Must-have toys for Christmas from the biggest sellers

LOL Surprise Glamper, Walking Buzz Lightyear, Kindi Kids Toddler dolls, Owleez and the LEGO Harry Potter Knight Bus have all been tipped as some of the must-haves for Christmas by retailers such as Argos and toy experts at the Toy Fair. Our toy testers pick the best of the bunch...

best christmas toys 2019

MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.

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It’s the new Christmas toy tradition: all the major stores release their own list of the toys they believe will be bestsellers in the run up to 25 December. But are any of these ‘top toys’ any good? We take a good long look at the most recommended buys as the lists come out and single out the toys we think are definitely worth their place on your child’s wishlist. The lists from Argos and Toy Fair Heroes are already in – and, as more (Amazon, Hamleys, Argos, DreamToys, John Lewis) appear, we’ll add the best of those in, too.

To make our top choices, we’ve been reviewing the toys for play potential and value for money, getting kids to play with them and give us feedback, and finding out the cheapest places to buy the toys – updated in realtime whenever we can.

Top toys for Christmas from Argos, Amazon, DreamToys, Hamleys, John Lewis, Aldi, eBay, B&M and Toy Fair Heroes…

boppi the booty shakin llama

1. Boppi the Booty Shakin’ Llama, £25

Recommended by: Argos and Toy Fair Hero Toys
Age: 2+
We reckon there’s no parental middle ground on this one: you’ll either love the idea of a twerking llama or resolve never, ever to allow it anywhere near your child’s toybox. Boppi, the latest addition to the interactive Pet Alive range, tosses her head, shakes her booty and spins round in a circle to 3 different songs. Requires 4 x AA batteries (included).

 Available from: Smyths Toys and The Entertainer

blume dolls

2. Blume dolls, £10 each

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 5+

These little dolls come hidden inside a flowerpot: you water the pot with a teeny-tiny watering can and your doll ‘grows’ out of the pot. You can then open to pot to reveal your doll and the 10 ‘surprises’ such as sticker sheet or fashion shoes. Each Blume doll (there are several to collect) comes with a different outfit and glorious multicoloured hairstyle.

Available from: Smyths Toys and The Entertainer

owleez

3. Owleez, £50

Recommended by: Argos

Age: TBC (we reckon 5+)

Oh yes, it’s an interactive owl, with his own nest, that you can teach to fly! You can feed it toy berries (great eating noises), pet it, rock it to sleep, and, if you hold it and move your arm back and forth, eventually (it takes a while for him to ‘learn’), he’ll take off into the air. Comes in white or pink (and maybe other colours later).

Available from: Not available till October 2019 (we’ll keep you posted!)

lego harry potter knight bus

4. LEGO Harry Potter Night Bus, £35

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 7+

A new 403-piece set (updated from the 2011 version) from which you construct a 6cm x 6cm moving model of the famous purple 3-decker Night Bus. Features a removable rood and opening side panel. Comes with Harry Potter, Stan Shunpike and Ernie Prang figures, plus a shrunken head, Harry Potter’s chest (containing his wand and potion bottle), a sliding bed and swinging chandelier.

Available from: LEGO

ultimate walking buzz lightyear

5. Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear, £35

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

One of the best Toy Story 4-themed toys we’ve seen this year. Press the button under Buzz’s arm to switch him on, then press the red button his left side to spread out his wings, hear him say phrases from the movie and make him walk and swivel his hips. Great sound effects. Comes with a surprise to unlock to make Buzz do the moonwalk. Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)

Available from: Smyths Toys and Argos

furreal cubby bear

6. Furreal Cubby Bear, £80

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 4+

A very cute animatronic cuddly bear, designed to help children fall asleep. He has a singing, dancing, playing-peekaboo, kiss-blowing daytime mode but, when it’s bedtime, you can switch him to nighttime mode, and he’ll slowly fall asleep and play 5 minutes of white noise, soothing sounds or lullabies to help your child nod off, too. Comes with honey treats and a brush to comb him with.

Available from: Not available till August (we’ll keep you posted!)

kindi kids donatina

7. Kindi Kids Toddler Dolls, £25 each

Recommended by: Argos

Age: TBC (we think 3+)

From the makers of Shopkins and Pikimi Pops come this collection of 4 bigger dolls (Jessicake, Peppa-Mint, Donatina, pictured, and Marsha Mello)with glittery eyes, wobbly heads, colourful hair and accessories, including a snack that they can ‘eat’.

