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, Hamleys and Amazon – have been slowly coming in. We've now had pretty much all of them, with lists from Amazon, Tesco, Hamleys, Selfridges, Argos, John Lewis, The Entertainer, Bargain Max and Smyths Toys, Toys R Us, plus the winners of Dream Toys, Toy Fair Heroes and Toy of the Year.

To save on toys take a look at our toy deals page.

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'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, The Entertainer and Dream Toys

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, Toys R Us 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 and Dream Toys

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


Melissa & Doug Super Smile Dentist Kit, £34.99

Melissa & Doug Super Smile Dentist Kit with child tester

Recommended by: Amazon

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

Front and centre of this colourful 24-piece dentist playset is an oversized set of pretend teeth with a squishy tongue in the middle and 4 teeth at the back that wiggle and lift out for extractions. There's a dry-erase marker for making marks on teeth that you can then clean off with a vibrating polisher, cavity stickers, retainers, braces, floss, lots of tools and a dentist's mask. "The feel and look of the mouth is brilliant!" said Abi, mum of our child tester, Maisie 5 (pictured above). "The teeth are a great size and shape, and there are so many different accessories." Maisie added: "I like it so much. The teeth and the toothpaste and the cavity stickers are my favourite and also I love the floss and the mask." Do note, though, that there's no play guide/instruction manual or storage bag for all the bits and pieces.

Available at: Amazon and Very


Barbie Cutie Reveal Snowflake Sparkle Doll, £32.99

barbie cutie reveal snowflake sparkle doll with child tester milk

Recommended by: Argos and Dream Toys

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

Inside the pink tube is a poseable 30cm-tall Barbie doll hidden inside an animal costume (bunny, husky dog, panda, polar bear or owl), with 4 surprise bags containing reversible clothes, accessories and a little pet. The animal-costume head doubles as a pet bed and, if you splash Barbie's face with cold water, it'll magically shine with 'snowflake sparkle' make-up. "I love putting her in the (hot-water) bath and helping her clean off her make up," said our child tester Mila, 5 (pictured above), who tested the Polar Bear doll, “but it comes back so that's good because I love her star sparkle on her lips! Her hair doesn't go tuggy so I can brush it for her and she has a coloured bit in her hair that I want on my hair too! I can dress her without Mummy helping all the time because her legs and arms bend."

Available at: Mattel and Argos


Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue, £99.99

Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue with child tester Hurst

Recommended by: Toy of the Year, Smyths Toys, Bargain Max and Independent Toy Awards

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


Playmobil City Life Recycling Truck with Flashing Light, £29.99

Playmobil recycling truck with flashing light with child tester Arthur

Recommended by: Amazon

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 2 x CR2 (included)

This 18cm-high lorry has working lights, a cab with removable roof, a titling trailer, 3 bins, 2 figures and a lever at the back to lift and empty the bins – plus some great bits of rubbish to sort into the right bins. Our child tester Arthur, 4, (pictured above) liked how you can attach the bins to the figures’ hands and Frankie, 6, another of our child testers, said, "I like how it tips up the bins and I really like the flashing lights too. It's lots of fun!"
Available at: Amazon and The Entertainer


Xootz Bumper Car, £179.99

Xootz bumper car with child tester Frasier

Recommended by: Bargain Max and Independent Toy Awards

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, Smyths Toys and Dream Toys

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, Smyths Toys and Tesco

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


SmartMax Roboflex, £23

smartmax roboflex with child tester sam

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes and Independent Toy Awards

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

Inside the box are 12 colourful magnetic pieces that you can stick together to make little robots. The pieces are cleverly designed to divide into smaller pieces, some with eyes or wheels or a propeller, so there are multiple – funny – different combinations to try (there is a suggestion sheet included). The robots are quite robust once built (one of child testers carried them in his pocket) but they will come apart if played with roughly and some of the bigger robots are tricky to get to stand up on their own. "They are amazing!" said our child tester Sam, 4 (pictured above). "I like best that they click together. This one has a beard! And I'm taking that one to bed with me."

