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Toy Insider: Top Toys of 2021

Toy Insider pulled together the top toys this year for all budgets.

INDIANAPOLIS — Toy Insider’s Senior Editor Maddie Michalik pulled together the top toys this year for all budgets.

1. Baby Shark’s Big Show! Sing & Swing Baby Shark & William (WOWWEE)

Credit: Toy Insider
Baby Shark’s Big Show! Sing & Swing Baby Shark & William (WOWWEE)
  • Clap your fins and shake your tail with the best fish friends under the sea!
  • Based on Nickelodeon’s new animated preschool series, Baby Shark’s Big Show! Sing & Swing Baby Shark & William are made of soft and cuddly plush with two interactive ways to play for fin-tastic fun.
  • Kids dance and sing along as Baby Shark’s tail wiggles and swings to the Baby Shark’s Big Show! theme song.
  • When William gives Baby Shark a “high-fin,” listen for silly sounds and jaw-some reactions!
  • This interactive toy encourages pretend play and helps kids develop imagination, sensory skills, and gross & fine motor skills.
  • Requires 3x AA batteries (included)
  • Ages: 2+
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Available: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Kohls

2. Moji the Lovable Labradoodle (Skyrocket)

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Moji the Lovable Labradoodle
  • Moji is a soft, cuddly fur ball that responds to kids’ voices and touch with more than 150 unique reactions.
  • Moji’s smart collar features a color screen that displays animated emojis that communicate his puppy thoughts. From feeling super excited to needing to go potty, you’ll always know what Moji is feeling!
  • Tail-wagging, head-tilting, and learning a dozen tricks such as “High Five!” and “Speak!” are just a few of the qualities that make Moji so life-like.
  • Included are three physical accessories (two-sided bowl, chew rope, and grooming brush) that Moji recognizes and interacts with to help amp up roleplay.
  • Ages: 4+
  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Available: Target

3. Mario Party Superstars (Nintendo)

  • Calling all Superstars! Mario Party is back with five classic boards from the Nintendo 64 Mario Party games.
  • Frosting meets flowers as kids race to get the most stars (and sabotage their opponents) on the Peach’s Birthday Cake board from the original Mario Party game.
  • Or watch the countdown that unleashes Bowser Coin Beam and hold onto those coins on the Space Land board.
  • The tides can turn quickly in Mario Party, so stay vigilant, partygoers.
  • Play with superstars near and far with the same system, local wireless, or online play.
  • 100 classic minigames return from the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube games and more!
  • Ages: E for Everyone
  • MSRP: $59.99
  • Available: nintendo.com; major retailers

4. Beyblade Burst Speedstorm Motor Strike Battle Set (Hasbro)

  • Supercharge the battle strategy with the first motorized Beystadium in the Beyblade Burst line!
  • Launch into high-speed, head-to-head battles.
  • The center of the battle arena features a spinning motor Vortex — a zone designed to redirect the battle and give tops an energy boost.
  • Includes everything needed to battle: Beyblade Burst Speedstorm Motor Strike Beystadium, two right/left-spin launchers, and two right-spin Speedstorm battling tops.
  • Ages: 8+
  • MSRP: $59.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Walmart

5. Merry Dissmas (What do you Meme)

Credit: Toy Insider
Merry Dissmas
  • Home is where the laughs are!
  • Players test their knowledge and patience with this family holiday game!
  • Each card has a prompt about the family that the players must complete.
  • Using the whiteboard, players write down their best answer to the given question.
  • The Judge picks their favorite.
  • It’ll get the family in the holiday and competitive spirit in no time!
  • Features eight dry-erase markers, eight dry-erase boards, 250 Cards, and instructions.
  • Ages: 12+
  • MSRP: $24.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target

Top Toys for every price

Credit: Toy Insider
Slimy Sand Aqua Splash

1. Slimy Sand Aqua Splash- 1.5 Buckets (Horizon Group)

  • Stretch it. Shape it. Slice It. Crush it!
  • Kids can dive into a world of water play fun with Slimysand Aqua Splash, the sensory play sand that’s stretchable and moldable in and out of water.
  • Open up the reusable buckets, reach in, grab the Slimysand Aqua Splash, and feel the difference — it molds like sand but stretches like Slimygloop.
  • Fill up a bucket or bowl with water and begin molding, stretching, slicing, and crushing Aqua Splash under the water. ● Kids can pack and layer any color sand into the molds and then lift to reveal their creations.
  • Use the intended tool to create cool impressions in the sand.
  • When kids are finished playing, wring out the water from the sand and place it inside the included playbox to air-dry and store in the included resealable bags.
  • Available in blue and pink.
  • Ages: 3+
  • MSRP: $6.99
  • Available: Amazon

