Best Preschool Toys of 2012

Our gift to you this holiday season is a stress-free shopping guide for the hottest playthings of the year. They topped our kid testers' wish lists!

Pig and Moo Poppers

Pig and Moo Poppers

What happens when animals attack? Hint: It's a wild time with these soft popping toys. Preschoolers squeeze the belly to shoot foam balls up to 20 feet. 4 years+, $11; hogwildtoys.com

Magic Moves Electronic Wand

Magic Moves Electronic Wand

Pump up your kid's playdate with this wand that gives silly suggestions to act out, such as "Stomp like an elephant!" 3 years+, $20; educationalinsights.com

LeapPad2 Explorer

LeapPad2 Explorer

Last year's hottest holiday gift is back and better than ever with new features, including two cameras (front- and back-facing), 4GB of memory, a faster processor, and more app and game options. 3 years+, $100; leapfrog.com

Bear in Underwear Backpack Adventure Board Game!

Bear in Underwear Backpack Adventure Board Game!

Engage kids with a mix of competition and cooperation as they find the food on their cards (and share the leftovers). 3 years+, $21; haywiregroup.com

Quattro

Quattro

Connect 4 goes green with this eco-friendly set made out of bamboo. Line up four in your color to win the game. 3 years+, $40; hapetoys.com

Brilli the Imagination Ball

Brilli the Imagination Ball

"Hot Potato" gets a rousing upgrade with this interactive toy. Its face twists to switch between fast-paced counting, rhyming, and vocab games. 3 years+, $18; vtechkids.com

iTikes Microscope

iTikes Microscope

Discover a new world with this app-and-tech-toy combo. View a goldfish scale or a fungus up close through the scope and then learn more on an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. 4 years+, $90; littletikes.com

Primary Science Mix & Measure Set

Primary Science Mix & Measure Set

Get your geek on with this oversize lab kit. Experiment cards walk future scientists through the basics, from how to use the scale to creating slime. 4 years+, $30; learningresources.com

Play House

Play House

Your kid will dig out the cloth "wall" of this dollhouse lets down to make a garden playmat. You'll love the compact size of this three-story dream home. 3 years+, $80; plantoysusa.com

Chuck and Friends Diggin' Rigs Buster the Power Crane

Chuck and Friends Diggin? Rigs Buster the Power Crane

The talking crane assists your kid with sculpting bricks, road signs, and traffic cones in this Play-Doh set. 3 years+, $22; playdoh.com

All Around Easel for Two

All Around Easel for Two

With a chalkboard on one side and a magnetized dry-erase board on the other, your artist will have twice the fun. Bonus: 94 letter and symbol magnets. 3 years+, $40; step2.com

Color Wonder Light-Up Paint Palette

Color Wonder Light-Up Paint Palette

Take the "pieces" out of "masterpieces" with this self-contained set from Crayola: The brush attaches to the palette. 4 years+, $25; crayola.com

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