Available from: Not available till late summer (we’ll keep you posted!)

paw patrol supersonic jet

8. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Super Sonic Jet, £60

Age: 2+

Recommended by: Argos

We haven’t been able to get our hands on this one yet but we do know it’s a generously sized jet that open ups to transform into a ‘mobile command centre’ with a launch door for vehicles stowed inside. Come with a mini-jet that fires ‘missiles’.

Available from: Set to go on sale in the UK in July (we’ll keep you posted!)

fisher-price imaginext transforming bat mobile

9. Fisher-Price Imaginext Transforming Batmobile, £100

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

A large 56cm x 46cm x 19cm remote-controlled Batmobile that you can transform into a raised ‘battle-mode’ super-vehicle that can launch 4 projectile discs. It zooms forwards and backwards and spins right round, and boasts ‘awesome’ lights and sounds.

Available from: Not available till later in the year (we’ll keep you posted!)

fortnite battle bus

10. Fortnite Battle Bus, £40

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 8+

A 30cm playset bus with opening rear door based on the computer game that’s been obsessing pre-teens for the past year or so. Plenty of space to store other Battle Royale figures. Comes with 2 exclusive figures and victory umbrella.

Available from: Not available till later in the year but you can pre-order on Amazon

peppa pig playset

11. Peppa Pig Playset, £40

Recommended by: Argos

Age: TBC

We haven’t had a chance to test out this playset yet but we know it has a Christmas theme, and comes with a stage and seating and lots of sounds.

Available from: Not available till later in the year (we’ll keep you posted).

LOL surprise glamour

12. LOL Surprise 2 in 1 Glamper, £100

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 2+

A big 91cm x 61cm toy camper van that converts to a playhouse which has 10 different play areas, including bunk beds, a bathroom with a pink and gold toilet, a water slide and a DJ booth. Comes with over 50 surprise bundles and an exclusive LOL doll. The campervan has lights and sounds – and pulls apart to make a cute little cab-car.

Available from: Not available till later in the year (we’ll keep you posted).

And here are some of the top picks from last year that are still getting a very excited thumbs up from our toy testers…

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13. Fingerlings Untamed Dinos, £16.99

Recommended by: Argos, Hamlets and B&M

Age: 5+

Forget monkeys, WowWee Toys’ popular Fingerlings are now all about dinosaurs (or unicorns, if you fancy something a little less roar-y). The Raptors (see above; choose from 4 different ones) won Bronze in the Best Interactive Toy category of our 2018 Toy Awards and now you can also buy T Rex ones. The dinos are slightly bigger than their monkey predecessors, and respond to motion and sound just like regular Fingerlings. Expect some growls and roars instead of cute monkey coo-ing, obvs.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys

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14. LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express, £75

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 8 to 14

If your kids love Harry Potter, LEGO and trains – well, this is a no-brainer. When we quizzed our man in Hamleys, we couldn’t actually find out how many LEGO pieces are in this set (we couldn’t find it on the box either – tell us if you can!). We reckon it’s not huge and way smaller than the Hogwarts Hall we featured here previously. But we love the good solid train it comes with and 5 mini figures plus Dementor and Scabbers figures. We reckon there’d be something quite magical about getting this for Christmas.

Available from: Hamleys

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_poopsie

15. Poopsies Surprise Unicorn, £49.99

Recommended by: DreamToys

Age: 18 months+

This large ‘surprise’ toy (there are 2 versions to choose from so far) combines all those things most kids love: unicorns and poo! Well, the poo is slime – which makes for even more fun. The set includes a colourful unicorn, its glitter potty, 4 unicorn food packets (slime powder), an exclusive bottle and exclusive poo character keychain, a shirt, nappy, spoon and hair brush. And the idea is that you feed your unicorn the slime food and then it poos on the potty. Yep, really. (If you can’t quite stretch the budget, there are some smaller Poopsie Slime Surprises which include a smaller unicorn and slime and cost just £9.99.)

