Must-have toys for Christmas from the biggest sellers

LOL Surprise Glamper, Cubby Bear, Walking Buzz Lightyear, Kindi Kids Toddler dolls, Owleez and the LEGO Harry Potter Knight Bus have all been tipped as some of the must-haves for Christmas by retailers such as Argos, John Lewis, Amazon, Hamleys, Disney and Smyths Toys. Our toy testers pick the best of the bunch...

MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.
best christmas toys 2019

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

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

Top toys for Christmas from Argos, Amazon, John Lewis, Hamleys, Disney, Smyths Toys, Independent Toy Awards and Toy Fair Heroes…

boppi the booty shakin llama

1 . Boppi the Booty Shakin’ Llama, £25

Recommended by: Amazon, Argos and Smyths Toys

Age: 2+

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

 Available from: Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and Amazon

juno

2. Juno, My Baby Elephant, £89.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 4+

A cute interactive elephant who’s so shy at first, she hides behind her ears. Once you start stroking and playing with her, she’ll start to giggle and wave her trunk around. Eventually, she’ll play games, make trumpet sounds with her trunk, dance, eat peanuts and blow you kisses. Comes with her pet mouse, a peanut accessory and an instruction booklet. Requires 4AA batteries (not included).

Available from: Amazon and Argos

blume dolls

3. Blume dolls, £10 each

Recommended by: Amazon and Argos

Age: 5+

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

Available from: AmazonSmyths Toys and The Entertainer

owleez

4. Owleez, £50

Recommended by: Amazon and Argos

Age: 6+

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

Available from: Amazon

cubby

5. FurReal Cubby the Curious Bear, £89.99

Recommended by: Argos and Smyths Toys

Age: 4+

This large (43cm high) interactive plush bear pricks up his ears when you talk to him, babbles back to you, does a little dance and makes the cutest eating sounds when you feed him. He also have a ‘sleepy’ mode, where he’ll yawn and stretch his arms and then close his eyes as he plays 1 of 4 5-minute sequences of mellow music. Comes with bottle and comb. Requires 4 C batteries (not included).

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

cloak4

6. Wow! Stuff Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak, £60

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age: 6+

Put on this cool wizard’s cloak (139.7cm in length), and using the free Wow! Stuff app, you can film or take pictures of yourself disappearing! It works really well and is great fun. Comes with a tripod to keep your phone steady while you shoot your invisibility adventures.

Available from: Smyth Toys and Argos

lol surprise glamper playset

7. LOL Surprise 2 in 1 Glamper Playset, £99.99

Recommended by: Argos and Smyths Toys

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

LOL-surprise-winter-chalet

8. L.O.L Surprise Chalet Dollhouse, £250

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 3+

This huge 22.9cm x 1014.1cm x 76.2cm winter-themed dollhouse definitely has a wow factor with 3 floors, 6 different rooms and over 95 surprises to unbox. The wooden chalet comes with lots of interactive elements including a ski lift, a chimney that snows, ice skating rink and hot tub. Also comes with 4.5 metres of fairy lights to decorate the house. Requires 15 x AG13 and 3 x AG3 batteries (both included).

Available from: Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and Very

sloth

9. Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth, £29.99

Recommended by: Amazon and Hamleys

Age: 9 months+

This cute fellow nods his head, claps his hands and dances when you press the button on his feet to make the music play. The other button plays phrases about numbers, colours and opposites. We really like his soft arms – and our baby testers responded very enthusiastically to the clapping. You can buy other Linkimals (there’s a rather dashing Musical Moose) and, if you ‘link’ them up, they’ll all sing together. Requires 4AA batteries (demo ones included).

Available from: Amazon and Hamleys

space

10. LEGO City 60229 Rocket Assembly & Transport Space Port, £119.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 7+

This NASA-design inspired 1,055-piece space set features a large multi-stage rocket, a rover payload module, a launch control room with rotating satellite dish and assembly crane, a rover lab with rotating arm tool, opening doors and raising platform, plus a large crawler with track wheels and a tilting launch pad. It’s quite a build – but that’s the joy! Comes with astronaut, ground crew, scientist, lab mechanic, and robot mini figures.

Available from: John Lewis

scruff-a-luv-my-real-rescue

11. Scruff-a-Luv’s My Real Rescue, £40

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 4+

This Scruff-a-Luv rescue pet may not seem impressive on first sight, starting off as a quivering, matted ball of fur. But after washing it in warm water and brushing its hair, your Scruff-a-Luv will come to life with over 35 different sounds and interactions. Comes with a bottle to feed them, a brush to comb their fur and collar with a tag. Requires 2 x AA batteries (included).

