Between the Hot 20, STEM 10, and Top 12 Tech top toy lists, The Toy Insider has selected amazing toys that will delight kids of all ages this year. From coding to chimps, dogs to dinos, and cars to creatures, these are the toys that should be on your shopping list!

As parents on The Toy Insider’s Parent Panel, we love all The Toy Insider Toy picks, but we have our favorites. We could only pick one toy from the 42 on the hot lists, and we all agreed it was a hard task! However, we rose to the challenge and these products are the ones we wish would be in our homes for the holidays!

Parent Panel Picks

timburnsTim Burns, A Geek Daddy
Parent Panel PickRoominate Cotton Candy Carnival (PlayMonster)

“As a parent, I appreciate toys that are educational and entertaining for my kids, so the Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival is one of my favorite holiday gift ideas this year. It takes a fun carnival theme and demonstrates to kids that, while riding a ferris wheel or carousel can be fun, so can the experience of being involved with building these attractions. The two included dolls, along with a functioning ride, results in imaginative play for boys and girls. For introducing STEM topics in an amusing way, the Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival gets my nod of approval.”


charlene_2016Charlene DeLoach, Charlene Chronicles
Parent Panel Pick: Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace (VTech)

“Between the variety of rooms, the ability to fold, and the interactive features that can be turned off for non-tech play, this became my parent pick because it also offers tremendous educational and play value. The palace introduces colors, numbers, and letters, in addition to the magical melodies. It is also a non-licensed product that makes this open to all imaginations. Finally, it can be part of the larger Go! Go! family to expand play possibilities beyond the castle walls! Making it a toy that can grow beyond the holiday season.”


stephgloverheadshotStephanie Glover, A Grande Life
Parent Panel Pick: Meccano Meccasaur (Spin Master)

“When I saw the Meccasaur at Toy Fair in February, I knew this was going to be a hot toy for the holidays! The Meccasaur, an interactive, fully-programmable robotic dinosaur, is more than your average dinosaur toy. It helps kid learn about engineering and teaches them problem solving. It can answer questions and has multiple play modes with programmable features. This robotic T-rex can even guard your things in security mode. A hit for both STEM and dinosaur fans!”


destinypacquetteDestiny Paquette, Suburban Wife City Life
Parent Panel Pick: PJ Mask Headquarters Playset (Just Play)

“There’s no doubt about it when I saw the PJ Masks Headquarters I knew it would be my top pick this holiday season. This toy allows kids to play using their imagination and of course some secret spy skills. I love that it’s got 360-degree play making it easier for more people to join in and create more missions! Plus it’s got a slide, a zip line, an elevator, trap doors, and comes with Cat Boy and Cat-Car. I’ll be running “into the night to save the day” with this toy for my kids this holiday!”

jameszahnJames Zahn, The Rock Father
Parent Panel Pick: PJ Masks Headquarters Playset (Just Play)

“When PJ Masks made its debut on Disney Junior last year, parents and licensees were caught off-guard by just how popular it became in such a short period of time. My girls began asking for “PJ Masks toys” almost immediately, making this fall’s arrival of the new collection from Just Play a welcome one. This three-level “totem” is the pinnacle of the collection, offering kids 360-degrees of play, packed with features that will be instantly recognizable to fans of the show. My girls love PJ Masks so much, I recently became on of their first brand ambassadors!”


These are our favorite picks from The Toy Insider’s Hot 2016 toy lists. What are your favorites?

About the author

Charlene DeLoach

Charlene DeLoach

Charlene DeLoach is a contributing editor at The Toy Insider where she primarily covers parenting topics. Charlene has been featured in print and on television more than 100 times. Before joining The Toy Insider, Charlene was an attorney, real estate broker, and interior decorator. In her current life, she has vowed to get grownups using toys as decor and to teach parents and toy companies to think outside the toy box at her websites playroomchronicles.com and totaltoycreative.com. Follow Charlene on Instagram where you'll see that her account is mostly dedicated to pics of her cute dogs, kids, and fun finds.