Christmas Stocking Fillers

Classic toys and gifts – and everything’s under a tenner!

2011’s Best Toys

Looking for something special? Check out our very favourite toys of 2011

Baby and Toddler Toys

Perfect gifts for the littlest members of the family, from cuddly friends to exciting new toys to explore

Toys for Big Kids

We’ve tried and tested the very best toys and games for children aged 5+. Good times guaranteed!

Playmobil

Because the best things come in small packages. Our guide to the best Playmobil play sets, from pirates to princesses and everything in between.

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Battroborg 3-in-1 Battle Arena
February 4, 2014 – 10:12 am | No Comment
Battroborg 3-in-1 Battle Arena

“Battling remote control robots, every boy and daddy’s dream”

What toys would you bring on a UK break?
September 23, 2013 – 5:40 pm | No Comment
What toys would you bring on a UK break?

When you are going away on various UK Christmas breaks you can never be sure of the weather, so it always pays to0 take a number of toys with you. However, you need these toys to pack away as small as possible so they do not take up too much precious packing space. You also want them to be fun for all the family.

Great Christmas Toys Of Yesteryear: A Focus On The 80s and 90s
August 14, 2013 – 12:23 pm | No Comment
Great Christmas Toys Of Yesteryear: A Focus On The 80s and 90s

If you’ve ever had the chance to watch Toy Hunter on TV, you’ll know full well how even the most obscure toy from a few decades ago could have a value far beyond what you would expect. Renowned toy dealer Jordan Hembrough, who hosts the show, always does his best to be fair to those he buys toys from as he travels the East and West Coasts of America.

#Freerangesummer
August 6, 2013 – 4:34 pm | No Comment
#Freerangesummer

We are having a freerange summer over at Mum in the Madhouse. I want to encourage my boys to get out and about and have fun in the sun we were (and hopefully will have again) having. I want them to choose outdoor activities over electronics and indoor activities. I want them to make up their own games and learn the joy of getting hot, mucky and only coming home when you are thirsty and hungry

Outdoor toys that stimulate creativity and inventiveness
July 30, 2013 – 10:18 am | No Comment

The summer holidays are here which means that entertaining your children during the day will become one of your main priorities. With no school or after school activities running during the summer, it’s up to you to maintain your child’s creativity levels and keep them engaged with everything that’s going on around them. It’s all too tempting, when you have a long six weeks in front of you, to let children stay indoors, engrossed with their favourite video games. However, this is something that you should refrain from doing if you want to provide your child and yourself with a rewarding six week break.

Encouraging water confidence in children
June 13, 2013 – 7:00 pm | No Comment
Encouraging water confidence in children

Less than 50% of UK children leave school with the ability to swim the minimum requirement of 25 meters (as set by the UK government). This is something which really saddens me and I am a great believer in introducing children to the pool as soon as possible.

A parents guide to Electronic Consoles
April 24, 2013 – 11:02 am | No Comment
A parents guide to Electronic Consoles

In todays fast paced electronic world it is worth knowing a little bit about Gaming consoles. Now this is by no means a complete list, but as a mum of two boys aged eight and nearly seven, this is my understanding of them!

Best toys for learning to tell the time
April 24, 2013 – 9:42 am | No Comment
Best toys for learning to tell the time

learning to tell the time is a key skill for all children and one that can make them feel so grown up. Both my boys were able to tell the time before they were learnt in school and this mean it very easy for them. Also the fact that both the boys can tell the time means I can send them out to play with a watch and give them a time to be home by too.

Best iPad apps for kids
April 8, 2013 – 3:49 pm | No Comment

Touch screen technology has helped to make modern gadgets more accessible than ever, and the tangible, intuitive feel of the iPad makes for some great for apps kids. Here are some of the best iPad apps available for children.

