MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021: winners announced
Our enormous team of child judges, their parents and industry experts have been testing HUNDREDS of toys to find the best of the best for 2021. And the results are in: here are the winners of our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021...
Toy Awards don't come any tougher and more rigorous than this. The 2021 MadeForMums Toy Awards have involved nearly 600 child testers and their parents, a zillion batteries, a shortlisting marathon and untold long days – and nights! – of judging, finalising, collating scores and debating. And, after a short towel-down, we're now thrilled to announce the amazing toys that have won our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021!
We have chosen Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each of our 44 different award categories. And our judges have also picked out 10 very special toys to receive a coveted Editor's Choice awards.
What kind of toys got the highest scores from our judges this year?
Interactive, 'wow' toys that light up, cause a thrill or make you laugh are still hugely popular. But this year many of MadeForMums’ child testers also picked ‘slower’, less showy toys – often with no electronics or batteries.
And, given the current focus on eco-friendliness, our testers’ parents were delighted to see so many new toys that are sustainable, recyclable and stand the test of time. We're also really pleased to see this shift towards eco-friendliness – from toys that put sustainability front and centre to toys that have more recyclable elements, less packaging (or boxes that become part of the toy) and string ties instead of plastic ones.
Here are the winners of the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021...
Editor’s choice awards
BEST FOR ECO-CREATIVITY: Planet Junko Zoomer Kit, £36.99
I liked going into the recycling box and getting ideas for vehicles and trying to make them. It is one of the best toys I have ever had
BEST FOR DOLL THRILLS: Kindi Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing, £29.99
It blows so many bubbles! Addie loves trying to pop them. She has a big smile on her face every time she plays with her doll. She loves the songs, too
BEST FOR BOARD GAME ORIGINALITY: Exploding Kittens: A Game of Cat and Mouth, £24.99
I love how you can flick the paws with the balls in it. There's no other toy like this! It's a really fun game that I could play with all my family
Age: 7+ | Available from: Amazon
BEST FOR WANNABE VLOGGERS: Little Tikes Tobi 2 Director’s Camera, £69.99
I love it. I can pretend I am a movie star and take pictures of my family and things I like. It's fun and makes me happy
Age: 6+ | Available from: Amazon
BEST FOR XMAS WOW FACTOR: Barbie Dreamhouse Playset, £309.99
It’s so massive and fun. It’s so funny when the toilet flushes. The lights are pretty. I want to play with it forever
Age: 3+ | Available from: Smyths Toys
BEST FOR LITTLE SURPRISES: Golden Bear Funlockets Secret Fairy Musical Jewellery Box, £24.99
I love the dancing fairy, the music and all the surprises; it’s so much fun!
BEST FOR FIDGETY FINGERS: HGL Pushpoppers, £3.99
Honestly, one of the best fidget toys around. My daughter absolutely loved these and takes them to school as they help her calm down
BEST FOR LAUGHS: Squeakee the Balloon Dino, £79.99
I love Squeakee so much. He's just so funny. He has really good dance moves. Sometimes he farts! I like squeaking his bone to make him follow me
BEST FOR CUDDLES: Bluey Jumbo Plush, £19.99
Bluey comes with us everywhere. He's well made and quite big, so great for bedtime cuddles and going down the slide in the garden
BEST FOR CREATIVE PLAY: Learning Resources Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Fire Truck, £38
Casper's face lit up when he saw it. He kept saying, 'This is so cool!' while building it and playing with it. The box turning into a scene is genius
Best wooden toy
GOLD: Peppa Pig Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse, £79.99
Look, look, it’s just like Peppa’s house! And George has left his scooter on the floor! Wow, a telescope! Peppa, George! Your bath is ready!
