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Must-have Top Christmas Toys 2022 from the biggest sellers

We've tried and tested hundreds of toys to bring you the definitive list of the best Xmas toys of 2022, in a whole range of prices

best Christmas toys 2022
Published: September 29, 2022 at 2:15 pm

Gift buying is starting early this Christmas – that's what you told us in August. And really it's no surprise, given that we're all facing price rises, not just with fuel, food and energy but also with toys and presents too. Many of us are trying to spread the cost of Christmas as much as possible.

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So, what's the wisest strategy to take with Christmas toy buying in 2022? 'This year," says toy expert Peter Jenkinson at the Toyologist, "I think we'll see the return of the one big toy gift.

With everyone worrying about energy bills and the cost of living, I think many of us may decide to scale back on the number of toys and presents for each child and instead buy one big toy that we know our child will love
Peter Jenkinson, the Toylogist

"I'm certainly thinking many parents will be focusing on family games, collaborative creative kits for siblings to share and playsets where kids can save for additional equipment and characters and ask relatives to chip in too."

We'll also be keeping an eye out for you for any special toy sales and reductions, They weren't many in 2021 but experts at Toy World think they may be back on this year. Fingers crossed!

The lists of the hottest Christmas toys for 2022 – from all the major stores, such as Argos, Amazon and Hamleys – are now starting to trickle in. We've already had the lists from Hamleys, Argos, John Lewis, The Entertainer, Bargain Max, Toy Fair Heroes and Toy of the Year and we'll update you on the others once they're ready.

So what are top toys for 2022? And are they worth buying?

Are any of these 'top Christmas toys' that stores feature on their must-buy lists actually any good? Is it worth shelling out for that doll or train or playset that's all over YouTube and TikTok? And how can you be sure that the 'hot' interactive toy that sounds so awesome is something your child will play with for more than 5 minutes?

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We've got the answers! We've been taking a good long look at the most recommended buys as the lists come out and singling out the toys we think are definitely worth their place on your child's Santa wishlist. We look at lists from Dream Toys, Hamleys, Selfridges, Amazon, John Lewis, Smyths Toys, Tesco, Bargain Max, Toy Fair Heroes, Toy Of the Year and the Independent Toy Awards.

We've also been busy testing Christmas toys aimed at all ages from babies to toddlers to preschoolers to primary-school age to teens. Some of them are on the retailer 'top toys' list and some are sourced by our expert in-house toy team.

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.

Here are the hottest toys on the MadeForMums Top Xmas Toys 2022 list:

Gabby's Purrfect Dollhouse, £89

Gabby's Perfect Dollhouse with child tester Layla

Recommended by: Argos and The Entertainer

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (not included)

A 61cm-tall, 4-floor plastic dollhouse, inspired by the Netflix show and featuring cat's ears on the roof and sounds from the show that are triggered when you press the heart at the house's base. Our child tester Leyla, 3 (pictured above), is a massive Gabby fan and has been playing with it every day since it arrived in her house. She's a big fan of the cat's-tail Delivery Tower on the side (you put the 'delivery' in the mail box, press a button and out it shoots). There are 7 different rooms and a Cat-a-Vator that moves (a bit clunkily) between the floors. Comes with Gabby and Pandy Paws figures, 8 furniture pieces, 2 Dollhouse Deliveries, and a QR code to scan to unlock a reward in the (inevitable) Gabby’s Dollhouse app. You can buy other furniture, accessories and figures separately.

Available at: Argos and Amazon


Play-doh Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset, £99.99

Play-Doh Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset with child tester Alfie

Recommended by: John Lewis, Hamleys, Toy of the Year and The Entertainer

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 2 x AA (not included)

This 95cm-high playset is quite a thing to behold – and serve pretend ice cream from. It comes with 12 pots of Play-doh in a good range of different colours and plenty of moulds, tools and to sculpt and squidge into imaginary lollies, cones, sundaes and desserts – with or without sprinkles. There’s a musical pull-down soft-serve feature (which we found a little stiff) cash register, with a bell sound, and a little cupboard to store everything in. Our child tester Alfie, 4 (pictured above), spent over an hour playing with it when he first got it and has been regularly returning to it ever since.

Available at: John Lewis and Bargain Max


Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, £74.99

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart with child tester Zoe

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+
Batteries required: None

This gorgeous wooden pushalong (L27cm x W30cm x H39cm) trolley has masses of play potential, with its built-in fruit-and-veg-themed shape sorter on its sides and a spinning roller drum and toy coffee cup (with removable lid) nestled at the base of the handle. Our child tester Zoe, 22 months (pictured above), particularly enjoyed making 'smoothies' by putting the wooden food pieces into the play coffee cup. It also comes with 2 wooden puzzle boards for lots of matching and sorting fun.

Available at: Amazon and Very


Paw Patrol Big Truck Pups, £18

Paw Patrol Big Truck Pups with child tester

Recommended by: Argos

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: None

A good-value, battery-free 22cm to 25cm-high truck (depending on which of the 6 pup vehicles you choose) that you can transform into a command centre, with projectile launcher, by lifting up the trailer roof. Our child tester Stanley, 3 (pictured above), was incredibly excited by his Chase truck and loved lifting the cab roof and to put Chase in the driving seat. The projectiles were a (predictable!) hit, too, and do shoot quite a long way. Comes with 1 pup figure and 2 projectiles.

