Hot toys for 2022: Cuddly collectibles, slime and tween fashions top Santa's list this year – NOLA.com

Hot toys for 2022: Cuddly collectibles, slime and tween fashions top Santa's list this year – NOLA.com

Collectible Squishmallows range from 3.5 inches to 24 inches tall, and sell for $10 and up.
Speks 2.5mm Magnet Balls are described by their creator as ‘like a magnetic putty, a stress ball, and adult building blocks all in one.’ Sets start at $34.95.
Speks 2.5mm Magnet Balls are described by their creator as ‘like a magnetic putty, a stress ball, and adult building blocks all in one.’ Sets start at $34.95.
Holiday-themed handmade Dope Slimes mimic the look and smell of candy cane, gingerbread and peppermint. $10 and up.
For teens and tweens, novelty handbags by Bewaltz are a hot option, especially the Ring Ring Convertible Phone Bag. About $35.
For toddlers, the 4-in-1 Game Experience playset offers sports challenges plus a pretend concession stand. It’s $49.99.
This year a 27-inch plush version of Elf on the Shelf is a hot item, for $19.95.
Collectible Squishmallows range from 3.5 inches to 24 inches tall, and sell for $10 and up.
Speks 2.5mm Magnet Balls are described by their creator as ‘like a magnetic putty, a stress ball, and adult building blocks all in one.’ Sets start at $34.95.
When you’ve had a tough day — or maybe a tough couple years — cuddling with something soft and squishy can be very therapeutic. Which is why it’s not surprising that although they debuted in 2017, Squishmallows — round, squishy characters that double as pillows — became a must-have toy of 2020 and have since developed a Beanie Babies-like following, New Orleans toy sellers report.
“They’re not just popular with kids. We actually see people in their 20s coming in looking for them,” said Linda Greenbaum, owner of Learning Express in Metairie, a specialty toy store celebrating 18 years in business this month.
Eight-year-old Penny Porras-Young is hoping to add to her Squishmallows collection this Christmas.
“I have five right now,” she said. “Most of my friends have them too. I’m thinking I’d like a cat, or a dragon or dinosaur, but they also make food ones, so maybe a guacamole taco or a cupcake would be good.”
With Santa’s energy bills heading a little too far north these days, Jolly Old Saint Nick has been rethinking the wisdom of handing out valuab…
There are currently over 1,000 different Squishmallows, and like Beanie Babies they come in a wide array of sizes, from 3.5 inches to 24 inches. They are typically priced between $10 and $45. Rare specimens, however, can go for much more. One of the rarest Squishmallows (only 500 were made) is Jack the Black Cat. In early November, one was being offered for sale through an online marketplace called Mercari for $1,800.
According to a manufacturer’s representative, the most popular Squishmallows this season are expected to be boy and girl elves, Winston the Owl — he’s in a winter hat — and Cam the Cat, who wears a Christmas sweater.
Speks 2.5mm Magnet Balls are described by their creator as ‘like a magnetic putty, a stress ball, and adult building blocks all in one.’ Sets start at $34.95.
Back in 2017, fidget spinners were all the rage at toy stores in New Orleans and elsewhere. Silicone bubble poppers have since filled that niche, but Greenbaum said among her most popular toys this season are two other options for play that offer a satisfying sensory experience.
The first was created as a desk toy for adults, but it’s proven popular with kids as well. Speks 2.5mm Magnet Balls are described by their creator as “like a magnetic putty, a stress ball, and adult building blocks all in one.” Available in 14 different colors, they come in a choice of two sizes — 512 magnet balls for $34.95 or 1,000 for $62.95.
Greenbaum said slime remains a popular tactile temptation, and she has seen great demand for a product line called Dope Slimes.
Holiday-themed handmade Dope Slimes mimic the look and smell of candy cane, gingerbread and peppermint. $10 and up.
These handmade slimes range in texture from cloud, butter and beaded slimes to ice cream, ice and jelly versions. Resembling a slime version of a Dairy Queen Blizzard, this year’s hot holiday offerings mimic the look and smell of candy cane, gingerbread and peppermint. Prices range from $10 to $12 for a 5-ounce container. Not sure what the kid on your list would like best? At DopeSlimes.com you can buy a gift card that the recipient can use on the site to create their own custom slime starting at $14.99.
According to Mary Wood, buyer for Metairie’s Le Jouet — a specialty toy store on Airline Drive celebrating 53 years in business this month — this year is shaping up to be what she calls a “classic Christmas.”
“Last year everyone was fighting to get a few hot new toys like Magic Mixies and Gabby’s Dollhouse,” Wood said. “This year, people are coming in looking for the traditional favorites like LEGOs, Hot Wheels and Barbie.”
For toddlers, the 4-in-1 Game Experience playset offers sports challenges plus a pretend concession stand. It’s $49.99.
Wood said Fisher-Price’s Laugh and Learn collection is a top pick for parents of toddlers. The collection includes a wide array of items like walkers, talking toys and playsets.
One popular option is the 4-in-1 Game Experience. Mimicking a mini sports arena, the playset offers toddlers ages 9 months to 3 years the ability to both hone their athletic skills — hitting a baseball, shooting a basket or kicking a soccer ball — and run a concession stand that comes complete with food and a pretend credit card.
The playset also helps teach fundamentals like numbers, letters, colors and shapes amid the action and includes more than 100 learning songs, sounds and phrases. It’s priced at $49.99.
This year a 27-inch plush version of Elf on the Shelf is a hot item, for $19.95.
Since making its first appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012, Elf on the Shelf has cemented its place as a holiday tradition with many families. According to Wood, this year a 27-inch “huggable” plush version of the mischievous elf is a hot item ($19.95), as are Santa’s Elf Pets — Saint Bernard, Arctic Fox and Reindeer ($26.95), which each come with their own storybook.
Another hit for family fun according to Greenbaum is the ICEE Brand Countertop Slushie Machine. Priced at $150, the machine uses water, ice, syrup (sold separately) and salt to create 32 ounces of the sweet treat at a time.
Little kids have an abundance of toy offerings, but when it comes to tweens and teens, finding a great gift can be more challenging. For this group, Greenbaum offers a few suggestions of some hot sellers.
A perfect mix of creativity and technology, Pixicade allows children to create their own video games.
“You download the app, then draw a picture of whatever kind of a game you want and then take a picture with the app and it brings it to life,” said Greenbaum. “They’ve just come out with a new version too called Pixicade Quest ($29.99) that allows you to play games that other people have made and play against another player.”
For teens and tweens, novelty handbags by Bewaltz are a hot option, especially the Ring Ring Convertible Phone Bag. About $35.
For a tween or teen who’s a budding fashionista, Greenbaum said novelty handbags by Bewaltz are a hot option, especially the Ring Ring Convertible Phone Bag. The bag not only looks like a rotary phone, the receiver is fully operational thanks to a standard headphone jack that plugs it into any mobile phone.
Bewaltz offers a wide array of creative purses built to look like everything from cameras, game controllers and snow globes to gumball machines and even a pumpkin spice latte, all priced around $35.
Melisa Rey, mom to 13-year-old Gabrielle and 15-year-old Jeanne-Marie, said that while items like new phones and fancy tennis shoes are always a safe bet, her girls also welcome the gift of special experiences.
“We’ve done short trips in the past like an unplugged cabin in the woods and diving at the aquarium,” she said. “Currently we’re in negotiations for tickets to see Taylor Swift in Houston.”
Email Kimberley Singletary at [email protected].
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