Industry experts have unveiled what they’re predicting to be 2011’s best-selling toys and gadgets – from a tablet computer for kids to a game involving a dog and ‘scooping the poop’.
The Toy Retailers Association’s (TRA) ‘Dream Toys list’ for 2011 features well-known names including Fireman Sam, Elmo and Star Wars, as well as a Lego set that costs more than £90, and a kid-friendly digital camera for £50.
Cheapest on the list is the Moshling Tree House, for £18.99 – a home for Moshi Monsters toys.
This year’s list was again themed around technology and interactivity that ‘enrich the whole experience of play’, according to the TRA. We got our hands on some of the gadgets that made the shortlist – watch our video, and find out more in our top toys for Christmas 2011 guide:
- The Kidizoom Twist (£49.99) is an update to the best-selling toy from 2010 – a sturdy-looking two megapixel camera that takes pictures and records video and audio clips. The ‘Twist’ refers to its rotating lens, so little photographers can take pictures of themselves, and it has an editing feature so you can add animated effects. Download your child’s masterpieces to a PC to play back later using the SD card.
- To the unsuspecting they look like an ordinary pair of sunglasses, but SpyNet video glasses (£39.99) can secretly record 20 minutes of undercover footage and take up to 2,000 pictures. Mini super-sleuths can upload their footage using the USB connection, and solve new ‘spy missions’, on the dedicated SpyNetHQ website.
- If you don’t want your kids getting their hands on your iPad, why not get them a tablet-inspired gadget of their own? The LeapFrog LeapPad and VTech InnoTab (both £79.99) are handheld, touchscreen ‘tablets’ that include games, ebooks, pictures, videos and reading exercises. Both boast 5-inch screens and you can download extra apps, but these come at an extra cost so it might get expensive to keep your children entertained. We’re also not convinced by all of the educational claims of these toys. If you’re thinking of buying these gadgets because you believe they’ll help educate your children, you may want to read our investigation into educational claims first.
- For parents who are brave enough to offer up their iPads, Disney AppMates might make a good stocking filler. It’s a mini toy car you physically place on to an iPad screen in order to play a free racing game – the car’s got sensors on the bottom which the specially-designed app recognises.
- And for iPhones, Fisher-Price’s Laugh and Learn Apptivity case (£13) is a dribble-free, kid-proof iPhone-protector toy. Slot and lock your phone in the case so your little one can play games and kid apps. The cover stops the phone being used for anything else – and from sticky fingers damaging your handset.
- The Hot Wheels Video racer (£64.99) is on the pricey side, but it could appeal to little car fanatics. The car has an in-built video camera and LCD screen so kids can record and play back all their racing footage. It can also be attached to bikes, skateboards or wrists for on-the-move video clips. There’s free downloadable editing software to cut clips and add special effects.
Dream Toys 2011 – full list
The prices quoted are the recommended retail prices – but we suspect you’ll be able to bag more of a bargain if you shop around. Take a look at which online shops came out on top of our recent satisfaction survey, the largest of its kind in the UK.
- Doggie Doo, £22.99
- Fijit Friends, £54.99
- Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue set, £29.99
- Kidizoom Twist, £49.99
- LeapPad Explorer, £79.99
- Let’s Rock Elmo, £69.99
- Milky the Bunny, £59.99
- Monster High Lagoona’s Hydration Station, £39.99
- Moshling Tree House, £18.99
- Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster, £44.99
- Lego Ninjago Fire Temple, £91.99
- Star Wars Ultimate Force Tech Lightsaber, £39.99
- Christmas 2011 essential guide – gift ideas, money-saving tips and more
- Full-sized tablets reviewed – we’ve tested the latest models
- Dream Toys 2010 – see what made the top toys list last year