Top toys to make Christmas magical for your children

Shop assistant Tabasum Hamid shows 6-year-old Ezriella Naidoo some Squishmallows toys at Toys R Us at the Pavilion. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya African News Agency (ANA)

Shop assistant Tabasum Hamid shows 6-year-old Ezriella Naidoo some Squishmallows toys at Toys R Us at the Pavilion. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 22, 2022


Durban - If you find a Squishmallow – the softest and cuddliest plush toy – in your Christmas stocking, then you have this year’s toy of the year.

The Toy Foundation (TTF) named Squishmallows as winners of both the “Toy of the Year” and the “People’s Choice” awards. Also ranking among the most popular toys of 2022 and are bound to make many children’s Christmas morning magical are Pokémon and Fifa World Cup trading cards.

Each year there are specific gifts under the Christmas tree that are more in demand than others, and they include Barbie, remote-controlled cars and board games.

Lance Lighton, general manager of Hamleys South Africa, said their exclusive range of soft plush toys remained the top-selling category at the Hamleys stores.

“Pokémon trading cards have proved extremely popular, as have the Fifa World Cup trading cards. The hot new family game is the Monopoly Travel World Tour from Hasbro. “Nerf guns like the new Elite 2.0 MotoBlitz and Elite 2.0 Eaglepoint are still very popular with the boys. Radio-controlled cars, helicopters and drones are also selling strongly.

Barbie is still the strongest in the girl category with Rainbocorns Eggzania and Rainbocorns Unicorn Rescue Surprise a must-have,” said Lighton. Featuring on the Toys R Us top toy list are the Caylee Beach Villa, Peppa Pig Clever Car, Lego sets, Muscle Remote Control Car, 4WD Drift Remote Control Car, Reggies Police Car SUV Ride On and a full range of Squishmallows Hugmees.

Catherine Jacoby, marketing manager at Toys R Us, said parents were looking for toys that give their children memories outside the digital world. She said they were expecting a retro revival this year across older age groups as collectible toys were topping the trends.

“Family play still remains a strong trend this year, with board games, puzzles and outdoor games all featuring among consumers’ wish lists,” said Jacoby. “Role-play, sensory and educational play has also seen a surge following the pandemic, with parents investing more in toys that teach their kids through the power of play.” “Collectible toys are becoming increasingly popular which is fuelling the ‘kidult’ trend.

The growing kidult trend was fuelled by the pandemic, with more adults than ever turning to toys to bring joy and levity into their lives. Toys and games have been a means of escapism for adults and offer a way to reconnect with their own inner child with toys like Funko Pop.” Jacoby said one of the most significant trends this year was unboxing and collectables.

“The element of surprise, blind unboxing with kids looking for more, toys like Squishmallows Hugmees and Barbie Color Reveal will be topping the Christmas wish lists. “Construction with Lego and imaginative play and building things your way has seen a huge surge in extended play and building through imagination,” said Jacoby.

According to, their best-sellers this year have been the Pokémon trading card games, as well as Fifa World Cup trading card games and stickers. Lego and Barbie remain hot sellers, as well as board games.

Some of the new must-haves in your child’s Christmas stocking include Akedo (arcade-type game), Magic Mixlings, Play Doh Kitchen Creations Super Colorful Cafe Playset, Nerf Elite 2.0 Eagle Point RD-8 Blaster with Darts and Scope, Funko Pokémon and Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar. Among the family fun board games are Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, 5 Second Rule South Africa, 30 Seconds Board Game, Rummikub Classic Game and UNO junior.

Johan Kruger, national sales manager for online retailer Husqvarna, said their range of toys was designed to provide imaginative play opportunities that are rich and varied and encourage both indoor and outdoor activity while reducing “screen time”.

Items such as a toy remote-controlled automower, toy chainsaw, toy hedge clipper, toy lawnmower, toy leaf blower and toy weed trimmer, which range in price from R410 to R990, mirrors mom and dad’s garden, farm and carpentry activities.