The 50 Best Christmas gifts for children 2012

From this year’s most-fashionable fad to classics they’ll want to keep forever, Kate Watson-Smyth fills the family stockings with this year’s top toys

Click to follow
The Independent Online

From this year’s most-fashionable fad to classics they’ll want to keep forever, Kate Watson-Smyth fills the family stockings with this year’s top toys

Hugs, £44

This children's clothing company makes gorgeous dresses that are a little bit rock'n'roll. In addition to that you can buy a hug, which is like a poncho, but cooler.Star Wars X-wing miniatures game set, £30

Re-enact classic battles or invent your own, using the detailed miniatures. This game keeps selling out and is always on best-seller lists.

Tetris light, £29.99

The fearsomely addictive game has become 3D as it's been turned into a light. As you attach the pieces they light up. Great for a desk and a spot of homework avoidance.

Gyro-Botz, £7.99

Collect the figures and send them into battle in the arena. They bounce and spin and, after a little practice, they even do tricks. It's great to find a toy that doesn't need batteries.

Ridley's magic tricks, £14.95

Christmas is perfect for magic tricks – not least because there's usually a captive audience. This set includes cup and ball, coin tricks and various magic wand illusions.

Peppa Pig – Jumping in Muddy Puddles Peppa, £19.99

Children love Peppa and now they can spend hours watching the small pig jump up and down and oinking for joy. It's going to be huge this year.

Fisher Price video camera, £29.99

Kids love to take pictures and they love to video even more. This will take 15 minutes of film, which can then be transferred to a computer.

Air Swimmers Angry Birds, £39.99

Children love remote control toys, but if you haven't got much space this is the solution – a giant, inflatable fish that flies up by the ceiling.

Furby, The New Generation, £55

Another retro toy that's come storming back. The new twist is that although he speaks only Furbish to start with, he learns English as it is spoken.

Twister Dance, £27

The popular party game has been reinvented as a dance version. Follow the lights and step on the spots in time to the music. You can also connect your own MP3 player.

Gadget The Robot, £39.99

Children love toys that talk back to them, and Gadget is no exception. Feed in energy discs/food through his head and he will teach them letters, phrases and dance moves. He also reacts to clapping.

Attacknids, £69.99

A 10-inch fighting machine that fires weapons up to 30ft. It has six legs, a rotating head and is controlled by a wireless remote. If hit three times in battle its head will explode. This is one for all the family.

The Life of George, £29.99

You have to admire Lego for their constant reinvention. They've come up with a great idea for tweens. Download the app, build the challenge, scan it and be scored. Play against a mate for hours of Lego fun.

Remote control Pac-Man and Ghost, £29.95

Children don't have to remember Pac-Man to find this mini remote control set fun. These figures have a range of up to eight metres and can move in six directions.

Singalongz Me Me The Cat, £29.99

This was the 2012 winner of the top toy award so you know they're going to want it. Sing into the microphone and your new pet will sing along in a slightly altered voice.

Penguins, £11

This company, started by two friends at their kitchen table, is going from strength to strength. Everything is provided to make these three fabric penguins.

Topps Minis Wembley Ultimate construction set, £149.99

Build Wembley Stadium at home. It's one metre wide and 25cm high, so that should keep them quiet for a while.

Paper FX, £19.99

It's recycling but in a new and imaginative way. Use old wrapping paper and magazines to make bags, pencil cases and storage boxes.

Rivetz Dragon, £12.99

This new range allows you to make card sculptures, including a dragon or a racing car, using plastic rivets, which can be removed and reapplied if you make a mistake.

My Style Dangly Charms, £7.99

This kit will allow girls to create their own charms to make bracelets or decorate bags. Includes polymer clay, feathers, ribbons and beads.

The Orc Forge Lego, £39.99

That perennial favourite has caught up with The Lord of the Rings – just in time for The Hobbit film. This set comes with some very cool orcs and armour.

Felt play sets, £18

A new take on that old favourite Fuzzy-Felt, this is hand-made from eco felt and organic cotton and comes in a handy button-up case so you can keep all the bits together.

Build-A-Bots, £7

Slot the cardboard pieces together to build a robot, then pose him how you like, or join the pieces together to create a giant robot. It's up to them how they want to play.

Random ribbon tin, £14.95

Children don't always need an expensive fancy kit to be creative. This pretty tin of ribbons will do the trick for hours. Hair, dolls, decorating – or even tying up little brothers.

Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, £15.25

Everyone loves a pop-up book and this set allows kids to make their own. It comes with two books, lots of figures to cut out and pens for colouring.

3D Puzzle Tower Bridge, £24.99

This'll keep them all quiet for a bit (especially if they can rope Granny in to help). It's more than one metre long when complete but you do have to build it in sequence so there's no just doing the bit you fancy.

Kidz Labs Green Science rocket kit, £10.99

These kits are great for budding scientists and inventors. Make a rocket from a couple of empty plastic bottles and a few old magazine pages. If you get it right it will fly up to 80m.

The Gardener Comic Book Seed Paper, £8.50

Most reluctant veg eaters will try something they have grown themselves and this should intrigue them. Read the page and then sprinkle it with water and watch the herbs grow.

Cubebot, £20

Years ago it was called an executive toy, which justified it to grown-ups. This one is inspired by the Japanese Shimto Kumi-Ki puzzles and is made from wood. You can pose him in any stance you want.

Animal Alphabet, POA

Well they've got to learn those letters, so you might as well make it fun at the same time. Helen Lang has made these gorgeous limited edition drawings which should amuse and educate at the same time.

Underwater realm reality puzzle, £12.99

Start by doing the 1,000 piece puzzle, then download the app and hold the phone or iPad over the jigsaw to play an extra game of finding the fish.

Make your own nail polish, £8.99

This is a great idea given that there's hardly an eight-year-old who doesn't want to muscle in on her mother's pedicure.

Kitchen Chemistry, £19.99

This set (for kids over eight) contains 25 experiments they can do in the kitchen using things that fizz, stretch and change colour as they discover the science behind cooking.

Robotic Mammoth, £20

Build the wooden mammoth using the 84-piece kit, which slots together with no need for glue or tools, and then clap your hands to activate the sound and movement controls.

Tegu Jungle Endeavour, £47.99

Taking the building of blocks further, these have a magnet inside which allows children to build more ambitiously than with simple wood bricks.

Subbuteo, £40

It's back. After 15 years in the wilderness, when you could only find vintage versions or copies, the football game has returned with flexible figures on a new and improved pitch.

Pottyponies board game, £18.40

Including such gems as "You smell of fox poo, go back three spaces", it's perfect for pony-mad girls.

Angry Birds Splat Strike, £9.99

The appetite for angry birds never seems to wane and new this year is a catapult game, that might best be played in the garden as this time the birds can fly up to 25 feet.

Mr Clever Table Trivia, £3.50

These make great stocking fillers and if they're too old for Mr Men then there are plenty of other sets to choose from including space questions, riddles and general kids trivia.

Operation Survival board game, £12

Your plane has crashed in the jungle and you have to survive in this hostile territory. A game of strategy and questions for explorer types.

Connect 4 Dunk, £11.99

That old favourite Connect 4 has really been livened up now. Instead of a grid there's a tower and instead of simply sliding in the counters you fire them from a mini gun at high speed.

Terry Pratchett Discworld game, £29.99

Fans of the books will love this game. Simply put, pick a card and do what it says. But it's full of Pratchett's weird and wonderful characters who are trying to take over the city.

The Hobbit, £24.99

If The Hobbit is as popular as The Lord of the Rings, then they will be clamouring for the accompanying merchandise. This is a bit more interesting than a lump of plastic tat and everyone can join in.

Wallace and Gromit's Fleeced board game, £29.99

It's cracking this game is. Someone's rustled the sheep and the players have to work their way round the board to find them and herd them back.

Deadly 60, £17

This CBBC series is popular and the game should prove so too (and educational). Join the Deadly 60 crew in a race round the board as you gather equipment needed to track down your deadly animal.

Kidzlabs Optical Science Animation Praxinoscope, £8.95

With this animation toy children can learn about animation and make their own movies.

Moulin Roty Circus Shadow Set, £14

Beautiful shadow puppets including a ringmaster, clown and tightrope walker. Hours of fun that will really develop their imagination.

Wooden stacking robots, £15.50

Beautifully made wooden robots that they can stack up in different ways or just use their imagination to play with. Surprisingly addictive.

Large On The Farm play set, £34

The beautiful pieces include a farmer, his tractor and some animals. The carrying case transforms into a barn with a playmat.

Facemaker, £31

A set of 25 wooden blocks that are beautifully designed and can be made into thousands of different faces. Made from environmentally friendly rubberwood.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing