The GolfHr Best Toy Awards 2017

Stock up now before they fly off shelves.

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Danielle Occhiogrosso

Our experts vetted 500-plus new toys for safety, quality and skill-building. Then we asked the toughest critics — kids — to name the "bestest" of all. Meet this holiday's top hits!

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How We Tested

Our engineers and analysts first made sure toys met safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Then we set up toys to evaluate assembly, construction and durability; checked for pinch points; and drop-tested them to ensure that they wouldn't shatter into small pieces with sharp edges or pose a choking hazard. Final decisions came from nearly 100 children, ages 1 to 13, who assessed the fun factor in our Media & Tech Lab and at home.

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<p>$130
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/FurReal-Roarin-Tyler-Playful-Tiger/dp/B01N39LX3X?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>This cuddly friend responds to sound and touch — he'll roar when you roar and move when you pet him. Kids couldn't get over how  fluffy and interactive this little guy was, and our engineers were wowed by his 100-plus sounds and animations. (Ages 4+)</p>
Top Toy of The Year: Hasbro Furreal Roarin' Tiger

$130

This cuddly friend responds to sound and touch — he'll roar when you roar and move when you pet him. Kids couldn't get over how fluffy and interactive this little guy was, and our engineers were wowed by his 100-plus sounds and animations. (Ages 4+)

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3 of 24
<p>$20
</p><p><a href="https://www.target.com/p/oonies-153-inflator-starter-pack/-/A-52136342?" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Use the easy&nbsp;inflator to blow up dozens of Oonies, which are a cross between bubbles and balloons.&nbsp;They stick together, and you can add silly eyes, arms and more for endless designs and hours of fun!&nbsp;</p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor">GH Tip</strong>: We had some trouble with ones that just wouldn't inflate, but it's mess-free, and kids went crazy for the balloons. (Ages 5+)<br></p>
Moose Toys Oonies Starter Kit

$20

Use the easy inflator to blow up dozens of Oonies, which are a cross between bubbles and balloons. They stick together, and you can add silly eyes, arms and more for endless designs and hours of fun! 

GH Tip: We had some trouble with ones that just wouldn't inflate, but it's mess-free, and kids went crazy for the balloons. (Ages 5+)

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4 of 24
<p>$35
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Despicable-Me-Drus-Super-Playset/dp/B01NA9BXPA?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Let your favorite trouble-makers run wild in Dru's lair, tricked out with a trapdoor, an ejecting chair and tons of silly sounds. The set comes with two Minions and Dru, but you can buy a pack of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Despicable-Me-Mineez-Character-Pack/dp/B07288LGWN/" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">three more characters</a> for $6. (Ages 5+)</p>
Moose Toys Despicable Me Mineez Dru's Super Lair Playset

$35

Let your favorite trouble-makers run wild in Dru's lair, tricked out with a trapdoor, an ejecting chair and tons of silly sounds. The set comes with two Minions and Dru, but you can buy a pack of for $6. (Ages 5+)

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5 of 24
<p>$30
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Bobble-Bitz-Creation-Station/dp/B01MTFC18E?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Use the trays to make a 3-D masterpiece, like a star pendant or a heart key chain, out of the crunchy molding goo.&nbsp;</p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor">GH Tip:</strong> Be sure little ones know their art will harden if left out overnight — great motivation for cleanup! (Ages 5+)</p>
WeCool Bobble Bitz Creation Station

$30

Use the trays to make a 3-D masterpiece, like a star pendant or a heart key chain, out of the crunchy molding goo. 

GH Tip: Be sure little ones know their art will harden if left out overnight — great motivation for cleanup! (Ages 5+)

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<p>$20
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XW6JRYP?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Dip the brush into a paint pot, and it will light up in&nbsp;that shade — the paint is clear until you draw on the special paper, so no stains!
</p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor">GH Tip:</strong> Keep wipes on hand; you have to clean o  the brush every time you switch shades. (Ages 3+)</p>
Crayola Color Wonder Magic Light Brush

$20

Dip the brush into a paint pot, and it will light up in that shade — the paint is clear until you draw on the special paper, so no stains!

GH Tip: Keep wipes on hand; you have to clean off the brush every time you switch shades. (Ages 3+)

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<p>$25
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4TOZ9P?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>The only thing better than&nbsp;a mermaid? A seapony! Put Pinkie Pie in water, and she swims laps with a glowing tail. This character from My Little Pony: The Movie made kids extra excited. If she stops, remove from H20 and touch the metal sensors until her tail starts moving. (Ages 3+)</p>
Hasbro My Little Pony: The Movie Swimming Seapony

$25

The only thing better than a mermaid? A seapony! Put Pinkie Pie in water, and she swims laps with a glowing tail. This character from My Little Pony: The Movie made kids extra excited. If she stops, remove from H20 and touch the metal sensors until her tail starts moving. (Ages 3+)

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<p>$40
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog-Scoop-Learn-Cream-Cart/dp/B06XKXPLRP?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>All kids screamed for ice cream! Line up and place your order at this full-service cart, which comes with a magnetic scooper, cones, ice cream, syrup, toppings and a talking register.&nbsp;Children of all ages scooped it up! It also has cards with orders that the register announces —  great for listening and memory skills — but we found that our testers preferred to take orders from friends. (Ages 2+)</p>
LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart

