Best toys for Christmas 2018: 21 must-have games and toy gifts for kids of all ages this Xmas

Need a playful present? These are hottest toys for kids this year, from the creative and educational to pure silly fun

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It's a universal truth that adults will struggle to get what toys the latest generation of kids like, or why. But don't worry, your backwards-cap-wearing friend of the youth, T3, is here to help you find the best toys for Christmas.

We've got everything from the surprise collectibles that are so fashionable right now, to fun engineering and coding toys that are as educational as they are engrossing, to cool cuddlies and, of course, the hottest Lego.

And don't forget that we have lots more of the best Christmas gift ideas for all ages.

Best toys Gravitrax

1. Gravitrax Starter Set

Take marble runs to the next level with this engineering set

Reasons to buy
+Infinite fun through modular design+Learn about engineering and physics+Can build on it in the future

The educational toy maestros at Ravensburger have another hit on their hands with this modular building set, which brings the good old-fashioned fun of creating a marble run bang up to date. Use the hexagonal pieces and track to create a gravity-powered flow with all kinds of twists and turns – plus elements like Y points, free falling, and even a “Magnetic Cannon”. You can expand it infinitely too, with add-ons that include the like of catapults and hammers, so you can really turn it into Rube Goldberg-esque fun.

Best toys Polly Pocket

2. Polly Pocket Cupcake Compact

Polly’s back! Tiny fun is here again

Reasons to buy
+Extreme nostalgia for the adults+Small, but lots of fun

The trend for reviving old favourites has hit the toy industry too, and there’s a big new Polly Pocket range. As before, you get a mini playset that hides inside a ‘case’ that folds up for transport, and looks fun on a shelf. There’s a whole range to choose from, but we like the value and size of this set – from the little scooter and kitchen, to the dance stage, and inexplicable giant dog in the doorway.

Best toys Boxer

3. Boxer

A little robot buddy they can play with anywhere

Reasons to buy
+Comes with a range of different games+Can also be remote-controlled

Boxer is a four-wheel robot toy for kids, which expresses itself using its eye-like screen at the front. It’s not exactly an advanced AI, but it can play over 10 different games. It comes with cards that you ‘scan’ by rolling Boxer then, which tells it what game to play, such as racing or bowling. It also comes with a remote control, and with built in sensors, it reacts to your movements.

Best toys Treasure X

4. Treasure X

Get into the art of excavation

Reasons to buy
+Surprise reveals are cool+As are pirates

With all the success of ‘surprise package’ opening videos on YouTube, it’s no, uh, surprise that loads of new toy lines are getting in on the trend. This is one of the weirdest, making it simultaneously one of the coolest. Each Treasure X package contains a block of soft rock, that has to be dug through to reveal a surprise figure. Oh, and it’s possible the treasure in the middle might be actual gold.

Best toys Nintendo Labo

5. Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit

Mixing video games with physical play

Reasons to buy
+Clever things to build+Educational and fun

Nintendo’s wildly successful Switch has a low-tech new set of add-ons. This variety kit comes with five different accessories to build out of weirdly well-engineered cardboard – once you pop out the shapes and fold in the right places, you get amazingly sturdy end result, that interact with the Switch’s controllers and screen in interesting ways. From a working piano to motorbiking to fishing, this adds some simple but engaging new games - and there’s even basic programming tool to learn for the little remote-control car unit.

Best toys LittleLivePets

6. LittleLivePets My Dream Kitten

Much cheaper than a real one

Reasons to buy
+Interacts like a real kitten (sort of)+Pretty adorable

If the kids want a fluffy friend to keep them company, Cuddles does a pretty great job. It will nuzzle and twirl its tail when petted, purr to show it’s happy, and even takes naps with its eyes closed. Its response different depending on where you tickle it, and it has 20 sounds and six different play modes. There’s also Snuggle the puppy for the more canine-inclined.