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

Frozen-2-Arendelle-Castle

12. Disney Frozen 2 Arendelle Castle, £159.99

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age: 3+

This magical castle (22cm x 76cm x 76cm) is bound to impress little Frozen fans with its 4 floors and 7 rooms including a lookout tower. Comes with 14 accessories to fill the different rooms including a piano, banquet table and throne chair. Requires 3 x AAA batteries (not included) to set off the colourful lights included with the castle.

Available from: Smyths Toys and Very

buzz2

13. Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear, £29.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

One of the best Toy Story 4-themed toys we’ve seen this year. Press the button under Buzz’s arm to switch him on, then press the red button his left side to spread out his wings, hear him say phrases from the movie and make him walk and swivel his hips. Great sound effects. Comes with a surprise to unlock to make Buzz do the moonwalk. Requires 3 AAA batteries (included).

Available from: Smyths Toys and Argos

kini

14. Kindi Kids dolls, £25 each

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

From the makers of Shopkins and Pikmi Pops come this collection of 4 bigger dolls (Jessicake, Peppa-Mint, Donatina, pictured, and Marsha Mello) with glittery eyes, wobbly heads, colourful hair and accessories, including a snack that they can ‘eat’. They also have a YouTube channel where they all play together in their Rainbow Kindergarten. Their huge eyes unsettled us a bit, to be honest, but our preschooler testers thought they were awesome.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

babyborn

15. BABYborn Surprise, £12

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age: 3+

Another collectible doll: these ones are teeny-tiny and come in an egg-shaped package, wrapped in 1 of 12 really sweet baby swaddles, including a mermaid, a bee and a butterfly design. There’s are 12 surprises too, and a water fun element where you drop water on your baby’s closed eyes to open them up. There’s also a feeding bottle that you can fill with water and, when you feed your baby, his or her nappy will get wet and reveal a pattern.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

pic

16. Pictionary Air, £20

Recommended by: Amazon and Hamleys

Age: 8+

We love this twist on the classic drawing game. Simply download the app, then you can see everything you draw in the air appear on screen.

The ‘drawer’ draws clues for their own team, and the more answers they get right, the more points hey’ll get. so – brush up you’re artistic skills first if you want to be in with a shot at winning.

Available from: Amazon, Sainsbury’s and Hamleys

elsas-jewellery-box

17. LEGO Frozen 2 Elsa’s Jewellery Box Creation Set, £39.99

Recommended by: Disney

Age: 6+

Little Frozen fans can create their own jewellery box (23cm x 15cm x 12cm) with this LEGO set inspired by the new Frozen 2 movie. Comes with a LEGO Elsa and Nokk the horse figure, turntables to spin them, a mirror and a lockable drawer to store all your mini treasures.

Available from: Disney

poopsie-rainbow-surprise

18. Poopsie Surprise Dolls, £50

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 3+

The Rainbow Surprise dolls come wrapped up, so you don’t find out which doll you have until you unbox it along with over 20 surprises included. Our toy testers loved that you can mix the rainbow slime with the glitter and and shimmer powders to add to your doll’s transparent accessories, like their skirts and shoes.

Available from: Smyths Toys and Hamleys

lego hidden side

19. Lego Hidden Side Paranormal Bus 3000, £55

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 8+

The Hidden Side sets are Lego’s first augmented reality toys – download the Lego Hidden Side app and move your device over your set to bring it to life. There’s 689 pieces in this set to build the school bus and accessories, along with 6 Lego figures. We also like the look of the Haunted High School which is a bit pricier at £109.99.

Available from: Lego, Smyths Toys and Hamleys 

oblique-drifer

20. Oblique Drifter, £60

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 6+

This 36cm x 23.5cm x 14.5 cm remote-controlled car drifts smoothly from side to side and has added suspension that moves the car up and down. Available in blue or green and plays music as you move it around.

Available from: Hamleys

woody-interactive-figure

21. Woody Interactive Drop-Down Action Figure, £79.99

Recommended by: Disney

Age: 4+

This interactive Woody figure (37cm x 31cm x 13cm) responds to a range of voice commands – say “Someone’s coming!” or “Quiet. Go to sleep” to watch Woody freeze and drop down onto the floor just like he does in the movie. We loved the extra touches including his floppy arms, removable cowboy hat and sound-activating string. Requires 4 x AAA batteries (included).

