11 Hot New Toys That Kids Will Love

By now, you’re probably making your list and checking it twice. Before you finish buying gifts for the little ones in your life, check out these popular playthings that we scoped out at the recent Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier, one of the country’s biggest toy trade shows. Our list includes a couple of local favorites who displayed their new toys at Navy Pier and several toys topping Santa’s list nationwide.

Lille Huset

Trained in architecture and design, Chicagoan Alyson Beaton wanted a toy that allowed her two kids to not only play house, but also to build them. That’s how toy brand Lille Huset (Norwegian for “little house”) was born. The first model dollhouse was based on her own Logan Square home. Made of recycled paper, the eco-friendly pieces allow kids to have fun and be creative without worrying about breaking delicate parts. English cottage available at Paper Source, 2100 Central St., Evanston, 847-733-8830. $40, ages 3 and up

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Paige and Paxton

Evanston mother-daughter duo Kelley and Rachel Williams created these characters to introduce preschoolers to science and technology. Get your little one ready to look at the world in a whole new way—literally. Paige & Paxton uses “augmented reality” technology to make interactive books and puzzles come to life with a free downloadable app for your phone. $10, ages 2-6

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Finger Loom

Got a crafty kid? Michigan engineer Cheong Choon Ng has two of them! Playing with his girls is how he came up with the multi-million dollar mega toy hit Rainbow Loom. Visit any elementary school during recess, and you’re likely to find a few girls weaving colorful rubber bands into bracelets on Ng’s plastic loom. The Finger Loom was launched this year as a more portable version, without the crochet tool, that’s easier for kids as young as 6 to handle. $5

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Lite-Brite

Vintage toys are making a comeback. Brighten up your holidays by introducing kids to the iconic Lite-Brite, a toy that was a favorite for many of us growing up. It’s been updated with new reusable templates. No more black paper to throw away or repurchase! The new version also has pegs in a variety of shapes and characters. Groovy, huh? Available at Target, Toys “R” Us and Amazon, $20, ages 4 and up

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Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart

Preschoolers have been lining up to check in with Doc McStuffins. The wildly popular doll is based on a Disney Junior cartoon about a girl who acts as a doctor to her stuffed animals, imitating her mother, who’s a real doctor. Doc McStuffins has become a crossover toy, meaning kids of all races, boys and girls, are playing with her. She now stands as the best-selling toy line based on an African-American character. The new Get Better Cart allows kids to take care of their own toys with this portable clinic. When a toy’s in need, docs-in-training can let everyone know they’re on the way with a siren that lights up. Comes equipped with a pretend EKG, otoscope and thermometer. Available at Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, $50, ages 3-7

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Sing & Swing Olaf

If you haven’t noticed the “Frozen” frenzy going on, well, you must be living in the wilds of Alaska. Most of us are all too aware of Anna, Elsa and their beloved snowman pal, Olaf. Your kids can “let it go,” as they sing and dance with Olaf performing “In Summer” from the blockbuster Disney movie, “Frozen.” Available at Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, $20, ages 3-7

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Flying Heroes

One of the most popular toys from the ’80s and ’90s is on the rise again, with a new movie out last summer and a new toy. No batteries needed, just a quick pull on the launcher and off it goes. Toys “R” Us and Amazon.com, $17, ages 4-9

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Disney Princess Palace Pets, Magic Dance Pumpkin

Have a child begging for a dog? Not ready to housetrain a puppy or go on daily walks in sub-zero temps? This remote control puppy made several of this year’s hot toy lists and may be just what you’re looking for. Your child can make the dog talk, walk, even dance, with the touch of a magic wand. If only it were that easy in the real world! Batteries required. Available at Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us, $60, ages 4-10

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Monster High Anti-Styling Head

Remember the Barbie Styling Head? Well, Barbie’s gone Goth. If you have a pre-tween girl, you know it’s been ghouls gone wild ever since the Monster High toy line was created. After Barbie, the Monster High dolls are the best-selling dolls in the world. Yep, you heard right. This new toy allows Monster-High wannabes to glam up the head with dark make-up and creepy face tattoos. Scary-cute or just plain scary? That probably depends on how old you are. Available at Toys “R” Us and Amazon.com, $25, best for ages 6-11

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Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved (for Xbox One and Xbox 360)

You won’t exactly hit a high note with kids if you give them classical music for the holidays. But what if the classical music was orchestrated in a video game? Sneaky, Disney, very sneaky. Kids get to play conductor to Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, as well as popular rock songs, in a game that lets them remix the score to this famous 1940s movie soundtrack. Hey, if it gets our kids to listen to classical music, we’re all ears, Mickey. Available at Target, Best Buy and Game Stop, $40, ages 10 and up

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Sky Viper Camera Drone

Holiday excitement is sure to be soaring when kids unwrap this technological marvel that puts the remote control helicopters many of us had as kids to shame. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a drone! And it’s a surefire showstopper at the next birthday party or sleepover. A built-in camera records up to 30 minutes of video or 25,000 pictures—definitely not your grandpa’s remote control airplane. Available at Toys “R” Us and Amazon.com, $80, ages 12 and up

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