Sweet Freedom Michael McDonald Download 'Sweet Freedom' on iTunes
As the 62nd annual Toy Fair in London sees industry experts explore key entertainment trends and tell us what fun things they predict will be keeping the kids entertained in 2015. Expect movie merchandise, based around the upcoming 'Star Wars' and 'Bond' films, voice controlled drones and gadgets aplenty. Ladies and gentleman, the future is here, but don't worry, retro toys will also be making a comeback!
Companies like WowWee and Rev have been at the forefront of the tech toy industry for years and 2015 certainly promises lots more brilliant whizzy inventions. REV have released robotic cars to battle it out against one another, whilst WowWee bring us a football-playing, gesture-controlled robotic dinosaur. The RoboSapien is also mood and personality controlled so will respond based on how mic you're being it it!
As the entire nation waits with eager anticipation for the release of the new Bond movie, it perhaps unsurprising that toy companies also want a piece of the action! Scalextric have announced they'll be releasing a very special 'Spectre' Aston Martin DB10 set to run alongside the upcoming film. Seriously cool we say!
Get ready to say hello to the Meccanoid G15 KS! This brilliant gadget cleverly brings together education and fun at the same time. Just as more traditional toy favourites such as lego encourage children to develop their cognitive thinking, Merccano believe that this robot allows children to develop they technical and engineering capabilities from a young age. Plus the set can be reconfigured and turned into an eight-legged-machine or a robotic dog - how cool is that?!
Microsoft's Xbox certainly has the power to keep today's kids entertained for hours! Unbelievably the video game was the brand's first move into the gaming console market, and boy was it a success! Milestones for the service, include variations on the program such as the Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and games such as 'Halo'.
Taking things back to basics are these cuddly toys which achieved massive popularity in the 90s. Taking their name from their interior which was stuffed full of plastic pellets: "the whole idea was it looked real because it moved" says a spokesperson for Ty Warner Inc., the company behind the cute little toys. Beanie babies came in lots of different shapes and sizes with production strictly limited on certain designs so that they became much sought after collectibles.
Another electronic animal was this rather strange looking hamster-owl-like creature. Translated into many languages after it's release in 1998, this mini robot brought joy to millions of children around the world for years to come. Children have to re-educate their wide eyed pet by teaching them their to speak their native language from their natural language of Furbish. The more time spent with the toy, the faster it learns.
If you grew up in the 90s, it's pretty certain that you or someone you knew owned one of these computerised pets. The must have toy came in the shape of egg, which is where the first part of it's name 'Tamago' comes from. The toy taught children about the value and time invested in caring for something, as the 'pets' would suffer from ill health if not properly looked after.
Traditional Polly Pocket dolls were roughly an inch tall and formed of hard plastic. Nowadays, a second, taller generation of the doll has been created with flexible plastic and rubber clothing. Like Barbie, Polly has had her moment on the big screen in movies such as 'Polly Pocket' and 'PollyWorld'.
This pleasing line of plastic equine toys was original called 'My Pretty Pony' but was renamed to it's present name shortly after release. With their colourful manes and monogrammed flanks, these miniature horse toys make the perfect present for little girls interested in animals. More recently the brand has become more popular, since the creation of the related TV series 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic' in 2010.
The Japanese electronics company of the same name, pioneered the way in video gaming with the release of the Nintendo. The brand hit the jackpot with this particular invention and it has since become one of the most influential early computerised games ever.
The hilarious action figure with his manic grin became a household name in the 70s. Made of latex rubber and filled with corn syrup, the doll has the ability to be stretched to a bigger size and hold it's shape before returning to it's original size. Hours of fun!
Possibly the most frustrating game of all? The brightly coloured cube has the ability to boggle and confuse, whilst keeping us occupied for hours! This brilliant twisty puzzle was originally called the 'Magic Cube' and was made in 1974. Have you ever managed to complete it?!
This iconic fashion doll was created by the American business woman Ruth Handler by the manufacturing company Mattel, Inc. The pint-sized doll now comes in many different guises and is the figure head for her own all encompassing empire. From multiple career choices to countless accessories, Barbie has even appeared in animated films such as 'Toy Story 2' and 'Toy Story 3'.
The ideal gift for any wannabe boy racer, Scalextric's popularity is based on a love of classic cars and a need for speed! The sets were originally created by the British company Minimodels and usually contain a circuit, power supply and two cars. What is more, the cars tend to be based on real vehicles such as F1, A1 Grand Prix and rallying, as well as ordinary cars too.
These bright interlocking pieces of plastic can be used to make whole interconnected mini worlds. What's more, the brilliance of the concept means comes in the fact that it can be broken down and built into something completely different. The game has even led to themed amusement parks constructed entirely of these pieces.
If you've ever 'walked' a slinky down the stairs, then you'll know that there's something rather amazing about these metal springs. The clever pre-compressed helical spring manoeuvres itself downwards with a little help from gravity and it's own momentum. Clever!
Although Monopoly can be traced right back to the early 1900s, where a very early version called 'The Landlord's Game' was created by Elizabeth Phillips to illustrate single tax theory in America, the game as we now know it really came into being in the 1930s. It was during the early 30s that a group of people under the name the Parker Bothers redesigned the game and started mass licensing it.
This wonderful toy began life in 17th century Europe and has been delighting both children and collectors for generations. Did you know they used to be called 'baby houses'? Early versions of these picture perfect homes were hand created, with every piece of furniture and fabric made with painstaking detail. Nowadays these miniature creations are mass produced and come in all shapes and sizes, but they still hold a special place in our hearts.