Popular Christmas Toys 2016 | 14 Hot Toys for Christmas 2016

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016

We got kids to road-test the must-have toys for Christmas this year, and this is what they had to say.

Kids + toys = a very merry Christmas. We think that’s a no brainer. What to get that kid that will go down a storm? That’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

To help you in your quest to be deemed best mum/dad/aunt/uncle/sibling this year, we’ve asked some keen kids to adopt the title of “Official Toy Tester” and road-test the most popular toys out this Christmas.

We surprised them with toys, asked them to play and got their feedback.

1. Sphero BB-8




Top of the list as voted by the big kids at and the little toy testers is Sphero BB-8. The character first appeared in the Star Wars VII trailer and was soon after released as a ground drone suitable for kids eight years of age and older. For Star Wars fans and curious kids, it’s a winner.

The Sphero BB-8 is controlled through its companion app on iOS or Android, where you use the on-screen controls or voice-activated commands to make it move. You can also set it to “patrol” mode, where it automatically roams, surveying its environment and eventually learning its surroundings.

Toy Tester: Nicholas, age 8


What Nicholas thought: Nicholas thought the BB-8 was really cool. He gave it an 8 out of 10 because he thinks it could be improved by having a proper camera and by having a joystick or a controller that would allow it to go in the direction you want it to every time.

What the parents thought: All the kids (Nicholas has younger siblings) loved BB-8! I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 8 though due to the small parts. It also kept falling into uneven parts of the floorboard and needs a lot of uncluttered space to roam around properly, so it’s best for big homes with flat flooring. Nicholas now wants to watch the Star Wars movie and all the other movies because of it!

  • Suitable for ages: 8+
  • Cost (RRP): $249.95
  • Buy it from: Macintosh Addict ($249.95) and The Co-Op Bookstore ($249.99)

2. Cleverkeet




Those who can’t afford a pet or don’t have the room to accommodate one have a wealth of options, including the Cleverkeet. This interactive parrot comes in two colours: blue and pink, and it’s one smart bird that talks, sings and dances.

Part of the Little Live Pets brand, Cleverkeet comes with a toy playground that includes a swing, cart and perch. It has preset sayings, but it’s smart enough to be personalised, responding to a given name and answering questions when prompted. When placed in his playground, it will interact automatically with it, such as swinging on the swing and driving the cart.

Toy tester: Portia, age 6 with the help of Tsaatchi, 2 (pictured middle)


What Portia and Tsaatchi thought: Portia and Tsaatchi both found the Cleverkeet really cool. They liked putting it on the different stands and seeing what it would do. At first they thought they needed to help it swing or move on the trolley both they soon realised the Cleverkeet could do all that on its own!

What the parents thought: From a parent’s perspective the Cleverkeet is just great. The robotics inside the bird are amazing. I would consider it a serious contender for the best toy this Christmas. It has loads of playability, as it responds when it hears its name, and it can learn to reply and talk when prompted.

  • Suitable for ages: 5+
  • Cost (RRP): $79.99
  • Buy it from: ($99.95)

3. Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck




The latest release in the highly popular Shopkins range is the Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck. It’s being touted as a hot contender for under-the-Christmas tree placement by little ‘uns with good reason. Not only does it reach out to the fans, but it’s adorable too and comes with two mini Shopkins characters. Perfect for the hot Australian weather.

Toy Tester: Talia, age 3


What Talia thought: I love ice-cream trucks because I love ice-cream. I wish I could eat it every day! I love this truck because I can pretend to sell ice cream to my family – everyone can have some yummy treats. Pink is my favourite colour.

What the parents thought: Talia's been introduced to Shopkins via an older cousin, whom she idolises, so her eyes lit up at the very sight of this ice cream truck. She's not generally into cars (or aeroplanes, as above), but this was different as it was an ice cream truck – and it's pink. It came with two characters, shopping bags, an umbrella stand, and offered plenty of creative play and fun. Highly recommend this toy for girls in the 3-5 age group.

  • Suitable for ages: 3+
  • Cost (RRP): $29.99

4. Geomag




You’re most likely already familiar with LEGO, but this is another kind of construction toy. Built around magnetic balls and sticks with magnetised ends, this Swiss-made toy is an open ended construction toy that allows you to build as far as your imagination will take you. There are instructions to make specific models attached, which you can choose to follow or ignore at your whim.

Designed for 3+ years, it also grows with your kid. Meaning younger children can learn to make lines and small 3D shapes, while older kids and groups can build up larger than life creations.

Toy Testers: Ethan, 5, Manuela 7


What Ethan and Manuela thought: Ethan and Manuela both found the Geomag really fun and rated it very highly. They both said that the toy was a little hard, but not too hard and that the best thing about this toy is that you can make virtually anything you like.

What the parents thought: It has so much creativity built into it. I can see much longer play coming from it than other toys as you can be creative and the frameworks and templates help give them ideas on what they can do. The kids really got into this one, but it was quite challenging to build the templated items. You need more than one person, as the construction doesn’t stay upright while you’re building it. So you need one kid to hold it while the other builds onto it. For younger children, it’s still fun, but the templates wouldn’t work for someone younger than 6 or 7 on their own.

  • Suitable for ages: 3+
  • Cost (RRP): $20+ (depending on the set you purchase)

5. Crayola Color Alive Easy Animation Studio




Fuelling creativity in more ways than one is the Color Alive Easy Animation Studio, which allows young minds to create and record character animations. Design a character or colour one in from the booklet provided to give it personality and pomp. Then scan it using the companion Easy Animator App, which is compatible with iOS and Android.

When you place the mannequin in front of the device, it will adopt the character’s look. You can then move the mannequin to animate the character on the device and record its actions and adventures.

Toy tester: Ethan, age 5


What Ethan thought: While Ethan and his siblings (Manuela and Nicholas) all played with the Easy Animation Studio, Ethan was the one that took to it best. He really like playing with the mannequin and making it do poses. He found finding the mannequin on the iPad to animate him a little fiddly but the best thing about this is that there are presets in the app so you don't even need it if you don't want to personalise the toy.

What the parents thought: Ethan took to the Animation Studio like wildfire. The oldest boy (8) wasn’t too interested in it, but Ethan had loads of fun. Our youngest was more interested in colouring the characters in the book, so it has various levels of play depending on what your child is after.

  • Suitable for ages: 6+
  • Cost (RRP): $34.99

6. Talking Peppa Pig




Get ready to slip, slop, slap and play with Peppa Pig in the sun! The latest version of Peppa is a talking beach-inside plush that comes complete with a red bucket hat and armbands. Press her tummy for fun and summery sayings like “Yippee! it’s sunny!”. A must for any Peppa Pig fans out there (yeah, we know there’s a few).

Toy Tester: Talia, age 3


What Talia thought: I liked this Peppa Pig because she can talk. We talked about going on holidays to the beach and I told her she has to wear her hat and sunscreen so she doesn't get sunburnt.

What the parents thought: Initially, I didn't expect Talia to hit it off with this Talking Peppa, as it's geared towards kids aged 18 months+. But, as she does with many of her dolls, Talia took on the mothering role, wrapping Peppa in a blanket, patting her to 'sleep' and having awesome conversations about the beach – as Talking Peppa does.

  • Suitable for ages: 18 months+
  • Cost (RRP): $34.99

8. Crayola Color Wonder




For such a simple toy, the Color Wonder is quite ingenious. Two new branded packs are available this Christmas (Dora The Explorer and Peppa Pig), and each comes with 18 colouring sheets and 5 Color Wonder pens. While the branded sheets are a selling point in themselves, it’s the colour-changing Textas that capture and amaze, as they look clear but create patterns on the page as you colour. The Textas only react to the paper, so drawing on items such as furniture or skin won’t leave the parent scrubbing in disarray, making them a no-fuss no-messy toy.

Toy Tester: Talia, age 3


What Talia thought: When I start to colour in, the Texta changes colour on the paper, and the patterns are so pretty. My brother has a similar Ninja Turtles one. These are fun.

What the parents thought: Talia played with this for hours and loved the “magic” factor; the five clear markers magically show up as different colours and patterns on the 18 Peppa-themed papers. It was well suited to her age group and I'd consider buying these packs for other children. The best bit? As the markers are clear, there's zero mess, and the furniture (and her clothing!) escaped sans Texta marks!

  • Suitable for ages: 3+
  • Cost (RRP): $13.99

9. Air Peppa Pig Jumbo Jet




Fly away with Peppa Pig to journey far and wide and onto adventure. This Jumbo Jet playset includes a mini Peppa Pig, jumbo jet and two suitcase. Open the hatch and pack your bags away, then sit Peppa in her priority seat and get ready to fly!

Toy Tester: Talia, 3


What Talia thought: The aeroplane is quite small and doesn't fit my other dolls into it. I also want to know where Mummy and Daddy Pig and George are?

