This post contains affiliate links. Kidz Buyz may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. Thanks for your support!
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 an extremely 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 #OOTD Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar
The L.O.L Surprises #OOTD Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar is expected to be the most popular children’s Advent Calendar this year. It has not yet been released, but Walmart does have a listing for it here. The Retail Price is $29.99 and it is rumored to have 1 doll and then various outfits and accessories for the remaining days.
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
L.O.L Surprise Live Interactive Pets
L.O.L Surprise Live Interactive Pets are another new Holiday toy release. Live Surprise Pets respond to touch and sound with over 60 different reactions. Their retail price is $24.99 and so far they have only popped up at Target (plus there was a false alarm at Amazon).
Where to Buy L.O.L Surprise Live Pets
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). 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 knock offs – and they’re not even good ones)
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. We are expecting restocks. The Outfit Set and My Life as Jojo Candy Shop have not loaded 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 are 12 total and what you get is a surprise. These are already very hard to find. They have been popping up at Target in-store, but have not stocked online since the end of August. We will be watching for them for sure!
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’s sold out at everywhere online making it the current “hottest toy”. (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
Pre-orders are open for this mid-September release. 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 are 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.
Where to Buy Lil’ Gleemerz
Little Live Wrapples are another option in the popular 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)! They officially release October 1, 2018 but pre-orders are available. MSRP: $14.99 (don’t pay more or order from 3rd party sellers)
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 play set that includes both a T-Rex and a Raptor. The Raptors have been out since summer and are getting great reviews.
Where to Buy Fingerlings Untamed
Where to Buy Fingerlings Dragons
Three glitter colors available. So far we have only seen them at Amazon, but they should be more broadly available at Walmart and Target in October.
Where to Buy Fingerlings Pandas
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. Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit Releases October 1, 2018, but is available for pre-order.
Where to Buy Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
From the same maker as Pomsies, Grumblies are anything but cute companions. Poke them, shake them and prod them until they melt down with over 40 different reactions. Currently there are 4 different colors available.
Where to Buy Grumblies
The highly anticipated return of Polly Pocket has arrived! The nice part about these play sets 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.
MSRP: $4.99 – $39.99
Where to Buy Polly Pocket
They cry real tears! ANNNND they scream and cry until the pacifier is replaced. This feels like one of those toys you take the batteries out of the day after Christmas. “Guess the batteries died…” BUT Cry Babies are also wildly popular this fall.
Where to Buy Cry Babies
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. We will know more when Wrapples release and get some playing time, but early Pomsies reviews are just kinda meh’.
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 are 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…