What is it about kids and toy animals? At 8 years old, our daughter still forms loving attachments to every plush toy she finds. She weeps bitter tears when they are lost and is nothing short of avaricious in her devotion to expanding her collection. She can't possibly love them equally, I think as I stuff another trash bag with squishy unicorns and fluffy cats for a long staycation in the attic. That's why I wasn't surprised to hear that many of the items on eBay's top 50 toys and trends this holiday season are animal-related: Kids love creatures, whether they're real or pretend, furry or plastic. So why wouldn't they want more of them under the tree this year.
From pooping unicorns to lovably moody dinosaurs, there's definitely an animal on this list that will inspire your kids to stay on Santa's nice list all through the holidays. And that's not a bad thing: The website HealthGuidance reported that toy animals play a pretty important role in kids' development through the years. For instance, babies and toddlers often use them as their first playmates, while kids three and over process life skills by role-playing with them. Research from UV University Amsterdam shows that cuddling a toy animals can reduce stress and anxiety, and what's more nerve-wracking than growing up?
Plus, considering how much adults love their pets, it's not surprising that kids like to have some animals friends of their own. What's not to love? The animal kingdom is filled with strange and fascinating personalities, so playing with pretend animals is a super fun means for kids to learn about themselves and other species without the pitfalls of animal care or unpredictable encounters in the wild.
Now that holiday season is upon us, be quick about snagging these hot toys for the little animal lover in your life. If we learned anything about the Hatchimal craze of 2016, the best toys go to the fastest fingers and eBay's ready for you to get clicking. If you start now, you can avoid the bidding wars that would deprive your child of that must-have item at the top of their list. Just don't kid yourself into thinking you'll ever be able to get rid of them. I seriously wonder if my daughter has developed some kind of echolocation ability to sense when I've whisked a few of her oldies to Goodwill. Her dad and I learned a long time ago that it's not difficult to part with old toys, but it stays if it has a face. (All of these toys have faces, of course, so I guess we'll hang on to them forever.) The items below are just a few of the familiar standouts of the season thus far... perhaps you'll recognize a few?
1. L.O.L Surprise! Biggie Pet Figure
Contains 15 surprises, from pets to jewelry and other accessories, plus secret codes and more.
Kids sure love toys that come with lots of teeny, tiny pieces for accessorizing (and losing), so Biggie Pets are sure to thrill them.
2. WowWee Fingerlings Hugs Bella
These cuddly little monkeys hug your finger and respond when you swing and rock them to sleep (they'll even give you a kiss!).
These sweet little guys fit on a finger and interact with noises, emotional reactions and love big wet kisses. Mwah!
3. WowWee Untamed Raptor Fingerlings
Don't let that tough exterior fool you: These dinos roar and hiss, but they just want a hug at the end of the day.
This wild guy reacts with chomping jaws, roars and more, all from the top of a kids' finger.
4. L.O.L. Surprise Doll House
This wooden, multi-story house includes a working elevator, lights, sounds, a real pool, spa and sandbox!
L.O.L. pets need homes too, so why not these sweet digs that include 85 surprises within its multi-story frame? With a spa, pool, and elevator, those pets will be living large.
5. furReal Ricky
He barks, he wags his tail, he does tricks... he's basically like a real puppy, without the mess.
Interactive toy pets are perfect for little guys who really want a doggy, but whose parents aren't into the idea. Good thing furReal Ricky makes happy puppy sounds, shuffles his paws and offers affectionate licks to simulate a real pup.
6. furReal Munchin Rex
Wave at Rex or feed him treats, and he'll give you one of 35+ reactions. Comes with a bottle and pretend snacks.
Dinos probably make good friends, too, (provided they get enough love and affection), so your child can indulge in the fantasy with this irascible guy.
7. Soggy Doggy
Race other players around the board as you compete to give Soggy Doggy a bath (if he shakes, you have to start all over again).
In the tradition of Pie Face, board games with more mess equal more fun... so Soggy Doggy is sure to get families giggling. For players aged 4 and up.