Toy Insider’s Best Kids Toys & Tech Holiday Gift Guide

The Toy Insider unveiled its expert picks for the best kids’ toys and tech in its annual holiday gift guide today. The hottest items for 2016 are broken out into three lists: the Hot 20 (the items expected to top kids’ wish lists), Top Tech 12 (drones, wearables, robotic pets, and more) and STEM 10 (science, technology, engineering and math toys that make learning fun). With lots of options for kids of all ages, these 42 items are sure to wow kids this holiday season, and are expected to be hard to find or sold out by Christmas.

The Toy Insider team of experts reviews toys 365 days a year on When evaluating toys, the team considers play value, originality, skill building, product integrity and, of course, fun factor.

Toy Insider's Best Kids Toys & Tech Holiday Gift Guide

“At The Toy Insider, they know play, and the toys in their holiday gift guide will have kids laughing, learning and playing in meaningful ways,” says Laurie Schacht, co-publisher and Chief Toy Officer, The Toy Insider. “Playtime is all about bringing the whole family together, and whether it’s an engaging new board game, an interactive play set, or an adorable tech pet, the toys on our list will get everyone having fun all season long and well into 2017.

The Toy Insider's Hot 20 Holiday Toys Gift Guide

The Toy Insider’s Hot 20

0-2 years

3-5 years

6-8 years


Best Tech Toys Gift Guide

The Toy Insider’s Top Tech 12

  1. Air Hogs Helix Sentinel Drone (Spin Master)
  2. Barbie Hello Dreamhouse (Mattel)
  3. BOSEbuild Speaker Cube (Bose)
  4. CHiP (WowWee)
  5. CodeGamer (Thames & Kosmos)
  6. Kurio Watch (KD Interactive)
  7. LUMI (WowWee)
  8. Mebo Robotic Claw (Skyrocket Toys)
  9. Meccano Meccasaur (Spin Master)
  10. Sky Rover Voice Command Drone (Auldey Toys North America)
  11. Sky Viper Hover Racer (Skyrocket Toys)
  12. Zoomer Chimp (Spin Master)

Best STEM Toys for Girls

The Toy Insider’s STEM 10

  1. 3Doodler Start Essentials Pen Set (WobbleWorks)
  2. Barbie STEM Kit (Thames & Kosmos)
  3. Bloxels (Mattel)
  4. Code & Go Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set (Learning Resources)
  5. Geckobot (Thames & Kosmos)
  6. Mighty Makers Director’s Cut Building Set (K’NEX)
  7. Project MC2 We Heart Chemistry Kit (ALEX Brands)
  8. Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival (PlayMonster)
  9. Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar (Fisher-Price)
  10. VEX Robotics Zip Flyer (HEXBUG)

The Toy Insider‘s 2016 holiday gift guide will appear in the November issue of Family Circle magazine, on newsstands on October 11, and online at This year’s guide is the biggest ever, featuring more than 275 toys from more than 110 manufacturers. 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.

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