Crafty activities for rainy April days
April 7, 2013 – 3:59 pm | No Comment
Crafty activities for rainy April days

Spring in the UK is one of the most beautiful times of the year: the sun comes out, flowers bursts into life and animals awaken from their winter slumbers. However, spring isn’t quite all sweetness and light, there’s plenty of rain to contend with too, as the infamous April showers force us to spend many afternoons inside. But instead of sitting there looking longingly out of the window, you can make the most of your time indoors and get stuck into some fun crafts with the kids.

Planning a seaside trip
April 6, 2013 – 9:05 am | No Comment
Planning a seaside trip

There’s no need to leave the country to enjoy a fun day at the beach. Whatever the weather, take the kids to explore some of the best spots along Britain’s miles of gorgeous coastline.

When do you start saving for your childs brirthday?
March 16, 2013 – 8:54 pm | No Comment
When do you start saving for your childs brirthday?

This is a topic close to my heart as Maxi turned eight today.  Being the type of child he is, he really doesn’t want for nothing and didn’t ask for any presents on his birthday, however, March is a …

Superb outdoor toys for Christmas
December 6, 2012 – 8:36 pm | No Comment
Superb outdoor toys for Christmas

Yes it is all about the C word, Christmas, but just because it is winter in the UK, it doesn’t mean that all the toys and gifts need to be indoor ones. Sellwood products sell an amazing range of quality childrens climbing frames. They have a range of sizes and prices to suit most budgets and garden sizes.

A Playhouse for Christmas
November 30, 2012 – 10:08 am | No Comment
A Playhouse for Christmas

A wooden playhouse or childrens climbing frame might not be your first idea for Christmas, but from experience I know that they are a great gift for both boys and girls.

Buy online: uk climbing frames

Top Toys for six and seven year old boys 2012
November 29, 2012 – 10:45 am | No Comment
Top Toys for six and seven year old boys 2012

I have two boys aged six and seven who are hard task masters when in comes to toys. So we have put our heads together and products our list together. Some of these items I have received to review, some we have bought for the boys and others they have played with and lusted after at friends houses )yes you know who you are)!

Starting to Craft – essential supplies
November 15, 2012 – 3:44 pm | No Comment
Starting to Craft – essential supplies

Have you always wanted to make things from scratch? Perhaps you want to learn to knit or sew your own clothes. Maybe your kids are getting to an age where craft is the only way to keep them occupied with an activity that doesn’t take place in front of a screen.

But if you’ve never been a crafty person you might need a few pointers about how to fill up your cupboard so that you’ll have the equipment and craft materials you need to begin.

Latest Children’s Films
November 1, 2012 – 1:09 pm | No Comment
Latest Children’s Films

Christmas is getting closer, and now is usually the time when the kids start to think of what they would like as gifts. They might want their favourite film on DVD that they saw in a Vue cinema or perhaps something different relating to that film. Movies like Madagascar, Frankenweenie or even a classic like one of the Toy Story films might give them an idea of what they would like, but the question of which toys is something you might ponder over the next few weeks.

Must-have presents for Christmas 2012
October 23, 2012 – 4:55 pm | One Comment
Must-have presents for Christmas 2012

Top in electronics this year is the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer. Suitable for children aged three years and upwards, this electronic learning tool is perfect for curious minds. It has cameras front and back and comes pre-loaded with five apps designed to get children thinking while they play, with a range of over 255 further apps available to download or as cartridges. The LeapPad2 records progress and adapts in difficulty according to your child’s ability, asking increasingly tough questions as they move forwards.

Matchbox Big Boots Blaze Brigade Vehicle
October 12, 2012 – 10:13 am | No Comment
Matchbox Big Boots Blaze Brigade Vehicle

Piran always loves a fire engine of any description so we were thrilled when the Big Boots Blaze Brigade Vehicle was sent to us to play with. It arrived on a difficult afternoon and was the perfect distraction. Thankfully, the toy came out the packaging really easy, none of those annoying plastic coated ties, just simple plastic locking mechanisms. Piran only cared that it was out any ready to play with in seconds but I was thrilled it was so simple.

