10 of the best last-minute toys for Christmas - tested by mums

Our mums give you the lowdown on the best last-minute gifts for Christmas, which will keep your little ones amused all over the festive season!

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  • Tinga Tinga Tales Up Down & All Around Monkey, around £25

    • Monkey's hands and tail can grasp and hold, enabling him to hang around the house
    • Built-in sensors recognise whether Monkey is up, down or lying down, allowing him to make different noises
    • Suitable from 18 months

    Our mum's verdict

    "On opening this toy, it's certainly colourful and bright! There's a switch that lets you have it on a demo mode, on full mode or very handy switched-off mode! The messages recorded are clear, good volume level, cheery and of course sound just like the character. 

    "The really great thing about this toy is that it says the appropriate thing if you, for example, turn him on his head upside down. I'd describe this toy as quirky, well made and bright. My nearly 4-year-old loved it and I did too."

    Kay, Dudley

  • Ewan the Dream Sheep, £29.99

    • Choose from four different calming sounds - vacuum cleaner, rain, harp or womb noise
    • Can be secured to the pushchair or car seat by his Velcro tail!
    • Battery operated, surface wash only
    • Suitable from birth

    Our mum's verdict

    "My 11-month boy has a new night-time friend and I have to say it was love at first sight! He loves the red glow from the sheep and presses his face right into it and just stares at the light. It has four different sound options but his favourite is the lullaby. I love the 20-minute timer on it, which is just right and saves me from having to switch it off. A brilliant toy!"

    Claire, Edinburgh

  • Kaloo Liberty Chubby bear, £27.99

    • Embroidered front features mummy and baby bird scene
    • Super-soft, comes with a pretty 20cm gift box
    • Suitable from birth


    Our mum's verdict

    "We loved this bear! The first impression from my 2-year-old daughter was 'wow'. It comes in a gorgeously girly floral hat box, which makes a great storage box for her hairbrushes when the bear is not in it. The bear itself is the same pretty print as the box and is of very high quality.

    "There are no hard bits for the nose or eyes and is so soft to touch. It has such immaculate stitching that even the tiniest of fingers can't pull it apart, and would be easy to wash should it get dirty. My daughter now loves hers so much she won't go anywhere without it and has replaced her dolly with it!"

    Zoe, Medway

  • BitBike, £90

    • Comes in green, pink, orange and blue
    • Award-winning design
    • Suitable from 18 months to 3 years

    Our mum's verdict

    "The BitBike is brilliant, very sturdy, and perfect for toddlers. It has a wide seat, which is very comfortable. A very impressive bike!

    "My 2-year-old daughter was thrilled to bits, she found riding on her own a really good experience, and felt very adventurous!

    "A free carry case is included, and while the bike is quite heavy it feels solid and well-made. A perfect present for your little one." 

    Bhuvana, Hillingdon

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  • Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe & Glow Seahorse, £15

    • Plays soft music, lullabies and soothing sounds of the ocean
    • After five minutes the music fades and lights dim
    • Includes eight lullabies and power/volume control
    • Suitable from birth

    Our mum's verdict

    "Cute toy with soothing tunes and lovely bubbly ocean sounds. Displays a nice glowing light for gentle reassurance at night. Fabric is really soft and baby seems enchanted by the face! It is a bit big for a newborn and quite solid. Even my toddler can't manage to turn the sounds on easily!"

    Angela, Islington

  • Topzy Tumblers Twirlin' Tumblin' Fun Park, £40

    • Playset is sturdy enough for baby to pull himself up on as he watches the tumblers move
    • Suitable from 6 months

    Our mum's verdict

    "The Topzy Tumblers set is amazing fun! Both my kids - 3 years and 18 months - love it, but my youngest does especially and couldn't stop laughing at it when we first gave it to him. 

    "It keeps his attention for ages at a time, and his little face lights up when he plays with it. The colours, lights and music are all very engaging for children, and the little people things that you put in to roll down the slide or to ride on the wheel are a great size for little hands to hold. When they pop up the stairs he laughs every time! It gives him a little fright when he hears it making the mechanical noise when the tumblers jump up each step. I'm sure we'll still be playing with it for a long time to come!"
     
    Lisa, South Lanarkshire

  • Steiff Fynn teddy bear in suitcase, £29

    • Luxurious soft finish
    • Features the famous Steiff ear button
    • Suitable from 3 years


    Our mum's verdict

    "I loved the presentation of the bear in the suitcase, I envisioned my toddler Jamie carrying him everywhere, which he does, but not in the case (which now houses his toy train)!

    "The Steiff bear hasn't left his pillow for the last four weeks, he won't really go to sleep without it because it's so soft and cuddly. It's his new pillow buddy! My son is quite boisterous and has carried the bear about quite a bit but it has worn really well and still looks pretty new - no loose bits or signs of wear at all."

    Claire, Rochdale

  • In The Night Garden Goodnight Friend Upsy Daisy, £19.99

    • Comes with a cute removable nightdress and snuggly slipper accessories
    • Flower-shaped light is included
    • Suitable from 2 years

    Our mum's verdict

    "In The Night Garden Goodnight Friend Upsy Daisy and is perfect for young fans of the TV programme, as well as older children wanting a bedtime companion. My child loved dressing Upsy Daisy in her bedclothes and slippers, tucking her into bed and then reading her a story. It even comes with a toy light to help them settle down to sleep.

    "They are good for imaginary play, as well as improving fine motor skills. They are well made and the accessories are fun. You don't have to be a fan of the programme to enjoy playing with these really sweet toys during the day and cuddling them at night."

    Marcia, Westminster

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  • Cloud B Twilight Turtle, £29.99

    • Choice of three soothing colour options – amber, blue and green – to create a starry sky
    • Parents can help their children identify constellations using the the illustrated Star Guide
    • Battery operated
    • Suitable from 2 years

    Our mum's verdict

    "The Cloud B Twilight Turtle is a truly magical night-light that projects a star-lit sky onto the walls and ceiling of your little one's bedroom.  

    "Our 2-year-old son was so impressed with it I didn't believe that he'd actually be able to drop off while the turtle was on but the next time I checked on him, he was fast asleep. Following our recent bedtime battles, it was a great relief to have an evening to ourselves!

    "Brilliant sleep timer option means night wakers can send themselves back off to sleep without the turtle glowing all night. Easily five stars."

    Christina, Ealing

  • Disney Club Penguin Airhockey Playset, £34.99

    • Comes complete with four coins to unlock free content online
    • Compatible with Club Penguin Mix 'n Match Figures
    • Suitable from 5 years


    Our mum's verdict

    "The Club Penguin Air Hockey table is great fun and is based on the idea of the actual air hockey tables played in amusement arcades. It has the realistic air flow to allow the puck to move about on the table easily. 

    "The game is very easy to assemble and my sons, who are 9 and 10, managed to do it by themselves. It can be a bit noisy when switched on with the noise of the air flow but this is soon drowned out with the screams of them getting excited as they get more into the game. Beware - the game is very addictive, even for mums and dads!

    "I would highly recommend this game as it kept my sons entertained for hours especially as they are big Club Penguin fans anyway. It also allowed the family to play together as we all competed to become the winner."

    Amanda, Tameside

Last updated on 16 December 2011

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