These large-scale open wooden dollhouses by Kid-craft, which come complete with furniture, offer plenty of space for Barbie and Monster High fashion dolls. Smyths are stocking last year’s Christmas bestseller the elegant Savannah, €169.99, as well as the more modern Amelia, €119.99. For a wider selection of Kidcraft, try JellyBean in Douglas, www.jellybeangroup.com and www.mimitoys.ie. We like the pretty Kayla dollhouse €129.95, age 3+, which is new this year.
With the release of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug this week, many young fans may also be inspired to join in the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his companions at home. If so, take a look at the beautifully made collection of toy wooden swords, bows and battle axes available at Pinocchio’s in Paul St, Cork. The range, is made in Germany by VAH Konstein, prices from €10; www.facebook.com/ PinocchiosCork
Board games are always a popular Christmas gift and if you haven’t already tried it, how about the Irish-made 30 Seconds, a quick-thinking, fast-talking, description game? Similar to charades, players describe clues and must correctly guess as many answers as possible in 30 seconds. Manufactured by Ballincollig-based Woodland Games, the game made Toymaster’s Top Toys list this year. A Junior version was launched last Christmas. 30 Seconds, (age 12+) and 30 Seconds Junior (age 7+) €24.99, are available in toy shops; www.30seconds.ie
Four new jigsaw puzzles based on Irish legends, have been designed by Gosling Games for Christmas 2013. The Children of Lir and Salmon of Knowledge are 60-piece puzzles, €7.99, suitable for younger children and there are two 1,000 piece puzzles — Saint Patrick and Fionn MacCumhail, €15.99. Gosling Games games and puzzles are available in Smyths and toy and gift shops nationwide; www.goslinggiftsandgames.ie.