Best toys Lego Harry Potter

7. Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall

A bit of magic

Reasons to buy
+Fun build that looks like the movie set+Lots to play with

This brilliant Lego set looks just like the movie version of Hogwarts from one side, but turn it around and you get a fab playset, including minifigs of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and more, including appearances by the basilisk and Fawkes. There’s a great version of the inside of Great Hall, as well as a tower containing a moving staircase, potions room and Mirror of Erised.

Best toys Don't Step In It

8. Don’t Step in It

Kids love poop, what can we say?

Reasons to buy
+Stupid family fun+Pretty good value

“Step in the fewest poops to win” says this game’s description, and we’re not sure we can better that. Someone dons a blindfold, and must walk from one end of he included mat to the other without stepping any of ‘it’. The poops themselves are a soft compound that you press into shape using the included mould, so that they’ll squish horrifying underfoot when you hit one. A spinning wheel says how far someone will have to walk, or might cause other players to add more poop to the mat (using the compound, of course).

Best toys Popteenies Surprise Poppers

9. Popteenies Surprise Poppers

A collectible confetti explosion

Reasons to buy
+Surprise toys are in+Funky little figures

Like a party popper, when you twist the bottom of these Popteenies poppers, the hidden character inside bursts out in a spray of confetti. You’re then left with a mini collectible doll, which comes with a unique cool look and a little accessory.

Best toys TOMY Soccerborg

10. TOMY Soccerborg

Get on the robot football trend now, before FIFA does

Reasons to buy
+Good clean RC fun+Easy to set up anywhere

Remote control gadgets are cool. Football is cool. Put them together and you have one of this year’s hottest gifts. These are exactly what they look like: two robots you steer around using remotes, with little legs you can kick out for punting the ball. Brackets on either side of Robo Pires and Android Cole (as well call them) make it easier to scoop the ball, and so you just need to get it into your opponent’s cardboard goal.

Best toys Zoomer Hungry Bunnies


11. Zoomer Hungry Bunnies

Interactive bunnies that really eat up time

Reasons to buy
+Voracious appetite+Interactive games

These innocent-looking bunnies are eating machines, in a very literal way. They come with sheet of paper snacks, which you you feed them through their mouths, and actually get chewed up – they, er, excrete the shredded remains. When they’re full, you can play a music game with them, or ticket their belly for a reaction.

Best toys LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

12. LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

For the budding Tony Stark or Shuri

Reasons to buy
+Flexible and expandable electronic system+Encourages creativity in building

LittleBits’ inventor kits are a brilliant way to let kids play with electrical engineering: they have lots of modules that just magnetically click together to build complex circuits, with lots of different input and output options, such as sensors or light and speaker books. This Marvel-themed set ways to build wearable tech that evokes Iron Man or The Wasp, and it’s all programmable from the accompanying app, so you can make the LED light matrix do whatever you like. As a fun finish, the set encourages you to build the the actual casing out of household items in a very Blue Peter fashion.

Best toys Rhino Hero – Super Battle

13. Rhino Hero – Super Battle

Because animal superheroes are the best superheroes

Reasons to buy
+Massive fun for kids or adults+Big play from a fairly small box

Like a mixture of reverse Jenga and buckaroo, in this game you build a skyscraper by placing your cards down as ‘floors’ and building walls from L-shaped cards, which is not exactly the most stable structure, and you really don’t want it to fall. But things get even more tense, because you each have a little wooden animal superhero, all of whom want to take their place as high up the tower as possible, defending it… which makes it more unbalanced. Oh, and there are evil spider-monkey blocks that hang off the edges of cards. The tension rollercoaster of delicately placing your cards successfully, then realising you still need to move a hero block risking a whole new chance for disaster, is brilliant.

Best toys Micro Scalextric

14. Micro Scalextric Hyper Cars Race Set

High-speed racing, small scale

Reasons to buy
+Classic Scalextric action+Super-manageable size

Scalextric’s plan to hook ’em while they’re young as produced a set that’s designed for kids as young as four to be able to have fun playing, but really is great for kids of any age who’d like a bit of slot-car action without the room-dominating size (and expense) of a standard Scalextric set. As ever, you’ve got a trigger for controlling your car’s speed (in this case, mini Bugatti Veyrons), so try to beat your opponent around the multiple possible track layouts without hurtling off into the utility room. There are other Micro Scalextric set too, including a Sci-Fi Speedway that includes a loop, and the tracks can be mixed into bigger circuits.