Available at: Amazon and Kidly


Magic Mixies Mixlings Magic Castle Playset, £30

Magic Mixies Mixlings Magic Castle Playset

Recommended by: Dream Toys

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

New to the bestselling Magic Mixies ranges is this sweet (37cm-high) castle that opens up when you place your (magnetic) magic wand on the jewel over the door frame. There’s also a secret entrance to discover and you can make your (included) Mixling figure grow wings, go to bed (magically, of course) and tell your fortune. The instructions are picture-based and anything but detailed but everything's easy to work out. "I really like the colour of this castle," says our child tester Violet, 5 (pictured above)."It is very pretty and I like how it's magical and my wand makes it open up. I love all the magic that my Mixling makes and the crystal ball is very good! The bed is a bit tricky but I can do it if I keep trying."

Available at: Argos and Very


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


Le Toy Van Vanity Table and Stool, £120

Le Toy van Vanity Table with child tester Annabelle

Recommended by: Selfridges and Independent Toy Awards

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

Wooden and white, this sturdy, scaled-down dressing table (L34cm x W55cm x H93cm) and matching stool combo has a sweet, vintage feel with its oval mirror, turned legs and 3 pull-out drawers. "It looks lovely and it's great quality," said Ruth, mum of our child tester Annabel, 3 (pictured above). "Annie loves looking, and posing, in the mirror. It inspires lots of role play – she's currently an actress getting ready for her TV show." It comes flat-packed and requires some assembly (clear instructions included) so definitely one to construct before Christmas Day.

Available at: Le Toy Van, Selfridges and Amazon



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


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)

Another offering from Magic Mixies, and 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 and The Entertainer

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 and Tesco

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


Vtech JotBot, £49.99

vtech jot bot with child tester jensen 5

Recommended by: John Lewis and The Entertainer

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

Chirpy and cute, this 30cm-high drawing robot comes with 15 double-sided cards: place him on some paper, pop one of the cards in his backpack and he’ll draw the object that’s pictured on the card. He’ll also draw pictures of his own choice and even half pictures for you to complete – and there’s a coding function, too, for older children. The instructions and controls are easy enough for a child to master on their own, and we really like how JotBot talks and sings whilst he’s drawing. You will need to hold the paper down, though, so that his pen doesn’t slip. "It is really fun and exciting and awesome and cool," said our child tester Jenson, 5 (pictured above). "My favourite picture is the submarine. I like how it is made because I like how it turns its wheels and how it talks with no mouth. There is nothing that I don't like." Comes with 1 pen.

Available at: John Lewis, Argos and The Entertainer


Batman Gotham City R/C Racer, £49.99

Batman Gotham City RC Racer with child tester

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+
Batteries required: 2 x AA (not included) and 1 rechargeable (included, with USB cable)

This huge but lightweight 1:10 model (20cm x 48cm) of Batman's car has LED wheels, rubber tyres and a child-friendly remote-contol handset that can send it speeding up to 30kph – woah! It’s also very robust – our child testers crashed it a lot, and their cars are still in 1 piece. "This car is super cool and it goes really fast," said our child tester Alfie, 5 (pictured above). "The remote control is easy to do and the car is big but not too big for me to carry. My favourite part of it is the blue lights at the bottom that makes the car light up – I want them on my car when I’m bigger! The wheels are cool too as they have yellow bits in the middle which look blurry when I make it go fast.”
Run time: 45 mins; charge time: 3 hours.

Available at: Very and Smyths Toys


Vtech Kidizoom Print Cam, £59.99

Vtech Kidizoom Print Cam with child tester Freya

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: 1 x rechargeable (included, with USB charger)

This chunky 13cm x 4cm child's camera has a flip-up in lens and a zoom function and takes pics or selfies and instantly prints them in black and white on thermal paper. It can also print your pics as line drawings or with special effects, stamps and borders, and it shoots video and plays 3 games. Our testers found it easy and intuitive to use and we like the parental controls you can set on it. The picture quality isn't bad and you can insert an SD card to increase the memory but there's no flash (and, obviously, no colour). "I like it because it has games on it, too," said our child tester Reya, 5 (pictured above), "and because it can flip up so you can take selfies and print them out using the printer button. The Clown game is my favourite."
Comes with a wrist strap and 1 roll of thermal paper; you buy more paper – and a storage case – separately.

