Most popular toys for Christmas 2022 – and what kids really think of them

It’s that time of year again… as the festive season approaches The Toy Retailers Association has revealed their top 12 toys for Christmas 2022 which they say will be the most sought-after products of the year.

The list features a mixture of classic items, like Barbie, Lego Star Wars and Pokemon, as well as some newer brands that have soared in popularity, such as Squishmallows, Magic Mixies and GiGi the Giraffe.

If you’re currently pondering what to buy your little one as a special gift this year and aren’t sure where to start, this list is an ideal spring board – and we’ve spoken to kids, who as we all know are the real toy experts here, to find out which toys from the top 12 they would like to find under their Christmas tree on December 25 and which aren’t worth the hype.

The top 12 toys were selected by a panel of independent retailers and toy experts and are listed in alphabetical order, but otherwise are not ranked in any particular order.

The full list includes:

  • Barbie Cutie Reveal Doll, Mattel UK, £32.99
  • Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse, Spin Master Toys UK, £79.99
  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Goo Shifters Hero Pack, Character Options, £10.99
  • GiGi the Giraffe, Character Options, £27.99
  • Little Live Pets – Mama Surprise, MooseToys, £64.99
  • Magic Mixies Mixlings Magic Castle Playset, MooseToys, £29.99
  • PAW Patrol Big Truck Pups Themed Vehicles, Spin Master Toys UK, £17.99
  • Pokémon Elite Trainer Box, Asmodee UK, £42.50
  • Rainbow High Series 4 Fashion Doll, MGA Entertainment, £31.99
  • Sink N’ Sand Game, Spin Master Toys UK, £19.99
  • Original 7.5” Squishmallows, Jazwares, £7.99
  • LEGO Star Wars Hoth AT-ST, LEGO Company, £44.99

The Mirror’s Courtney Pochin headed down to the DreamToys launch event and spoke with 10-year-old Harry Keogh, seven-year-old Hudson Keogh and Lily Roberts, also seven, to get their thoughts on the top 12 toys.

There was a clear standout that all three of the children absolutely loved and wanted to keep on playing with for hours – the Sink N’ Sand Game by Spin Master Toys UK.

The game costs £19.99 and is essentially what it would look like if you mashed up Kerplunk and Jumanji, as instead of marbles falling down when you pull out sticks, your chosen character falls through kinetic quick sand.

Sink N’ Sand was Hudson’s favourite of all the toys and he quickly proclaimed it his number one must-have for Christmas. The youngster liked that you could get lots of people involved, saying: “This one is my favourite because if you have more players to play with, it’s fun.”

The game was also highly praised by Hudson’s older brother, Harry, who when asked to rank the 12 toys, placed it firmly in at number two – his second favourite of them all.

Harry played several rounds of the game while at the event and was fascinated by the fake sand, which he enjoyed stretching and squeezing in his hands as it felt like “Playdough”.

He was also a big fan of the LEGO Star Wars Hoth AT-ST which he thought was really “cool”, but his top toy was the Squishmallows, which he spent a lot of time happily hugging.

“I like the Squishmallows because they’re so cuddly and my favourite is the Winnie the Pooh one because it’s so beautiful and colourful,” he said.

And for those with kids who need help to work through some of their stronger emotions, Harry recommends getting the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, which are sensory toys that can be squeezed, squished, stretched and more.

He explained: “They have really unique styles and some of them are villains and some of them are heroes. The heroes have to defeat the villains with their goo powers.

“When you squeeze them they’re really satisfying and it’s really nice if you’re angry as you can use this and then squeeze it and then it will make you feel a bit better.”

Other toys from the top 12 that got a big thumbs up from the kids included the Little Live Pets – Mama Surprise Guinea Pig Playset.

This features a toy guinea pig and an interactive hutch. You take care of the Mama guinea pig, by stroking her and brushing her fur and then when her heart glows, a baby is on the way. The Mama is placed back in the hutch, which also glows, before you find a surprise inside – baby toy guinea pigs.

Hudson especially loved the playset, sharing how he really wanted a guinea pig but his mum was allergic, so for him this was the next best thing.

“It’s like when a mum gives birth, you need to make the mum happy and then her heart will glow and that means it’s time to have her babies,” he explained.

Once the babies appeared from a hidden compartment in the hutch he proclaimed he was going to make them “beautiful”, by fixing their fur and adding accessories to them, including a tiara.

For Lily, however, the top 12 list was a little disappointing as her Christmas must-have didn’t make the cut.

Instead of Barbie dolls and Magic Mixlings, the youngster dreamed of having a slushy maker under her tree – the Chill Factor Slushy Maker to be precise.

The Slushy Maker was part of the long list of 72 toys the Dream Toys panel used to select their top 12 and it was showcased at the event alongside all the others.

Lily made a beeline for it when asked what her favourite toy was, saying: “I like it because you can make your own Slush Puppy and the things come inside it and it gets you a little cup.”

Next on her wish list for Father Christmas was another toy that didn’t make the top 12, the Shimmer N Sparkle 6 in 1 Real Massaging Spa. For Lily, this was a winner as it “lights up and has bubbling water in it”

If she had to pick from the top 12 though, she says she’d go for Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse, as she likes that it has a slide on the side.

GiGi the Giraffe was the only toy that really seemed to divide the kids – Hudson was a big fan, but Lily didn’t like it at all.

GiGi, known as a Jiggly Pet, is an electronic giraffe that plays music and dances. She especially likes to ‘shake her booty to the beat’ and while the boys found this hilarious and cheekily tried to recreate her moves, Lily simply shook her head at it.

Lily also gave a thumbs down to the Pokemon Elite Trainer Box from the top 12, which she admitted she wouldn’t want for Christmas. Hudson, however, liked the dragon on the front of the box and the shiny cards inside and hoped to get one soon.

So that’s what the kids made of the must-have toys for this Christmas, it certainly seems it shouldn’t be too tricky to find a little something for everyone in the top 12 – and also something to suit different budgets according to the experts.

Paul Reader, chair of the DreamToys selection committee, said: “Featuring an exciting mixture of classic toys and the year’s biggest brands, the DreamToys 2022 list encapsulated what we believe will be the most sought-after products this Christmas.

“2022 has been a challenging year for many families and the committee took this into consideration when selecting this year’s list with eight of the top 12 priced under £35.

“We know many use DreamToys list for guidance when it comes to making purchasing decisions and we feel we’ve selected the best toys to delight children this Christmas while suiting different budgets.”

Melissa Symonds, Executive Director, UK Toys, The NPD Group, added: “Despite the current cost of living crisis, Christmas remains a key event for families and a celebratory event to look forward to at the end of the year. With the average price of a toy in December just £13.11, parents and gift buyers don’t have to spend a fortune on presents that will guarantee some fun and smiles during the festive period.”