Black Friday kickstarts the Christmas shopping season with plenty of great deals and offers on toys and games. With heavy reductions on the latest and greatest toys on the market, you can get your shopping done a month before Christmas. For ideas on what to buy, check out our in-depth guide on the Top Kids Toys of 2023, including all the hot toys on the market.
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Toys & Games Guide: Top Kids Toys of 2023
Christmas of 2023 is likely to be an odd affair for many families. The cost of living crisis has taken its toll, meaning that Christmas spending might not be quite what it has been in the past. Of course, coming hot on the heels of the global health crisis that preceded it, many families might well feel that they want to enjoy themselves and worry about the costs tomorrow. For those that want to ensure that they are sticking with what’s popular, the Barbie toy from Margot Robbie’s Barbie is the one to buy, but isn’t all that easy to get hold of.
That isn’t all that surprising, of course, given the incredibly popularity of the film. It is also much more fun than a J. Robert Oppenheimer toy, to say nothing of being significantly less dangerous to use. Although Indiana Jones and Ethan Hunt both returned to the big screen during 2023, they were both eclipsed by Barbenheimer in the box office and in the hearts of the people. Thankfully, toy makers look away from the movies when it comes to putting together the best presents for Christmas, so there are plenty of options that don’t involve nuclear bombs and AI.
Top 2023 Animals/Creatures
The world of toys is made for animals and creatures. It is where the imagination of the toy makers most closely resembles the imagination of the children that play with them. It is also where parents can introduce their little ones to the idea of having a pet and needing to look after it and love it, whether it be a toy cat, pig or dinosaur. Toy makers like putting together a series of animals and creatures, encouraging you to buy all of them. The positive thing is that this means that a kid that likes said series will be easy enough to buy for, if you know what they’ve already got.
Little Live Pets Mama Surprise
For a lot of people, the idea of a surprise baby sounds terrifying. For the Little Live Pets series, however, it is a chance to introduce children to the idea of animals breeding and having to look after their litters. The aim is to get you to look after the guinea pig by petting her, brushing her and feeding her, which will make her light up in response, as well as styling the babies to get one of the 20+ reactions from them. If guinea pigs aren’t your thing then you can get the same series with mice and bunnies.
For adults of a certain age, there probably needs to be a conversation around whether the Furby is being bought for a younger person or for themselves. That is because they were originally released in 1998, becoming a ‘must have’ toy between then and the turn of the millennium. These owl or hamster-like creatures, depending on your point of view, have over 600 responses and up to five modes that can be unlocked by voice. They dance and can even talk to other Furbies, coming in either purple or coral colour.
Jiggly Pets Pearlescent Puppy
Dogs are cool, but Jiggly Pets Pearlescent Puppies take things to another level. You press its head to bring this shaggy-dog looking thing to life, at which point it can bark, wag its tail and walk. It is soft to touch but also has a face that is stretchy and rubbery in a way that actual dogs definitely aren’t. As the puppy jiggles along, playing a tune that definitely won’t get a bit irritating the more you hear it, you’ll notice the fur shimmer and shine as it moves. It boasts a ‘try me’ mode if you want to use that.
Bitzee Interactive Toy Digital Pet
Those that grey up in the 1990s will remember the Tamagotchi toys that were all the rage back then. Whilst you can still get them now, the Bitzee interactive toy digital pet is something of an equivalent for the modern era. That is thanks to the manner in which it works, coming in its own box and being a 2D pet that you can actually touch in the 3D world. It will react to your swipes, touches and tilts of the box, needing your nurture and care to keep it alive.
Little Live Pets – My Pet Pig
Who amongst us hasn’t longed for a pet pig? From the company that brought you a guinea pig with surprise babies, this toy offers a pig that moves and expresses itself in the same way a real piglet might. Whilst there is no specific news on the smell, nor whether or not it might team with other pigs to overthrow Animal Farm, we do know that his soft skin is fun to touch and it can produce more than 25 sounds and reactions as it walks and dances.