Available at: Very, Argos and Amazon


Leapfrog Clean Sweep Mop & Bucket, £33

Leapfrog Clean Sweep mop bucket with child tester Alice

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

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

This interactive mop bucket lights up and sings as you get stuck into those floors, the soap dispenser plays squirty sounds and counts to 10, and the mop holder spins round to squeeze the pretend water out when you press the foot pedal. It’s bright and robust and everything pops nicely back into the bucket once mopping is done but we’d say the (non-adjustable) mop handle makes it a little small for taller 4 or 5 year olds. "I can use my mop to clean the floor after my messy baby sister at dinner time," said our child tester Alice, 3 (pictured above). "I like the colours and the silly songs it plays. I can also use my mop as a broomstick." Comes with a cleaning cloth, a spray bottle and a dustpan and brush.

Available at: Argos and John Lewis


B Kind Dolls, £29.99 each

B Kind dolls with child tester Heidi

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

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

These jointed, poseable 37cm-high dolls (there are 5 in the range) are partly made from recycled materials, have multicoloured hair and each comes with a pet, accessories, shoes, styling brush and an activity (like decorating a hat or making and painting an outfit). Their packaging can be reused as a standalone Kindness Board to display messages, drawings and photos. "I really like their hair," said our child tester Heidi, 6 (pictured above wit the Nora and Brianna dolls). "I like that you can sit them on chairs and they can stand on their own. You can even switch the earrings around! I enjoyed painting Brianna's clothes and putting stickers on her outfit and there's even a bit where you can use a template and get some fabric from home and make a skirt and top! I’d like to a dress too!"

Available at: Amazon and Argos


Vtech Busy Musical Bee, £18.99

Vtech Busy Musical Bee with child tester Rohan

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age suitability: 3 months + | Best for age: 5 months+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (not included)

Made from recycled plastic bottles, this 24cm-high soft bee has crinkly wings, feet and antennae. Press the button on his heart and you’ll trigger a light and songs and phrases. His wings also have pockets in the back of them, so you can play with him like a puppet. "Our son loves pressing on the bee's tummy to make it play music. It really makes him giggle," says Amri, mum of our child tester Rohan, 8 months (pictured above) "The music also calms him down when he's fussy. The light isn't too bright and we love that it's a red. We have caught him in his playpen hugging and kissing his toy bee so he definitely seems to love it!"

Available at: Argos, John Lewis and The Entertainer



Sink n’ Sand Game, £20

Sink N’ Sand Board Game with Kinetic Sand with child tester Harry age 6 and his brother

Recommended by: Argos, Dream Toys and Smyths Toys

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

For a game that’s all about not falling through the 'quicksand'– it’s a bit like Kerplunk with sand – this is astonishingly mess-free (thanks to the kinetic sand that sticks to itself and is easily cleaned up). It’s fast-paced, with easy-to-grasp rules, fun characters, a nice sense of jeopardy and great visual appeal. It is a little fiddly to set up, though. "It’s really fun because you have to try and get everyone else to fall!" said our child tester Harry, 6 (pictured above with his older brother). "I really love that you get another go if you get the ruby! But I don’t like that some people have to lose." For 2 to 4 players.

Available at: Amazon and Argos


LeMieux Pony, £49.99

le mieux pony with child tester Annabelle

Recommended by: John Lewis

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

This large (41cm-high) handmade plush horse, with plaitable tale and mane, arrives in a box that looks like a horsebox and can be turned inside out to become a stable. He stands independently on his legs but is still hugely huggable with lovely soft coat that you can groom. There are also leather saddles and bridles and fabric bandages and saddle pads you can order separately. "I really like my pony," said our child tester Annabelle, 8 (pictured above with the Thomas pony; the other pony pictured is Popcorn). "He is so soft and cuddly but I like that he can stand up. I like putting on the reins and the saddle. I also like putting on his rug so he doesn’t get cold and grooming him. He is just like a real horse and all his things are so real. The reins even have a metal bar that goes in his mouth!" Choose from 6 different ponies. Comes with pretend horse passport and a care booklet.

Available at: LeMieux and John Lewis


Pokemon Sword and Shield Astral Radiance Elite Trainer Box, £49.99

Pokemon Sword and Shield Astral Radiance Elite Trainer Box with child tester

Recommended by: Dream Toys, Argos and Tesco

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: None

This Pokemon expansion pack comes in a smart red storage box that opens up to reveal 8 booster packs, 65 card sleeves featuring Dakrai, 45 TCG Energy Cards, a rule book, a player's guide, damage counters, coin-flip dice, markers and a code card for Pokemon TCG Online or Live. It's not really suitable for a Pokemon newbie (not enough cards to play without top-up from an existing collection) but the theme is really fun and it's all really nicely packaged. "This is SO cool!" said our child tester Brooke, 8. "The shiny cards are great and I like that the damage counters are made from a really cool plastic as some of our other damage counters were made of cardboard."

