Not sure what to get the kids this year, or where to find the best prices on the top toys? We’ve had a look at the Toy Retailers Association’s “Dream Toys” for Christmas 2012 and done a bit of research on your behalf. I was expecting to be put off by some weird shiny plastic inclusions, but actually there are some really cool toys on the list, including a few that I might put on my own wishlist…

Without further ado, here are our top picks from the Dream Toys for Christmas 2012. Selection criteria was more or less how much my kids will want to sleep clutching the toys, or how excited they will be when they show them off to their friends. It has nothing at all to do with me wanting to play with them myself.

Below my top 3 you’ll find the Dream Toys list in full, plus the Top Boys Toys, Top Girls Toys, Top Creative Toys, Top Construction Toys, Top Interactive Toys, and…well, you get the picture.

#1  – Our Top Pick: Leap Pad 2 Explorer by LeapFrog
Ages 3 to 9 

LeapPad2 Explorer
LeapPad2 Explorer

Top of our list by a long shot is LeapFrog’s rather incredible Leap Pad 2 Explorer. I’ve been slightly blown away by the list of features – it’s like an unbreakable and super affordable iPad mini for kids.

It comes with 5 apps: Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs, Cartoon Director, Art Studio and one app of your choice from their massive library of 225 or so educational games and apps. All of the apps are designed with “education by stealth” in mind, so your kids just enjoy playing while secretly you know that they are learning maths, reading, storytelling, creativity, problem solving, science, and pretty much everything else. There are also loads of interactive e-books which put my poor little Kindle to shame, and an interactive dictionary for when your child is soaking up new words like there’s no tomorrow. As if you needed anything else, there is a 4GB camera and video camera, enough memory to store 10,000 photos, and neat little apps to let them add borders and effects to their photos.

Best review of Leap Pad 2 Explorer

Wondering how it measures up against the vtech InnoTab (also on the Dream Toys list), or what’s new since last year’s version? Our friend Simon Jary is a tech reviewer for PC Advisor, and tried it out with his 6 year old daughter as soon as it came out. His 4.5 star review is well worth a read:

Review of Leap Pad 2 Explorer on PC Advisor

Best Prices for Leap Pad 2 Explorer

Best prices for the Leap Pad 2 Explorer at the time of writing are on Amazon, Toys R Us and Tesco, and if you’re lucky you’ll find it for £60 instead of the RRP of £89.99. Even if you pay full price, your £90 goes a long long way.

Click the links below to go directly to the product page to check current prices:


#2  –  Lego Friends: Olivia’s House

Lego Friends - Olivia's House
Lego Friends – Olivia’s House

It’s Lego. It’s a cute dolls house. Olivia and her friends can have sleepover parties. Simply put, your little girl will love it.

RRP is £69.99, but we found it for as low as £52 from these retailers:

#3  –  Twister Dance
Ages 8+

Twister Dance
Twister Dance

When I was little we used to love playing Twister, and I would have killed to have a souped-up pop music version of the game. My kids are only 4 and 5 but they absolutely love dancing and a bit of silliness, and that’s exactly what Twister Dance is. It comes with some pre-loaded pop songs which will (if you’re like me) probably make you want to throw up. Thankfully you can hook it up to your own MP3 player and trick your kids into dancing to Candi Staton instead.

RRP is £26.99 but you’ll find it for around £18 to £20 from these stores:


The Dream Toys List in full:


Top Girls Toys for Christmas 2012

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Minnie’s Table Kitchen – IMC Toys UK Ltd £34.99
Monster High High SchoolMattel £89.99
My Little Pony: Wedding CastleHasbro £24.99
My Moshi Home – Vivid Imaginations £38.99
Pillow PetsMookie Toys £16.99
Secret Safe DiaryVTech £24.99
Sylvanian Families Campervan – Flair Leisure Products £39.99
Tatty Teddy: Peanut’s Lamp HouseWorlds Apart £24.99

Top Boys Toys for Christmas 2012

Ben Ten Omniverse Omnitrix Touch – Bandai UK £24.99
Hot Wheel Wall Tracks Power Tower Track Set – Mattel £39.99
Monsuno Core Combat VS 2-pack – Flair Leisure Products £14.99
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire – Hasbro £44.99
Star Wars Fighter Pack Multipack – Hasbro £19.99
Super Moshi HQ – Vivid Imaginations £23.99
Trash Pack Scum Drum – Flair Leisure Products £24.99
Web Shooting Spider Man – Hasbro £34.99

