21 of the best toys for 5 year olds
After lots (and lots!) of testing, we've picked the top toys for boys and girls aged 5, as rated by our child testers and recommended by their parents
Your 5 year old is becoming more social, probably preferring to play with friends than on their own. They are also getting better at expressing their feelings, though they might still find it tricky with more intense ones, such as frustration or jealousy.
Playing with toys is, more than ever, an important way for your 5 year old to develop the skills that will help them navigate a world that's requiring ever more of them in terms of social and emotional interaction and logical thinking.
Which type of toys are best for 5 year olds?
Your 5 year old is now a much more creative and enthusiastic problem solver, and so usually up for a toy that requires some focus or offers some building, thinking or sustained imaginative-play challenge.
They're capable of much more involved imaginative play, and will really enjoy toys that offer plenty of opportunity for role play that's full of detail, drama and often quite complex storytelling.
Your child can also use their fingers much more flexibly to control crafting tools and tackle more complicated construction or technology toys.
Of course, anything that's fun, loud or messy, and that makes them giggle is a surefire hit.
They might also enjoy some easy board games, though they won't necessarily be a good loser at this age. But find one that's simple enough and the whole family can have a good time playing together.
Best toys for 5 year olds at a glance
- Great for developing emotional intelligence: The Mood Bears, £22.99 (mini version £12.99)
- Great budget construction toy: Plus-Plus 100-Piece Tube, £7
- Great for creative sensory play: Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory, £23
- Great for early camera skills: Vtech KidiZoom PrintCam, £50
- Great first smartwatch: Tobi Robot Smartwatch, £49.99
- Great for developing number skills: Orchard Toys Dino-Snore-Us, £12
- Great for collecting or adding to a set: Sylvanian Families Baby Amusement Park, £50
- Great for wow-factor: Barbie Dream Camper Vehicle Playset, £74.99
- Great for all-action vehicle play: Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Stretch & Strike Thrash Mobile, £19.99
- Great for fairy fun: Got2Glow Fairy Finder, £19.99
- Great for eco-themed vehicle play: Playmobil 70885 City Life Vehicle World Recycling Truck with Flashing Lights, £25.99
- Great for wildlife ranger role play: Schleich Wild Life Ranger Adventure Station, £44.99
- Great for playing dress-up: DesignaFriend Tilly Bumper Doll Set, £50
- Great for shopkeeper role play: Great Little Trading Co. First Class Toy Post Office, £60
- Great for nurturing skills: Meagan Doll by Our Generation, £34.99
- Great for pet care skills: Little Live Pets - My Puppy's Home Dalmatian Edition, £35
- Great for cooking role play: Bee Smart Pizza Oven, £44.99
- Great first bike: Forme Cubley 14, £260.99
- Great for fine-finger skills: Aquabeads Beginner's Carry Case, £13.99
- Great for Minecraft-themed unboxing fun: Treasure X Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Ender Dragon, £29.99
- Great for construction skills: HEXBUG Junkbots (4 Pack) Dumpster, £19.99
Here is our pick of the best toys for 5 year olds, as tested and rated by kids...
Best educational toys for 5 year olds
1. The Mood Bears, £22.99 (mini version £12.99)
– Great for developing emotional intelligence
Age suitability: 0+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size (full-size version): D27cm x W18cm x H33cm | Batteries: None | Awards: Editor's Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023
Is your child feeling sad, happy, calm, or nervous? There’s a Mood Bear for that. Help them talk about their feelings with this collection of colourful teddy bears designed to support positive mental health. Each of the bears is named after a specific emotion and has a distinctive colour to match the mood, based on colour psychology.
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Mood Bears have paw shapes indicating the mood they depict and come with a poem that helps the child understand and talk about their feelings. There are 8 Mood Bears in the range, and 3e of them are talking bears. They are available in full size and smaller, collectible form.
