What are the best Christmas toys to get this year?
This year it is expected that the average parent will spend £100 on each of their children at Christmas, and a lot of this will be spent on toys, so it’s clearly a very big market for retailers. A lot of families have started their Christmas shopping already, and now the big stores are starting to produce lists of the products that they think will be the most popular in 2013. As usual there is a lot of variety, but it is noticeable that there is a big emphasis on new technology – the trend in recent years for simpler, more traditional gifts seems to be coming to an end.
A good place to look for ideas is always Hamley’s, as it is one of the world’s top toyshops. This year Hamley’s predicted top toy for both boys and girls is the Leappad Ultra. This is a new version of a tablet specially for children, which can be used for both play and learning and has 11 custom apps. It is marketed at children over 4 years but the age range that enjoy them is quite large. Hamley’s are selling this at £125, which is over budget for a lot of people, but the price will probably come down soon.
Next (and number one on some lists) is the robo fish, which has been growing more popular for some time. Basically this is what the name suggests – a robot which ‘swims’ like a fish. It’s a big hit with younger children and those who might like a pet fish but can’t have one. It’s a much cheaper gift with prices going up to about £20 or often less.
Furby seems to be here to stay – these are already selling well again, with a lot of new interactive features. This is followed by the Teksta puppy. Like the Robo fish this imitates the behaviour of a real animal – the Teksta will even bark at your visitors! It’s about £75 at the moment.
There is also an odd new toy range that taps into our obsession with celebrities – the VIP pet range, which a child can get ready for a photo-opportunity using various accessories. Very much aimed at little girls, this range even has its own Facebook page and features pets with names like Lady Gigi, Gwen etc.
In some ways this isn’t so different from the costume dolls that have always been popular, and as you go further down the list you do find Christmas gift ideas that are closer to traditional children’s toys. There are lots of other doll ranges which come with their own accessories, and another hit this year is the Lion Chi Temple – basically a new Lego range, albeit a very elaborate one featuring armed tribal characters. You can also find doctor kits and, for younger children, a monkey that doubles as a hoopla as young children can try to throw hoops over his tail.
If you look at the lists of other retailers such as John Lewis, again you will find plenty of simpler, more old fashioned options to choose from. In fact John Lewis’s number one this year is a travelling Monopoly set, and other top selling toys include a coloured globe, a Lego set with a winter theme and a play kitchen. If you really want to go for tradition they are also selling snakes and ladders and other board games at the moment. In fact these classic toys never really go away – children do like games where they have to use their imaginations as well as the more hi-tech offerings.
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