Toy story: Our top 10 picks for Christmas
What will be the kids' favourites this Christmas? The Toy Retailers Association has come up with a list of 10 - and here, Claire Spreadbury and her daughters, Rosie and Poppy, give their verdicts
Dream Toys is the highly anticipated 'top toy' list that helps parents work out what their kids might want most for Christmas - and snap them up before they sell out. The list, from the Toy Retailers Association, is compiled by a panel of retailers and industry experts and this year's top choices has just been revealed.
But what will a mum and her two daughters think of the selection, which ranges from £10 dolls to £100 crowd-pleasers? Here's the lowdown from mum Claire Spreadbury, and her girls, Rosie (10) and Poppy (7).
1. Mattel Barbie Dreamplane Playset, £79.99
What is it? It's Barbie's private jet, of course. Push it on its wheels, open it up, recline the seats and play away. Comes with lots of bits and pieces (including a plastic puppy), but no Barbie dolls.
Kids' view: Generally, my kids are impressed. "That's cool," says Poppy. They're all about the extra 'stuff' that comes with it, but as long as that's included (which it is), they think it's a great toy for children around seven years old. Both girls agree £79.99 is too expensive, but you can currently buy it for £50 from Argos, which they feel is definitely worth it.
Parent's view: It's a lot of pink plastic. I'm trying to buy less plastic stuff generally, so I wouldn't buy this, but I can see it being a hit on Christmas Day.
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2. Skyrocket Blume Dolls, £9.99
What is it? The Blume doll comes in a sealed plant pot. You water the top of the pot and her hair, which is made of compressed foam, expands so she pops out. It's got the surprise element and the hair also comes off and is interchangeable.
Kids' view: "Oh, wow," says Poppy. "I like gardening and it looks like gardening. I definitely want one of those." Rosie thinks it's a great product - and is especially impressed by the price - but says it's too young for her.
Parent's view: This is the perfect bargain present. The surprise element is lovely - it's not too big or too small, and costs a tenner. I'll be giving at least one of these out at Christmas.
3. Jakks Pacific Frozen 2 'Into the Unknown' Elsa Doll, £39.99
What is it? This is a new Elsa doll, from the movie Frozen 2. She has giant eyes, hair you can brush and she says things and sings songs.
Kids' view: Both my kids are less keen on this one, but I should point out that after being obsessed with Frozen the first time round, they're not massively up for the sequel, because they think it will be too young for them. The girls agree it would work for four or five-year-olds who like Frozen.
Parent's view: I actually agree with my kids. We had singing and non-singing dolls in 2013 when the first film came out (and the singing one was really annoying), but they loved them at the time.
4. LEGO Harry Potter Knight Bus, £34.99
What is it? 403 LEGO pieces make up the purple Harry Potter Knight Bus and it's aimed at ages eight and over. There's a hinged side panel, removable roof and three mini figures - Harry Potter, Stan Shunpike and Ernie Prang.
Kids' view: There were gasps when they saw the door opens up the entire side, and they both agreed any LEGO and/or Harry Potter fans would love it, and that it's priced pretty fairly.
Parent's view: I think this is great. My kids aren't massively into LEGO or Harry Potter (I know, it's annoying), but I would definitely buy this for friends or family. It's not too overpriced, which a lot of big LEGO sets can be, and the features give it lots of playability.
5. MGA Entertainment LOL Surprise! 2-in-1 Glamper, £99.99
What is it? This is the big LOL toy for Christmas - a pink camper van which comes with 55 surprises inside, and working lights and sounds. It also comes with one LOL doll.
Kids' view: This was the big hitter in our house. Both the seven and the 10-year-old want it. There's total silence whilst we watch the video showing it off and a lot of murmurings about it being 'so cool'. What's cool about it? "Everything! There are so many accessories and surprise things."
Parent's view: There's no doubt this is a massive crowd-pleaser. Any LOL fans are going to love you forever, and all the different surprises mean it's a gift that will keep on giving for hours. If you're going to splash out on a lot of plastic, this might be the thing to buy.
6. Hasbro Nerf Elite Fortnite SP-L, £19.99
What is it? This is a new Nerf blaster, which replicates the look and colours of the ones used in the video game Fortnite. It comes with six Nerf darts and a removable barrel attachment. The darts can fire out, reaching around 30 feet.
Kids' view: "It's actually really cool," says Rosie. She thinks all the boys in her school would love it (and hopefully some less sexist girls, too). Poppy agrees anyone who likes guns would think it's great, and they both think the price point is 'decent'.
Parent's view: We don't have any Nerf toys in our house, but giving a new blaster a Fortnite makeover is a great idea, and at £20, they're the perfect price for a Christmas present.
7. Spin Master Toys Owleez, £49.99
What is it? This is an interactive owl, which comes in two colours - pink and white. You need to pet and love them and teach them how to fly by swooping them around. On the first attempt, they might be too scared or not ready, but once they are, their head lifts up and they fly through the air.
Kids' view: "So cute," says Poppy. They like that it's cuddly and techy all at the same time, so the age bracket will be quite vast for this one.
Parent's view: I think this is a great gift and although £50 is a bit steep, they're on offer in quite a few places (Argos, Smyths, The Entertainer) at around £40 right now. It's a great Christmas present they can play with on the day, and doesn't take up loads of space, so that's a plus in my book!
8. Spin Master Toys PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Super PAWs Mighty Jet Command Centre, £59.99
What is it? A two-in-one vehicle, which can switch from being a jet into a mobile command centre. There's room for the Mighty Pups and the Deluxe Mighty Vehicle to fit inside, but these are sold separately.
Kids' view: Rosie points out it's a bit 'babyish' for anyone of her age. Poppy still secretly quite likes Paw Patrol and would happily play with this, and they both think the price is quite fair.
Parent's view: I'd avoid this like the plague. It's a huge heap of plastic, takes up loads of room and seems overpriced, but Paw Patrol fans will love it.
9. Character Options Peppa Pig Peppa's Stage Playset, £39.99
What is it? A stage for Peppa and her friends to perform on. There are interchangeable backgrounds, seats for characters to watch, Peppa and George, sound effects and cardboard cut-outs.
Kids' view: The girls are surprisingly impressed with this.
Parent's view: I think this is a bit expensive, but brings in creative play and I can see lots of kids acting out cute Peppa shows on Christmas Day.
10. Tomy Rizmo, £59.99
What is it? This is the latest interactive toy, which starts life as a furball baby. All you can see are two lights amid its fur. But if you play with it, and continue to play and sing to it, Rizmo will start growing tufts and ears and will soon be singing along or back at you.
Kids' view: Rosie wouldn't put it on her Christmas list, but Poppy is more impressed, and they're mesmerised by the way it grows and changes through play.
Parent's view: This is complicated and something my kids would get bored with. It's the new Furby but requires a lot of interaction. It's more suitable for younger children, but because of the different modes, it's aimed at kids no younger than six. I'd probably give it a miss, but it's a very clever toy.