Available at: Pokemon and Amazon


Recyclings Collector Pack, £20

Recyclings with child tester Casey Mae

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

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

This 20cm-high suitcase contains 9 Recyclings figures to unwrap, each made from 5 plastic bottle caps (the wrapping is recyclable) and each with their own cute character. “I really liked seeing which ones I got and I ticking them off on the sheet,” said Casey-Mae, 7 (pictured above). “I am going to collect them all! I like that they have different faces – that’s really funny. I also got the golden trophy – I’m so happy! I love playing with them.”
There are over 90 figures to collect altogether, including some special editions.

Available at: Argos


STEM Explorers Brainometry, £16

Learning Resources STEM Explorers Brainometry with child tester Ezra

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

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

Here's a puzzle game that’s a bit like Tetris in real life: you have 24 brightly coloured chunky shapes to fit together in the same pattern as the drawings in the little challenge booklet. Great for spatial reasoning and logical thinking and fun enough not to be too worthy. "I like the colours and they are fun to play with," said our child tester Ezra, 5. "I like doing the cards with challenges on them, and if I get stuck I can look at the hints."

Available at: Learning Resources


Little Omo Face Puzzles, £26.99 each

Little Omo Face Puzzle with child tester Marley

Recommended by: Selfridges

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

There are 4 of these wooden puzzles, each of a different black or mixed-race face. The pieces are of different sizes – face, hair, eyes, ears, nose, lips – but big enough for little fingers to pick up, hold and fit together, with a little help here and there. “Look Mummy, he has curly hair like me!” said our delighted child tester Marley, 3 (pictured above). And her mum Alicia was delighted to see a jigsaw that was inclusive – and so beautifully made.

Available at: Little Omo and Selfridges

Dream Toys’ top 12 Christmas toys

Barbie Cutie Reveal Bunny | Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse | Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Goo Shifters Hero Pack | GiGi the Giraffe | Little Live Pets – Mama Surprise | Magic Mixies Mixlings Magic Castle Playset | PAW Patrol Big Truck Pups Themed Vehicles | Pokémon Elite Trainer Box | Rainbow High Series 4 Fashion Doll | Sink N’ Sand Game | Original 7.5” Squishmallows | LEGO Star Wars Hoth AT-ST


Gravitrax PRO Starter Set Vertical, £69.99

Gravitrax PRO starter set vertical with child tester Freddie

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

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

A modern take on a build-our-own marble run, Gravitrax has been a hit toy for pre-teens for a while now and this new version lets you build even higher towers and balconies and suspended tracks to race your little silver balls around on. There’s even a magnetic cannon to add to the thrills. “It's a very good toy,” said our child tester Freddie, 8 (pictured above). “It has loads of stuff you can do, and you can make your own custom track with it. It's very fun. You can have multiple balls running at the same time too!”
Comes with instructions for 5 different (and increasingly complex) courses.

Available at: John Lewis and Amazon


Cool Maker Stitch and Style Studio, £40

CoolMaker stick and Style Studio with child tester Elizabeth

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+
Batteries required: 4 x AA (not included)

This sleek, compact (13cm x 27cm x 27cm) starter sewing machine is brilliantly child-friendly: it has an auto-stop and a preloaded thread cartridge that means there’s no needle-threading to do before you start. “I really like it!” said our child tester Elizabeth, 8. "I like making stuff with it and how creative it lets me be. I find it fun and interesting because it’s really cool how the thread just sews itself."
Comes with 6 sewing projects, including a shoulder bag and sunglasses case.

Available at: Argos, The Entertainer and Smyths Toys


CoComelon Bedtime Cody Musical Plush Doll, £28

Cocmelon Cody musical plush doll with child tester kian

Recommended by: Selfridges

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (included)

Little fans of CoComelon will instantly recognised this 32cm-high plush doll as JJ’s dinosaur-loving best friend Cody. He’s big and cuddly and when you press his tummy, you can hear music and phrases from the show, including, of course, Cody’s Special Dinosaur Day. "My son loves CoCoMelon," says Yvonne, mum of our child tester Kian, 2, "and is so delighted to have a Cody doll – and an Afro-Caribbean doll that looks like him. He’s obsessed with pushing his tummy to hear the dinosaur songs!"

