It’s crazy! It’s already almost September and the official Kids Steals & Deals kick off of holiday shopping. Over the years we have learned one thing to be true. September and October are THE time to buy the popular holiday toys as they are released and available on Pre-Order. It’s not 100% foolproof. We have a decent idea of what the most popular toys will be, but we don’t know for sure and there is almost always a sleeper that creeps up on us. 2018 will be different than prior years because the closure of nearly all Toys R Us stores across the US will result in much tighter in store availability. I expect this to be a big year for hunting toys down online. So how do you keep track of and score the hottest toys of 2018 at retail prices?
Tips for scoring the most popular toys of 2018 (at retail)
Every year, the shelf-clearers turn out in full force to buy all of the popular toys and resell them for a steep mark up. No one wants to pay double for something their child wants. So how does one find the hottest toys at retail prices? The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. Kids Steals & Deals prides itself in hunting down and sharing the highest demand items as they load or are available for presale. Here are our top tips for ensuring you get everything your kids want for the holidays.
- Start shopping early. It might sound crazy, but the early bird truly does get the worm. Taking advantage or pre-orders and early availability makes it easy to order and not worry about hunting things down later. If you have a large number of kids on your list, you should have pretty good options for gift giving. Retailers like Walmart & Target do have a 90-day return policy and soon “holiday returns” will kick in, extending time frames beyond the holidays. (Generally 10/1)
- Keep an eye on our list in our Amazon List here. Keep in mind that if the price shows as blank on the list, it is currently sold out at Amazon. Popular holiday toys should only be bought from reputable retailers. For Amazon and Walmart, you will also want to be sure that the item is sold and shipped by Amazon or Walmart. All of our links are filtered to only include the actual retailer (fingers crossed).
- Like/Follow our Facebook Page Kids Steals & Deals – when toys pop up in stock at retail, we usually post first there. If you have the page posts set to “see first” (just click on the follow button for your options), you will typically see our posts at the top of your newsfeed when you log in.
- Join our private Facebook Kids Steals & Deals Group! It’s seriously the BEST kids deals group, especially as the holidays approach. We have over 100K moms as members and actively discuss deals, hot toys and gift ideas. On Black Friday, many of us stay up all night picking off the best deals and doorbusters as they load. It’s one of our favorite days! The group is not a glitch group or full of cheap stuff. We handpick deals daily on quality products from Amazon, Nordstrom, Target and other retailers. If you are not in the group, you can join here!
What are the hottest toys for 2018?
It is still early in the Holiday Shopping Season. This year, we have seen more “expected to be popular” toys hit the shelves than usual. As the shopping season evolves, we will adjust our list and possibly add or drop toys. At this point, I am buying toys that I think my kids will really love vs what I *think* will be the “it” toy. Basically if I think my kids will want it and it’s expected to be popular, I am buying now. Especially since many of these toys have very reasonable retail prices.
For now, here is our list of the hottest toys of 2018 for the holidays.
L.O.L Surprise continues to be the most popular toy line. This year we have a new line of Eye Spy, Biggie Pets, Live Interactive Pets, an Advent Calendar & a new BIGGER Surprise, and a Dollhouse with over 85 surprises!
L.O.L Surprise Holiday Bling Balls – Limited Edition
Leave it to L.O.L to come up with L.O.L Surprise Dolls in holiday ornaments. With 12 to collect, there’s plenty of holiday cheer for the tree! L.O.L Surprise Holiday Bling are currently in stock at Amazon here! They have also been coming in and out of stock at Walmart here.
L.O.L Surprise Series 5 #HairGoals
Perhaps the biggest testament to the success and popularity of L.O.L Surprise is the rash of Series 5 #HairGoals pre-orders that loaded on Amazon and sold out in hours WITHOUT ANY PHOTOS and a description that merely read “Top Secret”. That’s right, THOUSANDS of L.O.L #HairGoals Big Sisters, Little Sisters, Fuzzy Pets and Fizzy Balls were purchased by adoring fans without so much of a bat of the eye. (Full Disclosure – I am totally guilty of buying every.single.one… Oh – and I of course posted in our Kids Steals & Deals Group where our members snatched them right up! So whatever they are, we won’t be standing out in front of Target waiting for a truck in December.
L.O.L Surprise #OOTD Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar
The L.O.L Surprises #OOTD Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar is probably the most popular children’s Advent Calendar this year. Released in early October, the Retail Price is $29.99 and it has 1 exclusive doll and then various outfits and accessories for the remaining days. It has sold out at Amazon but is currently available at Walmart and Target.
Where to buy L.O.L Surprise #OOTD Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar
L.O.L Bigger Surprise
Promising to be bigger than last year, this set has been kept pretty well under wraps. It does have 60 surprises including Dolls, Pets and a Little Sister, but no confirmation of what. They are all the same (just like last year)
Where to Buy L.O.L Bigger Surprise
L.O.L Surprise Dollhouse
This is the biggest of the popular toys so far. This 3′ x 3′ wooden, multi-story house has interactive features including working elevator, lights and sounds across the three floors; real pool, spa and sandbox. It also includes an exclusive family, moving truck and furniture to unbox.
Where to buy L.O.L Surprise Doll House
Other Popular L.O.L Surprise
All of the L.O.L Surprise Balls, Pets & Accessories continue to be very popular. The most difficult balls to find at the moment seem to be the Glam Glitter. The most recent series is called Eye Spy (and has dolls, pets, little sisters and outfits). Wave 2 of Eye Spy is just hitting the stores now. Other series’ such as Pearl, Confetti, Glitter, and accompanying pets/sisters do keep popping up. There are tons of fake L.O.L Surprise out there – buying only from reputable retailers (direct, not 3rd party) will protect you from ending up with
Where to buy L.O.L Surprise
NEW My Life as Jojo 18″ Doll & Accessories
Exciting news! A NEW My Life As Jojo Doll, Clothing Set and Candy Shop Play Set is coming to Walmart for the holidays! The First Pre-Order sold out in a couple hours. The doll is currently in stock for shipping. The Outfit Set and My Life as Jojo Candy Shop have not loaded online at all yet.
Where to find the NEW My Life as Jojo Doll
Shopkins Lil’ Secrets
The highly anticipated Shopkins Lil’ Secrets are now available! There are several little sets and MSRP is $9.99+ depending on the set.
Where to Buy Shopkins Lil’ Secrets
Zuru Rainbocorns are cute little, sequined plush stuffed animals that hatch out of eggs. There
Where to buy Rainbocorns
Harry Potter Legos
Harry Potter Legos are BACK! 7 new Sets, plus some Blockheads, Mini Figures and a HUGE new Hogwarts Castles on the way! These sets are expected to be very popular among kids and Harry Potter x Lego fans alike! MSRP: $12.99 - $399.99 (Hogwarts Castle)
Where to Buy Harry Potter Legos
Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn
We don’t even know what to say. A Rainbow Unicorn that poops glitter slime? How could this one miss?!? So far it’s not! It was previously sold out everywhere, but this week many retailers have received shipments. Poopsie is a top contender for the “hottest toy of 2018”. (Though many moms say they are giving this one a hard pass) MSRP: $49.99-$59.99 (Target)
Where to Buy Poopsie Surprise Unicorn
Poopsie Pooey Puitton
This one took me a minute… a play on Louis Vuitton, the Poopsie Pooey Puitton is the ultimate unicorn poop slime set. It includes
- 1 Pooey Puitton purse
- 12 unicorn food packets (slime powder) – just add water to make a rainbow of poop!
- 6 unicorn magic packets, 4 unicorn sparkle packets, 2 unicorn crunch packets, 4 mystery scents, and 1 spoon
- 1 exclusive bottle and 1 exclusive poop character Keychain
- 1 instructional booklet and tons of storage to take your poop on the go!
Where to buy Poopsie Pooey Puitton
Lil’ Gleemerz is another of the “interactive pets” hitting the shelves this Holiday Season. These guys are getting great reviews and feature over 100 responses including a rainbow light tail, farts, and various phrases. This week a Rainbow version popped up at Amazon and has been very popular. Her name is Rainbeam and you can check her out here.
Where to Buy Lil’ Gleemerz
Little Live Wrapples are currently the most popular of the interactive toy holiday offerings. With a slap band tail, these can be worn on the wrist. They have over 50 reactions and also interact with each other (yay – you need more than one)! Each of the large retailers has their own exclusive Wrapples. Amazon offers Flutta (A butterfly, I think). Target offers Shora (a purple mermaid). Walmart has Luna (a rainbow something but I’m not sure what)! The exclusives are the most popular, but online Wrapples are getting hard to find. They are still available in many stores it seems. MSRP: $14.99 (don’t pay more or order from 3rd party sellers). Beware that there appears to be a huge uptick in Chinese sellers offering Wrapples, they are likely fake (as we saw with fake Fingerlings last year)
Where to buy Wrapples
While we don’t expect them to be as wildly popular as last year, we also don’t think they are going anywhere just yet. A new group has cropped up and early reviews are very positive. Here are the Fingerlings we think will still be in demand for the Holidays. Keep in mind that Fingerlings are highly counterfeited and that buying from 3rd party sellers could result in the purchase of fake Fingerlings.