Launched by Leicestershire mum of 3, Jo Proud, Mood Bears are made from soft fabric, created using specifically sourced recycled materials – the large bears are made from around 16 recycled plastic bottles (PET), and around 8 for the mini bears.
Our child testers really connected with this toy. Child tester Ava, 5 said, “I want to play with him every day, he is my best friend, and when I am scared, he helps me calm down.”
Fellow child tester Ophelia (pictured above), 6, said, “It helps me to calm down and with my feelings when I am feeling different. It has helped me to breathe and relax when I might feel upset.” Ophelia's mum Fiona added, “As a teacher myself, I do think that these bears would be an amazing addition to our Early Years classrooms to support the PSED strand of the curriculum.”
2. Plus-Plus 100-Piece Tube, £7
– Great budget construction toy
Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size (full-size version): L10.1cm x W10.1cm x H14cm | Batteries: None | Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023
Ideal for busy builders, the Plus-Plus 100-Piece Tube is a great, low cost and versatile construction toy. The pieces come in a range of colours and fit together to make satisfying 3D shapes.
The tube comes with a small instruction booklet with a few suggested constructions, but you can build pretty much anything you can imagine, and the pieces allow for you to create some pretty impressive constructions. They also come in a range of colours including vibrant neon, rainbow and pastel options. But you can also buy tubes of one specific colour.
Child tester Harry, 5 (pictured), said "they are lots of fun and turned out really cool." His mum Laura noted, "the Plus-Plus bricks are great value for money. They are durable so will withstand lots of play. They are a great stocking filler or pocket money purchase as they are very reasonably priced."
3. Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory, £23
– Great for creative sensory play
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: Various | Batteries: None
This sand-moulding kit contains nearly 1kg of red, blue, yellow and black squishy, sensory sand that stays together when you shape it and doesn’t shed little grains all over your floor. It has already turned the heads of experts at toy retailer The Entertainer, who named it as one of the top toys for Christmas 2023. The set comes with instructions and more than 10 tools for sand-slicing, marking, scooping and shaping, including 2 moulds for making ‘cakes’ of black sand with rainbow colours inside.
We really like the black sand, the vast array of tools and the little cardboard mat for making your creations on. The instructions are a little hard to understand in places but there are lots of YouTube videos for inspiration.
“This set is fun and creative and comes with much more than other Kinetic Sand kits,” said Jamie, mum of our child tester Oliver (pictured above), 5. “There are so many tools we’ve never used before. The cube mould is Oliver’s favourite – he loved slicing it open to reveal the surprise coloured stripes. I especially like the scoop tool: it makes it so much easier to make ball shapes, which Oliver's always struggled with before.”
4. Vtech KidiZoom PrintCam, £50
– Great for early camera skills
Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L13.4cm x W9.2cm x H4.8cm | Batteries: 1 x rechargeable (included, with USB charger)
This chunky camera , complete with flip-up lens and a zoom function, makes it easy to take photos or selfies and instantly print them in black and white on thermal paper. It also boasts some clever features like being able to print out photos as line drawings or with special effects, stamps and borders. The camera shoots video as well, and has 3 games to play.
Toy retailer The Entertainer picked it out as one of the top toys for Christmas 2023 and our testers agreed. They found it easy and intuitive to use and liked 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. There’s no flash, however, and 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."
The camera comes with a wrist strap and 1 roll of thermal paper. You can buy more paper – and a storage case – separately.
5. Tobi Robot Smartwatch, £49.99
– Great first smartwatch
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L6cm x W5cm x H2.5cm| Batteries: 1 LiPo rechargeable battery (included)
This kid-friendly digital watch features an LED robot with hundreds of friendly facial expressions, moving arms and legs and responsive sound effects. It can play games (with rewards to unlock), and has 2 cameras for video, photos and selfies, as well as a pedometer, a timer, a stopwatch, a calendar and an alarm.