Available at: Argos and Very


Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue, £99.99

Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue with child tester Hurst

Recommended by: Toy of the Year and The Entertainer

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 9+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (not included)

It's an animatronic Velociraptor hand puppet with over 40 very dino-like movements and sounds – and it's certainly got the wow factor. It takes a minute or two to get your head around how to operate it (you put your hand inside in an slightly unintuitive way) but once you're set, it's such fun and it's clearly built to withstand quite a bit of over-excited prehistoric dashing about. "She looks exactly like the one from Jurassic Park!" gasped our child tester, Hurst, 8 (pictured above), who has been carrying it around – and making it roar at his mum and dad – since the moment he got it.

Available at: Smyths Toys


Xootz Bumper Car, £179.99

Xootz bumper car with child tester Frasier

Recommended by: Bargain Max

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 2 x 6V (rechargeable, included)

This is such fun! And will bring a huge smile to kids of all ages from toddler to preteen. It’s basically a whizzy, spinning electronic ride-on that you can sit in and operate with a joystick or that a parent can direct with a remote control. It also had LED flashing sidelights and a seatbelt. Our child tester Frasier, 6, (pictured above), loved riding in it himself and also using the remote to zoom his sister and toys along. “Really cool!” was his delighted verdict.

Available at: Bargain Max and Bilco


Little Live Pets Mama Surprise, £64.99

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise with child tester Amelia

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 6 x AAA (not included)

The latest interactive pet from bestselling line Little Live is this cuddly hamster who arrives in her hutch, ready to be stroked and brushed with her teeny hairbrush. She reacts to your child's nurturing and cuddling very cutely. "I like this toy – yes!" said our child tester Amelia, 3 (pictured above). "She sings to me and she's very soft." But that's not all. Cuddle and love her enough and the heart on her chest will start to glow: a sign that she’s ready to have a baby! Use the nesting straw to make her a little bed in her hutch, place her inside – and wait for the first of 3 new arrivals. They come a day apart, which may test a younger child's patience (Amelia's definitely in that camp: "I wish more babies would come soon!") but the thrill is worth it!

Available at: Amazon and Argos


Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin Beats Musical Toy, £45

Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin Beats with child tester

Recommended by: Argos

Age suitability: 9 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+
Batteries required: 4 x AA (included)

This 30 cm-high musical learning toy is aimed at babies and toddlers but it actually got us grown-ups pretty excited! It’s a big-eared animal friend on a spring, which bounces about very amusingly – with added music and coloured-lights action – when you press its buttons. The best button is the mic button – which will record your voice and then play it back remixed with music and other effects: hilarious fun for toddlers (and quite a few adults). Our 10-month-old child tester Nela is a bit too young to master that button but she's a fan anyway. Her mum Wirginia says, "This toy has got very eye catching colours, and its jumping function definitely catches Nela's attention. It’s so original!"

Available at: Argos and John Lewis


Sylvanian Families Pony's Stylish Hair Salon, £69.99

Sylvanian Families Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon with child tester Amelia

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: None

A 44cm x 20cm x 35cm 2-storey hairdressing playset when the ponies come to style their hair (this is imaginative play, remember!). It has a reception (with magazines) and reclining wash basin downstairs and a spiral staircase leading to a dressing table area upstairs. It’s absolutely stuffed with loads of lovely little accessories and hair pieces – “I like all the little things – there are so many!” said our delighted child tester Amelia, 4, (pictured above). Comes with a Pony Girl Sally doll (you can both others separately).

Available at: Amazon, Sylvanian Families and Smyths Toys


Octonauts Above & Beyond Octoray Playset, £59.99

Octonauts Above & Beyond Octoray Playset with child tester Aurora

Recommended by: Bargain Max

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (included)

This very sweet-looking playset on wheels transforms from the Octoray into a 33cm Octonauts HQ. It’s nice and sturdy, well proportioned for little hands – and features lights and 18 sounds, including the Octo Alert. Our child tester Aurora, 4 (pictured above), has been having a lovely time exploring how it works, opening and closing and transforming it and helping Captain Barnacle save the day. Comes with a detachable Mini Ray, Captain Barnacle, Chinese Sturgeon, Panda and Giant Salamander figures, and a mission card.

Available at: Bargain Max and The Entertainer


Tamagotchi Pix. £49.99

Tamagotchi Pix with child tester Amelia

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 7+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (not included)

This latest version of the classic little (6cm x 7cm) hand-held virtual pet has 3 touch buttons and a camera that lets you take 'selfies' of you and your pet. And there are lots of new ways to customise your character and cook him meals to keep him fed, as well as 17 games to play. Our child tester Elizabeth, 8 (pictured above), says she checks on her pet every morning when she wakes and still takes it with her wherever she goes.

Available at: Amazon and Smyths Toys


Squishmallows 12" Originals, £18

Squishmallows plush with child tester

Recommended by: Toy of the Year and Argos

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 7+
Batteries required: None

They've been around for years but they still knock it out the park for soft, squishy, comfy, cushiony cuddly companion appeal. Each Squishmallow has its own colours and name and quirky detailing: our child tester Finlay, 7 (pictured above), is hugging Cookie the Flamingo and we've paired him in our pic with Marybeth the Octopus (on the right). Finlay's flamingo currently has pride of place on the sofa for TV snuggling – and, judging by Finlay’s Squishmallows YouTube searches, may soon be joined by a new one. They come in other sizes, too, from teeny to huge.

