- Parenting site MadeForMums has announced annual toy awards winners
- 250 child judges helped to choose the winners in 36 categories
- Top baby toys include singing elephant and splashing jellyfish
- Judges also picked out best doll, scooter, soft toy, puzzle and app
And according MadeForMums, this year’s essential gifts for under the tree include very intelligent robots, artificial snow and an elephant who plays peekaboo.
The parenting site has announced the result of its annual toy awards, with winner in 36 categories chosen by 250 child judges, five celebrity judges and parent testers over the course of six weeks.
Judges looked at toys for children of all ages, from learning toys for babies to scooters for older children.
Read on to find out which toys topped the list for 2017.
Little Tikes Princess Horse & Carriage is the ultimate fantasy ride-on for many little girls – and boys, too, say testers
Little Tikes Princess Horse & Carriage
Age: 18 months+
Standing 95cm tall and 115cm long, this princess-themed horse and carriage has a pull along handle that converts to a hold-in-your-(toddler)-hand rein and the floor can be removed for some small-foot-propelling action.
The door opens, and horse moves right and left and make a clip-clop sound effect as you trot along. Comes with a toy storage box inside and a ‘parent console’ on top.
Gender-neutral this is not! But this is the ultimate fantasy ride-on for many little girls – and boys, too, say testers.
BEST TRAVEL TOY
Vtech Smart Watch DX
This multi-functional, rechargeable smart watch takes photos and videos, and comes with eight games (with more available to download); motion sensor for pedometer, calculator, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch, voice recorder and more than 50 digital and analogue clock faces.
Young testers found it really easy to use and were engaged for hours by the educational Time Master function as much as the games, and they felt cool and grown up wearing it too.
The Vtech Smart Watch DX is a multi-functional, rechargeable smart watch for taking photos, shooting video and playing games
BEST TECH TOY
A range of collectable 17cm smart action figures that can be played with in a traditional way or synced up via a FusionCore mini-computer to a free app, allowing them to speak, vibrate, light up and – appear in the games on the app.
Each toy comes with a weapon, augmented-reality trading cards and a rechargeable battery.
Child testers had no trouble getting their figures to appear in the app game, were thrilled to see it happen – and excited about what new 2-way features their game play would unlock.
TOMY Lightseekers are a range of collectable 17cm smart action figures that can be synced up via an app, allowing them to speak, vibrate, light up and appear in the games on the app
BEST CONSTRUCTION TOY
K’nex Thrill Rides Web Weaver Rollercoaster
A large 429-piece rod-and-connector rollercoaster building set with glow-in-the-dark track and a little air-powered car.
It can be built in two different ways and, once built, the track can be flipped from vertical and horizontal as the car’s zooming round.
The rollercoaster thrilled child testers, as did the little car that whizzes round the track really fast. And did we mention that it glows in the dark?
K’nex Thrill Rides Web Weaver Rollercoaster is a large 429-piece rod-and-connector rollercoaster building set with glow-in-the-dark track and a little air-powered car
Ravensburger American Flag Sneaker 3D Puzzle
An 108-piece plastic puzzle that creates a 3-D model of a sneaker that you can then use as a pen holder.
The pieces can be put together by sight or using guide numbers on the back.
It’s challenging and rewarding and testers loved the fact that solving the puzzle created a pen holder for their desk, as did guest judge Tess from Let Toys Be Toys.
An 108-piece plastic puzzle that creates a 3-D model of a sneaker that you can then use as a pen holder
Age: 10 months+
Flappy is a 35 cm animated cuddly toy elephant with big ears and when you press his feet, he plays peekaboo – hiding his eyes with his flappy ears – or sings (and flaps) to Do Your Ears Hang Low.
He’s beautifully soft, well made and has the cutest singing voice and ear-flap action.