It’s absolutely stuffed with kid-friendly fun and the robot ‘personality’ is ace: our child tester’s mum, Claire, said her son Teddy, 6 (pictured above), loves how Tobi giggles or gets angry depending on how you treat him. The watch can seem a bit fiddly at first but the instructions are great and Claire said Teddy soon got the hang of it. Teddy's verdict? “It’s so cool!"
Can store 3000 photos and up to 30 minutes of video. Choose from blue or pink.
You can also now buy the (purple) Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatch (£64.99), which is aimed at children aged 6+ and allows them to play games ‘head to head’ with owners of other Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatches nearby.
Available at: Amazon
6. Orchard Toys Dino-Snore-Us, £12
– Great for developing number skills
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L49cm xW37cm | Batteries: None
In this dinosaur-themed board game, the objective is to spirit away as many dino eggs as you can while the T-Rex sleeps. If you land on certain squares when he’s awake, you’ll have to go all the way back to the start.
This was the part that really got our child tester Avana, 5 (pictured above), giggling in anticipation. “I am excited and nervous for waking the dinosaur up!” she said. “I like the dinosaurs and I also really like counting out the spaces after I throw my dice. I really want to win!”
It’s a great value, colourful, simple board game with a real element of fun. We also really like the little twist at the end, when it's time to count up your eggs: you have to turn them over to see how many cracked ones you have and you can’t count those in your total.
“It’s definitely a good game for counting skills,” said Avana’s mum Jennie. “And it’s fun as well as educational – and easy to set up. We’ll be playing this a lot.”
It includes a spinner, 4 dinosaur playing pieces, 24 eggs and 4 nests. It’s for 2 to 4 players.
Best imaginative play toys for 5 year olds
7. Sylvanian Families Baby Amusement Park, £50
– Great for collecting or adding to a set
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L18cm xW38cm x H35cm | Batteries: None
This funfair-themed castle playset features a rotating Ferris wheel, swinging Viking ship, a rocket, 2 go-karts, and a display board at the back of the castle where you can line up your Sylvanian baby figures.
It’s very cute and sweetly detailed and the battery-free funfair features are easy for little hands to operate. And there are extra points from us for the inclusion of 3 baby figures (you often have to buy these separately with Sylvanian Families playsets).
“The rocket is my favourite because it can fly up and get the shooting star,” said our child tester Hettie (pictured above), who's nearly 5. “I like the little animals because they are so furry.” Her mum Becki added, “Hettie has played with this every day since she got it.”
This playset can be combined with other funfair Sylvanian Family sets, such as the Spooky Surprise House and the Baby Star Carousel – if your child is a big SF fan and looking to extend their collection over multiple birthdays/Christmases.
8. Barbie Dream Camper Vehicle Playset, £74.99
– Great for wow-factor
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L22cm x W58cm x H31cm (without slide) | Batteries: None
Packed with 60+ pieces, this large camper van playset has a huge slide that towers over the van and ends in a pool (that can be stowed on the roof when the camper van’s on the move). The camper itself opens out to reveal a living area, a moveable kitchen set, an alfresco eating and sleeping area and, at the back, there's a pull-down bathroom. “It’s just like the real one that Barbie has,” said our child tester Dracey 6. “It’s just like on the telly!”
As you’d expect at this price point, the quality is decent. The camper van is lightweight without being flimsy and has working wheels, a 2-seater cab and a sheet of camping-themed bumper stickers to customise its look. The main doors open easily and are a great size for small hands (an improvement upon the last Barbie camper van), and there are lots of lovely accessories, including a fire pit, binoculars, popcorn and marshmallows, cushions, egg cartons and 2 cute puppies.
“I like all the cool bits that come with it, especially the toothbrush because I can have my Barbie brush her teeth in the bathroom,” said our child tester, Octavia, 5 (pictured above). “I like how the camper van moves, too, and my favourite bit is the water slide because, when my dolls go down it, they splash, splash, splash into the pool!”
