Smyths Toys list of top toys for Christmas 2016

What are the top toys for Christmas? Smyths Toys – who kicked off the Christmas 2016 toy rush in style with this great TV ad that defied traditional gender stereotypes – have revealed their list of top toys for Christmas 2016.

In common with many retailers, and the toy industry in general, they still have some work to do in how they present toys to boys & girls – it’s often still boys playing with superheroes & bikes, and girls with dolls & prams.

But their Christmas ad shows that they’re evolving their offering. For that they should be applauded and I look forward to how this develops in the future.

For now, here are my highlights from their best toys of 2016. The full list features a range of toys – some of which I’m more of a fan of than others!

Smyths top toys for Christmas 2016

1. LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack

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We love LEGO Dimensions. It is the perfect marriage of LEGO and LEGO video games and to my mind one of the best toys of 2016.

This starter pack comes with everything you need to get cracking with it (ok, apart from the console. And the TV). There are 3 minifigures (Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf), a mini kit of the Batmobile, plus the game pad with buildable platform, and the game itself.

Each figure & minikit (that you get instructions how to build in-game) has a special base that the game pad can read, and then place a virtual version of that figure/vehicle in the game. The figures also unlock extra worlds to explore in the game, so these three open access to DC world, LEGO movie, and Middle-earth.

There are dozens of expansion packs, featuring LEGO versions of some great pop culture icons, ranging from the Wicked Witch to the all-female Ghostbusters.

Highly recommended, and unlikely to disappoint any child who loves LEGO and video games.

2. Imaginext Remote Control Transforming BatBot

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Exclusive to Smyths Toys, this Batman toy is part of the Imaginext DC line. It is basically a huge exoskeleton for the Batman figure, which transforms between a robot and a tank (sounds familiar?) either manually or by using the supplied remote control. It also fires discs and has over 100 sound effects and phrases.

It does look pretty cool, and I like the Imaginext line of DC superheroes – who are much better at including female superhero characters than most Marvel lines.

3. Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Value Pack

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Hasbro’s Nerf has for too long been seen as a boys brand. I know from experience that girls love running around shooting things too – so why not add this to your little girl’s Christmas list?

This Nerf Elite toy – also exclusive to Smyths – is a beast of a toy gun, with its Gatling Gun-like barrel that fires 5 darts a second! Each barrel holds 25 darts, and this also comes with a spare fully loaded drum – so that’s 50 darts, to fire off in 10+ seconds (depending on how fast you reload). Each dart also fires up to 27m, so perfect for long range NERF attacks.

This is the kind of toy I wish existed when I was a kid – we had to make do with cap and potato guns.

4. LEGO City Volcano Crawler

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The LEGO City range has made great improvements in their inclusion of female minifigures in recent years, and we’re seeing most sets featuring at least one – and in increasingly non-stereotypical roles.

This Volcano Crawler set features two male and one female minifigure. The finished set has a larger articulated ‘crawler’ as well as a smaller ATV. It has 324 pieces, and while it is recommended for ages 6-12, it would be a fun project with a younger child too.

5. BMW GS Motorcycle 12v Electric Ride On

151111-bmw-motorcycleThere’s always one kid at the park, who everyone else stares at with envy because they have the coolest toy.

Your child can be that kid with this BMW ride on bike.

It looks sleek, has accelerator sound effects, and LED headlights. It’s powered by a powerful 12v twin engine, and will turn heads wherever your child goes.

If you have a daughter and want to smash gender expectations early, then this gift will announce to the world that ‘Girls love bikes too’.

To check out the rest of Smyths top toys for Christmas, head to their website.

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smyths Toys.

A boy dreams of being a Queen in Smyths Toys TV ad

The latest TV ad from Smyths Toys Superstores sees a boy dreaming of being a series of toys – including dressing as a Queen.

Beyonce’s 2008 song ‘If I Were a Boy’ saw her musing on life as a man – and coming to the conclusion that she would probably make a better one than the ex-lover she is singing about.

Smyths Toys have reworked the song for their latest TV ad, which sees a boy imagining life ‘If I Were a Toy’, while browsing around one of Smyths Toys superstores. The ad finds him zipping from one amazing adventure after another – from flying in space to dancing so much his batteries run out.

Rather aptly, seeing as it’s based on a song about gender swapping, the ad neatly subverts traditional notions of boys and girls toys. While the usual suspects of Star Wars and LEGO are represented in the boys fantasy journey, we also see his immersion include the likes of Barbie, Frozen, and at one point he sings of being ‘Queen of the land’ – wearing a dress and a tiara.

(If you can’t see the above video, try the Facebook version instead)

The toy industry still has a way to go – but it has definitely improved in its approach to toys for boys and girls.

Anyone who spends time with young kids on a regular basis will have seen this – at playgroup while there will be girls with the train set on the floor, you’ll also find boys pushing buggies and running around in princess dresses. A gender neutral approach to toys isn’t about pushing a hidden social engineering agenda, as critics like to claim. If anything, it’s the opposite (undoing one) and simply reflecting the reality of how kids play.

A lot of the buzz around gender neutral categories in toys has been around girls not being excluded from playing with action figures and construction sets. But it’s easy to forget there are lots of boys who enjoy princesses and ponies. Encouraging them to feel confident in engaging in this is just as important.

So in its own small way, this TV ad is playing a part in subverting stereotypes of what it means to be a boy. And while it sees him imagining life as a toy, perhaps the toy industry is reimagining what a boy wants to play with.

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smyths Toys Superstores