Throughout childhood, I've seen Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmos, Tamagotchis, Beanie Babies, and Polly Pockets end up as major news stories in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and it looks like the current generation of kids will remember Walmart's top 10 toys from the last decade with similar gusto. Remember when people were selling Fingerlings for over $100 when they were just $11 on a shelf? Ah, memories. What a holly jolly time to be alive.
Not surprisingly, there are some throwbacks from '90s popular toys on this list curated by Walmart, and of course, toys from Disney movies and TV shows. It also wouldn't be a top toy list without the latest in technology, right? Remember how crazy it was to have a virtual pet living in your pocket that you had to feed, walk, and play with or it would earn its angel wings and fly? That was some stress, y'all. Turns out, our kids were freaking out over similar toys, like a small little being that actually hatched out of a huge egg. (People lined up at Target for these, and now they're wasting away in the bottom of a toy box.) And while, unfortunately, the Beanie Babies fortune turned out to be a huge hoax, they were still fun to collect — even if they're not worth anything and are all in bins in our attics with the heart tag still in tact.
Since 2009 wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things, there's a small chance a kid in your life still has one of these languishing in a playroom somewhere. And they're already pushing it aside to make room for this year's hottest toy.
2009: ZhuZhu Pets
Before they were a feature film, ZhuZhu Pets created quite a "stir" in 2009. Apparently the $9 toys were selling for $60 outside of stores around the holidays — that's quite a rise in price. If you didn't want to get your kid a real pet rodent, these ZhuZhu Pets were the perfect compromise. They're quite lifelike and definitely easier to take care of.
Squinkies are teeny tiny collectible figurines that first came out in 2010, and now they're "available in various branded collections that feature characters from popular movies and television shows," according to Walmart. What is it with our obsession with tiny things?
2011: Let's Rock Elmo
Like the Tickle Me Elmo that came before in 1996, Let's Rock Elmo was definitely the "it" toy in 2011. This adorable rockin' Elmo comes with a microphone, drum kit, and tambourine, and he recognizes the instrument your preschooler chooses for him to play and sings along.
Furbys were all the rage when I was in middle school, and with this decade being the decade of comebacks, re-releases, and nostalgia (including '80s/'90s fashion), it makes sense that in 2012 the relaunch of the Furby was at the top of everyone's wish list. I mean, how cool is a toy that can interact with you and you can help shape its personality?
2013: "Chosen By Kids"
The "Chosen by Kids" top toy list" program for Walmart came out in 2013, according to the retail giant, so there was no actual "top toy" to speak of. "The program put the real toy experts — kids — in the drivers' seat to help determine what would become the season's hottest toys." Now you may know of this program as "Top Rated by Kids," but the concept is still the same.
2014: 'Frozen' Merchandise
The first Frozen movie came out on Nov. 27, 2013, but the most popular toys in 2014 were all Frozen merchandise. Kids then and now are obsessed with the franchise and continue to put these toys at the top of their wish lists well into the new year.
2015: Legendary Yoda & BB-8
Before Baby Yoda became all the rage, in 2015 this Legendary Jedi Master Yoda was one of the most popular toys, as well as the app-controlled BB-8. This was probably because in 2015 The Force Awakens — the newest Star Wars movie in 13 years — was released.
2016: Hatchimals & L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls
"Surprises were big in 2016," according to Walmart, and boy they aren't kidding. Both top toys offered kids a huge surprise to hatch whether it was an animal with the Hatchimals, or a special doll in the L.O.L. Surprise Dolls. And unlike the ultimate "surprise" toy when I was in elementary school, the Puppy Surprise, Hatchimals are interactive. I still have love for my beanbag puppies that came in the Puppy Surprise dog's belly. "There could be three, or four, or five!"
I remember in 2017 I wrote many an article about Fingerlings, and clearly it was because y'all loved them so much. Fingerlings were the most popular toy in 2017, and probably because these finger puppets are so dang cute in addition to being totally interactive with blinking eyes, swishing tails, babbling, and I believe even flatulence. Fun.
2018: Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper
So this Barbie Dream Camper includes a fold-out grill, pretend campfire, a sound system with three pre-recorded songs, and an MP3 jack — basically nicer than my own real grown-up car. There's even a GPS system with Barbie giving you directions.
It was the 2018 most popular toy, but the Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper was recalled for a stuck accelerator issue, which caused unintended acceleration of the toy vehicle. There were 17 complaints and nobody was injured, according to a Fox News clip.
While 2019 isn't quite finished yet, we're rounding out the decade with "toys that encourage interactive play and imagination" and toys based off of the year's "hottest movies and TV shows," according to Walmart. Will it be more Frozen merchandise? Probably. Or it could be toys from The Lion King reboot or even the Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy. I guess we'll see what Santa brings on Christmas morning before making the final call.