Christmas has come early this year, with John Lewis already gearing up for the festive season by revealing its list of the top toys to put under the tree.
While the big day might seem far-off, there are in fact just 150 days to go until Christmas, so you’d be wise to get a head-start on shopping and beat the winter rush. That being said, choosing the most joy-inducing gift isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to children who change their mind like the wind.
Thankfully, John Lewis is on hand to help you secure tantrum-free gift-opening by unveiling its must-have toys for 2023, as chosen by an expert panel of ultimate toy testers – four kids, aged five to 10. After hours of play time and much deliberation, the tricky-to-impress youngsters whittled down hundreds of products to their ultimate top 10, and there are some nostalgic favourites in the mix.
Toys from the 1990s are making a comeback, with Furby, Barbie and Scalextric all being chosen by the tiny testers. The list also includes a toy cockapoo dog, a DJ mix-and-learn deck, a barber role-play set and a wooden cafe to encourage imaginative play.
While some of the toys featured in the list aren’t available to buy at John Lewis until August or September, the good news is we’ve tracked down where can get your hands on them in the meantime.
Gabby’s Dollhouse girl doll (available at John Lewis end of August): £14.99, Amazon.co.uk
If your little one is a lover of Gabby’s Dollhouse, this figure is sure to be a hit. Measuring 20.3cm tall, the doll features the exact same details as the character in the show, including trainers, jeans with a kitty patch, a fabric top and her signature cat ears. The toy also has fully poseable arms and legs, making it great for encouraging your child’s imagination,
Barbie convertible doll car: £20.99, Johnlewis.com
Hit the road with Barbie in this pink convertible car that features a personalised licence plate and can comfortably seat two of your child’s favourite dolls – even Ken. The open-top toy car inspires all kinds of storytelling and is designed with rolling wheels, so your little one can embark on endless adventures.
For the dog-obsessed, this is just the ticket. The sweet, soft doll looks just like a real cockapoo and would make an ideal companion during car rides or afternoon naps. The freestanding toy is designed with realistic fur and might just press pause on your child asking for a pet... for a while, at least.
Melissa & Doug barber role-play set (available at John Lewis end of August): £29.99, Smythstoys.com
Whether your child is an aspiring hairstylist or you want to prepare them for their first trim, this role-play kit comes with everything you need to play pretend, including a soft, wearable beard that’s sure to make some memorable photos. Complete with pretend razors, brushes, shaving cream and combs, kids can check their look in the hand mirror and, parents will be pleased to learn, everything stores in a sturdy zippered shaving kit for easy clean-up.
John Lewis wooden cafe set (available at John Lewis end of September): £40, Johnlewis.com
Inspire their inner barista with this wooden set that’s great for sensory development and imagination-fuelled play. It comes complete with everything your child will need to set up their own cafe, including a pretend coffee machine, takeaway cup, herbal teabags, pastries and even a card machine.
Fisher-Price mix-and-learn DJ table: £54.99, Johnlewis.com
Calling all budding DJs, this interactive learning table is a great way for your child to work on their fine motor skills while rocking out to the latest beats. Complete with more than 100 songs, sounds and learning phrases, there are three different learning levels, meaning the toy will last your little one well beyond toddlerhood.
Little Live Pets mama surprise (available at John Lewis from September): £65, Argos.co.uk
If you’re not quite prepared to get your child a real pet just yet, this gift is the next best thing. Featuring a deluxe interactive hutch, the set comes with a lovable guinea pig family, including mama guinea pig – kids can feed her a delicious celery stick and brush her long, silky fur. There are also three adorable babies to discover, each with their own care package that includes a birth certificate and styling accessories.
Hasbro Furby (available at John Lewis end of August): £75, Argos.co.uk
Toy giant Hasbro is bringing back its iconic Furby, which was hugely popular upon its debut release in the 1990s. Having been given an upgrade for 2023, this super-interactive toy comes with five voice-activated modes, more than 600 phrases, jokes and songs, and responds to five different commands. Kyron, age 10, from the John Lewis toy testing panel, said: “I remember my cousin having a Furby when I was younger. I think they’re cool”.
Lego holiday main street: £89.99, Johnlewis.com
Exclusive to John Lewis, this is one for all the Lego-lovers and collectors. The 1,514-piece set is the newest addition to Lego’s winter village collection, and features a toy shop, music shop, customers and shopkeepers. There’s also a tram ready to take the shoppers home after their fun outing.
Another retro throwback and another John Lewis exclusive, this racing set will provide hours of fun for little ones (and, let’s face it, adults) as they can compete as either Waitrose or John Lewis around a Scalextric track. The track features plenty of twists, turns and rises for a thrilling race, and it’s worth noting the cars are also crash-resistant, so they’ll still remain in good condition no matter how many times they bump bonnets.
For discounts on toys, offers on kids’ clothing and more, try the links below:
Looking for more gift inspiration? Read our round-up of the best gifts for six-year-olds that parents will love too