GIVEAWAY – Win a £50 Argos Gift Card – Wow!
August 16, 2012 – 10:16 am | 20 Comments
GIVEAWAY – Win a £50 Argos Gift Card – Wow!

You lucky readers of Great Toy Guide have the chance to win a £50 gift voucher, courtesy of Argos. With an enormous range of kid’s toys, children’s clothes, electronic gadgets and pretty much everything under the sun for your home and garden – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
July 6, 2012 – 2:41 pm | No Comment
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

We have not seen the prequel to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, but this didn’t matter, we loved this film and it has been constantly on play since we received it

Giant Connect 4
January 27, 2012 – 4:14 pm | No Comment
Giant Connect 4

This is a fantastic game for all the family to play and it is easier I think for children to make the connections as it is at their level. Both my boys and my niece who is six adored this game and it got plenty of use outside. Even better this has been a real big hit with the eight to fifteen year olds at my Sister in laws youth group that she runs at the social club. It is easy to assemble and you even get bags to store the game peices in when you are not using it.

Bandai Tinga-Tinga Tales
October 25, 2011 – 4:00 pm | No Comment
Bandai Tinga-Tinga Tales

There’s a wide variety of items to accompany the series, from the four-in-one collectable figure (aged three and upwards) to things like a water hole playset and elephant tambourine. They’re colourful, characterful, well-made and stand out in any toy-box just as the TV series stands out from the schedules.

Chad Valley 7ft Trampoline
August 13, 2011 – 8:10 pm | One Comment
Chad Valley 7ft Trampoline

Despite the challenge of assembly, this is a brilliant, brilliant toy and Flea loves it. It’s the perfect compromise between those little kid trampolines for toddlers and those slightly terrifying, high grown-up trampolines that wouldn’t fit in our garden even if I wanted one. This trampoline is big enough for Flea to get loads of use out of – she’s almost six – and has a very satisfying bounce quality.

Playmobil 4149 Compact Beach Set
August 13, 2011 – 7:56 pm | No Comment
Playmobil 4149 Compact Beach Set

Flea loved this set. It was very simple to put together, taking just 5 minutes, and there are some great accessories, so children can play building sandcastles, sailing the boat, or play with the tiny little animal toy figures.

Chad Valley Building Blocks
August 13, 2011 – 7:44 pm | No Comment
Chad Valley Building Blocks

When we were first sent these blocks, Flea was incredibly excited – the images on the box show little houses, and forts being constructed from the blocks. However, when we unpacked the box, we found that the 40 blocks inside, which are a bit like giant Lego bricks – weren’t sufficient to build the house on the packaging. Disappointing.

Lego 7288 Mobile Police Station
August 13, 2011 – 7:39 pm | One Comment
Lego 7288 Mobile Police Station

“The Lego Mobile Police Unit is challenging to build, fun to play with, and very reasonably-priced. We loved it.”
Buy online at Amazon
£33.49
****

Initial thoughts: Typically, when Lego comes in to our house, we wait until Flea’s …

VTech Storio
January 17, 2011 – 9:21 pm | 2 Comments
VTech Storio

It’s a shame perhaps that we tested this after testing the Leapfrog Tag, which in my view is superior to the Storio in almost every way. The Tag takes fewer batteries, is far cheaper, and most importantly of all is more fun – the Storio is pretty much ignored in our house, while the Tag (which Flea’s owned for over a year) is still played with most weeks. Perhaps at five, Flea and Harry were just too old for the Storio – it’s suitable for age three so if you have a toddler who isn’t yet reading, perhaps it’s more suitable – but I’d still worry about spending so much on something kids will likely grow out of within a couple of years.

Ben 10 Shaker Maker
January 17, 2011 – 8:43 pm | No Comment
Ben 10 Shaker Maker

The Ben10 Shaker Maker is a fun activity that can be done within a single day with quite effective results. You’ll need to help children make this, and the painting is tricky, but overall lots of fun, and pretty good value. You can also order new plaster kits so this becomes reusable.

