Big W Kin Kora manager Julie Van Deudekom with some of the most popular toys in this year's Toy Mania sale.
Big W Kin Kora manager Julie Van Deudekom with some of the most popular toys in this year's Toy Mania sale.

What are Gladstone’s most popular toys?

TOYS are much more than just a distraction to occupy children and give parents a break, they can stimulate learning and creativity.

According to Big W Kin Kora manager Julie Van Deudekom, the top five most popular toys in Gladstone feature enduring favourites like LEGO and Barbie.

“The top five bestsellers so far are the Nerf N-Strike Elite Titan Blaster, Barbie Colour Reveal Doll, LEGO Technic Car Transporter, Care Bears Tender Heart Limited Edition, Bluey’s Family House Playset and lots more,” she said.

“LEGO, Barbie and Hot Wheels are the three big brands that will dominate the annual toy celebration this year, with LEGO topping the bestsellers list in every state for the past 12 months.

“Staff had been working since 5.30am to fill orders after BIG W’s Toy Mania launched online on Tuesday.”

Psychologist Dr Justin Coulson said the “power of play” could develop many skills in children.

“Toys encourage imagination and creativity, they provide opportunities for cognitive and social development, and they often offer the chance for skill development and problem-solving,” he said.

“They can be incorporated into playtime by using different strategies.

“First, have them visible and available; second, promote autonomy … don’t tell your kids what to do or how to do it and when; and third, play with them!”

Finding the right toys can encourage creativity and stimulate learning.

“Basic is best, however children need access to a variety of toys in order to stimulate their growing minds,” Dr Coulson said.

“When children and parents play together, they strengthen their social skills, learn to share and co-operate.

“The more gender-typed toys are, the less supportive they are for optimal development as they close off imagination and turn children towards social ‘types’.

“Let children channel their personalities and play as they feel.”

Eliminating screen time and encouraging play by describing what is happening to kids can be beneficial.

“These conversations encourage open-ended, imaginative and creative expression,” Dr Coulson said.

“Video games are key in encouraging problem-solving skills, however too much screen time can be damaging on their focus and sleep.”

Due to the recent heath restrictions, Mrs Van Deudekom said other ranges surged in popularity too.

“Interestingly, COVID-19 created a new generation of budding puzzlers,” she said.

“Compared to this time last year BIG W has seen a 225 per cent increase in kids’ jigsaw puzzle sales.”