Asda's top toys for Christmas 2017: As chosen by kids
Christmas shopping is in full swing and as parents scour the internet for gift ideas, Asda has helpfully released a range of toys that - for the first time ever - has been chosen entirely by children.
Some 400 boys and girls, aged 18 months to 12 years, from across the UK, were invited to help the supermarket put together a giant selection of over 100 top toys.
Everything was played with and marked by kids, while 'play inspectors' watched on, also assessing the facial expressions of the children, as well as dwell time and general enjoyment.
"Many retailers publish top toy lists for Christmas, but they're normally based on the industry big bets, which can lead to some damp squib products," says Asda toy buyer, Kate Briggs.
"We decided it was time to turn to the real experts - meaning Chosen by Kids features the latest toys, but not at the expense of old favourites people find harder to get - and the result is our most impressive toy collection for many years."
But what are the top 20 toys?
Well, there are some brands you would definitely expect - Nintendo's new 2DS XL, Lego's Ninjago Fire Mech and The Batmobile, Baby Annabell and Barbie, along with some eye-boggling big stuff, like the Nerf Battle Racer go cart and Dareway Revolution Ride On (like a Segway for kids).
Happily, there are some innovative ideas too. Laser X allows you to recreate LaserQuest in your own home and Soundmoovz are funky little speakers that you wear on your wrists and ankles, and they only play music when you dance.
But never mind the small people - what about the older folk who are going to have to shell out for all this?
We asked real parents what they thought about 10 of the top 20 toys...
LEGO Ninjago - Fire Mech - 70615, £50 (currently reduced from £59.97)
"Lego is always a great gift and a brilliant way to get parents involved," says Catherine Fletcher, mum-of-two. "I love the fact that it's movie-related, too. What's always exciting about Lego is that you can take it apart and do it all again - and it keeps the children entertained for hours."
Laser X 2 Player Pack, £43.99 at Amazon
"I really like this," says mum-of-two, Tonia Prestney. "It's cheaper than the competition, great for children's parties and you can use it indoors or outside. It's something both our kids can use together (and dad!) and you can use it straight away. I'm not sure if the novelty factor will wear off though, and while I like the fact you can buy additional packs if you want to make a party of it, it would be expensive to do that. But on the whole, it's a good entry point for a fun game, and we can see the kids having a blast with it."
BUY IT Laser X 88016 2-Player Pack
Barbie DreamCamper, £67 (currently reduced from £99.99. Stock is limited, but it's also available from Tesco and Smyths)
"I already know how much my kids want this as they've told me all about it," says Claire Richardson, who has two daughters. "They're particularly excited about the teeny-tiny marshmallows Barbie can toast on the campfire! It is a pretty cool present - I think they'll get a lot of use out of it - but it's a lot of money. I certainly wouldn't pay the full price for it."
Paw Patrol Jungle Patroller, £50 (currently reduced from £64.97)
"This is like the new Optimus Prime!" Martyn Blanchard, dad-of-one, says. "Every child aged 5 and under would love this. Paw patrol is always on in our house. It looks nice and chunky for little hands. The quad is a nice touch to drive in and out of the back. My only negative is, it's £50!"
"This is one I'm really surprised about," comments mum-of-two, Claire Spreadbury. "I love this. It's a quirky idea, encourages kids to get active, is pretty techy and plays music. It's a winning gift from a parent's perspective - although it's quite a steep price point. But kids obviously love it too. I can see the whole family getting involved on Christmas Day, strapping on the speakers and doing some dodgy dancing in the lounge - although it's one for parents to sort out before the unwrapping begins, or it'll be a pain to set up on the actual day."
Little Live Pets My Dream Kitten, £38 (stock is currently limited but other Dream Kittens are available from Toys R Us, Smyths and Tesco)
"This is the sort of toy you always expect to be a hit with kids," says James Richardson, who has two children. "It's not often a hit with me though - just another mechanised furry thing that will grab their attention when it's new, and every so often after that, but is just something else to clutter up their bedroom. Like the Hatchimal last year, and the Furby before that. I can see why children like it, though."
Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Magical Oven, £20 (stock is currently low everywhere for this, but it's also available on Amazon and eBay)
"Oh no, the dreaded Play-Doh," says mum-of-two Claire Richardson. "My little ones love the stuff but it gets everywhere! We're picking bits up weeks after they've played with it, so my reaction to Play-Doh isn't normally a positive one. Having said that, it does keep them entertained for ages, and everything's a mess at Christmas, so who cares?! It's also much more affordable than most of the other items, so great value for money."
Little Tikes My First Drone, £30
"This is cheaper than a lot of other drones on the market, and it's very simple to use," says Ben Prestney, who has a son and a daughter at primary school. "It's a good activity to play in the house in the winter and is simple, but not basic. (Sometimes these things are complicated and, as a result, the children lose interest as the adult is busy trying to work out how to use it!) And it seems pretty robust, though I'm not sure how it will last with constant crashing!"
Ben 10 Rust Bucket Playset, £44.97 at Amazon
"I can see why kids would like this, but I'm not drawn to a massive hunk of plastic that costs a lot," notes James Richardson. "One for the serious Ben 10 fans, I guess, but I'll certainly be avoiding this one on the Christmas list!"
BUY IT Ben 10 Rust Bucket Playset
Nikko Air DRL 115 Air Elite Drone Race Set, £50
"This looks fantastic!" Martyn Blanchard says. "An affordable and capable drone for children. I love the fact you don't need to be a pilot to operate it, as it has auto take off, hovering, landing and can do twenty in-built tricks! I want one!"