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My 8-year-old is hoping for "lots of toys" this year. Who isn't? But as you may have heard, there will likely be a holiday toy shortage on many favorites. Luckily, I've already gotten a jump on things...
To help you get started, I've plucked a few treasures for you, using Walmart's 2021 Top Rated by Kids Toy List and some of my own experience as a mom and a former teacher. And there are several Cyber Monday deals in the mix!
To be clear, what kids really want is a new toy (not clothes, sorry). But which toy you choose should be informed by how the child plays. That's the way to really hit a home run.
Below, we highlight our picks from Walmart's list, grouped by "play style." Whether you're shopping for kids who love to play make-believe, kids who are always on the go or anyone in between, we've got the goods. And you've got a heads-up on the deals on "holiday hard-to-gets" that will put a smile on their faces and yours.
(Pro tip: To score free shipping, make sure you’re signed up for Walmart+. Not yet a member? No problem: You can sign up for a free 15-day Walmart+ trial here, and a quick three-question survey will add two more weeks for a solid 30 days of use. Those without Walmart+ still get free shipping on orders of $35 or more.)
So folks, start your engines. Cyber Monday shopping begins in three...two...one:
For the Pretender
The fact that dinosaurs ever existed is mind-blowing. Just imagine what it feels like to be a child embodying a T-Rex through play. The power! The ferocity! The scale! It never gets old. This 8.5-by-21.5 inch Jurassic World Stomp 'N Escape Tyrannosaurus Rex (ages 4+), top-rated by kids at Walmart, has detailed sculpting and moveable joints to let kids stomp through the world as a T-Rex. Inspired by the film Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, this dino can break free from restraints and make exciting sounds!
One five-star reviewer raved, "The dinosaur looks very realistic and has great features. My boys have played with it for two weeks straight and have terrorized their other toys with it. The stomping action was a big hit and really adds a lot to the playability. The roar and chomp action was great."
+ More picks for Pretenders
New Bright 1:10 Remote Control Hot Wheels Monster Truck Rhinomite with Vapor, ages 6+, $59, walmart.com
LEGO Creator 3 in 1 Fish Tank, ages 8+, $30, walmart.com
For the Mover
Was it inspo from the Olympics or the stoked parents who've spent the past at-home year and a half dusting off their skater skills? Not sure, but it seems that kids are way into skateboarding all of a sudden. In fact, they're so into it, they voted this board — the Kryptonics 28” Complete Cruiser Skateboard — onto their Top Toys List. At just $25, it's a steal, too.
With a wide 28-by-8-inch deck and large 58mm wheels beneath their feet, even beginners can feel steady and in control. This board comes in five great patterns, which really helps if you're buying for more than one kid in the same family. (Hurry, though, three patterns have already sold out!)
This Kryptonics board is designed for ages 8 and up, with a maximum weight of 110 lbs. Be sure the giftee has a good skate helmet and pads on hand too, because skating is cool, but skating safely is cooler.
One parent who gave it a perfect rating reported: "...Bought 2. My daughter and I are having a blast on these!"
+ More picks for Movers
Fisher-Price Bouncesational Bounce House with Built-in Pump, ages 3+, $69, walmart.com
Razor Miniature Dirt Rocket MX125 Blue, ages 7+, $178, walmart.com
For the Artsy Kid
I was excited to find this VTech KidiZoom PrintCam on Walmart's kid's choice list. My daughter has had a great little indestructible digital cam from VTech since she was 2, but she's been asking for a pricey Polaroid so she can print instant pics. For her birthday, she got this VTech KidiZoom PrintCam. It delivers the best of both worlds with both digital files and quick-print images for $95. The black-and-white photo paper is way cheaper than Polaroid film — just pennies per pic. Great for a novice photographer in my book. And the digi files are there if we want a higher quality print.
