The 8 Coolest Toys for Under-10s This Christmas

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Christmas is a-comin’, and for kids that means only one thing: Pressie wish-lists. With every passing year children’s toys become more advanced, more ingenious, more interactive, often leading sighing parents to exclaim that, 'Back in my day we were happy with a hula hoop, a satsuma and some Fuzzy Felt.'

But all these shiny, new-fangled toys are actually doing the littl’uns good in the long run. 'Studies show that well-rounded children play with well-designed toys greatly increases a child’s cognitive function, social skills and problem-solving abilities,' explains neuroscientist Dr. Nicola Ray of Manchester Metropolitan University. 'All of these are skills that are essential for professional and personal success in later years.'

Plus, things that light up and go 'pew pew!' are cool – so let’s ask Santa for some of these beauties…

1. Hatchimals



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Kind of a cross between a Furby and a Cabbage Patch Kid, Spin Master’s Hatchimals are the most buzzed-over new playthings of 2016. Each Hatchimal arrives housed within an egg, but there’s no breaking the shell to get the little fella out – the child must encourage their new pet to hatch itself by interacting with it. Tap the egg, for example, and the Hatchimal inside will tap back.

After 30 minutes or so of interaction, the Hatchimal will break free of its home, revealing itself for the first time: Kids will know which 'type' of Hatchimal they’re getting – Penguala, Draggle or Owlicorn – but not its colouration. Their new talking, listening, moving pet must then be guided, over the following weeks, through three life stages – from baby to toddler and, finally, kid. Expect these things to sell by the absolute lorry-load.

2. Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster



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The Nerf brand has been in existence since 1969, and its range of foam-firing weaponry has grown ever-more ridiculous with every passing year. The Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster is the most gloriously OTT Nerf gun yet, comprising three separate weapons that can be combined into one magnificent monster gun. It fires standard-sized Elite Darts, jumbo-sized Mega Darts and the absolutely massive Nerf Missiles.

Expect a lot of parents to be having a sneaky go with one of these things come Christmas morning, blasting discarded packaging off the coffee table with a triumphant 'Yesss!'

3. Zoomer Chimp



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Designed for ages five years and up, Zoomer Chimp is the latest in Spin Master's line of mobile, immersively interactive playthings. The plastic primate can perform more than 100 tricks and understand in excess of 200 sounds, including the commands 'flip', 'let’s dance', 'chimp talk' and 'go bananas!'

Adding to the uncanny illusion that it’s a living, breathing creature, Zoomer Chimp's expression changes depending on its mood, and it'll never react to the same instruction in the same way twice in a row, thanks to a piece of clever software design known as Progressive Play. Just watch your bananas – it’ll have ’em away!

4. Silly Sausage



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If you’re familiar with the classic electronic game Simon – or its demented descendent Bop It! – then you’ll instantly get the deal with Silly Sausage. Grasping the plastic pork product with two hands, kids must listen to the sausage’s commands – 'Twist me!', 'Shake me!', 'Dip me!', 'Poke me!' and 'Stretch me!' – and react accordingly. Zen-like concentration and fox-like reflexes are the name of the game here.

There are 10 different game modes in all, and kids can play alone or in groups. Fair warning: Silly Sausage may be an intensely daft toy, but it’s also as fiendishly addictive as they come.

5. HUE Animation Studio



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Know a kid who fancies themself as the next Nick (Wallace and Gromit) Park? Then the HUE Animation Studio could be their first step towards a career in movie-making. Easy-to-use but surprisingly powerful, the kit contains everything a kid needs to create their own stop-motion mini-epics – a HD camera, a green-screen backdrop, and fun, instinctive editing software.    

The HUE Animation Studio has won numerous awards and is already in use in more than 100,000 schools around the world. Just add your 'stars' – LEGO figures, Star Wars toys, or My Little Pony – and away you go.  

6. Play Doh Ice Cream Castle



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Play Doh has been a playtime constant since the mid-’50s – nothing can instantly transport you back to your childhood quite like that distinctive smell. While it's definitely fun to model things out of Play Doh, every kid knows that the best thing you can do with it is squish it through purpose-made contraptions in the slowest and most satisfying manner possible.

Which is where the new Play Doh Ice Cream Castle comes in. Kids can create their own fantasy ice-creams by squidging Play Doh into bowls through various shaping discs, before heading over to the sprinkle crank and frosting tool for the finishing touches. Om nom. (Don't actually eat it, though – it's harmless if you do, but probably don't anyway, eh.)  

7. VTech Kidi Super Star



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Looking for the perfect gift for a kid who seems destined to win X Factor circa 2030? The VTech Kidi Super Star is pretty much going to blow their musical mind. Not only does it allow them to sing along with their favourite songs by 'magically' suppressing the existing vocals, it also features voice-changing effects, the ability to record performances, audience sound effects, built-in rhythm-based games and a disco light with various eye-dazzling modes.

Simply connect your phone or MP3 player via the standard headphone jack, choose a show-stopper of a song – and let the fame and fortune come rolling in!

8. Power Surge Optimus Prime



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Believe it or not, there have been more than 200 different versions of Optimus Prime released since the original toy first hit shelves back in 1984. This latest version of the Autobot commander-in-chief is based on the character's styling in the hit animated series Transformers: Robots In Disguise – and it's an instant classic of Prime design.   

Satisfyingly massive at 33cm tall, Power Surge Optimus Prime not only transforms into an articulated lorry, it also boasts pop-out wings (always cool), flashing lights, sound effects, firing cannons, spoken phrases and four play modes. It also comes with a) a ruddy big sword and b) the eagle-like Aerobolt mini-figure, which activates all of Prime's features when attached to his chest. Swwweeeet.

Looking for More Ways To Keep the Kids Busy?



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