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Parents may face challenges finding the most popular toys this holiday season

Experts say consumers will want to start shopping earlier this year

Young boy standing near Christmas trees
Photo (c) Oleh_Slobodeniuk - Getty Images
With nearly three weeks to go before Black Friday, major retailers are already in the midst of their holiday deal offerings. For parents, current supply chain bottlenecks may add to the urgency to shop early for toys.

"There is no one 'hot toy' this year for parents to get anxious about buying,” said Joanne Oppenheim, who maintains the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. “However, given the supply shortages, if there is something special your child wants, we recommend not waiting.”

The portfolio, an independent consumer organization, puts together lists of toys for certain age groups. Oppenheim says there are three significant trends this year that can help parents and other family members select toys that are not only fun but aid in a child’s development.

Take a screen break

The first trend might be labeled “old school.” After more than a year of being glued to screens, Oppenheim says kids need a break. Board games, puzzles, and games that promote physical activity are likely to be popular this year. She also notes that dolls reflect the growing emphasis on diversity. 

“We reviewed more doll collections this year that reflect greater diversity by including both girls and boys of varying skin tones and heritages,” she said.

The third trend is technology. The Oppenheim list includes toys that introduce the concept of coding, as well as the first 3D Printer designed specifically for kids. “STEM toys continue to be a hot trend - our testers found the most engaging and entertaining ones,” Oppenheim said.

Find an overlooked toy

Finding an overlooked toy that’s not on everyone else’s list might also be a good strategy. In the U.K., iNews reports that Amazon has already run out of three of the 12 ‘Dreamtoys’ picks unveiled by the toy industry last week.

The Toy Insider predicts that rugged toy trucks will be a popular item this year. New Bright‘s Heavy Metal Truck collection features real, stamped metal body panels that look authentic. The collection includes four 1:10-scale trucks that are controlled by 2.4GHz technology. The trucks are powered by an included rechargeable battery with USB Smart Charge technology.

Other popular toys that currently appear to have adequate supplies include Lego Star Wars sets, Paw Patrol toys, and CoComelon toys.

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