Top Ten Toddler Toys for Christmas 2012

Well it’s that time of year again. Time for me to get rubbing at my crystal ball and start predicting what your little darlings would love to see Santa to leave for them underneath the Christmas Tree.

Right now im up to the Toddler list, and will be adding the Baby list over the next few days.

Check out the other lists here:

Top Ten Boys Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Girls Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Baby Toys for Christmas 2012

As always the lists aren’t in any sort of order of importance, it’s just the top 10 things that I think most of the Toddlers will be after this year.

On Site JCB Toy Range

Boys in general love their big machines. They also love getting messy and muddy.

This probably explains the attraction of the JCB’s, the little ones can’t seem to get enough of them.

I can remember how into JCB’s my little ones used to be, although there wasn’t many toys around yet we had a JCB DVD and watched it over and over and over again for about a year.

Thankfully for parents nowadays there is an amazing range of JCB toys for toddlers, and it’s called JCB On Site.

There are 4 vehicles available in the My 1st JCB On Site range. Joey JCB, Marty Mixer, Dan Dozer and Doug Dumptruck.

The big hitter of the On Site range is the My 1st JCB On Site Charlie Crane Playset, which is the work site where all the vehicles can come together to work.

The set comes with a talking Charlie Crane with a motorised winch, plus a Joey JCB and work site foreman figure.

Designed especially for smaller hands, The JCB On Site range is a great starter toy for your vehicle loving little wannabe builder.

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Ready Teddy Blast Off Charley Bear

You just gotta love that bear! Well that’s certainly true if you’re a pre-schooler anyway.

This really cute reproduction of the rocket ship Charley uses when he goes to play ball on the moon, will delight you fans of the show.

Open the door of the rocket ship and you’ll find an adorable little astronaut Charley Bear figure.

Sit Little Charley Bear down into the revolving pilots seat and then whisk him off up to the top-level of the ship, the control room

Theres a secret door inside one of the rocket’s boosters for Charley to either hide inside, or to hide away his important things safely away for the journey.

The 3 rocket boosters make great carry handles, and a sturdy place for little hands to hold whilst whizzing the Rocket through the air.

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Spiderman Go Glow Pal / Hello Kitty Go Glow Pal

If your little ones are anything like my two were, night-times were always a bit of a problem due to them being afraid of the dark.

They have never been totally terrified, but during the darkest nights of the winter sometimes the nightlight on the landing wasn’t enough and we had a few tears.

That’s why I think the Go Glow Pals are such a brilliant idea. Every child loves going to bed cuddling their favourite toy anyway, so it seems silly not to combine the friendly cuddly toy and reassuring nightlight.

The G0 Glow pals will provide a comforting light to help your little ons to sleep, but helpfully turn themselves off after 15 minutes, so you know the lights not going to be on all night.

It also helps them settle themselves back off to sleep, as if they wake up they can just cuddly their toy and the light will come back on for them.

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Lego Duplo Disney Princess

It’s been a long time coming I feel, but now there are finally some lovely girly sets of Lego coming out.

Until now the toddler Duplo range has primarily consisted of Police stations, Fire Stations and Farms. So the new Disney Princess Lego Duplo sets are a welcome addition to the range.

The big set of the range is the Lego Duplo Cinderella’s Castle

This gorgeous big bricked castle is exactly the toy that little girls and their mums have been waiting for.

The set comes with a Mini Cinderella and Prince Charming figure. Cinderella has a removable dress for dress up play.

The castle has two levels, a staircase, large castle doors, a fireplace, chandelier and two cute beds.

Suitable for children from 18 months to five years, this is a lovely Lego set that will definitely see lots of use.

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Tidlo City of London Train Set

A good old wooden train set has been the go to toddler toy for generations. Both girls and boys alike enjoy playing with Train sets, and mums and dads approve because they last for years, and are beautiful to look at.

This is especially true, if you pick a set as visually stunning as the Tidlo City of London Train Set.

The track is the simple figure of 8 with a bridge and tunnel. However the train running along this track is a little different to the norm, it’s actually a tube.

It’s the wonderfully detailed building which you place around your tube track that makes this set a cut above the rest.

