The 12 toys of Christmas
The official Dream Toys list has been announced by the Toy Retailers Association, rounding up their recommended playthings - just in time for Christmas shopping... All the big names are in there, from Lego to Barbie, as well as some brand new and innovative creations sure to wow any child on December 25. Here are the toys that made the top 12 - and what we think of them
1. Barbie Dreamtopia Colour Change Mermaid, £24.99
Why is it brilliant? It's Barbie. Need we say more? This particular one is a mermaid with rainbow hair and a colour-changing tail - dip her into hot water and her stripy tail fades to pastel shades, pop her in an ice-cold bath, and it returns to its vibrant original.
Who's it for? Any Barbie fans.
Would we buy it? Kids will love the colour-changing mermaid tail. And toys that work in the bath always get extra brownie points in our book.
2. Bluey Family Home Playset, £39.99
Why is it brilliant? Bluey, for those who don't know, is from the animated TV series on CBeebies and Disney+ and here, the Blue Heeler pup comes complete with his own home.
Who's it for? Aimed at children over three-years-old, fans of the show will enjoy bringing Bluey to life.
Would we buy it? Honestly, we prefer our dolls' houses made of wood and slightly prettier, but we can see the appeal for Bluey fans.
3. Cocomelon Deluxe JJ Interactive Doll, £39.99
Why is it brilliant? One of the best things about this toy is it's a doll which is also a boy. You can feed him food, undress and dress him, and he sings songs and makes a cute baby giggle sound.
Who's it for? Aimed at boys and girls over the age of two, any little one who enjoys playing babies and role play will love this.
Would we buy it? It's quite big and the songs will definitely get annoying, but we love the idea of encouraging equality in the doll world, so yes, we would.
4. Gassy Gus, £24.99
Why is it brilliant? The only game to make it into the top 12, Gassy Gus is a greedy man. Players take it in turns to inflate his stomach. Once he gets full, he lets out a big fart and a chuckle, and whoever made him do that has to pick up cards. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins.
Who's it for? Aimed at families aged four and upwards, it's a quick and easy game to play, which will make little ones laugh.
Would we buy it? We wouldn't be averse to it, if only to hear small people laughing their heads off... but we suspect it'll have a relatively short shelf life in most homes.
5. Hot Wheels Massive Loop Mayhem, £54.99
Why is it brilliant? With Hot Wheels, hours can be wiled away doing the same thing over and over again.
Who's it for? Aimed at over fives, we suspect the perfect receiver of this set will be aged seven or eight, and their Christmas Day will be spent speeding round lots of loops.
Would we buy it? If you're looking for something that will entertain for hours, without you necessarily having to get involved, this will certainly do the job. But it is big, so you'll need plenty of space to set it up.
6. Jurassic World Scorpios Rex, £31.99
Why is it brilliant? It's a large-scale realistic dinosaur action figure. Press buttons to activate the roar, claw slash, tail whip and slash and grab attack.
Who's it for? It's aimed at children over the age of four, though possibly not anyone old enough to see the Jurassic World films.
Would we buy it? Probably not. The dinosaur fans in our lives might like this, but it doesn't have much buyer satisfaction.
7. L.O.L. Surprise Movie Magic Doll, £10.99
Why is it brilliant? Encased in small round balls, each LOL doll comes with 10 surprises, including a secret message, 3D glasses, a fashion outfit and a movie script.
Who's it for? Perfect for Christmas stockings, the outfits and diverse skin tones get a big tick from us.
Would we buy it? Definitely. A great price and a lovely gift.
8. Little Live Pets My Pig Piggly, £24.99
Why is it brilliant? Feed, walk and nuzzle the pig while it squeals and snorts, playing over 25 sounds and reactions. And it has a very cute little trot.
Who's it for? Aimed at children over the age of four, any little one who fancies a pretend pet of their own will love this.
Would we buy it? The music that plays while it walks is slightly annoying and the squeal is really quite loud, so on that basis, probably not.
9. Magic Mixies Cauldron, £69.99
Why is it brilliant? This really has the wow factor. We would prefer the cauldron to be a little less plasticky, but the idea of mixing a potion, with which you create a magical creature (or soft toy) from, is only going to be a huge success.
Who's it for? Any child between the age of five and eight will absolutely love this.
Would we buy it? It is expensive, which would make us think twice, but it is an absolutely brilliant gift.
10. Paw Patrol Chase's Deluxe Transforming Vehicle, £44.99
Why is it brilliant? Paw Patrol is still going strong and fans of the show would happily own all the paraphernalia.
Who's it for? Paw Patrol fans aged three and over.
Would we buy it? More plastic cars aren't really high on our wishlist this year.
11. Pokemon 8-inch Plush Pikachu, £13.99
Why is it brilliant? Pikachu is our favourite Pokemon character and this soft toy is perfect for cuddles and bedtime.
Who's it for? Suitable for kids over two, it's a stocking filler for Pokemon fans.
Would we buy it? No. We don't love Pokemon enough to spend nearly £15 on a small teddy.
12. Lego Star Wars Boba Fett's Starship, £44.99
Why is it brilliant? You won't find many people who don't think Lego is brilliant, and this set, based on the Mandalorian series, won't disappoint.
Who's it for? Kids of all ages can get involved, but this is a trickier build aimed at nine-year-olds and over.
Would we buy it? Yes. We're big Lego fans - it provides learning, play, quiet time, family togetherness and isn't massively messy. Just don't step on a brick barefoot...