Fatherly’s Holiday Gift Guide to The Best Action Figures and Dolls
Kylo Ren, the kids from 'Stranger Things', and Harry Potter are having a party.
The action figure will never die. Year after year, as kids put more tech gadgets on their holiday lists, the demise of the poseable hero continues to get exaggerated. These awesome toys are going to disappear. Then they don’t. In 2017, action figures and dolls did, however, evolve. Many are now infused with innovative technologies that help create a user experience beyond the old-school bash and smash. Whether it’s a modernized Teddy Ruxpin, a life-like Barbie horse that can nay and walk, or just awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mashed up with the characters from Ghostbusters, it’s been a good year for action figures and dolls.
Here are the best of the latest batch, the ones that parents will want to play with even when there aren’t any kids around.
DC Toddler Doll Wonder Woman
Let your little superhero’s imagination soar with this 15-inch toddler Wonder Woman doll by Tolly Tots. She’s equipped with all of the hero’s signature gear: Star crown, silver bracelets of submission, and of course the golden lasso. If your toddler is more of a Kryptonian or super genius than an Amazonian, Supergirl and Batgirl are also available.
Big Figs 20-Inch Star Wars Figures
Let your young Jedi practice using the force on this 20-inch tall Kylo Ren action figure. Based on characters from The Last Jedi and the animated series, Star Wars Rebels, these super-detailed articulated action figures from Jakks allow kids to relive their favorite moments from the big screen. In addition to Ren, you get get Poe, Chewy, and Han, among others, and each figure comes with their weapon from the series.
This year’s hottest toy is also one of the creepiest. Luvabella, like most baby dolls, will laugh, drink from a bottle, and speaks baby babble. But the creep factor is in Spin Master’s A.I. chip which can learn up to 100 new words by interacting with your kid. Luvabella also comes with accessories like a bottle, pacifier, spoon, and a blanket. It definitely doesn’t watch you while you sleep. We checked.
The women of the WWE are so tough, Barbie wouldn’t dare to step in the ring, but could the Bella Twins match Barbie in a runway walk off? These 12-inch figures combine action with fashion coming with two outfits: one based off every grappler’s in-ring gear, and the other matching every woman’s unique personal style. Since the figures are articulated, kids can recreate in-ring action like Sasha Banks’ finishing move, the “Bank Statement” on Charlotte Flair. Let’s hope they settle the score before they change to their post-match outfits.
These interactive pet monkeys from WowWee will grip onto your kid’s fingers. With six different personalities to choose from, each Fingerling monkey will do something unique including laugh, fart, sleep, sing, and blow kisses. The different colored robot animals can also latch onto your kid’s favorite pen while they wrap up some schoolwork.
Get ready for Porg mania. The newest and cutest creature to come out of Star Wars since the Ewoks are invading the zeitgeist and your home this holiday. These life-sized (10-inches tall) plushies from Hasbro can talk and recreate sounds from The Last Jedi. And they’re endlessly cute.
Ninja Turtles, like pizza, can come in a variety of combinations. And somehow bringing the green team together with Ghostbusters works in a bizarre mash-up that just works. Egon Spengler is Donatello, Peter Venkman is Michelangelo, Winston Zeddemore is Raphael, and Ray Stantz is Leonardo. Ok, so every combination doesn’t work, but the figures serve as an easy way to introduce your kids to the ghost catching foursome without sitting through a horrible reboot or a too-racy ’80s comedy. It’s a win-win!
Immortalize your pet by creating an accurate plushie, figurine or a granite memorial at Cuddle Clones. Of course, some legwork is necessary to create your actual pet into a plushie. You have to enter your animal’s breed, eye color, weight, and multiple pictures from various angles. And the custom jobs are not cheap either, but you get to choose the pose of your pet (sitting, lying, or standing) and its facial expression, so it’s a one of kind gift for a one of a kind pet.
A stormtrooper can be a little too much for a child, but in bear form, there’s nothing cuter. Star Wars has teamed with Build-A-Bear to create characters from a far, far, away place: Rey, Boba Fett, Yoda, and Chewbacca are available in bear-form. And like every Build-A-Bear item, you can customize every Star Wars bear by adding clothes, sounds, and scents from the workshop to create something that George Lucas would have considered at one point.
I Am Elemental Series 2 / Wisdom Warriors
These action figures are made by women with the intention to be a positive re-interpretation of tradition female toys. Designed specifically for girls, the toys are meant for all children to reinvent the superhero myth by giving the character a specific trait, unique look, ability, backstory, name (some names include Creativity, Ingenuity, Logic, and Mastery). So instead of punching a bad guy in the face, these figures are focused on using their wisdom.
The revolutionary animatronic bear from the ’80s is back! The all-new Teddy Ruxpin bear tells stories, sings, and, thanks to his 2017 technology, has all new LCD eyes that express his emotional state. The bear is paired with a free iOs and Android app, where you can download new songs and stories for Teddy to share with your kids.
The first boy to be made by American Girl Doll has been requested by fans for years. Logan may be different in gender to every American Girl Doll before him, but he’s no different in quality or treatment. He comes complete with a backstory (he’s in a country music band with another character, Tenney) and comes in a rockin’ outfit of rolled up sleeves and a faux pair of Converse.
Funko’s SuperCute Harry Potter Plushies
Funko is living up to their SuperCute Harry plushies series with their Harry Potter line. Your little muggle can choose from Harry, Hermonie, Ron, or from a cute looking, but still completely evil Voldemort. If your kid is less of a wizard and more of a princess, Funko also delivers the SuperCute series for Disney princesses all the way from Ariel to Elsa.
Stranger Things Action Figures 3-Pack
The world’s favorite Netflix series, Stranger Things, is getting the action figure treatment thanks to Funko’s 3-pack sets. Choose from Eleven, Lucas, and Mike or Will, Dustin, and the Demogorgon or get both and recreate your own little Upside Down with these 3-inch figures.
Barbie’s new Dreamhorse features one of the most interactive playsets by Mattel. Barbie’s horse can walk, turn 360 degrees, neigh, and make more than 30 interactive sounds. Best yet, the horse will nay yes or no when kids ask it a question. Think of it like Google Home, but from a 12-inch tall horse.