Looking to grab the hottest toys of the holiday season before they sell out? Toy Insider’s Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht stopped by “The Jam” on Chicago’s WCIU to show off some the year’s best new toys. For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for the complete rundown of the best toys of the holiday season, be sure to check our complete Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide.


  • The centerpiece of the Calico Critters new Town series is the Grand Department Store, the most iconic building in the series, which also introduces Stella.
  • It features elegant, sophisticated styling and a unified design for even more freedom with the layout.
  • With finely sculpted areas and exquisite attention to detail, it draws children in and enhances imaginative play.
  • The special gift set comes complete with terrace, balconies, custom windows, awnings, flags, and railings to spark even more customizable play.
  • The play starts at the entrance tower through the revolving doors and continues throughout all levels on the elevator.
  • Once upstairs, children can send their Calico Critters out to the terrace or balconies to watch over the beauty of the Town.
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $129.95
  • Available: Amazon


  • The set includes Barbie chef doll, kitchen counter, appliances, cooking and dining utensils, and five different colors of dough to make food items.
  • Lift the cutting board for vegetable molds — fill with dough, press down, and lift to reveal veggies.
  • Make the perfect sandwich – fill the sandwich mold with dough. Place into the machine and press the silver handlebar, watch the dough rise, and slide the lever across.
  • Cook up a side of fries — drop the yellow dough into the fryer, press the handlebar down and watch as the perfect batch of fries emerge.
  • Don’t forget the dessert — place dough into the pie baking mold and slide into the oven. Press the button and listen for the ding.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $ 54.99
  • Available: Walmart, Target, Amazon


  • Cute animals react to touch! Press on its belly, head or back and hear your animal’s playful personality come to life.
  • 20+ animal sounds, and each character has its own unique calls!
  • Collectible creatures include: Lin the Panda Bear, Zane the Black Rhino, Sami the Snow Leopard, Sura the Polar Bear and Waya the Grey Wolf.
  • Each character includes a keychain so you can carry your Lil’ Nature Baby around with you on your backpack, wallet, or clothes!
  • Habitats include a Bamboo Grove and Mountain Falls for Lin, the Savannah Plains with Zane, Icy Cavern for Sura, Frosty Peak for Sami and a Forest Den for Waya.
  • All the cute characters are endangered species, raising awareness for their status.
  • All the interactive playsets can be connected or used as standalone units.
  • Large playsets even light up, perfect for a nightlight.
  • Both small and large playsets include one Lil’ Nature Babies single.
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $9.99 (singles) $19.99 (small playset) $24.99 (large playset)
  • Available: Target, Amazon, HEXBUG.com


  • Kids can help this clever pup to do fun tricks, from flipping his bone, to shaking “paws,” and even shuffling eagerly for more!
  • Feed him treats to reward him for his tricks, or pet his back for a job well done, but be careful…he might need a bathroom break!
  • This adorable pup responds to sound and touch with more than 100 sound and motion combinations and features sensors on his cheeks, nose, mouth, paw, and back, making interactions with this talented pup awesome!
  • After a day full of fun, Ricky loves to cuddle and give great doggie licks. His poseable legs make him the perfect pup for endless snuggles!
  • Includes a bone accessory, 18 doggie treats, and a treat pouch.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $129.99
  • Available: Target, Walmart, HasbroToyShop.com


  • She’s soft and cute, but she’ll turn on you if you squeeze her!
  • Feisty Pets are soft and cute, but they’re feisty!
  • Features a unique, interactive plush design.
  • Squeeze the back of the head to change expression from cute to fur-ociously funny.
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $19.99
  • Available: Target, Walmart, Gamestop


  • Designed for kids with a nurturing side, these color and wash clean collectible toys give kids a chance to customize and be caretakers for their pets.
  • With the four adorable included pets — two dogs, one cat, and one rabbit — and washable markers, kids can create new colorful coats for their pets over and over again.
  • When it’s time for a new look, just pop them in the kid-powered scrub tub to clean them up, and kids will have a fresh bank canvas on which to create.
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $19.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Crayola.com


  • This Slime kit makes slime that uses light to shine and sparkle!
  • Comes complete with everything you need to make slime and a LED light to make it glow!
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $9.99
  • Available: Walmart, specialty stores


  • Every Harry Potter fan knows that a game of Quidditch only ends when the Snitch is caught. Now fans of the ultimate wizarding sport will be able to connect with their inner Seeker and wow their friends as they attempt to catch the new Mystery Flying Snitch as it appears to magically fly about them.
  • The Mystery Flying Snitch is suspended by a high tensile Aramid fibre thread. The thread is approximately twice as strong as steel of the same thickness, but almost totally invisible from 6 feet, allowing you to recreate magical scenes from the Harry Potter films.
  • This new incarnation of the famous winged Quidditch ball is ideal for cosplay and each kit comes with a free Quidditch poster for inspiration and display plinth.
  • Ages: 6+
  • MSRP: $24.99
  • Available: Target