Available at: Argos and Smyths Toys


Twister Splash, £19.99

Hasbro Twister Splash with child tester

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 6+
Batteries required: None

As you might guess from the name, this is the classic silly contortions game with a splashy twist: your Twister game mat is connected to a hose, so each coloured spot sprays water. And when you cover a spot up with a hand or foot, more water shoots out of the other holes to drench your fellow players. Our child tester Paige, 8 (pictured above) had huge fun playing this with her friends (a few weeks ago, in warmer weather). She said, "I like that it was wet and you get to twist around and slide and laugh." For 2 players or more.

Available at: Amazon


Argos Top 15 Toys for Christmas

Chad Valley Dinosaur Waterfall Bath Toy | Paw Patrol Big Truck Pups | Squishmallows plush| Nerf Elite 2.0 Ranger PD-5 Blaster | Pokémon TCG Tin | Sink N’ Sand Game | Jiggly Pets Giraffe | Barbie Cutie Reveal Snowflake Sparkle Husky | Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats Musical Toy | Hot Wheels Action Spiral Speed Crash Track Set | Bluey S7 School Playset and Adventure Bus Bundle | Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse, | Lego Harry Potter Ministry of Magic Modular Set | Lego Icons Optimus Prime Transformers Robot Model Set | Lego Technic McLaren Formula 1 Race Car Model Set


Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball, £84.99

Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball with tester Nancy

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: 6 x AA and 4 x AAA (included)

An update on 2021's bestselling Magic Mixies Cauldron, this 34cm-high interactive plastic ball comes with a wand and magic ingredients and a book of spell with all of which you conjure up lights and sound and a mist that reveals your little interactive fortune-telling Mixie toy. You can repeat the whole magical process more than once – and you can use the crystal ball as a nightlight too. "It's very exciting and jumpy because of all the lights and sounds," said our captivated child tester Tilly, 7 (pictured above). "I couldn't wait for the mist to go so that I could see which creature I got. It was really fun doing the spells with my wand. I love the sounds and I love how it tells the future. My Mixie is very cuddly and I love her."

Available at: Amazon and Smyths Toys


Jiggly Pets Noodle Pink Pup, £11.99

Jiggly Pets Noodle Pink Pup with child tester Nancy

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 2 x AA (included)

The latest in this popular range of shaggy, wobbly-rubber-furred electronic toy animals (last year's hit was Tan Tan the Orangutan), Noodle is 15cm high and a pearlescent pink (be careful not to mistake her for the earlier bright pink Jiggly Pets Pup, which is still on sale in some places). She walks, barks, wags her tail and wiggles along to the music she plays when you press the button on her head. The rubber fur does initially leave a little powder on your hands but her jiggles are very entertaining. "I think the music is fun and I love it when she wags her tail," said our child tester Nancy, 4 (pictured above). "She feels funny to touch –a bit like jelly!"

Available at: John Lewis and Smyths Toys


VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fix and Fuel Garage, £49.99

VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fix and Fuel Garage with child tester

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 15 months+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (included)

This 52cm-high 3-level plastic garage has ramps, a tuning station, a car wash, a repair zone and 6 SmartPoint locations that respond with phrases and sounds when the little green stock car runs over them. It's reasonably compact and pretty toddler-proof, and the sounds are good fun. Our child tester Oliver, 18 months, spent lots of time making the car – which is a great size for little hands – whizz down the ramps.

Available at: The Entertainer and Amazon


Cocomelon Boo Boo JJ Doll, £44

Cocomelon Boo Boo JJ Doll with child tester

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (included)

Pretty much anything JJ is a guaranteed toddler-pleaser – and this 30cm-high soft-bodied doll has the extra thrill of 3 fabric plasters you can place on the 'boo boos' that light up on his knee, foot, elbow or head. When you put the plaster in the right place, JJ responds to say he's feeling better – and he'll also sing a snippet of the Boo Boo Song if you press his tummy. Our child tester Amelia, 2 (pictured above), absolutely loved the plasters. Comes with a Cocomelon-themed carry case to store the plasters in.

Available at: Hamleys and John Lewis


Squeakee the Balloon Dino, £79.99

Squeakee the balloon dino with child tester

Recommended by: Amazon and The Entertainer

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: 6 x AAA (not included)

A cheeky 36cm-high pretend-balloon dinosaur with over 70 interactive features, including dancing when you put his headphone on, chomping on his bone when you put it in his mouth, playing chicken and tug of war – and following you when you squeak his bone. He also noisily pretends to deflate (and reinflate) and lets off the occasional fart. He does rather guzzle the batteries but he’s enchanted every one of our child testers – and us too! "It’s like I have a dinosaur pet," said our child tester Rowan, 7 (pictured) delightedly. "I can even tickle him! My favourite is making him fall asleep and then I get to pump, pump, pump him up like a real balloon. I showed all my friends his dance moves.”