Sanlebi Pet Care Role Play Set
There are plenty of toys out there for those that might wish to be doctors or nurses, but few toys are aimed at kids that might be thinking of entering the world of veterinary science. Step forward the pet care role play set from Sanlebi, which allows you to brush and care for a plush doggy. Admittedly, the tap, shower gel bottle and hairdryer might suggest this is aimed more at wannabe groomers, but that’s where the imagination of your little one comes in. You can be a vet or a groomer – it’s up to you.
Top 2023 Dolls
If ever you needed proof of the timelessness of dolls, perhaps 2023 is the best year for it. Could a movie about Barbie have been made before now? Maybe, but it probably wouldn’t have been as successful. Barbie is the quintessential doll that many youngsters play with, but she isn’t the only one. There are dolls of all shapes and sizes that make their way into the toy chests of kids up and down the country, from the classic looking ones that could feature in a horror movie through to the more modern ones that can talk and know they’re being fed and looked after.
Barbie The Movie Doll, Margot Robbie
The fact that Barbie was such a hit meant that it was pretty predictable that the Margot Robbie doll version was going to be one of the toughest toys to find this Christmas. At the time of writing, it is sold out on Amazon and hard to find everywhere else, so if you want one then you might just have to turn to eBay in order to get it. Coming complete with a pink gingham dress and a sense that she’s not just your stereotypical Barbie, the only said thing is there’s no sign of Alan.
Barbie The Movie Ken Doll
As Ken in Barbie, Ryan Gosling repeatedly threatened to beach you off if you got on the wrong side of him. He discovered the existence of the patriarchy and realised women have had it easy for far too long, so you might want to skip getting a Margot Robbie-themed doll and opt for one that is designed in the image of Mr. Gosling. He doesn’t come with his own beach, in spite of the fact that that’s his job, but he is in a natty pastel pink and green striped number and has a surfboard.
Barbie Dream House 2023
In Barbie, Barbie’s dream house featured a pink slide that can take people down to the pool. Obviously the same is on offer here, without the ability for Ken to come in and transform it into a Mojo Dojo Casa House. The top floor can transform into a sleepover location, however, allowing for four dolls to sleep comfortably. There are 75 accessories and it is a transformable space, ensuring that plenty of fun can be had by those that play with it, using the three-story spiral design to their heart’s content.
Hot Wheels RC Barbie Corvette
If you’re wondering where this team up between Hot Wheels and Mattel was when you were a kid, you’re probably not on your own. It is a remote-controlled, battery-operated car that, you guessed it, comes from the Barbie movie. There is room for two Barbies in the car, or a Barbie and a Ken or an Alan, as well as a trunk that opens for extra storage. What you’re getting here is a pink 1956 Corvette Stingray, with Barbies, Kens, Alans and all other dolls sold separately.
Disney Little Mermaid Doll
Did this movie make that big a splash at the box office? It’s difficult to tell, but the toy is certainly proving popular. It is a ‘fashion doll’ complete with Ariel’s signature tail, with the doll able to sing and offer music that will bring playtime to life. Part of Your World is the song that you’ll hear when the button is pressed, with other Little Mermaid dolls available to collect for those that would like to bring the movie to life in their own home.
Gabby’s Dollhouse Girl Doll
Gabby comes complete with her classic outfit from the show that she features in, meaning that you’ll have a realistic fabric top, cat ears and some kitty jeans to play with. She looks just like the character from the show, with hair that is curly and super soft. As you might imagine, the cat ears are removable, meaning that you can have Gabby in party mode or cat-style, depending on your mood and what sort of playing you want to get up to with her. If you know the show, the doll will be very much appreciated.
Gabby’s Dollhouse, Purrfect Dollhouse
Gabby needs somewhere to live, so if you want to give her the dollhouse that is part of the title then you can do just that. Standing at over 61 centimeters in height, this cat-inspired shaped house can open up to allow you to play in the seven different rooms across four different floors. There are 15 pieces includes, with Gabby herself and Pandy Paws amongst them. Press a button on the front and eight different sounds can be played, whilst a QR code in one the special deliveries unlocks an exclusive reward.
Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Theme Park
Are toy makers running out of new ideas or is this the Christmas of retro gifts? Polly Pocket dolls were founded in 1983 and licensed by Bluebird Toys between 1989 and when Mattel bought the property in 1998, so more than a few parents might have some nostalgic feelings looking at it. The Funland Theme Park has three rides and seven play areas, as well as dolls of Polly and Shani to play with. In total, there are 30 pieces to play with, including the rollercoaster and unicorn carousel.
Top 2023 Action Toys
Kids love a bit of rough and tumble, so it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that action toys are popular every year. They get more impressive with each passing year too, which is probably part of the reason why they’re able to maintain their popularity. The manner in which Barbie dominated the dolls section might suggest that its opposite number of sorts, Oppenheimer, might dominate this, but thankfully no one has figured out how to make a small nuclear bomb into a size that will allow children to become death, destroyer of worlds.
Hot Wheels RC Tesla Cybertruck
If your child is fascinated by the world of Tesla and hopes to have one of their own one day, this could be their first (and more affordable) option. This is a Tesla-styled Hot Wheels radio-controlled Cybertruck. As well as being able to drive it around, it has working headlights and taillights to add a bid of style to proceedings. The remote control itself is a custom one exclusive to this model, giving a touch more to get excited about.
Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6 Blaster
In terms of timeless toys, it isn’t just dolls that tick that box. Nerf has long been a favourite of those that like to shoot foam projectiles at friends and family members, with the Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6 promising a rotating drum with a capacity for six darts. That means that the user can keep on shooting for longer, reloading the extra bullets when the first lot have run out. You get 12 of them in total, which is enough for two goes before you’ll need to sheepishly collect them before more shooting.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Fuel Can Stunt Box
Shaped like a fuel can to allow kids to feel like they too are contributing to global warming, the Hot Wheels Unlimited Fuel Can Stunt Box comes with a carry case that forms part of the track. It gives cars a vertical track to shoot down before they hit the loop, allowing for really exciting stunts to be performed. If you have other Hot Wheels sets then this one can connect to them, adding to the notion that your fun will never end. You even get a Hot Wheels vehicle in the box so that the fun can start immediately.
Hot Wheels Shark Chomp
Nothing says car storage quite like a shark, which is presumably why Hot Wheels decided to shape their transporter like one. The shark-inspired hauler is able to gobble up the cards that are in front of it, allowing for the storage of them in its belly ahead of use at another time. It comes with a car and can hold another four, which are obviously sold separately. For kids, it’s a fun way to collect in their cars, whilst for parents and responsible adults it’s a great way to persuade them to tidy up.
4DRC Mini Drone for Kids Hand Operated RC Quadcopter
Drones are getting cheaper, presuming that you don’t want an amazing quality one that can be used to fly over your local area and take a snap of your house. The 4DRC is aimed at getting kids into the world of drone flying, allowing them to gently toss it into the air to get it going before using their hands to control whether it goes up and down or side to side. It comes with a controller though, in case that seems a little bit too complicated, so don’t worry about that. The three batteries allow for 20 minutes flying time.
Jurassic World Electric Race Car Track Set
It feels as though Jurassic Park is one of the few film franchises from the past that didn’t have a new movie out this summer, but the world of dinosaurs is as popular as ever. This is an official radio-controlled car game, with a customisable track that can be mixed and matched to build different layouts. There are two slot cars and controllers to ensure that the race can take place as soon as you’re ready to build the track, with only John Williams’ soundtrack missing from the action.
Top 2023 Play Toys
There is an argument that a toy is not a toy unless it can be played with, but these are toys that specifically designed to be played with from the get-go. They are malleable, interactive toys that all offer something a little bit different, but all ensure that they will engage your little one as much as possible. Play toys are the ones that you’ll want to get out of the box immediately in order to push, pull and mess with. Kids like to get their hands on things, which is exactly what these toys are designed to allow for from the moment that they see them.
