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TeleBest: The 50 best Christmas gifts for children

Published 01/12/2010

<b>Grow Your Own Space Age Garden </b><br/>
Most children will eat vegetables that they have grown on their own patch. This kit allows them to grow tomatoes in a gel ecosystem, which means they can see the roots developing as well as the bits above ground, and then transplant them into a traditional pot. <br/>
Where 020-7942 5494; <br/>
How much £20
Grow Your Own Space Age Garden
Most children will eat vegetables that they have grown on their own patch. This kit allows them to grow tomatoes in a gel ecosystem, which means they can see the roots developing as well as the bits above ground, and then transplant them into a traditional pot.
Where 020-7942 5494;
How much £20
Great Gizmos Plastic Bag Monster
This company makes great little construction sets - radios out of potatoes, robots from empty cans and this rather charming creature is the latest addition. Suitable from about age eight up.
Where 08456 049 049;
How much £9.95
Big Trak
Children of the Eighties, wallow in your nostalgia. Big Trak, is back. The chunky remote-controlled six-wheel tank with a blue photon firing beam. It will execute up to 16 commands in one go - simply programme it and watch it do your bidding.
Where 0844 573 7070;
How much £34.99
Yoho Led Poi
It's a sort of spinning, juggling diablo thing that comes with a handy DVD of instructions so you can work up to some quite spectacular tricks. These ones light up too so they look fantastic in the dark.
Where 0844 557 5261;
How much £7.50
Recycled Cardboard Doll's House
Obviously this ticks the creative box, too, but once they have built and decorated the doll's house, there will be hours of imaginative play and even the packaging converts into a playmat. The wooden ones may be heirlooms but they are very expensive.
Where 0844 557 5263;
How much £30
A deceptively simple game that involves bouncing a ball into a cup to see it light up and bleep. There are 30 cards of various tricks to keep you busy and apparently it's a highly addictive pastime.
Where 0844 922 1010;
How much £14.99
Vintage Button Jewellery
An old-fashioned screw-top jar filled with more than 150 buttons and enough ribbons to make a long necklace or bracelets and broaches. Choose from six colourways. Not suitable for young children.
Where 020-85251640;
How much £15
Barbie Video Girl
This plastic princess has a hidden camera and a viewing screen in the back of her pink jacket so they can see the world as she sees it. Videos can last 30 minutes and you can add music and sound effects. Plus, it's really not a bad-quality camera.
How much £59
4D Cityscape Jigsaw Puzzle
This puzzle re-creates London (and New York), first with the base of the city, then the streets, which glow in the dark, and then by following the timeline you can add models of the appropriate buildings and see how the city developed up to the present day.
How much £25
Spy Gear Lie-detector Kit
Imagine the hours of fun finding out if your little brother did break your Lego model. This is part of a range of really quite cool toys including the handheld security scanner and evidence kit so they can dust for fingerprints.
Where 0845 640 0800;
How much £15
Doodle Penguin
Sometimes they just want to colour things in or join some dots and if you haven't got a book to hand this is fun. The Penguin will create up to 100 different pictures, including mazes, for them to decorate.
How much £25
The word game Boggle has been updated and yes you do need batteries, but it's still pretty cool. There are five LCD tiles that display a random letter and you have 90 seconds to spell as many words as possible.
How much £14.99
Djeco Tress
A unisex construction set made by French company Djeco. The coloured plastic pegs slot together to build whatever you want from hats to vehicles and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.
Where 0870 8745 437;
How much from £14.95
Stinky the Garbage Truck
One for the little ones as this large-scale transformer talks, tells jokes, and sings and dances when you feed him rubbish, which he will then dump with the relevant dumping noise.
Where 0845 640 3030;
How much £65
Knitting Kit
This gorgeous knitting kit shows you how to make pets and purses with lots of clear instructions and includes buttons for eyes and fastenings too as well as needles and thread.
Where 020-8525 1640;
How much £20
Playmobil Great Dragon Castle
The new Great Dragon Castle comes with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton, a beacon to summon the dragon and masses of extras.
How much from £10 to £100 for this castle
Yummy Dough
So they love Play-Doh and they love cooking. Combine the two and this is the result. Add water to the powder and you create the dough, shape it and play with it.
Where 0844 922 1010;
How much £7.99
Amazing Robot
Place the robot in the question circle and ask one of the questions, then stick him on the answer circle and he will swivel round to the right answer.
Where 0845 602 3578; www.
How much £9.95
Doodle Duvet
This cotton duvet cover comes with eight pens that are fully washable so they can decorate it, you can wash it and they can draw on it again.
Where 0845 602 3578;
How much £44.95
So, er, you put on the headset, concentrate on the ball and move it round the obstacle course. And, yes, it does work. It's something to do with brainwaves from the left side of your head.
How much £80
How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients
From Scholastic, comes this book to make chemistry fun. Lots of experiments that show how things are made, from trees to mobile phones, it's an entertaining approach to the periodic table.
How much £12.99
Baby Alive
This, apparently, is the top doll for this year. There are several in the range with the common factor being that they all cry and need feeding with special food and now they can fill their nappies too. Oh joy.
How much £29.99
Sometimes they don't need something that's going to educate them, they just want have fun. The Gobbler makes great noises and they can collect all the little swamp models. Well styled in colourful chunky plastic.