There are no Barbie dolls included, which may annoy you (or not – depending on how many Barbies are taking up play space in your house already). And, if we’re being picky, the hinge on the slide might not withstand much rough play, while some of the fabric accessories, like the sleeping bags, aren’t the best quality. But there’s no denying that this playset has serious entertainment value.
“I can see this as a toy my daughter will love playing with for quite a few years,” said Octavia’s mum Kim, “especially as it’s big enough for 2 to play with together with no squabbles over the space or accessories.”
9. Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Stretch & Strike Thrash Mobile, £19.99
– Great for all-action vehicle play
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L28cm x W19cm x H31cm | Batteries: None
Heroes of Goo Jit Zu action figures are super-squishy and super-stretchy – and now you can get the shark-head Thrash figure, wearing a natty blue race suit, in his own shark-shaped monster truck.
Like its owner, the truck can be squashed and stretched: push down on the chassis to spread the wheels out in ‘speed mode’ or pull the chassis up to switch into ‘strike mode’ and launch missiles out of the shark’s jaws.
“This is so cool!” said our child tester Niko, 4. “Yes, I really like this toy because you can shoot things,” agreed our other child tester Logan (pictured above), 5. “The shark has sharp teeth and the missiles go so far. It’s fun to drive and make it big and smaller. You can drive over things with the big wheels.”
It’s a good sturdy action toy that's actually not bad value when you consider that Thrash on his own would set you back £12. We particularly like how the missiles flip out as you squash the truck into strike mode – and it’s also really handy that the missiles clip into place inside the truck’s door, so they won’t get lost easily.
10. Got2Glow Fairy Finder, £19.99
– Great for fairy fun
Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L11cm x W11cm x H17cm | Batteries: 3 x AA (included)
This interactive virtual fairy-catching jar glows when there’s a fairy about, so you can lift up the little heart-shaped flap on its lid and let the fairy fly in.
There are more than 30 fairies to collect, each with their own character, and you can ask each fairy to say hello or dance for you, feed them, play games with them and give them a ‘hug’. You can also trade fairies with friends and download the (free) Find My Fairy app to find out more about the fairies you’ve caught.
“I like that there are boy fairies to catch," said our child tester Ronan, 6 (pictured above). "I like feeding them!”
We are so impressed by how original and fun this toy is – and Ronan’s mum Rebecca is too. “It's something completely different to anything I've seen,” she said. “It’s very interactive and fun. The quality is really good and the design is so eye-catching. It is a toy that’s going to last, and a toy that your child will want to show their friends and family, as my son did with his grandma and his auntie.”
Our other child tester, Poppy, 5, absolutely fell in love with her “fairy jar” from the moment she saw it. Her mum Victoria said, “It's so easy to play with – Poppy worked it all out without the instructions. She has hours of fun playing with it, catching different fairies and playing games with them. It goes everywhere with her!”
Choose from pink or blue.
11. Playmobil 70885 City Life Vehicle World Recycling Truck with Flashing Lights, £25.99
– Great for eco-themed vehicle play
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L30cm x W13cm x H18cm | Batteries: 2 x CR2 (included)
Rev up your imaginative play options with a theme all children seem to love: waste disposal! This recycling truck has lights that flash, levers that lift and empty the 3 wheelie bins, and a trailer that tilts to release its haul.
It comes with some great accessories, including rubbish (bottles, cans, fish bones) to sort into the right bins, and 2 orange-jacketed figures to run the show.
“Look, I can attach the bins to the people’s hands!” said our child tester, Arthur, 4 (pictured above supervising some green-bin disposal).
Our other child tester Frankie, 6, said, “My favourite thing is emptying the bins: I like how they tip up and I really like the flashing lights too. It looks like the truck that comes to empty our bins at home. It’s lots of fun.”