JOINT BRONZE: My 1st Years Animal Ark, £45 (above, bottom right) | Age: 12 months+ | Available from: My 1st Years
GOLD: Woody Treasures Wooden Tumbling Tower, £13.99
I love the colours. It's exciting waiting to see which character is next and trying to find the best block to take out and make sure it still stands
Shortlisted: Wooden Learning Clock
GOLD: DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll, £35
I love her magic colourful hair, her pretty clothes and the bracelet she gave to me. I want to play with her all the time
Age: 3+ | Available from: Argos
JOINT BRONZE: Ballet Studio Sindy, £24.99 (above, bottom right) | Age: 3+ | Available from: Argos
Shortlisted: Barbie Extra Doll, Tiny Treasures Giggle Doll, Baby Born Magic Doll
GOLD: Thomas & Friends Trains & Cranes Super Tower, £104.99
It is huge! And loaded with so many fun features, like the turntable, crane and stop and start switches – well worth the price
SILVER: Barbie Fast Cast Clinic, £69.99 | Age: 4+ | Available from: Argos
Shortlisted: Schleich Horse Club Adventures with Car & Trailer, Wizarding World Magical Mini Hogwarts Castle, LOL Surprise! OMG Remix 4-in-1 Plane
GOLD: Hape Railway Bucket Builder Set, £49
It uses the storage box as part of the track! Ella loves playing with the crane, lifting vehicles and dropping them down the small slide
Shortlisted: Happyland London Bus, Magic Box T-Racers Eagle Jump, Magic Box T-Racers Turbo Crane Playset, Squishville Mall, Paw Patrol Movie True Metal Total City Rescue Playset
Best art and craft toy or kit
JOINT GOLD: Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory, £14.99
I really like the bit where you put the sand in a cube, cut it in half and it changes to a rainbow in the middle!
JOINT GOLD: Carddies the Card People to Colour and Go, £8.99
I like colouring in the characters and picking names for them. It's good they can stand up by themselves when I play with them
Shortlisted: Super Sand Case, Magicolour, Melissa & Doug Paw Patrol Wooden Tabletop Art Centre, Crayola Paint-sation Table Top Easel
GOLD: Magical Fairy Fun, £11.99
I like the box and it’s so creative. Daddy had to help me a bit making the fairies but it was fun. They have nice dresses!
Shortlisted: Fab Dab Do T-Shirt Printing Kit, TOMY Maché Magic
Best science/STEM toy or kit
GOLD: Clementoni/Science Museum Mechanics Junior Moving Animals, £24.99
Wow, my animal moves! I really love the bright colours and putting it together. I want to make a different one now!
SILVER: Popular Science Climate Science Kit, £19.99 | Age: 5+ | Available from: Amazon
BRONZE: AugmentifyIt Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures Augmented Reality Quiz Game, £12.99 | Age: 3+ | Available from: Amazon
Shortlisted: Science Mad 5 in 1 Weather Station, Galaxy Slime Play, Planet Junko Zoomer Kit
Best toy vehicle
JOINT GOLD: Playmobil City Action Fire Ladder Unit with Extendable Ladder, £62.99
I love the lights and the fire engine noises. I like how the ladder goes up and down. I want to play with it every day!
JOINT GOLD: LOL Surprise! OMG Remix 4 in 1 Plane, £92.99
It’s so cool how it turns into a car and a singing booth! I like the lights that you turn on so it shows up in the dark. I can’t wait to show my friends
Shortlisted: Chunkies London Bus
Best bath toy
GOLD: Bburago BB Junior Splash n Play Submarine Projector, £9.99
The idea behind it is so original! Bella clapped her hands and pointed at all of the animals in the lights. She loved that she could turn it on herself
Age: 18 months+ | Available from: Amazon
JOINT BRONZE: Matchstick Monkey Bathtime Wobblers, £12.99 (above, top right) | Age: 12 months+ | Available from: Matchstick Monkey
Shortlisted: Cuddledry Cuddleduck, Matchstick Monkey Bathtime Slide Set, Paw Patrol Gelli Bath
Best board game
GOLD: Orchard Toys Dino Snore-Us, £10.75
I love my game – it’s really fun. I like the dinosaurs and counting out the spaces, and I’m excited and nervous for waking the dinosaur up!
