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Argos Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2012

The BatJuly is the month when the toy industry starts its marketing push for Christmas, and if you think that’s a little early, consider that Argos reckons the 2012 Christmas toy market will be valued around £1.7 billion. Nobody wants to miss out on their slice of that very hefty cake.

Argos, in fact, has just released its (predicted) Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2012, and the list is dominated by the toy giants.

Hasbro lands three toys on the list, headlined by the re-launched Furby, while Mattel/Fisher-Price has four. LEGO adds more heavyweight presence, with LeapFrog (two entries) and VTech claiming the last spots.

This is also a very plasticky top ten, and we think it’s a shame there isn’t a single wooden toy or traditional teddy bear, but this is a prediction from Argos of what the best-selling toys will be, rather than a wish-list. We think there is still cause for concern.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with the toys on the list – there are some great products there – but there is no balance.

Andrea Abbis at Argos commented: “This year’s line up is one of the best we’ve seen with the toys offering great ‘play value’. The past few years have seen technology move into the toy arena meaning the two work in tandem.

“Now the key to a ‘top toy’ is a physical one that can link to an online world giving them greater longevity so they can evolve and grow as children do.”

We’d have to say we disagree with Andrea on that point. An online tie-in, while all the rage, is by no means essential for a toy to be considered great. There’s nothing wrong with an online element to a toy in principle, but it isn’t automatically a good thing. It needs to be done well and it isn’t essential for a toy to be considered a success.

It looks as if Argos was also a little concerned at the make-up of its list, bringing in child psychologist Richard Woolfson to comment.

“Most of the toys on the list reflect the impact of the digital dimension in children’s lives,” said Woolfson, “yet children will still interact with them using their imagination in traditional ways.

“They will invent their own adventures with the toys, make up new imaginative play sequences, extend their creativity and have great fun at the same time.

“Play is vital for a child’s development and learning, and a great toy is one that works in tandem with technology while enabling children to play with it in traditional ways.”

Again, we don’t agree that working in tandem with technology is a prerequisite for a great toy, but neither are we fundamentally opposed to the rise of technology in the industry. The trend has delivered some wonderful products over the past few years.

We would hope, however, that Christmas trees around the country aren’t surrounded exclusively by plastic playthings this coming festive season – and we would have liked to have seen a more balanced list from Argos.

The Argos Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2012:
Hasbro Furby
Hasbro Web Shooting Spiderman
Lego Monster Fighters Ghost Train
LeapFrog LeapPad 2
Mattel Batman ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ The Bat
Mattel Cinderella Feature Doll
Mattel Star Doll Fallen Angel
VTech Innotab 2
Fisher-Price Minnie Mouse Precious Pets Tour Van
Hasbro Twister Dance