Our Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2019 🎄

The smart elves at Learning Resources Christmas workshop have been busy! This Christmas we’re making it magical with our selection of hands-on educational toys, games and activities, stocking fillers and family games to help you find perfect Christmas gift ideas.

From coding and programming robots to sensory and creative play, it’s the most wonderful time to invest in toys that will bring hours of learning fun through hands-on play children will enjoy throughout the year. Spark curiosity, imagination and joy, and unwrap this year’s top 10.

Meet the top 10!

Playfoam®

Picture of a young boy sitting at a table playing with four piles of Playfoam
Photo – Playfoam

It’s the award-winning squishy, squashy, sculpting fun everyone loves. Playfoam is the sensory play resource uniquely designed for endless creativity and fun. The child-friendly formula never dries out, can be shaped into anything, and can be used again and again so the fun never stops.

Picture of best-selling Playfoam eight pack with bright colours of Playfoam
Photo – Playfoam Combo 8 Pack

The wide range of Playfoam makes it a perfect gift idea. Playfoam Combo 8-Pack is an ideal choice for children aged three and up. The pack contains four bright colours and can be used straight from the packaging for instant fun. The bead-like structure promotes sensory and fine motor skill development. It’s available in several colours and versions including super cool Glow-in-the-Dark 8-Pack and Playfoam Go! which allows children to take their Playfoam wherever they go.

Tip: Playfoam Pals make a great stocking stuffer. Pop one of these surprise collectables in their Christmas stocking and watch their faces light up when your children discover them. Choose from Playfoam Pals Wild Friends, Pet Party, Snowy Friends, Fantasy Friends and Monster Party. Each Playfoam Pals contains Playfoam and a cute collectable animal character to keep.

Coding and Programming

Picture of a young boy lying on the floor playing with Botley the Coding Robot
Photo – Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set

Is your kid keen on coding? Like learning a new language, the earlier children start learning coding, the better. And even young children can understand complicated coding concepts, especially when learned through hands-on play.

Picture of Ranger and Zip, a toy dog and puppy friend that help children learn coding
Photo – Coding Critters â„¢ Ranger and Zip

At Learning Resources, we’re the go-to choice for parents looking for screen-free coding toys. We have something for children aged as young as four with our cute Coding Critters™ trio, dogs Ranger & Zip, cats Scamper & Sneaker, and dinosaurs Rumble & Bumble. These first coding friends help children learn beginner coding concepts through fun, creative play. Each friend comes with a playset, and fun storybook allowing young children to learn coding but also enjoy imaginative play.

Picture of two Botley the Coding Robots, toys that teach young children who are learning to code
Photo – Botley The Coding Robot

Developed for children aged five and up, Botley® the Coding Robot introduces coding fundamentals without the need for a screen. Kids can easily learn the basics using step coding and logic. It’s easy to get started with Botley – it’s ready to use right of the box. Children can programme up to 80 steps in one sequence and make them as simple or as complicated as they want.

From how to reduce big tasks into smaller more manageable steps to inspiring creativity, learning to code teaches children several valuable skills. Check out our recent blog on 5 ways young kids benefit from learning to code.

Stems®

Picture of a young girl and a young boy lying on the floor playing with Stems construction toys
Photo – Stems

Unbox Stems and get your child thinking out the box this Christmas. Stems is a flexible 3D maker toy that stimulates STEM learning and sensory play through hands-on construction activities. Figuring out what to make and how, helps develop their learning abilities, enhances a young thinker’s 3D perception, hand-eye co-ordination and creative thinking.

Picture of a bucket of 60 Stems pieces on a white background with several lying at the front of the bucket
Photo – Stems Pack of 60

Every Stem piece is the same size and shape, strong, lightweight and flexible. The zip-like fastening action means easy, bendy construction fun that can be enjoyed anywhere, any time.

Check out our YouTube channel for construction ideas and fun designs.

Beaker Creatures®

Picture of the pieces in a Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab including pod makers, two beaker creatures and a slime sieve
Photo – Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab

Spark curiosity about smart science and space aliens with the Beaker Creatures® Alien Experiment Lab. This child-friendly ultracool lab set was developed to inspire a love of science through hands-on play and experimentation.

Picture of a young boy wearing a child’s lab coat and goggles playing with a Beaker Creatures slime sieve set
Photo – Beaker Creatures

On opening, young scientists will find all the tools they’ll need to create out-of-this-world experiments including making their own slime and dough. Or pop a reactor pod into water and watch it fizz to reveal an intergalactic collectable alien friend inside.

Picture of a Beaker Creatures toy volcano with red foaming lava flowing down the sides and a small creature toy and bod pictured in front
Photo – Beaker Creatures Bubbling Volcano Reactor

The fun doesn’t stop there. Carry on learning and experimenting with crazy cool science using the Beaker Creatures® Bubbling Volcano Reactor. Drop a reactor pod into the volcano and let the interplanetary friend emerge. Or use the how-to guide to make your own geode or trigger a volcano.

