Whether you’ve got kids or you’re just a bit of a big kid yourself, London’s annual Toy Fair was the place to be this weekend. Manufacturers from around the world descended on Olympia to show off their latest creations.
No prizes for guessing there’s an overflowing amount of Star Wars toys on the way this year, but expect plenty of tech-enhanced toys and a fair share of returning classics too. Stretch Armstrong and Thunderbird 3? It was like stepping back to the 90's for a minute...
These are our top picks from the show, so you can start planning for the summer or get a ridiculously long head start on that Christmas list.
Razor RipStik electric
Razor’s pretty much the authority on two-wheeled ride-ons, but the RipStik Electric might be its best yet. It ditches the familiar trucks and wheels you’d get on a skateboard for a supermarket trolley-style caster up front and a hub motor wheel at the back.
It should be easier to ride than the regular RipStik, which has two hyperactive casters that are a challenge to master (I should know, I made an arse of myself testing one at the Toy Show earlier today).
The motor can manage up to 10mph, which you control with the wireless controller. Moving and tilting your body turns the board.
If that sounds like too much hard work, the Crazy Cart Shift should fit the bill. It's got the drift-heavy handling of the original Crazy Cart electric go-kart, only without the need to pull the handbrake to put the back out. It's all the fun of a rear wheel drive supercar, shrunken down to kid-friendly Kart size.
RipStik Electric out winter. Crazy Cart Shift out Autumn.
Scalextric ARC Pro
Scalextric experimented with app-powered racing last year, in order to take Real FX and Anki Overdrive, but the ARC Pro could eclipse them both.
It’s an evolved version of the old ARC system, complete with wireless controllers that vibrate if you need to hit the pits. There’s a braking button for extra control on the track, too.
Sure, you’re still stuck on slots, but the app-managed race control system spices things up with changeable weather conditions, race incidents that affect performance, and even an arcade mode complete with comedy powerups like oil slicks and nail traps to blow out your opponent’s tyres.
You can bolt it onto an existing set, or pick up one of the new 2016 tracks. We’re big fans of the track day supercar set – it’s probably the cheapest way to pick up a McLaren P1 in the world.
VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX
Smartwatches aren’t only for adults, or people that just can’t seem to put their phone down; VTech’s got one for kids too. The DX is an upgraded version of the original Kidizoom, adding a calendar, calculator and a pedometer.
It keeps all the old features too, so your kids will still be able to take pictures and shoot videos from their wrist, Dick Tracey-style. There are 8 games built-in, and you can download more through VTech’s Learning Lodge.
A new, sleeker look, thinner shell and three colour choices means it doesn’t look half-bad, either. Hopefully now that VTech’s got its cyber security sorted, parents won’t be put off picking one of these up.
Star Wars... everything
Unless you’ve been buried in the sands of Jakku for the past nine months, you won’t have missed the Star Wars explosion that’s been happening in cinemas and toy shops across the country. It’s looking to carry on well into 2016, with literally everything you can think of branded with The Force Awakens art and characters.
Case in point; some incredibly fetching lilo inflatables, for turning your next pool party into an impromptu X-Wing squadron. Exhibit B: the cuddly character toys with oddly mashed up faces. Finn doesn't exactly look heroic - it's much more “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?”
Sphero’s official BB-8 RC droid is lovably accurate, but if you’re after something a little more life-size, there were plenty of cuddly versions on show. There was even an inflatable one you could drive around using a smartphone app. Not quite as screen-accurate, admittedly, but guaranteed to still scare the hell out of next door’s cats.
Out from the summer.