Cars and kids – what’s the perfect Christmas present?

Given that my eldest son’s first word was ‘car’, I know only too well that many children’s passion for all things four-wheeled starts at a very early age. There’s something fascinating about cars for kids. Even though they can’t drive them (thank the Lord) they are often mesmerised by how they work and can spend hours just pushing toy ones back and forth, or arranging them in lines. Fortunately, if you have a young motoring enthusiast on your hands, there are plenty of car-related presents which should ensure they have a very Happy Christmas….

If you’re on a budget

Toy cars come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s something to suit every pocket. My personal favourites for those looking for something pocket-sized are Hot Wheels. They seem much sturdier than other small models and there’s a huge range to choose from. Boots.com is currently selling a 5 pack of Hot Wheels for £8, and if you’re looking for somewhere to house them, then the Hot Wheels Mega Garage is yours for £24.99 from SmythsToys.com. There are all sorts of Hot Wheels race tracks you can buy too, usually costing in the region of £20, although they can be a bit fiddly to assemble.

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Keep an eye out for bargains – at the time of writing Argos.co.uk was offering a Hot Wheels Turbine Twister Track set for £19.99, a third off its usual £29.99 price tag. Remote control cars If it’s a remote control car that is likely to float your child’s, er, boat, then you can’t go far wrong with the Turnator, a high speed radio control Carrera stunt car which can perform 360 degrees flip action stunts. A battery pack and charger are included and the car is suitable for children aged 4 years and up. The Turnator usually costs £59.99, but Smyths Toys is currently offering them for £39.99.

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There are also savings to be made on several remote control cars at Argos.co.uk. The Nikko VaporizR Radio Controlled Car, for example, is currently on sale for £34.99, a saving of £15 on its usual £49.99 price tag, while the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Adventure Remote Controlled Car is down from £49.99 to £29.99.

Race tracks

Dads can take a trip down memory lane with a Scalextric racing game, but be prepared to dig deep if you want one of the deluxe models. Selfridges, for example, is selling a Digital Platinum race set for a staggering £549.99, which includes an extended figure-of-eight circuit, with raised bridge section and two lane-change track sections. It also comes with two Porsche 997s, two Lamborghini Gallardo GTs and two Audi R8s ready to race, although for that price tag, I think I’d rather put my cash towards a real second hand car for when the kids are learning to drive.

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But you don’t need hundreds of pounds to spend to buy a Scalextric set. Tesco.com is selling a Micro Scalextric set for children aged 5 and which includes 2 race cars from the film Fast and Furious for a more modest £37.50, while you can pick up the Grand Prix Start Micro-Scalextric from Halfords for £22.49, half its usual £44.99 cost. There are, of course, alternatives to Scalextric. Toys R US, for example, sells the Pixar Cars 2 Ultimate Race Off track for £79.99, although you can only buy this in-store and not online. Recommended for children aged 5 years or older, the track features curves, lap counters and a looping set for Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli to battle it out.

Ride-on cars

The ultimate fantasy for most kids, of course, is being able to drive their own car. As with normal sized cars, the cost of these depends on the make and model. If, for example, your child is a bit of a boy or girl racer and is after a sports car, then funtimetoycompany.co.uk is selling a Feber Ferrari California 12V electric ride on car for £229.99, or the site rideoncars.co.uk has a 6V Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 for £199. You can even order a personalised number plate to go with it.

feber 12 volt

If you’re looking for something more cheap and cheerful, then you can pick up a pedal controlled toy racer car for £69.99 with real horn and engine sounds and a working headlight from Smyths Toys, but the reviews are mixed, with more than one customer complaining that the instructions are a “nightmare.” You have been warned – especially since it has a real horn!

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