Available from: Very and A1 Toys

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_elasti

16. Elast Plasti, £13

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 5+

The slime craze shows no signs of slowing any time soon, and this particular version hit the headlines when the paps were all over it at a recent Hamleys press show. It’s expandable by 100 times and you can grow giant bubbles with it. Plus – it’s non-sticky (yay!!). We loved it so much we wrote a story dedicated to it – and we can’t wait to get it in the office and try it out.

Available from: Hamleys 

waitrose mini supermarket

17. Mini Waitrose Supermarket, £45

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 3+

If you’re child’s going to play shops, they might as well go for a fancy option like Waitrose, right? 😉 And we love the look of this one. Your toddler can pick up lots of ingredients to put through the cash register before rustling up a super-tasty meal for all the family. Gorgeous! Good price point too.

Available from: John Lewis

toot toot pirate ship

18. Toot-Toot Friends Kingdom Pirate Ship, £29.99

Recommended by: eBay

Age: 1 year+

This toddler toy took home silver in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2018, in the Best Playset category. A 16cm x 45cm x 35cm interactive pirate’s ship that opens up to reveal a treasure island. Features a cannon that shoots cannonballs, a trap door and a spinning octopus. Come with 3 characters, 3 MagicPoints that triggers responses when you place a character on them and 3 light-up press buttons.There’s so much to play with in this toddler-magnet playset: the shooting canon was a particularly huge hit with all our testers. We also the fact that the noises can be switched off if you need a break from whistling cannon balls and exclaiming pirates. Requires 2 AA batteries.

Available from: Smyths Toys

Monopoly fornite

19. Monopoly Fortnite edition, £21.99

Recommended by: DreamToys, Argos

Age: 13+

It’s Monopoly for Fortnite fans – well, you never know, it might get them off their phone/console for more than 30 seconds… Players have to claim locations, build walls, pick up health packs, battle opponents and avoid the Storm to survive. And each character has 27 ‘awesome’ outfits to choose from. Good board-based fun for Battle Royale pros and (parent) bots alike…

Available from: Amazon, Argos and Smyths Toys

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_barbie

20. Barbie Ultimate Kitchen, £49.99

Recommended by: Dreamtoys and B&M

Age: 4+

This total dream of a  Barbie kitchen comes with more than 20 accessories, lights up and makes kitchen nosies like a sizzle when you use the fry press. Included is a Barbie in a kitchen pinafore. You’ll need 3 x AAA batteries – they’re not included.There is lots of imaginative play to be had with this kitchen: the fact there are light up bits and kitchen cooking sounds adds a dimension of fun to it, and it’s well made. Some people have commented that there’s quite a lot of packaging: it’s a biggish box which does give it a bit of a ‘wow’ factor, but you might not like all the waste – though lots of people have also said they were impressed with the size of the kitchen itself (H32.3 x W53.3 x D12.06cm).

Available from: Argos

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_214418

21. Pikmi Pops – Surprise Pack Assortment, £12.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 5+

If you had some LOL Surprise fans in the house last year, Pikmi Pops could be another winner. These brightly coloured lollipop style surprise balls include lanyards, stickers and plush toys which are really cute. The added bonus is that they are scented: and the fragrance element really isn’t a gimmick – the toys smell heavenly and we think this extra touch gives these surprise toys a really nice edge. We love the rainbow colours, too.

Available from: Amazon and Argos

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_crate

22. Crate Creatures, £40

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 4+

Possibly the cutest monsters we’ve ever seen! Your child will have fun unboxing these guys with the ‘crowbar’ provided – there are 6 to collect and they make 45 cute creature sounds. They each also have their own favourite food which makes them do chomping noises when you put it in their mouth. We were surprised at how soft to the touch the fur on these guys was and how nice and colourful they are too. Plus, they’re a nice handy size for little hands to carry around and snuggle with.