Available from: Amazon and Argos


Hamleys' top 10 toys for Christmas

X-Shot – Skins the Last Stand| Play-Doh Ice Cream Truck| Roller Disco Peppa | CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Doll | One Trick Pony Game | Disney Lightyear JetPack Buzz | Barbie Cutie Reveal Doll | Hamley Bear Panda Plush | Tick Tock Brick Knock | Jumping Sumo

Barbie Dreamtopia Colour Change Mermaid, £28

barbie dreamtopia colour change mermaid

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: None

A 37cm-high neon-bright mermaid, Barbie-style, with rainbow hair who changes her hair, bodice and tail to pastel tones when you dip her in warm water – and reverts to her neon look when you put her in ice-cold water. Great fun for bathtime – although you may want to keep the ice-cold water in a separate bowl!

Available from: Amazon, Very and Boots


LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets, £129.99

lego Harry Potter Hogwarts chamber of secrets

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 9+ | Best for age: 9+
Batteries required: None

A 1176-piece LEGO set that builds into 40cm x 40cm x 11cm 3-floor Hogwarts castle, complete with dining room and an underground Chamber of Secrets with its iconic circular door. Comes with accessories, wizard tiles and 10 minifigures, including Harry, Ginny Weasley, Tom Riddle, Dumbledore, Gilderoy Lockhart, Nearly Headless Nick, a golden Voldermort and, of course, the Basilisk. The modular design is great – you can move the rooms around – and the accessories are brilliant: there’s a sorting hat, chocolate frogs, owls and even wizard cereal for the dining table.

Available from: LEGO


Bluey Family Home Playset, £39.99

bluey family home playset

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3
Batteries required: None

A 28cm x 44cm 4-roomed playset, modelled on Bluey’s house. Features opening doors, an opening fridge, beds, armchairs, toilet, bath and kitchen stools, plus a pull-down wall panel to turn into a patio. All very well put together for little preschooler fingers. Comes with a carry handle and a little Bluey figure.

Available from: Argos and Amazon


Sylvanian Families Baby Amusement Park, £49.99

Sylvanian Families baby Amusement Park

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: None

A 31cm x 10cm x 26cm castle playset featuring a funfair rides, including a rotating Ferris wheel, a swinging Viking ship, a rocket and 2 go-karts. Comes with 3 baby figures, and round the back, there’s a display board where you can line up your Sylvanian baby figures. Very cute and charmingly battery-free and, hurray, for once a Sylvanian Families set comes with figures included.

Available from: Argos and Sylvanian Families


LOL Surprise Magic Movie Doll, £10.99 each

LOL Surprise Movie Magic doll

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5
Batteries required: None

A set of 12 collectible unwrapping balls, each with a doll from the LOL Surprise film inside, as well as 10 surprises, including movie props, mini clapperboards and 3D glasses. Also features a secret message and a water surprise. The dolls are nicely detailed – we’ve a soft spot for the one with the sound boom microphone – and we’re pleased to see the unwrapping layers are all paper, not plastic.

Available from: Argos and Amazon


Fisher-Price Ultimate 4 in 1 Learning Bot, £54.99

fisher price 4 in 1 ultimate learning bot

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 6 months+ | Best for age: 6 months+
Batteries required: 4 x C (included)

A 30cm-high interactive robot friend that you can take apart to make 3 separate smaller robots that light up or rattle or move (excellent for crawl and chase games). Plays more than 120 songs, sounds and phrases about numbers and counting, the alphabet, shapes, and colours. It’s pricey but it does have real appeal from baby to older toddler: our 8 month old tester loved crawling after the little bots and his 2-year-old sister hugged the fully assembled robot and proudly shouted, “I love him – he’s my little robot!”

Available from: Argos


Bargain Max Top 6 Toys for Christmas

Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue Dinosaur | Xootz 6v Bumper Car | Zuru 5 Surprise Mini Brand Disney 5-pack | Cry Babies Fantasy Dreamy Doll | Octonauts Octoray Headquarters |  L.O.L Surprise! Fashion Show House Playset9 |  So Slime DIY Magical Slime Potion Maker


Paw Patrol Chase’s Deluxe Transforming Vehicle, £15.99

PAW patrol chase's deluxe transforming vehicle

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: None

A 24cm x 20cm lights-and-sounds car that looks just like the one in Paw Patrol: The Movie. Press the blue button on the side to reveal Chase inside and then press the red button to launch Chase out of the front on his motorcycle. Wonderful preschooler Adventure City-saving fun. Comes with a Chase figure and 2 projectiles to fire from the pop-up missile launcher at the back.

Available from: Amazon


Barbie Dream House, £309.99

barbie dream house with tester

Recommended by: Bargain Max and Hamleys

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+

Batteries required: 3 x AA (not included)

A HUGE (109cm x 104cm) 360° playhouse with a layout you can customise by moving the 10 interchangeable living areas between the 3 floors. Comes with coloured lighting options, ‘soundscapes’ (including party music), a slide, a pool, a grass area, furniture and over 75 accessories. We particularly like the little pet slide and the bunk bed that folds down from the wall. Our child testers were delighted that its size means you can play with it standing up. And Izzy, 4 (pictured), added, "I really like the pool – it’s so much fun and my dolls can do swimming. The lights are pretty and it’s so funny when the toilet flushes. It’s my favourite toy ever!"

