MadeForMums, the parenting site for product reviews, announced its winners of the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022, as judged by over 600 child testers, their parents and a team of expert judges. The list reveals the priorities and trends influencing parents’ choices in the peak toy-buying season leading up to Christmas.

Themes and trends that emerged from parent feedback in these cost-conscious times include favouring 1 ‘big present’, such as a playset, that’s carefully chosen to have a real wow factor but also enough play potential to be loved and played with for a long time (Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset, Barbie Dream Camper Vehicle Play Set). Parents were also won over by “clever” toys that provide extra value because they’re great to construct before being played with (Thames & Kosmos Ultra Bionic Blaster) or because they can be customised and changed it in multiple ways such as the Hexbug Hexmods Pro Series Elite.

Their judges also picked out several high-quality eco-friendly toys, including some stunning wooden toys (Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Cart, Great Little Trading Co. First Class Toy Post Office) and toys made entirely out of biodegradable materials (McMiller Fire in the Hole, Build Your Own Pinball Machine).

But there was also huge enjoyment of the latest all-singing, all-dancing, all-light-flashing showstopper toys like the Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue, an animatronic velociraptor that you wear on your arm.

Helen Brown, Toys Editor of MadeForMums, said, “Over several months, MadeForMums has rigorously tested hundreds of toys using the best toy experts of all – children. Our child judges give us super-honest feedback after hours of play, so we know which toys really do deliver long-term play value. And with the extra help of their parents, toy industry experts and our expert editorial team, we have been able to build up a clear picture of the must-have toys for Christmas 2022 with the best play potential.

“We know from our child judges’ parents that this year, when costs are rising, buying one big toy, rather than lots of smaller ones, is a smart option – as long as that big toy has a wow factor and the potential for months of fun. And we’ve discovered some really great-value toys at under the £40 and £20 mark, too – often toys that parents told us they expected to pay more for.

“Innovative toys made entirely of cardboard are also great to see as an emerging trend, as is an ever-stronger focus from toy makers on more sustainable packaging.”

The MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022 celebrate the best children’s toys at every age and stage, from newborn to teens, and cover 52 categories from Best Toddler Toy and Best Doll to Best Science Toy, Best Educational Toy, Best First Bike and Best Stocking Filler.

For the full list of the Made for Mums Toy Awards 2022 winners CLICK HERE

This year’s selection of winners recommended by child testers, parents and expert judges include:

Pixicade, £19.99
Age: 6+
Available at: TP Toys
It may look like just a set of workbooks and pens but it’s actually an incredibly clever interactive guide that helps you draw video games and then make them come to life for you – and your friends – to play on screen.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before. My son loves it. It combines two things he loves most – drawing and gaming – in a really original way’

Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue, £99.99
Age: 7+
Available at: Smyths Toys
An animatronic velociraptor that you wear like a glove puppet on your arm and operate with pistol-grip controls inside to make it blink, roar, bite and lunge. With loads of sound effects.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘Sturdy, hard-wearing and incredibly realistic. It really looks alive! My child is thrilled. A great buy for any Jurassic fan’

Barbie Dream Camper Vehicle Play Set, £114.99
Age: 3+
Available at: Smyths Toys
This year’s Barbie playset has wheels – and opens out to reveal a kitchen, a sleeping area, a pool, a fire pit, a TV den and a huge slide. It comes with lots of accessories, including binoculars, utensils, furniture and 2 puppies.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘It’s very well made – and it has it all! But the standout feature is definitely the huge slide. I can see my daughter playing very happily with this for quite a few years’

Xootz Bumper Car, £179.99
Age: 3+
Available at: Bilco
A 1-seater bumper car with flashing lights, a seatbelt and either joystick control or remote control (for younger riders). It goes forwards, backwards – and does a lovely 360° spin.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘It’s pricey but we‘re having so much fun with it. Lots of my son’s friends are desperate to come and have a turn’

Build Your Own Pinball Machine, £19.99
Age: 8+
Available at: Build Your Own Kits
It’s made entirely out of cardboard pieces – and they all slot together without glue to make a working pinball machine (with marble balls supplied). A great construction project for an older child – and fun to play with once made.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘It looks amazing – all those bright colours. What a clever idea! My daughter really enjoyed putting it all together and then pinging the marbles round’