Bracelet Making Set
Whilst toys are obviously aimed at the younger audience, let’s not pretend that some older people won’t want to have a go at making a bracelet every now and then. Those that are gearing up to go and see Taylor Swift on her Eras tour in 2024 at venues, such as Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, might well want to make themselves a bracelet before they go. This kit is easy to use and features everything you’ll need to make yourself some lovely, unique bracelets thanks to the 7,050 pieces.
Fisher-Price Mix and Learn DJ Music Table
Is it ever too young to get a little one invested in the world of DJing? Probably, but this Fisher-Price kit will have them imaging they’re performing in front of a full beach in Brighton in no time. There are lights and sounds, with three piano play modes and 12 fine motor activities that will engage your toddlers in no time. It even has three Smart Stages that will learn and grow with your little one, as well as the ability to record a message that can then be mixed into a song and played back.
Melissa & Doug Barber & Dentist Role Play Sets
Melissa & Doug offer kids the chance to imagine themselves as a dentist or a barber thanks the these interactive toys. If you’re buying the dentist set then you’ll get a toy that teaches youngsters to look after their teeth, thanks to the manner in which they’ll clean teeth, deal with cavities and put braces on over-sided teeth. The barber set, meanwhile, allows them to pretend that they’re cutting hair and fixing someone’s beard, with vibrating trimmer, shaving foam can and toy scissors. All of it can be packed into a zippered wash bag too.
Crayola Colour n Style Mermaid Friends Sea Salon
Not only does this kit allow your little ones to colour and style their favourite mermaid, it allows them to do it over and over again. That is thanks to the Magic Dry – Erase Pens, which allow colour to be put on the accessories before being wiped off to being all over again. There is a clip-on tail that can be added to the mermaid, as well as tiaras and charms. In addition to the pens, which can be wiped off when you want to go again, there are re-usable stickers to put on the mermaid after you’ve coloured them.
Playmobil City Action Police Van with Lights
PLAYMOBIL know what they’re up to, having been at this game for a long time now. This set promises and action-packed adventure thanks to a police squad van and two police officers, providing you with everything you need for an exciting chase. The roof inserts of the police car can be removed, whilst the rear doors open in order for the perp to be put in the back. There is light and sound to bring things to life as the kit is being played with. You can get the kit either without batteries or with some rechargeable ones.
Playmobil City Life Recycling Truck with Flashing Light
It is perhaps never too early to teach kids about recycling and looking after the planet. That is what the PLAYMOBIL Recycling Truck is all about, allowing for the collection of rubbish and the cleaning of the parts to ‘recycle’ them. The kit comes with two rubbish collectors and the same number of bins. The truck itself has a tilting bed to pour the rubbish out, as well as a lever that allows the bins to be lifted up and emptied into the back. There are 48 accessories with the kit, giving plenty of stuff to play with.
Learning Resources MathLink Numberblocks
Aimed at helping young people to get their head around numbers, the Learning Resources MathLink Numberblocks kit teaches people the learn and master their early maths skills. You use the cubes to build the numbers from one to ten, then play along with them and learn about them. The kit includes character cards, showing the users the magic behind the numbers. Each set of 30 Numberblocks learning activities are related to the TV series, so there is a link there for those that know it. The kit comes with 100 MathLink Cubes.
Top 2023 LEGO Sets
In some ways, 2023 is about the timeless toys that young people have enjoyed in the past and will continue to enjoy long into the future. That is very much the bracket that LEGO fits into, having been around for decades and constantly re-invented itself in order to appeal to new generations. Whilst the things that you can build may be different, the way that LEGO works will remain the same, meaning that pretty much anyone that has ever used it before will be able to pick up some blocks and get building. Retro or timeless, it’s fun either way.
