If you loved (and I am sure you did) our rebuttal article on Amazon's electronic gift suggestions then this article is right up your alley.
Amazon has released their holiday toy list. They have their top 100 toy list and other categories such as Kid Picks, STEM Stars, Tech Toys and more for us to peruse. We took a look at some of their favorites and suggested some of our own more "dealistic" options.
When you are searching for the best holiday toy, you should just go straight to the experts, the kids! Here are a couple items from the Kid Picks category.
Amazon's suggestion: Hatchimals Surprise Twins - $69.99.
- Our suggestion: Hatchimals CollEGGtibles 4-pack + Bonus - $9.39
Of course we have all heard of Hatchimals. Some of us were even crazy enough to wait out in the freezing cold and brave the long lines to get one last year. Some of us waited until April, but I digress. These furry little creatures are extremely adorable and fun to interact with but oh my are they tight on the purse strings. Since they first came out they have not gone down much in price either.
Thank goodness for the new Hatchmal CollEGGtibles. These are smaller versions of the full-size Hatchimal and they come with multiple eggs in each package, and the best part? They are so much more affordable. You can get the 4-pack for $9 or the 12-pack for $20. The kicker? My daughter actually prefers her collEGGtibles over her full-size Hatchimal because they are "newer". Go figure.
Amazon's suggestion: Laser Pegs T-Rex 20-in-1 Building Set - $56.72.
- Our suggestion: Laser Pegs Race Car 8-in-1 Building Set Building Kit - $19.39
These toys are both pretty gnarly. They are construction sets you build on your own. They contain quite a few pieces, which is why I am guessing the age recommendation is for 8 years old and up. The bonus is that they light up. Whether you are a car enthusiast or just like to build, this toy would be an excellent option.
I am not saying that there is anything necessarily wrong with the Laser Pegs T-Rex 20-in-1 Building Set, but it will cost you an extra $30 and it has worse reviews than the Laser Pegs Race Car 8-in-1 Building Set Building Kit.
STEM toys are all the rage right now and parents such as myself could not be happier. STEM toys are not only fun for children but they are also learning tools. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Because of those educational values, as a parent I would be more inclined to spend a little more coin. Below are a couple sweet toys from the STEM category.
Amazon's suggestion: K'NEX 439-piece Thrill Rides Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set - $60.13.
Our suggestion: K'NEX 486-piece Education Swing Ride Building Set - $39.99
I wouldn't have a problem getting the K'NEX 439-piece Thrill Rides Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set if it was going to be the only STEM toy I was buying for my kid, or if it was going to be my child's "big" gift. Otherwise I am going to be leaning toward the K'NEX 486-piece Education Swing Ride Building Set for almost half the price. They both have almost the same amount of pieces and they both have 4.5/5 or above star rating.
Amazon's suggestion: Circuit Cubes Whacky Wheels Stem Toy Lego Compatible Electronic Building Blocks Construction Kit - $59.99.
- Our suggestion: Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit - $18.04
The Circuit Cubes Whacky Wheels Stem Toy Lego Compatible Electronic Building Blocks Construction Kit teaches children the basics of circuit building with electronic building blocks. It comes with parts and materials to build 10 projects. The Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit offers kids hands-on experience designing and building models of working electrical circuits. It includes 30 parts and instructions for over 100 projects.
Circuit Cubes might have a better rating at 5 out of 5 stars, but this rating was based on only 5 customer reviews. I would much rather put my faith in the Snap Circuits which received a 4.8 out of 5 star rating based on 5,512 reviews and is a #1 best-seller in electronic kits on Amazon.
Girls as well as boys go through the doll phase at some point during their childhood. Dolls have truly come a long way. They are more realistic than ever while still teaching children responsibility.
Amazon's suggestion: American Girl Doll - $60.
- Our suggestion: Glitter Girls by Battat 14-inch Doll - Fifer - $19.99
This item strikes a chord, or should I say nerve with me. American Girl dolls are cute, yes, but they are ridiculously expensive. This particular American Girl is actually on the cheaper side at $60. These dolls usually cost $115 and up. They even have their own magazine, which my daughter saw at my mom's house, and now has to have one. Well, she is not getting one. Sorry. I will be getting her the same doll but without the brand name and for at least $40 less. The American Girl WellieWishers Camille Doll has blonde hair and blue eyes and is 14.5-inches long. The Glitter Girls by Battat Fifer Doll also has blonde hair and is 14-inches long.
The Glitter Girl Doll can also be played with without me hovering over my daughter making sure she doesn't ruin it. Trust me, If I paid $60 or more for a doll, my daughter would not be able to play with it without myself worrying the entire time. You can get an entire outfit ensemble for the Glitter Girl Doll for $13, while an outfit for an American Girl Doll Mermaid Outfit would run you $20. Need I say more?
Amazon's suggestion: Luvabella Brunette Hair Responsive Baby Doll - $141.49.
- Our suggestion: Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin' Noodles Baby (Brunette) - $39.94
The Luvabella Brunette Hair Responsive Baby Doll (check out the blonde one) features true-to-life facial expressions and personality. She moves, talks and plays. You can cover her eyes for a game of peek-a-boo, tickle her tummy and toes to make her giggle, or place a hand on her chest to listen to her heartbeat. The more you play with her, the more she'll talk. Her baby babble will transform into over 100 clear words and phrases. She comes with a spoon to feed her and if she's not full, she may ask you for more.
