The Toy Insider Experts Reveals the Hottest Toys of 2020

Cats Vs Pickles

Shopping for holiday gifts may look different this year. With many social distancing guidelines still in place limiting the number of in-store shoppers, retailers are starting holiday promotions even earlier while consumers are conscious of their spending habits. The Toy Insider is making things easier for consumers by unveiling its expert picks for the best kids’ toys and gifts in their holiday gift guide.

The Toy Insider

The hottest and most coveted items for 2020 are broken out into three lists: the Hot 20 (the most wished-for items of the year), the STEM 10 (science, technology, engineering and math toys that make learning fun) and the 12 Under $12 (affordable toys packed with play value and unboxing experiences). 

“This holiday shopping season will be unlike any other. It will be in your best interest to plan ahead and grab these hot toys before you start carving out your pumpkins,” said Laurie Schacht, Chief Toy Officer, The Toy Insider. “Playtime offers a powerful way of coping with the world we live in, and the wide assortment of toys we reviewed for this year’s holiday gift guide showcase the innovative, creative and affordable ways toymakers are serving the needs of families during challenging times.”

This year’s hand-picked selections represent an extensive variety of open-ended toys to keep kids busy; screen-free playthings filled with educational value; toys that promote diversity, sustainability, and accessibility; and affordable toys that fit any budget, among many more categories that are sure to please kids of all ages this holiday season.   

The Toy Insider’s Hot 20

MGA Entertainment_Rainbow High Fashion Dolls


0-2 years 

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel) 

Speak & Learn Puppy (LeapFrog)


3-4 years 

Blippi Recycling Truck (Jazwares) 

Blues Clues & You! Dance-Along Blue Plush (Just Play)

Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun (Mattel)


Pinkfong Baby Shark Dancing DJ (WowWee)

PJ Masks Transforming 2 in 1 Mobile HQ (Just Play) 

Ryan’s World Shadow Warrior Ninja Mystery Box (Bonkers Toys)

Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition (Hasbro)


5-7 years 

KidiZoom Creator Cam (VTech)

LEGO Super Mario Adventure Starter Course (The LEGO Group)

Present Pets (Spin Master)

Rainbow High Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment) 

Squeakee the Balloon Dog (Moose Toys)

Zoe (Healthy Roots Dolls)


8+ years

Beyblade Burst Rise Hypersphere Vortex Climb Battle Set (Hasbro)

Chocolate Pen (Skyrocket)

Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Co.)

Snap Ships Gladius AC-75 Drop Ship (PlayMonster)


The Toy Insider’s STEM 10

Learning Resources_Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot


3D Build & Play (3Doodler)

Apollo — A Game Inspired by the NASA Moon Missions (Buffalo Games)

Blockaroo (Blue Marble)

Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot (Learning Resources)

Circuit Explorer (Educational Insights)

Crayola STEAM Paper Flower Science Kit (Crayola)

DIY Music Maker Science Lab (hand2mind)

JIMU Robot Mythical Series: Firebot Kit (UBTECH Robotics)

Mega Cyborg Hand (Thames & Kosmos)

National Geographic Science Magic (Blue Marble)


The Toy Insider’s 12 Under $12



5 Surprise Mini Brands Series 2 (ZURU)

Blume Petal Pets (Skyrocket) 

Butter Cloudz Castle Bucket (WeCool Toys) 

Cats vs. Pickles (Cepia)

Curligirls (Basic Fun!)

Glitter Burst (YULU)

Junkbots (HEXBUG)

Kitten Catfe Purrista Girls (JAKKS Pacific)

L.O.L. Surprise! Present Surprise (MGA Entertainment)

Oh! My Gif – 1-Bit Pack (Moose Toys)

Ravel Tales (Sunny Days Entertainment)

Something Wild Card Games (Funko Games)

The Toy Insider‘s 2020 holiday gift guide will appear in the November issue of PARENTS magazine, on newsstands on Oct. 5. An extended guide appears online starting today. This year’s print guide features nearly 160 toys, and an additional 150 toys can be found online, representing more than 110 toy companies in total.  

Parents and gift-givers can easily search for toys and games by a child’s age (broken out into 0-2, 3-4, 5-7 and 8+ age groups). They can also view the guide online with their children to create a wish list of favorite toys, making holiday shopping easy for friends and family. 

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

—Jennifer Swartvagher

All photos courtesy of The Toy Insider


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