Pretend Play

Picture of a young girl is in the sitting room holding up UK pretend play money in front of a toy cash register
Photo – Pretend & Play

Experts say that pretend play is essential in helping young children develop their language, social and problem-solving skills. Toys like our tried and tested Learning Resources staple, the Pretend & Play® Calculator Cash Register make an ideal gift for children as young as three.

Picture of an open red toy cash register with blue drawer containing pretend play UK coins and notes
Photo – Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register

It’s an ideal investment to help kids with hands-on creative play, assists in teaching numeracy and money skills, and encourages role play through games like ‘shop-shop’.

A toy doctors set pictured on a white background featuring a doctor’s bag, stethoscope, and toy syringes
Photo – New Sprouts Cure It!

Kids love mimicking grown-ups when playing. Toys like New Sprouts® Cure It! or Pretend & Play® Work Belt Tool Set allow children’s imaginations to flourish. Each set contains child-friendly pieces designed for little hands, and to be durable for hours of playtime enjoyment.

GeoSafari® Jr.

There’s a whole world of outdoor wonder waiting to be discovered. Gaze at the stars or watch woodland creatures with GeoSafari® Jr.

Developed for young children to explore their worlds, GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars® Extreme™ are child-friendly binoculars that work just like a grown-up’s. They’ve been designed for children’s vision, so they’re focus free and feature a breakaway strap for safety.

Picture of a young boy looking through a children’s toy telescope
Photo – GeoSafari Jr Talking Telescope

GeoSafari® Jr Talking Telescope™ is a real telescope that lets little astronomers learn about the solar system and outer space. This interactive telescope teaches kids about outer space and tests their scientific knowledge. Developed for a young child’s vision, they’re focus-free, and come with a tripod for steady viewing.

Outdoor play is a vital part of childhood. From boosting their confidence to helping children better cope with stress, mum of two, Claire Bones, shared her insights on the importance of outdoor play. Read more here.

Artie 3000â„¢

Picture of Artie 3000 on a white sheet of paper with three coloured markers at the side
Photo – Artie 3000

The award-winning coding, drawing robot, Artie puts the A for art in STEAM. Developed for children aged seven and up, Artie helps older kids learn coding and get arty, and encourages left- and right-brain thinking.

Picture of an older child sitting at a table using a laptop computer to programme Artie the drawing robot

Artie is easy to use. It comes pre-programmed with several designs. Simply insert a felt-tipped marker, place Artie on a sheet of paper and watch it draw a shape. Or connect Artie to a Mac, PC or tablet and code your own designs for Artie to draw. The interface lets children experiment with different programming languages including Python and JavaScript. Each Artie has its own unique Wi-Fi server and doesn’t connect to the internet. This means it can be used anywhere to learn coding without the need to go online.

Gears! Gears! Gears!®

Ratchet up learning through hands-on play and gear up the fun factor with Gears! Gears! Gears!® For 25 years, Gears! Gears! Gears! has provided children with open-ended play opportunities, and construction fun. The twisting, turning construction pieces help children learn early STEM skills, and encourage independent learning.

Picture of Gears! Gears! Gears Movin’ Monkeys Building Set on a white background
Photo – Gears! Gears! Gears! Movin’ Monkeys Building Set

Indulge in some monkey business with Gears! Gears! Gears!® Movin’ Monkeysâ„¢ Building Set. Build the cheeky monkeys a few gear trees, connect a vine swing and monkey around.

Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehogâ„¢

A small girl playing with Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog.
Photo – Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Fine motor skills are a key developmental milestone achievement for all children. As these skills develop, little ones can do more with their hands and their hand-eye coordination improves. Fine motor skills are essential for everything from fastening buttons to holding a pencil and learning to write. They’re skills that need to be practised, and the more children work with their hands and learn to do fine muscle control activities, the better.

Picture of Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog on a white background
Photo – Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog™ is a terrific fine motor investment this Christmas. Toddlers insert and remove Spike’s quills. These have been designed for little hands to grip with ease. The brightly coloured quills also help teach colour recognition and sorting. Plus, the quills store in Spike’s body for quick and easy tidy-up after play.

Playfoam® Pluffle™

Picture of an older girl sitting at a table squishing Playfoam Pluffle in both hands as it falls onto the table
Photo – Playfoam Pluffle

Mix it! Feel it! Watch it flow! New Playfoam® Pluffle™ is the squishy, squashy, smushing stuff of sensory play fun. Where award-winning Playfoam is all about construction, new Playfoam Pluffle is all about deconstruction.

Picture of hands reaching into piles of Playfoam Pluffle in yellow and purple
Photo – Playfoam Pluffle Yellow & Purple

Perfect for sensory play and tactile learning, squish Playfoam Pluffle into a shape and watch it flow apart. The bright colours and sparkle are mesmerizing to watch – kids will want to squish and smush their hands into it. The child-friendly, non-drying formula is ready for use: Simply pour it out and watch it flow.

Let us know your thoughts on what your favourite Christmas toy is down below!

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