Extras
 

From Furbys to robotic puppies, there are lots of fun, innovative and educational toys in the shops this year. Kate Hilpern picks the ones the kids (and big kids) will love

Lost and found: After the Japanese dock... flotsam's greatest hits

After a section of a Japanese dock washed up on the West Coast of the US this week, here are four other great shore arrivals:

Child's play: a Junior Suite at the Hesperia Lanzarote in Puerto Calero

Summer 2012: Family friendly hotels

Children's rooms take on a different meaning at Hesperia Lanzarote (00 34 828 080 800; nh-hotels.com), in Puerto Calero, where seven new Junior Suites have been colourfully redecorated, furnished with bunk beds dressed in themed bed linen, and supplied with toys and a healthy "mini bar".

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes trailer goes “open world”

Watch as Batman and his friends drive, climb and fly their way through Gotham City.

Amol Rajan: Ryanair, you pay your money and take your choice

The headline at Mail Online said it all yesterday, as headlines at Mail Online tend to: "Ryanair rakes in record profits as it squeezes more out of customers in add-on fees and in-flight sales". There followed a graphic detailing "sky-high" charges – sky-high, geddit? – such as online bag check-ins, airport bag check-ins and credit card fees. "It will please boss Michael O'Leary and shareholders," the article gushed, "but the passengers who are forced to pay higher ticket prices on top of the airline's infamous swathe of extra charges will be less thrilled."

Legoland Florida opens a new waterpark next Saturday, with Lego-themed flumes and the chance to build a Lego raft for the lazy river. Legoland.com
Legolize is the new project with real head-sized Lego head

Trending: All in all you're just another brick in the wall

Thanks to digital-savvy idle thumbs, the opportunity to transform your looks using a quick online feature is a regular one. There have been programmes that allow you to transform yourself into a Mad Men character, or a yellow-skinned Simpson or a pixellated digital blur. And, all the way back in 2001, Chris Doyle's website Reasonably Clever offered users the chance to make themselves as a Lego figure. Which is fun – we all need a Twitter avatar. But two French artists have flip-reversed the idea with Legolize.

<p>1.Travel Etch a Sketch £11.49, lovememory.co.uk </p>
<p>Channel their inner Picasso on that long haul flight with this pocket-sized version of the children’s drawing game.</p>

The 10 Best travel games

1.Travel Etch a Sketch £11.49, lovememory.co.uk

Channel their inner Picasso on that long haul flight with this pocket-sized version of the children’s drawing game.

Skull set: A Pirate room at the Legoland Hotel

24-Hour Room Service: Legoland Resort Hotel, Windsor

It slowly wins you over, brick by brick

Lego buys out partner in schools unit

The toy maker Lego has taken full control of its education division after buying the remaining 49 per cent stake for €4.4m (£3.7m) from the UK-listed education supplier RM.

Christmas gift guide: The kids are alright

End the eternal quest for a gift that's durable, smart and more fun than the box it came in

<p>1. Caroline Gardner</p>
<p>£4.95, carolinegardner.com</p>
<p>Greetings card specialist Caroline Gardner this year offers a range of five advent calendars. The 12 days of Christmas is really enchanting.</p>

The 10 Best: Advent calendars

1. Caroline Gardner

£4.95, carolinegardner.com

Greetings card specialist Caroline Gardner this year offers a range of five advent calendars. The 12 days of Christmas is really enchanting.

1. Shark cycling helmet, £35, Paul Smith

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Toys for boys

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

The 10 best-selling games

Travel By Numbers: Rollercoasters

As US National Rollercoaster Day loops ever closer, Ben Ross reveals the twistiest, turniest of them all
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Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before