Every year toy companies release a new line of "must have" products. Fickle children know exactly which toys are hot for the holidays, while parents aren't always in the loop. Whether it's the newest doll, latest game or coolest guitar, it can be difficult to discern the exact item you are searching for, especially among the madness of a crowded store. Let this list be your guide for the hottest toys of 2011.
* Sesame Street Let's Rock Elmo
Elmo takes the stage singing and making music. He comes with his very own microphone and two instruments - a tambourine and a drum set as well as a bonus guitar. Preschoolers can choose which instrument Elmo plays, and he magically recognizes which one you give him. Kids can also play along on Elmo's instruments - they're sized for little hands. $69.99.
* Barbie Princess Charm School Barbie Doll. Princess Blair
Barbie stars as Blair Willows, who attends Princess Charm School, a magical, modern place that teaches dancing, how to have tea parties and proper princess manners. Princess Blair magically transforms into three different fashionable looks. Her school uniform top clips off to reveal a short fun party dress that magically transforms into a princess gown. $23.99.
* Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Grow-With-Me Play Table
This table features colorful Thomas graphics with 3-D molded engine faces and vivid pictures of all your favorite train friends. A two-sided play board allows children to play at any skill level. Store engines and accessories in the built-in storage drawer. $199.
* Little Tikes Sizzle n' Pop Kitchen
This compact, stylish and modern toddler play kitchen has cooking sound effects and all the accessories a little chef might need. Special sound feature will make the play food "pop" and "sizzle" on the stove. Refrigerator and oven doors open and close. Plenty of storage space. $79.99.
* Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Doll.
These Lalaloopsy have silly hair that bends every which way. Now you can style your Lalaloopsy doll's hair. Hair allows you to curl, twist and straighten. Includes hair styling brush, four clips and six hair beads. $34.99.
* Angry Birds 5-inch Plush with sound.
Adapted from the popular Angry Birds video game about a gang of birds who want to get their revenge on a group of evil pigs that have stolen their eggs. The Angry Birds toys sound just like their digital versions. Give them a squeeze and they will squawk and chirp. $12.99.
* Crayola Magnetic Double Easel
Double-sided easel offers chalkboard and magnetic dry erase surface each with an art display clip. Four detachable storage bins keep accessories organized, and the easel folds for convenient portability and storage. The easel includes bins, an eraser, 77 magnetic letters and numbers. $49.95.
* Marvel Super Hero Adventures figure two-pack assortment
Preschoolers can create super hero-sized adventures with these playful two-packs, sized especially for small hands. Each pack includes two iconic figures from the Marvel universe, featuring articulation and accessories that allow for exciting, imaginative play.
Suggested retail price: $5.99
* Power Wheels Fisher Price Ride on Disney Pixar Cars 2 Lil Lightning
A racecar for the youngest of drivers. Three sound modes let you choose English or Spanish phrases from the original Cars movie plus racecar sounds. Drives up to 2 mph. on hard surfaces and grass with single push-button operation for easy stop and go and wide door openings for easy in and out. Includes 6-volt battery and charger. $129.
* LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning
This learning tablet has a built-in camera and a library of more than 100 cartridge games and activities. LeapPad works with all Leapster Explorer and LeapFrog Explorer cartridge games and downloadable apps. Touch the screen with a finger, tap it with the stylus or turn, twist and shake the tablet for exciting motion-based play. $99.
* Umagine Bizu Bead Style Studio
Bizu is a twist on beads and the exclusive bead activity that allows girls to create magically transforming accessories. Make bracelets, charms and necklaces anyway you want. Give the jewelry a twist and create cute, posable and lovable characters.
Suggested retail price: $19.99
* Hot Wheels Wall Tracks assortment
Kids will be able to enjoy the holidays like never before as Hot Wheels takes its iconic track off the ground and places it on the wall allowing boys to experience track play in an entirely new way. Completely modular, the track pieces can be mixed and matched for maximum fun and even go around corners so boys can fit their Wall Tracks behind a room or closet door or simply play from wall-to-wall.
Suggested retail price: $ 29.99
Suggested retail price: $ 16.99
* Spin Master's Air Hogs Radio controlled cars.
Get in the driver's seat and bring your favorite Disney Pixar Cars 2 characters to life with Air Hog's fully functional Air Hogs Radio Control Cars. These 1:24 scale vehicle replicas have a 50-foot range. $49.99.
* Fisher-Price Imaginext Mega T-Rex
This dinosaur toy is equipped with robotic armor, including tech arms and a protective helmet. Two blasters mounted on his armor can fire projectiles. With a touch of the button on his back, T-Rex comes to life: he throws his head back, opens his jaws, and lets out a ferocious roar. His arms and tail are also animated. $44.99.
* Fisher-Price Power Wheels Dune Racer Ride On
Plow through ruts, wet grass, gravel, mud on this off-road racecar. It features a steel frame with chrome accents and an open cockpit that seats two and a secret storage compartment under the hood. A 12-volt battery power drives two speeds forward up to 5 mph plus reverse with high-speed lock-out option for beginners and Power Lock brakes. $279.99.
* Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll three-pack
The students of Monster High are ready to raise everyone's "ghoul" spirits with this exclusive set of three fashion dolls. Dressed in their Fear Squad uniforms, kids can help Draculaura and Cleo de Nile - complete with pompoms and a bullhorn - cheer on the home team while inspiring ultimate Monster High fan, Ghoulia Yelps, who sports a foam finger and Monster High banner.
Suggested retail price: $42.99
Animal Planet Air Swimmers eXtreme Radio Control Giant Flying Shark or Clown Fish
Animal Planet brings you the first giant lightweight, animal-shaped metallic balloon flown using a remote control. Available in shark and clownfish designs that are more than four feet long.
Suggested retail - $49.99
Paper Jamz Pro Series Guitar
Play guitar like a rock star with the Paper Jamz Pro Series Guitar, now MP3 compatible. Download any MP3 onto the guitar or choose from hundreds of specially formatted downloads from the Paper Jamz Pro download library.
Suggested retail - $39.99
Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
The new Paper Jamz microphone uses cutting-edge technology to deliver a unique and fun singing experience to your favorite songs. Includes 2 built-in songs and the following enhanced features that help you sound like a professional recording artist.
Suggested retail - $29.99
LEGO Ninjago Fire Temple
Builders will create this ultimate dojo where the epic battle between good and evil wages. Featuring stunning colors and intricate LEGO pieces, the temple splits into two, revealing the Fire Dragon. Suggested retail - $119.99
Nerf Vortex Proton Blaster
The compact Nerf Vortex Proton blaster is a single-shot blaster that comes with 3 Vortex discs. Simply pull out the back chamber to load one of the discs and blast away even while you're on the move.
Suggested retail: $9.99
I Am T-Pain Mic
Turn yourself into a pop star this holiday season with the new I Am T-Pain Mic, the perfect gift for the wannabe superstar. The I Am T-Pain Mic enables you to sound like superstar music artist T-Pain, who revolutionized the use of voice modification technology into a sound and style now known as "The T-Pain Effect."
Suggested retail price: $39.99
Beyblade: Metal Masters Performance Top Battle Top assortment
Inspired by the Beyblade: Metal Masters Series, these 21 new tops feature cast metal fusion wheels and tips perfect for endurance, attack, balance or stamina battles. Each top comes complete with a ripcord launcher and assembly tool so you can collect, customize and compete in strategic Beyblade battles.
Suggested retail price: $7.99