SILVER: Ubongo Junior, £20 | Age: 5+ | Available from: Thames & Kosmos
JOINT BRONZE: Dream Catcher, £18.99 (above, top right) | Age: 4+ | Available from: Zatu Games
JOINT BRONZE: Petit Collage Rush to Recycle, £14 (above, bottom right) | Age: 4 to 8 | Available from: Amazon
Shortlisted: Magic Oven
GOLD: Flip Over Frog, £12
The best thing is keeping my frog colour secret and using the snake tiles to beat Mum! It's fun pretending to be a different colour to trick other players
SILVER: Blank, £12 | Age: 6+ | Available from: Hub Games
Shortlisted: Exploding Minions, Poetry For Neanderthals, Detective Charlie, Hedbanz
GOLD: The Sock Game, £19.99
I like finding the objects as quickly as possible. I like the different rules like getting 2 points or having your hand in the sock to start. It's fun for all ages
JOINT BRONZE: 5 Second Rule Core Classic Buzzer, £19.99 (above, top right) | Age: 10+ | Available from: Smyths Toys
Shortlisted: Monopoly Crooked Cash, Word on the Street, Silly Sounds, Kids Against Maturity
Best construction/building toy
GOLD: GraviTrax Obstacle, £79.99
I love how this toy is different each time I play with it, depending on what I choose to build. It's really fun and interesting
Shortlisted: SmartMax My First Acrobats, Geomag Magicubes 202 Shapes Wheels
Best balance bike
GOLD: Kinderkraft GOSWIFT, £79.90
Absolutely worth the money. Lightweight, stylish, comfortable seat – and a very easy-to-use bell
SILVER: QPLAY Spark, £49.99 | Age: 2 to 4 | Available from: Smyths Toys
Shortlisted: Ozbozz My First Balance Bike
Best educational/learning toy
GOLD: CoComelon Colour Learning Sheep, £24.99
Eadie loves it. She asks for it a lot and says 'My sheep, my sheep!’ She sings along with it and loves to move it through the different colours
Age: 12 months+ | Available from: Amazon
SILVER: Melissa & Doug Blue’s Clues & You! Wooden Take-Along House, £42.99 | Age: 18 months+ | Available from: Amazon
Shortlisted: LEGO DUPLO Alphabet Truck, Fabula Toys The Finger Family, Knock Knock! First Words
GOLD: Learning Resources MathLink Cubes Numberblocks 1-10 Activity Set, £20
It’s cool and I can make the shapes out of the cubes and make the bodies of the Numberblocks. It is good for practising my numbers
SILVER: Great Little Trading Company Alphabet Learning Toy, £36 | Age: 3+ | Available from: Great Little Trading Company
Shortlisted: Toniebox by Tonies, Jaques of London Let’s Learn Calendar Clock, Paw Patrol Ryder’s Alphabet Tablet
GOLD: Orchard Toys First Times Table Game, £8.50
You can learn about your times tables whilst using pancakes! Totally would play this again – it’s so much fun
Shortlisted: BrainBox Harry Potter
Best first bike
GOLD: Beehive Toys 16" Vintage Bicycle, £149.99
It's really nice to ride. I like the colours and the bell, and I can go quite fast. I think I will ride it all the time
SILVER: Strider 14X Sport, £154.99 (plus £54.98 for the pedal kit) | Age: 3+ | Available from: Strider
Best interactive toy
GOLD: Little Tikes My Jam Electric Guitar, £34.99
I like the noise from the guitar. I like the strumming. It’s very very very fun. It’s the BESTEST guitar EVER!
Shortlisted: Magic Blanket Babies, The Gruffalo Interactive Plush, Golden Bear Toothbrush and Handwashing Time with Duggee, CoComelon Clever Blocks, Animagic Tiki & Toko
GOLD: Fiesta Crafts 3D Construction Model, £14.99
Oh wow! The way the garage doors can slide open is really cool. You can also see everything inside the building from the back!