Flappy is a 35 cm animated cuddly toy elephant with big ears who sings and plays peekaboo when you press his feet
BEST WOODEN TOY
Le Toy Van Honeybake Café Machine
This brightly-painted mini replica coffee machine, comes with with two wooden cups, spoon, ‘milk frother’ and a selection of coloured pods to place inside the removable filter.
Judges were impressed by the water-based-paint detailing and its potential for for old-school role-play. Child testers loved choosing which colour pods to slot in to make a flavoured latte for their parents.
The Le Toy Van Honeybake Café Machine mini replica coffee machine, comes with with two wooden cups, spoon, ‘milk frother’ and a selection of coloured pods
BEST TOY VEHICLE
A range of three high-speed radio-controlled tilt-turn monster trucks that you can crash into a wall – or another monster truck – at up to 15 kmph.
The rechargeable battery offers up to 30 minutes run time, and the trucks come with stickers, cones and flags.
Testers went crazy for these crash-and-smash trucks and loved the way the drivers are ejected into the air mid-smash.
The easy-to-reassemble building block bodies are a novel idea and make racing against friends extra entertaining. Works equally well over gravel and carpet, and the regulation vroom vroom noises are surprisingly bearable.
One of the high-speed radio-controlled tilt-turn monster trucks that you can crash into a wall – or another monster truck – at up to 15 kmph
BEST ROBOT TOY
A 12cm x 19cm x25cm robot with forklift-y arms and amazingly expressive eyes.
Once connected to the free Cozmo app he’ll recognise your face, say your name, and ask to play games and over time, he gradually unlocks his abilities and allows some simple coding.
He’s pleased to see you when he ‘wakes’, snores as he powers down and celebrates when he wins a game – or throw a tantrum if you beat him too often.
The Anki Cozmo will recognise your face, say your name, and ask to play games
BEST FOR PRETEND PLAY
LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Van
This push-along cart comes with eight scoops of ice cream, three toppings, three syrups, two storage drawers, a till, a syrup pump and 6 double-sided order/activity cards of varying difficulties.
The ‘magic’ scooper for serving up orders recognises colours and flavours, and the cart plays music if you push it around.
Testers adored dinging the bell when an order was ready and ringing up the till, and their parents really liked the entertaining way it teaches colours, numbers, sequencing, memory and matching skills.
This push-along cart comes with eight scoops of ice cream, and the ‘magic’ scooper for serving up orders recognises colours and flavours
BEST FOR ROLE PLAY
A high-quality speaker and microphone that allows your child to sing along to any song, using Bluetooth to connect to a device or simply popping in an SD card.
Has echo and distortion effects, seven different LED lights, volume control and three handset colour options.
It caused huge excitement with the testers who were lost in music for hours and has Christmas karaoke written all over it.
A high-quality speaker and microphone that allows your child to sing along to any song, using bluetooth connection
BEST FOR ACTIVE PLAY
BladezToyz Peppa Pig Inflatable Muddy Puddle Playmat
Age: 6 months+
A round (60cm diameter) inflatable playmat with a see-through top. Pour in a little water to make the Peppa Pig characters inside move around and create a squashy surface to jump on.
Little testers adored the sound of the water under their feet and getting the characters inside to move. Great option for tummy time with smaller babies, too.
The Peppa Pig Inflatable Muddy Puddle Playmat creates a squashy surface to jump on without the mess of jumping in real puddles
BEST TODDLER TOY
Vtech Chase Me Casey
Age: 3 months+
An electronic dancing and skating monkey toy with two play modes: Catch Me and Dancing.
Includes front and back sensors which detect when your child is near, so it can scoot away to be chased. Also features five shape buttons to introduce letters, numbers, body parts, music and more to your child.
VTech’s Catch Me Casey is an electronic dancing and skating monkey toy that’s been voted best for toddlers
BEST STOCKING FILLER
Zimpli Kids SnoBall Battle Pack
What it is: A non-irritant, stain-free, 100% degradable powder which can be mixed with water to create ‘snow’ – which you can mould into snowballs.
