Keep Everyone on Your List Happy: Toy Expert Shares This Year's Top Trends

TTPM CEO Jim Silver shares his secrets on the hottest trends in toys.

How exactly does Santa know what to bring your kids?

Whether or not Father Christmas is available to save the day, toy expert Jim Silver is sharing his secrets to discovering this year’s top trends.

Silver, the CEO of Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM), explained his company is in charge of reviewing thousands of products annually. When it comes to picking the toys that make the final cut, Silver says he and his staff follow strict guidelines.

“First of all, is it fun? A toy needs to be fun because it’s entertainment for kids,” he explained in an interview with “Are you going to play with the toy for five minutes and then the child’s going to toss it aside?”

He said the most important thing parents can do is ditch last year’s trends.

“If it’s something that’s hot in the past, doesn’t mean it’s hot today,” Silver said. “Technology changes toys. They’re being made better and better.”

As parents urge their kids to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics as they play, toys with a focus on STEM have grown in popularity.

“Parents like it when the kids learn while playing,” he said. “So look at the Little Bids Droid Adventure Kit. Little Bids Droid Adventure Kit is a toy that first, you create it — and then you can customize it — and then you code it.”

For parents on a budget, Silver offers his tips for getting your money’s worth.

“Look at the price-value relationship,” he said. “We like to show parents, [whether] my child going to be playing with this a week from now, or two weeks from now?”

When in doubt, go for what your kid has always loved.

“You don't buy a doll for a child that doesn't like dolls,” he said. “So even though it might be the hot toy, it might not be right for your child.”