies are a perfect addition to any collection. Ages 2+
Original Reversible Octopus Plushie
One minute this is a smiling, pink octopus — but flip it inside-out and you've got a scowling blue one. It's a fidget toy and a plush in one! And it's no wonder it landed on Amazon's list — it has more than 82,800 five-star reviews. Ages 3+
Baby Alive Time for School Doll Set
Who's ready to learn? These Baby Alive dolls are ready for school with their cool backpacks, stickers and worksheets. But when they're ready for that juice box, the doll will really drink and wet its diaper so it needs a change. Ages 3+
Lovey Coiley Baby Bee
With such an adorable face, who wouldn't love a doll like this? Kids like this one because of its expressive features, bright outfits and textured hair. Ages 3+
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
This article was overseen by Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's chief technologist and director of engineering, with the help of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's senior parenting and relationships editor. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Plus, as a mom to three kids under 5, she has plenty of first-hand experience.
Marisa has covered all aspects of the world of parenting, from the postpartum years through the empty nests, since 2015, and she's pitched in with Good Housekeeping's toy coverage since 2018. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, who are both avid toy collectors, and is a caretaker to multiple reversible octopi.
Shop more toys and gifts for kids
Looking for more great gifts for kids? Let the experts do all the hard work for you!
Top-tested items: See what toys, gifts and books ranked the very highest in our Lab tests with our Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards, our Good Housekeeping Best Kids’ Book Awards and our Good Housekeeping Parenting Awards.
Tech for kids: Our lab experts are often asked for recommendations for digital devices for kids, and we've tested kids' phones, kids' smartwatches, kids' tablets and game consoles and to see which ones held up the best for families.
Great learning toys: While all toys can be helpful vehicles for supporting developmental growth, we love to spotlight notably exceptional educational Toys and STEM toys as well as ones that can support social-emotional growth, like those included in our lists of the best sensory toys, pop fidget toys and autism toys.
Gifts for babies: Please the newest members on your gift list (and their parents) with these useful baby registry items, as well as gifts for babies, gifts for baby girls and gifts for baby boys. Of course, you might want to get something for new parents to help them through the hectic newborn stage.
Gifts for toddlers: The coolest new toys in this space pull double-duty, whether it's social-emotional learning combined with motor skills, or creative play combined with language, as you can see in our gift guides for gifts for 1-year-olds and all toddlers, as well as our stocking stuffers for toddlers.
Gifts for preschoolers: As they begin to explore the world around them on a deeper level, help them explore with STEM sets, art kits, creative toys and toys that inspire their imaginations. Find our favorites in our gifts for 3-year-olds (including gifts for 3-year-old boys and gifts for 3-year-old girls), gifts for 4-year-olds (including gifts for 4-year-old boys and gifts for 4-year-old girls) and gifts for 5-year-olds (including gifts for 5-year-old boys and gifts for 5-year-old girls).
Gifts for big kids: By these ages, they've developed their own interests. Help them dive deeper into the subjects that most interest them, from coding to art to cartooning to history and geography, with these gifts for 6-year-olds (including gifts for 6-year-old boys and gifts for 6-year-old girls), gifts for 7-year-olds (including gifts for 7-year-old boys and gifts for 7-year-old girls), gifts for 8-year-olds (including gifts for 8-year-old boys and gifts for 8-year-old girls), and gifts for 9-year-olds (including gifts for 9-year-old boys and gifts for 9-year-old girls). It's also fun to shop for some of our best-reviewed and top-selling stocking stuffers for kids.
Gifts for tweens: Sure, once they get old enough for an iPad or gaming console you might be at a loss of what to get them. We have you covered with engaging picks for gifts for 10-year-olds (including gifts for 10-year-old boys and gifts for 10-year-old girls), gifts for 11-year-olds (including gifts for 11-year-old boys and gifts for 11-year-old girls), and gifts for 12-year-olds (including gifts for 12-year-old boys and gifts for 12-year-old girls), or see what's trending with boys or tween girls as a whole.
Gifts for teens: We decode what's on the lists for this picky age group, from the hottest accessories to the most-wanted tech gifts, with gifts for 13-year-old boys, gifts for 13-year-old girls, gifts for 14-year-olds, gifts for 15-year-old boys, gifts for 16-year-olds, gifts for teen girls, gifts for teen boys and even fun stocking stuffers for teens.
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