Dream Toys – the Top 20 Toys For Christmas 2023!
Yesterday the Toy Retailer’s Association published their list of top toys for Christmas 2023 and I have to say guys, I’ve been visiting this press show for a lot of years, they know what they’re talking about! So, what will we all be queuing around the block, seeking out stock in Smyths and Argos for come this festive season? Well, get ahead of the game and look no further than here!
Here’s what I thought of the list in more detail:
Bitzee Interactive Pet (Spin Master – RRP £32.99)
This was my favourite item from the show. It’s kind of like a digital pet from back in the day only it won’t die (it might run away but it will always come back), it can simply have its lid shut to stop needing attention for the day, there are 15 pets in one and the price point is really affordable. This is super cute and you can really touch it, in fact you HAVE to touch it to deliver what it needs, be it attention, affection or food. Top marks from me!
Pictionary vs AI (Mattel – RRP £23.99)
I absolutely loved this game yesterday, you play against your opponents (2-4 players) guessing if the AI will be able to decipher the human sketches each of you create according to the playing cards. It really is super fun and a new, innovative way of playing family favourite Pictionary!
Fingerings Monkey (Character Options – RRP £17.99)
I love Fingerlings for their sweetness, and the fact these little guys have made the top 20 is incredible from a price vista. They make different sounds, offer various reactions and have a heart to heart connection as their glowing heart beats when brought to life by your touch. I loved their little eyes which bat and offer a “real pet” feel to the experience of play!
Star Wars Ahsoka Starship (LEGO – RRP £64.99)
With 601 pieces this set aimed at builders over the age of 9 is perfect for Ahsoka fans to create and then invent their own battles and storylines with using the included 4 mini figures from the series. To run alongside the StarWars spin off series LEGO have the Midas touch when it comes to these kits. They appeal to Ahsoka fans, StarWars fans and LEGO fans alike. This is a great kit for a kid who really likes to build intricate sets.
L.O.L Surprise! Magic Flyers (MGA Ent – RRP £36.99)
Nothing is stopping L.O.L and with Florence having adored them I know what I’m going to be in for with Posie but I don’t mind a bit! L.O.L dolls have brought much joy to play in this house and the latest Magic Flyers are better than ever. A doll that really flies, guided by your hand, is absolutely fantastic but more than that, these days you can re-use the surprise element over and over again with the case popping open after glowing to your touch and releasing the doll to fly – not to great heights and off, off and away like the drone we had one year which went off on its solo travels by Boxing Day, but to just below ceiling height. Such a special doll which with another new move from L.O.L, this time you can choose exactly which one you’re going to get, meaning you’ll never double up.
Squishmallows 7.5″ (Jazwares – RRP £ 8.99)
Even Florence has asked for a Squishmallow this year which is incredible as it means these affordable cuddlies span all ages in my gang. There’s not a tremendous amount I can say about the super cut squishy pillow/soft toys but there’s one for everyone (the mallard is my fave) and everyone loves them – you can’t go wrong and they also make a great stocking filler!
Twister Air (Hasbro – RRP £24.99)
I really enjoyed this interactive version of Twister which can be played from a chair if you’re not feeling too active and is inclusive of all family members. 2-4 players or teams can battle it out on the TV screen, iPad or phone to see who wins. A simple concept but lots of fun and absolutely nothing negative to say from its price, the concept and the play – great game!
Fluffie Stuffiez Large Plush (MGA Ent – RRP £34.99)
Not too dissimilar to the Squishmallows these cuddly pillow type toys are super soft and squishable but their difference offers a real sensory element which appeals to children with special educational needs, children who need to fidget and those who just like to be busy. They come covered in fluff which you can remove to pop in a Fluffie Stuffiez shaped bag, then, underneath the fluff another coloured friend is revealed. They are calming, charming and again offer something to a wide age range. I placed these highly though the discarded fluff would drive me bonkers as a parent!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Pizza Van (Character Toys – RRP £39.99)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out for the first time when I was a kid and I remember the fan-dom being huge back then so it’s no surprise they’re still holding court with the kids! Love that they are and this pizza truck is brilliant fun firing out pizzas all over the place as a toy to match the latest film. The price point is really affordable for that big, wowing Christmas present and then top ups to the collection are really easy and inexpensive with individual figures coming in at around the £10 mark. Top banana on this one.