“This is great quality and worth every penny.” said Frankie's mum Amanda. “Every little detail has been thought out: the roof comes off to fit the figures in the cab and the lights make it really realistic – and the fact that you can actually empty the bins makes it great fun. Even the rubbish provided is well thought through. It's great for pretend play and a lovely way to introduce the idea of recycling, reusing and taking care of our environment.”
12. Schleich Wild Life Ranger Adventure Station, £44.99
– Great for wildlife fans
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L30cm x W50cm x H35cm| Batteries: None
This wildlife-themed playset can be built in different ways and features a tree with a slide, a wobbly suspension bridge, a ranger station with a rope ladder, a swivelling crane, a flip-up floor panel and an earth mound with a burrow to hide in.
It comes with a black panther, a crocodile, 2 baby tortoises, a baby gorilla, a Ranger Steve figure and accessories including a satellite telephone, a torch, binoculars, leaves and a transport box.
The ‘rotten’ breakable plank on the suspension bridge is great fun, as is the tree slide (perfect for baby gorilla playtime) and we like how well articulated the ranger figure is – his arms and legs move and he can hold various accessories in his hands.
“She loves this playset,” said Emma, mum of our child tester Mya (pictured above), 5. “I have never seen her so focused on a toy for such a long time. It has also made her ask lots of questions about the different animals and the job of a zoologist. It’s such fantastic quality and offers so much play potential.”
Best role play toys for 5 year olds
13. DesignaFriend Tilly Bumper Doll Set, £50
– Great for playing dress-up
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: H46cm | Batteries: None | Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023
Play dress-up, hair stylist and more with the Tilly Bumper Doll Set, a stylishly dressed 46cm fashion doll that comes with a comb and hair care tips to keep her tresses looking tip-top.
Tilly offers a fashionable twist on traditional dolls and comes dressed in modern clothes, including a long-sleeved grey top with a rainbow graphic, pink metallic leggings, a headband, and metallic pink trainers with silver laces. Additional outfits are included, with accessories such as a jacket, tutu, sunglasses, sandals, bag and hair clips. Tilly’s ears are pierced, so she can wear earrings.
The doll also comes with a silver DesignaFriend charm bracelet for the child, and each additional outfit you buy comes with a unique charm for you to add.
Child tester Hallie, 5 (pictured), said, “She is magical, and it is my favourite toy. I like that it has loads of clothes to change into and I like that she has a box so I can put her to bed.”
“The doll comes with care instructions for the hair which I’ve never seen before,” said Hallie’s mum Alysia, adding, “I love this and feel like it will help to keep the doll fresh and nice for longer. I think this toy is worth the money. It’s a lovely doll, which I don’t think will ever go out of fashion. I think it will stand the test of time and will last years.”
Tilly the doll is part of the range of DesignaFriend dolls, which have different skin tones and styles.
Available at: Argos
14. Great Little Trading Co. First Class Toy Post Office, £60
– Great for shopkeeper role play
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L15cm x W43cm x H21cm | Batteries: None
Bright and chunky, this double-sided wooden role-play post office has a postbox (with a removable lid round the back), a cash machine and card, a parcel stamper, Velcro stamps, packages, wooden letters/postcards and, best of all, working scales for weighing all that important post.
“I love weighing things and pretending to be a real post office,” said our child tester Harrison (pictured above), who has just turned 6. “I can post letters to everyone. I love the credit card – it is really fun and I like paying for stuff .” Our other child tester Freya, 5, was equally excited. “Ooohh, you can actually stick the stamps on the envelope!” she said. “I love it!”
It’s a beautifully made and well-thought-out toy, and it’s great for sibling play, too – with 1 child being the post-office clerk on 1 side of the counter and 1 child being the customer the other side.
“This toy manages to pack a lot of fun and excitement into a compact size, which is great as we are fairly limited on space,” said Freya's mum Nyasha. “It is very interactive, giving you the chance to play different roles. The features are very cute – there are even lovely little poems on the postcards! Freya has started creating her own letters and postcards that she can post, which in turn helps encourage her to practise her handwriting.”
