Play time! Toys and games

Round & About

Do you have youngsters to buy presents for this Christmas? Liz Nicholls rounds up her 2018 choices…

Rampant consumerism hits its peak during December. My ten-year-old is currently obsessed with the LOL dolls which are all about plastic packaging and (with ever more and more to collect, natch) to exploit that acquisitive streak all children have. I’ll indulge her with one, hoping the fad passes the way of Minecraft paraphernalia. Also all the rage are PlayFoam Pals. What about some family board games? Monopoly (created in 1935) has long engaged families in capitalist battles and the new Cheaters Edition (RRP £23.99) takes it to the next level!

Traditionalists might prefer the new versions of old classics Rummikub , Dixit (RRP £29.99) and Othello (RRP £23.99). Of course we’d all rather our children and grandchildren play with sturdy (not to mention tasteful) wooden toys. The toys by Cornish brand Hape are beauties, such as the Discovery Box (£32.49) and Roadster and Sky Flyer (£8.99) for age one year and up. For real longevity Steiff has been hand-making teddy bears since 1847 and its toys and kids’ clothing is of collectible quality, including Mungo the magnetic monkey (£85). Gifts For A Girl offers top-quality presents such as this Ride-On Zebra (from £219) while supporting charities who care for abandoned and trafficked children, mainly girls, in Cambodia. For more ethical goodies (in a stocking-filler price range) check out the creative range from Clockwork Soldier Shop and, for dinosaur-mad children, do also check out the lovely range from the Natural History Museum shop, including the cuddle T Rex and Cluedo paleontology board game! Remember mood rings from the ’90s? Pomsies (£17.99) are feline plush toys whose eyes change colour according to whether they’re happy, sleepy or hungry, while Rescue Runts (£17.99) encourage their new owners to groom their new puppies clean before their fur becomes messy again and the dirt reappears on their paws… The whole concept reminds me a little of that scene in Withnail & I but at least we have moved on somewhat… Enjoy your Christmas!