Toy of the Year shortlist
These days, most kids favourite toy is an iPad. Fortunately, there are still some cracking toys out there, from educational gadgets like the Sphero BOLT to modernised classics like app-controlled Scalextric sets. Here are our top 5 favourites from the past 12 months.
At face value, the BOLT is an app-controlled ball with which you can steer using a virtual joystick, tilt controls, a virtual slingshot, kick mode and — by far the strangest — scream drive. Whisper to slow it down or shout to speed it up. However, the BOLT can actually be used in three ways. Aside from being app-controlled, the toy can be used as a control for games on the Sphero Play app or, to get the most out of it for your money, it can be programmed using the Sphero Edu app.
As an early introduction to coding, there's limitless potential with what you can do and what you can learn. If you're looking for a gift that will keep inquisitive (and probably older) children entertained — and keep them off their phone/tablet — the Sphero BOLT could well be it. For the cheaper, simpler version — check out the Sphero Mini.
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RazorX Cruiser electric skateboard
The RazorX Cruiser is a considerably cheaper electric skateboard than most others on the market. Of course, there's more to it than that, but this offering from Razor is far less costly than rival electric skateboards - which is one of its main selling points. It goes up to 10mph (16kph), lasts 40 minutes on a single charge and is suitable for ages 9 and up with a 220lb (100kg) weight limit.
If you're looking for a fun toy to mess about on for you or your little ones, and don't fancy being an adult on a scooter. It's clearly a beginner board, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, we think it's the best value, entry-level e-skateboard you can buy - and it doesn't cut corners on quality to get there. If anything, you might find yourself wanting something faster after using the RazorX Cruiser, so beware of that money pit...
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Scalextric Legends Rusty Rides - Volkswagen Beetle and T1b Camper
The Rusty Rides set has a Volkswagen Beetle and T1 Camper van, both finished in a distressed 'rat look', which come in a posh presentation box and are limited to a run of 1800 units. You even get a little card to tell you what number your set is. Priced at £85.99, the set works on any Scalextric track and both cars come with 'xenon effect' headlights along with rear lights, plus of course plenty of high detailing including rusty paintwork and proper door mirrors.
The working lights are a neat extra and the fact they even manage to sound like that characteristic Volkswagen flat-four engine is impressive. While there's no shortage of models for Scalextric buyers to choose from, both new and old, we think these stand out as something a bit special. Scalextric also sells other T1 camper and van models and is launching a rusty yellow Beetle this year.
LEGO James Bond Aston Martin DB5
This one is a bit special. Announced in July 2018, the Lego Creator Expert James Bond Aston Martin DB5 blends the glamour of the British brand with a stack of gadgets you’d expect from 007.
The 1290 piece kit includes the infamous ejector seat, revolving number plates, hidden telephone and machine guns, as well as a detailed interior and engine bay. It'll definitely be a great build.
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Razor Crazy Cart Shift
From the same company that invented the original Razor kick scooter (you know, the one that spun around to whack you in the ankle), the Crazy Cart Shift is Razor's drifting cart designed specifically for younger children - with a specified age of eight and upwards.
The lightweight frame and easy controls allow younger drivers to drift and spin at safe speeds (maximum 8mph) without having to worry about complicated controls, making it the perfect gift for safety-conscious parents of any youngsters interested in go-karting.
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