Even the youngest children will need their technological know-how up to speed when Father Christmas visits this year, according to the top toy predictions from Hamleys.
The recent trend for old-fashioned wooden toys appears to be firmly relegated to the past again, replaced by a robot featuring speech-to-text technology and a cuddly bear who “really knows you” the moment he is connected to a smart device.
The latest LeapPad Platinum children’s tablet - suitable for children as young as three - comes in at £120 but features a “fast, powerful processor and sleek design” with front and back cameras, music player and enhanced parental controls.
The £40 3D Maker lets children create masterpieces ranging from a butterfly to the Eiffel Tower from scratch, while parents enlisted to help can be reassured that this takes just four simple steps.
The £65 i-Que Intelligent Robot, also for those aged three and older, uses speech-to-text technology to “literally understand almost anything you say”, while even toddler favourite Peppa Pig will break into a version of Ring A Ring O’ Roses if her hands are held.
Hamleys, whose buyers have predicted the 10 top sellers this Christmas from the thousands launched this year, said manufacturers had focused on innovation to encourage creativity in children.
The latest Thunderbirds offering is an £80 Tracy Island playset featuring interactive technology that lets children from three years create their own story, and the new £60 Little Live Pets Clever Keet “is your feathered friend who’s just like a real bird only smarter”, who can not only talk and respond to voices but drives its own cart.
When the batteries run out, Kinetic Sand is set to occupy little hands with its mess-free liquid-like texture that never dries out, while the Shopkins collectible craze looks set to continue with the £20 Ice Cream Truck.
And Christmas still wouldn’t be Christmas without some Frozen fun, this year in the form of a £40 Skate & Sing Elsa that allows fans to relive the movie “again, again and again”.