Available at: Argos, Amazon and Selfridges


Connetix 34-piece pack, £45

Connetix starter set with child tester

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

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

This box of 34 transparent, sloping-edged magnetic plastic tiles is all about encouraging open-ended construction play. The tiles come in different shapes and sizes but all have a good chunky feel and connect (and disconnect) really easily. "It’s good – it's now my favourite toy," said our child tester Grace, 4 (pictured above). "I like making things like my castle which is like the Frozen castle. I made a dog too. I like sticking it as it makes a funny clicky noise." Grace's mum Claire added, "Grace has had hours of fun, using her imagination to make new designs and show them to me. I honestly love this toy!"

Available at: Connetix and Tinker Tray Play


Squeakee the Balloon Dino, £40

Squeakee the balloon dino with child tester

Recommended by: 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, The Entertainer and Argos



Learning Resources MathLink Numberblocks 1-10 with child tester Lola-Mae

Recommended by: Amazon

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

An activity set for fans of Numberblocks, this box contains 1000 Numberblocks cubes (plus stickers to put on them), 59 faceplates, 11 Numberlings, 11 character cards, 15 double-sided wipe-and-write activity cards and a little how-to guide – which you can use to complete 30 activities linked to episodes the CBeebies show. "As a primary school teacher as well as a mum," said Anna, mum of our child tester Lola-Mae, 4 (pictured above), "I think this has lots of potential for fun and learning. It's a bit school-like, maybe, but if your child loves Numberblocks, it'll be a hit."

Available at: Amazon and John Lewis


Miko3, £229.99

Miko3 with child tester harper

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: 2 x lithium ion (included); USB charger included
This sturdy but light 18cm-tall robot has an interactive touch screen and anti-slip rubber wheels. Once you connect him to the Miko Max platform, he will play games with your child, answer questions, read stories, teach spelling, languages, coding – and much more. He also responds to your child’s moods quite charmingly (in a strong US accent). There’s a parent app which allows you to track your kids’ usage and also lets you make video calls to Miko – and your child. "I love Miko and want to keep him for ever," said our child tester Harper, 5. It is a very pricey toy – and you have to pay an (extra) subscription for access to the platform content – and we found the WiFi range quite limited. Huge fun, though.
Choose from Red or Blue.

Available at: Miko and Amazon


Barbie Dreamtopia Colour Change Mermaid, £27.99

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: The Entertainer, Amazon and Argos


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, Amazon and Argos


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: Very and The Entertainer


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: Very and Amazon


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: 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: Amazon


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


Hey Duggee Transforming Duggee Rocket Playset, £44.99

Hey Duggee Transforming Duggee Rocket Playset

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 3+
Batteries required: 2 x AAA (demo batteries included)

Big but light (700g), this 27cm-high Duggee-shaped plastic rocket has pull out wings and if you slide open Duggee’s head, it transforms into a spaceship, with a little Duggee at the controls and a handle with a button you can press for countdown noises from the Squirrels and other silly space songs. The rocket also has light-up jets and a hidden alien frog inside. “I like this because it is a rocket and it is exciting to go to space,” said our child tester Ralph, 3 (pictured above). “I can hold it like this and it can fly high above my head. I love smoke that comes out the bottom and lights up!”

Available at: Very, Bargain Max and The Entertainer


Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit, £79.99

Cosmo Little Genius Starter Kit with child tester

Recommended by: Amazon

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

This tablet-based learning toy comes with 4 games – Squiggle Magic, Costume Party, Stories and ABCs – and accessories (shapes, rings and costume pieces) that you can move about on a playmat (also included) to engage with each game in real life. The games are well matched to the prechooler age range – and properly fun to play. "It's absolutely brilliant," said Kirstie, mum of our child tester Iris, 3 (pictured above). "I've already bought another set of maths games, and I have a whole new outlook on screen time now. I also really like that it comes with little storage boxes for all the accessories." Compatible with Kindle Fire, iPad and most tablets (check before you buy).

