Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best new toys due to hit the shelves this year.
By Peter Jenkinson.
We've only recently cleared away the last remnants of Christmas, but for some the toy-buying season has started again already.
As toy fairs across the globe begin showing their wares in earnest, buyers are looking to splash their cash on the most in-demand toys that won't stay on the shelves for long.
With a staggering 30,000 new toys due to be launched this year, we've picked out six that look likely to be among 2012's most popular playthings.
Tell Tale - Rory's Story Cubes - £9.99 from www.amazon.co.uk The original range of these pictorial cubes has proved a phenomenal success, unleashing real imagination in children's playtime. Two new sets have now been added to the range - a Voyages version, and one called Actions. Each offers a multitude of story-telling games, so to get started, simply roll the dice and begin your journey with, "Once upon a time..."
Kapow! - LEGO Super Heroes Range: The Batcave - £63.60 from www.amazon.co.uk Batman is brought to life in this exciting new minifigure version, featuring bigger builds, baddies and an impressive Batcave. Superman is also available in the same range, and there's even more to come later in the year when fans of The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings will be treated to LEGO in all shapes and sizes. It's time to make some room for your new bricks, because 2012 looks set to be a busy building year.
Different For Girls - LEGO Friends Olivia's House - £69.99 from www.firebox.com LEGO's new girl-focused sets have gone down very well since they were first launched last year, and the months ahead are going to see plenty of additions to the range. Olivia's House is packed with detail and is big enough for all her friends from the fictitious Heartlake City to come over and visit. This year, fans can look forward to extra vehicles, new characters and even an expansion of the online variety.
Look, No RC - Bigtrak Jr - £19.95 from www.gizoo.co.uk If you're hankering for some nostalgia, this is the ultimate retro treat that your kids will also enjoy. Based on the Bigtrak of the Eighties, this miniature version can be loaded up with a can holder or even a mini missile launcher. A Bigtrak XTR will be launched later in the year which features loads of accessories and can be controlled via your iPad or iPhone - we can't wait.
Mould Me - Moshi Monsters Clay Buddies - £2.99 from www.toytoyjac.co.uk The phenomenon that is Moshi Monsters looks set to continue its remarkable growth in 2012, along with all its associated product ranges. This Clay Buddies pack contains three colourful lumps of clay and some pop-out cardboard features. Follow the instructions to mould the body of your Moshi Monster or Moshling, then stick on the cardboard features to create an instant monster.
Flick It - Subbuteo Giant Inflatable - £294.99 from www.amazon.co.uk With the European Championships taking place this summer, football is certain to be high on everyone's agenda. With this in mind, the folk at Paul Lamond have announced that they are re-launching the classic finger-flicking football game that is Subbuteo. This new giant version really does look an awful lot of fun.
App of the week: Make Time 2 Play - Apple i0S From the UK's leading authority on play, the British Toy & Hobby Association, this app offers parents ideas on ways to get the kids active and play together as a family.
It's lots of fun and a great way to get the kids up and about.