Toys & GamesSave money with the latest toys and games deals, sale discounts, special offers & voucher codes from the UK's favourite toy & game retailers.
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Toys & games deals 2013
With HotDeals.co.uk you can save money on toys and games with our range of toy deals, special offers, voucher codes, multi-buys and sale discounts.
Toy deals appear throughout the year with the biggest discounts usually appearing in the sales after Christmas and at the end of summer when retailers need to clear their shelves of existing stock. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in the spring as manufacturers often release new lines as this time, thus paving the way for big reductions on older items.
Retailers are also smart enough to run special offers to boost interest and sales during periods when demand for toys is traditionally lower. These often take the form of discounts and multibuy promotions such as the ever-popular 3-for-2 deals offered by some of the UK’s biggest retailers.
Toy voucher codes can appear at any time of the year and give a discount on a specific item, against any purchase from a specific toy range or from any purchase in the toy department. Bear in mind that toy voucher codes are usually retailer specific and cannot be used at other websites.
How to choose the right toys
There has never been more choice in the toy market so it can be a bit of a minefield trying to buy the right toys if you’re not sure what to look at. In recent years, many parents, teachers and some merchants including Harrods have begun to recommend non-gender specific toys, especially for younger children.
While these toys often have great playability, there are still differences in the way that boys and girls play, and this is reflected in the most popular toys brands for the two genders.
According to the National Toy Council (NTC), and as witnessed by generations of parents, ‘boys prefer active, noisy play [and many] prefer male super-hero dolls and vehicles’ along with other perennial favourites such as army figures, construction sets and toy guns. This has been a trend that has gone on for years, and is unlikely to end anytime soon.
These days the most popular boys’ toy brands are frequently based on popular action-packed TV series and films and include Batman, Spiderman, Ben 10, Star Wars, Transformers, Gormiti, Mike the Knight and Bob the Builder. Even the traditionally unisex Lego has Ninjago and Star Wars lines primarily aimed at boys – although they are of course suitable for all!
Again, according to the NTC “girls choose more social and passive forms of play” [and often] prefer baby dolls and toy household objects”. While by no means a hard and fast rule it still remains the case that toys based around beauty, hair play and caring are firm favourites with many little girls.
The most popular toy lines for girls right now include old favourites like Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Baby Born, Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, Sylvanian Families and My Little Pony. To these decades-old brands have been added more recent top sellers including Lego Friends and Monster High Ghouls Rule Dolls.
As the name suggests interactive toys react to the child’s actions and can offer a fulfilling and educational play experience. They first infiltrated the mainstream in the mid-90s and have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with lines such as Furby interactive pets being upgraded with 21st technology and being re-released.
A raft of new interactive toys have been proving phenomenally popular over the past few years, and amongst these are the LeapFrog LeapPad and VTech Innotab lines. These interactive toys are just a step away from full spec tablet PCs with GHz range processors and a huge selection of apps that allow the toy to grow with the ability of the child.
Swings, slides, playhouses, trampolines and other outdoor toys are timeless favourites that let the kids engage in fun and healthy active play. Sadly the British weather won’t always allow you to get as much use out of garden toys as you might like, but this does give the benefit of good deals in the autumn and winter months when demand is low.
There are many popular outdoor toy manufacturers that make lines for the different age groups, with the most well known being Little Tikes, Plum and Smoby. By their very nature these toys tend to be large and heavy make sure to take delivery charges into account before you buy.
Scooters, bikes & ride-on toys
Bikes, trikes and other ride-on toys are also great for keeping kids fit and active and are an important part of growing up. While bikes will always be a popular birthday and Christmas favourite with older kids the trusty scooter has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, including the Razor range of stunt scooters. A good choice for younger children are convertible ride-on toys that can be adjusted from a push along ride-on toy to an independent trike as the child grows.
Age appropriate toys
When buying toys it is essential to check that they are appropriate for the child. The packaging of all toys sold in the UK should state the minimum age for which it is suitable, while many also carry an upper age figure to help you avoid buying toys that are too ‘young’ for the recipient.
Toy safety marks
Some retailers have their own toy safety marks to help you make the most informed decision, but there are two general safety symbols that you should keep an eye out for with all toy purchases.
The CE symbol must by law appear on the packaging of all toys sold in Europe, as it signifies that it has met the minimum safety criteria established in European legislation. If any special care or consideration is require with regard to the toy you should find this clearly printed near the CE mark.
The BTHA (British Toy & Hobby Association) Lion Mark is a UK-specific accreditation that is displayed on all toys that meet the criteria agreed upon by the its various members. It offers even more piece of mind than the CE symbol as it denotes not only the safety of the toy but also that the manufacturer uses ethical marketing and constructs toys to the highest quality standards.