The pressure’s on, parents. We tell ourselves each year that our holiday shopping will be done before Thanksgiving, that we’ll snap up that one must-have toy before it becomes impossible to find or that we’ll just say “enough” with the gift-giving this year and take the family to Florida instead.
But who are we kidding? Here we are again, T minus not-enough-days until Christmas – and we’re staring at rolls of foil paper with nothing to wrap.
It’s time to get shopping, but sometimes our only hint is that sealed-and-stamped Santa letter sent off to the North Pole – or a Target catalog with everything circled.
Not to worry. Here at Metro Parent, keeping up with the coolest kid stuff is sort of our thing.
We’ve pored over the splashy pitches, scoured social media and used our supermom senses (aka searched our kids’ Amazon browsing histories) to scope out some of the most gift-worthy presents for the good girls and boys on your list.
From the second their sticky little fingers could reach for one, your kids have been pining for a phone, tablet or ‘Alexa’ of their own. Make that wish come true with these picks to pair with the family wireless plan.
Probably the best bang for your buck when it comes to a device that runs kids’ favorite apps and lets them browse the web. From the 7-inch padded children’s edition to the larger Kindle Fire 10, there’s one for any age. Runs $49.99-$199.99.
How about a fresh accessory for the ultimate family gadget? The Osmo is a portal for creativity, instantly turning any Apple iPad into an augmented-reality science and art adventure. Art, geometry and real-life mysteries come alive with this versatile add-on, which costs $99 and up. Aimed at kids 5 and older.
This thrifty little smart speaker brings podcasts, fast facts, math help, jokes, music and more into any room via voice command. You can even have one in each bedroom and use it like an intercom. Get it for $39.99-$49.99.
Kano’s kit is undoubtedly one of the hottest STEM toys of the year. This replica wand can be coded to use different spells, teaching kids how programming can seem like magic. All you need is a PC or tablet to install the accessory application on – and the kids will be wizarding in no time. Get it for $99.99 for your loved one, ages 6 and up.
WIN! Enter the Metro Parent Kano Harry Pottery Coding Kit contest for your chance to score one for your kids.
Really wow ’em with one of their own. In the Apple camp, the iPhone 6s is a slightly older model with all the bells and whistles; it’s under $200 refurbished (or snag a 7 for $449) through Apple. For Android fans, a Samsung Galaxy S7 comes complete with a water-resistant finish for $449 at Best Buy.
Create a Collection
Kids never seem to tire of these collectible toys – even if, for some of them, the unboxing is at least half the fun. Boost your kids’ collections or help them start a new one.
They were hot last year – and the heat’s still on. Splurge on the $89.99 “bigger” version, teeming with 60-plus surprises tucked in a purse carrying case. Or go for the smaller balls, which each contain a tiny adorable doll (or pet) and coordinating accessories for under $10. Aimed at ages 6-plus.
WIN! Enter the Metro Parent L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise contest for your chance to take home this hot prize.
Your Star Wars, Harry Potter or Five Nights at Freddy’s fan will love the chance to display all his favorite characters with these vinyl figures. Celebrate the season with versions that have decidedly festive flair. Various fandoms available for $7-$10. Aimed at kids 3-plus.
Fill your kid’s stocking with the $4.99 PushMi Ups – or be a hero when you find the $19.99 Pikmi Pops plush your kid’s been eyeing. Each doodad contains lollipops, tiny toys, sticker sheets and other goodies. For kids ages 5-plus.
These small spinning tops – inspired by a traditional Japanese toy and sold in the U.S. under the Hasbro label – have interchangeable parts and can “battle” in a tabletop arena. Many colors and types available, all ready to “burst” into action. Costs about $7.99-plus and is aimed at kids 8 and up.
It’s the perfect “pet.” Just dunk him in a special solution and, one day later, his back is a shiny shell of crystal spikes. Big on science fun – zilch on vet bills. Get an entire “array” (that’s what a group of hedgehogs is called) in blue, green, orange, pink and red for $14.95. Good for ages 10-plus.
Gifts for Gamers
No matter where you stand on video games, they’re here to stay. PlayStation Network has more than 34 million subscribers, and you can hardly deny how cute synchronized Fortnite dances look when an entire sixth grade soccer team uses them to celebrate a goal. Here’s what to buy for your young gamer.
Accessorize your brood with T-shirts, backpacks, wall art or tube socks representing their favorite games. Our top picks are a Fortnite hoodie ($20.99), Minecraft creeper face pom beanie ($19.99) and kids Roblox sweatshirt ($18.45).
Even if your kids already have all the games they love, there’s always that ever-sought-after in-game loot. Put the next elite skin or expansion pack under the tree with a game- or console-specific gift card from gaming spots like Gamestop or even Amazon.
It’s the ideal gift for a kid (ages 3-plus) who spends competition time leaning over the arm of a couch. These cool, portable chairs make for a more comfortable experience (and keep Cheetos dust off your furniture). Try ECR4Kids’ SoftZone option, a plush, lightweight rocker with a supportive headrest for $130.
Turtle Beach is a leading manufacturer of these stereo devices with built-in microphones. Pay attention to audio quality and decide if you’ll want to go for a wired or wireless set. For PS4, try the Stealth 300 Headset for high-power immersive sound, starting at $79.95.
A true video gaming enthusiast appreciates a good custom accessory. Xbox has you covered with fully customizable controllers. Pick your color, button finish and even add a personalized engraving. Starts at $69.99.
The holidays are often the most magical for the littlest ones in the family. Though they can’t always articulate their wish lists just yet, you can’t go wrong with one of these sure-to-please presents.
These super-cuddly plush cuties by Kellytoy come in multiple sizes, aka “squads,” and oodles of animal options, from pigs to pandas to penguins – and, of course, unicorns, all in an offbeat variety of color choices. Runs $14.99-$24.99 per plushy. Aimed at ages 4 months and up.
WIN! Enter the Metro Parent Squishmallows plush toy contest for a shot at winning a trio of these cuties.
When it comes to retro fun, Wicked Cool Toys knows what’s up. Its spin on the 1985 classic just won a 2018 Toy of the Year award for infants and toddlers ages 2 and up. He’s great for entertaining little ones with music and stories – and stoking nostalgia in parents everywhere. Get him for $99.99.
WIN! Enter the Metro Parent Teddy Ruxpin contest and you could grab this gift for free.
You’ll want to have something under the tree for baby, so how about something she’ll really use? When those tiny teeth start erupting, you’ll be grateful for the Gluv teething mitten. It’s available in gender-neutral aqua or lime for $13.99 Made for ages 3 months-plus.
These soft, glowing creatures can be worn around your child’s wrist or backpack. Pick from a pastel pack that includes Snowball, Stardust, Speckles and Pinky. Each one responds to touch and sings when it senses dancing. Get one for around $14. Aimed at ages 3-plus.
Thomas lovers will be awestruck when they find this on Christmas morning (have it set up and ready to ride for maximum impact). Their choo-choo chum says several fun phrases and can be used on or off the track with push-button operation. Good for ages 12 months-3 years. Runs about $115.