Available from: Hamleys

ricky the trick lovin pet

23. Ricky the Trick-Lovin Pet, £134.99

Recommended by: John Lewis, eBay and Aldi

Age: 4+

Cute Furreal Friends pup Ricky has more than 100 sound and motion combinations – from balancing a biscuit on his nose to giving you a paw-shake! He’s super soft and cuddly and will quickly become your child’s best friend. A great option if your little one’s been keen to get a pet but you’re not quite sure about getting the real thing just yet…

Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

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24. GraviTrax Starter set, £49.99

Recommended by: Amazon, John Lewis and Hamleys

Age: 8+

GraviTrax is like a modern-day marble run and it really is super-cool – so cool, in fact, our child judges awarded it Gold in the Best STEM toy category in our 2018 Toy Awards. Use your imagination to build superb tracks and set the gravity spheres rolling. You can make your own track design or use the tasks and blueprints included to help you to get started. There’s also a free GraviTrax app that allows you to design action-packed tracks with the building editor and race using different balls and camera perspectives..

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_hairdorables

25. Shopkins Hairdorables, £15

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 5+

Collectibles remain HUGE and these cute surprise dolls come with big hair and 11 surprises to unwrap before you find out who you’ve got. Up close, we really liked these dolls – they’re colourful, and the fab and brushable big hair gives them an edge on other surprise dolls we’ve seen. There are – wait for it – 36 dolls to collect and they come with outfits and accessories. Plus they have their own YouTube “Hairdorables” channel.

Available from: Hamleys

playmobil aquarium

26. Playmobil Aquarium, £49.99

Recommended by: eBay

Age: 5 years +

A 40cm x 43cm x 16cm aquarium complete with pool, visitor terrace, deep sea cave, panoramic windows and an adventure dome. Comes with 3 figures, seals, and a gazillion aquatic accessories. We love the detail and the size of this playset – and that you can fill the pool with water! Oh, and the viewing area has a rotating platform.

Available from: Playmobil

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_harry

27. Harry Potter Wizard Training Wand, £24.99

Recommended by: DreamToys

Age: 8+

This Harry Potter wand is motion sensitive: there are 11 spells to learn and it will give your child feedback once he or she has cast them. Avid Harry Potter fans will want to get their hands on everything Hogwarts-themed and we reckon this wand is no exception. It’s really nice and sturdy and looks pretty magical and Christmassy in the box. The sounds are clear too: not muffled. Let the wizadry begin!

Available from: Very and Argos

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_dollshouse-aldi

28. Little Town Wooden Doll’s House, £29.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 3+

Made from solid wood, and measuring at 55.5 x 34 x 66 cm, it’s certainly value for money. The house assembles using panels and slots rather than nails and glue and trickier pieces, so handy for mum and dad. The house is available in a pretty pink with lilac features, or a subtle, pale blue with pink windows. Mind, despite having 3 stories, 4 rooms and a sizeable attic, this house doesn’t come with furniture or dolls… still, it’s a steal.

Available from: Aldi

nella the princess knight

29. Nella the Princess Knight Talk & Sing, £22.99

Recommended by: Amazon and Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 2+

This 30-cm high soft doll is already much sought-after by preschool-aged fans of the stereotype-busting US TV cartoon show created by Christine Ricci (and shown in the UK on Nick Jr). Your very own justice-fighting princess knight has a rotating head, says 10 phrases and sings the Nella the Princess Knight theme tune when you press her courageous heart. Requires 2 LR44 batteries (included).

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys, Very and Amazon (but do check first which language the doll’s programmed to speak)

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30. Playmobil City Life Wedding Limo, £29.99

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 4+

Playmobil’s a perennial Christmas favourite with parents, as well as kids, and this 9cm x 25cm x 39cm white stretch limo looks set to be another much-wanted toy. The roof detaches, so you can fit the bride, father of the bride and driver in (do note that the bride won’t fit in the driving seat, as some of our testers found!). Comes with 3 figures, 3 flower arrangements, wedding bouquet, champagne cooler and glasses, tin can trail and bridal veil.

Available from: Argos, Amazon, John Lewis, Asda and Smyths Toys


must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_ty

31. Ty Sequin Flippables, £15

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 3 years +

If you’ve got a child who loves these big-eyed dolls so much you’ve bought every one in the range, worry not – Hamleys is exclusively stocking these oh-so cute ‘flippables’ . There are 11 versions including a pelican, dinosaur, fox, owl, cat and unicorn: as you stroke the sequins they ‘flip’ to make them a different colour.

