Toys & Tech

World Cup winners for all the family


So the world’s most lucrative sporting event has kicked off again. There’s little you can do to avoid it over the coming weeks but, if screen-watching the beautiful game isn’t your thing or you don’t want your children to spend summer days shouting at the goggle-box, there are plenty of other ways to embrace the World Cup.

Flags of the World
£12.99 from Smyths 

This isn’t about a kick-about, but an edutainment-style family card game that celebrates the countries of the world. A geography-based game, which takes you on a trip around the globe learning about all the national flags, capital cities and more. The aim of the game is to correctly guess the flag and place it on your board. The person with the most correctly placed cards on their board at the end wins – not a bead of sweat need be seen on anyone’s brow!

Heliball Footy Flyer
£24.99 from Argos

Tech-infused keepy-uppy anyone? No need to touch this flying sphere, the proximity sensors inside cause this ball to move when your knee or foot is underneath it and automatically descend back down after your virtual kick. A built-in LCD screen tallies up the scores so you can set up challenges with others.

Messi Foldable Training Goal
£25 from The Entertainer

There’s a bunch of football kit endorsed by Messi for the summer. This GP Flair range includes this goal unit that avoids the need for jumpers! You’ll need to invest in a pair to create a true two-sided competition feel but these are decent value enough to do so.

KickerBall by Swerve Ball
£14.99 from Smyths

From the folks who created the Swerve Ball is a football that almost defies logic – or at least gives you the ability to curve a ball like you never thought you could. It is lined with panels that channel air, unlike a regular football, and this, alongside aerodynamic materials, allows this KickerBall to swerve, bend and curve, and wow those around you.

£24.99 from Argos

Let us forgive the fact that the UK inventor decided to go over the pond when naming this football-based game. It really is rather good! Players aged about seven and up, and is the only game in its category that features all the rules of the game. Score goals, tackle, pass, take throw-ins and corners, have players sent off and injured, substitute players, select your team – just like the real game… well, apart from the elaborate celebrations.

Little Tikes 3-in-1
£34.99 from Argos

Am wishing they made something like this for us Kidults. A multi-faceted sports centre with dunking, kicking and rolling all combined. A basketball with adjustable height hoop, football for those motor skills and the bowling centre for toddlers to get some shape and colour edutainment. Lots of learning modes and lights make this a must-have for your sporty ankle-biter.

Take Along 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Arena
£59.99 from Playmobil

This licensed World Cup set comes complete with four players and a bunch of accessories, which combine to create quite the immersive and action-packed game. The goalkeepers are on a guide-rod, ready to intercept incoming attacks from the spring-loaded strikers. Make a mini-presentation at the end with the miniature cup replica, ceremony over, close it up and carry to the next match venue.

Peter Jenkinson
I’ve an unmatched passion and dedication for trying, testing and talking about the latest and most interesting offerings from the toy market. From stepping in to host a shopping channel sales slot where the rotors on my RC chopper fell off to talking at length about a lightsaber on CNN’s flagship news show – I’ve tried plenty, and always get invited back. It is a cliché to say I’ve a face for radio but it certainly has its benefits so I’m approached plenty to wax about anything related to the toy market. Action Man from the Batteries not included market. You can find me over at

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