From STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) toys to old-fashioned board games and products designed to keep the whole family entertained on the big day itself, there are plenty of “must-have” toys to choose from this Christmas.
Whether you’re buying for an older child or younger grandchildren, check out our rundown of some of the best toys on the market this year.
Best for budding engineers:
As technology continues to improve and reduce in price, STEM toys are set to be all the rage this year.
John Lewis’s attempt to corner the market is the impressive Gravitrax Pro Starter Extreme, a 185-piece marble run with a futuristic aesthetic that turns the humble marble run hi-tech.
Suitable for kids aged eight and up, the set includes instructions to help your child build elaborate 3D structures. Once mastered, these skills can be employed and developed as your child creates their own freestyle tracks. Invisible walls and balconies can be added to create tracks that appear to defy the laws of physics, even as the toy teaches your child all about them.
Add-ons containing additional pieces can be purchased separately to create ever-larger runs. The initial starter pack costs £89.99.
Best for a rainy day:
2. Crazy Forts
Another toy that will encourage your kids to develop crucial skills through play is Crazy Forts.
This 69-piece set includes rods and ball joints that can fit together to create intricate building designs, from castles and church towers to igloos and tunnel systems.
Once built, simply place blankets and bedsheets – not included – over the top to create a top-secret den or play fort, perfect for a rainy day indoors.
Crazy Forts also produce glow-in-the-dark versions, but the standard 69-piece set currently starts at £42.95.
Best fun for all the family:
For children aged five and up, this Disney stacking game – priced at around £17 – is sure to be another Christmas Day treat for every generation. Pick a card and take turns stacking teacups on the Mad Hatter’s topsy-turvy table.
Rather than ending when the stack falls, you win by using up all of your cards, so even when the cups tumble the fun continues.
Best for budding estate planning experts:
While STEM toys might be topping Christmas wish lists this year, there is still plenty of room for an old-fashioned board game.
This one, Winning Moves Games’ 13 Dead End Drive, challenges players to avoid traps and scheming relatives in the mansion of the recently-deceased Aunt Agatha.
Roll the dice and trick, bluff, or chance your way through the 3D mansion, avoiding the booby traps as you try to be the last player standing and get your hands on Aunt Agatha’s inheritance.
Originally released in the early-90s, this reissue is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new generation and is great Christmas Day fun for all the family.
Prices start from around £26.
Best for bath time:
Helping to build dexterity while allowing your child to experiment with cause and effect, Building Bath Pipes from Boon is a great way to make bath time fun.
Pour water into the top pipe and watch wheels turn and water change direction as it divides into smaller streams.
This five-piece set of connectable pipes is durable and brightly coloured, and perfect for kids between one and four years old.
Best for bedtime:
6. Moon Lamp
This 3D-printed lamp – available in four different sizes – has been designed to mirror the moon’s surface.
Its 16 colours and beautiful ethereal glow will enchant children of all ages, helping them to achieve a restful sleep after all the fun of the big day.
It has a USB charging port which means, once fully charged, there are no hanging wires that could lead to accidents, and it will stay charged for between 15 and 30 hours. It also comes with four inbuilt modes, allowing it to fade or strobe.
Best for a would-be Beyoncé:
This Karaoke Machine from Singing Machine is priced at around £50. For that, you get Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to pair it with music streaming services within seconds. You’ll also get a single microphone, with the capacity for a further two to be connected for duets or group performances.
The inbuilt, four-watt speaker is perfect to fill a medium-sized room and the volume is adjustable from your smart device. The machine also contains its own LED lights that can be programmed to flash in time with the music for when the party really gets started.
Great fun for the would-be performer in your family, this gift will also help to make your family Christmas Day disco go with a bang.