Available from: Hamleys

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32. Chow Crown Game, £24.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 5+

When we first saw this in action, at Amazon’s 2018 Christmas in July event, we were sold. The hat plays music, and while the beats are going, the crown spins round and the wearer has to eat as many of the attached food items as possible. Of course – you can choose whatever snacks you fancy, from marshmallows to strawberries to crisps or anything else you have around. When we shared a vid of it with our Facebook community, they figured it would be a great addition to any girls’ night too – so it’s definitely not just for Christmas!

Available from: Smyths Toys

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33. LOL Surprise Under Wraps, £14.99

Recommended by: Argos, Hamlets, DreamToys and B&M

Age: 4+

Another offering on the LOL Surprise unwrapping-toys front. This one is almost like a cylinder, and has a total of 15 layers to unwrap. ‘Under Wraps’ is notably more expensive than a LOL Surprise Ball but WAY less expensive than the LOL Surprise Big Surprise that dominated Christmas wishlists in 2017.

Available from: Smyths Toys

aldi little town rocking horse

34. Little Town Wooden Rocking Horse, £29.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 2+

Lots of top toys for Christmas are suited best for over 5s, so we love this cream-coloured, classic rocking horse, which is perfect for toddlers. The base and handles are from real, solid wood, and is FSC-approved. The soft horse itself comes with a comfortable saddle, and you can even press its ears to hear animal sounds.

Available from: Aldi

sylvanian families grand department store gift set

35. Sylvanian Families Grand Department Store Gift Set, £119.99

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 3+

As you’d expect from Sylvanian Families, this 29cm x 52cm x 11.5 cm playset is big on careful attention to detail. The fancy, old-fashioned department store has an ornamental revolving front door, working lift and lookout balcony. You can customise your store with the accessories which include a Boutique Fashion Set, Cosmetic Beauty Set, Fashion Showcase Set, and a Chocolate Lounge. Comes with a Stella Chocolate rabbit figure. Pricey but so pretty. Shortlisted in the Best Playset category of our 2018 Toy Awards.

Available from: John Lewis, SmythsToys, Amazon, Asda and Argos

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36. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Hand Puppet and Finger Puppets set, £26.99

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 3+

A sweetly traditional toy set, this one – themed around Roald Dahl’s chocolatey-adventure book classic. You get one Willy Wonka hand puppet and then finger puppets of the 5 golden-ticket winners Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop, and Mike Teavee. The colours are lovely and the fabric is tough but nice to handle. What we particularly rate, though, are the puppets’ legs – so often left off other fabric puppets but nicely detailed here and, in Willy Wonka’s case, nice and dangly. Won Bronze in the Best Toy for Role Play category in our 2018 Toy Awards.

Available from: Fiesta Crafts

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37. Botley the Coding Robot, £79

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 5+

We’re quite taken with this friendly-looking little (13cm x 7cm x 8cm) robot that’s designed to teach children early programming skills in a fun way. He won a Silver in the Best Coding Toys category of our 2018 Toy Awards. You can make Botley to move forward and back, turn left and right, make (very cute) sounds, detect an object, avoid an object, score a goal – and repeat sequences of up to 80 steps. Comes with stickers, coding cards and activity accessories, including sticks, cubes, cones, flags, balls and a goal. Requires 3 AAA batteries.

Available from: Learning Resources

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_duplotrain

38. LEGO DUPLO Cargo Train, £99.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 4+

This lovely play set has all your child needs for some super-fun train action. There’s a harbour, boat, café, loading station, 2 cranes, 3 DUPLO figures plus an animal figure and lots of cool track pieces included in this set. You get lots of bang for your buck, it’s great for little hands and oh-so-colourful too. We want it!

Available from: John Lewis


must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_salimekit

39. Cra-Z Slime Creations Super Slime Studio, £29.99

Recommended by: DreamToys

Age: 6 +

This slime-based set lets your child create all kinds of slime creations. Each set includes a slime-making machine with base, 6 pots of rainbow colours, slime sticks, a measuring cup and glitter for extra slime sparkle. Children who really like slime and are keen to make their own, rather than buying the ready-made stuff, will find this a fantastic starter kit. And, we have to say, we reckon that the making of slime definitely adds a huge plus (not least a bit of science learning) to this gooey, slimy play experience.

