Get the verdict on 2012's top toys from kids and The Good Toy Guide

We asked our toy makers for their best toys of the year. Then we gave them to two groups of experts for a thorough road test – kids from Fusion After School Club in Hertfordshire and the toy experts at The Good Toy Guide. Read on for their no-nonsense opinions.

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Hedbanz

Age 6+

What is it?

Players have to work out what the picture on their head is.

Our kids panel said:

Our testers quickly understood how to play the game and enjoyed asking and answering questions - especially when someone came up with a funny idea. A couple of younger children found it tricky to start with, but after a couple of rounds their reasoning skills had improved noticeably.

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Develops communication skills
  • Encourages logical thinking skills
  • Promotes friendly competition
  • Increases vocabulary

Ravensburger Big Ben 3D Puzzle

Age 10+

What is it?

Make a 3D model of London’s famous clock.

Our kids panel said:

Despite this being a challenge our testers couldn't wait to see the end result. "This looks hard," said a 10 year old tester, "[but it's] better than a 2D puzzle. I can't wait to see it finished." Once our testers had built Big Ben they loved the results: "I do not want to break this up," said an 11 year old boy.

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Develops hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills
  • Encourages problem solving and decision making skills
  • Develops sharing and turn-taking when others are involved
  • Promotes self-confidence and a sense of achievement 

Monopoly Millionaire

Age 8+

What is it?

A new version of the classic game where electronic banking replaces notes.

Our kids panel said:

"Wow, this looks really good" said one nine year old tester before he started playing. An hour later he was certain: "It's the best board game ever." Another 10 year old boy felt that "the [bank] cards are better than paper money. It would be even better if it had a bigger board with more properties."

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Develops an understanding about money
  • Encourages strategic thinking and planning skills
  • Reinforces social skills such as turn taking and sharing
  • Provides the opportunity for friendly competition

Pig Goes Pop!

Age 4+

What is it?

Feed the pig as many burgers as you can without making him pop.

Our kids panel said:

"I like feeding the pig," said one five year old tester. "Shove it in his mouth!" All our five and six year old testers enjoyed taking turns to feeding him and loved watching his belly get bigger and bigger. "He is about to explode," said a six year old boy, "I hope I don’t explode when I eat burgers!"

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Encourages counting 
  • Promotes turn-taking
  • Prompts discussions about eating and nutrition

Bop It Smash

Age 8+

What is it?

Electronic game that tests your reactions.

Our kids panel said:

Our panel of five to 11 year olds loved Bop It Smash and all wanted to beat each other’s scores. "It's really good fun and so addictive," said one 10 year old boy, adding "I'm going to ask Father Christmas for one." A seven year old girl who had played the previous version of Bop It was also impressed: "This is amazing, it's even better than the other one. I have to get the best score!"

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Develops motor skills and reaction times
  • Appeals to a wide range of individuals 
  • Provides an opportunity for friendly competition 
  • Creates lots of interactions and discussion

Moshi Monsters Puzzle Ball

Age 6+

What is it?

A 3D puzzle featuring all the Moshi Monsters.

Our kids panel said:

The Puzzleball was a test for some of the younger children: "This is very tricky," said a five year old girl. With some help from a nine year old tester she soon got the hang of following the instructions though. "The numbers make it easier," she explained. All the children were really proud of their finished creation saying it was "cool," "colourful," and "looked really good when finished."

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Develops sharing/turn-taking skills
  • Helps to enhance mathematical knowledge and understanding
  • Children learn to problem solve and make decision

Doggie Doo

Age 4+

What is it?

Feed the dog and watch him poo.

Our kids panel said:

Our testers were so keen to see the Doggie Doo that they wasted no time learning the rules of the game. "I just want to make it poop," said one nine year old. They were eager to get their hands on the poo itself and quickly learnt "it's like slime!" In fact our testers' main concern was that Doggie Doo didn't poo enough: "I think it’s not very good because it's run out of poo," said a six year old.

Dino Bite

Age 4+

What is it?

Rescue baby dinosaurs while watching out for T-Rex - he bites!

Our kids panel said:

Kids of different ages enjoyed playing Dino Bite - though some of the younger ones were frightened by the T-Rex's realistic roar! "I wonder what colour I will get?" said one enthusiastic five year old. "Aargh, it bit me!" Some adult help was needed to setup the game but all the kids found the big tweezers easy to use.

The Good Toy Guide said:

Fun Rating:

Educational Rating:

  • Promotes turn taking and communication skills
  • Develops fine motor skills
  • Promotes discussion about dinosaurs and the pre-historic world

Lego Creationary

Age 7+

What is it?

Take it in turns building Lego models, and see if you can guess what your opponent is making.

Our kids panel said:

'Is it a canoe? Is it a ferry?' were the questions asked by a nine year old boy who was trapped in the excitement of Lego Creationary. Our testers loved trying to guess what models they were making, and seeing if they could make the models on the cards.