Available from: Bargain Max


Linkimals Dance n Groove Cool Beats Penguin, £34.99

cool beats linkimal penguin

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 9 months+ | Best for age: 9 months+
Batteries required: 4 x AA (included)

The latest addition to the bestselling Linkimals range, the 24cm-high Cools Beats Penguin flaps his flippers and bobs from side to side when you press his buttons, along with lots of lights and musical sounds. Other features include sounds and phrases to help teach numbers, shapes, letters and opposites. Apart from his soft flippers, he’s a very solid toy (not very cuddly) but his dancing is very cute and very appealing to babies –our 11 month old child tester loved him. If you have other Linkimals, they will interact together and have a mini dance party.

Available from: Amazon


John Lewis Top 10 Toys for Christmas

Jiggly Pets Pink Pup| The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. The Book and The Film, | John Lewis Wooden Pizzeria | I'm a Stylist Styling Head Ella | Vtech JotBot (The Smart Drawing Robot) | Le Mieux Pony | John Lewis Wooden Workbench | Lego Creator Expert 10293 Santa’s Visit | Hot Wheels Garage exclusive bundle with the Hot Wheels 20 car pack | Play-Doh Ice Cream Cart


Imaginext DC Super Friends Bat-Tech BatBot and Batman Figure, £99.99

Imaginext DC Super Friends Bat-Tech BatBot and Batman Figure

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+ | Batteries: 3 x AA (included)

A very large (60cm-high) plastic Batman robot on wheels that transforms into a ‘flight mode’ playset with sounds, a prison for baddies, a light-up control centre (with a cockpit for a mini Batman figure), and shooting discs and arrows. Our child tester Thomas, 4, (picture above) liked putting “the bad guys” in jail and using BatBot to chase other toys and capture them. “I like the shooting best,” he says. “You can turn the shooter round. It's got a big head and the head can lift up. I like this!” It’s got real wow factor but is very pricey, and maybe would only hold the long-term attention of a very Batman-mad child. Comes with a Batman figurine, a Batwing, 2 projectile launchers and 7 projectiles.

Available from: Amazon and Argos


Jurassic World Slash n Battle Scorpios Rex, £31.99

Jurassic World Scorpios Rex

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4
Batteries required: 3 x LR44 (included)

A 19cm-high model of the hybrid dinosaur star of the new film JurassicWorld: Camp Cretaceous. Press the buttons on his spine to hear him roar and see his claws slash and pull back his poisonous-quilled tail to see it whip from side to side. Great for some super-roary prehistoric pretend play.

Available from: Argos and Jurassic Toys


LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course, £49.99

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course

Recommended by: Amazon, Hamleys and Selfridges

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 7+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA batteries (not included)

A 280-piece LEGO set that builds on the success of last year’s bestselling Mario Starter Course. The idea is the same but this time Luigi is the star: you build him a course and then earn virtual coins as you send him round – while his speaker plays the iconic Super Mario music and he shows instant reactions to the game through LCD screens in his eyes, mouth and belly. We really like the Spinning Seesaw Challenge that’s included in this course – great fun! Comes with Pink Yoshi, Boom Boom and Bone Goomba figures.

Available from: Amazon and LEGO


Kindi Kids Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing, £29.99

Kindi kids Poppi Pearl

Recommended by: Bargain Max and Tesco

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x AA (not included)

A 27-cm high rigid doll with soft-touch limbs who, thrillingly, blows ice-cream-scented bubbles. You feed her the bubble mixture in a bottle and then press the shell on her swimsuit to see the bubble come pouring out (and they do pour!) She also sings a Happy Bubble song. Our child tester, Addie, 3 (pictured), absolutely loved this doll – both for the bubbles and the songs. Her mum Anna is impressed by how good the bubble machine is and says Addie’s taken “her Poppi” everywhere with her since she got it.Comes with a dummy, a wand for you to blow bubbles with yourself, and an instruction manual.

Available from: The Entertainer and Argos


LeapFrog Count-along Basket & Scanner, £33.99

LeapFrog Count and learn scanner

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+
Batteries required: 2 xAAA (included)

A 24cm-high shopping basket with a pull-up handle that comes with an interactive 'scanner' and 8 pieces of play food. The scanner recognises each food item as it 'scans’ it – to the absolute delight of our toddler testers. It has 3 game modes based on colours, shapes, counting and food groups. Comes with instructions and 3 scannable double-sided shopping lists.

Available from: Argos


Little Live Pets My Pig Piggly, £24.99

Little Live Pets My Pig Piggly

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4+

Batteries required: 3 x AA (included)

A little (14cm x 15cm) interactive pig with a snuffly snout that you can feed with a bottle, watch dancing or take for a walk on her lead. She’s very cute and actually nice and soft to touch, which is unusual for such an interactive toy. We like how noisily she eat – and snores when she falls asleep.

Available from: Amazon


CoComelon Deluxe JJ Interactive Doll, £39.99

Cocomelon Deluxe JJ interactive Doll

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 3
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (not included)

A 32cm-high interactive JJ doll with removable T-shirt, shorts and shoes who giggles and sings the Yes, Yes Vegetables song. Come with a bowl of peas which you can feed to JJ – and watch the peas disappear into his mouth. He’s a good size for a toddler doll, although not super-soft to cuddle, but his pea-eating is definitely great entertainment value.