PAW Patrol Mighty Movie – Skye Deluxe Vehicle (Spin Master – RRP £49.99)
I discovered I’m in the very clear minority in my industry who haven’t seen the Paw patrol Mighty Movie. Nick from Kids Cool It, a man very definitely in the movie business know, says he thinks it’s even got Oscar hope – wouldn’t that be incredible for a pre-school movie?! And of course, there is a toy collection to run alongside the film. Now, we are right in the thick of the Paw Patrol era in our house so I was enthused to see the working Skye plane which shoots out and does full spins. This one is really fun, presents as that BIG gift under the tree and yet won’t take up too much space in the toy box. Another redeeming feature is that Skye doesn’t fall out of the plane – sounds silly to some but I know Mum’s you’ll get me on that, it’s like a Barbie arriving without a brush (which is why Barbie, who I LOVED aside from this point, falls so low on my own top 20 of the top 20), it ruins it! If Skye couldn’t actually sit properly in her seat it would drive me (and the kids) crackers! Loved this one!
Beast Lab (Moose – RRP £89.99)
Quite unlike surprise toys have been in the past, this one can be re-done and re-visited so the one hit wonder of it all isn’t a thing – I love that! The child helping to showcase the product was really engaged and interested in it despite having demonstrated its features many times throughout the day and I think that’s quite telling. He was keen to keep showing me what it could do and tell me how fun it is to be able to re-goo the goo and go again recreating the science experiment to reveal which beast you’re going to get! He also showed me how two can fight together once revealed though the one down side is that you don’t know which one you’re going to get out of two in each category. You can choose the category but not the actual beast and that’s an issue in buying more than one when wanting to collect them all because at £90 it’s a pricey gamble!
Little Live Pets My Puppy’s Home (Moose – RRP £64.99)
I’ve always been a fan of Little Live Pets and it’s interesting that they’ve moved into the house pet of the furry variety with the added bonus of an invitation to engage in the creation of your pet. Little Live Pets had a child psychologist in the house who explained the building of and reveal of the pet is a challenge for the child which invests them in the toy. It’s a really great element and the pet is super cool too with lots of little elements after the build like foot prints which appear outside the puppy house!
Miniverse Make It Mini Kitchen (MGA Ent – RRP £44.99)
I think this is a toy which could interest children of all ages, especially upper level age brackets, and with the intricacy of having to make the food (from recipes included – so you’d have a different set to your friend once all the food is created) it’s a really artistic process too. Something of a collectors item as well as a toy, both if you’d like it to be, it’s fun and engaging and I particularly liked the collectible surprise balls that run alongside it as add-ons.
Cookeez Makery Oven Playset (Moose – RRP £39.99)
I really liked this and it’s only further down the list because a lot of these are tied in my opinion for spots! I loved how this is a surprise toy but you get to re-enact the surprise again and again. You can buy extra kits for it at inexpensive prices and the creation of the toy invites the child to engage more with their toy afterwards. Just as with the My Puppy’s Home, that initial engagement for a child invests them more whole heartedly making it a great value purchase! It IS messy though!
Hot Wheels City Ultimate Hauler (Mattel – RRP £94.99)
This hauler which turns into a robot dinosaur will be JUST the present for some but do keep in mind how big it is! I have four children, I’ve been round the block with the big toys and though we love Hot Wheels over here, have a truck load of them in fact, owning an actual truck to contain them in wouldn’t be my choice. That said, this is fun as he gobbles them all up and shoots them out the other end, and when in dino mode his tail becomes a race track with the winner flying over the finish line as the loser gets shunted out the bottom. The tail then will connect to all Hot Wheels tracks. It’s fun but maybe only buy one if you have a dedicated play room with a lot of space!
