Best toys for 2019: must-have games and toy gifts for kids of all ages
It’s a universal truth that adults will struggle to get what toys the latest generation of kids like, or why. But don’t worry, your backwards-cap-wearing friend of the youth, T3, is here to help you find the best toy presents.
We’ve got everything from the surprise collectibles that are so fashionable right now, to fun engineering and coding toys that are as educational as they are engrossing, to cool cuddlies and, of course, the hottest Lego.
1. GRAVITRAX STARTER SET
Take marble runs to the next level with this engineering set
The educational toy maestros at Ravensburger have another hit on their hands with this modular building set, which brings the good old-fashioned fun of creating a marble run bang up to date. Use the hexagonal pieces and track to create a gravity-powered flow with all kinds of twists and turns – plus elements like Y points, free falling, and even a “Magnetic Cannon”. You can expand it infinitely too, with add-ons that include the like of catapults and hammers, so you can really turn it into Rube Goldberg-esque fun.
2. POLLY POCKET CUPCAKE COMPACT
Polly’s back! Tiny fun is here again
The trend for reviving old favourites has hit the toy industry too, and there’s a big new Polly Pocket range. As before, you get a mini playset that hides inside a ‘case’ that folds up for transport, and looks fun on a shelf. There’s a whole range to choose from, but we like the value and size of this set – from the little scooter and kitchen, to the dance stage, and inexplicable giant dog in the doorway.
A little robot buddy they can play with anywhere
Boxer is a four-wheel robot toy for kids, which expresses itself using its eye-like screen at the front. It’s not exactly an advanced AI, but it can play over 10 different games. It comes with cards that you ‘scan’ by rolling Boxer then, which tells it what game to play, such as racing or bowling. It also comes with a remote control, and with built in sensors, it reacts to your movements.
4. TREASURE X
Get into the art of excavation
With all the success of ‘surprise package’ opening videos on YouTube, it’s no, uh, surprise that loads of new toy lines are getting in on the trend. This is one of the weirdest, making it simultaneously one of the coolest. Each Treasure X package contains a block of soft rock, that has to be dug through to reveal a surprise figure. Oh, and it’s possible the treasure in the middle might be actual gold.
5. NINTENDO LABO TOY-CON 01: VARIETY KIT
Mixing video games with physical play
Nintendo’s wildly successful Switch has a low-tech new set of add-ons. This variety kit comes with five different accessories to build out of weirdly well-engineered cardboard – once you pop out the shapes and fold in the right places, you get amazingly sturdy end result, that interact with the Switch’s controllers and screen in interesting ways. From a working piano to motorbiking to fishing, this adds some simple but engaging new games – and there’s even basic programming tool to learn for the little remote-control car unit.