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Xmas dream toys ..tested by kids; For brilliant money-saving tips and deals to make your cash go further every week... CASH QUEENS WITH RUKI SAYID AND TRICIA PHILLIPS.


IT'S every parent's Christmas Day nightmare - will the kids prefer the box to the expensive toy inside? While the Toy Retailers Association have revealed their must-have list, we turned to the real experts with their fingers on the pulse in the playroom - the kids.

Our pint-sized panel put 10 of the official Dream Dozen toys through their paces to see which were Santa-stic and which would go to the car boot sale.

We teamed up with catalogue and online giants Argos so our team could check the toys for playability, fun and boredom factors to help parents make the right choice this year.

With just 29 shopping days to go, our panel's verdicts are essential reading for anyone buying a child a toy for Christmas. | We were unable to include the hottest toy of the year, Hatchimals, as it's a sellout, and excluded Speak Out, which is also in the Dream Dozen, as it's aimed at over-16s. | All prices correct at time of going to press.

Lego Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster, PS64.97, Mia Young, seven: "I love Lego. I would like this for Christmas as it takes a long time to build. You can make a roller coaster and a big wheel and there's four little dolls to play with, too. The dolls can enjoy all the rides that you build and there's so much to do that it will keep me busy for ages. I'd never get bored playing with it especially when the telly is rubbish. This is going to be top of my Christmas list this year." Score: 10/10 Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage, PS60, Jack Sherratt, seven, said: "It's not hard to set up and I liked the car lift and ramps which make racing exciting in the eight play zones. There is a fire engine bell that lights up and you get five cars and a helicopter but there's parking spaces for more. It's so big and awesome." Score 10/10 Star Wars Rogue One Rebel U-Wing Fighter, PS49.99, Smyths Toys Kainan Summers, six, said: "I love Star Wars and it was fun whizzing the fighter plane above my head. It has four massive engines, a cockpit, a cargo bay, and weapons. And there are even four rebel figures as well as the pilot. I liked shooting darts from it and the way the wings moved was fun. But I wish it had noises or flashing lights to make it sound cool." Score: 8/10 Silly Sausage, PS17.99, John Lewis Isabelle Meale, seven, said: "It's a bit like Simon Says but the instructions are from the sausage. It tells you to do funny things like twist or shake it but it gets faster and faster till you can't keep up. It's silly and I couldn't stop laughing. I like that you can play with it with your family." Score: 10/10 Paw Patrol Air Patroller, PS39.99, Argos Jay Bhadri, seven, said: "It's quite heavy but I love all the different compartments to put the dog in. You can turn it from a helicopter into a plane, the wings flap when you run it along the floor and it makes different noises. There's only one dog who is the pilot and I wish there were more animals inside and maybe an eject button. But I still loved it." Score: 9/10 Little Live Pets Ruffles My Dream Puppy, PS49.99, Argos Keane Bland, four, said: "It moves when feed it with its little bottle like a baby and when I tickle its tummy, it makes doggy noises. It's cuddly but it's not like real dog. I liked it but I got bored. It would have been better if it was able to walk. A robot dog would be more fun." Score: 5/10 SelfieMic, PS19.99, Argos Mia said: "You need a grown-up to set it up but it's not too hard and there's loads of songs to choose from so you can sing and film at the same time. I loved watching videos back. I think I could get good at singing if I use it a lot. The earpiece didn't fit well so I couldn't hear myself. It would be good for sleepover parties." Score: 7/10 Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Sky-High Bridge Jump, PS65, Jack said: "The track is really long and on different levels and it's really exciting watching Thomas speeding down the ramp and into the air. He never misses his landing but it's a shame that the tunnel isn't see-through - I would have enjoyed watching Thomas go through it. The set is great fun but you need loads of space to set it up as it's very big." Score: 8/10 Shopkins Chef Club Hot Spot Kitchen Playset, PS22.99, Smyths Amelie Meale, four, said: "I really liked pretending to cook with the tiny Shopkins things. But you only get two - a cupcake one and a bread one. You can pretend to make them in the microwave and it's very fast and pings so much more quickly than the one at home. Or you can put them in the oven but there's no lights. It was fun for a while but there weren't enough bits to play with and after a while it was boring." Score: 5/10 Nerf N-Strike Hyperfire, PS28.99, Toys R Us Isabelle said: "I love Nerf guns and this is easy to reload and very powerful. It's quite chunky and so much faster than any of the other Nerf guns. You can fire the foam bullets really quickly but they don't hurt.

"My little brothers Hudson and Travis will love this. Hopefully Santa will bring me one - but I do think they should make it in purple." Score: 10/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 25, 2016
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