Simple toys such as Lego and model cars kept me entertained when I was a lad, but things have moved on a bit in the past 25 years and now little boys’ tastes are more demanding.

Here is a selection of ideas for boys’ toys – some of them good for stocking fillers and others contenders to be Father Christmas’s star present this year.


Geologists in the making will really dig the Junior Geo Crystals Set which contains six large sparkling crystalline minerals including agate, amethyst, labradorite, fool's gold and quartz.

News Shopper: Junior Geo Crystals Set

It also includes a geo fact sheet, and is a great way for kids to start a mineral collection.

Meanwhile, a microscope is a good gift for any youngsters with a thirst for knowledge and discovery.

News Shopper: Microscope set

This microscope has a built-in light source, giving a range of magnifications up to x1200. It comes in a sturdy, fold-out storage case containing blank slides and a prepared viewer card together with instruments for making your own slides.

If your little ones like making bubbles then the Giant Bubbles set could provide hours of entertainment.

The kit contains a bubble wand, bubble tray and bubble mix - all they need to make big beautiful bubbles. A great idea if you want the kids getting some fresh air on Christmas Day while you get on with making the dinner.

More information about the BrightMinds products at


Aspace is a name you might not be familiar with, but it’s worth checking out for an extensive range of kids’ furniture as well as toys and games.

Among the stand-out items is the lovely traditional wooden fire station.

News Shopper: Fire station play set

This should keep any budding firefighter entertained for hours.

The set comes with various bits of equipment and furniture, with an equally nice wooden fire engine and set of firefighters sold separately.

It’s good to see old-fashioned wooden toys still featuring, and another nice item from Aspace is the wooden puzzle of Europe which should provide plenty of wholesome fun for kids, as well as sneaky education.

News Shopper: Wooden puzzle of Europe

The puzzle is completed by fitting the countries into place on the hardy wooden board.

For something else which combines fun with learning, and is also practical when finished, check out the make-your-own-clock.

Junior engineers will love putting this together. Assembly is takes just minutes.

Once complete the wind-up clock looks very distinctive with its see-through casing.

News Shopper: Make your own clock

For more details on the Aspace range go to


Three movies figure prominently in Disney’s toys for boys this year.

There is a wide range of products featuring characters from Cars, including a die-cast model assortment.

A drifting playset provides action-packed racing on a motorised track featuring movie favourites Lightning McQueen and Mack.

News Shopper: Cars

The Cars Dinoco helicopter is a cool toy, including secret panels that open up to reveal 10 die-cast cars with room to hold another 10.

Another popular film is the new Disney/Pixar’s comedy Up.

Among the fun gifts spawned by the movie are a talking Dug the loveable golden dog soft toy and a Kevin the bird marionette.

News Shopper: Dug the loveable golden dog soft toy

Toy Story is also likely to be hot news over the coming months, with the release of 3D versions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 plus the new Toy Story 3.

It means all things Buzz and Woody are likely to be in demand once again.

Other top toys (courtesy of PA, by Sam Wylie-Harris):

News Shopper: Joebot

* WowWee Joebot: Walking, talking, beatbox buddy. Meet Joebot, the hilarious robot who responds to voice commands and finger triggers. Let him roam freely in battle mode and blast obstacles.

News Shopper: Ben 10

* Ben 10 Alien Creation Chamber: Ben 10 just got even better. Challenge the chamber and create five different alien body parts with a twist of the dial.

News Shopper: Transformers helmet

* Transformers MV2 Bumblebee Movie Helmet: Suit-up like a bumblebee and prepare to save the universe with this voice-mixer helmet with movie-voice phrases and battle sound effects.