The 10 Best creative toys

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From making snow globes to casting magical shadows on the bedroom wall, here are toys to keep your little ones amused.

1. Acquadoodle

You're guaranteed no mess and no fuss, yet this water-aided drawing set develops creative and artistic skills, promotes self-expression and develops hand and eye co-ordination. No wonder The Good Toy Guide gives it the thumbs up, recommending it as a top present.


2. Animate It!

Want to make your very own Wallace and Gromit sketch? Aardman animations has created this game that includes computer animation software, coloured modelling clay, and an on-screen tutorial. You can even use your own photos as a background.


3. Five-minute Origami

This pack contains 100 brightly coloured sheets and an instruction booklet, enabling kids aged five and over to make anything from a swan to a fox and a penguin to a frog in just five minutes. Great for rainy afternoons, or for meals out when the children are getting restless.


4. LEGO Friends Olivia's House

LEGO is the king of creative toys and the LEGO Friends range has particular appeal to girls aged five and over. Olivia's House is new for this year and is especially comprehensive, meaning children have a real challenge on their hands, albeit a fun one.


5. Puppet Theatre

Colour in the background scenes, get Mum and Dad to help you build the theatre, then pick from eight characters for your show. Kids will love dancing the royals around the ballroom or causing chaos in the castle with the dragon in their very own hand-made puppet theatre.


6. Make Your Own Snow Globe

Seedling is a truly inspired New Zealand-based company that focuses on getting kids to explore, discover, grow and create. This particular set means you can model your own figurines, then add water and glitter to make your very own snow globe.


7. Plum Terrace Play Kitchen

Plum is best known for trampolines and outdoor play centres, but their wooden kitchens are outstanding in encouraging creative and independent play. Their Terrace Kitchen doesn't come cheap, but attention to detail is phenomenal and the quality is second to none.


8. Dixit Board Game

This game won the Spiel des Jahres in Germany, which is the highest accolade that can be reached in board gaming, yet it's still relatively unknown in the UK. With 84 lovingly illustrated cards, every picture tells a story, but which story will your picture tell?


9. Totally Me Mega Buy Craft Sets

Rainy days need matter no more. There are literally hours of fun to be had with this craft pack, containing four great kits which they can use to create funky jewellery, knitted animals, cards and more.


10. Night-Time Shadows Castle

This pack of nine night-time shadow puppets from Moulin Roty includes a castle, witch, fairy and princess, enabling kids to create their very own tales. All you need is a strong light source (a bedside lamp will do fine) and a light-coloured wall.


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