Kids' toy reviews help parents prioritize holiday shopping

Image 1 of 24

Parents, if you're still working to knock out that holiday shopping list, we have your backs, even when it comes to those sold out Hatchimals.

Black Friday may be over, but there are still deals to be found when it comes to toys. Early- to mid-December historically brings great sales. So what’s hot this holiday season? We consulted a panel of the ultimate experts in toys - kids.

When we gathered a group of seven children around the conference table, they give us their comprehensive analysis of what toys are must-haves from Santa this year.

“Pony!” one predictably shouted.

“Ninja turtle trucks,” another said, confidently.

"Mini mouse microphone and it comes with a mini mouse guitar," a third explained.

“A Yorkshire terrier, and it has to be small, and a boy," another proclaimed. That's quite specific.

Smart toys are all the rage this year, so we recommended a robot terrier, called a Wow-wee Chip, instead.

From Furbies that come with a downloadable app, to Cosmo, a tiny, interactive robot that learns skills and plays games - it’s all about interactive toys.

Don't forget the programmable Codeapillars, Brightbeats that sing, dance and teach, and Zoomer Kitties that light up, and you can control.

There are some classics coming in strong, too, like the new Easy Bake Oven, everything Star Wars, Nerf Guns, Barbies, Shopkins and Little People.

Prices for many of this year’s top toys run in the $25 to $70 range. Some go higher making holiday budgets a struggle. But planning when you shop can make a difference.

A study by Adobe looked at data from visits to online retailers for more than 55 million products. Adobe's researchers found toy discounts are best on the second Monday in December. got even more specific. Using prices and coupon info from the previous year, they suggest December 16 as the best day to find deals on toys. But waiting is risky, because the hot toys always go fast.

We asked our young focus group what would happen if the toy they want was sold out. After screaming "Noooooo" and almost falling out of their giant office chairs, they told us they would, "Get in the car and drive to like, another country and search all the toy stores there… you know, like Washington D.C."

Click here to download a letter from Santa explaining why they’re arriving after Christmas.

Okay parents, that doesn’t sound like a good option, so you better get cracking now.

Hatchimals are this year’s big toy; think Tickle me Elmo big. Those little eggs actually hatch and out comes a sweet little toy bird. Originally retailing for $60, they’re for re-sale online by business-savvy toy-flippers who are jacking up the prices to more than $230.

Toy’s R Us told us to call your local store daily, because they hope for more to come in. But if you go on the Hatchimal website, the company says it can’t meet production demand until after New Year’s.

When it comes to saving money, remember most stores now only offer their own discounts through reward membership, where you’ll get email alerts, but they typically honor manufacturers coupons. And don’t forget, if you order online, many companies will offer free shipping for in-store pick up.

There are also websites that collect current coupons and daily deals. Here are just a few our consumer reporter uses: