Parents have been given a helping hand in selecting this year’s must-have toys thanks to the UK’s number one parenting site announcing its annual awards.
MadeForMums tasked children and their parents with testing around 300 toys at home to find the best for every age, covering 44 categories including Best Toddler Toy, Best Playset, Best Educational Toy and Best Scooter.
The testers marked the toys for play potential and value for money and these scores were combined with the verdicts of expert judges from the site’s team to find the overall winners.
Among the products to impress the judges was a BMW ride-on car with its own MP3 player and a pint-sized, fully working Kenwood Mixer, as well as family board games for all ages.
Interactive, electronic gadgets were popular as always, but MadeForMums’ child testers also rated highly many ‘slower’ toys, often with no electronics or batteries.
The testers’ parents also commented positively on the increasing availability of sustainable, recyclable and long-lasting new toys and eco-friendly packaging.
Here, FEMAIL reveals the top 20 toys for Christmas 2021…
1. Squeakee the Balloon Dino
MadeForMums has announced the winners of their annual Toy Awards, with Squeakee the Balloon Dino (pictured) impressing the judges the most
An interactive pretend-balloon dinosaur who dances when you put his headphones on, plays chicken and follows you when you squeak his bone. Squeakee the Balloon Dino occasionally roars and dances if not given attention.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a toy this interactive! It was great to watch my son figure out all the different things Squeakee could do. All I could hear was laughter!’
2. Planet Junko Zoomer Kit
A MadeForMums toy tester said Planet Junko Zoomer Kit (pictured) has inspired her son to create something every day
A tube of recycled, reusable plastic parts and elastic bands with which you can transform old juice cartons and food tubs into speedy, pull-back-and-let-go vehicles.
Planet Junko Zoomer Kit can be used to develop creativity and problem-solving skills.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s been out every day and my son keeps jumping up with a different idea for something we could make and create. It really, really captured his imagination.’
3. Exploding Kittens: A Game of Cat and Mouth
A MadeForMums toy tester said Exploding Kittens: A Game of Cat and Mouth (pictured) is loved by people of all ages
A hugely original open-up-and-play battery-free board game with magnetic cat-paw catapults and balls to flick through the cat’s mouth.
Exploding Kittens: A Game of Cat and Mouth is quick to set up and inspires quick thinking.
MadeForMums toy tester parent says: ‘So much fun to play with! This game was loved by everyone, from our 8 year old and both parents, right down to our 4 year old.’
4. Peppa Pig Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse
A MadeForMums toy tester said Peppa Pig Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse (pictured) is expensive but provided their children with hours of fun
A 65cm-high 3-storey wooden house for Peppa and the gang – complete with furniture and accessories including a telescope in the loft and a (painted) muddy puddle in the bathroom.
Peppa Pig Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse has eight rooms and a host of further accessories for a fun imaginary world.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘It’s expensive but it’s well made and totally worth it for the hours of fun both my children have had playing with this.’
5. DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll
A MadeForMums toy tester said DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll (pictured) has been attached to her daughter since the day it arrived
A large (45cm-high) doll with mermaid and human clothes – and hair that changes colour in the sun.
DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll also makes bath time fun as it can be submerged under water.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘My daughter has been attached to this doll every day since it arrived! She completely adores her and has made her a little bed next to hers.’
6. Xootz BMW X5 Ride On
Age: 5+ (2+ with remote control driving)
A MadeForMums toy tester said Xootz BMW X5 Ride On (pictured) is loved by their kids because they can play their own music
A ride on to turn heads in the park, this scaled-down BMW has 3 speeds, a reverse gear, adjustable seats, working lights – and an MP3 player.
Xootz BMW X5 Ride On also includes a remote control for parents who are worried that their child is too young to practice their driving skills without support.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘My kids love that they could play their own music in it and turn the lights on and off. They’ve been pretending to go on holiday in it and packed their favourite toys to take with them. A big hit!’
7. Orchard Toys Dino Snore Us Game
A MadeForMums toy tester said Orchard Toys Dino Snore Us Game (pictured) is fun, educational and easy to set up
A board game that’s all about collecting dinosaur eggs without waking the sleeping T-Rex. A great, fun way to hone those number and counting skills.
Players of Orchard Toys Dino Snore Us Game have to do a big roar and return to the start if the T-Rex is woken.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘Fun, educational and easy to set up. My child was very excited playing this gamev– and the anticipation of waiting to see if the dinosaur would wake had her giggling.’
8. CoComelon Learning Sheep
Age: 12 months+
A MadeForMums toy tester said CoComelon Learning Sheep (pictured) is great for learning colours
A sheep (like the ones in CocoMelon) that, when you place it on the colour chart – or any other object – will tell you what colour it is in a jolly version of Baa Baa Black Sheep.
This game teaches children colours while encouraging exploration and developing hand-eye coordination.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘This is great for learning colours. My daughter loves it, and loves to move and sing along with “my sheep”.’
9. Kindi Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing
A MadeForMums toy tester said Kindi Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing (pictured) is easy to make the bubbles work
A rigid doll with soft-touch limbs that sings songs and blows ice-cream-scented bubbles.
Kindi Kids Poppi Pearl Bubble N Sing works by feeding the doll with her bottle then pressing the shell on her bathing suit to release the bubbles.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘The bubble machine is really good and all my children try to catch them and pop them. It’s so easy to make the bubbles work, too: my 3-year-old can do it all herself – which she loves.’
