Buy toys? Here’s what industry watchers are trending at

By Michael Lee

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TORONTO (CTV Network) – With a seemingly endless list of choices, finding the right toy this holiday season may seem like a daunting task. Higher costs will certainly be a priority for many families, with the toy industry certainly not being exempt from inflation. But as industry watchers tell CTVNews.ca, there are plenty of options, including budget-friendly ones, for every type of person. Here are the toys they’re on the lookout for:

SQUISHMALLOWS Squishmallows took first place in this year’s Toy of the Year Awards from New York’s The Toy Foundation. On November 21, the foundation announced that the collectible plushies had won Toy of the Year and People’s Choice awards. “Squishmallows continues to resonate with toy lovers around the world for the wide range of characters to collect and the convenience the plush products offer at a time when social and emotional health are top priorities for consumers and retailers alike,” The Toy Foundation said in a press release. The “feel good” toys evoke positive emotions in everyone, from toddlers to adults, said Kristin Morency Goldman, a spokeswoman for The Toy Association, which oversees The Toy Foundation. “They come in so many different animals, characters and themes that you can find the perfect match for every kid on your holiday shopping list,” she said in an email to CTVNews.ca. “They’re not only fun to collect – they’re a comforting companion to cuddle and hug. And thanks to their bright colors and unique designs, they make a great addition to bedroom decor. It’s not hard to see why Squishmallows took home the top honors.”

THE ‘BIG REVEAL’ The Toy Insider from the USA presented a list of five hottest Christmas toys that stood out from the crowd. Included in the list is another collectible plushie, Cats Vs Pickles, a popular, budget-friendly choice that comes in a variety of sizes and with a wide age appeal, Madeleine Buckley, Toy Insider senior editor, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview. “Everyone loves cute things,” she said. The unboxing element and the surprise of not knowing what you’re getting also make it “still incredibly relevant and prevalent in hot toy trends,” Buckley added. And this year Magic Mixies returns, a toy dubbed “worse than ‘Tickle Me Elmo'” by the New York Post due to the Christmas frenzy it caused in 2021, with many retailers reporting the hit item is out of stock is. But where last year’s toy featured a big reveal from a magic cauldron, this time kids can use their magic wand to conjure a magic mixie out of a crystal ball. Buckley said this “big reveal” has become a big trend in the toy industry in recent years. And with Magic Mixies, that revelation can be made again and again. “So it’s a very, very cool, visually very exciting reveal,” Buckley said.

SCIENTIFIC TOYS AND OLD FAVORITES Making it onto Toy Insider’s list of this year’s top STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) gifts, LeapFrog’s Magic Adventures Microscope captures hundreds of videos and photos of flowers, animals, Food and more from the BBC published at the time were displayed with interactive slides. Despite selling for a higher price, Buckley said it uses technology in a “smart” way that’s also appealing. “It has this tremendous wealth of content that comes with the microscope,” she said. Also of note, according to Toy Insider, are the Play-Doh Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset — something that’s caused a lot of excitement at a few industry events this year with its creative potential and storage capacity, Buckley said — and Adventures with Lego’s Peace Starter Course , inspired by the Super Mario video games.

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