Available at: Great Little Trading Co
15. Meagan Doll by Our Generation, £34.99
– Great for nurturing skills
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: H46cm | Batteries: None
Our Generation dolls have a justly earned reputation for quality, with their big soft bodies, open/close eyes, moveable arms and legs, and clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Meagan, one of the newest dolls on the block, has freckles and long, blonde hair (and part of a range that is pleasingly diverse) and – icing on the cake – a little plush golden retriever to take for walks on a lead.
She comes wearing a dress, bobble hat, tights and wellies. In the box, you’ll find a stash of dog treats, as well as a bone, a ball and a comb.
“I love that she has a dog and can come on dog walks with me!” said our child tester Hettie, 5 (pictured above). “I like giving the dog treats and playing fetch. Meagan has beautiful hair like me and we can have the same hairstyles. I will play with her all the time!”
“This doll is definitely worth the money,” said Hettie’s mum Becki. “She’s so well made and the accessories are lovely.”
Available at: Smyths
16. Little Live Pets – My Puppy’s Home Dalmatian Edition, £35
– Great for pet care skills
Age suitability: 5+| Best for age: 5+ | Size: D13cm x W30cm x H29cm | Batteries: 2 x AA (included)
Our tester, 5-year-old Hallie, was a huge fan of the Little Live Pets Dalmatian and its “cute” noises, of which it has 25. Whether you’re feeding it, holding it or putting it to bed, the cuddly toy will react with a series of whimpers and barks.
Plus, you can build the kennel for yourself, which Hallie found a bit tricky but enjoyable, and fill up your puppy’s water bowl, which will make footprints appear on the welcome mat like magic. This toy is so lovely it caught the eye of both Argos and DreamToys, both of which backed it to be huge for Christmas 2023.
Available at: Argos
17. Bee Smart Pizza Oven, £44.99
– Great for cooking role play
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+ | Size: L17cm x W29cm x H15cm | Batteries: None
This wooden pretend pizza shop has more than 30 accessories, including a sectioned pizza, lots of veg to pile on top, utensils, (paper) play money, a pizza wheel, a pizza peel (the shovel you use to push an uncooked pizza into the oven) and a little pizza oven.
The toy is lovely to look at and there’s loads to play with. The pizza box for ‘takeaway’ pizzas is a cute touch and was a massive hit with our child tester Heidi, 5 (pictured above) – although Heidi’s mum Joanna did mention that it’s maybe a little on the flimsy side (it’s made from cardboard) compared to all the other sturdy little wooden pieces.
Heidi’s verdict? “The best bit is making the pizza with lots of different toppings. I like to sing my pizza song whilst I’m making it. I play with it all the time!”
Best skills-based toys for 5 year olds
18. Forme Cubley 14, £260.99
– Great first bike
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4+ | Weight: 6.12kg | Batteries: None
This super-lightweight aluminium-framed starter bike is designed to be used as a balance bike at first (the pedals are easy to remove). This is great if you’d prefer to get your child used to steering and balancing on their new bike before mastering the pedals. It also has a nice adjustable-height saddle, narrow-set handlebars, full alloy wheels with grippy Kenda Small Block 8 tyres, alloy V-brakes, single-speed gears and – thrills! – a bell.
“It’s a supersonic bike that helps me cycle on my own,” said our child tester Áine, 4 (pictured above). “I love my new big-girl bike!”
It’s not cheap, that's for sure, but there's no doubting its quality and how easy and smooth it is to ride. If your child doesn’t have siblings to pass the bike on to in a few years’ time, quality kids’ bikes like this have a really good second-hand value. Alternatively, you can rent one from The Bike Club and then trade up to a bigger model when your child grows.
