Christmas toys 2014: the top 12 revealed
What do a pretend budgie, a Nerf gun and a smart watch have in common? They are all on a new list of the top toys children will be pestering parents (or Santa Claus) for this Christmas.
The 12 must-have toys form this year's Dream Toys list of products, compiled by the Toy Retailers Association (TRA), which canvasses its member stores to produce the list of gifts and games they expect to be flying off the shelves between now and 25 December.
The 2014 selection includes new twists on classics toys, such as figurines and dolls, as well as technology-powered gifts for adventurous youngsters, such as a smart watch specifically designed for those aged four to five-plus.
If you thought you'd finally seen the end of the craze for Disney's animated film Frozen, you may have to think again (or just 'let it go'), as there are not one but two Frozen products on the list of 12 toys: a 'Snow Glow Elsa' figurine and Frozen Sparkle Dolls.
Gary Grant, chair of the Dream Toys committee, said: "Our top toys list illustrates how diverse toys are, encouraging very different patterns of play. It's great to see creative and sharing toys sitting alongside more traditional toys or toys that facilitate a bit of rough and tumble."
The 12 top toys aside, the TRA has also produced a wider list of the 72 toys it believes will head up Christmas wishlists this year. Grant says around half are priced at less than £25, meaning parents should not have to compromise their carefully-balanced household finances this year. "The Dream Toys list is relevant for all consumers," he added.
Among the wider list are even more Frozen toys (priced at £14.99 to £44.99), Lego and other building toys (£19.99 to £79.99), toys for toddlers (£19.99 to £69.99) and a 'Tech Tastic!' selection.
The technology-driven toys include: a couple of rival smart watches (Kidizoom priced at £39.99, and LeapBand priced at £29.99); a robot called MiP (£98.99) that can carry its own body weight; a doll called Cayla (£58.99) that can be controlled via the internet; and a Furby-like cuddly alien called Xeno (£79.99) that can dance, burp and play games.
One boy was helping to demonstrate the MiP at the Dream Toys event. After showing how you can get the robot to dance and even fall asleep, he said: "It's a great robot. I'm 12 but a kid of 8 would get just as much fun out of this. It's for everyone really."
Similarly, a younger girl demonstrated how LeapTV worked. It's an "educational video gaming system" designed for children that allows you to play games in the same way you would on a Wii console, but using games with an educational edge.
The Dream Toys list of 12 top toys in full:
1) Bop It! Beats (RRP £21.99)
2) Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa (£34.99)
3) Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll (assorted) (£16.99)
4) Kidizoom Smart Watch (£39.99)
5) Little Live Pets Bird Cage (19.99)
6) Minecraft Figures (assorted) (£7.99)
7) My Friend Cayla (£58.99)
8) Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 (£44.99)
9) The Lego Movie: Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! (£79.99)
10) Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park (£39.99)
11) Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock (£89.99)
12) Zoomer Dino-Boomer (£99.99)