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle & Grounds
Harry Potter is still as fascinating to youngsters as he’s ever been. The Hogwart’s Castle is one of the most iconic things to emerge from the movies, so it is no surprise that LEGO have decided to give you the opportunity to build your very own. It comes with all of the iconic locations that you’d expect to see, including the Astronomy Tower, the Great Hall and the Chamber of Secrets. With 2,660 pieces, this will keep anyone busy.
LEGO Harry Potter Dobby the House-Elf Set
Anyone that has ever owned a puppy might well have called it Dobby at some point, thanks to the house elf’s sticky out ears and big round eyes. You can now build your own, with the finished set having posable ears, head arms and fingers. You also get some fun little Harry Potter accessories, such as Aunt Petunia’s ‘floating’ pudding cake and Tom Riddle’s Diary. There is a brick-built stand to support Dobby, meaning that you can put him out on display wherever you might wish. He is a house elf after all.
LEGO Luigi Starter Course
LEGO isn’t all that complicated when you get into it, putting bricks onto other bricks in order so as to be able to build a larger puzzle. Youngsters still need to learn how to get started, though, and this kit allows them to do exactly that, all whilst learning about Mario’s brother, Luigi. It has colour sensors and an LCD screen to display reactions to things, to say nothing of some speakers to play the iconic music and other sounds that you will likely know from the computer game. You get figures, such as Yoshi and Boom Boom too.
LEGO Speed Champions 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT-R
2 Fast, 2 Furious: 2 many films in the franchise? Maybe, be long before people ended up flying around the moon in a car with a rocket strapped to it, the Fast & the Furious films were about good old fashioned car racing. This kit allows you to build the Nissan Skyline GT-R from the second film in the series, complete with the iconic stripes along the side and the nitro fuel canister that sits on the passenger seat. You even get a little Brian O’Conner figure that you can put behind the steering wheel. Family.
LEGO Creator 3 in 1 Exotic Parrot to Frog to Fish
Is it a fish? Is it a frog? Is it a parrot? With this kit, it is entirely up to you. You can spend your time building a parrot that sits on top of a branch, then you can take it apart and rebuild it as a toy fish. If neither of those things float your boat then you can start all over again and make it into a playful-looking frog. The details are impressive with this kit, so make sure you keep hold of the instructions and go again once you’ve built what you want to, perhaps building all three before deciding which one to keep it as.
LEGO City Carwash
This probably wasn’t the car wash that Rose Royce were singing about, but that’s their loss. It comes with spinnable washer brushes and two minifigures who spend their days working at getting your cars as clean as you like. Add into that the fact that it comes with an actual LEGO car that you can build and you can see why it’s such a popular small set for people to get engaged with. There is space inside the vehicle itself for a driver, whilst the car wash has soap suds and dryer fans to complete the look.
LEGO Star Wars TIE Bomber
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of retro, perhaps LEGO and Star Wars is it. The TIE bomber is a craft of the empire, meaning that it is from the Dark Side. As a result, you get minifigures of Darth Vader and a Gonk Droid, allowing for all of your evil thinking. Of course, it is the spaceship itself that takes centre stage, complete with its iconic look. As soon as you put the last piece in place, you’ll doubtless hear the blasters going off inside your mind as you look to destroy the Jedi resistance.
Top 2023 Games
When it comes to youngsters, toys are all well and good but the best thing you can do for them is to play games with them in order to occupy them for longer. Not only that, you’ll also get the chance to spend some quality time with them, up until the point that they drive you completely mad and you scream and storm out of the house. If you know what you’re doing, of course, you’ll cheat your face off and make sure that you win every time you play. They are clever, though, so you’ll need to be sneaky about it if you want to get away with it.
Throw Throw Avocado
Last year, one of the games that was fun to play around Christmas was Throw Throw Burrito. It was obviously popular enough to encourage the makers to look for another foodstuff that rhymes, happily coming across avocado. You need to collect matching sets of cards at the same time as dodging squishy avocados that are being thrown at you from other players. It is a game from the creators of Exploding Kittens, so you’ll have some idea of the kind of silliness involved if that is a game that you’ve played before.