Available from: Zoom and John Lewis

hatchimals collEGGtibles season 3

40. Hatchimals CollEGGtibles (Season 3), £10.99 for a pack of 4

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 5+

Season 3 of the bestselling Hatchimals brands features teeny-weeny eggs to hatch by holding in your hand until their purple heart turns pink and the shell is ready to crack. There are over 100 to collect, including ones that are Best Friends and Twins.There’s simply no stopping these cute creatures – they’ve been going from strength to strength since Christmas 2016 and from where we’re standing their popularity’s not waning one little bit. Our child judges awarded them Bronze in the Best Collectibles category of our 2018 Toy Awards.

Available at: The Entertainer

Myra the magical make up unicorn

41. VTech Myla the Magical Make-Up Unicorn, £49.99

Recommended by: Argos and eBay

Age: 3+

What sets apart the VTech Fantasy Unicorn from all other unicorns you’ll see in shops and online in the run up to Christmas?For one thing, the Fantasy Unicorn comes with an animatronic wand, which lets your little one alter the toy’s colours. The wand also lets little ones digitally apply make-up.And children love it: it won Gold, by popular demand, in the Best Interactive Toy category of our 2018 Toy Awards.

Available from: Smyths Toys

must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_chadvalleydoll

42. Chad Valley Tiny Treasures Doll with Closed Eyes, £49.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

A lifelike newborn baby doll with super-soft hair, a newborn scent and a heartbeat that you can hear and feel when you hug her. Comes with a comforter, blanket, birth certificate and hospital tag. Shortlisted in the Best Doll category in our 2018 Toy Awards. Requires 2 AAA batteries.

Available from: Argos


must-have-toys-for-christmas-from-the-biggest-sellers_nerflaser

43. Nerf Laser Alpha, £29.99 to £49.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 8+

These Nerf lasers guns come battle ready out of the box. Synch them up to your phone with the customised app and you can track your performance, use it to locate opponents during battle, earn power-ups and customise the blaster. There are indoor and outdoor options too. With great light and sound effects as well all we can say is – let battle commence! As long as we’re all friends afterwards, of course…

Available from: John Lewis

paw patrol rescue ultimate fire truck

44. Paw Patrol Rescue Ultimate Fire Truck Play set, £69.99

Recommended by: Argos, DreamToys, B&M and Amazon

Age: 3+

It’s only Marshall from Paw Patrol’s very own fire truck! Equipped with an huge 2ft extendable ladder, a mini fire car, and flashing lights and sounds. Comes with a Marshall figure, water ‘plumes’ to fire from the water cannon, a hose, grabbing claw and stickers for a spot of decoration. It was awarded Gold in the Best Playsets category of our 2018 Toy Awards.

Available from: The EntertainerSmyths Toys and Very

boxer

45. Boxer, £79.99

Recommended by: Argos, Amazon, DreamToys and Hamleys

Age: 6+

Boxer is a quirky, pocket-sized robot, who comes with a mini remote control and a tiny football. He wowed our child testers so much, he won Gold in the Best Robot Toy category in our 2018 Toy Awards. Essentially, he uses clever touch and infrared tech to actually follow your hand if you wave it in front of his eyes. He’s also got a little football he can follow around. He can even shoot goals – despite the fact he’s technically got no legs. We love his cheeky pixellated ‘facial’ expressions. Boxer comes with 10 game cards (with bar codes on them) which he plays by rolling over.

Available from: Smyths Toys and Argos

  • Looking for other robot toys for children? Check out our child testers’ picks in 13 of the best robots


Monopoly Cheaters

46. Monopoly ‘Cheaters ‘edition, £35

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 8+

We know it’s a bit naughty, but we really like the look of this ‘cheaters’ Monopoly, which actually encourages players to fake a dice roll, steal bills for the bank and even skip rent. Monopoly’s a legend among board games and there are lots of edits of it out these days – like Fortnite – and Hamley’s own store version. But this one’s peaked our interest even if it is a bit cheeky: we especially love the handcuffs it comes with…

Available from: Hamleys


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47. My Lovely Unicorn Electric Ride-On, £229.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

2018 was the year of the unicorn, so expect to be seeing these magical ride-ons everywhere. This unicorn is battery-powered and has castor wheels inside each hoof, so it actually moves – forwards and back! And you can steer it by turning the reins. The horn lights up when you stroke it well, natch) and plays sounds, and it comes with a little brush and accessories for mane-grooming. 12V battery and charger included.

