Children’s toys have evolved since we were little – it’s not just about kicking a ball around in the street outside or playing with doll’s houses anymore. Kids today just aren’t satisfied with building blocks, LEGO, and Polly Pockets.
No, toys are only getting bigger and better, and if you don’t have time, or don’t think to go online and check out reviews on popular-toddler-toys.com it can be hard to know what’s cool, what’s not, and what is going to be well-received when faced with a wall of plastic in a store! If you’re looking for a birthday present, something to put in party bags, or just a random surprise, here is my pick of the best toys of 2017.
Finding Dory Robofish
Robofish expert Zuru has created an official range of Finding Dory related toys, and they are pretty cool. Robot fish are even more low maintenance than real fish – there’s no need to feed them, clean the tanks, or stroke them to sleep every night. The robofish start swimming when they sense water, and have a battery saving feature where they ‘sleep’ after one minute of activity. To get them to swim again, all you need to do is tap on the bowl. You can buy the whole gang together for one Nemo fish tank, or you get the characters individually to make bath times more fun.
Rubik’s Cube Spark
The Spark is a reimagining of everyone’s favorite cube based puzzle, but unlike the original, it doesn’t rotate. Instead, it uses sensors, lights, and sounds to create games, and is controlled by tilting and turning. The Rubik’s Spark features five game modes, each with 26 levels, meaning this can cater for all ages and skill levels.
Playmobil Pirate Combat Ship and App
The ever-popular, slightly bloodthirsty Playmobil pirates sail again, this time on a new combat ship with an optional underwater motor for navigating the high seas – or a paddling pool, or the bath tub. This flagship product is sure to be a big success, but there is also a smartphone game launching later this year. The ship includes a pirate figure with a cannon that launches rubber tipped missiles, controlled via the companion app on your phone. The app shows the combat ship bobbing about on screen, and when your touchscreen registers a direct hit, the ship is damaged and eventually sinks. It’s Playmobil’s first foray into smart gaming and it looks like it could be bang on target!
The best way to explain Anki Overdrive is that it’s a mix between Scaletrix, but with the freedom to have any track layout you want, and a mix of virtual and real-life Mario Kart. The other way to explain it is to simply say it’s just about the best toy currently on the market. This battle-racing game is a mix of video game and toy, where physical cars use virtual weapons to take first place. The cars are controlled from a smartphone app, and you can compete against friends and family, or virtual rivals. There’s even a campaign mode to keep you entertained. The cars run around the track, but unlike Scaletrix they’re not limited to slots and are free to move where they want.