How to choose toys that will outlive the latest playground craze

October 31, 2018 Published by

So…have you got that slime out of your carpet yet? Thrown out the old fidget spinners? Hoovered up the last of the loom bands?

You never know what might spring up as the next must-have toy or playground craze (you’d be rich if you did!). These toys are driven by popularity – once they fall out of fashion, they disappear to the back of the toy cupboard never to be seen again.

If you can’t or prefer not to buy these toys, you may be worried about managing your child’s expectations – our article about what to do if you can’t get the ‘big Santa present’ can help with that.

Instead, doing your research will help you find toys that are good in their own right, and aren’t just on your child’s Christmas list because ‘that’s what my friend is getting’!

“Trying toys out before buying them is a great way of testing to see if they’re five minute wonders. Places like the Good Toy Zone and some retailers provide opportunities to see the toys in action and ideally see children playing with them – it doesn’t take long to gauge whether the toy has any long-term play value.” Dr Amanda Gummer

Toys to get them thinking

Puzzles are very rewarding and mastering each level is a great confidence builder. Look out for puzzles that have lots of different levels to tackle, so your child can keep challenging their skills further.

Similarly, look for board games that take a bit of strategy, while offering a fun competitive element.

If your child is interested in science, consider getting them a science kit. They might need some help getting set up but will love exploring their own ideas through real science experiments.

How to make the most of screen time

I believe screen time is fine in small doses and as part of a balanced play diet – the important thing is that your child isn’t missing out on other play activities, particularly active free play.

Tech toys are a great way of ‘meeting your child in the middle’, because you can encourage less passive and more creative play. For example, the HUE Animation Studio can be used to create stop-motion animations, pretend news reports, or even as a basic microscope.


Overcoming pester power isn’t always easy, especially when your child seems to have their heart set on one particular toy. But there are many great toys out there, so you’ve got plenty to choose from!

We’ve picked out a few of our favourites in the Christmas Good Toy Guide which you can view here. Simply click on the toy to read a full review online, including ratings for play value as well as an overview of the skills the toy can help your child develop.

For more advice and tips for Christmas, take a look at The Christmas Good Toy Guide magazine.

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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