Available at: Amazon and Osmo


Barbie Dream House, £299.99

barbie dream house with tester

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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: Very and 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, £104.99

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 Very


LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course, £54.99

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


Toys R Us’ top 10 Christmas toys

Barbie Cutie Reveal Bunny | Mouse in the House Stilton Hamper Hotel | Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Marvel S5 Versus Pack | Lego City Stuntz Double Loop Stunt Arena | Striker Jet Pro | Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Dino | My Very Own Fairy Jar | Little Live Pets Petal the Panda | Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset | Simply Magic Marvin’s Amazing Magic Tricks 300


Kindi Kids Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing, £29.99

Kindi kids Poppi Pearl

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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 Amazon


LeapFrog Count-along Basket & Scanner, £40

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, Amazon and John Lewis


Magic Trace Glow to Show Studio, £19.99

Magic Trace Glow to Show Studio with child tester

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

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

This clever, portable (16cm x 12cm) drawing toy has a lightstand that reveals the outline of a mystery image when you place a sheet of special Magic Trace paper next to it. This means you can trace around the outline to make an amazing picture – and when you turn the light off, no one can see the lines. "I love that I can draw the picture and then it looks like I've drawn it all by myself without any help," said our child tester Heidi, 6 (pictured above). "It's really cool and nobody will know! I can't wait to show my friends at school and my teacher – they'll be really shocked." Comes with 10 crayons, 10 felt-tip pens and stash of Magic Trace paper.

Available at: Smyths Toys


CoComelon Deluxe JJ Interactive Doll, £49.99

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, £22.99

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

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 CentreFisher-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 | 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 Horse Show Trailer, £89.99

LEGO Friends Horse Show Trailer with child tester

Recommended by: Amazon

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

This 989-pice LEGO set builds into a moveable 14cm-high SUV and trailer for transporting your 2 toy horses. The SUV seats all 3 of the LEGO figures included and has a detachable roof, while the trailer has a compartment for the horses, a kitchen and toilet, a place to stow all the tack, a sleeping space on the (hinge-top) roof and accessories including saddles, jumps and a little dog. "It's a fun build but a bit tricky at time – it took me 3 evenings," said our child tester Carys 9 (pictured above). "I love that it is like a whole house for the horses and the people. They can sleep looking up at the stars which would be so fun! One of the horses has a really cool mane that has been plaited. I like doing the show jumping with them and then using the hose to wash them - that's really cool."

Available at: Amazon and LEGO


Pictionary Air Star Wars Family Game, £25.99

Pictionary Star Wars family Game with child testers

Recommended by: Amazon

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

This multiplayer, interactive family game is a new Jedi twist on the popular 'charades with drawing' bestseller. Playing in teams, you pick a Star Wars-themed clue card and then, using the lightsabre-shaped pen, you have to draw it out in the air – or, if you download the Pictionary Air app, on your phone or TV screen – for people to guess. It's a bit fiddly to set up and the light pen can take some getting used to but, once they'd got the knack, our child testers really enjoyed it. "We thought that our drawings on the telly were funny," said Ezra, 8 (pictured above with Isaac, 9). His brother added: "Guessing the pictures right was the best – especially when my team won." Do check your smart devices are compatible before you buy. For 2 or more teams of players.

Available at: Amazon and Argos


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: Boots, Argos and Amazon


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: BargainMax and Smyths Toys


Jiggly Pets Gigi the Giraffe, £27.99

Jiggly Pets Gigi the Giraffe with child tester

Recommended by: Argos and Dream Toys

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

Not content with just the one Jiggly Pets update this year (see Jiggly Pets Noodle Pink Pup, higher up in this list), Eolo Toys have also created this shaggy rubber-haired giraffe who dances and shakes her bottom to the funky disco music that plays when you tap her foot. She comes with sunglasses and a glitterball. It's a toy to watch and laugh at, rather than play with, but our child testers did keep coming back to it. "I like that she shakes her bum when she's dancing because that is really funny," said our child tester Isaac, 4 (pictured above). "I didn’t like the smell when we opened the box but the glasses are really cool. I wish the disco ball was a bit bigger."

