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25 Hottest Kids Toys for Christmas

Predicting the hottest kids toys each Christmas is a particular parental nightmare. Fortunately, major merchants are worried we'll spend even less this year, so they're discounting an array of toys for kids they expect to be the biggest sellers. Coupons, pop-up stores and special promotions all figure into their plans.

Walmart announced in mid-October it's cutting prices on everything from a Nerf gun to Barbie to Ben 10 alien games -- well ahead of the holiday season. Target is discounting half its 2,000 toys via weekly ads, coupons and other promotions. Toys R Us is opening 600 temporary or pop-up stores for the holidays in malls and other locations to capture toy dollars.

All three have monitored toy trends from around the world, hoping to catch buying waves before the hit tsunami levels. Read on to learn the top 25 kids toys anticipated to be the big sellers for Christmas 2010.

FurReal Friends

1. FurReal Friends - $12
Ages: 4 and up
Zhu-Zhu pets may have dominated your home in recent years, but the little interactive FurReal Friends are poised to take over the market. Coming in at around the same size as a Zhu-Zhu, FurReals offer many more animal options, including dogs, bunnies, raccoons, cats, squirrels and hedgehogs. Each make cute little noises and include all sorts of add-on accessories that will prove must-haves to pint-sized collectors. With houses, playsets and even great outfits, maybe these critters can form a lasting peace with the robotic hamster next door.

Mix Pups

2. Collectible Mix Pups (plastic and plush) - $6 and $8
Ages: 4 to 6 years
The 8-inch plastic Mix Pups are pre-named and include one dog and four accessories. Each Roxy, Maddie, Lucy, etc. is numbered and comes with a personalized bed featuring their name.

Plush Mix Pups are 6-inches high and come with skirt, collar, bow or hat and background story. Children can name their plush pet and download an adoption certification.

XBOX Kinect

3. XBOX Kinect - $150
All ages, with proper supervision
Target predicts fitness-inspired toys are going to be big, big, big this year and fans are going to leap at the XBOX Kinect. A big step forward in the world of motion-activated video games, Kinect simply attaches to your current XBOX and, unlike Wii, requires no controllers. It's wholly voice-activated and employs a 3-D camera with microphones to actually place players inside the game.

Nerf Blaster

4. Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS Blaster - $44 on early sale at Walmart
Ages: 8 and up
Perhaps the best Nerf blaster ever -- and that's saying something! Serious power is what kids have sought since the inception of NERF toys, and that's sure to make the ECS Blaster one of the hottest toys for Christmas 2010. The handle morphs into a bipod so your child can get a bit of stability with every shot, and the shield is actually removable. With real sighting technology as well as clips that hold 18 darts each, this isn’t your grandfather's NERF gun. Buy it early at Walmart, however, as this is one of their pre-holiday sale items offered at a low-low price. 

Tonka Stunt Park

5. Tonka Chuck's Stunt Park - $30 to $40
Ages: 3 and up
For a tiny car with a big smile, Tonka Chuck has some ginormous friends. The playset includes Chuck the Dump Truck plus a system of ramps, bridges and a lift platform complete with steam-shovel head. As a side note: Walmart has also discounted the Tonka Light and Sound Truck from $15 to $10 for early Christmas shopping.

Disney Princess Dolls

6. Disney Princess & Me Dolls - $50 to $75
Ages: 6 to 8
These 18-inch dolls feature your child's favorite princesses: Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana. The collectible dolls are available individually or with accessories, naturally. Disney also offers costume changes, like Cinderella's ballet dress and toe shoes, although I don't recall Cindy wearing a tutu to that infamous ball.

Iron Man action figure

7. Rocket Boost Iron Man - $18.50
Ages: 3 and up
"Hero up!" The huge popularity of Iron Man II reinvigorated the market for all things related to Hollywood's hottest superhero, but many of the toys were designed for older children or adults. This action figure is the perfect size for little hands and, because it has extra wide feet, can easily stand up without support. The action figure includes retractable wings, battle sounds, multiple phrases, light-up eyes, rocket pods and more.

Minotaurus game

8. Minotaurus and Other LEGO Board Games - $27
Ages: 7 and up
At last, a game based on the bull-headed character from Greek mythology! But seriously, LEGO has long been about building options for kids. Among the best toys this year are their line of board games, including more than 10 choices tied to some of the best movie franchises in the country, including Toy Story, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

Sing-a-ma-jigs

9. Sing-a-ma-jigs from Fisher Price - $17
Ages: 4 and up
These brightly colored plush toys with the oddly shaped mouths sing or chatter when you press their tummies. Each 10-inch moppet has its own signature song, including "When the Saints go Marching In" and "Oh Suzanna." There are only six tiny band members at the moment, all of which can join together to sing in harmony, but Fisher Price has plans to extend the line.

vTech MobiGo

10. vTech MobiGo - $60
Ages: 3 to 5 years
One of the biggest complaints about video games for tots is that they’re either far too complex or too simple for little hands, but reviewers say vTech MobiGo has hit the nail on the head. This interactive toy offers a flip out QWERTY keyboard, a touch-sensitive screen and very playable learning games.

V.Reader

11. VTech's V.Reader - $60
Ages: 36 months to 7 years
VTech hit another one out of the park with this easily navigated reader. It has a beautiful screen, a stylus, and is so simple even the youngest of children will be able to locate their favorite part of any book. Kids can choose their avatars and background theme as well as changing pages either using buttons or a stylus.