Available from: Disney, Smyths Toys and Amazon

lolsurpriseomf

22. LOL Surprise OMG doll, £29.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 3+

The LOL Surprise genre expands ever more, this time with the arrival of 24cm-high fashion dolls with great hair. Choose from Lady Diva (pictured), Neonlicious, Royal Bee (our fave, with a killer Afro) and Swag. Each comes with 20 surprises, including accessories, shoes and a hairbrush, and the packaging becomes a reusable playset.

Available from: Amazon

avengers-gauntlet-

23. Marvel Legends Series Avengers: Endgame Power Gauntlet, £100

Recommended by: Disney

Age: 16+

Hasbro has brought the Avengers Power Gauntlet to life with this wearable electronic version (49.6cm). Place your hand inside the gauntlet, move your fingers and watch the fingers on the gauntlet move and the infinity stones light up. We like that it doesn’t feel too heavy when wearing it on your hand and that the individual finger movements are really responsive. Requires 3 x AA batteries (not included).

Available from: Disney and Smyths Toys 

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24. GraviTrax Starter set, £49.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 8+

GraviTrax is like a modern-day marble run and it really is super-cool – so cool, in fact, our child judges awarded it Gold in the Best STEM toy category in our 2018 Toy Awards. Use your imagination to build superb tracks and set the gravity spheres rolling.

You can make your own track design or use the tasks and blueprints included to help you to get started. There’s also a free GraviTrax app that allows you to design action-packed tracks with the building editor and race using different balls and camera perspectives.

Available from: John Lewis, Smyths Toys and Amazon

paw patrol supersonic jet

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

Age: 2+

Recommended by: Argos and Smyths Toys

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

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

Barbie-Travel-DreamPlane

26. Barbie Travel DreamPlane, £63.99

Age: 3+

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

There is lots of imaginative play to be had with this plane, and lots of thoughtful touches included such as rolling wheels, reclining seats, overhead compartments and a snack cart with removable trays. It also comes with more than 15 accessories including an eye mask, blankets and a travel bag but keep in mind that the set doesn’t come with the Barbie dolls to use these with.

Available from: Smyths Toys and The Entertainer 

smart-pixelator

27. SmART Pixelator, £70

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 7+

Create colourful 2D and 3D designs with 1,300 beads and over 50 different templates to choose from. Place down the beads using the lights as a guide and then use the ironing paper included to lift the design off the board. And you don’t just have to follow the templates – you can also customise your designs by downloading your own images onto the SmART Pixelator. Requires 4 x C batteries (not included).

Available from: Hamleys, Smyths Toys and John Lewis

fisher-price imaginext transforming bat mobile

28. Fisher-Price Imaginext Transforming Batmobile, £100

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Argos

tiny-paws-pet-hotel

29. Playmobil City Life Tiny Paws Pet Hotel, £59.99

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age: 4+

A 76cm x 24cm x19cm playset that builds into a pet hotel with kitchen and an animal flap leading into the garden – which has a see saw, kennels and outdoor lights. Comes with 3 figures, 8 dogs, 2 parrots, bananas, carrots, dog food, chew toys and umpteen accessories including a wheelbarrow and a string of sausages.

Available from: Playmobil, Uber Kids and Smyth Toys

coding-critters

30. Coding Critters, £40

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 4+

A screen-free coding toy where you help Ranger and his little friend Zip to complete challenges, from hide and seek to fetch, using the storybook included. Ranger and Zip are also interactive, for example you can press Ranger’s nose to make him dance and sing. Playset includes house, slide and tennis ball launcher. Requires 4 x AA batteries.

Available from: Hamleys, John Lewis and Amazon

fortnite battle bus

31. Fortnite Battle Bus, £40

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 8+

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

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon

pet_bits-interactive-collectible-robot

32. Pet_Bits Interactive Collectible Robots, £19.99 each

Recommended by: Toy Fair Heroes

Age: 4+

These quirky-but-cute 14cm-high robot pets move and dance in response to hand claps. They’ll also record your voice and play it back to you robo-style and, if you get 2 of more robots together, they’ll talk and dance with each other. There’s also an accompanying (free) app, which allows you to win food and other treats for your pet. There’s a dog, panda, rabbit and cat to collect.

Available from: Not available till September (we’ll keep you posted).

totem4

33. My First Totem, £19.99

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

This is a building game made really fun with brightly coloured animal bricks that your child can stack up how she wants – or use the 24 challenge cards and follow the pattern they ask for.