Shortlisted: Puzzly Do! Ocean Friends Dubbl-Puzzl
Best toy for pretend play
JOINT GOLD: LeapFrog Count Along Basket & Scanner, £33.99
I like to to go shopping and buy lots of food for Mummy and Daddy. Lots of BIG BIG food in trolley – beep beep!
JOINT GOLD: Playhouse Ice Cream Van, £99.99
I like EVERYTHING. The freezer is the best. I can put all my ice creams in there to stop them melting
Age: 5+ | Available from: Uber Kids
SILVER: Great Little Trading Company Growing Garden Wooden Toy, £68 | Age: 3 to 7 | Available from: Great Little Trading Company
Shortlisted: Playhouse Make N Mend Work Bench, LOL Surprise! OMG Remix 4 in 1 Plane Playset
Best toy for role play
GOLD: Casdon Kenwood Mixer, £25
Wow Mummy, I make the best cakes like you!
JOINT BRONZE: Spinmaster Batman Figurine, £11.99 (above, top right)| Age: 3+ | Available from: Smyths Toys
JOINT BRONZE: Fiesta Crafts Pop Up Theatre Production, £21.99 (above, bottom right) | Age: 3 to 9 | Available from: Amazon
Best outdoor toy
GOLD: Xootz BMW X5 Ride On, £249
Driving in it and playing the music, and beeping the horn and even going baaaaaackwards... I want to play with it again and again and again!
SILVER: Stomp Rocket Original, £12.99 | Age: 6+ | Available from: Amazon
BRONZE: Waboba Wingman, £5.99 each | Age: 5+ | Available from: Amazon
Shortlisted: Waboba MoonShine
Best garden toy
GOLD: TP Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Black Edition, £219.99
I love it! I like climbing to the top and sitting in the den with my best friend
Best portable/travel toy
GOLD: MindShot by Digital Detox Kids, £2 each
The activities are so well thought through and Cadhia really enjoyed them. In fact, the whole family got involved!
Age: 6+ | Available from: Digital Detox Kids and selected Waitrose stores
JOINT BRONZE: Kidly Label Foldaway Bucket & Spade Set, £14 (above, top right) | Age: 2+ | Available from: Kidly
JOINT BRONZE: Adventures of Paddington Learning Suitcase, £19.99 (above, bottom right) | Age: 3+ | Available from: John Lewis
Shortlisted: Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog Fidget Friend
GOLD: Maxi Micro Deluxe Foldable LED Scooter, £144.95
I love how it moves with you– it's easy to steer. The 1-click fold was a little stiff at first but easy now I’m used to it. The LED lights are really cool
SILVER: QPLAY Mika, £39.99 | Age: 2 to 5 | Available from: Smyths Toys
BRONZE: Liferyder Infinity Scooter, £124.99 | Age: 5 to 15 | Available from: Liferyder
Shortlisted: QPLAY Future, Xootz Scout Tri Scooter, Ozbozz My First Foldable Scooter
Best soft toy
GOLD: Dream Beams, £6.99 each
What a lovely super-soft toy for play and night-time cuddles! The glow-in-the-dark patches are great for children who are scared of the dark
Age: From birth | Available from: The Entertainer
JOINT SILVER: Squishmallows Wave 7, £7.99 each (above, bottom left)| Age: From birth | Available from: Smyths Toys
BRONZE: DesignaBear Colourful Giraffe, £10 | Age: From birth | Available from: Argos
Shortlisted: Soul Mates Mindfulness Story Pillow (Sun), Kissy the Animated Penguin, Golden Bear Musical Statues Dancing Bing Soft Toy, Golden Bear Hey Duggee and Musical Squirrels Soft Toy, The Gruffalo Interactive Plush
Best collectible toy
GOLD: Bloopies Fairies, £17.99 each
I liked everything. I liked the fairy lighting up. It was great fun to play with
BRONZE: Magic Box Toys: T-Racers, from £7 each | Age: 3+ | Available from: The Entertainer
Shortlisted: Beamies World, LOL Surprise! Colour Change Lil Sisters, Zoobies Z-Girlz Transforming Collectible Figure and Happitat Accessory, WOW! PODS Marvel
Best stocking filler
GOLD: Pop A Tops, £7.99 each
My brother liked the Martian game – he was very speedy at it. We loved playing these and want to play them at our family games night!
