Let’s look at the trend for this year’s 5 top toys for Christmas 2016. I can tell you straightaway about one toy I have not included which is Hatchimal which is an interactive toy where kids can help a bird to be hatched and then they rear it so it can talk, walk and play. Great fun but you cannot find it as stocks have almost run out. But if you are desperate to buy a Hatchimal there is a workaround.
All you have to do is to go to the Amazon.it site where at the time of writing (Nov. 20), these Hatchimals are still in stock! You can read all the details here.
So here are 5 toys which are generally available and you will save loads of time without having to dash all over the place. They are also focused on their educational value rather than being too virtual like Pokemon Go, which has other advantages , of course, such as getting out in the open air.
LEGO Friends Amusement Park (about 1,000 pieces)
Great LEGO toy and kids love assembling it. This can take a long time – I know one 9 year old took about 2 days to do it but it is challenging and fun to do and all part of the LEGO experience. Other kids have been able to do it in about 2 -3 hours but newbies to LEGO will take considerably longer. Some buyers complained that it was a bit pricey at around $80 but of course you can get the smaller ones for much less.
Suitable for ages 8 -12, they can sample all the joys of the amusement park from the Ferris wheel to the roller coaster and the Tower of Terror. The front car on the coaster has a headlight on it which makes it all the more realistic like the turnstile entrance and the mascot. LEGO are getting over the sexist claims of their characters as one of the girls has her own hot dog truck. Things are improving!
Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage
Comes complete with five cars and a helicopter – you can buy an extra set of cars. There are loads of things that kids can do and will keep them occupied for hours. Kids from 5-12 love this set. It has 36 car spaces and once they are all parked, they can be taken on all sorts of adventures. Cars have to avoid being snapped up by sharks as they come down the ramp. It has an elevator. gas station and even a tune-up shop.
One con is that it does take quite a while (maybe one to two hours if you are slow, like me!) to assemble it and certainly 5 year olds will need help. Instructions are clear and when the kids are involved, it is a great way to teach problem solving. Another con is that the plastic is rather flimsy and cheap and some customers have complained that it should be better quality.
Shopkins Chef Club Hot Spot Kitchen
This is a highly interactive kitchen set which Shopkins fans will love. It comes complete with stools, an island, lots of drawers and cabinets. The recipe book opens up and the oven opens and the microwave spins. There is even a pop down bread board. Great for using with the Shopkins Shoppies doll so that makes it even more versatile.
Little Live Pets Snuggles My Dream Puppy Playset
Imagine a more or less puppy with none of the mess that a real pet dog would entail. What is going to make life easier and stop kids from hankering after a pet dog, Snuggles is the answer to your prayers. She is a very realistic pet, moves eyes and face and will respond to hugs and snuggles. She even comes with an adoption certificate. All in all one of the most animatronic toys on the market. Some customers have complained that the breathing and barking sounds are far too loud and that makes it a bit too realistic!
Fisher- Price Think & Learn Code -a-pillar
Thank goodness for a real toy that encourages kids to think and learn by actually doing something! These toys are great ways to help kids think and learn which is a rarity nowadays when they are mere passive spectators in many games and activities. Here they actually have to make things happen by re-arranging the segments (straight on, turn left, turn right, etc.) so that Code-a-pillar can reach various targets they have set up in the room. Kids get to use their curiosity, problem solving skills and experiment with various solutions while having great fun as well. Suitable for kids aged 3- 8. It needs a hard surface to work best so if you have a soft carpet, it may not move so well around the room.
There were some negative comments about the loud noise and music the toy makes. Several customers were puzzled by the fact that there is not even a volume control on the toy to turn the volume down. One customer has found a way of hacking the toy so that it stays silent so everybody can relax and enjoy the learning in peace.
Another problem was that the toy needs lots of room to make all those maneuvers so some people have bought the extra pieces, such as the master moves expansion kit for about $15 so that it can work using tighter turns.
All in all, 85% of customers are really happy with the creativity and the fun that this toy brings.
Kids’ Christmas toys
If you are worried about spending too much on all these toys, one solution is to visit a charity shop and find toys that have never been played with. Another great thing is to have a clear out of all your kids’ unused toys and take them along to the charity shop too.
Another way of saving money is to stock up on books. Paperbacks can make great stocking fillers. Here is one example.