It’s the last day of our Gift Giving week! Click here to catch up on all our past gift idea blogs, and stay tuned because we have more holiday shopping posts coming up, such as how to stay on budget during the holidays and last-minute stocking stuffer ideas! Today I highlight gifts I discovered while out shopping and cruising around the Internet – some of which are being called the hottest toys on the market this year. I picked  toys I thought looked pretty cool, but of course the real test is always decided by our kids. Just about every toy listed below can be found at Toys R’ Us or on, but some are also found locally at Toys & Co and Kaplan Early Learning Company as noted below- so shop local if you can! Happy shopping!

Top Unisex Toys

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet
For ages 4-9, this latest gizmo by LeapFrog is like an Ipad without the price. There are over 100 games available as well as digital books, videos, flash cards, a built in camera and camcorder. Currently our kids fight over our Ipad so I think this gift is rising to the top of our list this year.

Paper Jamz Pro Mic – Style 2
For kids ages 8 and up, this new system looks a lot more fun than your average Karaoke machine! Your child simply touches the paper surface to use its features, and in turn, becomes a rock star. It includes features like pitch correction, automatic harmony, voice multiplication, voice vibration, and auto mode to allow your child to recreate a song’s original sound in their own version. Paper Jamz Pro Mic comes in three different styles which are suitable for boys or girls!

Playskool Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper
I saw this toy featured on The Today Show, and then I kept seeing it pop up as a must-have for preschoolers and up to age five. You drop five different colored balls into the elephant’s ear and they shoot out its trunk. There are four different play modes, so you can set where you want the ball to shoot out – and the fun just continues on non-stop. If my kids were in this age range for another year or so, I’d buy this in a heartbeat.

Found at Kaplan Early Learning Co, this toy, for ages 3 years and up, features connector arms that bend creating endless problem- solving possibilities! One hundred thirty six pieces included!

We love games in our house, and these three caught my eye and might just be under our tree this year…

Angry Birds Game
Our kids are addicted to the app, so why not make bring it to life? It follows the same rules as the online version and features three Angry Birds, four pigs, a variety of “wooden” pieces, and a bird launcher. Too cute!

Qwirkle Board Game
Winner of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and a Mensa Select National Competition winner! This game falls in the same addictive category as Sequence (my all-time favorite), Scrabble, and Othello. Designed for ages six and up, and for two to four players.

Kids’ Find It Game
I bought this for a niece and a nephew last year and it’s still popular for this year too. This toy comes in a variety of themes for girls and boys, and I think this is the perfect game to give a child if you’re facing a long car or plane ride right after Christmas – it will keep them entertained for hours! You can find this game on Kaplan’s web site and locally at Toys & Co.

Top Girl Toys

Fisher-Price’s Kid-Tough See Yourself Camera
Easy to use, can’t break, has a screen on the back  instead of a peephole making it much easier to navigate taking shots, includes a rotating camera lens, 4x digital zoom for close-ups and a wrist strap for safety. Stores up to 1,000 pictures, records videos with sound and has an SD card slot to expand memory. No flash required. You can download special effects. For ages 3-5. How cool is this?

Fijit Friends Interactive Toys
Seriously, I don’t get it – but  I had a recent trip to Toys R’ Us with my 7-year-old daughter and she bee-lined to this toy saying she saw it on TV and thought it was so cute. Apparently other girls agree because it’s also listed as one of the hottest toys this season. This robot-like toy recognizes voice and music, and can move along to rhythm or play its own songs. Each robot has more than 100 responses built in, and comes with accessory packs.

Whipple Deluxe Pastry Set
I saw this toy featured on Fox 8 News when they were showing the hottest gifts at Toys & Co, and wound up getting this as a gift for my 7-year-old niece. This crafty kit lets your daughter design and decorate 12 different pretend pastries (it looks like you are actually creating real desserts) that she can then share with friends or hook on her book bag. Great for any child interested in baking!

You can never go wrong with a doll, and here are two especially cute – and affordable – options:

Our Generation Doll
If you’re not ready to splurge on an American Girl doll and all the accessories, this is the perfect alternative. My daughter is on-again/off-again with her dolls, so we gave her one of these dolls a couple years ago and she loves it. She now has a few plus some accessories and I don’t cringe when it’s time to add to her doll’s wardrobe collection. And I don’t stress out if she doesn’t play with one for months. Totally worth it, and sold at Target.

Personalized Rag Doll + Accessories
Starting at just $9.95 at Red, this super cute doll will become your daughter’s new best friend. Made of soft cloth and yarn hair, this vintage-looking rag doll can be customized to match your daughter’s looks with hair color, dresses, and personalized with a name!

Top Boy Toys

Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster
For ages 6 and up, this is being called the most advanced Nerf blaster yet. It features an electronic scope and pulsating lights, utilizes disks and has additional storage for more firing power. Right up my son’s alley!

How cute are these and they’re made from high quality beech wood with a non-toxic finish! Your son can put the pieces together and take them apart to create new vehicles. They roll, carry, lift, dig, drop and spin like the real life trucks they’re modeled after. For ages 4 and up.

LEGO Ninjago Limited Edition Lightning Battle
I hear this is THE Lego set to buy this season, and features a complete range of figures and weapons, as well as a helicopter and Lightning Dragon, both of which are armed and ready for battle. The fantasy play set contains 645 individual pieces to be assembled and played with. Perfect for young imaginations everywhere! For ages 8 – 14.

Spy Net Video Watch 2.0
Anything that has to do with spy toys is always a sure hit. Made for ages 8 – 10, this watch features recording technology that includes video, audio, and photos with new missions and games. You can record and spy day or night with real night vision technology.

Thanks to these web sites for gift ideas: