The 10 best toys ever

Research reveals the most popular playthings for girls and boys – and they’re golden oldies… 

LIMA, that’s the Licensing Industry Merchandising Association to you and us, has researched the biggest-selling toy brands among British young consumers. We take a peek at the top 10 for both boys and girls, giving you a heads-up for what’s sure to be on those Chrimbo wish lists (and  the case of Lego, we may be talking yours, not theirs)…


Top 10 toys for boys  

1. Lego

Still going strong since its inception as a small plastic brick 65 years ago, Lego lords it over all. Kids of all ages just can’t get enough of it (including grown-ups who hoard it in sheds. You know who you are!). According to one top psychologist, we love it so much because it appeals to our ‘builder instincts’. There’s so much new Lego coming out, we hardly know where to start. And while down-to-earth kits such as the Lego Arctic City Base Camp will prove popular, our money’s on the more out-of-this-world Guardians of the Galaxy sets, including this, The Milano Spaceship Rescue. Lego is Groot!

The Milano Spaceship Rescue (ages 8–14), £69.99. 

 2. Cars The Movie

A surprising entry at number two this, considering that the first movie, starring Lightning McQueen and friends, was released all the way back in 2006. And, it’s not just die-cast cars that are coveted, oh no – there are peddle cars (we love those), Play Doh sets, Hot Wheels, Micro Drifters, toddler beds, Lego (of course), even Wendy houses and so much more besides. And while there’s plenty of new stuff (and old) over at the Disney Store, including a five-car Piston Cup set, we’ve still got our eyes on that peddle car. Sadly, it’s only available on eBay. Cars 3 can’t come quick enough.

Disney Pixar Cars Deluxe Piston Cup Die-Cast Set (ages 3+), £25.

3. Thomas & Friends

More vehicular fun here, Thomas has been happily chuffing away since 1943, first in books (The Railway Series), then on TV as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (as it was known to anyone growing up prior to 1984) and, finally, as Thomas & Friends, with resultant toys, train sets, apps, iPad story books and more. These days, Thomas is all CGI wizardry and has more friends than the average Facebook user. Maybe one of the reasons why Thomas has steamed ahead of his competitors is because he’s a dude that moves with the times, but never forgets his roots. In other words, same friendly face, but loads of exciting – and faster – tracks, like the Trackmaster Avalanche Escape Set. Go, Thomas.

Thomas Trackmaster Avalanche Escape Playset (ages 3+), £40.

The best of the rest...

4. Toy Story

5. Hot Wheels


7. Spider-Man

8. Star Wars

9. Mickey Mouse

10. Playmobil


Top 10 toys for girls

1. Barbie

This blonde has reigned supreme for 55 years now, and while feminist critiques of her, er, chest size are eternal, so too are girls’ love of her in all her varieties, including dolls, dollhouses, convertibles, couture and, of course, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes of accessories. Out now there’s this: the Barbie Glam Colour Change Handbag. At the press of a button it can change colour to match your clothes and can colour code to over 100 different shades. The bag also comes complete with cool clip-on accessories to decorate and personalise. It even contains a mini-matching handbag for your Barbie doll. And by ‘your’, we mean your Barbie-loving daughter. Don’t we?

Barbie Colour Change Handbag (ages 3+),  £29.99.

2. Hello Kitty

So what if, back in August, it was revealed that the ‘Kitty’ in Hello Kitty wasn’t, in fact, a cat, but a British girl called Kitty White? It dented the sales and adoration not one jot. In fact, according to her creators, Sanrio, Kitty was born in London and is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold. Created out of the love the Japanese had for all things British, she first appeared on a vinyl coin purse in 1974. Today, she’s a global multi-media phenomenon worth billions, and her cute face graces no less than 22,000 officially licensed products. There’s even a Hello Kitty hospital in Taiwan, where each bed sheet is branded with Hello Kitty, as are the nurses’ uniforms. We kid you not.

Hello Kitty Beauty Case (ages 3+), £20. 

3. Lego, again

Number one for boys and number three for girls. And while there’s nothing wrong in getting your daughter to help you build that WWII tank you always wanted, Lego has developed a range that caters more to feminine tastes. Called Lego Friends, the sets feature five girlfriends who love animals, performing arts, invention, design and shopping. With the latter in mind, we have it on good authority that the Lego Friends Heartlake City Shopping Mall is going to be colossal come Christmas. And, Lego-fact fans, check this out: six eight-stud bricks of the same colour can be combined in 915 million different ways, there are currently 80 Lego bricks for every person in the world, and adult fans of Lego are called AFOLs. Lordy!

Lego Friends Heartlake Shopping Mall (ages 3+), £79.99.

The best of the rest...

4. Peppa Pig

5. Minnie Mouse

6. Lego Friends

7. Disney Princess

8. Monster High

9. My Little Pony

10. Mickey Mouse

Try these little boredom busters this weekend. 

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