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My seven-year-old proposes new occasions for gifts constantly: Back to School gift, Second Day of School gift, a Halloween Switch Witch gift, a Vaccination Day gift. But with the holidays just around the corner, I’ve started to pay attention to certain requests — because like anyone with a kid in their life, I want to get it right when a real occasion does arise.
In fact, this year, I plan to get a jump on things because there may well be a holiday toy shortage. That’s why I was glad to have the chance to peruse Walmart’s 2021 Top Rated by Kids Toy List and apply my parental experience in plucking a few treasures for you.
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 “holiday hard-to-gets” that will put a smile on their faces. So folks, start your engines. Holiday shopping begins in three…two…one:
For the Pretender
The fact that dinosaurs ever existed will forever blow my mind. 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
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 Walmart Exclusive 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 eight great patterns (floral, tiger, lava and more), which helps if you’re buying for more than one kid in the same family.
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
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 hundred-dollar Polaroid so she can print instant pics. The VTech KidiZoom PrintCam delivers the best of both worlds, with both digital files and quick-print images for $71. The black-and-white photo paper is way cheaper than Polaroid film — just pennies per pic. That’ll do for a novice photographer in my book.
Kids can even turn photos into stickers or artwork, and add filters and borders to images and videos. Yep, 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.”
+ More picks for Artsy Kids
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!
The 9.25-inch soft, animatronic Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu in a plush robe seems to love being picked up and snuggled. He will also reenact Force moves from Disney+’s The Mandalorian. Those adorable eyes and ears move too.
One super-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
For the Fashionista
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 Fashionistas
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