A collection of Dinos including Raptors and T-Rex. There is currently a pre-order for the playset that includes both a T-Rex and a Raptor. The Raptors have been out since summer and are getting great reviews. Walmart has two “Skeleton” Exclusives that glow in the dark. Doom the T-Rex and his Raptor buddy Gloom. Doom & Gloom offer an extra feature of rattling bones. We have a regular Raptor and T-Rex and they’re pretty cool. The glow in the dark and rattling make these guys a bit cooler!
Where to Buy Fingerlings Untamed
Where to Buy Fingerlings Dragons
Where to Buy Fingerlings Pandas
Pomsies are wearable pets that respond to sound and touch with over 50 reactions. Currently, there are puppies, dragons and a koala available. There is also an Amazon Exclusive (Kali). These have been hailed THE toy of 2018 by many large publications. We’re not buying it. Had the additional publicity not pushed them into limited stock , we would have removed from the list by now. Wrapples and Lil Gleemerz are more interactive.
MSRP: $14.99 – $19.99 (The Amazon Exclusive)
Where to Buy Pomsies
Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there is a very heavy emphasis on toys that tend to appeal more to girls (though we certainly don’t gender box toys). We were especially excited to see this new release with broad appeal to both genders AND older kids! Build a wand, complete coding challenges and make magic! This is absolutely on our list! MSRP: $99.99.
Where to Buy Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
The highly anticipated return of Polly Pocket has arrived! The nice part about these playsets is that they are small and very affordable. The not-so-great is that they are already back ordering and selling out just days after their debut online. These have been going in and out of stock and we believe they will continue to be popular.
MSRP: $4.99 – $39.99
Where to Buy Polly Pocket
FurReal ‘Munchin’ Rex the Interactive Toy Dinosaur
FurReal ‘Munchin’ Rex looks to be a promising pre-schooler toy for the holiday season. He is, of course, interactive (seeing a theme here?) – but he does respond with over 35 reactions. He also walks and apparently jumps around and begs for treats. At $49.99, he is very reasonable for a FurReal pet so we see plenty of parents welcoming Rex into their homes.
Where to buy FurReal ‘Munchin’ Rex
Pomsies vs Lil’ Gleemerz vs Wrapples
As seen above, interactive pets are at the top of the Holiday Toy list. It’s nice that there are so many toys with an under $20 price point, but with all of the similarities, which one should you choose – Wrapples, Lil’ Gleemerz or Pomsies? Our pick is for the Lil’ Gleemerz. First, they have already released and have excellent reviews across the board – bonus! Second, of the 3 toys, they have the most features with over 100 reactions. Finally, we dig the rainbow tail. Our second pick would be Wrapples – purely for the fact that they interact with one another. The slap band wrist will also be popular with kids. (Wrapples are smaller than I expected)
Shopkins Lil’ Secrets vs Polly Pocket
Shopkins Lil’ Secrets Locks and Polly Pocket Playsets are also very similar to one another. Both capitalize on the popularity of smaller play sets, but do you need both? Polly Pocket is riding a wave of nostalgia. I couldn’t wait to buy Noelle a couple sets and she is anxiously awaiting them though she has no idea what they are. Great sales tactic lol. Shopkins is riding a wave of popularity. I suspect current Shopkin addicts will prefer the Lil’ Secrets. Moms that have somehow kept their kids in a bubble for the last two years (raises hand) will run for Polly Pocket because the rabbit hole just isn’t as deep. I am confident that both lines will keep kids happy and entertained.
What Hot Toys are we Skipping?
After careful review of descriptions and features, there are a couple “hot toys” that we recommend skipping. The first is Little Live Scruff-A-Luvs. They have been out for a bit and just don’t get great reviews. Little Live usually knocks it out of the park but seems to have missed here. The second “hot toy” we are skipping is Ryan’s Big Egg. The reviews we have seen indicate that it contains mostly cheap china type trinkets and some slime that is so watery that it needs to be tossed. With an MSRP of $40, this could be the “big” gift for some kids and it just doesn’t sound like a good value. IF you have Ryan’s World obsessed kids, the blind bags offer a cheaper alternative and would be perfect for stockings (note: the blind bags are about $4 – don’t buy from 3rd party sellers)! The third is Hatchimals Mystery. They’re pushing these hard. So far nearly all of the reviews are Vine reviews. This means they have received them for free – not awful – Vine is made up of Amazon’s top reviewers, but we’ll hold off for more “real life” reviews. Finally, we’re giving Fingerlings Hugs a pass. They’re kinda creepy looking and who really needs another $30 “interactive” stuffed animal. Maybe we’ll come around as the holiday season progresses, but we’re just not there yet…
What Toys have come off the list?
With our latest update, we have also removed Cry Babies and Grumblies from the list. They just aren’t getting a lot of hype. We have a Cry Baby. She has been sitting in a corner untouched since the initial excitement. The Grumblies do seem cute, but I’m not sure they have much staying power.