Furby rides again: The must-have toy this Christmas is back with an app

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Nick Donaldson and daughter Nancy reveal what's going to be on children's wish lists

How quickly they grow up. A year ago my daughter, Nancy, would have squealed with delight at the 6ft Moshi Monster ambling towards her. Now, however, she dismisses it with the words: "I am 10. Moshis are for kids."

But Katsuma, the cheery-faced monster, seemed unworried. There's always another batch of younger kids more than happy to take up the toy mantle, and he is soon mobbed by a hysterical crowd of under-nines.

The Dream Toys 2012 event in London, which Nancy and I are attending for a second time, is where manufacturers and retailers unveil what they hope will be the must-have toys this Christmas – from iPad-style tablets for kids, to robot spiders that fire mini-missiles at your ankles, to more traditional dolls, soft toys and board games.

The market for toys has held up well during the interminable recession, a symptom of our child-centric world where parents will do almost anything to ensure that their offspring wake on Christmas morning to a sea of presents underneath the tree.

The days are long gone when a mere stocking containing KerPlunk, Frustration! or Twister and a couple of Brazil nuts and a satsuma were enough. But some of these traditional toys have moved with the times, updating and reinventing themselves for a more complicated and gadget-savvy world.

Twister itself can now be found in the guise of Twister Dance, where music, flashing lights and dancing have replaced the old-school contortion act. Other old favourites continue to blossom: Lego has had a phenomenally good year, the Cabbage Patch Kids have raised their swollen heads, and Nerf soft-dart guns still remain top of Santa's list for millions of schoolboys.

Another pumped-up reinvention that will surely send a shiver of fear down any parent's spine is the return of the dreaded Furby, the Gremlins-esque cuddly toy which constantly babbled and clicked until it was shut in a cupboard. Nancy headed straight for it, oohing and aahing at its huge flashing eyes. I felt the cash leaking from my bank account as she cuddled five of them at once (they're £55 a pop). But they have moved with the times and are now bigger, cuter and quieter (thankfully) and interact in ways the old Furby could only dream of.

Also, like many of the new toys, they work in conjunction with smartphone or computer apps that expand their playability at little or no extra cost.

So raise a Christmas cheer… only 53 days left to fill those stockings and empty your bank account.

Top toys: Nancy's verdict

1. Furby "I liked the way you could feed him by sliding food from a phone or iPad."

2. Lego Lord Of The Rings "I would never get bored with it and I would like switching the bodies and heads around."

3. Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire "Awesome, the bullets go so far, so quickly. I would love to play this with all my friends in a massive battle."

4. Logo: What Am I? "Fun board game. You get to draw your favourite logos… It's more fun than it sounds."

5. Monster High and Ghouls Rule dolls "I like the look of them and I liked the school for them to play in."

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