$40

All kids screamed for ice cream! Line up and place your order at this full-service cart, which comes with a magnetic scooper, cones, ice cream, syrup, toppings and a talking register. Children of all ages scooped it up! It also has cards with orders that the register announces — great for listening and memory skills — but we found that our testers preferred to take orders from friends. (Ages 2+)

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<p>$40
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/HABA-Symphony-Croc-Music-Instruments/dp/B01L0WI3NW?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Budding musicians will love this set, which comes with a drum, a xylophone, a bell and a textured block. They can even play duets! This wooden toy was a bigger hit than any other musical one we tested. (Ages 2+)</p>
Haba USA Symphony Croc

$40

Budding musicians will love this set, which comes with a drum, a xylophone, a bell and a textured block. They can even play duets! This wooden toy was a bigger hit than any other musical one we tested. (Ages 2+)

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<p>$45
</p><p><a href="https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2668155/silverlit-train-my-dino-toy.jsp" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Bring home your new BFF, a remote-controlled dinosaur that responds to sound and touch and follows you around. Our pros appreciated the remote's easy-to-use design, and kids got the hang of it in seconds. (Ages 5+)</p>
Silverlit Train My Dino

$45

Bring home your new BFF, a remote-controlled dinosaur that responds to sound and touch and follows you around. Our pros appreciated the remote's easy-to-use design, and kids got the hang of it in seconds. (Ages 5+)

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<p>$40
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Little-People-Animal-Playset/dp/B01NCUZSCD?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Lead the firefighter on&nbsp;a climb to save the kitty or call in the spinning helicopter for extra help with this fun play set; it kept little ones engaged. We were wowed by the quality design, easy folding for storage and perfectly sized pieces. (Ages 1+)<br></p>
Fisher-Price Little People Animal Rescue

$40

Lead the firefighter on a climb to save the kitty or call in the spinning helicopter for extra help with this fun play set; it kept little ones engaged. We were wowed by the quality design, easy folding for storage and perfectly sized pieces. (Ages 1+)

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<p>$45
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Educational-Insights-GeoSafari-Microscope-Featuring/dp/B072QH418H?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Mini scientists will love this talking microscope. Recognize the voice? It's Bindi Irwin! Choose from one of 20 slides to learn about animals, plants and more.&nbsp;</p><p>
<strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor">GH Tip:</strong> Almost every tester needed help getting slides in and out. (Ages 4+)<br></p>
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

$45

Mini scientists will love this talking microscope. Recognize the voice? It's Bindi Irwin! Choose from one of 20 slides to learn about animals, plants and more. 

GH Tip: Almost every tester needed help getting slides in and out. (Ages 4+)

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<p>$100</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQZ5U66/?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a> </p><p>Kids will love seeing their favorite Paw Patrol characters come to life with this supersize tower! Standing over two and a half feet tall, it's packed with a zooming slide, a periscope and more. It comes with only one vehicle and two characters, so if you want the full set, you'll have to <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paw-Patrol/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_9304607011?ie=UTF8&amp;node=9304607011&amp;field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Paw+Patrol" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">buy the other pieces separately</a>. (Ages 3+)</p>
Spin Master Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower

$100

Kids will love seeing their favorite Paw Patrol characters come to life with this supersize tower! Standing over two and a half feet tall, it's packed with a zooming slide, a periscope and more. It comes with only one vehicle and two characters, so if you want the full set, you'll have to . (Ages 3+)

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<p>$35 (for the barn)
</p><p><a href="https://www.target.com/p/lori-horse-barn/-/A-50655507" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Bring the stables inside with this top-quality barn featuring working lights, a water pump and tons of accessories. The barn, <a href="https://www.target.com/p/lori-horse-american-quarter-horse/-/A-51475838" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">horses</a> and <a href="https://www.target.com/p/lori-riding-doll-aveline/-/A-50652715#lnk=sametab" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">dolls</a> are sold separately, but your kid will likely want them all.</p>
Maison Battat Inc. Lori Horse Haven Barn, Doll and Horse

$35 (for the barn)

Bring the stables inside with this top-quality barn featuring working lights, a water pump and tons of accessories. The barn, and are sold separately, but your kid will likely want them all.

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<p>$100</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Droid-Inventor-Kit/dp/B06XYD1LRN?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a></p><p><a href="http://golfhr.info/childrens-products/toy-reviews/g4654/star-wars-toys/" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">Star Wars fans</a>, rejoice! Follow the instructions to connect circuits and build R2-D2, then use the free Droid Inventor app to teach him tricks.&nbsp;The app's step-by-step videos were very helpful, and  kids loved being able to pause and rewind as they built. (Ages 8+)</p>
LittleBits Droid Inventor Kit

$100

Star Wars fans, rejoice! Follow the instructions to connect circuits and build R2-D2, then use the free Droid Inventor app to teach him tricks. The app's step-by-step videos were very helpful, and kids loved being able to pause and rewind as they built. (Ages 8+)

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<p>$100
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/PLAYMOBIL%C2%AE-6978-PLAYMOBIL-Cruise-Ship/dp/B01EKBCUAW?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>This ship is stocked&nbsp;with every amenity you'd find on a cruise,  from lounge chairs to a lifeboat.&nbsp;</p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor">GH Tip:</strong> It comes with lots of small pieces (which fall apart easily&nbsp;if not secured), so make sure you keep things organized, especially if you have littler ones at home. (Ages 6+)</p><p><br></p>
Playmobil Cruise Ship

$100

This ship is stocked with every amenity you'd find on a cruise, from lounge chairs to a lifeboat. 

GH Tip: It comes with lots of small pieces (which fall apart easily if not secured), so make sure you keep things organized, especially if you have littler ones at home. (Ages 6+)


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<p>$70
</p><p><a href="https://www.walmart.com/ip/GeoSmart-Mars-Explorer/55192347" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Tap your inner engineer and use magnetic pieces to build a one-of-a-kind exploring vehicle. It comes with how-tos for four designs, but kids preferred dreaming up their own creations. (Ages 5+)<br></p>
GeoSmart Mars Explorer

$70

Tap your inner engineer and use magnetic pieces to build a one-of-a-kind exploring vehicle. It comes with how-tos for four designs, but kids preferred dreaming up their own creations. (Ages 5+)

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<p>$160
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y6JCTKH?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Classic Legos meet top tech in this five-in-one toy. Use the free app to build and code a robot, a guitar, a cat and more. Even older kids needed a little help, so this is a perfect rainy-day activity for the whole family. (Ages 7+)<br></p>
Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

$160

Classic Legos meet top tech in this five-in-one toy. Use the free app to build and code a robot, a guitar, a cat and more. Even older kids needed a little help, so this is a perfect rainy-day activity for the whole family. (Ages 7+)

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<p>$200
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Wheels-Ultimate-Garage-Playset/dp/B01N7XH9UU?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>The set comes with a motor-ized elevator, a climbing gorilla and parking spots for more than 140 cars. Kids of all ages played together, but at over three feet tall, it takes up a lot of space. (Ages 5+)</p>
Mattel Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage

$200

The set comes with a motor-ized elevator, a climbing gorilla and parking spots for more than 140 cars. Kids of all ages played together, but at over three feet tall, it takes up a lot of space. (Ages 5+)

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<p>$300
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Sphero-Ultimate-Lightning-McQueen-Vehicle/dp/B06ZZGWG85/?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Kids will geek out over this app-controlled Lightning McQueen car like the one in the three hit Cars movies. We were impressed with the realistic maneuvering. (Ages 8+)</p>
Sphero Ultimate Lightning McQueen

$300

Kids will geek out over this app-controlled Lightning McQueen car like the one in the three hit Cars movies. We were impressed with the realistic maneuvering. (Ages 8+)

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<p>$120
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N39LM3B?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Disney's Belle has always loved books, and now she's learning STEM. Use the free app to choreograph dances for the princess or have her lead you in a ballroom lesson (she sings too!). Our engineers got an early look&nbsp;at the prototype and found the coding a straight-forward and easy intro for kids of all ages. (Ages 5+)&nbsp;<br></p>
Dance Code featuring Disney Princess Belle

$100

Disney's Belle has always loved books, and now she's learning STEM. Use the free app to choreograph dances for the princess or have her lead you in a ballroom lesson (she sings too!). Our engineers got an early look at the prototype and found the coding a straight-forward and easy intro for kids of all ages. (Ages 5+) 

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<p>$15</p><p><a href="https://www.toysrus.com/product?_br_psugg_q=fingerlings+monkey&amp;productId=126157646" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a></p><p>A new kind of finger bling, this <a href="http://golfhr.info/childrens-products/toy-reviews/news/a46076/fingerlings-hot-holiday-toy-2017/" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">baby monkey</a> reacts to touch, motion and sound. The teeny toy (about five inches long), with over 40 moves and sounds, kept kids busy. (Ages 5+)</p>
WowWee Fingerlings

$15

A new kind of finger bling, this baby monkey reacts to touch, motion and sound. The teeny toy (about five inches long), with over 40 moves and sounds, kept kids busy. (Ages 5+)

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<p>$15
</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0741FNH18?tag=goodhousekeeping_auto-append-20" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a>
</p><p>Get the Things for Merge Cube app on your tablet or smartphone&nbsp;to unlock a 3-D world. Then, search "Merge Cube" in your app store for more games. (Ages 10+)</p>
Merge Cube

$15

Get the Things for Merge Cube app on your tablet or smartphone to unlock a 3-D world. Then, search "Merge Cube" in your app store for more games. (Ages 10+)

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<p>$5</p><p><a href="https://www.toysrus.com/product?productId=133358076" target="_blank" class="slide-buy--button" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">BUY NOW</a></p><p>These scented characters come in a blind bag, so you won't know what you're getting until it's opened. Collectibles are super hot this year!</p>
Jakks Pacific Squish-Dee-Lish Squishies

$5

These scented characters come in a blind bag, so you won't know what you're getting until it's opened. Collectibles are super hot this year!

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