I tried toy advent calendars for Christmas including Lego and Disney – my favourite will save you money

Chris Eades - 07980 775577 Sun consumer reporter Lyndsey Hope tests out food based advent calendars in time for xmas. Pic shows:

ADVENT calendars are a great way to get the kids excited for Christmas.

But given how much chocolate they consume during the festive season, you may want to consider a toy advent calendar instead.

Mum-of-three Lynsey Hope reviewed a number of toy advent calendars this year

They tend to be pricier, but on the plus side you get to keep and use what’s inside long after you’ve finished unwrapping gifts on December 25.

But you do want to choose a good quality one if its to keep the kids happy through advent season.

“Watch out for cheap knock offs and poor-quality goods with kids’ advent calendars,” said consumer expert Martyn Jams.

“Quality varies dramatically but safety is what matters.

“Check reviews before you buy if it’s not possible to open a door or two before you buy.”

Here we round up ten of best you can buy and mum-of-three Lynsey Hope, 41, from West Malling, Kent, gives her verdict on each one.

Lynsey thought Lego’s calendar was great value given how expensive Lego can be

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

  • £29.99, very.co.uk
  • Age: 6 years plus

Lynsey says: “Doors open to reveal Star Wars characters in fun festive outfits including Snowtrooper and C-3PO and R2-D2 in Christmas jumpers.

“It also includes ten mini models including the Bad Batch Shuttle, Luke’s Ground Speeder and AT-ST of Hoth.

“Given how expensive Lego can be to buy – even a small model in a foil bag can set you back £4 – I thought what was included was great value and you can’t buy these one-off pieces anywhere else.

“A great choice for kids and any fans of the movies and series from a galaxy far, far away.”

  • TOYS: 10/10
  • COST: 9/10

Reading story books may be a nice lead-up to Christmas

Disney Princess Advent Calendar Storybook Collection

  • £9.99, cardfactory.co.uk
  • Age: 2-5 years

Lynsey says: “This calendar is huge, much bigger than I expected and it contains 24 mini stories recommended for children aged two to five.

“It’s a lovely option if you don’t want to give little ones chocolate.

“Stories inside feature characters from all the best Disney films including Frozen and The Little Mermaid.

“My daughter Olive, five, loved opening them and reading each one before bed.

“You can’t buy the paperback versions of these stories but a hard copy will cost at least £4 new so it’s great value for the books you get, even if the books themselves are not as hard wearing.

“There’s a Marvel option if you prefer superheroes to princesses.”

  • TOYS: 5/10
  • COST: 6/10

The Roblox calendar brings a festive twist to its characters

Roblox Advent Calendar

  • £29.99, smythstoys.co.uk
  • Age: 3 years plus

Lynsey says: “This calendar brings a festive twist to Roblox figures and you’ll find characters including Elf, Gingerbread Man and Santa Claus behind the numbered doors.

“There are six figures in all, 18 accessories which allow you to mix and match parts to build your own Roblox characters.

“What I didn’t like is that sometimes you just get half a figure behind a door – so a pair of legs for example – not much a child can do with that unless they already have quite a few characters to play with.

“You do also get codes for two virtual items if your child plays Roblox online but that’s not very Christmassy.

“I didn’t think it was good value.

“You can buy a box of 24 non-festive characters for £20 at most toy shops and you’d probably get more use out of them.”

  • TOYS: 3/10
  • COST: 3/10

Harry Potter fans may like to build the quidditch match with this calendar

Danilo Musical Harry Potter Advent Calendar

  • £24.99, danilo.com
  • Age: All ages

Lynsey says: “Harry Potter fans can build an amazing quidditch match scene through December with this pretty musical calendar.

“Behind each door there are stickers, characters, jokes, questions and three characters: Harry, Ron and Hermione, who can glide around the scene when the button is pressed alongside magical music that plays in the background.

“I didn’t think the characters were the best quality but the music is fun and it’s very original.

“You can also reuse them year on year so even if you spend out now, it might save you some cash next year.

“Similar calendars available in Frozen, Star Wars and Liverpool Football Club themes.”