Available at: Argos and Very


John Deere Johnny Tractor Ride-On, £45

John Deere Johnny Tractor Ride On with child tester

Recommended by: Toy of the Year

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (included)

This toddler ride-on isn't just a ride on; it's a little construction toy too – because you can use the included screwdriver to take the engine apart (into 2 chunky pieces) and then put it back together again. It's light but not flimsy, manoeuvres well (no tipping), has button-activated lights, a honking horn and a key that turns to play (loud) sounds and music. The seat flips up (although it doesn't stay up once flipped) and there's a carry handle at the back. "Ethan's face lit up when he first saw this," said Sapphire, mum of our child tester Ethan, 1. "He loves being able to ride the tractor and take the engine apart but most of all press the buttons to hear the sounds."

Available at: Ben Burgess and Sam Turner


Tesco's Top 10 toys for Christmas

Pokemon Sword and Shield Astral Radiance Elite Trainer Box | Barbie Chelsea Playhouse | Miraculous Switch N Go Scooter | Zuru Smashers Dino Island Giant Skull | Lego Super Heroes – I Am Groot | Marvel Studios 3D Puzzle – Iron Man's Helmet | CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Doll | Lego Super Hereos Batmobile | Fisher Price DJ Bouncin Beats | Squishmallows 7.5" Plush


CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll, £29.99

CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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 Action Spiral Speed Crash Playset, £64.99

Hot Wheels Action Spiral Speed Crash Playset with child tester

Recommended by: Argos

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

This super-tall (73cm-high) Hot Wheels playset has 3 crash zones and a motorised booster that launches your car up to the top of the track. The more cars you add to the track, the more action, the more noise – and the more wipe outs! There's space at the base to store 6 cars, although the set only comes with 1 car, so you'll have to buy more if you don't have a stash at home already. "This toy is amazing!" said our child tester Kai, 6 (pictured above). "I LOVE all the loops. I'm having so much fun!" His mum Shante couldn't resist joining in the fun, too, and thought it a great gift for a Hot Wheels fan – although she did stress it's not a toy for a quiet house!

Available at: Very, The Entertainer and Argos


Blue’s Clues & You! Peek A Boo Blue, £39.99

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: Very


Jurassic World Ocean Protector Mosasaurus Dinosaur Action Figure, £43.99

Jurassic World Ocean Protector Mosasaurus Dinosaur Action Toy with child tester

Recommended by: Amazon

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

This HUGE 76 cm-long recycled-plastic dinosaur has a moveable jaw, flippers and tail and floats in the bath. And if you scan the QR code to link it up with the (free) Jurassic World Facts app, you can access some dinosaur-themed augmented reality experiences. "It's awesome, just awesome!" said our child tester Ellis, 7 (pictured above). “I like how its mouth moves and I can make it eat other dinosaurs and toys. I like the way its flippers move, too. It doesn't roar or have a chomping action but that's good because Mosasauruses didn't roar. The QR code is bigger and easier to scan then on the other dinos [in same the Jurassic World range] so it works better. I'm so happy because it's actually so amazing."

Available at: Amazon and Smyths Toys


VTech 3 in 1 Sports Centre, £49.99

vtech 3 in 1 sports centre

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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


Millie & Friends Mouse in the House Stilton Hamper Hotel, £29.99

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Mouse in the House Stilton Hotel with child tester

Recommended by: Toys R Us

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+
Batteries required: 3 x AAA (not included)

This little hotel playset is the latest addition to the Mouse in the House range and has 2 bedrooms, a restaurant, a gym with hot tub and a rooftop pool and bar. It comes with furniture (including beds, chairs, a bakery counter, stickers, and a reception desk), 3 mouse figures and – thrills! – lights that make it all glow beautifully in the dark. It is VERY small, though (W16m x D6cm x H8cm), making the doors fiddly to open and meaning you can’t fit all the furniture in the house. "I like all the pieces," said our child tester Ivy, 5 (pictured above), "and the little mice – one has a top hat; he's the concierge. I like to put the mice to bed and turn the lights on."

Available at: >Argos, >ToysRUs and John Lewis


Toomies Jurassic World Pic & Push T Rex Push Along, £21

jurassic world push n pic T Rex

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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: Amazon and The Entertainer


Aquabeads Day on the Farm, £24.99

aquabeads day on the farm

Recommended by: The Entertainer

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 and Very


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

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Authors

Helen Brown
Helen BrownHead of Content Delivery

Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies. Before joining MadeForMums over 7 years ago, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.

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