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Best gifts for toddlers and young children in 2022, according to an expert

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Are you shopping for a toddler or young child this holiday season? Gift them something they will be thrilled to unwrap – like one of these most-wanted toys, games, gadgets and books – and win them over. 

Top products in this article:

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise, $65

Lego Wild Animals of the World, $130

Calico Critters Pony's Stylish Hair Salon, $60 (reduced from $80)

Fisher-Price Linkimals Light-Up and Learn Owl, $16 (reduced from $33)

Unlike older kids who might know exactly what they want for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, those below the age of four may not hand over a list. Instead, you should draw from their interests. "If the toy does not match your child's interests, it will not be played with as much as it should, regardless of popularity," says play and learning expert Cindy Price. 

That could be a certain television show or characters, like "Bluey," "Baby Shark" or Disney Princesses, or an activity, such as building, singing, dancing or art projects. Some toddlers are obsessed with trains, cars or animals, while others prefer dolls.

No matter how much you want to spend, gift options are plentiful. CBS Essentials rounded up the best and most wanted gifts for toddlers and younger children of 2022.

The most wanted gifts for toddlers and young children of 2022

This year's hottest holiday gifts include a guinea pig that births babies, an interactive owl that lights up and teaches kids about letters and numbers, Lego sets for smaller hands and a karaoke machine that plays songs from "Cocomelon."

Razor Jr. Lil' Kick scooter


One of the most popular children's scooters on Amazon with thousands of five-star reviews, this scooter offers a stable ride for kids ages 3 and up, with a weight limit of 45 pounds. Available in pink and blue.  

Razor Jr. Lil' Kick scooter, $34 (reduced from $40)

Dance and Play Bluey


Little fans of "Bluey" enjoy dancing and singing to four songs and with an interactive plush version of the adorable dog, which also says over 55 phrases, provides fun games and performs activities, like jumping on one leg. Ages 3 to 6. 

Dance and Play Bluey, $30 with coupon (reduced from $50)

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise

Little Live Pets

One of the hottest toys of the holiday season and a top pick of CBS Essentials staffers, Little Live Pets Mama Surprise offers a fun, interactive experience for kids of all ages. In addition to coming alive with cute sounds, reactions and noises the mama guinea pig, who comes in a cage, "delivers" little babies every day for three days after being properly cared for. Adding to the fun, babies are delivered with their own care package and fun accessories to dress up in. Ages 4 and up. 

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise, $65

Little Tikes Learn and Play Look and Learn Window 

Little Tikes

Kids explore the climate and weather looking at this little "window" with two-sided play for day and night. The playset converts into an activity table to teach them about colors, shape, and manners with 100-plus phrases, sounds, and activities. They will also love pressing the piano keys, moving the animals and turning the gears to develop fine motor skills.

Little Tikes Learn and Play Look and Learn Window, $47(reduced from $50)

Lego Duplo Wild Animals of the World 


Introduce them to the animals of the world with a brand new building playset from Lego. The 142-piece set comes with 22 animals on seven continents, with bricks playing realistic sounds to keep young ones engaged and a world map play mat. Ages 2 and up. 

Lego Wild Animals of the World, $130

Woom 1 balance bike


Regularly picked by experts as the best balance bike to teach young ones how to ride, the Woom 1 helps young children hone the necessary skills they need to ride a big kid's bike, including balancing, handling, steering and braking. Ages 1.5 and up. 

Woom 1 balance bike, $199

Lola and the Boys crystal rainbow rain hoodie

Lola and the Boys

While clothes aren't generally high on a toddler's wishlist, good luck getting them to wear anything else after they open this adorable beaded and bejeweled hoodie. Available in sizes 2 to 14. 

Lola and the Boys crystal rainbow rain hoodie, $68

Baby Shark's Big Show! Ultimate Shipwreck Playset


Inspired by the animated Nickelodeon series, this adorable, 25-piece playset allows kids to play in the same shipwreck featured on the show. In addition to fun features like trap doors, treasure maps, and spinning, swimming and sliding the shark friends around the set, they will also love the moldable shark sand and sand accessories. Ages 3 and up. 

