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It’s that time of year again when parents want to surprise kids with the coolest toys. That often means waiting outside in the cold to buy something before it sells out.

The good news is there are many innovative options to choose from this year — and many double as teaching tools.  Here are a few products that CNN feels are worthy of a spot on holiday wish lists.

Sphero Mini

The Mini is the latest tech toy from Sphero. Now, you can control the movements of its latest robotic ball with facial expressions.

The toy is about the size of a standard ping pong ball and features technology that tracks smiles, frowns and head tilts. The expressions correspond with a directional movement. For example, a smile will move the Mini closer and a tilt of the head moves it left or right.

The Mini also works alongside an app, where users can play games and access a virtual joystick.

Price: $50

Moonlite

Moonlite converts a smartphone into a bedtime storybook projector.  The device uses the flashlight function to project story images onto the ceiling or wall, visually bringing storybooks to life.

Through an app, parents can read stories such as “Goodnight Moon” and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” while kids follow along with the projected images. The app also features sound effects.

The gadget ($25) includes five story reels. Each additional reel costs $8.

click here to see more of the hottest toys this year

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