Available from: Argos and The Entertainer


Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory, £14.95

kinetic sand sandisfactory

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: None

A set containing generous amounts of squishy, pliable red, blue, yellow and black sand and lots of differently shaped tools to shape, cut, scoop and mould it with. Star of the show is the cube mould which you can line with black sand, fill with other colours, unmould and then slice through to reveal the rainbow stripe. Our child testers really, really liked this.

Available from: Very and The Entertainer


Nerf Blaster Inline Scooter with Blaster & Darts, £20

Nerf Blaster Inline Scooter with Blaster & Darts

Recommended by: Bargain Max

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+ | Max user weight: 50kg
Batteries required: None

A 3.5kg scooter with PVC wheels, anti-grip footplate and – thrillingly –a handlebar-mounted Nerf blaster! Features include a rear-mounted footbrake and easy-grip handles. It’s worth noting that, at 77.5cm tall, it’s not the biggest scooter and you can’t adjust the handlebars for height, so it’s not suitable for children over about 6. The holster that holds the Nerf blaster is also a little flimsy. Comes with 5 pellets.

Available from: Bargain Max, Amazon and Argos


John Lewis My First Train Set, £20

John Lewis fsc certified first train set

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3
Batteries required: None

A cheerful-looking little 17-piece starter train set, made from FSC-certified wood. Includes a train with 2 carriages, an elegantly moustachio'd conductor and a signal set with turning cogs and a magnetic pulley. Compatible with other John Lewis wooden train sets and with sets made by other brands. Great value for money.

Available from: John Lewis


The Entertainer's Top 35 Toys for Christmas

Gabby’s Dollhouse | Jiggly Pets pink pup | LeapFrog 2 in 1 CountAlong Basket & Scanner | Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory | My Little Pony: Anew Generation Sing n Skate Sunny Starscourt | VTech Kidizoom Print Cam | Air Hogs Jump Fury Supersoft Remote Control Vehicle | VTech DJ Beat Boxer | Legends of Akedo: Powerstorm Ultimate Battle Arena with Powerstriker Glitchblade and Shreddy Bear Warrior Figures | Bluey Family Home Playset | Barbie Day to Night Dreamhouse Playset | Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage | Vtech 3 in 1 Sports Centre | Fisher-Price Linkimals Cool Beats Penguin Musical Toy | LEGO Star Wars Hoth AT-ST Walker & Chewbacca Set 75322 | Little Live Pets My Pet Pig – Piggly | Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset | Barbie Dreamtopia Mermaid Colour Change Doll | VTech Jotbot Smart Drawing Robot | Squeakee: The Interactive Balloon Dino | CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll | VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fix and Fuel Garage with Green Car | Tomy Toomies: Jurassic World - Pic & Push T. Rex Push Along Toy | L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Magic Dolls with 10 Surprises | L.O.L Surprise! Outrageous Millennial Girls Moonlight B.B. Fashion Doll Dress Up Set | Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot, £43.39 | Little Live Pets - Gotta Go Turdle Interactive Turtle Pet | Kindi Kid Poppi Pearl Bubble 'N' Sing Doll | CoComelon Deluxe Interactive JJ Doll | Barbie Extra Doll - Pink Fluffy Jacket | FurReal GoGo My Dancin' Pup Interactive Toy | Aquabeads Box of Fun - Day On The Farm | Sylvanian Families Baby Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Heartlake City Shopping Mall, £89.99

LEGO Friends Heartlake City Shopping Mall

Recommended by: Tesco

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: None

A 1032-piece set that builds into a 26cm-high and 40cm-wide mall with 5 well-stocked stores, a photo booth, a slide, a fashion turntable and – best of all – a moving escalator. Comes with 6 figures (we love the dinky baby in a pram) and accessories including an ATM, shopping baskets and money.

Available at: Amazon and LEGO


Pictionary Air Harry Potter, £24.99

Pictionary air Harry Potter

Recommended by: Amazon and Tesco

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: 1 x AA (included)

A special Hogwarts version of the popular board game where you have to draw the clue you’ve picked for you teammates to guess – but you draw with a wand and people can magically see your drawings appear on a smartphone, tablet or Apple TV. You’ll need to download the free Pictionary Air app to play. We haven’t tested this yet and, though it sounds brilliant, we do hear that it’s tricky to set up – and not compatible with some devices. For 4 or more players.

Available at: Amazon


Scruff a Luvs Cutie Cuts, £29.99

scruff a luvs cute cuts

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 6+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (included)

A super-shaggy 23cm-high puppy (a Yorkie or a Frenchie) that needs some serious pooch pampering. You use the included clippers to shave off its excess fur –and then stuff the clippings into a little cushion for your pup to sit on. Comes with a comb, collar tag, nail polish and other styling accessories – and a box that doubles as a pooch-pampering salon. Our child testers adored clipping, washing and drying their pup and then – thrills! – painting its toenails. A great wow-factor present that retains some longevity as a soft toy to cuddle and play with.