Super Mario Movie 7″ Feature Bowser Figure (Jakks Pacific – RRP £ 34.99)
I wasn’t bowled over by Bowser, he seemed like a one trick pony to be honest. With steam coming out of his mouth (as fire) it IS a really cool feature, but the fun kind of stops there as I’m not sure where you’d go from this point? He has poseable legs and a tail, and the steam element is really impressive but that’s where I run out of words for Bowser, sorry! I guess the mega fans will know better!
MINTiD Dog-E (Character Options – RRP £89.99)
I quite liked Dog-E, I just didn’t love him. As far as robo-dogs go this is the best I’ve seen with its blue tooth technology (no internet required) and ability to become more than one pet – each family member can have a different ID for him and he will change into their character when they play with him. You need a phone or a tablet to use with him though this doesn’t connect to the internet and then Dog-E can be taught tricks as well as learn to give affection, tell you he’s hungry and talk to you with his wagging tail individually using his own unique to you personality. No two dog-e will be the same which is fun. It’s cool, it’s clever and I’m sure for some it’s just the thing – he just wouldn’t be my choice.
Barbie Pop Reveal (Mattel – RRP £26.99)
Look, film or no film, I’m a massive Barbie fan. Always have been, always will be but… This one could have flown much higher on the list if she wasn’t missing one key element and had a bit more thought put into others. She’s missed the mark for me I’m afraid and though I DO really like the doll, there’s so much missed potential! First up, there’s no flipping brush and that’s just a rookie Barbie mistake in my book. It is, as it’s always been, a key element of play with Barbie, getting to do her hair, and it feels really silly that they missed that trick here. She comes inside a cup with slime (another negative I’m afraid – who wants to navigate slime on Christmas day?!) which is released to reveal what’s inside the ice cube boxes (which should be the damn brush of course) – a pair of roller boots, a little pet (which looks cheap, not to scale and is, in my opinion, a waste of plastic), her own drinking cup and a rubber ring to swim with. She does have deliciously scented hair (that you can’t brush – have I mentioned that?!) but she also has a face tattoo… I don’t think that’s the one if I’m honest. I appreciate it disappears and becomes visible with cold or hot touches but it feels off brand for me and I didn’t like it. I also wasn’t keen on the painted on swimming costumes (although this does make the dolls in the more affordable price bracket for some reason, it always has, but I prefer clothes you can change), and I’m not sure about the cup she comes inside. I think it’s probably better than wasting plastic packaging but is it necessary, will anyone use it going forwards and is it sustainable or will it end up in landfill? – that will have to be a conclusion reached later on. Like I said, love Barbie, and could actually really like this doll if she had a few tweaks (her scented hair is GREAT), but she missed the mark for me in a year when Barbie is Queen and that’s a shame!
Pokémon 151 Elite Trainer (Asmodee UK – RRP £52.99)
While I’m sure for the avid collector this is the absolute must have, I’m not sure it has much of a place on the top 20 toys list. Especially not in the current climate. It’s pretty niche and it’s woofingly expensive for, essentially, trading cards. Would I buy it? No! Would I recommend it? No! Is the box in any way exciting to look at? No! A lot of nos there – personally, I wouldn’t spend my money on it and Jimmy says though he’d like one, he wouldn’t spend his on it too. Perhaps we aren’t their target audience!
Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle And Grounds (LEGO – RRP £149.99)
I have to say, though this kit is incredibly impressive with elements from each film at every angle, hidden inside and visible from the windows, it didn’t for me, fit on this particular list. It’s aimed at an audience over the age of 18 for its intricate design and difficulty rating and took the modeller from the show 2 days to build. With its 2660 pieces it’s a terrific gift this Christmas for a LEGO fan but I feel it’s stolen a top place on the list for children when children can’t really use it. That’s why it’s at the bottom, I like it, it’s just on the wrong list here!
Please note, the list is the Toy Retailer’s Association officially launched top 20, I have re-ordered them into my favourites and added in my own thoughts about each one, this list is not in official order and my opinions are just my opinions so you know, you may have different ones of course!