The London Eye, The Gherkin, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, all these instantly recognisable landmarks are here, plus lots more.

It’s an utterly beautiful wooden train set, and would make an exquisite Christmas gift for any toddler.

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Baby Born Interactive

Ever since they were first released, the latest Baby Born doll has been up there on practically every little girls christmas list.

This year Baby Born has gone Interactive, with more surprises and interaction than ever.

Firstly your little girl needs to choose between the Baby Born Interactive baby boy and baby girl, and then the fun really begins.

As with other versions your Baby Born will cry, need a wee after feeding, eat from her spoon when you feed her. You can even give her a bath.

It’s when you add her with some of her other Interactive accessories that the Baby Born Interactive really comes to life.

As you pop her into her Cabriolet, the lights will flash, horn will beep, and the engine will start.

With her Interactive Cabriolet, Scooter, Kitchen and Horse, you and your Baby Born will never be bored.

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Jake and the Neverland Pirates Ship Bucky

From the immensely popular Disney Junior show comes the Jake and the Neverland Pirates Musical Pirate Ship Bucky.

With over 25 sound effects, this toy Bucky is just like the one from the show, and it will delight young Jake fans.

Place Skully on top of the bird’s nest as lookout. What’s that? He’s seen Captain Hook?

Time to load the cannon with the water bombs, and watch them really fire.

If that doesn’t work place Jake on his special hotspot and watch Tic Tock Croc suddenly appear out of his hidden trap door.

Slide Jake down the indoor slide, and he’s ready to set sail.

Comes with a Jake figure, Skully figure, 3 water bombs, and Tick Toc Croc who pops out of a hidden door in the base of the ship.

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Minnie Mouse Bowtique

It may only be a series of a few short cartoons on the Disney Junior channel, but the Minnie Mouse Bow-tique already has its own toy line! And it’s huge!

There’s plenty of sets to choose from, all would be very much welcome on any toddlers Christmas list

Theres the Fashion on-The -Go Bow-tique – In which you can dress Minnie and her models in a variety of outfits. The set resembles a wheeled suitcase when all closed up.

Fairy Bow-tique Dress Up doll  – Where you dress up a Minnie Mouse doll, in all manner of fairy accessories.

The Minnie Mouse House Playset – This lovely Lilac house has four rooms, tons of accessories, and all folds up when playtime is over.

Cake Bow-tique – Welcome to Minnie’s cake shop. A lovely little store full to the brim with cupcakes, muffins and cookies. Comes with over 20 accessories.

Pet Bow-Tique – This mini pet grooming salon is probably my favourite of the Bow-Tique sets. Comes with Minnie, Figaro and Pluto figures.

Princess Bow-Tique –  These snap on dresses are brilliant for smaller hands. Dress Minnie up as a beautiful princess. Pick her princess outfit from the choice of hats, bows, dresses, and shoes.

For a small Mouse, Minnie certainly has a lot of business going!

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Imaginext BatCave

In a way I feel really weird putting this one on the list, as I’ve been blogging about it for years, and I think it’s been on the last two years going.

It’s not a new toy just out, but it is still amazingly in demand, and is still just a simply brilliant toy for toddlers.

Full of tricks, secrets and gadgets as you would expect coming from Batman, the Fisher Price Imaginext Batcave has to be one of my favourite toy of the last few years.

Use your included Batman or Robin figure to active one of the five gadgets by placing them on the activation disks.

Open the Batcave entrance, Use the claw, Imprison a prisoner, fire the missile launcher, Theres so much fun to be had with this SuperHero gift.

The good thing about the Imaginext Batcave having been around for a while, is that the range has grown over the years. Now there are a huge number of villains, figures, vehicles and even new playsets available to make your DC Superhero playtime experience even more immense.

The Riddler, Joker, Me Freeze, Penguin. They are all available as Imaginext Villain Figures for your little crime fighter to collect.

There is also now brand new this year the Gotham City Jail playset to house all those nasty villains in.

Also new the Imaginext Batman Gotham City Playset which is a mix of all things with a Bank to rob, Wayne Tower with a Bruce Wayne figure that you can turn into Batman, and a jail cell to put the Joker away.