Age: 18 months+

Available from: Smartmax

nightbus

34. Harry Potter Knight Bus

Recommended by: Argos and Smyths Toys

Age: 7 years +

It’s the dream LEGO set if your child loves a satisfying LEGO build or is obsessed with the Harry Potter movies.

We think this set is very well-designed, as realistic as LEGO can be, and also it’s a good length of time and difficulty for a build. It’s not too easy, not too hard, and will take long enough to make the price worth it, but won’t stretch on forever.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

artie

35. Artie 3000, £69 

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards and Toy Fair Heroes

Age: 7+

Artie is a great toy for children starting on coding. You can write simple instructions and  get him draw as requested – and you just use regular pens and pencils. Users found him easy to set up and simple enough for kids of around 8 years to work out on their own without too much help from mum or dad.

Available from: Learning Resources

giraffe

36. Giraffe Balance Bike,  £43.99 

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age: 1+

This cute bike (there are other animal designs too, like a zebra one) helps small children on the way to learning to balance on and ride a bike. Some users thought it was a bit lightweight, and so tipped occasionally, but in general this is a good quality bike with padded handle bars for an extra comfy touch.

Available from: Beehive Toy Factory

nerf-fornite-gun

37. Nerf Fornite RL blaster, £30

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 8+

Inspired by the blaster used in the Fornite game, this Nerf version comes with two foam nerf rockets to load into the front of the barrel. You can use it indoors or outdoors but keep in mind that you currently can’t buy spare bullets, so try to keep them safe!

Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos and Amazon 

Ryans-World-Giant-Mystery-Egg

38. Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg – Gold, £49.99

Recommended by: Smyths Toys

Age: 3+

Created with vlogger Ryan’s Toy Review, this golden egg contains lots of little surprises including surprise figures and vehicle, slime and putty, a limited edition squishy and a Red Titan mask. And for super fans of the YouTube channel, there’s a chance to meet Ryan if you find a special game card inside the golden egg.

Available from: Smyths Toys 

slime

39. Alien Slime Lab, £25

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age: 6+

This slime kit includes everything you need to make 10 slime experiments, and slime including bobble slime, glowing slime and colour-changing slime. You get a lab station as well as tools like a syringe, tweezers, roller and scalpel to mould and move the slime in loads of different ways.

Available from: Thames and Kosmos 

chopper

40. You Drive Rescue Chopper, £34.99, 

Recommended by: Independent Toy Awards

Age: 3+

Parent and child can have fun together flying this helicopter which even has working headlights! It’s got motion steering and you’ll find flying it in any direction pretty simple. Requires 6 AA batteries (not included).

Available from: Smyths Toys

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

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41. Fingerlings Untamed Dinos, £16.99

Recommended by: Argos, Hamlets and B&M

Age: 5+

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

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys

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

42. Elast Plasti, £13

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 5+

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

Available from: Amazon

waitrose mini supermarket

43. Mini Waitrose Supermarket, £49.00

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 3+

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

Available from: John Lewis

toot toot pirate ship

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

Recommended by: eBay

Age: 1 year+

This toddler toy took home silver in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2018, in the Best Playset category. A 16cm x 45cm x 35cm interactive pirate’s ship that opens up to reveal a treasure island. Features a cannon that shoots cannonballs, a trap door and a spinning octopus.

Come with 3 characters, 3 MagicPoints that triggers responses when you place a character on them and 3 light-up press buttons.There’s so much to play with in this toddler-magnet playset: the shooting canon was a particularly huge hit with all our testers.

We also the fact that the noises can be switched off if you need a break from whistling cannon balls and exclaiming pirates. Requires 2 AA batteries.

Available from: Smyths Toys

Monopoly fornite

45. Monopoly Fortnite edition, £21.99

Recommended by: DreamToys, Argos

Age: 13+

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

Available from: Amazon, Argos and Smyths Toys

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

46. Crate Creatures, £40

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 4+

Possibly the cutest monsters we’ve ever seen! Your child will have fun unboxing these guys with the ‘crowbar’ provided – there are 6 to collect and they make 45 cute creature sounds.

They each also have their own favourite food which makes them do chomping noises when you put it in their mouth. We were surprised at how soft to the touch the fur on these guys was and how nice and colourful they are too. Plus, they’re a nice handy size for little hands to carry around and snuggle with.

