It happens every year. I swear to get my holiday shopping done well before the last minute to give myself plenty of time to get the top items on my children’s wish lists.
No matter how good my intentions may be, I always seem to fall short of my goal.
Call me an optimist but this year I’m vowing to do better.
The holiday season might not yet be upon us, but now’s the perfect time to begin planning for gifts for all the little people in your life.
I’ve researched this year’s hottest toys and come up with a list of 15 picks for kids ages four to eight. All kinds of toys are represented here; from classic to tech and at different price points, there’s something here for everyone!
What’s on your kiddos’ lists?
Squishables 1 of 15Squishables are this year's Pillow Pets. They come in a variety of designs and are great for hugging! (P.S. Don't tell my 5-year-old, but he's getting the panda.)
Get it from Amazon, $38.09
Qwirkle 2 of 15Qwirkle is a wonderful game that relies on colors and shapes instead of letters, so even pre-readers will have fun!
Get it from Hearthsong, $24.98
Skylanders Giants Starter Pack for Wii 3 of 15Another predicted top toy of the holiday season, Skylanders are more popular than ever. The Skylanders Giants Starter Pack is available for multiple game systems and introduces 20 new characters to the mix.
Get it from Amazon, $74.99
Modern Dollhouse 4 of 15This all-wood dollhouse is decidedly modern in style. Your child will have hours and hours of fun arranging rooms and playing make believe, creating new stories every day.
Available at The Land of Nod for $349
Schwings 5 of 15So fun for a stocking stuffer! Schwings add a little flair to a regular pair of shoes, and are on the wish list of little super heros everywhere.
Get it from Hearthsong, $13.98
Kids’ World Atlas 6 of 15This beautiful book by Nick Crane takes readers on a journey. I can't think of a better way to introduce geography and world cultures to your children, short of traveling the globe!
Get it from Barefoot Books, $19.99 (enter code TWENTY12 at checkout for an additional 20% off for Babble readers!)
Snake Light 7 of 15Young readers will love having a special flashlight when they just can't seem to put the chapter book down for the night. It's a great way to encourage a love of reading!
Get it from Hearthsong, $21.98
Hexbug Warriors Battle Stadium 8 of 15What's not to love about battling robots? According to my kids and their friends, nothing.
Get it from Amazon, $24.99
Disney iHome 9 of 15There's no doubt about it: kids love music, and if you're like me, your iPhone is filled with their favorite tunes. Why not give them their own iHome products to keep in their rooms? I love the Minnie Mouse line!
Get it from eKids, $24.99
Furby 10 of 15He's back. In this year's "What's Old is New Again" category, Furby is king. Now he can interact with your child via iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. Kids love 'em even if their long-suffering parents disagree!
Get it from Amazon, $54
Leap Pad 2 11 of 15Tablets are always a great choice for kids in this age range, and the LeapPad 2 is better than ever. Choose from more than 300 games and apps for hours of fun and learning.
Get it from Amazon, $98
Mustache Disguise 12 of 15If your kids love playing pretend and wearing silly disguises, these mustaches would make great stocking stuffers!
Get it from The Land of Nod, $6.95
Doc McStuffins Talking Doll 13 of 15My daughter is such a fan of Doc McStuffins, and I know she's not alone. I have a feeling this toy is going to be on many children's wish lists this Christmas.
Get it from Amazon, $54.95
Build Your Own City 14 of 15Your little engineer will love planning, building and rebuilding this set — it's the toy that keeps on giving!
Get it from Toys to Grow On, $49.99
Monster High Play Set 15 of 15Monster High is a favorite among kids and tweens! Your daughter will be tickled pink with this haunted high school in this play set, featuring the creepateria, mad science classroom and casketball court!
Get it from Amazon, $68.65
More by Mary Lauren:
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.