If you get caught cheating playing any of these games then you’ll be seen as the villain, but you’ll never be as cool as some of the best villains from Disney. In this game, there are six different villains to choose from, each boasting their own sinister goals and objectives. Your job is complete their tasks before your opposite number does, whilst also avoiding interference from the good guys. Play as Captain Hook, Maleficent, Jafar, Ursula, Queen of Hearts or Prince John and avoid the likes of Aladdin, Peter Pan and Ariel.
Imagine UNO, but then make it more extreme. By ‘extreme’, we’re talking a random-action launcher, sounds and lights to really add some spice. There are 112 cards to choose from here, with the launcher offering as many as five new cards into the game when the Extreme Hit card comes up. You will still need to yell ‘Uno’ when you’ve only got one card left, such is the extent to which this plays like the classic game but with more than a few modern twists to keep it nice and entertaining for everyone concerned.
Is there someone in your family who is quite gullible and falls for everything you tell them? If so, you’ll definitely want to play this with them. You will need to use your intellect and your imagination to bluff the other players into thinking that they fake fact that you’ve told them is, in fact, the real one. The beauty of this trivia game is that you don’t actually need to know the facts in order to be able to play it, so if you’re something of a bluff artist then you’ll be able to fool everyone each time you play.
No, Beat That isn’t a Michael Jackson song you’ve ordered from Wish. Instead, it is a battle of mad challenges that will see you need to flip, roll, blow and balance your way to a win. It isn’t all silliness, though, with the game being thought-provoking and entertaining in equal measure. It is ideal for all of the family, meaning that grandma is just as likely to be able to win as the teenager who has spent most of the day sulking and just wants to text their friends telling them how stupid you all are and how much they hate the rampant capitalism of Christmas.
Rapid Rumble is a category game that is, as the name suggests, designed to be fast-paced. You roll the die and pick up a category card, with the aim being that you need to be the first person to finish your deck of letter cards. Each answer you give that is right in the category will allow you to get rid of a card, so it is a race against time as well as the other players. It is easy to play but tough to master, with the family nerd being smug because finally their fountain of useless knowledge will come in handy.
Did the designers of this game theme it around cows just so they could say things like, “It’s udderly hilarious!” Probably, and who can blame them? You start by flipping over a card that contains a question. You need to try to figure out what the majority of people are thinking, hence the ‘herd mentality’ of the title. The more answers you get right, the more cows you win. If you are the odd one out then you get the pink cow of doom and no one wants that, right? It would put you in a right moooood.
The Sock Game
In some houses, the sock game is just about trying to find the socks that went into the washing machine but only one came out, leaving the other forever lost and alone. In this game, two teams compete against one another in order to grab all of the correct items first. Each team has a large sock, into which 30 items are stuffed to make things even trickier to find. The spinner reveals what the seeker is looking for, so you’ll never know what you’re after until it is spun and your chosen item is revealed.
Six Second Scribbles
Presumably some people found the game of Pictionary far too boring, so they decided to invent Six Second Scribbles. Instead of a minute to draw something that your teammates have to guess, this game gives you 60 seconds to draw ten of a particular subject. Can you get your masterpieces down on paper in time and will they be recognisable to the people playing. All players draw their items at the same time, then you pass your paper on to others to try to decipher what on earth it is you’ve put on the paper.
Tumblin’ Raptors Jurassic World Dominion Game
Boasting a tower that was inspired by the movie, Jurassic World Dominion, this game is a special edition version of Tumblin’ Monkeys that features, you guessed it, raptors. Your aim is to remove as many sticks as possible whilst stopping the dinosaurs from escaping the tower. There is a ‘beta’ velociraptor that goes into the tower with the other pieces and the first player that releases it can put three raptors back into the tower. The player that has the fewest raptors released at the end of play wins.