Where 0871 231 3513;
How much from £4
Simple Simon for the 21st century. The machine plays the tunes and you have to copy by passing your hands through the loops. The built-in lasers know if you got it right or not. There are several different games and levels. One for all the family.
How much £32.99
Bloco Dinosaurs
It's a challenge to come up with a construction kit to rival the mighty Lego, but these foam shapes that clip together to make animals are a good start. In addition to dinosaurs there are unicorns and horses coming soon.
Where 0845 609 0055;
How much £22.99
Zibits Mini Robots
Remote controlled, these go backwards and forwards and turn in circles.Not very sophisticated movements but they look cool and children love things that come in miniature - they will want to collect the set.
How much £9.99
High Tea Shape Sorter
A classic toy for the little ones. No plastic, no pointless batteries to make horrible noises, just lovely wooden cakes to fit into the right slot.
Where 0844 5575263;
How much £25
Real Adventure Outdoor Den Kit
A rather stylish canvas bag that includes a canvas, tarpaulin, mallet, rope, tent pegs, a metal mug and instructions. You supply the outdoor space.
Where 0845 602 3578;
How much £29.95
Nerf N-strike Stampede ECS
Yes it's about shooting but it's foam darts, it's safe inside and this year's update is a fully automatic version that shoots all 18 darts in a few seconds. NERF stands for non-expanding recreational foam by the way.
How much £43
Match the colours or shapes to create waves but in addition to scoring points for the tiles you play you can also score for where you place your tiles. Easy to play, harder to plan a strategy.
Where 0844 4122250;
How much £16.99
A good introduction to modelling with a really professional finish. Lay the clay strips over the prepared skull, blend and paint.
Where 0844 4122250;
How much £19.99
Finfin Friends
Collectible animals for the pet school, or seaside shop with tiny creatures that will play on their own but react when you talk to them.
Where 0845 4636 738;
How much £19.99
It's Your Story Personalised Book
Send in your child's photo and choose from 18 titles including Jack or Noah or Bob and the Beanstalk.
Where 01643 862225;
How much £19.99
Sockett Pom Pom Glove Puppet
A great way to aid imaginative play for all ages. These are gorgeous knitted puppets with squeakers in their tongues.
Where 0844 4122250;
How much £12.99
Orbitsound t3
Most children don?t want to listen to their music with headphones so this neat little portable speaker is just the thing. Not for the bus.
Where 08456 521 219;
How much £49.98
Quoridor Kids
Two pawns, 10 fences, the object of the exercise is to get to the other side of the board without being fenced off. It's a bit of strategy, a bit of forward planning and a bit of quick thinking. The adult version is in Mensa's top five.
Where 020 8922 5819;
How much £24.49
Real Construction Deluxe Workshop
The main element here is 'kid-wood', a type of foam that acts like wood so that you can use the tools provided to saw it, nail and build anything you want. You can also get refills.
Where 0845 640 0800;
How much £29.99
Oregon Scientific Smart Globe
Touch the smart pen to the country to hear a range of information from population, language, cities and history and connect the pen to the computer to update the globe's current events.
Where 020-3328 5038;
How much £99.99
Science Is Magic!
So many magic sets are a bit too complicated and rely too much on adult techniques, but this set, repackaged as science, should have wider appeal. There's a magic spinning broomstick, a flying phoenix and around 40 tricks to create.
How much £9.99
Bunny Family Holiday Pullalong
Gorgeous little playset of a zip-open caravan that has a fold-down bed and kitchen area and room to store the family of bunnies and their car. This company has a range of well-made toys.
Where 020-8804 0563;
How much £24.99
Shimmer Lip Balm Kit
All you need to make your own lip balm in a choice of four flavours including orange, grapefruit and spearmint. You get the pots to put it in as well as present bag and labels.
Where www.thehome
How much £11.95
Monopoly Revolution
A Christmas classic that has been updated, so yes it does need batteries. On the other hand, it's electronic banking so you don't need to spend ages tidying up all the money.
How much £21.99
Build It Robots
The large-scale screws and tools on this chunky building set make it easier for little hands to manage and there are plenty of ideas on the box if they're not ready to freestyle yet.
Where 0871 231 3513;
How much £35
Dave the Cheeky Monkey
Featured in numerous lists of the top toys for this Christmas, comes this monkey. He waves sweetly and gurgles charmingly. Then he farts and burps. Children will love him.
Where 0844 557 5261;
How much £25
Horrible Histories Annual 2011
This brings together elements from the CBBC show, including 'Stupid Deaths' and 'The News at When' as well as giving a good old history lesson at the same time.
How much £5.49
Tweet Tweet Bird Rattle
This rattle is gorgeous and perfect for tiny hands. Co-ordinates with a set of cot bedding and cushions too.
How much £12
Zubber Band Maker
This modelling compound hardens into a material just like rubber and they can use the moulds provided to make their own bracelets for wearing and trading.
How much £11.95
Lego Games Harry Potter Hogwarts
This Hogwarts game will satisfy the need for all things Potter following the release of the penultimate film.
Where 08456 049 049;
How much £18.70
Klutz Make Your Own Music Video
These little books are great stocking fillers. This one comes with downloadable editing software and would make a great companion to the video camera.
How much £7.10
Flip Ultra II Video Camera
The big button is on, the red one is record and away you go. This holds up to two hours of footage on its 4GB memory and it's also great in low light.
Where 0844 922 1010;
How much £119.99

Kate Watson-Smyth fills the family stockings with this year’s top toys, greatest games and grooviest gadgets

>> Click on the image to launch our guide

Source: Indpendent

Belfast Telegraph

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