Hamleys’: Christmas in July Event
Amid the sweltering heat in London, Hamleys, the UK’s largest toy shop announced their predictions for the top toys this Christmas. It was a strange scene in the highly air conditioned press office, as fake Christmas trees and stockings were festooned around the place while everyone vied for precious space near the fans. Foam missiles screamed through the air as a lucky few children got their hands on the latest toys. The annual Christmas in July event has become the barometer for what will fly off the shelves come this December.
The top ten list features some bleeding edge toys and some traditional more fare.
Monster High Dolls:
This is a range of “fashion” dolls that are supposed to be the sons and daughters of famous monsters. Such as Draculaura, Frankie Stein and so on. With the addition of Rochelle Goyle to the line up, this social media and YouTube hit is a solid bet to be a top seller.
Web Shooting Spiderman:
Unsurprisingly, with the reboot of the Spiderman movie franchise, not only do we get a new film but a new range of tie-in toys. This thoroughly underwhelming and expensive doll is sure to sell well even if the web shooting action was pretty sub-par.
Moshi Monster App Monster:
The unstoppable march of the Moshi Monsters continues. The Facebook phenomenon has embraced Apple’s touchscreen technology and created an impressively interactive toy. You just have to download the app for free then stick your iPhone or iPod touch in the monster and start playing. The only question is how many children will have their own iPhone or have a parent willing to stuff their phone in a toy suitable for ages 4 and up?
This is one of the old-school contenders for the bestsellers list. Subbuteo is back and boasts improved “swerve, slide and balance”. The boasts were not true but the game remains as fun as ever with more detailed footballers this time around.
Continuing the high tech toy theme, the Innotab 2 is the second generation of learning tablet for kids. Read as: iPad that doesn’t break as easy. It was an impressive piece of kit with a rotating camera and downloadable apps. I’m not sure how welcome the educational apps will be with kids but hopefully they won’t notice they’re learning.
Nerf Elite Hail Fire:
This was one of the weapons responsible for launching foam missiles into the face of almost every adult in the room. The impossibly intricate looking weapon holds 144 darts and can hit a target 75 feet away. While your child may love you forever for buying them this, say goodbye to any and all valuables in your home.
Barbie Puppy Play Park:
The ever-present Barbie is still holding in there. The positively ancient, (relatively) Barbie will always remain a contender for the best selling list. Despite the fact that none of the children seemed interested in the puppies or the park, Barbie herself went down well.
Master Moves Mickey:
This terrifyingly creepy doll break dances and plays 8 original songs. At just under £90, the dance moves got very old, worryingly fast. While some of the moves were impressive, M3 (as it’s known on the streets) failed to hold the interest of child and adult alike. There was something very sinister about its movements. Do not be surprised if you buy this doll that you are awoken by one of the 8 original songs and Mickey’s hands around your neck.
Lego Lord Of The Rings, The Battle For Helms Deep:
The ever-dependable Lego looks like a strong contender for the top spot with this impressive replica of the movie’s most exciting scene. With enough bits and characters to keep the imagination going this was one of the more played with toys on display. Although by the time I got to look at it, Aragorn was conspicuously missing…
Another second generation educational iPad for kids. There wasn’t much difference between the two apart for the lack of a camera but addition of a 4GB hard drive.
By the time the list had been finalised two new toys has been announced. While they were not on the official list, Hamleys were hotly tipping these new contenders. Boo: The World’s Cutest Dog, is a plush stuffed toy replica of the annoying looking real life dog that has 4.6 million fans on Facebook. That’s over 2 million more than Albert Einstein. Boo, even has a biography available from Amazon.
Sadly, this vile stuffed animal looked positively picturesque next to the abominations that were the rebooted Cabbage Patch Kids. The 80s throwback is back and available in 12 “Fashionalities” and each with an “aspirational twist”. I wish one of the kids had shot me the eye before I had seen these terrifyingly twee monstrosities. The toy that got the most love from children wasn’t on the list but made its mark on everyone in the room, quite literally in some cases. The Attacknid was a remote control spider-like robot that launched disks at each other and at everyones shins. It was genuinely impressive and went down a storm.
For more information on Hamleys and what it has to offer visit here.