According to voucher company, RetailMeNot, UK households usually spend an average of £473.83 on presents each Christmas.
If you have a younger child or grandchild in your home, then finding the perfect gift can be challenging, as the ‘must-have’ toys and games change every year.
To help you, here’s a comprehensive list of the top 12 toys to buy your children and grandchildren this Christmas.
Ages 0 – 5
Buying for very small children can be tricky. However, suitable for children aged 12 months and over, this charming Puppet Company Hideaway Puppets Tree House provides hours of interactive play.
The set features six puppets peeping out of a plush tree trunk, and with a little door at the foot of the trunk, it’s the perfect house for these characters. The set includes six finger puppets including a hedgehog, an owl, a badger and a squirrel.
Buy at Amazon
Designed for children aged 3 and over, Tonie’s Toniebox is a Wi-Fi speaker unlike any you will have seen before. As well as being soft to the touch, this clever piece of tech is paired with a hand-painted collectable Tonie figure, which is pre-recorded with songs and popular stories like The Gruffalo.
The speaker is padded, robust and water repellent, sewn out of sustainable material and has no sharp edges. It starts when a Tonie character is placed on top, while pressing the ears changes the volume and tapping the sides of the speaker changes the song.
And, once a bedtime story has finished, the Toniebox will automatically turn itself off and go to sleep as well.
Buy at Tonies
Ages 5 – 8
Interactive toys are ideal for kids of this age, and Juno, My Baby Elephant is one of the most popular.
This adorable baby elephant is highly realistic and features more than 100 movements and sounds. As well as a playful, moving trunk that responds to touch, Juno can kiss, pick things up and play games such as Peekaboo and Build-a-Tune.
Juno also uses its trunk to make adorable trumpet noises, eat peanuts, play games, interact with its toy mouse, and more.
Buy at Argos
Drones are hugely popular as gifts and Oaxis – My First Drone is perfect for younger children.
Oaxis can be used indoors without a remote or controller and the battery allows for seven minutes of flight time (for a 40-minute charge).
The child simply throws the drone into the air and can chase it as it flies about. The altitude sensor ensures it won’t fly higher than three metres, and it also features sensors to avoid obstacles and air bounce technology.
Buy at Selfridges
Two more interactive pets that are making a stir this Christmas are Boppi, the Booty Shakin’ Llama and Owleez. Suitable for younger children, Boppi the Booty Shakin’ Llama is a friendly and fun interactive pet that ‘shakes her booty’ and dances to three catchy songs.
Buy at Tesco
Owleez are interactive owl toys that respond to touch and feature more than 100 sounds and movements.
They come with a nest and food accessory and, as well as nurturing their pet, a child can actually teach their owl to fly! When they have practised flying together by swinging Owleez through the air – the toy will let them know and will take off from their nest, just like a real baby bird.
Buy at Argos
Ages 8 – 12
If you’re looking to encourage a child’s creativity, the Osmo Creative Kit is a drawing tool which connects to Apple products and brings a child’s drawings to life.
When a child draws with real pens on the scan pad and camera deflector, their phone or tablet will ‘see’ the drawings and show them on screen. They will also see their hands on the screen as they draw.
A child can trace over pre-made images or turn their photos into line drawings and send a time-lapse video of their drawing to friends and family.
Buy at Amazon
For more than 60 years, LEGO has been a favourite with children of all ages, and this year the construction toy goes digital with the launch of LEGO Hidden Side.
LEGO Hidden Side combines the joy of LEGO building with an Augmented Reality (AR) game and comes in eight different sets (ranging in price from £16.99 to £109.99). Your child builds a multi-layered LEGO model, and then uses a free interactive AR app to hunt and trap ghosts.
With LEGO promising regular updates, kids can build and play with the physical set, then watch it come to life as they interact and view through the AR app.
Buy at LEGO
For more than 30 years families have been brought together by the charades-inspired drawing game, Pictionary. Now, in its latest incarnation Pictionary Air, the classic game has been given a tech-based upgrade.
Once you have downloaded the app, you use the Pictionary Air pen to draw in the air. Your sketches magically appear on your smart device when you point the in-app camera at the illustrator.
This update lets you interact with your drawing to help your team guess what you have sketched, and you can even record and play back your attempts so you can share your most creative performances.
Buy at Smyths
If your child or grandchild is a fan of Harry Potter, or simply interested in computers and coding, the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit lets them build a wireless Harry Potter wand and perform wizarding spells alongside an app.
The set allows youngsters to learn to code, and there are more than 70 creative challenges to enjoy. Once the wand has been put together and coded, waving the wand results in instant effects on the screen of a tablet or laptop, and children can make feathers fly, pumpkins grow or goblets multiply!
There are loads of challenges on the app to keep children entertained, and it’s a great way to teach a young person about coding while also having fun.
Buy at Amazon
Nothing beats an old-fashioned family card game, and one of the best around is Exploding Kittens. Described as ‘a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats’, this is a highly addictive, strategic and fun game which is easy to learn and can keep the family entertained for hours.
Unlike other card games, with Exploding Kittens, you draw a card from the pile at the end of your turn. If you draw an Exploding Kitten, that’s you out of the game – unless you can defuse it. So, the aim of the game is to minimise your chances of drawing the deadly feline from the pile.
Buy at Waterstones
Pretty much every teenager now owns a smartphone, and the clever Smartphone Projector transforms any space into a home cinema. With an 8x magnifying lens, they simply pop the smartphone in, plug in their home speakers and create a big-screen experience.
The projector is easy to build, works with most smartphones, and allows anyone to watch videos and TV on a ‘big’ screen, without the pain of wires.