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Retro is cool, and Polaroid-style photos are the “in” teen thing. This affordable instant film printer allows kids to turn smartphone photos into hard-copy keepsakes. $40
Why we love it: No app or battery required.
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Nintendo Labo (Nintendo)
With each Nintendo Labo kit (Variety, Robot and Vehicle, sold separately), kids transform modular sheets of cardboard—specially designed to interact with the Nintendo Switch Console and Joy-Con controllers—into Toy-Con creations. Kids can build a functioning 13-key piano, motorbike, robot and more, then connect their creation to the console to play. $70 to $80
Why we love it: Who knew cardboard would be one of the hottest toys of the year?
- RELATED: 100 Ways to Holiday
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Arcade 1Up (Tastemakers)
These classic arcade game cabinets are available in five versions (with three to four games per cabinet): Asteroids, Centipede, Street Fighter II, Rampage and, yes, Galaga! Although at 4 feet they’re a bit shorter than the originals, the joysticks, buttons, sounds and high-resolution, full-color displays are just like you remember. $400
Why we love it: Endless hours of retro gaming are in your future—put this on your own wish list!
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Mystery Flying Snitch
The Flying Snitch appears to circle magically and avoid capture, just like in the Harry Potter films. (The secret is the string, which is nearly invisible from a few feet away.) The Snitch also has authentic flapping wings. $25
Why we love it: Being a wizard has never been easier and is guaranteed to thrill any Potterhead—or even a mere Muggle.
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Beard Ball (Buffalo Games)
Hipster alert! Team up to see who can score more points by throwing a Ping-Pong-style ball with strips of Velcro at a sticky beard worn by your fellow player. Dice and stunt cards determine which beard to sport and the specifics of the throwing challenge. $20
Why we love it: It may sound silly, but Beard Ball requires skill and dexterity.
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The Original Tiny Hands Challenge Game
A hilarious team vs team party game that challenges players to complete seemingly simple tasks—catching a ball, turning over a playing card, serving a drink—with a pair of tiny (or tinier) hands. $15
Why we love it: This wacky game gives a newfound appreciation for thumbs.
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Hot Wheels Augmoto Augmented Reality Racing Track Set (Mattel)
A blending of video game competition and old-school toy track racing. Players compete to complete their laps—the cars are controlled by smartphones—while augmented reality (AR) adds intensity with a loop of fire, hazardous oil
spills, fireworks and more.
Why we love it: AR technology makes it feel like real racing.
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VEX Balancing Boxing Robots
Once assembled, these self-stabilizing boxing robots are ready to enter the ring. Players control the robots’ actions, including uppercuts and jabs, using the VEX Pilot app. $150
Why we love it: Kids think they’re just building toys but they’re actually learning about physics, motion and engineering.
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Stranger Things Figures
Stranger Things fans can bring the Upside Down to the real world with high-end 7-inch collectible figures, each with a display base. Get favorites like Eleven, Demogorgon, Dustin, Will and Barb. $20
Why we love it: Attention to detail, from wrinkles in the clothing to dirt on the kids’ faces, gives these figures a high-end look at an affordable price.