Baby Shark's Big Show! Ultimate Shipwreck Playset, $40

Pop2Play Hot Wheels Slide


No backyard needed for this innovative Hot Wheels themed slide from Pop2Play. Assemble and disassemble the pop-up slide in minutes, which folds flat for easy storage. Surprisingly durable, kids between the ages of 2 to 5 and up to 50 pounds can join in on the fun. 

Pop2Play Hot Wheels Slide, $35

Super Space modular play space

Super Space

Think of Super Space, Toy of the Year Finalist for Best Playset, as life-size magnetic tiles that connect into a structure children can actually play in. Kids can build almost anything with their imagination including a fort, tunnels, puppet show stages or ground play matts. The panels, constructed out of eco/recycled materials, including PET felt made from recycled plastic bottles, weigh just 300-400 grams each. Ages 3 and up. 

Super Space modular play space 22 panels, $299

FAO Schwarz Ride-On Railway

FAO Schwartz

All aboard the FAO Ride-On Railway, the perfect gift for kids on the move! The motorized train, equipped with LED headlights, moves forward and backward on the 15-foot-long track while making three sounds. Ages 3 and up. 

FAO Schwarz Ride-On Railway, $140

Barbie Little DreamHouse by Little People


While toddlers might not be ready to experience the Barbie DreamHouse, the Little People version makes a perfect gift. Perfectly sized with their hands, the tri-level playhouse comes equipped with a moving elevator, rotating clothes closet, light-up pool with a slide and tons of other interactive functions, including music, lights, sounds and phrases activated with the touch of a button. Ages 1.5 to 5. 

Barbie Little DreamHouse by Little People, $53

Hot Wheels Racing Loops Tower by Little People


Introduce your toddler to Hot Wheels with another Little People adaptation. With 360-degree racing loops, a double spiral racetrack and stunt ramp, this racetrack, which plays musical tunes. Also Includes a car wash, gas station and mechanic stops for added pretend play

Hot Wheels Racing Loops Tower by Little People, $40

Star Wars Galactic Pals Rodian Plush 


From the "Star Wars Kids" YouTube channel, Galactic Pals plush characters, including Rodian, introduce kids to the popular franchise. Each 11-inch tall creature comes with a character and personality profile and wrapped in a satchel that doubles as a career. 

Star Wars Galactic Pals Rodian Plush, $18 (reduced from $30)

Brio Cargo Mountain Set


A popular holiday gift since the 1960s, Brio train sets never go out of style. If your parents didn't save yours, invest in this cargo mountain themed set children can enjoy for years on end. Includes six mountain pieces, three cranes, 19-track pieces and lots of extras, including a helicopter, cargo train with wagons and loading truck.

Brio Cargo Mountain Set, $256

Brio Disney Princess Castle Set


Some girls might not want to play with a traditional train set. Brio teamed up with Disney and created a Disney Princess themed version featuring Aurora, Belle and Cinderella, a castle style track and regal train cars. 

Brio Disney Princess Castle Set, $136 (reduced from $145)

Cocomelon toy microphone or karaoke machine


Pretty much every toddler loves listening to their own voice. Treat aspiring singers to a Cocomelon microphone, with built-in music from the show to sing along with, or the bluetooth enabled sing-along boom box, a mini karaoke machine. 

Cocomelon toy microphone, $11 (reduced from $13)

Cocomelon karaoke machine, $50 

Olive and Cocoa Wild Thing crate

Olive an

Curated gift company Olive and Cocoa is offering their wildest gift yet. The wood crate includes a hardcover copy of the classic "Where the Wild Things Are" and a 17-inch long purple "wild thing" monster of their very own.

