Friday, 19 November 2010

More Toys for Christmas!

The Tot Testers have been trying out some more of what retailers think will be the top sellers this Christmas, but do they stand up to our Tots?

Firstly we have playsets from WOW! toys.

The Wow playsets are available in all types, from rescue sets which feature chunky Ambulances, to Aeroplanes, and farm sets, these brightly coloured and highly detailed sets are just right for children who may be too young for Lego playsets. 

I like that they encourage imaginative play, as the child can put them together as one set or mix a few together to creature a world of their own, and they require the child to make the noises for them. 

They are just the right size for for a toddler to play with without supervision, it doesn't need batteries, so the toys don't end up being redundant in the toy box when they stop working, and they are durable too- ours were played with with Little Tots usual heavy handedness, but they remained in one piece with no damage at all!

Its very similar to Playmobil, but is more suited to a child of Little Tots age as there aren't any small parts. Its also a bit cheaper too!

You can buy WOW Toys from Argos for under £20

Next is FurReal Snuggimals .

The FurReal franchise features cuddly toy animals of all shapes and sizes, from handheld Snuggimals which we tested to full sized dogs and cats. The FurReal pets make noise or move. 

I like the idea of these, as with two young children actually owning a pet is something I think they aren't ready for- proved by their Gerbils who are now looked after solely by me as they lost interest in them as they couldn't play with them. Having a pet is something parents with a small home or no garden, or a child with allergies just can't accommodate so these are the logical alternative.

The Snuggimals are handheld, and come with batteries already in them. They are very sweet looking- we had a rabbit and a guinea pig (I think that's what it was!) and they are just the right size for stroking (with none of the mess!).

When the animal is petted, its tail wiggles. This was great for a few times, but the Tots sadly got bored quite quickly and moved on to noisier toys. Big Tot preferred it when we switched hers off too, as she liked to absent-mindedly stroke it while sitting eating her lunch, but Little Tot had very little interest.

The problem is that the toy costs £7.99, (Argos) which is quite expensive for something so small and so basic, and something which the Tots found a bit boring after a day! Its a good stocking filler, but I'd scout out a cheaper price!

Lastly we have the Chatimal.

There is always a toy which comes out of nowhere, but which suddenly is everywhere and all the children want it. Last year was Zhu Zhu Hamsters, a few years back it was Buzz Lightyear, this years toy is sure to be the Chatimal.

These furry little creatures, available in a Hamster or a Meerkat, are quite quirky to look at- you can tell that they are going to be loved by kids but will drive you mad by Boxing Day.

The Chatimal, as its name suggests, talks. You simply press the button and record a short message, or say your name (not rude words as Gadget Dad suggested. At least not round the children) and it repeats it every 6 seconds. Loudly.

It moves its mouth and will repeat what you've said in a high or low pitched voice, or in a funny way, it chooses how, and then you can touch his paw and record something else. 

I think this is a toy which has the novelty factor, the Meerkat version certainly ties in well with the sudden love of all things simples in the UK, so they are bound to sell tons of them. However, like any novelty toy, such as Billy Bass from a few years ago, they will end up appearing at a Boot Fair near you in time, and it'll be the toy you pick and say "I remember them, they were so annoying". 

However at £14.99 (Find Me a Gift)  it is a harmless piece of fun, the kids will love recording into it, adults will hate it but then love it when they too can do as Gadget Dad thought of and record it saying something naughty, but a great toy which will keep the kids amused for hours on Christmas morning!

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