Available from: The Entertainer, Argos and Asda


Fisher-Price Laugh n Learn 3-in-1 On the Go Camper, £75

fisher price laugh & learn on the go camper

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 9 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+
Batteries required: 3 x AA (not included)

A 53cm x 50cm x 35cm light-up activity centre on wheels with lots of buttons to press and a handle for pushing it along. The buttons trigger phrases, songs and sounds about letters, counting, shapes and colours (adjustable to 3 different learning levels). Comes with over 10 removable accessory toys, including a camp fire, fishing rod, a coffee pot and a variety of play food. Our child testers really took to this – there’s so much to play with (the rattling coffee pot was a big hit). Worth noting that the camper’s not quite sturdy enough for a child to pull themselves to standing on but it works really well as a walker.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and John Lewis


Super Mario Blow up Shaky Tower, £20

super Mario shaky blow up tower

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: None

A 16cm-high wibbly-wobbly tower with little sticky-out ledges that you take turns to balance little Super Mario figures on – without dislodging the ball at the top and seeing all the figures shoot off. A fun little suspense game – and the figures do really shoot off quite dramtically. Comes with 7 figures. For 2 or more players.

Available from: Argos


Build Your Own Mini Builds Honey Bee, £9.99

build your own mini builds bee

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9
Batteries required: None

A clever, eco-friendly craft kit, containing 20 press-out cardboard parts that you slot together (no glue needed) to make a striking model of yellow and black honey bee – with a 27cm wingspan and wings that actually flap (with a little pull-tab action). A properly rewarding – and beautiful looking – stocking filler.

Available from: Build Your Own


PAW Patrol Transforming PAW Patroller with Dual Vehicle Launchers, £69.99

PAW Patrol Transforming PAW Patroller with Dual Vehicle Launchers

Recommended by: Smyths Toys and Amazon

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x LR44 (included)

A 16cm x 35cm rescue vehicle with sound effects and side doors that flip up at the touch of a button to reveal 2 swivel-out vehicle-launcher ramps inside. Press the launch buttons and whoosh! out speed the vehicles. Comes with just the 1 all-terrain vehicle (you’ll have to buy the other separately) and a Ryder figure.

Available from: Amazon


Build a Johnny Tractor, £19.99

build a Johnny tractor

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+
Batteries required: 2 x AA (included)

An updated version of a classic toddler toy that’s a 20cm-high tractor you can take apart and put together again with the aid of a battery-operated drill, 2 drill bits and some chunky screws. Really well designed (looks just like the real John Deere tractor) and just the right size for toddler hands and fingers. And the assembled tractor is chunky, bright and runs along well.

Available from: Argos


Projex, £54.99

Projex game

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 7+
Batteries required: 4 x AA (not included)

Lights off for this in-the-dark target-shooting game! You set up the game unit to project targets, ducks or UFOs on a wall and then see how quicky and accurately you can blast them – with accompanying sound effects– while the game unit keeps score. You can play solo or with 1 other player, and choose from 3 levels of difficulty. Comes with 2 blasters and 3 target slides.

Available from: Argos


CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll, £20

CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

Recommended by: Bargain Max

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 18 months+ (with supervision)
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (included)

A lovely soft 35cm-high plush version of JJ with his teddy in his hand. He’ll talk and sing his Yes Yes Bedtime song (from the much-loved YouTube series) when you squeeze his tummy. Do be warned that he’s quite loud for a bedtime doll and, unlike his body, his head is hard. Also, if you forget to switch the button on his back off ‘Try Me’ mode, not all the sounds will work.
Available from: Bargain Max


Hot Wheels Massive Loop Mayhem, £62.99

Hot Wheels Massive Loop Mayhem

Recommended by: Bargain Max and Dream Toys

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5
Batteries required: 4 X D (not included)

A brilliantly wide (71cm) and high (70cm) racetrack with, yep, a massive loop – as well as crash zones, a electronic propel gate and a slam launcher, so you can race (and crash) several cars at once. Easy to set up and not too much of a battery guzzler. Only comes with 1 Hot Wheels race car, though.

Available from: Bargain Max, Argos and Very


Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-The-Fun Garden to Kitchen, £79.99

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-The-Fun Garden to Kitchen

Recommended by: US Toy of the Year Awards 2021

Age suitability: 18 months + | Best for age: 2
Batteries required: 2 x AA (not included)

A sturdy 44cm x 57cm x 76cm 2-sided interactive playset – kitchen on 1 side; garden on the other – that lights up and plays music. In the garden, you can play-plant produce and drop eggs down a collecting chute to collect in your basket; in the kitchen you put the veg in the fridge, mix pretend smoothies and serve up eggs on toast. There are plenty of number, letter, shapes and colours games that you can dial up in difficulty as your child grows. Comes with 30 play pieces, including a trowel, a saucepan, plates, cutlery, a taco (with removable fillings) and a fetching fried egg. Requires some self-assembly.

Available from: Amazon and Next


Blue’s Clues & You! Peek A Boo Blue, £32.99

blues clues peekaboo blue

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (included)

This 25cm-tall plush version of the much-loved TV puppy, comes with his paws firmly placed over his ears. But press his belly – and his ears pop up (like in the pictures) and he barks. Simple, sweet fun. Also available in Magenta.