Youngsters had their minds blown mixing the ‘magic’ powder and making snowballs to chuck about.
Zimpli Kids SnoBall Battle Pack contains a non-irritant, stain-free, 100% degradable powder which can be mixed with water to create ‘snow’ – which you can mould into snowballs
BEST SOFT TOY
Posh Paws International Winnie the Pooh Snuggletime
Age: From birth
This super-soft, gently coloured 30cm cuddly Pooh bear it part of a collection that also includes a Tigger and an Eeyore, and smaller-sized (20cm) versions of each character, too.
Adult judges and child testers’ parents initially didn’t think this soft toy was anything special but their opinions were totally reversed by child testers’ feedback.
This simple, slightly-old-fashioned-looking floppy bear was such an immediate hit and scored off the scale for softness and cuddliness, and is good value for money, too.
This simple, slightly-old-fashioned-looking Pooh bear was such an immediate hit with young testers and scored off the scale for softness and cuddliness
Micro Scooters Maxi Micro Deluxe
A reinvented version of the classic three-wheeled Micro Scooter, taking up to 70kg in weight and with a height adjustable steering column from 67cm to 93cm.
This model has tilt and lean steering, a raise silicone footplate for better grip and a substantial rear brake and comes in nine colours.
It’s definitely on the expensive side but you’ll get a real return for your investment – the substantial weight limit and height adjustment means this scooter will last your child years.
A reinvented version of the classic three-wheeled Micro Scooter, this model has tilt and lean steering, a raise silicone footplate for better grip and a substantial rear brake
Clementoni Evolution Robot
This kit allow children to construct create a 53cm x 36cm x 9cm self-learning robot with moving arms, caterpillar tracks, five different facial expressions, sounds and music.
It can be controlled manually but also connects to a (free) app with eight interactive play modes, including a programming one, which (among other things) you can use to get your robot to pick things up and blow raspberries!
According to MadeForMums it’s one of the best coding toys in this age range.
The Clementoni Evolution Robot allows children to construct create a self-learning robot with moving arms, caterpillar tracks, five different facial expressions, sounds and music
M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced Xfactor) robot
A 332-piece construction kit that comes together to create a 38cm x 30cm x 10cm robot with a cheeky face and built-in obstacle-avoiding infra-red sensors.
You can then control – and personalise – him with buttons on his MeccaBrain or with your phone/tablet using a (free) app.
The build is challenging but once you get M.A.X up and running, he’s the quirkiest little guy – he even tilts his head if he doesn’t understand you.
M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced Xfactor) robot allows you to build your own robot with a cheeky face and built-in obstacle-avoiding infra-red sensors
Fisher-Price Teach n Tag Movi
A preschooler-friendly-sized robot with chunky wheels, a 360° turn and over 60 facial expressions.
You press the light-up buttons on his head to get him to play fun but nicely educational games – or dance.
Movi offers all the excitement of a flashing, smiling, dancing, rolling robot while also getting his little playmates up and moving to join his games.
The Fisher-Price Teach n Tag Movi is a preschooler-friendly-sized robot with chunky wheels, a 360° turn and over 60 facial expressions
Wow Stuff Remote Controlled Flying Minions
Price: £25 each
A range of three characters from Despicable Me with propellers, that fly directed by an infrared sensor in the feet.
They’re funny and silly and exciting and your chilld uses their hands and feet to guide them.
Wow Stuff Remote Controlled Flying Minions features three characters from Despicable Me with propellers, that fly directed by an infrared sensor in the feet
BEST CHILDREN’S APP
Age: 4-7 (Rated 9+)
An action and adventure role-play game (with some fighting) based around the new Lightseekers toys, suitable for all ages. It includes combat, quests, seven mini-games, crafting and gathering tasks, and play time builds as your child progresses.