Rubens Barn Baby Zac
December 10, 2010 – 7:56 pm | No Comment
Rubens Barn Baby Zac

The Rubens Farm doll is fantastic quality and full of character – we’ve passed our doll on to a younger friend who absolutely adores playing with the doll, nursing it, dressing it, and walking it around the town. I’m confident she’ll still be playing with it next Christmas!

Miffy Soft Play House
December 9, 2010 – 11:58 pm | No Comment
Miffy Soft Play House

We really enjoyed playing with the Miffy Soft Play House. It has plenty of bits and bobs attached to it to keep babies occupied for long periods and the different sounds, textures and colours provide plenty of sensory stimulation. Plus, it’s designed in the retro Miffy style so parents can enjoy a bit of nostalgia. All in all, this was a definite hit with us.

Galt Cute Cupcakes
December 9, 2010 – 11:26 pm | No Comment
Galt Cute Cupcakes

This is a two-stage activity to be done over two different days, and the instructions are really clear and easy to follow. I thought the results were brilliant. The plaster mouldings turned out perfectly and came out of the mould tray easily. The paint covers them well and the end result was good. Laura really enjoyed watching and helping with the initial activity and then doing the painting independently.

Sprayza No Fuss Airbrush Set
December 9, 2010 – 11:17 pm | No Comment
Sprayza No Fuss Airbrush Set

From a parents’ point of view the positive points of the Sprayza pens are that they are quick and easy to use with minimal preparation time. There’s also very little mess, although any stains will wash off quite easily. The box is small and easily stored, making it ideal for holidays and visits to relatives. The only query I have is how long the pens will last.

Unicorn and Ponies Sticky Mosaics
December 9, 2010 – 11:01 pm | No Comment
Unicorn and Ponies Sticky Mosaics

The unicorn and ponies sticky mosaic set is a great product and Laura had hours of fun playing with it. Although the box seems a little sparkly, the end result is really very effective. Thoroughly recommended.

Leapfrog Tag Reading System
December 7, 2010 – 8:50 pm | No Comment
Leapfrog Tag Reading System

Genuinely, I think the Leapfrog Tag is one of the best toys Flea has ever had. It’s educational without compromising the idea of fun. It motivates kids to read, and play with words, and because you can buy new books as your child gets older, it should last them for years – or can be shared between kids of different ages. I love it.

Toy Story Klip Kitz Figure – Buzz
November 27, 2010 – 9:23 pm | No Comment
Toy Story Klip Kitz Figure – Buzz

Klip Kitz gives you a reasonable value Buzz Lightyear figure, which is not to heavy to play with, but it does have its flaws and does require quite a lot of parental support …

Star Wars Boba Fett Helmet
November 27, 2010 – 9:02 pm | No Comment
Star Wars Boba Fett Helmet

The Star Wars Boba Fett Helmet is a must have for any Star Wars fan and even though it is expensive it will become a well used toy. My four year old would go to bed in his if I let him.

Orchard Toys Pirate Snakes and Ladders & Ludo
November 27, 2010 – 8:45 pm | No Comment
Orchard Toys Pirate Snakes and Ladders & Ludo

You really can not go wrong with the classic games and Orchard Toys have really just improved on a classic without fiddling with it too much, which is why Orchard Toys Pirate Snakes and Ladders & Ludo is so successful. A must have for any games cupboard.

Meccano Construction Starter Case
November 27, 2010 – 8:26 pm | No Comment
Meccano Construction Starter Case

The Meccano Construction Starter Case is an excellent introduction to Meccano and superb for imaginative construction play.
Buy online: Toys R Us
£14.99
*****

Initial Thoughts: Meccano is a real blast from the past and the Meccano Construction …

Gormiti Elemental Fusion Figure and Mystical Alter
November 27, 2010 – 8:05 pm | One Comment
Gormiti Elemental Fusion Figure and Mystical Alter

I fear that the Gormiti Elemental Fusion Figure and Mystical Alter was at a loss even before we used it, as we didn’t understand the concept or come across the island of Gorm before, but for £14.99 I would expect something a little more impressive.

