The Toy Insider, one of the toy industry’s most influential organizations and a trusted go-to resource for parents and gift-givers, today unveiled its expert picks for the best kids’ toys and gifts in its 13th annual holiday gift guide. The hottest and most coveted items for 2018 are broken out into three lists: the Hot 20 (the most wished-for items of the year), Top Tech 12 (featuring artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and other innovative technologies) and STEM 10 (science, technology, engineering and math toys that make learning fun).

These hand-picked items represent an incredible assortment of must-have collectibles, interactive toys, traditional playthings, and tech-infused robots and drones, among many more categories that are sure to make kids of all ages jump for joy this holiday season.

“The incredible variety of toys we reviewed for this year’s holiday gift guide shows that toy makers are working hard to create more innovative and magical toys than ever before.” said Laurie Schacht, Chief Toy Officer, The Toy Insider. “This year’s guide includes tons of fun collectibles, interactive craft kits, creative plush, and more that are sure to bring smiles when they are unwrapped this holiday!” 

For high-res product photography and broadcast-quality B-roll footage of The Toy Insider Hot 20, Top Tech 12, and STEM 10, as well as detailed product fact sheets and 2018 toy trends, click here

The Toy Insider’s Hot 20

0-2 years
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Mickey Magical Wonderland (VTech)
Safari Learning Station (LeapFrog)

3-5 years
Fingerlings Hugs (WowWee)
Hairdorables (Just Play)
PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket (Just Play)
Pomsies (Skyrocket)
Power Action Pikachu (Wicked Cool Toys)
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 43-inch Epic Sewer Lair Playset (Playmates Toys)
Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg (Bonkers Toys)
Scruff-a-Luvs (Moose Toys)

6-8 years
Boxy Girls (Jay@Play)
Harry Potter Wizard Training Wands (Jakks Pacific)
Hatchibabies (Spin Master)
Laser X Fusion (NSI)
L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Series Under Wraps Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu + Poké Ball Plus & Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee + Poké Ball Plus (Nintendo)
Smooshy Mushy Babies (RedwoodVentures)
Treasure X (Moose Toys)

Arcade1Up (Tastemakers)
Chow Crown (Hasbro) 

The Toy Insider’s Top Tech 12

Air Hogs Supernova (Spin Master)
Boxer (Spin Master)
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit (Kano)
Hot Wheels Augmoto Augmented Reality Racing Track Set (Mattel)
K’NEX Thrill Rides: Bionic Blast Roller Coaster Building Set (K’NEX, a division of Basic Fun!)
LEGO Batman App-Connected Batmobile (LEGO)
Marvel Avengers: Infinity War Hero Vision Iron Man AR Experience (Hasbro)
Really Rad Robots MiBro (Moose Toys)
Sensors Alive (Thames & Kosmos)
Sky Viper Journey Pro Scout Video Drone (Skyrocket)
VEX Battling Boxing Robots (HEXBUG)
Voice Originals: When in Rome (Sensible Object)

The Toy Insider’s STEM 10

3Doodler Start HEXBUG Make Your Own Hexbug Pen Set & Activity Kit (3Doodler)
Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab (Learning Resources)
Crayola Color Chemistry Lab Set (Crayola)
Design & Drill My First Workbench (Educational Insights)
Discovery Extreme Chemistry Lab (Horizon Group USA)
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus (Mattel)
Kids First Coding & Robotics (Thames & Kosmos)
Nintendo Labo Vehicles Kit (Nintendo)
Scientific Explorer Veterinary Science (ALEX Brands)
Sky Track Adventure Set (Magformers)

The Toy Insiders 2018 holiday gift guide will appear in the November issue of Family Circle magazine, on newsstands on Oct. 9. An extended guide appears online at starting today. This year’s print guide features more than 200 toys from more than 100 different manufacturers, and an additional 170 toys can be found online, representing nearly 200 toy companies in total.

Parents and gift-givers can easily search by a child’s age (broken out into 0-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9+ age groups) and interests using the handy skill-development key. They can also view the guide online with their children to create a wishlist of favorite toys, making holiday shopping easy for friends and family.

The Toy Insider is an independent organization. Its team of experts attends major toy industry trade shows and events, and conducts briefings with manufacturers, retailers and analysts throughout the year. The Toy Insider hot list submission is open to all toy companies, of all sizes. Toys must be new for 2018 and available to consumers for purchase for the holiday season, either on the company’s website or widely available through any retail partner. When evaluating toys, the team considers play value, originality, skill building, product integrity and, of course, fun factor.

To join in the holiday toy fun on social media this season, use #weknowplay and find @thetoyinsider on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.