Age: 6+ | Available from: Amazon
Shortlisted: Dobble GOSH, LOL Surprise! Colour Change Dolls, Star Baff Bombz, Gund Paw Patrol Movie 6” Plush, Tech Deck 96mm Boards
Best sustainable/ethical toy
GOLD: Build a Bee Hotel, £11.99
I loved it! I really enjoyed building the hotel and can't wait to see if any bees come to stay there
SILVER: Cuddle + Kind Henry the Bunny, from £60 | Age: From birth | Available from: Cuddle + Kind
Shortlisted: Peppa Pig Eco Plush, Pure Earth Collection Organic Bumblebee Toy
Best toddler ride-on
GOLD: Beehive Toy Bumblebee Ride On, £39.99
I am amazed at the quality for the price! It's really solid, and I only had to fit the handlebar with the tools provided and it was ready to go. Brilliant!
Age: 18 months to 3 years | Available from: The Beehive Toy Factory
BRONZE: Amboss Primo Ride on Scooter, £200 | Age: 1 to 5 | Available from: Bambinista
Shortlisted: Xootz BMW X5 Ride On, My 1st Years Exclusive Colour Way Ride On
Best toddler toy
GOLD: Little Tikes Learn n Play Learning Activity Suitcase, £44.99
I like my suitcase and the passport. We had lots of fun and I write my letters and made an elephant, didn't I? Can we play again now?
Age: 2+ | Available from: Amazon
JOINT BRONZE: Jaques of London Kids Noah’s Ark Wooden Animal Toy, £19.99 (above, top right)| Age: 3 | Available from: Jaques of London
Shortlisted: Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Race & Chase RC, Toomies Jurassic World Spin & Hatch Dino Eggs, Mizzie the Kangaroo Hop Out Mizzie, Woody Treasures Pop up Toy, Playmobil 123 Animal Train
GOLD: Beehive Toys Multifunctional 3 in 1 Trike, £89.99
Great value for money, as it can be a trike, a pushalong and a balance bike – with 1 click to change modes. I also love how easy it is to fold and store
Age: 18 months to 5 years | Available from: Beehive Toy Factory
Shortlisted: TP Trike 4 in 1+
Best toy for active play
GOLD: TOMY Active Snap, £4.99
I like that it's easy to play. I like watching Mummy do sit-ups: it was funny – she kept losing. Can I play it at my party with my friends?
Shortlisted: Soul Mates Kids Eco Yoga Mat, Plum Junior Ocean Bouncer with Sounds, Nerf Ultra Select
Best toy subscription/rental service
GOLD: The Bike Club with Forme Cubley, £11.99 a month
An excellent idea given the rate that some kids grow: you can swap the bike for another one when they get too big for it!
Age: 3+ | Available from: The Bike Club
SILVER: Grow with Me Subscription Box, £29.99 a month | Age: Birth to 18 months | Available from: Grow with Me (quote FIRSTBOX25 for 25% off your 1st box)
BRONZE: Peas and Pod Child Led Activity Box, £20 a month | Age: 3 to 7 | Available from: Peas and Pod
Shortlisted: Bring a Book to Life Box
Best walker or push-along toy
GOLD: Little Bird Told Me Dexter Dog Pushalong, £109.95
Theo's eyes lit up when he first saw Dexter. He was so excited! He's used him every day to practise walking and he loves giving him a big cuddle
Best sensory toy
GOLD: Clementoni Soft Clemmy Touch Move & Play Sensory Train, £19.99
Willow loved exploring the different textures and patterns. She had lots of fun building the blocks on top of the train. It a very nice little toy
SILVER: Petit Boum Sensory Bottles, from £9.80 each |Age: 3 months+ | Available from: Petit Boum
Best sleep aid toy
GOLD: Zazu Baby Sleep Shusher Bruno, £35
Ada's first reaction was to hug it. Now Bruno's part of her bedtime routine, she falls asleep much more quickly than before: every parent’s dream!
