Looking for some great holiday toys that are both fun and educational? Toy Insider’s Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht stopped by NBC in Chicago to show off some of smartest new toys of the holidays. 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.


  • Botley the Coding Robot gives children as young as five early exposure to coding and helps them gain confidence in STEM through fun, imaginative play.
  • Botley is 100-percent screen free and does not require the use of a smartphone or tablet. Ready to use right out of the box, a simple remote control allows children to code up to 120 programmable steps.
  • And, a 77-piece activity set gives children the tools to create challenges and activities like obstacle courses and mazes.
  • Botley grows with children and has many features to discover including looping, black line following, and smart logic to detect objects – and avoid them! There are also secret hidden features for children to discover.
  • Ages: 5-9
  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, Walmart, learningresources.com


  • Speed to Gotham City crime scenes with the motorized Lego DC Super Heroes App-Controlled Batmobile.
  • This cool vehicle features two motors powered by a Bluetooth-controlled battery hub, an opening minifigure cockpit, four-wheel drive, and two dual-stud shooters.
  • Simply download the app to control the vehicle from your smartphone or tablet.
  • This set also includes a new-for-August-2018 Batman minifigure.
  • Ages: 8+
  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Available: shop.lego.com


  • This fun, motorized STEM construction kit encourages team play and fosters relationships with challenging and competitive activities or shared role-play interactions.
  • Designed to put kids building skills to the test, these Balancing Boxing Robots are fun to build and even more fun to drive!
  • Once assembly is complete, these “smart-tech” self-stabilizing boxers are ready to enter the ring.
  • Its detailed and active play improves hand-eye coordination, physical awareness and balance and dexterity.
  • Drive and control these bots with the “VEX pilot” mobile app available for free for Apple and Android Smart Devices.
  • Updates are automatically pushed to your boxer via the VEX Pilot app – ensuring you always have the most current version. 
  • Compatible with the VEX IQ platform used by over 1 million students in classrooms and global competitions.
  • Includes a “smart-tech” self-stabilizing feature that is accomplished through the use of a gyroscope and accelerometer.
  • Ages: 8+
  • MSRP: $149.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels


  • Voice Originals: When in Rome is a travel trivia board game that connects to Alexa for a voice-enhanced gaming experience.
  • To play, set up the board and open the When In Rome Alexa Skill on your smart speaker or app, divide into two teams, and the game begins.
  • Alexa teaches you how to play, keeps score, and immerses you in the world of the game.
  • With When In Rome, Alexa will fly you around the world to the 20 different cities on the map, where you’ll be introduced to real recorded locals who ask questions about the city’s music, culture, food, customs, landmarks, and more.
  • Alexa also keeps score and remembers what questions you’ve been asked and is always ready to throw a new one at you!
  • Requires Amazon Alexa device, sold separately.
  • Ages:  13+
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Canadian MSRP: CAD $39.99
  • Available: Amazon