What are the best toys to buy this Christmas?
How do they stand out from the crowd? What is it about them that gets young people so excited?
We’ve sifted through the ‘Best Sellers’, combed through the ‘Christmas Must Haves’ and leafed through the latest Argos catalogue to bring you what we think are the biggest and most interesting Christmas toys of 2019… have a read and let us know what you think!
Boppi The Booty Shakin’ Llama
Trendsetter, Award winner, Booty Shaker
Boppi The Booty Shakin’ Llama truly is the dark horse – or dark llama – of the Christmas toy race.
This plush mammal caused a stir on social media after she won the Toy Fair Gala’s ‘Toy of the Year’ award in the electronic category and overall back in March.
But why is everyone so taken with little Boppi?
It seems Boppi’s appeal is simple, the bizarre sight of an angelic looking plush toy ‘booty shakin’, ‘head spinning’ and ‘twerking’ is met with a giggle from people of all ages.
She’s the twerking mascot you never knew you wanted in your life.
Nerf Fortnite Blasters
Gaming Meets Real Life
Can Fortnite ever be avoided when talking about kids’ interests? It appears not.
As the free-to-play phenomena continues to dominate the online gaming landscape – with an estimated 250 million players – it is unsurprising that the collection of Nerf Fortnite Blasters have featured on nearly every major retailers ‘top toys’ list this year.
Fortnite merchandise has made it onto our shelves before – as FUNKO Pops!, plush toys and stationary – but Nerf now promises purchasers a real-life battle royal experience, bringing the Fortnite fever into the physical world as well as the digital one.
The added allure of these toys (for brand and buyer alike) is that they offer an alternative to screen time and encourage kids to play outside whilst keeping them a part of the worldwide Fortnite community.
If this blaster becomes a fan favourite over the festive period it begs the question: what will be the next Fortnite feature to make it into the stocking? Skin Onesies? Full size llama piñatas?
It feels like there’s high potential for Fortnite stocking stuffers down the line…
Shortlist Festive Family Favourite
Few games can grab the attention of the entire family at Christmas…
In previous years games like Speak Out or PieFace have taken the country by storm – some might argue that the appeal of both of these games is just making your family members look like fools (whether that’s due to their cream covered faces or dental device-crammed mouthes).
This year we think Pictionary Air has a shot at being the family favourite (and not just for the potential comic appeal).
The game can be best thought of – or sold to less enthusiastic family members – as ‘Pictionary meets charades’. Players draw their image into the air and the rest of their teammates guess the answer as the picture appears on the phone or iPad in front of them.
Potentially the biggest advantage that Pictionary Air has over its competitors is that it appeals to the public’s current appetite for nostalgic artefacts whilst incorporating a digital twist. It’s familiar and completely new at the same time.
You can look forward to Christmas in the knowledge that plenty of haphazard Pictionary masterpieces and videos of Pictionary Air artists hard at work will be making their way onto your newsfeed…
Barbie Dreamplane Playset
A Retro Revival
This next top toy is an example of a slightly different – but equally fascinating – ‘retro revival’.
Barbie has undertaken a monumental makeover during the last few years: she has various new body shapes and skin tones; she’s taken on the image of iconic women from across the world; and, most recently, become gender neutral.
It isn’t too much of a leap to assume that this reinvention of Barbie may be the reason behind the rising popularity of Barbie Dreamplane Playset, as the sales of Mattel’s beloved doll have started heading skyward – jumping twelve percent in the last quarter.
All of this demonstrates the important role that the messages attached to toys have on play: this two-barbie craft, for example, wishes to remind Barbie fans that ‘the sky is the limit’ and, with recent more inclusive collections, all children ‘can imagine everything they can become’. How wholesome is that?
Peppa Pig Stage Playset
Building on the Live Show Appeal?
The next ‘must have’ item in our round-up looks to boost creativity and re-introduce theatres to kids’ toy collections.
Launched ahead of the new live show set to tour across the UK next year, ‘Peppa Pig Best Day Ever’, the Stage Playset allows children to imagine they are the director of their very own theatrical productions featuring their favourite pink protagonists.
Kids can use the various backdrops provided to prompt the storyline of their Peppa production or set their own scenes by scribbling away on blank cards and slotting them into the mise en scène.
What makes this toy standout for us, is that it enters the market at a difficult time for children and the arts. Global stars such as Ed Sheeran and Olivia Coleman have spoken out about the rapid decline of funding reserved for arts education, with little reception.
Can Peppa single-handedly begin a theatrical renaissance in younger consumers? Will we soon hear kids begging their mums and dads for tickets to the NT? Only time can truly tell…
Scruff-a-Luvs Real Rescue
A Box of Surprises with a Moral Message
In today’s market a toy’s appeal can be measured by the grandeur of its ‘reveal’. You can find almost every type of toy hidden inside a bling bag, surprise egg or mystery box ready to be unpacked and added to a growing collection.
However, Scruff-a-Luvs manufacturer, Little Live, have seen this demand for surprise toys as an opportunity to teach children a valuable lesson about kindness.
Each box has a mystery animal inside ready to be rescued. On opening the kennel box, the new owner will be met with a small ball of fur that (once added to water) will expand to reveal a scruffy companion.
These toys are designed to teach children how to nurture and accept that toys, pets and people come in all different shapes and sizes, and that all are worth taking care of.
Plus, for every toy adopted, Scruff-a-Luvs will donate part of the proceeds to the RSPCA to help real animals find their own ‘furever’ homes.
All in all, you could say that we’re ‘pawsitive’ that Scruff-a-Luvs deserves a place in our Top Toys for Christmas 2019…
LEGO Hidden Side
Where Physical Meets Digital
This may seem like an average LEGO playset to the naked eye but download the LEGO Hidden Side App and you can scan the build to reveal its ‘hidden side’.
Kids can now be ‘hands on and minds on’ with this new AR feature as they unlock games, discover new characters, and solve puzzles – offering kids an engaging digital world to explore that can be spread out on their bedroom floor.
There are lots of really interesting AR products on the market right now: games like Pokémon Go! and Wizards Unite. But this is the first we’ve seen that combines hands-on building and construction (an implicit Lego brand strength that also finds outlets digitally in games like Minecraft and Fortnite), with the excitement and dynamism of the digital space – a very exciting proposition indeed…
Enjoyed this read? Check out our blog on Kids Trends in 2019 or our interview with Olly Pike, the activist, author, illustrator and Youtuber whose mission it is to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia with his LGBT+ kids media content.
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