Best toys Scruff-A-Loves

15. Scruff-A-Luvs

Teaching kids the value of washing

Reasons to buy
+More mystery fun+Pretty adorable premise

Another surprise box gift, you won’t know which scruffy animal you get in each pack, but the gist is the same once they come out – the puppy, or kitten, or bunny that you find will have its fur in a scruffy, fluffy mess, and through washing and grooming, it’ll form its more recognisable animal shape, and then you’ve got a cuddly friend to play with.

Best toys Fingerlings Untamed Raptor

16. Fingerlings Untamed Raptor

A baby dinosaur on your finger that you can tame

Reasons to buy
+Dinosaurs are the best+Reacts to touch

Every kid wants a dinosaur as a pet, right? The Fingerlings Untamed Raptor grips your finger, but has a wild temperament, growing and snapping its jaws at you when touched. But, if you brave stroking its head, it will those not into ancient lizards.

Best toys Lego App-controlled Batmobile

17. Lego App-controlled Batmobile

Become the Dark Knight, in a tiny and fun way

Reasons to buy
+Build a Lego Batmobile+Drive it with an app+What more do you want!?

What’s cooler than a Lego Batmobile? One you can drive using a remote control. Put together the car from over 300 Lego pieces, then use the new Bluetooth-connected motors to drive it around with the accompanying app on Android and iPhone. And of course, once you’ve had your fill with the basic build, you can customise with all your other Lego.

Best toys Nerf Laser Ops Pro

18. Nerf Laser Ops Pro

Battle to the digital death with app-connected lasers

Reasons to buy
+Play laser quest anywhere+Double set makes it easy to get started

Breaking away from Nerf’s traditional foam projectiles, the Laser Ops funs shoot infrared light, aiming to hit sensors and register killer shots. They feature lights sound, indicators for health and ammo, and a reload button. The guns connect to an app, that lets you customise how you play, and stores stats from your battles. And if you want more people to play, you can add more guns, and divide into teams using the app.

Best toys Teddy Ruxpin

19. Teddy Ruxpin

A bear that reads bedtime stories with kids

Reasons to buy
+An updated classic+Loads of stories in the app+40 facial expressions

Teddy Ruxpin is a cuddly bear that reads stories to kids, adding flair with his LCD eyes and motorised mouth, which can create dozens of expressions based on what’s happening in the tale. He comes with three bedtime stories (and some songs), but you can add more through the app, which includes an ebook version kids can read along with while Teddy Ruxpin speaks.

Best toys Hot Wheels Drone Racerz Bladez Vehicle Set

20. Hot Wheels Drone Racerz Bladez Vehicle Set

The famous mini cars take to the sky (and still do stunt driving)

Reasons to buy
+Flying fun+Stunt spectacular

This two-in-one remote control vehicle is a car when you clip on the propellor top (complete with blade guards), that can take of from any flat surface, be flown around, and can even flip in the air. Or, use the car mode to drive it around on the ground. It comes with ramps and gates for stunt and flying challenges, so there’s a huge amount of fun to be had from one small box.

Best toys MekaMon Beserker v2

21. MekaMon Beserker v2

A battling robot with advanced robotics

Reasons to buy
+Advanced augmented reality play+Very cool robotics, too

Robotics and augmented reality are two of 2018’s biggest buzzwords, and they’re mixed perfectly in this great robo toy. The spider-like bot can be controlled from your phone, which will show enemies and obstacles on-screen to shoot… or you can battle up to three other Berserkers in metallic mortal combat. There’s an educational side, too – you can create custom animations for Mekamon’s impressive motors using the app’s clever interface for building your own moves.