Available from: Hamleys

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47. Shopkins Hairdorables, £15

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 5+

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

Available from: Amazon

playmobil aquarium

48. Playmobil Aquarium, £49.99

Recommended by: eBay

Age: 5 years +

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

Available from: Playmobil

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49. Playmobil City Life Wedding Limo, £29.99

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 4+

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

Available from: Amazon, Asda and Uber Kids


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50. Ty Sequin Flippables, £15

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 3 years +

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

Available from: Hamleys

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51. Chow Crown Game, £24.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 5+

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

Available from: Smyths Toys

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52. LOL Surprise Under Wraps, £14.99

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

Age: 4+

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

Available from: Amazon

aldi little town rocking horse

53. Little Town Wooden Rocking Horse, £29.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 2+

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

Available from: Aldi

sylvanian families grand department store gift set

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

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 3+

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

Available from: John Lewis, SmythsToys and Amazon

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55. Botley the Coding Robot, £79

Recommended by: Toy Fair Hero Toys

Age: 5+

We’re quite taken with this friendly-looking little (13cm x 7cm x 8cm) robot that’s designed to teach children early programming skills in a fun way. He won a Silver in the Best Coding Toys category of our 2018 Toy Awards.

You can make Botley to move forward and back, turn left and right, make (very cute) sounds, detect an object, avoid an object, score a goal – and repeat sequences of up to 80 steps. Comes with stickers, coding cards and activity accessories, including sticks, cubes, cones, flags, balls and a goal. Requires 3 AAA batteries.

Available from: Learning Resources

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56. LEGO DUPLO Cargo Train, £99.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 4+

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

Available from: John Lewis


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

Recommended by: DreamToys

Age: 6 +

This slime-based set lets your child create all kinds of slime creations. Each set includes a slime-making machine with base, 6 pots of rainbow colours, slime sticks, a measuring cup and glitter for extra slime sparkle.

Children who really like slime and are keen to make their own, rather than buying the ready-made stuff, will find this a fantastic starter kit. And, we have to say, we reckon that the making of slime definitely adds a huge plus (not least a bit of science learning) to this gooey, slimy play experience.

Available from: Zoom and Very

hatchimals collEGGtibles season 3

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

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 5+

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

Available at: The Entertainer

Myra the magical make up unicorn

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

Recommended by: Argos and eBay

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Smyths Toys

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

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Argos

boxer

61. Boxer, £79.99

Recommended by: Argos, Amazon, DreamToys and Hamleys

Age: 6+

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

Available from: Smyths Toys and Argos

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


Monopoly Cheaters

62. Monopoly ‘Cheaters ‘edition, £35

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 8+

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

Available from: Hamleys

pieface

63. Pie Face Cannon, £26.99

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 5+

The runaway hit of Christmas 2015, Pie Face made it back into the must-have toy lists again in 2017 with a freestanding ‘fairground’ style version (Pie Face Sky High) where you hit the hammer and see how far up you can get the pie to splat your opponent.

And for 2018 there’s Pie Face Cannon. Yes – things just got serious. The cannon fires a pie EVERY time and it’s up to the target to make sure they use the red hand in time to stop themselves from getting truly, madly pied. Pie us now!

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

barbie dolphin

64. Barbie Dolphin Adventure Doll, £14.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Aldi

zinc aldi

65. Zinc Volt XT Electric Kids Scooter, £69.99

Recommended by: Aldi

Age: 8+

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

Available from:  Argos

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66. Bosch work bench, £30

Recommended by: Mothercare

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Mothercare

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67. LEGO City Arctic Mobile Exploration Base, £84.99

Recommended by: Argos

Age: 7 to 12

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

Available from: LEGO and The Entertainer

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68. My Little Pony Mega Collection, £60

Recommended by: Tesco

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Amazon and Tesco

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69. BB-9E App-Enabled Droid, £129.99

Recommended by: Disney

Age: 3+

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

Available from: Currys

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70. Cozmo£199.99 

Recommended by: Amazon

Age: 7+

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

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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71. LEGO Creator Winter Holiday Train, £74.99

Recommended by: John Lewis

Age: 12+

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

Available from: John Lewis

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72. Dreamworks Trolls Hug Time Poppy, £29.99

Recommended by: Toys R Us

Age: 4+

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

Available from: Amazon

 

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73. PJ Masks Headquarters Playset, £49.99

Recommended by: DreamToys, Hamleys, Tesco and Argos

Age: 3+

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

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

Available from:Amazon

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74. Experimake Sludge & Slime, £10

Recommended by: The Entertainer

Age: 8+

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

Available from: The Entertainer

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75. Unicorn Magic Ring Toss Game, £20

Recommended by: Hamleys

Age: 6+

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

Available from: Hamleys

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