What the parents thought: Talia loves Peppa Pig and has taken a recent interest in holidays, so at first glance I thought this toy would be a match made in heaven. But after playing with it for only a few minutes, she quickly lost interest. Simply put, it doesn't do much. Yes, you can open up the baggage compartment and load in Peppa's suitcases, and there's a tiny Peppa figurine, but apart from that it's not the most exciting toy for this three-and-a-half-year-old girl. Perhaps it would be better suited for a boy Peppa Pig fan? Or a younger kid?

  • Suitable for ages: 3+
  • Cost (RRP): $39.99

10. My Little Pony Canterlot Castle Playset




If there’s one present that will spoil My Little Pony followers this year, it’s got to be the Canterlot Castle Playset. Decked to the nines in purple and pink, it’s three storeys of magic and adventure. Take the grand staircase to place your princess pony on her throne then take the elevator up to the top floor so she can view her kingdom in all its mystical glory. This set comes with a special edition Princess Celestia pony figure, Spike the dragon figure and all manner of accessories.

Toy Testers: Portia, age 6 with the help of Tsaatchi, 2 (pictured middle)

What Portia and Tsaatchi thought: It’s cool! It’s my favourite. I like how you have all these accessories that you can build and put together and play with. You can make Princess Celestiae go anywhere in the castle and have adventures. It’s really fun!

What the parents thought: Wow. I’m gobsmacked, I didn’t think My Little Pony would be this grand but then here’s this playset. It took a while to build it, especially as I was going off a picture, but my girls took to it so easily. It’s like they had a sixth sense - they knew exactly what everything was and where things went. They spent ages playing with it, building the accessories up and using them in the castle. I can definitely see lots of roleplay coming from it.

  • Suitable for ages: 3+
  • Cost (RRP): $129.99


11. Furreal Friends J.J. My Jumpin’ Pug Pet

Furreal Friends is renowned for releasing adorable robotic pets ideal for younger children and families who can’t afford or accommodate for a pet. My Jumpin’ Pug Pet is one of its latest contributions to the robotic pet world. The mechanics are straightforward with the pug barking and jumping up on its hind legs whenever a child waves at it.

What kids thought: The dog is so cute! It barks like a real dog whenever I try to pet it and it gets really excited.

What the parents thought: The pug is adorable. It responds really well to movement and you don’t even have to touch it to make it bark and jump - if you walk past it close enough that’ll do the job. Only its front legs move, so it’s not the kind of dog that you can teach to walk and move and the extent of play is being able to make it bark and jump. I think it’d be good for really young kids, but older kids would probably want more from it.

  • Age: 4+
  • Cost (RRP): $79.99

Other hot toys tipped to be big this year


12. Pie Face

A surprise contender, but one that’s selling out fast in major retailers, Pie Face is a game that the whole family can get into. All you need is some willing contestants and a nice delicious pie (or wet sponge) to put on the hand.

The beauty is there is no skill involved, only luck. Keep turning the handles and if you’re unlucky enough to be behind the face when the hand goes “splat”, well, you know what happens...

  • Suitable for ages: 5+
  • Cost (RRP): $39.99
  • Buy it now from: Amazon (from $19.98) and eBay (from $22.99)


13. Star Wars 3.75-inch Battle Action Millennium Falcon

Star Wars mania is in the air, that much is a fact. With it comes the latest in Millennium Falcon collectables, and this is no exception. This 3.75-inch scale playset features a pop-up blaster that fires Nerf Elite darts (yup, cross breeding with Nerf we are), a turbolaser turret, light-up LED cannons and hyperdrive sound effects.

Of course, it comes equipped with a smuggling compartment and 3.75-inch figurines of Chewie, Finn and BB-8.

  • Suitable for ages: 4+
  • Cost (RRP): $229.99
  • Buy it now from: DealsDirect ($199)


14. Nerf Rebelle Arrow Revolution Bow

Fans of The Hunger Games can get their Nerf on with the latest in the Rebelle range. This bow features a high-tech, auto-feed, rotating quiver for fasters-than-fast load action meaning you can whip out those arrows at near-lightning speed.

This set comes with six arrows that can fire nearly 30 minutes.

  • Suitable for ages: 8+
  • Cost (RRP): $64.99


15. Frozen Snow Shooter

Still a hot brand on every girl’s mind, Frozen is not backing down in 2016. Give her a very white Christmas this year with this Snow Shooter.

Covered in jewels and puffing out billows of snow (silly string), let it “snow” with this beautiful addition to her already large Frozen collection.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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