Now let's go through everything the Baby Alive Brunette (or get the blonde one for $20) Snackin' Noodles Baby doll has to offer. This doll tells you when she is hungry and will politely ask you for her noodles. She comes with a utensil and a bowl. Fill her bowl and feed her the noodles. After she eats she needs a diaper change. The food actually goes through her into her diaper. If you tickle her belly she'll start talking. Flip the switch in her back to choose who she's speaking to when she says "Mommy" and "Daddy". She can say over 20 phrases and sounds in English or Spanish.
I think this choice is a no-brainer. Yes, the Luvabella says more words and features a few more interactions, but I think the Baby Alive doll is a much better starter doll for your child. Once your child shows that they can handle the Baby Alive doll and treat her responsibly, then maybe you can think about opening up your wallet and forking out $140 for the Luvabella doll.
Let's get technical. Technology rules the world so of course Tech has its own category of toys. From a dog that you run using an app to a Porsche ride-on truck, Tech Toys is easily my favorite toy category.
Amazon's suggestion: furReal Makers Proto Max - $119.99
- Our suggestion: Zoomer Meowzies, Lux, Interactive Kitten - $34.99
The furReal Makers Proto Max is $85 more than the latter so of course it is going to be a little bit more technically advanced and it hasn't even been released yet (check out Amazon's Pre-order Price Guarantee), but the Zoomer is nothing to be scoffed at. The Zoomer features moveable legs and wheels on the bottom of their feet so you can roll her around. Meowzies will respond to your touch, has light up eyes and plays games. The more your child plays with her, the happier she becomes. She has special sensors on her head, back and chest so she knows when you're petting her. Her interactive LED eyes light up to show how she is feeling. If you wave your hand in front of her chest sensors, her LED eyes follow you. It features interactive games and has two special tricks such as saying "I love you" and gives kisses.
The big difference with the furReal Makers Proto Max is that it comes with a downloadable app and allows children to code and create their pets personality and teach them tricks. That is cool, but unless your kid is into coding I would just stick with the more affordable but still interactive Zoomer. Click here to check out all Zoomer Meowzies.
Amazon's suggestion: Rollplay GMC Sierra Denali 12-Volt Battery-Powered Ride-On, Black - $442.99
- Our suggestion: Rollplay Porsche Macan 6V Battery-Operated Ride-On Ride On, White - $199.99
The Rollplay Porsche drives at speeds up to 2.5 mph in forward and reverse with an easy-to-use foot pedal. Both doors open and latch closed. The 6V Porsche has working LED headlights, chrome wheels, detailed dashboard, and horn and engine sounds. This ride-on is for toddlers ages 3 and up and weighing up to 77 pounds. For replacement parts just visit Rollplay.com.
The Rollplay GMC Sierra Denali has 12 Volts instead of 6, however it goes the same speed as the Porsche and is recommended for children 3 and up. It includes cup holders, a clear windshield, a detailed dashboard, and real mirrors that fold. This car can hold a little more weight at a max of 130-pounds and the 1 year warranty is also a nice perk.
I think the GMC is cool looking and the 130-pound weight capacity is nice for older kids, but I definitely don't see why I would pay double the price of the Porsche just for 6 more volts and folding mirrors. Also the GMC only has a 3.9 out of 5 star rating. That isn't horrible but for close to $500 I need more. I think the clear choice here is the Porsche for $240 less.
Family game nights are always so much fun. With winter coming Christmas is the perfect time to stock up your game collection. Board games are not the only thing to do during family nights. Playing trains is also a classic fun-loving time enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Amazon's suggestion: Pie Face Sky High Game - $19.99
- Our suggestion: Soggy Doggy Board Game - $14.88
Last year Pie Face was extremely popular. It seemed like everyone was sharing videos and pictures of their families playing this game. As fun as this game is, it is messy and time consuming. The new Pie Face Sky High will just as - if not more messy. Because of this it will probably only get played once a year. Another just as fun interactive game that everyone is talking about this year is Soggy Doggy. It is less messy and I think will be played more often.
The game is simple and people of all ages will love it. You simply roll the die and move your game piece around the game board, taking turns washing Soggy Doggy. If you land on a space with a 'paw' you get to pump water from the shower to wash Soggy Doggy. If you land on a space with a 'faucet' you get to turn the tap to see what happens next. If the dog gets too wet he shakes himself dry. If you are the one that causes the dog to shake you have to start over. The first one around the board and back to the doggy basket wins. Don't worry, you don't get soaked, just a tiny amount of water. This game also has better reviews than Pie Face Sky High and is the #1 best-seller in board games on Amazon.
Amazon's suggestion: Lego City Cargo Train Toy - $199.95
- Our suggestion: On Track USA 100-piece All In One Wooden Train Set - $59.99
Yes, the Lego City Cargo Train is cool, but let's face it, you are paying $200 for the brand. I like Lego's as much as the next person but I do think they are commonly overpriced. Unlike the Lego set, the On Track USA train set is compatible with most major brands, even Thomas the Train. Both the Lego and On Track USA train sets got 4/5 star reviews. On Track USA has vehicles, houses, buildings, people, trees, bushes, signs and a clear plastic container to store the pieces in. It has 100 pieces where as the Lego set has 888-pieces. I know that seems cool, but imagine having that cleanup job. I step on enough toys as it is without the addition of 888 more.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.