Available from: iLeisure, Argos and Amazon

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48. Pie Face Cannon, £26.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 5+

The runaway hit of Christmas 2015, Pie Face made it back into the must-have toy lists again in 2017 with a freestanding ‘fairground’ style version (Pie Face Sky High) where you hit the hammer and see how far up you can get the pie to splat your opponent. And for 2018 there’s Pie Face Cannon. Yes – things just got serious. The cannon fires a pie EVERY time and it’s up to the target to make sure they use the red hand in time to stop themselves from getting truly, madly pied. Pie us now!

Available from: Smyths Toys, Amazon and Argos

barbie dolphin

49. Barbie Dolphin Adventure Doll, £14.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 3+

From 18 November 2018 online, and 22 November 2018 in stores, Aldi’s selling a Barbie Dolphin Adventure Doll for just less than £15. This Barbie looks pretty similar to the Barbie Dolphin Magic Snorkel Fun Friends, which is currently available from Smyths Toys for £19.99. The Dolphin Magic doll comes with a few accessories (goggles, flippers, and a little puppy dog) as well as a dolphin and a swim suit which changes colour in the water.

Available from: Aldi

zinc aldi

50. Zinc Volt XT Electric Kids Scooter, £69.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 8+

Available in an orangey-red or green, this scooter is battery-powered, lasts up to an hour on one charge, and runs off a maintenance-free motor. Cool features include a ‘twist and go’ accelerator your child can control with their thumbs on the handlebar, easy rear foot brake, and the fact it gets up to 8mph. Battery included.

Available from:  Aldi and Argos

out there sew your own sock unicorn

51. Out There Sew Your Own Sock Unicorn, £10

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age: 8+

A gorgeous unicorn toy that involves a pair of stripey socks, some stuffing and a pink mane. Perfect for crafty kids who will be able to create a 25cm pink unicorn.

Available from: The Entertainer

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52. Bosch work bench, £30

Recommended by: Mothercare

Age: 3+

We love how grown up and realistic this work bench looks – and if you’ve got a child who loves tinkering with tolls this is a great option. It comes with sounds and a range of tools as well as plenty of storage space.

Available from: Mothercare

itop spinner

53. I-Top Spinner, £14.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 7+

This is fidget spinning with a winning element. This pocket-sized spinner counts the number of spins and keeps score. Plus, there are unlockable play modes – spin a certain combination and you’ll see animations appear. Batteries are included but you’ll want to make sure you have spares on hand as we think this will be a popular after-Christmas lunch game.

Available from: Smyths ToysJohn Lewis and Very

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54. LEGO City Arctic Mobile Exploration Base, £84.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 7 to 12

There are 786 pieces in this set, which build 4 snow ploughs, diggers and exploration equipment. It also comes with 5 arctic explorer figures, a snowboard, a motorbike and the best bit: a woolly mammoth, trapped in LEGO ice!

Available from: LEGO, The Entertainer and Argos

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55. LEGO Friends Sunshine Catamaran, £64.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 7+

A 600-piece set that builds into a 3-level catamaran, with sun deck and pool, a bridge with steering controls, slide and spiral stairs. Comes with 3 mini-figures, a banana boat, and accessories including an inflatable ring, life belts, flippers, 2 dolphins, ice creams, baskets, a smartphone and an MP3 player. Only drawback: it doesn’t actually float on water…

Available from: Amazon, Smyths Toys and John Lewis

john lewis mini kitchen

56. John Lewis Mini Kitchen, £48

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 3+

We love the cool, muted grey look of this 46cm x 30cm x 23cm kitchen. We’ve included a couple of kitchens in this list as we know how much kids love them and how much play time they can get from them. This one’s so stylish we’d consider similar units for our actual kitchens!

Available from: John Lewis

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57. My Little Pony Mega Collection, £60

Recommended by: Tesco

Age: 3+

A glittery pack of 6 Little Ponies: Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Applejack. All are 23cm high and great fun for fans of the My Little Pony movie.

Available from: Amazon and Tesco

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58. BB-9E App-Enabled Droid, £129.99

Recommended by: Disney

Age: 3+

Use your smart device to control this fierce little android. The price suggests ‘collectors’ item’ – but if you don’t mind splashing out, it will make for awesome playtime fun.