Top Preschool Toys

Car Ferry with PierPlaymobil £39.99
Imaginext CastleMattel £49.99
Jake and the Neverland Pirates Pirate Ship BuckyMattel £49.99
Mega Blocks First Builders Build ‘n Learn TableMega Brands £39.99
Mike the Knight’s Deluxe Glendragon Playset – Character Options £29.99
Peppa Pig: Jump in Muddy Puddles – Character Options £19.99
Switch & Go Dinos: Brok the Brachiosaurus VTech £49.99
Thomas & Friends Steam ‘n Speed R/C Thomas – Mattel £44.99

Top Games for Christmas

Angry Birds Knock on WoodMattel £19.99
Bop It! SmashHasbro £19.99
Fly Trap! – Esdevium Games £19.99
HedbanzSpin Master £12.99
LOGO – Best of TV & Movies Drumond Park £28.99
Snackin’ SafariHasbro £14.99
Twister Dance –  Hasbro £26.99
Uno RobotoMattel £24.99

 Top Creative Toys

Crayola Catwalk Creations House of Fashion – Vivid Imaginations £28.99
Crayola Glow Book – Vivid Imaginations £26.99
Dr Dreadful Zombie Lab – Spin Master £24.99
Hello Kitty Cool Cardz Design Studio – Flair Leisure £17.99
Orbeez Soothing Spa – Character Options £29.99
Play-Doh Candy Cyclone – Hasbro £24.99
Pro Deck Workshop – John Adams £24.99
Waggle Tagz – John Adams £19.99

Top Construction Toys

Character Building: Deadly 60 Steve Safari Playset – Character Options £29.99
LEGO CITY Mine – LEGO £74.99
LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes Batwing Battle Over Gotham City – LEGO £34.99
LEGO Friends: Olivia’s House – LEGO £69.99
LEGO Monster Fighters: The Ghost Train – LEGO £59.99
LEGO Star Wars: Desert Skiff – LEGO £23.99
LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Mines of Moria – LEGO £69.99
Mega Blocks Halo Countdown – Mega Brands £99.99

Best Tech Toys for Christmas

Air Hogs R/C Hover Assault – Spin Master £49.99
Air Hogs R/C Fly Crane – Spin Master £39.99
Attacknid – WowStuff £69.99
Barbie Photo Fashion with Built-in Camera – Mattel £69.99
Hexbug: Nano Hive Habitat Set –  Innovation First £24.99
Micro Scalextric Star Wars: Death Star Attack – Hornby Hobbies £69.99
Skylanders Giants – Activision Blizzard £14.99
Spy Net Night Vision Video Watch – JAKKS Pacific £49.99

Most Popular Dolls for Christmas 2012

Baby Born Interactive Doll – Zapf Creation £39.99
Barbie Puppy Play Park – Mattel £27.99
Bratzillas Dolls with Pets Assortment – MGA Entertainment £19.99
Cabbage Patch Kids – JAKKS Pacific £29.99
Disney Princess Swirling Lights Cinderella – Mattel £29.99
Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Star – Harmony B Sharp – MGA Entertainment £49.99
Monster High Ghouls Rule Dolls – Mattel £22.99
Novi Stars Doll Assortment –MGA Entertainment £19.99

Best Interactive Toys

Cherry the Cat – Flair Leisure £59.99
Fufris Funny Monkey – IMC UK Toys Ltd £14.99
Furby – Hasbro £59.99
FurReal Bouncy, My Happy To See Me Pup – Hasbro £39.99
M3 Master Moves Mickey – Mattel £69.99
Moshi Monster App Monsters – Vivid Imaginations £21.99
Tatty Teddy: Story Time Interactive – Carte Blanche £39.99

Top Educational Toys

First Steps Baby Walker – VTech£29.99
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Dance & Play Puppy – Mattel £44.99
Gadget the Robot – VTech £39.99
InnoTab 2 – VTech £84.99
Kurio 7 – Inspiration Works £149.99
LeapPad 2 – Leapfrog Toys £89.99
Leapster GS – Leapfrog Toys £64.99
Toot-Toot Drivers Garage – VTech £39.99


Disclosure: If you shop after clicking on one of the links above, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you. We have an arrangement with most UK retailers, large and small, so my recommendations are unbiased. Every penny we receive in commission goes into site maintenance so we can continue to bring you honest reviews of everything really kid friendly.

Written by Janis P.

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