Bigfoot

12. Bigfoot the Monster - $110
Ages: 3 to 5 years
Bigfoot from Imaginext is a a pug-ugly, remote-controlled friend with more than 80 actions and phrases. At 14-inches tall, he's one of the bigger toys around this Christmas. The mythical monster comes with a tot-friendly remote control to walk both backward and forward, perform flips, breathe and even belch. Where he got the beige t-shirt, however, we'll never know.

Squinkies

13. Squinkies - $11 per pack of 16
Ages: 4 and up
These tiny plastic playthings come in packs of 16 but, naturally, have multiple accessories that allow your child to create an entire world. They’re a simple way to reward your kiddo and the toys themselves can be used as pencil toppers or a charm on the bracelet companion. Separate fantasy worlds include a gumball machine and a cupcake shop.

Loopz

14. Mattel's Loopz - $30
Ages: 7 and up
This electronic memory-challenge game looks to be the hot family game of the year. It's an updated version of Simon Says, designed for one to four players and requiring speed, hand-eye coordination and memory. Players must move their hands through four different loops reflecting various light patterns. It sounds simple but there are many aspects to this complex game.

Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse

15. Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse - $80
Ages: 3 and up
These critters have more living space than many Recession-impacted Americans. This two-story luxury townhome includes four rooms, a balcony, sunny windows, a sweet staircase and a giant front yard (carpeted, linoleum or what have you) for the Calico Critters and their Cloverleaf Corner friends. Furnishings, critters and others are extra. The townhouse is from International Playthings.

Moto Frenzy

16. Air Hogs Moto Frenzy - $25
Ages 8 to 18
Spin Master takes micro radio-controlled motorcycles to a whole new level of performance. The 4-inch cycle catches air while performing indoor stunts, just like your child's favorite Motocross riders. A built-in rear-gyro stabilizing fly wheel ensures kids can carve sharp turns without eating gravel (or carpet).

Paper Jamz

17. WowWee's Paper Jamz - $25
Ages: 5 and up
Finally, a musical toy that both lets you play air guitar and create your own music without shredding your fingers. This plastic and cardboard guitar with paper keyboard includes four modes: Play three hits perfectly; control the guitar rhythm for each song; play real chords to create your own songs; and perform karaoke style. Amps and drums are also available from WowWee for advanced neighbor annoyance.

Cleo and gang

18. Monster High's Cleo DeNile and Deuce Gorgon - $40
Ages: 6 to 12
There's always a popular clique, even at Monster High. Sweethearts Cleo (daughter of The Mummy) and Deuce (Medea's son) are the most fashionable of the cool crowd at this ghostly school. Naturally, Cleo and Deuce require lots of "friends" and accessories.

Tri-County Landfill

19. Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill - $64
Ages: 3 and up
Next time your kid is down in the dumps, let him play in an uplifting landfill that recreates the Toy Story 3 climax. The Imaginext playset includes Lotso, Buzz and the Little Green Aliens. There are three levels of play, featuring a giant scoop that dumps the figures into a sorter where they're spit onto conveyor belts and moved from one level to the next. Lurking at the bottom is the incinerator and threatening bulldozer. Players must use the crane arm to grab their favorite characters and whisk them away to safety.

Omnitrix

20. Omnitrix from "Ben 10" - $20
Ages: 4 to 15 years
Experts predict toys based on television characters will be hot this year -- but when aren't they? Cartoon Network's "Ben 10" animated TV series has spawned some popular toys, especially the Omnitrix, an alien device in the form of a watch which transforms Ben into any creature he chooses. There are also Ben 10 alien games, action figures and cards, but the Omnitrix is expected to be the big hit this Christmas.

Pillow Pets

21. Pillow Pets - $20
Ages: 3 years and up
Ontel Products' fuzzy friends convert from pillows to animals via Velcro straps across the pets' bellies. Pillow Pets are machine washable, fluff dry and extra snugly. They're perfect for travel and conform to government regulations. Available in a variety of 18-inch models.

R/C Stealth Ride

22. Hot Wheels R/C Stealth Rides - $25
Ages: 8 and up
Kids (and many adults) never grow tired of these card-deck-sized car models. The price is hefty, but they're durable and collectible, so don't throw them away moms! These remote-controlled versions fit into a slim carrying case that doubles as the controller.

Leapster

23. Leapster Explorer Learning Game System - $65
Ages: 4 to 9
Many kids these days have grown up with the friendly and fun Leapster from Leapfrog. The manufacturer's latest electronic device includes games, e-books, a video recorder and other features.

Snap Circuits Jr.

24. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 - $30
Ages: 8 to 12 years
The Elenco Electronics Inc. Snap Circuits is perfect for the budding electronics engineer in the house. Who knows, perhaps your tech-minded child will grow up to create killer apps or found the next Facebook (without all those nasty lawsuits.) For more advanced geniuses, there's Snap Circuits SC-300 for $39.

Zoobles

25. Zoobles - $5.99
Ages: 4 and up
Spin Master's Zoobles are colorful spheres that pop open into cute characters when placed on their magnetized "Happitats." Naturally, there are hundreds of Zooble characters, themes and playsets to collect and play with, all geared toward girls.

Before you begin shopping, check out our helpful posts, "How to Create a Christmas Budget".

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