Available from: Disney StoreAmazon and John Lewis

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59. Cozmo£199.99 

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 7+

Ok, we know the price point’s pretty gulp-some on this little fellow, but he really is pretty special. We’ve spent a bit of time with Cozmo (he won Gold in our Best Robot Toys category in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2017) and his personality really does evolve as you hang out with him more. He’ll nudge you to play with him, and we’ve even seen him get annoyed and move away from his ‘owner’ when they’d ignored him for a while – though he soon comes around.

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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60. LEGO Creator Winter Holiday Train, £74.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 12+

A gorgeous Christmas-themed Lego set, which is not just a cool Lego kit but is also a working train set, with 16 curved pieces of track. There’s a brilliant steam engine and 5 minifigures plus a rotating Christmas tree and gifts. Would make an amazing Christmas table decoration too if your child will let go of it.

Available from: John Lewis

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61. Num Noms Nail Polish Maker, £50

Recommended by: Tesco

Age: 3 to 8

Scents of strawberry, banana and blueberry can be mixed into Num Noms nail varnish to make fragrant polish for glamorous nails. It’s all designed as a nail café for Num Noms. Includes 50 nail stickers plus nail stencils.

Available from: TescoSmyths Toys and Argos

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62. Dreamworks Trolls Hug Time Poppy, £29.99

Recommended by: Toys R Us

Age: 4+

Poppy is one of a series of interactive doll trolls. Poppy comes with a bracelet, which interacts with Poppy – lighting up her hair to a musical beat and also lighting up her own bracelet. Press Poppy’s tummy and she’ll talk (OK, she’ll say 25 phrases), dance and sing. As you would expect from any self-respecting troll, you can brush her magnificent pink mane and style it.

Available from Smyths Toys

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63. Little Tikes Princess Horse & Carriage Cozy Coupe, £109.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 18 months+

Get this for a fantasy toy – fit for a reality princess dream! The majestic toddler ride-on comes complete with clip-clop sounds and blue-maned horse. You can take the reins and pull the carriage along or let your child hold the reins, while you push it along using the handle on the roof. You can also remove the carriage floor if your toddler fancies pushing the carriage along by themselves. There are even cup holders for you and your child and a mobile phone holder. An update on this version for 2018 is the Magical Unicorn Carriage – it’s very similar but the horse has been turned into a unicorn by way of a light-up horn. Outrageously glam.

Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

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64. PJ Masks Headquarters Playset, £49.99

Recommended by: DreamToys, Hamleys, Tesco and Argos

Age: 3+

This 44cm x 19cm x 52cm playset has a lift, zip line, pop-out hatches, lights, cool sounds (that our kid testers really loved), and a spyscope that doubles up as a furball shooter. And we all need one of those. Comes with a Catboy figure and his Cat Car.

Got the big thumbs up from our team of PJ Maskers (aka pre-schooler testers).

Available from: HamleysArgos and Amazon

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65. Experimake Sludge & Slime, £10

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age: 8+

Great messy (and will planned-out) fun. Comes with protective googles and gloves, plus the tools, ingredients and step-by-step instructions to make an invisible monster, slimy snakes, sludgy goo, slime balls and, of course, slimy bogies. Science at its most yuck and yeah, this won a very deserved Bronze award in the Best Science Toys category in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2017.

Available from: The Entertainer

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66. ELC Retro Kitchen Diner, £160

Recommended by: Mothercare

Age: 3+

In a world where robots and talking unicorns seem to rule the roost, we love, love LOVE this beautifully bright retro-style 97cm x 103cm x 36cm wooden kitchen. And we know a LOT of little ones who would love to while away the hours, days and months cooking up delicious treats here.

Available from: Mothercare

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67. Unicorn Magic Ring Toss Game, £20

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 6+

Here at MadeForMums we love a game where you don’t need to spend hours reading through the instructions – and we reckon this one’s pretty simple. Pop a unicorn hat on your head and see how many rings you can catch. Super fun for all the family at Christmas and everyone will look really cool too! The game is part of the ‘mythical creatures’ picks for Christmas at Hamleys which they announced alongside their top 12 toys – and we think it’s fab.

Available from: Hamleys

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