  • TOYS: 7/10
  • COST: 5/10

Horse girls and boys may like this advent calendar by Schleich

Schleich Horse Club Advent Calendar

  • £29.99, schleich-s.com
  • Age: 5 years plus

Lynsey says: “Each door hides a special Schleich surprise which for 2022 includes two horse figurines, four miniature animals, and 17 accessories from picnic baskets and apples to grooming supplies.

“I found some of the characters quite hard to put together but on the whole I liked this and thought it was good value for money.

“If you buy a Horse Club set for the same money you can get a stable, but you only get one horse, one character and a few accessories.”

  • TOYS: 9/10
  • COST: 7/10

You get loads of items in the Playmobil Farm calendar

Playmobil Farm Advent Calendar

  • £16.99, maqio.com
  • Age: 4 years plus

Lynsey says: “Loved this Playmobil Farm calendar and thought you got loads in it for the money, including a farmer, two children, lots of animals including a cow, a calf, rabbits and two piglets.

“There’s also a tractor, trailer, tree, a fence and lots of accessories.

“If you spent £17 on a Playmobil set you wouldn’t get anywhere near as much stuff for your money.

“The toys are good quality and will be played with until the kids get too old for them. This was one of my favourites.”

  • TOYS: 10/10
  • COST: 10/10

The JoJo Maman Bebe calendar featuring the Nutcracker is reusable

JoJo Maman Bebe The Nutcracker Advent Calendar

  • £35, jojomamanbebe.co.uk
  • Ages: 3 years plus

Lynsey says: “A lovely reusable advent calendar with draws that open to reveal wooden figures inside.

“It opens up to create a pretty play scene and each draw contains a figure made from sturdy wood so while it costs £35 now, you can reuse this year after year as Christmas Day approaches.

“The ballerinas and soldiers are lovely for little hands to play with and the calendar is pretty enough to go out on display. No tacky plastic or foil in sight.”

  • TOYS: 9/10
  • COST: 7/10

Football fans should like this calendar in the lead-up to the big day

Shoot Advent Calendar – 24 Days of Football

  • £13.95, amazon.co.uk
  • Ages: All ages

Lynsey says: “Football fans can unwrap a new book every day in the build-up to Christmas helping them to discover all there is to know about the beautiful game.

“The books contain a mix of player stories, club and player profiles, football facts and activities such as a footy quiz and spot the ball game.

“A great choice for slightly older children who want something more lasting than chocolate but are growing out of toys.

“The books are not the most amazing quality but for the price, I didn’t really have any complaints.”

  • TOYS: 5/10
  • COST: 5/10

The Baby Born calendar comes with a number of doll accessories

Baby born Christmas Advent Calendar

  • £39.99, shop.zapfcreation.co.uk
  • Ages: 3 years plus

Lynsey says: “Some lovely doll accessories in this calendar including a Santa hat, Christmas jumper and gold leggings.

“Baby can have a handbag, jewellery, a scarf and it’s all Christmas themed.

“At nearly £40 it is a lot of money though and to be clear, there is no doll included for the price.

“The calendar is plastic free and the toys are built to last and will be played with long after Christmas has passed.”

  • TOYS: 8/10
  • COST: 4/10

The Very Merry advent calendar is among the more expensive ones, but you get a lot of items for your money

Toucan Box The Very Merry Advent Calendar

  • £35, shop.toucanbox.com
  • Ages: 3 years

Lynsey says: “A great calendar to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas – they definitely won’t get bored of this one.

“Take out a box each day to discover a host of surprises including four recipes for things such as gingerbread reindeer and chocolate wreaths.

“There are seven crafts including snowman puppets to make and elf plushie which you can accessorise and play games with.

“It’s really, really lovely and it does come up with a handy grown up guide so you know what to expect as the kids delve in.

“A single craft box from Toucan costs £9.95 so this feels like good value – there is so much inside. It’s a no-brainer for crafty kids.

“Beware it is not suitable for children under three and really, I think four-year-olds would struggle with some of the activities.

“Probably better for kids who are a bit older, around six or seven.”

  • TOYS: 9/10
  • COST: 8/10