(Toys article updated with new pricing and promotions.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What are the top 10 toys of the year? What toy will be this year's Zhu Zhu Pets or Tickle Me Elmo? And where can you find them for the lowest price? While it may be too early to tell, there is one theme emerging: the growing interest in collectible toys. Miniature figurines and trinkets, like Calico Critters, Squinkies and Sing-a-ma-jigs, have already been touted as this year's hottest toys.
Toys 'R' Us CEO: Going Small Will Pay Off Big
Remember Sylvanian Families? A boom in the 90s, Sylvania featured collectible animal families like bunnies and bears in elaborate play houses. The collection was later renamed Calico Critters and has been a hit in Japan. Two decades later, the Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse is expected to be a big seller this holiday season. The play set retails for $79.99 at Toys 'R' Us stores. Amazon took down the price on the house from $92.99 to $79.52 to remain competitive. Target previously offered the set for $92.99, but it is no longer available on its Web site. Wal-Mart does not offer any Calico Critters sets. Click the arrow below to hear Storch discuss Calico Critters.
Sing-a-ma-jigs from Mattel are plush creatures that harmonize and sing together. They have already become a YouTube sensation, with videos featuring the six characters: pink bear, blue dog, red bear, purple dog, orange bear and a yellow bunny. Toys 'R' Us slashed the price on these colorful stuffed toys to $9.49 from $12.99. On Amazon, Sing-a-ma-jigs are available for $18.99, while Target is retailing the toy for $12.99. The only Sing-a-ma-jig currently in-stock on Target.com is the red creature. Sing-a-ma-jigs have been out of stock online at Wal-Mart since October.
Board games have always been a popular gift for families, and this year Mattel ( MAT)and Hasbro ( HAS)released two popular options. Cuponk, by Hasbro, combines electronic cups and ping-pong-like balls. The goal: sink the ball in the cup using a variet of tricks. It's like beer pong minus the alcohol. Both Toys 'R' Us and Amazon are offering the game for $12.99, down from $14.99m while Target is listing it for $13.99. Wal-Mart is packaging two of these cups for $25, up from $20 in October, while a single cup ranges from $12.54 to $14.96. Mattel's Loopz is a motion-sensor, electronic memory game (think Simon) where users attempt to replicate a series of lights and patterns. Toys 'R' Us lowered its price on the game to $29.99 from $34.99, and is also offering the Chrome Edition for the same price from a previous ticket of $34.99. Amazon lowered the cost of Loopz to $25.99 from $29, while Wal-Mart cut the price to $25 from $29.98. Target has the game at the lowest price, at $23.99, from $29. Click the arrow below to hear Storch discuss what to expect from board games this season.
Disney Princess & Me
Disney Princess & Me, from Jakks ( JAKK), is sold exclusively at Toys 'R' Us. While other retailers may sell variations of the Disney Princess dolls, Toys 'R' Us is betting on the success of dolls like American Girl, where children can also dress up like their favorite character. The dolls retail for $49.99 each and matching children's outfits cost $14.99. Click the arrow below to hear Storch discuss Toys 'R' Us' exclusive Disney Princess & Me offering.
Put Barbie in all black and add some funky eyeliner and you have Mattel's Monster High Dolls. For the older child who is vampire/zombie obsessed and can't get enough of the Twilight series, the Monster High collection includes fashion dolls, plush toys, books and other accessories. Toys 'R' Us is selling the set of Cleo DeNile and Deuce Gorgon (the hottest couple at Monster High) for $39.99, while Amazon lowered its price on the gift set to $26.77 from $29.99. Wal-Mart offers the same dolls for $29.02, down from $29.99, while Target has them in-stock for $29.99. Click the arrow below to hear why Monster High will be the "It" doll for the holidays.
Another toy being brought over from Japan is Tomica Trains. The Hypercity Mega Station set is retailing exclusively at Toys 'R' Us for $69.99, down from $79.99. Amazon is carrying the set for a much steeper $108.99. Click the arrow below to hear Storch discuss Tomica Trains.
Pillow Pets are stuffed animals that turn into a pillow by opening a strap. There's a massive collection of these pillow toys, including lady bugs, dogs, pandas, penguins, dolphins, pigs and monkeys. Target is selling these cuddly toys for $19.99 each, Wal-Mart has them for $19.88, while Amazon prices range from $18.63 to over $30, depending on the character. Toys 'R' Us has the toy in stock for $19.99 and is offering another dog or bear pillow pet for just $4.99, one you purchase one of the animals.
Nerf N-Strike Stampede
The newest Nerf toys from Hasbro can shoot darts up to 25 feet. It is being deemed by Time To Play Magazine as "Quite simply: This is the best Nerf blaster ever." Wal-Mart lowered the price on the toys to $44 from $49.97, while Toys 'R' Us also slashed the price to $49.99 from $54.99. Target is retailing the toy for $44, down from $49.99, and Amazon also has it on sale for $44 from $44.97.
Squinkies, $7 collectible toy capsules, are poised to be the hottest toy of the season, with the potential to emulate the success of Zhu Zhu pets last year. These tiny collectibles can be stored in one of several play-sets that double as vending machines. The Cupcake Surprise Bakeshop is expected to be a favorite, and is already sold out online at Toys 'R' Us, while Target no longer features the play set on its site. Wal-Mart is also out-of-stock on the toy, but its the discounter's Web site says it will be coming soon and will retail for $19.98. Amazon is featuring the Cupcake Surprise Bakeshop for $37.45 from $38.47. Click the arrow below to hear Storch discuss Squinkies blockbuster potential. --Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jeanine Poggi. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jpoggi. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.