Available from: Argos


Spidey and his Amazing Friends Marvel Web-Quarters Playset, £67.99

Spidey and his Amazing Friends Marvel Web-Quarters Playset

Recommended by: Amazon

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA batteries ( included)

A 66cm x 40cm light-up and open-up ‘arachno-hub’ featuring web ramps, an escape hatch, a spiral slide and sounds and phrases from the Disney Jr show it’s based on. We think the ramps are a bit steep for optimum sliding but we’re not sure that’ll spoil the play thrills for top Spidey fans. Comes with a Spidey figure and a Web-Crawler vehicle (other figures and vehicles sold separately).

Available from: Amazon and The Entertainer


My Little Pony Sing and Skate Sunny, £49.99

My Little Pony Sing and Skate Sunny

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+

Batteries required: 2 x AA and 2 x AAA (not included)

A 22cm-tall interactive friend from Maretime Bay who flashes lights, sings and shakes her head and wings as she skates along – controlled by you with a cordless remote control/microphone. You can also use the microphone to sing along with Sunny or play the ‘Sunny Stop’ freeze-action game. Comes with sparkly stickers so you can customise her look.

Available from: Argos


VTech 3 in 1 Sports Centre, £39.99

vtech 3 in 1 sports centre

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+

Batteries required: 3 x AA (not included)

An 58cm x 66cm x 44 cm interactive sports centre with an electronic scoreboard that keeps count as you can try to shoot a basket, net a goal or throw to hit a target (that's round the back behind the scoreboard). You can also push buttons to play songs and learn about shapes and colours. plays encouraging phrases. It’s noisy but a real toddler magnet and we really like the encouraging phrases that play whether you score or not. Comes with toddler-sized football, basketball and throwing ball. Some (tool-free) assembly required

Available from: Amazon


Monopoly Cash Decoder, £25.99

monopoly cash decoder

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: None

The classic Monopoly game – with a sneaky twist: hiding among the real stuff is some fake money and some fake Chance cards. Comes with ‘accusation coins’, so you can challenge your opponents if you think they’re paying with fake cash, and a decoder magnifying glass for sorting out the genuine notes. The idea is fun – and it certainly evens out the chances of winning if children and adults are playing together – although we found the decoder a bit tricky to position properly. For 2 to 6 players.

Available from: Argos and Amazon


Fur Real GoGo Dancing Pup, £54.99

fur real go go dancing pup

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 4 x AA (included)

An 35cm-high interactive puppy who’ll stand up on her hind legs and dance to 5 different songs when you press a button on her lead. She has more than 50 sounds and reactions overall, and bobbles her head very sweetly as you take her along for her walkies.

Available from: Amazon


Toomies Jurassic World Pic & Push T Rex Push Along, £20

jurassic world push n pic T Rex

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+
Batteries required: None

A 35cm-high pushalong dinosaur with a gryosphere, containing 5 colourful ‘rock’ balls, in its claws. You push your dino along and the gyrosphere rotates and the balls rattle – or you can take the balls out, strew them on the ground and then roll the pushalong over them to pick them up. Our testers had a lot of fun with this – they especially like taking the gyrosphere out and rolling it about on its own– but be warned that the handle is quite short, so a tall toddler might have to stoop quite a bit to push it along as intended.

Available from: John Lewis, Amazon and The Entertainer


LEGO Creator Space Shuttle, £44.99

lego creator space shuttle

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: None

A 486-piece LEGO set that builds into a 12cm x 28cm x 19cm space shuttle, with cockpit, opening cargo doors, an extendible arm and retractable wheels. The shuttle can be also be rebuilt into a rocket or a lunar lander. Comes with a (female) astronaut figure and a little repair kit. A nicely challenging build for an older primary-school kid.

Available from LEGO and Asda


Aquabeads Day on the Farm, £24.99

aquabeads day on the farm

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: None

A big (13cm x 33cm) box of 3500 star, solid and jewel beads in all sorts of colours, along with a layout tray and templates (with instructions) for making farmyard animals that you can preserve in solid form by sprayer with water. Comes with a pegboard to display your finished creations on.

Available from: Argos, Very and Aquabeads


Cry Babies Dressy, £29.99

cry babies dressy

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 2+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (included)

An updated version of the 30cm-high bestselling Cry Babies dolls that cry real tears when you remove their dummy. The dolls have the same names (Coney, Dotty, pictured, and Lady) but now have softer features, rooted hair and sweet mix-and-match outfits. Well made, good value for money and really appealing to all our toddler testers, who spent ages cuddling, rocking and dressing them. We like the comforted sounds the dolls make when you put their dummy back in.

Available from: Amazon


Toot Toot Drivers Garage, £41.99

toot toot drivers garage

Recommended by: Dream Toys

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+
Batteries required: 4 x AAA (included)

A 66cm x 36cm x 29cm 2-level garage playset with car wash, lift, repair centre, spinning gears, opening gates, 3 light-up buttons that play songs and phrases and 9 SmartPoints that trigger sounds and phrases when vehicles go over them. It’s bright, colourful, robust and lots of fun – though it only comes with 1 vehicle (a tow truck). Worth nothing that it requires a fair bit of (easy) assembly, including placing several stickers – something definitely to do before gifting to a child!

Available from: Amazon

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