Olive and Cocoa Wild Thing crate, $108 

Melissa and Doug Slice and Stack Sandwich Counter

Melissa and Doug

Kids make their own sandwiches, just like mom and dad, with this wooden set from Melissa and Doug. The stand includes all the fixings, a "slicer" and even chips, cookies, drinks and money to pay for their meal. Ages 3 to 6. 

Melissa and Doug Slice and Stack Sandwich Counter, $39 with coupon (reduced from $65)

Calico Critters Pony's Stylish Hair Salon

Calico Critters

Calico Critters goes to the salon! Sally, a poseable pony figure with silky, blonde hair, comes in this set styled after a real hair salon with a reception desk, shampoo station and styling station with vanity. They can switch out hairstyles, accessories with clips, ties, headbands and tiaras. Ages 3 and up. 

Calico Critters Pony's Stylish Hair Salon, $60 (reduced from $80)

Little Feminists Board Book Gift Set

Little Feminists

Raise your little one with values with this limited edition five-book box set from Little Feminist. The anti-racist and anti-sexist, award-winning book series approaches diversity and inclusion in a thoughtful and age-approariate manner with photos and rhythmic text for babies and toddlers up to 5 years. 

Little Feminists Board Book Gift Set, $48

Monti Kids Music Appreciation Kit

Monti Kids

Little ones sing, dance and play together safely with this educator-designed set of instruments for children as young as 7 months, which includes sound cylinders, a tambourine, drum, glockenspiel and harmonica in addition to printouts to song lyrics. 

Monti Kids Music Appreciation Kit, $125

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad


Put screen time to good use with this Osmo starter kit, offering an interactive approach to learning. Includes tools like sticks and rings and costume pieces, encouraging play while teaching about letter formation and phonics, numbers and shapes and colors. Available for Fire and iPad and four or six game options. Ages 3 to 5. 

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad, $40 (reduced from $80)

Fisher-Price Linkimals Light-Up and Learn Owl


Toddlers ages 18 months and up will love pressing the buttons of the owl's belly and watching him light up and play over 90 songs, sounds and phrases, teaching the alphabet, counting one to 20, weather, emotions and more. Like all Linkimals products, when the owl meets up with other "friends" they light up and interact together. 

Fisher-Price Linkimals Light-Up and Learn Owl, $16 (reduced from $33)

Melissa and Doug 100 piece wood blocks set

Melissa and Doug

STEAM-approved by the Toy Association, this colorful block set provides hours of building for young hands. Ages 2 and up.

Melissa & Doug 100 piece wood blocks set, $13 (reduced from $28)

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Magna-Tiles


Children of all ages love building with Magna-Tiles magnetic building tiles. An extra incentive for toddlers? This set engages Daniel Tiger fans with the help of their favorite characters and carries over themes from the show, helping to teach kids how to  identify feelings and the importance of helping others. Ages 3 and up. 

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Magna-Tiles, $45

Lily and River Little Numbers

Lily and River

This hands-on, wooden calculator makes addition, subtraction and multiplication fun for young learners. Ages 2 to 6. 

Lily and River Little Numbers, $60 

100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts: The best gifts to give this Christmas

It may seem early to start shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, but trust us, it's not. Last year's holiday season was riddled with supply-chain issues, and CBS News is anticipating more of the same in 2022. Plus, there's inflation -- unfortunately, prices may rise even more before December comes.

So it's time to shop for holiday gifts now. Pick out a great hiding spot and check out CBS Essentials' 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts of 2022. We've based our top 100 gift picks on our bestsellers, owner reviews and our own extensive research on the most-buzzed-about gifts of 2022, such as this I am Groot Lego set, a guinea pig toy that gives birth and this pooping purple turtle.

Stay tuned to the CBS Essentials 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts Series for our picks of the hottest gifts to give in 2022. Our list includes some of Apple's newest products, the top toys of 2022, game-changing kitchen cookware and kitchen appliances (such as this air fryer) and so much more.

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