The app can be used on its own or synced to the Lightseekers action figures and augmented reality playing cards (bought separately). There are no in-app purchases, online multiplayer functions or chat.
Action and adventure role-play game Lightseekers has been voted best children’s app
BEST ACTIVITY CENTRE
Skip Hop Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Centre
Age: 4 months+
A circular play centre with a 360 degree rotating and bouncing seat and 25 developmental activities, including a light-up piano and clip on toys.
It has an adjustable foot platform and suction food tray, and the legs remove for easy storage.
One tester’s mum said she was initially at bit shocked at the price but, after seeing the toy in action, convinced it was worth the money.
Skip Hop Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Centre features a 360 degree rotating and bouncing seat and 25 developmental activities, including a light-up piano and clip on toys
BEST ACTIVITY MAT
A Little Bird Told Me My Little Sunshine Multi-Activity Playgym
Age: From birth
A well-padded and washable play mat with lots of smooth, shiny and scrunchy textures that comes with a tummy time/headrest cushion, two activity toys with teething rings, a detachable musical pull toy, and a detachable play mirror and easy-to-assemble play arches.
Designed also to be used as a activity rug – with the arches removed, and the toys attached to anchor points on the rug surface – when your baby can sit up or crawl.
A Little Bird Told Me My Little Sunshine Multi-Activity Playgym is a well-padded and washable play mat with lots of smooth, shiny and scrunchy textures
BEST ART/CRAFT TOY
Little Brian Paint Sticks
Price: £4.99 for 6
A solid paint stick in a plastic tube that twists up and down like a glue stick, does not need water and dries almost instantly.
Works on paper, card, canvas, board and even glass. Available in packs of six or 12, in classic, metallic or day-glow colours.
They’re portable and mess-free, but they have the same artistic effect as using paints.
Little Brian Paint Sticks works on paper, card, canvas, board and even glass without the mess of traditional paint
BEST BABY TOY (6-12 months)
Fisher-Price Zoom n Crawl Monster
Age: 9 months+
A monster toy on wheels standing 33cm tall that comes with five balls, makes 15 sounds and offers two play options.
In the sitting mode, your child can fill the monster with balls and press the button to spit them out. The moving mode lets a crawling baby chase after the toy.
Fisher-Price Zoom n Crawl Monster has been voted best baby toy for six to nine-month-olds
BEST BABY TOY (0-6 months)
The Gro Company Ollie the Owl
Age: From birth
This soft toy is also a sleep aid, with four gentle sounds and a nightlight that has three brightness settings.
Also includes a Cry Sensor, which plays 20 minutes of music if your baby wakes, before switching to standby mode for three hours.
There is a Velcro strap to attach to a cot, buggy or car seat.
The Gro Company Ollie the Owl is also a sleep aid, with four gentle sounds and a nightlight that has three brightness settings
BEST BALANCE BIKE
Chicco Red Bullet
A metal framed balance bike with handlebars that adjust from 57-61cm and a seat that adjusts from 34-44cm.
It might be easy on the pocket but this great value, ultralight metal balance bike features height adjustable handlebars and saddle to suit your little one down to the ground.
The Chicco Red Bullet is a great value bike ultralight metal balance bike featuring height adjustable handlebars and saddle to suit your little one down to the ground
BEST BATH TOY
TOMY Spin & Splash Jelly Fish
Age: 12 months +
A jellyfish-shaped fill-up-and-spill water-shower toy, that has spinning tentacles to splash your little one with water.
It’s fun, functional and simple and testers thought the spinning splashy effect was just magical. Plus, the spinning waterwheel inside the toy is securely covered, so no dangers of pinched fingers.
TOMY Spin & Splash Jelly Fish is fun and functional and uses spinning tentacles to splash your little one at bath time
BEST BOARD GAME
Orchard Toys Cheeky Monkeys
A strategy game where players do battle to collect the most bananas, with the chance to steal from each other. Includes a 2-part 3D tree, 32 monkey cards, a spinner board and a pool board.
