A graphic showcasing four of the hottest toys in 2022
Credit: Amazon, Target

The Hottest Holiday Toys for 2022

published Nov 16, 2022
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As a parent, here’s what I want from a holiday toy: I want it to cause my kid to squeal with delight. I want them to be able to get started with the toy right away, either building it or playing with it. And I want the toy to occupy them all morning, while I fire up the tea kettle and slowly wake myself up before getting dressed at noon.

These 15 toys are all big for 2022, which means they might already be on your child’s Wish List. Yes, they are mass-market and flashy, but that’s the nature of “hot” toys. If you’ve seen them around but had any lingering doubts, let me erase those for you. Any of these makes a great present. And you’re smart to buy these picks ASAP, so you’re not stuck searching for a sold-out toy. Future you will appreciate it!

The 15 Hottest Holiday Toys for 2022

1 / 15

I mean. The combination of a dozen tubs of Play-Doh with a pretend-play ice cream truck is an absolute joy for a preschooler or kindergartener. There’s a toy cash register too, which in itself can occupy a budding entrepreneur for some time. Pro tip: Assemble this before the holiday, then put a bow on it.

2 / 15

I snapped this up for my 9-year-old niece in October. Theater geeks, dance kids, any children who love dress-up, and LEGO aficionados will all love this 1,154-piece set. It’s got cool new pieces like funny wigs and a fabric curtain that opens and closes. There’s also four LEGO Friends characters. My niece will want to build it herself, but this would also be great as a bonding adult-and-kid project.

3 / 15
was $21.99

The nostalgic classic has a new spin, as they say, that makes guessing where you can get four in a row a lot trickier. Your kid is not going to play this on their own—it takes two to make each other crazy with this—but it’s all good fun.

4 / 15

Finally small people—we’re talking toddlers—have a race track that even they can use, with two durable cars they can send flying off of three tracks. Sound effects make it even more fun, as if they’re living in their own race world. (Have two AA batteries ready to go for those.)

5 / 15

Similar to the racetrack above, this is the perfect first dollhouse for a toddler, who doesn’t even have to know what a Barbie is to appreciate a cool house with working elevator and a pool. It comes with two Little People figures for pretend play.

6 / 15

Gamers always want a Switch. This model, a Target exclusive, is especially nice to look at with the OLED (as opposed to LED) screen, for better contrast and color. It’s basically a big flex to have this high-end version ($50 more than a regular Switch), because it is still compatible with all of the other Switches but has the superior display.

7 / 15
was $84.99

This is the 2.0 version of Magic Mixies, which launched last year as a cauldron. This year, kids use a wand to summon a plushie who magically appears in a crystal ball. It takes some wand practice and a little patience but the payoff, with mysterious lights and music, is satisfying. Best of all, this surprise-reveal toy can be repeated. Kids reset the crystal ball and can make other small toys disappear and reappear. Meanwhile the plush character continues to react with the wand, an ongoing source of amusement.

8 / 15

These do not exactly deliver on occupying kids for hours. But Squishmallows are especially sweet for a tween or teen who is aging out of toys but secretly still wants something they can hold and love—an emotional-support guacamole, if you will. There are dozens of designs so even if this one is sold out, or your child has one, they probably want another, because collecting Squishmallows is itself a whole thing.

9 / 15

Mastering a new remote-control vehicle delights a kid for a long stretch as they practice wheelies, roll it over household obstacles, and yes, bang it into walls. We like this one because the wheels will not leave marks. Of course, if your kid takes it outdoors—where it can handle gravel, snow, and other tough terrain—it might then leave some muddy tracks when it comes back in, so watch for that. Also have two AA batteries ready for the remote controller.

10 / 15

Artsy fun is here with that addictive sensory-play favorite: Kinetic Sand. This 2022 set is essentially spin art but with the easy-to-clean Kinetic Sand compound instead of paint. It comes with six colors and a spin wheel. It’s especially popular with the preschool-to-Kindergarten set. Note: Once the colors mix there is no separating them, so perhaps invest in a couple of $10, two-pound bags of extra sand as well.

11 / 15

If you want something that really says “Christmas” check out the reindeer in this popular line of toddler toys. Bouncy Pals are especially fun for active 2- and 3-year-olds who can safely bound around the house and (hopefully) exhaust themselves.

12 / 15

This 2022 edition to the popular Linkimals line looks kinda crazy to adults but is the absolute bomb in the eyes of a 1-year-old. It captivates with funny movements and songs, like a toddler’s own personal jester. The owl drops knowledge about letters, numbers, the weather, and even feelings. Because it says more than 90 things, it doesn’t drive adults nuts with repetition and it holds a kid’s interest. If you’ve got other Linkimals at home, the toys can sync up.

13 / 15

Every creative kid loves a giant art set. This comes with 72 crayons, 50 markers, 25 colored pencils, and more in a beautiful carry case. There are 15 big pieces of paper, but if you buy extra, your child can make art projects all week long.

14 / 15
was $121.99

Maniacs for the Monster High universe (kids get hooked on the Nickelodeon show) are going to want this set BAD. The detailed miniature fashions and each doll’s long, silky hair contribute to their appeal. This set has four Target-exclusive, new-to-2022 figures.

15 / 15

This unique dinosaur is under the toy-list radar, and right now only at Walmart. It’s like a Fingerling except in the form of a whole-hand puppet. Work controls inside the glove to make Baby Blue roar or purr with contentment. Make his eyes blink or have him lunge forward—there are more than 40 sounds and movements in all. Sensors in the toy know if there’s something in front of Blue to react to. It’s an alive-seeming friend for school-age dino fans.

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