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Disney Princess Magic Tea Set 

 I can still remember playing with my Disney tea set when I was a little girl.

So when I saw this updated and jazzed up 2012 version, I just had to put it on the list.

This very magical tea-pot will make sounds and music as you pretend to pour out the tea to your fellow princesses.

Once poured, stir your tea with the special spoon and the liquid will look like its swirling inside the cup.

The inside of the tea-pot lid doubles as a magic mirror. Which one is the fairest of them all? Why you of course!

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Tidlo High Tea Matching Set from John Crane – Review

Our next toy package sent from John Crane for us to review as part of the Craniacs program was the Tidlo High Tea Matching Set.

This being a very girly girly toy and me having two very boisterous boys I didn’t foresee this review going terribly well. I think however I underestimated the draw of this amazingly gorgeous looking wooden cake stand, because as soon as they saw the box they were both squabbling over who would get to play with it first.

The set comes flat packed in the box, and you simple screw the middle section in place with the supplied allen key. It took me little less than a minute, and then we were ready for tea time.

Jacob is 3 1/2 and has just finished his first term in nursery, so the main number matching aspect of this toy is great for him. He’s had a lot of fun trying to fit the correct cakes into the cake stand, usually when his big brothers not around though as he tends to get involved and take over very quickly.

The boys haven’t used it for anything else other than the matching game, but I can imagine that a little girl would get so much more from this toy. I can envisage stunning tea parties with these delightful cakes, and maybe a pretend patisserie  or cafe with these delectable delights on offer.

A gorgeous gift that although obviously more suited for a girl doesn’t mean that little brother won’t be fascinated with it too.

SES Creative Observation Dome and Survival Sticks – Review

Our next assignment from the John Crane Craniacs has arrived, it’s a bug observation dome and some survival glow sticks from their SES Creative Explore range.

Now creepy crawlies are not my thing at all! However we have had a lot of fun with the observation dome, although admittedly not with any actual live insects yet.

Although the boys try to make out that they’re not afraid of anything, Neither of them have plucked up the courage to pick up anything living yet to put in, but we have had a lot of fun watching the pretend spider that comes with the dome. The boys have also had a good time running around the house, and digging out everything small enough to go into the dome to investigate them more closely.

We’ve had Lego, Lego men, Army Men, Keys, Stones, Crayons, Fingers, food, everything that’s small enough to be slotted through the hatch has been.

I’m trying to convince Jacob to try picking up a worm to give it a go, but as yet he’s still a bit weary. Whether we will progress onto living insects I’m not sure, but we are having a good time anyway!

Now as you know both the boys are obsessed with Star Wars, so when I say that the other product we received for review was a set of survival Glow Sticks, you can probably imagine what’s coming next.

Yes, Totally disregarding their intended purpose yet again, they both decided that the best use of the glow sticks would be as makeshift light sabres.

Once activated by a quick snap the sticks will glow for around 24 hours before they die down. Plenty of time for Thomas and Jacob to fit in a few epic light sabre battles. One of which I filmed for your entertainment below.

I’m not sure how much surviving they would do if the boys really were stranded in a dark forest or something, as they would probably be too busy having a laugh and running around attacking each other.

I was surprised by how bright they were, definitely considering that this video was taken in the middle of the day. When it got properly dark later on they looked amazing!

Both products are very cool, and would be a great gift for your kids first sleepover night in a tent or similar.


Pintoy Police Range – Review

Our first official assignment as Craniacs has arrived! A massive box of Pintoy Police toys.

I dived into the box and pulled out a Police Car complete with Police Officer driver, A box of 3 Police officers and one prisoner, and then shock horror a flat pack John Crane Pintoy Police station.

Don’t get me wrong I knew how big the Police Station was, so I should have been expecting it to need some assembly, but I hadn’t really given it much thought. So when I realised I actually had to put this thing together I was a little worried.

I shouldn’t really have worried, I will admit it took me a while to get to grips with the instructions (I am a complete DIY novice, and absolutely no good with these things) but it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was going to be, only a few screws really and I was all done. It probably took me just over 30 minutes all in all, and left me feeling very proud of myself and I think the boys were impressed that i’d built their new toy for them too.

