16:55 14 November 2012
The countdown to Christmas is officially on, and millions of children will be busy planning their wish-lists to send to Santa.
Here, we take a look at what many of them will be asking for this year, with a rundown of the official top 13 hottest toys for Christmas 2012, as chosen by the Toy Retailers' Association...
One of last year's dream presents was the revolting Doggie Doo toy, a toy dachshund which poos brown out plasticine, so parents will be relieved that nothing quite so unpleasant has made it onto this year's list.
Many of this year's most-wanted toys are in fact old favourites, such as Cabbage Patch Kids. In fact many parents will have childhood memories of these squashy-faced dolls which have a recommended retail price of £29.99 and are produced by Jakks Pacific.
Each new adopted 'Kid' comes with adoption papers, birth certificate and download code for a 22-minute cartoon, making it an ideal choice for doll fans - and parents wanting to indulge in a bit of nostalgia.
Another blast from the past which is proving popular this year is the Furby by Hasbro, which reacts and adapts intelligently to any attention it's given and now comes with an app download for even more interactive fun. The Furby costs £59.99, but parents should be warned that how their child treats their Furby will shape its personality, so a mischievous side may appear if not handled carefully...
Lego, another toy most of us will have grown up with, also features on this year's dream toys list, with the Lego Friends: Olivia's House and the Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Mines of Moria taking two of the top spots.
Retailing at £69.99 and £68.99 respectively, both sets offer much more than just a few building bricks. As well as a house, the Olivia's House set comes with three mini-doll figures, furniture, and accessories which include salt and pepper shakers, chicken drumsticks, a frying pan, diary and muffin tins. Even the garden isn't forgotten, with a 'flower accessory pack' providing flowers, ladybirds and butterflies - perfect for keeping little girls amused for hours.
The Lord of the Rings set, meanwhile, is definitely one for the boys, packed full of weapons such as a chain, club, and double-bladed axe which can be wielded by the six mini-figures, Pippin, Boromir, Gimli, Legolas and two Moria orcs. There is also a giant cave troll and two skeletons, as well as a hidden room with treasure and opening doors.
Boys will also love the Web-Shooting Spider-Man by Hasbro, which retails at £34.99 and has two web-shooters which fire left or right and emit web-slinging sounds when they are fired. The figure is suitable for children aged four and up, and includes a target shaped like The Lizard.
Toys for technology whizz-kids
This year's dream toys aren't all about old classics, however. A couple of high-tech tablets also feature in this year's list.
The InnoTab 2 by VTech, for example, sells for a steep £84.99, but combines educational games with fun activities and e-books. It also includes a rotating self-portrait camera for photos and videos.
While the InnoTab 2 doesn't come cheap, it may be a good option for parents fed up with having to wrestle their own iPad or other tablet away from the kids.
The LeapPad 2 from Leapfrog Toys, meanwhile, retails at £89.99 and comes with five apps: Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs, Art Studio, one app of your choice and the all new Cartoon Director app.
The tablet automatically adjusts the learning to each child, asking more challenging questions as children's skills develop. It also comes with front and back cameras, as well as a video recorder, making it the perfect gadget for technology fans.
Top toys for younger children
If it's some good old-fashioned swashbuckling fun you want for your children, then Jake and the Neverland Pirates 'Pirate Ship Bucky' by Mattel is sure to go down a storm this Christmas. This has a recommended retail price of £49.99 and is suitable for children aged three and over.
It has a working cannon to shoot water ball projectiles and includes both Jake and Scully figures. The boat also rocks back and forth as it moves along to give the impression that it's in water, and you can press the phrases button to hear well-known Jake phrases as well as the theme song.
Another present which is bound to be popular with younger children is Mike the Knight's Deluxe Grendragon Playset by Character Options. With a recommended retail price of £29.99, this set comes with a Mike the Knight figure and Galahad the horse with rearing action, as well as some hidden treasure.
Girls might, however, prefer a Monster High Ghouls Rule doll by Mattel. Costing £22.99, this is one of the cheapest toys on the list and includes a doll, costume and accessories. Alternatively, they may want to go for theMy Moshi Monsters Home by Vivid Imaginations.
This monster's house, which has a recommended retail price of £39.99, includes over 20 removable window frames, stickers, doors and furniture, so you can make it how you want. You can also dance on the light-up floor with the posable Moshi Monster figure which is included and can create a second level by slotting in the extra floor provided.
If you want to get the kids up and moving this Christmas, then look no further than the Twister Dance Game, a dancing version of the classic game.
The game, which retails at £26.99 has eight movable spots, and players can learn dances to music from Britney Spears, Willow Smith, Cuipd and Ke$ha by following the lights and stepping on the spots. It also connects to any MP3 player so you can follow the changing lights to songs in your own song collection.
If dancing isn't your children's bag, then the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire by Hasbro, which retails at £44.99, could be just the thing to get them on their feet. The Hail-Fire Blaster gun's unique rotating ammo rack holds an impressive 144 darts and fires at targets up to 75 feet away.
However, parents giving this as a present should prepare to be pelted for the entire festive period.
If you decide to give any of these toys as Christmas presents, bear in mind that the costs shown are only the recommended retail prices, so you may find them for considerably less - or more - depending on where you shop.
Use MoneySupermarket's Shopping channel to help you compare prices from several different retailers before buying.
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