10. Build a Bee Hotel
A MadeForMums toy tester said Build a Bee Hotel (pictured) can mostly be built by your children without help
A beautifully designed little kit containing all you need to build a home for solitary bees (or insects) in your garden.
Build a Bee Hotel comes with a spotter sheet to support learning about the bugs.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘It is great. And your child can mostly build this hotel by themselves as the instructions are really well set out, with lovely colour pictures.’
11. Little Tikes My Jam Electric Guitar
A MadeForMums toy tester said Little Tikes My Jam Electric Guitar (pictured) was a big hit with their four-year-old
A mini electric guitar you can rock out with solo or sync up with any Bluetooth-enabled device to play music through the guitar’s speaker and strum along.
Little Tikes My Jam Electric Guitar comes complete with a strap and a reusable guitar case.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘This was a big hit with my 4 year old: he hasn’t put it down yet and keeps asking for different guitar songs to strum along to from my phone. He absolutely loves it.’
12. Barbie Dreamhouse Playset
A MadeForMums toy tester said Barbie Dreamhouse Playset (pictured) brought their daughters enjoyment for hours
An enormous budget-blowout of a Barbie playset with interchangeable rooms, lighting and sound options and masses of accessories including a fold-down bunk beds and a puppy slide.
Barbie Dreamhouse Playset can be customised for children to transform the space into their own dream home.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘This brought so much excitement and shrieking to the house on its arrival! My daughters spend hours playing together. The sounds and light functions bring an extra dimension to their imaginative play.’
13. Little Tikes Tobi 2 Director’s Camera
A MadeForMums toy tester said Little Tikes Tobi 2 Director’s Camera (pictured) has really good features and picture quality
A high-definition camera with tripod, green screen and a flip out lens, with which you can take selfies, play games, shoot video, edit footage and add effects.
Little Tikes Tobi 2 Director’s Camera can be used in connection with Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatch as a remote control.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘It has really good features and the picture quality is great for a child’s toy. It’s fun and easy to use. Any child would love this.’
14. Casdon Kenwood Mixer
A MadeForMums toy tester said Casdon Kenwood Mixer (pictured) looks like a grown up cake mixer and their child was so excited
A battery-powered working mini-version of a Kenwood Chef food mixer. Casdon Kenwood Mixer comes with a whisk and spatula for budding bakers to create real foods.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘My child was so excited that it just looked like a “grown up cake mixer”. I would happily buy one of these as a present.’
15. Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory
A MadeForMums toy tester said Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory (pictured) is very fun and creative
A box of squeezy, mess-free sand in different colours, with accessories that let you mould cubes of sand that look black on the outside but slice open to reveal rainbow stripes.
Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory inspires children to develop their creativity and sensory skills.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘This is very fun and creative. My boys played for ages. The set comes with much more than the standard kinetic sand kits. Definitely worth the money.’
Price: from £3.99 each
A MadeForMums toy tester said Pushpoppers (pictured) is loved by both of their children
A fidget toy that works a bit like bubble wrap – with the pop but without the bubble bursting.
Pushpoppers make a popping sound when pushed and can be used to distract from bad habits such as nail biting
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘Both my children loved these super-sensory toys. My daughter even takes them to school every day to help her feel calm.’
17. Thomas & Friends Trains & Cranes Super Tower
A MadeForMums toy tester said Thomas & Friends Trains & Cranes Super Tower (pictured) is easy to set up and loaded with so many fun activities
A huge (87cm-tall) four-storey train set with a spinning turntable, switches and handles for changing the track, engine, helicopter and accessories.
Thomas & Friends Trains & Cranes Super Tower is ideal for imagining railway stories.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘Easy to set up and loaded with so many features and fun activities – it’s well worth the price.’
18. Funlockets Secret Fairy Musical Jewellery Box
A MadeForMums toy tester said Funlockets Secret Fairy Musical Jewellery Box (pictured) is full of fun and surprise
A music box with secret doors, drawers and charms that open and reveal when you find the hidden keys.
Funlockets Secret Fairy Musical Jewellery Box also plays music when the doll on top dances.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘Full of fun and surprise. It was lovely to watch the excitement on my child’s face as she discovered each different key or charm’
19. Kinderkraft GoSwift
Age: 3 to 6
A MadeForMums toy tester said Kinderkraft GoSwift (pictured) is very stylish and can easily be picked up by a child
A light, sleek balance bike with a 100 per cent recyclable magnesium alloy frame, an eco-leather seat and air-filled rubber wheels. Kinderkraft GoSwift can be rid on most terrain, providing fun and exercise.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘Absolutely worth the money. Not only is it lightweight – a child can easily pick it up – it is very stylish, comfortable to sit on and has the added bonus of a bell.’
20. Bluey Jumbo Plush
A MadeForMums toy tester said Bluey Jumbo Plush (pictured) is loved by her son because it’s big enough to go on the slide in the garden with him
A big (46cm) super-soft toy version of CBeebies newest star. Bluey Jumbo Plush can be used at nap time and while playing.
MadeForMums toy tester says: ‘We love Bluey in our house so this is perfect. My son likes that it’s big enough to go on the slide in the garden with him and do things that he could do.’
See the full list of MadeForMums Toy Awards winners at: https://www.madeformums.com/reviews/madeformums-toy-awards-2021-winners