McMiller Fire in the Hole, £32.99
Age: 7+
Available at: McMiller
A beautifully designed family game, made out of biodegradable cardboard and felt, where you have to throw little cannonballs into the holes on the pop-up pirate ship – without letting your elbows leave your side.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘This is so different – and such fun! And we all think it’s a great plus that it’s so environmentally friendly’

Got2Glow Fairy Finder, £39.99
Age: 5+
Available at: Smyths Toys
A sweet little interactive jar for you to catch and keep (virtual) fairies in. There are over 30 fairies to catch, all with different personalities – and you can play games with them, feed them and get them to say hello.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘My daughter gets so excited when the lights flash to say there’s a new fairy to catch. This jar now goes everywhere with her’

Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin Beats, £44.99
Age: 9 months+
Available at: Amazon
A colourful, big-eared creature on springs that bounces hilariously around in time to the music you play by pushing the buttons on its head. Includes a button that records your voice and then plays its back with remix effects.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘My son hasn’t played with anything else since this arrived. It’s so great to watch him laughing and dancing’

Thames & Kosmos Ultra Bionic Blaster, £50
Age: 8+
Available at: Thames & Kosmos
A robotic glove with an air powered dart blaster on top that you construct yourself before you have a blast firing it all over the place. It’s a serious 100-piece build (great instructions) that turns into serious fun.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘This is brilliant! It is great quality and exciting to play with. My son plays in the house using targets and also takes it outdoors to play with friends’

Great Little Trading Co. First Class Toy Post Office, £60
Age: 3+
Available at: GLTC
A neat little all-wood playset that’s a post office counter on one side and the postmaster’s workstation on the other. Comes with moving weighing scales, cash machine, a stamper, bank card, Velcro-based stamps, and little letters and postcards to drop in the box.
MadeForMums toy tester: ‘It’s a quality, solid wooden toy that packs a lot of fun into a compact size. Big thumbs up from me!’

Hexbug Hexmods Pro Series Elite, £49.99
Age: 3+
Available at: The Entertainer
A natty yellow remote-control racing car that comes with a reconfigurable suspension and gears and a variety of spoilers, tyres, rims and bumpers to choose and fit and swap. Can go up to 13mph and runs on a rechargeable battery.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘We’ve had so much fun with this every day, creating ramps for it to drive up and performing stunts. My son’s taken it to the park and has been swarmed by other children wanting a turn’

LEGO Friends Olivia’s Space Academy, £59.99
Age: 8+
Available at: LEGO
A 757-piece LEGO set that builds into a space-exploration academy, an observatory with a roof telescope, a multi-axis trainer for getting astronauts ready for zero gravity, and a shuttle with an extending robotic arm.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘It’s a good long build and there are lots of lovely little details and moving parts. It’s opened up some great conversations about space and the planets’

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, £74.99
Age: 12 months +
Available at: Amazon
A brightly coloured pushalong trolley with built-in shape sorters on the sides, a veg-themed spinner at the back and 2 chunky puzzle boards. Comes with a little pretend coffee cup that fits in its own special hole.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘It has so many elements to explore and play with. I think this will stay a favourite for a long time’

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset, £99.99
Age: 3+
Available at: Smyths Toys
This preschooler-height static playset is pretend-ice-cream making heaven: up top there’s a musical soft serve handle and sprinkle maker and down on the prep counters and shelves below, there’s a dinging cash register, 12 pots of Play-Doh in different colours, cones and bowls and umpteen squishing and moulding tools.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘This costs quite a lot but there’s hours and hours of fun, learning through play and creativity to be had. It’s worth the money’

Clementoni Harry Potter Wizarding World Hagrid’s Hut Terrarium, £19.99
Age: 7+
Available at: Amazon
It’s a Harry Potter-themed nature project. First you make Hagrid’s hut – and its pumpkins – with plaster and moulds. You paint them and place them in your transparent bowl on top of stones and soil you sow with clover and pine seeds – and then you can watch them grow.
MadeForMums parent tester: ‘A great “make” with craft and paints and sowing seeds. Well and truly worth the money – I’d have expected to pay more, to be honest!’

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