Best New 2016 Holiday Toys

Our expert's picks for awesome fun and games.

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Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht Shares Her Faves


Whether you’re looking to unleash kids’ creativity, develop their STEM skills, encourage collaborative play or just get the whole family having some fun, Laurie has found the perfect toy.

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Color Me Pretty


Drawing on the walls—and even in the air!—is A-OK with the 3Doodler Start. Like a mini 3-D printer, the pen releases a colorful, eco-friendly plastic that hardens quickly. Even better, the doodling is safe and cleanup’s a cinch. 3Doodler, $50, ages 8+

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If your kids are crushing every level of their favorite video games, up the degree of difficulty with Bloxels. Players create their own video game courses and characters using colored blocks on a grid, which can then be uploaded to an app. The community feature makes it easy to share designs and compete with others. Mattel, $50, ages 8+

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Master Builder


Kids learn valuable STEM skills by constructing their own Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival. Modular pieces make building a Ferris wheel, carousel, swings and more a snap! Motors can be added to make some of the rides go round and round. PlayMonster, $45, ages 8+

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Fin-Flappin’ Family Fun


Happy Salmon is a fast-paced card game that gets everyone on their feet and interacting. Players scramble to team up and perform actions—think high-fives and fist-bumps—as instructed by their cards. The first one to ditch their entire deck wins. North Star Games, $15, ages 6+

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Hands-Free Play


A modern twist on the iconic memory game, Simon Air challenges kids to watch, remember and repeat patterns—all with touchless technology that senses their motions. Just like the classic version, it can be played solo or against a partner. Hasbro, $20, ages 8+

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Brynk takes stacking games to a whole other level. Kids collaborate to build their own tower, one piece at a time, on a topsy-turvy base. If it falls over, you lose! Each round is a new challenge. Winning Moves Games, $20, ages 7+

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DIY Dino


Traditional dinosaur models are so Jurassic. The Meccano Meccasaur is a walking, talking, roaring T. rex that kids build and program. Budding engineers can teach it many tricks, including stomping away sibling intruders. Dinos even answer yes or no questions and respond to petting. Spin Master, $100, ages 10+