“When you take into consideration the quality of the bike and its durability,” said Sinead, mum of our other child tester Matilda, 4, “I think it’s worth the money as it can be used by multiple children whereas a cheaper bike might be scrapped after one child, which isn’t good. Matilda has gone from using it as a balance bike to wanting to use the pedals within 2 weeks, which I’m amazed at! I don't think that would have happened with a heavier bike so it’s definitely made what could be a long learning process shorter.”
19. Aquabeads Beginner's Carry Case, £13.99
– Great for fine-finger skills
Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L22cm x W31cm x H4.5cm | Batteries: None
This bead-crafting carry case opens up to reveal a tray containing 900 solid, jewel and star beads, separated by dividers into 24 colours that you select and assemble on a 'creation display’ board to make all sorts of designs. And if you use the included sprayer to wet your design, the beads will stick together like glue (without the glue!)
It comes with template sheets (including patterns for a rabbit, dinosaur, rainbow and dolphin), an instruction manual, and a double-sided Aquabeads pen, which you can pre-load with beads to make the whole assembly process faster. The top of the case is designed to be used as a base for your bead-crafting and can also be customised with your creations.
“Wow, look at the all the colours!” said our child tester Izzy, 5. “Can we make the rainbow? And then I want to make the unicorn next.”
“It’s brilliantly portable and good value for money, as there are so many beads and it would last a long time,” said Izzy's mum Ruth. “Izzy did struggle a bit with the pen, though. She found it easier just placing the beads with her fingers.”
Our other child tester Leilani, 6 (pictured above) had played with Aquabeads before and was very taken with this set. “I like the amount of beads you get, and the carry case itself is very handy to have,” said her mum Laura. “I’ve bought smaller versions of this in the past and we have had nowhere to store all the beads. It’s a great toy for bringing out your child’s creative side, especially when they use their imagination to make their own designs.”
20. Treasure X Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Ender Dragon, £29.99
– Great for Minecraft-themed unboxing fun
Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L21cm x W21cm x H8cm | Batteries: None
An unboxing treasure hunt for Minecraft fans, this toy has 20 levels to go through before you can build the Diamond Steve and Ender Dragon figures and find your dragon egg – and maybe, if you’re lucky, a gold-dipped Ender Pearl.
The finished figures are a good chunky size but the thrill is really in the half an hour or so of unboxing experience, which involves a cracking through the layers with a tiny pickaxe and plunging your fingers into slime and (mercifully unsticky) sand. At the end, there are little fast-bonding Aqua Stick Hearts to use to glue the various parts of the figures together.
“I really liked finding the bits, putting the hearts on the Ender Dragon and Diamond Steve and putting the water on them to lock them in,” said our child tester, Blake, 5. “I also liked the slime, as it was very gooey!” Our other child tester, Logan, 6 (pictured above) liked “everything but maybe not the sand” and was really happy to have his 2 favourite Minecraft characters to play with.
Blake’s mum Corinne was impressed by how unusual this toy is. “It’s very different to toys my son has had before, which made it lots of fun,” she said. “It’s very well made and the picture instructions are clear – although tiny. There is a bit of mess but Blake was so excited by it!”
21. HEXBUG Junkbots (4 Pack) Dumpster, £19.99
– Great for construction skills
Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Size: L6cm x W13cm x H6cm| Batteries: 2x LR44 (included)
This little toy dumpster is full of 24 pieces (some hidden in mini rubbish bags) that can be put together to create 4 Junkbot robots that light up and move. There are a total of 36 Junkbots to collect (if you buy other dumpster sets).
Yes, it’s a bit of plastic overkill but it’s great fun digging through the dumpster and opening the rubbish sacks to find the pieces – and the little robots are very rewarding to make.
We also like that you can freestyle and fit the pieces together in other ways – especially if you collect other dumpsters – to make your own robot. Zephy, 6, one of our child testers (pictured above), said, “There is nothing I don’t like about them. I made a robot that lights up on my own!”
Available at: Amazon
About the author Helen Brown
Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.
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Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.
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