Your 7-year-old is super-curious and fizzing with ideas and questions. He or she wants to play with toys that are fun and engaging and challenging – or sometimes just downright silly.
He or she is also ready for things that take a while to build or collect, and nature-based toys that require patience and observation while they change over time.
Here is our pick of some of the best toys for your 7-year-old…
1. Boxer, £59.99
What it is: A quirky mini robot on wheels who responds to hand movements with funny expressions and can read the 10 activity cards included with him, to play games like Bot Bowling, Paddle Bot or Go Kart. If you place a card down in front of him he’ll roll over it, scan it and start playing! Comes with a remote control, and you can download a free Boxer app to access more games. Dimensions: height 17.27cm.
Why we love it: Our Best Robot Toy gold winner at the 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards has been a huge hit with 7 and 8 year olds. Full of personality, Boxer can express a full range of emotions, from happiness to sadness and grumpiness to sleepiness.
Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon
What it is: A sit-and-glide ride-on for older kids that’s like a cross between a zoomy sledge and a futuristic go-kart.It nips along at a top speed of 12kph, and you steer by leaning, using the pedals to control how fast you go. Features side handles and a safety flag. Comes with rechargeable 12V battery (needs overnight recharge) and has a run time of about 90 minutes. Dimensions: 79cm x 21.3cm x 64cm.
Why we love it: Our gold-winning Best Outdoor Toy at the 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards is ace – you should see how this turns kids’ heads in the park! This is one seriously cool piece of kit that every primary-school child will covet like crazy.
Available from: Hamleys and Smyths Toys
Age: 5 to 10
What it is: A beautifully illustrated, 300-piece jigsaw of the world map that comes with a 32-page picture atlas full of facts and famous sights. There are 100s of animals, landmarks and attractions to spot on the jigsaw and look up in the atlas. Dimensions: 31cm x 5.2cm x 21.5cm.
Why we love it: There are so many layers of enjoyment and learning here, with our gold-awarded Best Puzzle/Jigsaw Toy. Our child testers thought the puzzle was engaging, super colourful, and one found it took about 2 days to complete, because despite annoying distractions (like school), they kept wanting to come back to it. Then there’s the actual piecing together of the puzzle, learning about the geography of the world, what animals live where and what famous landmarks you’ll find around the globe and then the enriching experience of referencing the Atlas once you have pieced together all the different countries.
Available from: WHSmith
What is it: A bowl in which you can create your own fairy garden with accessories that include a magical miniature cottage, a fairy figurine, a mouse figurine, a little clothes line, an oyster shell, grass seed, fairy mushrooms, fairy flowers, instruction booklet – and, of course, a sprinkling of fairy dust! Dimensions: 29cm x 29cm x 16cm.
Why we love it: It’s a beautifully thought-out kit – there are even little pegs and clothes for the clothes line, and a square of carpet for the little house. And we love the oyster shell ‘water feature’. You’ll need a bit of soil or compost to plant the grass seed in, and stand the cottage on.
Available at: Amazon and Asda
What it is: A child-sized sewing machine that works exactly like an adult one, and comes with all you need to make a lovely little clutch bag. Set includes a foot pedal, safety guard, mains adapter, instructions, scissors, tape measure, 2 spare machine needles, sewing needle, needle threader, metal bobbins, thread reels, pins, assorted fabrics and a pattern. Dimensions: 23.5cm x 21cm x 12cm.
Why we love it: It’s a perfect mini-me version of the proper thing – with a finger guard added for extra safety. It’s not an impulse purchase but for a crafty child with an interesting in sewing, this will get years of use. The bag project is lovely.
Available at: Amazon and Argos
What is it: An ice cream truck with moving wheels, 2 Shopkins characters and a whole bunch of little accessories. Dimensions: 34.5cm x 12cm x 23cm.
Why we love it: For the veritable army of little Shopkins fans out there, this is a cute set that’ll hit all the right play places. There are lots of clever accessories to busy those fingers with, including an umbrella stand (for eating those ices in the shade) and cooler bags.
Available at: Amazon
Why we love it: There are so many opportunities to learn: from building, to practising basic coding skills. So practical, and helpful for their future – who knows how much more of the world will be run by computers in the future?
Available from: Kano
Age: 7 to 12
What it is: A 397-piece LEGO set depicting Blue the Velociraptor escaping from an evil pilot, as inspired by scenes in the movie Jurassic World. Use the bricks to built an 11cm-tall helicopter, a quad bike and a cage with folding sides. Comes with a 7cm-tall Blue dinosaur figure, plus Owen (Chris Pratt’s character), pilot and Wheatley (the bad guy) minifigures. Dimensions: Helicopter 11cm x 27cm x 20cm. Quad bike 4cm x 10cm x 4cm. Trap/cage 10cm x 12cm x 12cm.