It teaches counting and strategy but is an absolute hoot to play. The parents of child testers had just as much fun as they did.
Orchard Toys Cheeky Monkeys is a strategy game where players do battle to collect the most bananas
Design a Friend Ava
One of a range of big (46cm), beautiful, soft-bodied dolls, Ava is the one with long, curly brown hair.
Comes tissued-wrapped in a shoe-box-style presentation box, wearing a pink top with white three-quarter-length trousers and glitter shoes.
Also includes a charm bracelet for your child to wear and a fashion diary.
Her hair is soft and brushable, made for hours of styling and Ava has the wow factor and refreshingly normal body proportions, despite being a teenage-girl doll for a school-age child.
Design a Friend Ava has refreshingly normal body proportions, despite being a teenage-girl doll for a school-age child
BEST LEARNING TOY
Orchard Toys Magic Maths
A maths-based game where players take turns to solve the sums and find out if they are correct by turning over the ‘magic’ heat-sensitive cards and rubbing them.
A right answer is rewarded with yucky spell ingredients to add to your character board.
The nifty heat-sensitive answer reveal is a great way to build anticipation and parents were simply agog to see their child engaged with adding, subtracting and multiplying like never before.
To play Orchard Toys Magic Maths kids s take turns to solve the sums and find out if they are correct by turning over the ‘magic’ heat-sensitive cards and rubbing them
BEST OUTDOOR/GARDEN TOY
Zimpli Kids Slime Blaster
Pour the pre-measured slime powder into the water tank, fill and shake, the fire.
Each gun comes with 12 sachets of slime ingredients, giving more than 200 slime shots. Slime is non-toxic, safe on the skin, stain free and environmentally friendly.
This slime-tastic twist on the traditional water gun was a unanimous success with child testers and their parents, who were gobsmacked at how far it could shoot.
Each Zimpli Kids Slime Blaster gun comes with 12 sachets of slime ingredients, giving more than 200 slime shots
Vtech Toot-Toot Drivers Fire Station
Age: 12 months+
A fire station set measuring 13.3cm x 45cm x 33cm, with spinning platform, slide and interactive features like a lift and flip open windows.
Includes a SmartPoint fire engine with movable ladder and four SmartPoint locations which trigger sound effects.
The six-piece track can be put together in different combinations.
Vtech Toot-Toot Drivers Fire Station has a spinning platform, slide and interactive features like a lift and flip open windows
SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood
A brain-teaser puzzle for preschoolers, based around the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
The set includes a game board, five road puzzle pieces, three trees, Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Granny’s house, and a booklet of 48 make-a-path-to-get-Red-Riding-Hood-to-Granny’s-House challenges to figure out.
It comes with a little picture book of the Red Riding Hood tale and is brilliant at fostering logical thinking and spatial awareness.
SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood is a brain-teaser puzzle for preschoolers, based around the much-loved fairytale
BEST SCIENCE TOY
AugmentifyIt AR Space Cards Quiz Game
A simple but endearing set of quiz cards about planets and space that – thrillingly – can be enhanced by downloading a free app and holding it over the pics on the cards to bring the planets, stars and black holes to augmented-reality life.
You definitely don’t need to be a complete space nerd to enjoy it (but you might be one afterwards).
AugmentifyIt AR Space Cards Quiz Game can be enhanced by downloading a free app and holding it over the pics on the cards to bring the planets, stars and black holes to augmented-reality life
Ozbozz Light Burst Scooter
A scooter with a learn-and-steer function, rear brake and a deck that lights up when stepped on.
The frame comes in black or white and the steering column height can be adjusted from 62cm to 73cm.
Child testers thought the flashing lights were the bee’s knees, while their parents rated it as sturdy and a really good price.
Ozbozz Light Burst Scooter has a learn-and-steer function, rear brake and a deck that lights up when stepped on
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