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This whole set is soooo cute, possibly too cute considering the subject matter, although I think it’s nice for little ones that the robber obviously doesn’t look too menacing. The main part of the Police Station has a backdrop of the officers changing room with lots of fluorescent coats, police helmets and lockers adorning the walls. In front of that you can place a perspex panel, representing the move from the back office side of the police station into the public area. There is a booking in desk with a pretend swivel chair, which Jacob thinks is for reading the news? There are also 2 more chairs provided for the waiting area.

Next door is a Police Cell, complete with a working slidey perspex bar covered door. Thomas with his particular penchant for the bad guys loves the prison as he calls it, he’s especially fascinated with the background picture of the toilet on the wall, Why are boys obsessed with toilets?

Jacob’s highlight of the range is the Police Van, it’s solid and chunky and again looks possibly too cute. My favourite little touch are the 2 delightful little wooden walkie talkies that come with the Police Officers and Prisoner box set.

I would recommend the John Crane Pintoy Police range of toys for parents of little ones who are looking for a toy that is something extra special, something that is built to last, is timeless and that will really fire up your little ones imagination.


Tidlo 50 Piece Wooden Train Set – Review

Tidlo is the new toy range from purveryors of fine wooden toys – John Crane, and we were thrilled to be sent one of their 50 piece Wooden Train sets to review from Helen at the John Crane Blog, all decked out in the new stylish Tidlo packaging.

Will be brutally honest to start with and say that Thomas hasn’t shown much interest in the set really. I think he’s trying to stamp his authority over being the big boy of the house at the moment, and probably feels that at nearly 6 years old this might be a bit young for him. Jacob however has had a whale of a time with it.

Although 50 pieces seems like a lot of hard work, the track itself is under 20 pieces and really easy and quick to assemble. No instructions needed just look at the box to help you along, and the whole set is up and ready for playtime in under 5 minutes. Everything also fits back nicely into the box, and because it’s so quick and simple to put together you don’t have to worry about keeping it out all the time as it’s just as easy to pack up and reassemble next time.

I like that the set is not just a train set, you also get lots of extras that make the set more realistic and special. Trees, animals, people, buildings, lots and lots of things to add to the fun.

All the pieces are really well made and beautifully painted, all pieces are very chunky and easy for toddlers to pick up and place where they want easily. As well as playing with the trains, Jacob has enjoyed stacking all of the buildings on top of each other making towers and using them like building blocks.

So although Thomas thinks he’s too old for train sets, I think he’s actually the one that’s missing out. This set is beautifully made, fun and compact enough that it can be easily packed away and taken along with you (Jacob is insisting on taking it to his grans house tonight). Thomas’ loss is Jacob’s gain I suppose, but I do wonder how long it’ll take for Thomas to give in and decide to have a play with it too.

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John Crane and Tidlo – Timeless Toys

Tidlo is the new name for John Crane’s own brand of toys previously known as Branching out. Having seen some of the new range myself at London Toy Fair last month, I can very happily report back that Tidlo will still carry on the John Crane tradition of brilliantly well made, colourful and fun wooden toys, thankfully only the name is changing.

Tidlo is derived from the danish word Tidlos meaning timeless, hence the tagline Timeless Toys. When I first heard the name I instantly liked it for some reason it made me think of tiddlers, so I think it’s a nice and original name for a children’s toy range.

Some of my favourite Tidlo products from Toy Fair were the Motorbike balance bike, SQIJ blox, High tea shape matching cupcake set, and the gorgeous kitchen station (I can only dream of having a real kitchen as nice as this one).

Much to my relief the arrival of Tidlo does not mean the end of Pintoy, John Crane will still be distributing this great range.

John Crane will also be distributing Lilliputiens, an amazingly gorgeous range of young children’s soft toys all created by a group of belgian mums.  This range  is so much fun, full of beautiful quirky and individual toys. My highlights of the Lilliputiens range are the Little Doctors set, the too cute baby handbag and the huge Walter Dragon cushion.

John Crane had a great stand at Toy Fair and thanks to the lovely Helen for showing me around.

Just can’t wait to get my hands on some of those great products now!