Why we love it: Dinosaurs are all the rage, and combine that with a classic LEGO set, and all the building and instruction-following skills they learn through DIY, and you’ve got a winner here. We LOVE the Blue figure, as it’s very true to the movie character, and we’ve seen parents say this is one of the better smaller LEGO helicopters they’ve seen. Lovely!
Available from: LEGO
What is it: A range of dolls, designed to be more ‘real’, more ethnically diverse and more age-appropriate than other dolls on the market. Dimensions: 18cm.
Why we love it: Lottie comes in a range of guises – from stargazer to pirate, from fossil hunter to butterfly collector – and in a range of ethnicities, hair and eye colours. There’s also a boy doll called Finn, a boy doll. The dolls are cute, and gratifyingly normal-looking – although their small size means playing with the clothes and accessories can be a bit fiddly. A good choice for anyone who’s looking for something different to the Barbies and Bratz of the toy world.
Available at: Lottie Dolls
What it is: A full-on slime station that lets you create a variety of slime, that comes with everything you need to get going: slime activity, slime glue (in numerous colours), paint, an array of differently-coloured glitters, floam, and even some lolly sticks. Dimensions: 30.5cm x 35.6 cm x 7.7cm.
Why we love it: There are plenty of cool slime-making kits, though we really like the variety on this one. Your child can made a few different kinds of glitter slime, as well as rainbow slime. There’s a variety of options for single-colour slime, too.
Available from: Argos
What is it: A cooking kit containing moulds, ‘deco-pen’, stamps and wrappers, to melt, mould and decorate all sorts of personalised chocolate bars. (You’ll need to buy the actual chocolate separately.) Dimensions: 23cm x 5cm x 25cm.
Why we love it: Anything that involves chocolate is bound to be fun, and this kit is simple (and messy!) but well thought out. You melt the chocolate in a special ‘pod’ in the microwave and then get pouring into moulds and decorating. Comes with a nice recipe book.
Available at: Amazon
What it is: This set contains cards, balls, string, rings and instructions to work your magic on friends and family. Dimensions: 40cm x 16cm x 5cm.
Why we love it: Kids love showing off their magic skills and there are so many tricks to choose from in this set they’ll be able to keep everyone entertained for hours. The adults will almost certainly want to have a go too…
Available at: Wicked Uncle
What is it: A video-taking, photo-snapping, multifunctional 0.3 megapixel camera that can be mounted on a bike or helmet and even taken underwater 9with its waterproof case). Contains a MicroSD card, and comes with 1 rechargeable battery. Dimensions: 6.4cm x 9cm.
Why we love it: PC Advisor called Kidizoom the ‘GoPro for kids’ in their review, which basically sums up why we like it so much. Videos, photos, editing software, time lapse functions: this camera has it all, plus some games for when pic-taking boredom kicks in. We also like how durable it is, because, NEWSFLASH, kids do drop things…
Available at: Argos, Smyths Toys and Ocado
What is it: A big tub filled with 520 K’Nex building pieces and 35 model-building ideas, including a dragster, a Ferris wheel, and a dinosaur. Dimensions: 35.6cm x 20.3cm x 20.3cm.
Why we love it: The K’Nex construction system is based around rods and connectors that slot together really easily – and always come with really good, picture-led instructions. This good-value tub contains SO many things to make (some easy; some a bit harder) and also has enough pieces that you could create your own model, too.
Available at: Amazon
What it is: Draw a card from the deck and try to be the first to spot the horn or spray. The first player to grab the Llama water gun can spray a player of their choice! Dimensions: 8cm x 22cm x 22cm.
Why we love it: Tipped to be a Christmas best-seller, this game will test your speed! Kids will find spraying the other players with water super funny, too.
Available at: Amazon
What it is: This Treehouse Treasures set features a 3-level pirate ship treehouse with a ship deck, ship’s wheel, treasure chest and hideaway function. It is a 3 in 1 toy, so can be rebuilt into a Pirate Ship or a Skull Cave for more pirating fun. Dimensions: Treehouse 20cm x 14cm x 19cm. Pirate Ship 11cm x 22cm x 7cm. Skull Cave 10cm x 16cm x 12cm.
Why we love it: If you have a LEGO fan at home, this is a great kit – not too big, not too small. The fact that it can be made into 3 different sets is a real bonus for Lego fans who love to build!
Available at: Lego
Age: 3+ (but we’d say best for older kids).
What it is: A remote-controlled robo-dinosaur that switches up into a race car, from VTech. Customise by choosing from a selection of dinosaur eyes and drivers on the LCD screen. You can activate fun phrases, dinosaur facts and sound effects by pressing the buttons. 8 AA batteries required (included). Dimensions: 24.3cm x 38.4cm x 15cm.
Why we love it: Dash the T-Rex makes lots of fun sounds, phrases and effects – as well as buttons that reveal interesting dinosaur facts, making it more educational than your typical race car toy. Woohoo!
Available at: Argos
Images: Product websites