Age: From birth | Available from: Kidly
SILVER: Jaspar the Dreamy Elephant, £49.99 | Age: From birth | Available from: The Dreamy Elephant Company
Shortlisted: Magic Dreamlight Light Up White Unicorn
GOLD: CoComelon Sleep Soother, £24.99
It’s a quality toy. Arabella loves the lights and sings along to the songs with such excitement! She plays with it every evening and uses it as a pillow
Age: 1 to 4 | Available from: Amazon
Best baby toy
GOLD: Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Monkey, £18
It’s a great size, and you get a lot of different features. I love the removable teething ring! Lana is totally engrossed. Mega 10/10 over here!
SILVER: Taf Toys Savannah Discovery Cube, £14.99 | Age: From birth | Available from: Halilit
Shortlisted: Taf Toys Koala Clip-on Pram Book
Best teething toy
GOLD: Sophie la Girafe Teether, £14.99
Dexter loves Sophie. He gets very excited when he sees her and loves to hear her squeak. It really helps with his teething and with his dexterity skills
BRONZE: Mizzie the Kangaroo Mini Mizzie, £9.95 | Age: From birth | Available from: Mizzie the Kangaroo
Shortlisted: Happy Cat Kids Silicone Elephant Teether, Mizzie the Kangaroo Teething Toy
Best baby activity mat/playgym
GOLD: Kinderkraft 4Smart Contrasting Sensory Mat, £64.90
It's brilliant. It occupies Lily for the longest time. From the smiles and fascination on her face, I can see she loves it!
SILVER: Taf Toys Savannah 360° Activity Gym, £64.99 | Age: From birth | Available from: Halilit
BRONZE: Tiny Love Boho Chic Luxe Developmental Gymini, £109.99 | Age: From birth | Available from: Tiny Love
Shortlisted: The Little Green Sheep Curved Wooden Baby Play Gym & Charms Set
GOLD: Munchkin & Bear Luxe Padded Play Mat, from £94.95
It’s practical, safe, super stylish – and very big. Ottie is very happy rolling around on it. We'll be using this daily!
Age: From birth | Available from: Munchkin & Bear
SILVER: The Singing Ant Modern Play Mat, from £67 | Age: From birth | Available from: The Singing Ant
What are the MadeForMums Toy Awards about?
The MadeForMums Toy Awards are all about celebrating the best in children’s toys, from toys for newborns to toys for pre-teens – and all ages, stages and genres in between.
We're known here at MadeForMums for our expert, honest and thorough product reviews, and we’ve brought those same standards to our Toy Awards – knowing that the award of a winner’s badge from us will be recognised both by parents and major retailers as a sign of outstanding quality and play potential.
How were the toys judged?
We want to recognise the great toys that entertain, educate and excite children of all ages and stages, so we divided all our award entries into 44 different categories, tested them rigorously, shortlisted the very best of them, and then judged our shortlist on their play potential and value for money.
We also created 10 Editor’s Choice awards – to showcase the toys that our editors thought had something about them that was particularly special.
Who were the judges?
Of course the best people to rate toys are the children who play with them, so we recruited a panel of over 600 child judges, ranging in age from 12 weeks to 15 years, and set them (and their parents) the arduous task of playing with our toy entries and telling us exactly what they thought of them. And they certainly told us EVERYTHING!
We also had several judging days held at MadeForMums HQ, where all the shortlisted toys were tested, evaluated and scored by the expert members of our MadeForMums Toy team and editorial writers who specialise in product reviews, and helped out by guest judge the Toyologist Peter Jenkinson.
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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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