She can even turn photos into stickers or artwork, and add filters and borders to images and videos. It takes videos too! The KidiZoom includes a slew of creative activities and games. Plus, the cam flips to take selfies, which we all know kids love. Designed for ages 4 and up.
A five-star reviewer wrote: "My kids love taking pictures — granted typically with my or my husband's phone. This gives them all, but mainly my 7-year-old, a way to get creative...She loves it. And it's so easy to use."
This Toy of the Year Award 2022 finalist is not marked down, but because it is so coveted, we think it will sell out before Christmas. Now's the time to nab it.
+ More picks for Artsy Kids
Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory Set with 2lbs of Colored Kinetic Sand, ages 3+, $14 (was $20), walmart.com
Crayola Creative Fun Double Easel, ages 3 to 8, $45, walmart.com
For the Nurturer
Baby Yoda is hungry. And your little nurturer is eager to help! When they try to feed "The Child," aka Grogu, he will make all kinds of sounds and faces! He'll even feed himself!
Another Toy of the Year Award finalist, this 9.25-inch soft, animatronic Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu in a plush robe enjoys being picked up and snuggled. He will also reenact Force moves from Disney+'s The Mandalorian. Those adorable eyes and ears move too.
One happy five-star shopper gives details: "Best toy of the year! My daughter previously had a plush Baby Yoda toy that she absolutely adored...This one is so much better in every way. It talks, it moves, it interacts and it reacts to touch! ...His ears are silicone soft, he blinks and loves to be petted. He lifts up his arms like a baby that wants to be held. It's almost as if it's alive. I've never seen a toy that felt this real. My daughter loves it and takes it everywhere she goes! It's the perfect size for her, about the same size as your average teddy bear, but even better!"
+ More picks for Nurturers
Baby Alive Lulu Achoo, a Toy of the Year Award 2022 Finalist, 3+, $28 (was $53), walmart.com
furReal Sweet Jammiecorn Unicorn, ages 4+, $25 ($30), walmart.com
For the Stylist
My kid takes her salon play very seriously. She's upped the ante lately by cutting her own bangs and becoming the official shaver of the back of my husband's head. A little more practice couldn't hurt though.
This Barbie Tie-Dye Deluxe 22-Piece Styling Head with Dark Brown Hair, (also available in Blond) includes scrunchies and ribbons that children can tie-dye and use in their own hair. Even the barrettes are customizable with pop-in gems. Complete the look with tie-dye nail stickers. Ages 3 and up.
One five-star reviewer said, "My daughter loves this so much and it keeps her busy for hours.... She really loved tie-dying the scrunchies...This Barbie head [is] helpful in teaching her how to braid hair.... I also like that the arms are moveable."
+ More picks for Stylists
Barbie Extra Doll & Vanity Playset, ages 3+, $50 (was $60), walmart.com
Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Playset, ages 3+, $43, walmart.com
Looking for more great Walmart deals? Check these out:
Headphones and earbud deals:
Bose Sport Earbuds, $149 (was $179), walmart.com
Video game deals:
Days Gone (PS4), $20 (was $60), walmart.com
LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game (PS4), $13 (was $60), walmart.com
RGB Floor Lamp, $71 (was $125), walmart.com
Wyze Color Bulb (two-pack), $18.50 (was $27), walmart.com
MaxKare Massage Gun, $63 (was $130), walmart.com
FitRx Muscle Massage Gun, $35 (was $50), walmart.com
iRobot Roomba 676 Robot Vacuum, $177 (was $275), walmart.com
Ionvac Smartclean 2000 Robovac, $98 (was $180), walmart.com
Pyrex Glass 3-Piece Measuring Cup Set, $18 (was $23), walmart.com
Obagi360 Retinol, $51 (was $69), walmart.com
CHI Infra Treatment, $18 (was $32), walmart.com
Electric Heated Mattress Pad $80 (was $130), walmart.com
Hover-1 I-200 Hoverboard, $99 (was $138), walmart.com
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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