Every year, certain products feature more prominently on children's Christmas wish-lists than others. These are the toys that become the talk of the playground (or social media) and have parents rushing to the nearest shop (or Amazon) to secure their loved one's 'must-have' pressie. Wait too long and you run the risk of missing out on that special toy – which is exactly what happened last year, when a run on Hatchimals saw shops sell out far ahead of Christmas Day.
So, what will be the Hatchimals of 2017? A list, released in November by the Toy Retailers Association, provides the first clue of Christmas buying habits: it predicts the 12 most sought-after toys of the season.
Hatchimals are back on the list – as is a version of a Nerf gun, which made the top 12 in 2016. The big Christmas game for pranksters 2017 looks to be Hasbro's Toilet Trouble (£17.99, Argos), which is set to bring the same level of hilarity to proceedings as the popular Pie Face (£17.99, Smyths Toys) of preceding years.
The Original Stretch Armstrong also features as familiar favourite, while popular children's television programmes are represented by a PJ Masks Headquarters Playset, a Lego’s Star Wars BB-8 and a Paw Patrol Sea Patroller.
The authoritative DreamToys list marks the beginning of the countdown to Christmas, and encourages gift givers to purchase now in order to avoid disappointment.
“This year’s DreamToys top 12 is an exciting range of innovative toys that demonstrate the creativity of the toy industry and the magic of Christmas,” commented Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys committee.
“From the biggest collectible trends and licenses of 2017 to exciting action products and board game sensations, this year’s list is incredibly diverse and with price points to suit all budgets. With so many products vying for a child’s attention it’s pleasing to be able to pick a list that promotes togetherness, innovation and creative play that will capture the imagination this Christmas.”
1. Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro
Kids can design their own stunts and fire foam cars with powerful, high-performing Nerf blasters. This set includes two foam cars, plus a long-jump ramp for long-distance jumping challenges.
2. Star Wars: BB-8 from Lego Company LTD
Meet Sphero's BB-8, an app-enabled droid. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even react to voice commands. Set to patrol mode and watch it go out on its own and explore its surroundings, mapping out collisions with objects in the room and sending information back. Create and view holographic recordings via a smartphone or tablet device and watch its adaptive personality evolve as you interact with it.
The Sphero BB-8 comes with its own induction charging cradle and connects via Bluetooth Smart BLE with your compatible device. After a full 3-hour charge on its induction base, the BB-8 droid will keep rolling for approximately 1 hour.
BB-8 is set to feature in the upcoming The Last Jedi, so is sure to be a hit this Christmas.
3. Toilet Trouble from Hasbro
Toilet Trouble is all about suspense: players take turns spinning the toilet paper roll, flushing the toilet handle, and hoping they don't get sprayed with water. If you get sprayed, you're out of the game.
4. Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set from Mattel
This panda playhouse looks set to enchant kids, with an exclusive Prue Panda doll and her cute animal features and an adorable animal friend, Nari. At home in their multi-level playhouse, Prue and Nari are ready for fun days in the forest and all other fantasy adventures kids can imagine.
5. FurReal Roarin' Tyler from Hasbro
The FurReal Roarin’ Tyler the Playful Tiger is always ready for fun and his favourite way to play is to roar. When kids roar or make sounds at him, this playful tiger roars back, responding with 100+ sound and motion combinations. With soft fur and moveable back legs, he’s also rather huggable.
6. Fingerlings from Jazwares
Right side up or upside down, this monkey bar and swing play set is the perfect place for WowWee Fingerlings pets to monkey around. Two exclusive Fingerlings Baby Monkeys are included in this playset, and like all Fingerlings Baby Monkeys, Liv and Simona love to interact with you, responding to touch, sounds, and movement with cute monkey babble, blinking eyes, and head turns.
7. Laser X - 2 Player Pack from Character Options
Remember Laser Quest? Well, now you can play it at home, with the Laser X system. It blasts over 60 metres with pinpoint accuracy, and gameplay allows unlimited players.
The set comes complete with voice coach guidance, full colour lighting effects, stereo sound and music.
8. L.O.L. Surprise Series 2 from MGA Entertainment
There's seven layers of fun wrapped around every L.O.L. Surprise! doll ,including a secret message sticker, a collectible sticker sheet, a charm, shoes, an outfit, and an accessory, as well as the doll itself. Unwrap the ball to reveal a new mystery, hinting at which L. O. L. Surprise! doll you're going to get. Then, you can feed or bathe your baby for an additional water surprise: she might cry, spit, tinkle or change colour.
9. Hatchimals Surprise from Spin Master Toys UK Ltd
Hatchimals are magical creatures hidden inside speckled eggs, which hatch with the help of love and care. This year they come in pairs, which makes them doubly wantable to small kids. Parents, you have been warned...
10. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller from Spin Master Toys UK Ltd
Paw Patrol fans can take to the sea with the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller. Equipped with flashing lights, sounds and a detachable anchor, this rescue vehicle comes with everything that's needed to navigate the waters around Adventure Bay.
11. PJ Masks Headquarters Playset from Flair Leisure Products Plc
Children can look out for villains and defend the PJ Masks Headquarters with the help of goggles for red owl vision, tree snarls with closing branch clasps and a spyscope which doubles up as a fur-ball shooter, ready for when they spot trouble. The box includes a catboy figure and a cat car vehicle! It requires 3 x AG13 batteries (included) and is suitable for age 3+.
12. The Original Stretch Armstrong from Character Options
The Original Stretch Armstrong is now available in mini-size. Stretch him, twist him and tie him in knots – whatever you do The Original Stretch Armstrong will use his super strength to return to his original shape and size. Featuring a cool retro look, he's ready to for action and can stretch up to 5 times more than his original size.
For more Christmas features and gift guides, see www.telegraph.co.uk/christmas.