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Many toys require batteries and are not supplied with any, make sure that you buy good batteries though so that they last more than just a few minutes! It's very tempting to buy packs of batteries in the various 'pound shops' and market, but although cheap, these don't necessarily last. Make sure that traditional AAA/AA/C/D batteries that you buy all state that they are 'alkaline' as these are much more powerful than non-alkaline variants.
Batteries are available in different power ratings but it isn't usually clear what power they offer. This is why branded batteries such as Duracell are usually a better bet than non-branded ones. Buying batteries at the 'point of sale' in supermarkets and toy shops often represents bad value for money too. Keep a stock of batteries in your store cupboard, and buy in bulk over the internet. As a target price, you can generally source AA and AAA batteries for around 30p per battery. If you're in the supermarket and there's an offer on batteries, see if you are anywhere near that target - if you are then they are a good buy.
Rechargeable batteries are much more expensive but they can also be used over and over again. Look for nickel metal hydride batteries (NiMH) which don't suffer from 'memory effect' - the problem whereby batteries rapidly lose the ability to charge fully. Be aware that rechargeable batteries aren't suitable for all toys. Whereas traditional batteries are usually rated 1.5 volts, the equivalent rechargeables are often rated 1.2 volts, and may not drive your toys. Rechargeable batteries will state their power rating. Look for batteries rated over 1500 mAh rather than weaker ones between 500 - 800 mAh.
Some toys drain batteries more quickly than others. Generally anything with moving parts or putting out a radio signal will drain more quickly. Remote control vehicles, walkie-talkies and other propelled toys require more power than toys that have just lights or sounds. If rechargeable batteries power your higher drain toys then it's a good idea to use them in those. Remember not to throw your rechargeables away though - check any batteries carefully once they are drained before disposing of them!
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