2. For Keeps (The Loyal Subjects)

Credit: Toy Insider
For Keeps
  • This 6-inch fashion doll brand combines stylish play with a powerful message of positivity and self-empowerment.
  • The For Keeps concept was inspired by parents’ experiences with their young kids, in particular, the impact technology and social media have on kids’ perception of self-worth, gender stereotypes, and the imprinting of critical thought patterns by age 4.
  • Fun accessories include headbands, necklaces, bangles, handbags, laptops, cellphones, and a boombox.
  • Each character has a secret message tee with powerful messages like “You are Love,” “You can Do It,” and “You are Awesome.”
  • Kids can change outfits and shoes, and swap them between characters.
  • Each doll comes with 20 affirmations that double as stickers, just peel and stick!
  • Characters are Mia the Veterinarian, Ella the Music Producer, Emma the Filmmaker, Bella the Journalist, Sophia the Choreographer, and London and Paris, the Creatrix Twins.
  • Mia comes with her furry pal, Roxy! Twins London and Paris are accompanied by their pet cats, Sasha and Shadow.
  • Ages: 4+
  • MSRP: $13.96
  • Available: Walmart, Target, Amazon

3. AKEDO Ultimate Battle Arena (Moose Toys)

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AKEDO Ultimate Battle Arena
  • Derived from the Japanese word for arcade, Akedo takes a retro gaming look and combines it with kids playing one-on-one battles with small ninja, wizard and warrior figures using skill, force, weapons and shields.
  • Brings the world of Akedo to life in a 90s retro way inside a playset that emulates an old-school arcade game.
  • Features deluxe controllers, two interchangeable backdrops, two exclusive Legendary warrior characters, and more than 35 sound effects to add excitement to the battles.
  • When warriors aren’t battling, train and practice the perfect split-strike in the arena by connecting the detachable training punching bag accessory.
  • Ages: 5+
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Available: All major retailers

4. Candy Claw Machine (Thames & Kosmos)

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Candy Claw Machine
  • Kids can step right up and try their luck at grabbing a claw-full of candy!
  • Assemble a working model of the classic claw machine complete with cranks, gears, and belts that move the claw arm in a cross.
  • Hydraulic levers move the arm up and down, and open and close the claw. A spring-loaded trap door shoots the collected candy out at kids if they manage to succeed.
  • Choose three different claw shapes to pick up, move, and drop the 10 lollipops and candy box decoys that are packaged with the machine.
  • Experiment with different gear ratios to speed up the claw and hone those hand-eye coordination skills.
  • No batteries or electricity required — just pure brainpower!
  • Ages: 6+
  • MSRP: $39.95
  • Available: Target, Specialty retailers

5. Coding Critters Magicoders: Skye the Unicorn and Blaze the Dragon (Learning Resources)

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Coding Critters Magicoders
  • The all-new Coding Critters MagiCoders are the most fantastical Coding Critters yet!
  • Coding Critters are a kid’s first coding friend and introduces them to early STEM concepts through 100% screen-free coding activities.
  • Kids can follow the storybook adventures of Skye the Unicorn and Blaze the Dragon to cast cool coding spells without the need for a phone or tablet. Allows kids to build skill sets such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and sequential logic.
  • Press the magic wand’s arrow keys to code your pet to move with Code Mode. Spell Mode allows kids to ‘train’ their pets to dance around, light up in different colors, react to objects, and more.
  • Use introductory coding skills to code Skye to the end of the rainbow, launch shooting stars with the star launcher, and more with its included accessories.
  • Includes a fantasy playset with magic wand controller and full-color coding spellbook with fun activities.
  • Requires 5 AAA batteries (not included).
  • Ages: 4+
  • MSRP: $49.99
  • Available: LearningResources.com