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Top Toy Picks to Encourage Hours of Fun: Holiday Gift Guide

What will be the runaway favorites this year is always a guess, but here are some of the latest trends, mixed with tried-and-true perennial favorites.

Every holiday season, the mailbox fills with the latest toy catalogs. Children peruse the pages as they scribble their lists, daydreaming about what they will find under the tree come Christmas morning. Parents pull out their pocketbooks, spending hard-earned cash as they anticipate the joy on those little faces.

What will be the runaway favorites this year is always a guess, but here are some of the latest trends, mixed with tried-and-true perennial favorites. Most of these toys can be found at Walmart, Target, Once Upon a Child or Kohls

jChews Smartphone teether by Jellystone
No tears for parents or babies. Babies love nothing more than to gum Mom and Dad’s cell phone, but now they’ll be too intrigued with their own smartphone to chew on. The Jellystone smartphone teether comes in seven funky colors and is BPA free. Find them at JellystoneDesignsUSA.com and Amazon.com.

Fisher Price Brilliant Basics
This toy line for toddlers features bright, primary colors and easy-to-clean surfaces. Parents will appreciate the durability of these toys which have lasted in popularity for generations, and the toys are sure to be played with over and over by curious toddlers.

Boikido’s Musical Blocks
Selected by Parenting.com as one of a great educational baby toy, these blocks bring depth to baby’s playtime. Beads, rattles and bells are tucked within the blocks to create a multi-sensory experiences. Find them at Amazon.com.

Melissa & Doug wooden toys
The latest toy trends come and go, but high-quality wooden toys by Melissa and Doug last forever. These wooden toys get high marks from parents for their durability and versatility. Cars and trucks work with the wooden train set too, allowing for hours and hours of play.

Little Tikes iTikes Canvas
Kids loves to use their parents’ iPad, but parents are often hesitant to put the expensive gadget into little hands. Well, the iTikes Canvas not only serves as a magnetic drawing board, but by taking out the drawing board and inserting the iPad, the iTikes Canvas makes a sturdy iPad case. Downloading the free iCanvas app turns the iPad into a versatile drawing tool where kids can save their drawings, share them on Facebook or send them to friends.

LEGOs
LEGOs have been around for generations. Sets are passed down from father to son, and the company is continually adding new sets to appeal to different audiences. With so much variety, from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, there is something for everyone. And the LEGO Friends line appeals to girls as well.

Monster High
Monsters, vampires and werewolves are all the rage right now. The popular Monster High dolls pair the latest fashions with great details. The latest line is Monster High Ghouls Rule. The Monster High—High School Playset is also now available.

Skylanders Giants
What do you do when you have a popular video game where toys come to life? Make a line of toys to extend the game play! Skylanders Giants takes the toys from the video game and recreates them as MEGA Bloks construction sets.

Lalaloopsy Dolls
The Lalaloopsy Dolls bright colors and adorable outfits call to little girls everywhere. A modern-day rag doll, the storyline recounts that the dolls came to life when their last stitches were sewn. The line started with plastic versions, a big hit last holiday season. Now a soft doll line has been added. You’ll find the same characters as the original line but in a more, huggable, snuggable version. Both lines should be popular with girls this holiday season, especially with the addition of Lalaloopsy Littles, the pint-size younger siblings of Lalaloopsy characters.

LeapPad 2 Explorer tablet
The LeapPad2 capitalizes on the popularity of last year’s LeapPad Explorer while giving it more memory, better battery life and more features. It comes with two built-in cameras and has more than 325 apps, games, music and videos.

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