Ben 10 Alien Force Laser Lance
November 27, 2010 – 6:34 pm | No Comment
Ben 10 Alien Force Laser Lance

I wouldnt spend £19.99 on the Ben 10 Alien Force Laser Lance and even feel that the £9.99 it has been reduced to could be better spent. This is just another to make money from Ben10 fans and their parents.

Kung Zhu Battle Arena
November 27, 2010 – 6:17 pm | No Comment
Kung Zhu Battle Arena

What isn’t to like about ninja and special forces hamsters? My boys loved the tanks and suits you can put on your hamster and have really enjoyed playing this this. A great toy if you have more than one child, enabling battles between their hamsters. Even my 5 year old niece enjoyed the Kung Zhu Battle Arena

Gormiti Magic Egg
November 27, 2010 – 4:57 pm | No Comment
Gormiti Magic Egg

I failed to see the point of the Gormiti Magic Egg, after the initial wow, it hasn’t been played with since
Buy online: Toys R Us
£4.97
*

Initial Thoughts: The boys were keen to see what was inside …

Ben 10 Alien Swarm Action Cycle – Elena
November 27, 2010 – 4:26 pm | No Comment
Ben 10 Alien Swarm Action Cycle – Elena

The boys had no idea what character the Ben 10 Alien Swarm Action Cycle had on, so were not that interested in it, until they discovered that it could squirt water.

Sparrowkids Cat Cushion
November 26, 2010 – 12:35 pm | No Comment
Sparrowkids Cat Cushion

As a craft project for a child, this is excellent and lots of fun. The instructions are so easy to follow and the fact that children can do the majority (if not all) of the work on this means that it’s a brilliant introduction to sewing and crafting. We can’t wait to try out the next kit.

The Rainbow Collections – Snowflake CD
November 26, 2010 – 12:19 pm | No Comment
The Rainbow Collections – Snowflake CD

Snowflake is a fantastic Christmas Album which will be played again and again over the festive season. Even my mum asked who was signing the songs as she loved her voice. It is a very serene album without the normal lack of tune you often get with arrangement done for children.

Lalaloopsy doll
November 26, 2010 – 11:07 am | No Comment
Lalaloopsy doll

Lalaloopsy’s head is too big and ungainly for her wee little body.  No matter what you did with it the massive head flopped over or back.
Buy online: Amazon.co.uk
£22.99
**

Initial thoughts: Lalaloospy looked like a …

Playmobil Dragon’s Dungeon (4836)
November 24, 2010 – 3:55 pm | No Comment
Playmobil Dragon’s Dungeon (4836)

For less than £40 the Playmobil Dragon’s Dungeon is an excellent set and would make a great set without having to buy the great dragon castle. It has plenty of play potential and will keep children occupied for hours. We all loved the fact that it has its own light too.

Paper Jamz Instant Rock Star Drums
November 24, 2010 – 1:52 pm | No Comment
Paper Jamz Instant Rock Star Drums

The range of playing modes, and the fact you could buy accessories to make up a small band, makes the Paper Jamz Drum kit quite an impressive toy. It is easily portable and with the headphones socket makes it a good toy to take along to family gatherings. But I would say, with only three songs included, you may find your young drummer could do with more.

Tomy Play to Learn Mr Colour Maker
November 24, 2010 – 1:42 pm | No Comment
Tomy Play to Learn Mr Colour Maker

he Tomy Play to Learn Mr Colour Maker is an interactive toy for children aged 2 plus. It consists of a large paint pot with handle, three small primary colour pots and ‘brush’ to stir inside the pot to create the colours. It sings, it lights up and it speaks. On first glance it seemed like an excellent toy for enquiring young minds.

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