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To figure out what your kid wants for Christmas this year, go ask Elsa. Or Raphael.
Toys from "Frozen" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" are likely to dominate kids' lists this year, based on the "Most Wanted List" from toy review site TTPM.com released Wednesday. If there's good news for parents, it's that a wide array of toys fit the bill—but popular ones, such as the "Frozen" fashion dolls and "TMNT" action figures, are likely to be tough to find, said Jim Silver, chief executive of TTPM.
"If you want something 'Frozen,' get it now," he suggests.
Other toys on the list were grouped into five themes. "There are hot toys in every category," Silver said. "It's not about one toy."
More toymakers are competing for younger customers, said Silver. Their picks: Imaginext DC Super Friends RC Transforming Batbot (Fisher-Price), Go! Go! Smart Animals Zoo Explorers Playset (VTech), Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart (Just Play) and Paw Patrol Look-out Playset (Spin Master).
Characters and collectibles
Some hot "characters" don't revolve around a TV show or movie. FurReal Friends Pom Pom My Baby Panda (Hasbro) and Shopkins (Moose Toys) are both likely hits, but the surprise sellout has been Puppy Surprise (Just Play). "Nobody's talking about it," Silver said. "But it's been sold out everywhere for weeks."
Puppy Surprise might ring a bell for young parents. The toy—a stuffed dog with an unknown quantity of puppies inside—was first popular in the 1990s. "That does happen a lot," said Sean McGowan, managing director of equity research for Needham & Company, of the retro toy's resurgence. Shoppers could see more such hits as once-popular toys and brands change hands.
Toys that encourage kids to keep moving are becoming more popular, including the Zoomer Dino (Spin Master), Nerf N-Strike Elite Mega Thunderbow (Hasbro) and Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Flying Car (Mattel).
Analysts have been calling out a trend in crafty and customized products since the Toy Fair in February. TTPM's list includes the DohVinci Style & Store Vanity (Hasbro), Wackytivities Kinetic Sand (Spin Master), Lego Fusion Town Master (Lego) and the Hot Wheels Airbrush Auto Designer (Mattel).
"Parents love them because they promote play value," Silver said. "That's their biggest fear—that the kids will play with a toy for 10 minutes and then toss it aside. "
There are two notable smartwatches for kids, Silver said: Leapband (LeapFrog) and Kidizoom (VTech), which come with kid-friendly games and other features.
It's still too early to know which toys will fly off shelves. "Overall, the consumer has been pretty hesitant," said McGowan, adding that many shoppers are likely to wait to buy, holding out for sales.
And maybe for some more practical reasons as well. Billy, general manager of YouTube channel Bratayley and dad to its three vlogging stars, said the kids have yet to make their lists. (The family doesn't publicize its last name for privacy reasons.)
"Seeing [hot toys listed] on a piece of paper doesn't mean anything to them," he said.
Read MoreWal-Mart's hot holiday toy picks