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Best toys for preschoolers 2013

The latest and greatest when it comes to fun and educational toys for your preschooler.

By Today's Parent
Best toys for preschoolers 2013

Toy Guide: Preschool

Find the perfect preschool toy

It took 75 families, 136 kid testers and nine months, but, at last, we bring you the absolute best new toys for preschoolers this holiday season.

Produced by Leah Rumack
Prop styling by Daniel Onori

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Adventure Treehouse

Bring spring back with this tricked-out tree house with a moveable cabin, slide, sun deck and a swing.

Where to buy?
Calico Critters, $74, toysrus.ca
(Outback Koala family, $25, not included.)

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Colour and Play Police Car

The fuzz is coming, and they've coloured in their own cardboard squad car!

Our toy tester says...
"The kids played with this every day and coloured small parts of it as they went."
— Melissa, mom of Sheldon, 4, and Karlie, 6

Where to buy?
Discovery Kids, $20, winners.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Ballerina Leah

Your tiny dancer will love mixing and matching outfits on this magnetic toy.

Where to buy?
Melissa & Doug, $13, melissaanddoug.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Imaginext New Batcave

When the bad guys escape Arkham, Batman and Robin leap into action with the help of your little crime fighter. Its secret entrance, telescope, launcher and light-up Bat Signal will be a big hit.

Where to buy?
Imaginext, $40, shop.mattel.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Spot It! Numbers & Shapes

Find the matching symbol between any two cards to win! As they search for matches, preschoolers will learn to identify numbers and shapes — the building blocks of math. Colour recognition too, as the matching symbol needs to be the same colour.

Our toy tester says...
“This is a great game for the kids to play together. And it's portable — we took it to a restaurant and the kids used it while we waited for dinner.”
— Sydney, mom of Charlie, 6, and Maggie, 4

Where to buy?
Blue Orange Games, $14, blueorangegames.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

FurReal Friends Cuddles, My Giggly Monkey Pet

This cute fur baby will respond with more than 100 movements and sounds when her “mommy” or “daddy” feeds, cuddles, tickles, swings, or rocks her to sleep.

Our toy tester says...
“We barely had the batteries in, and this monkey already had a name (Coco Cupcake) and was being fought over. They loved Coco. James thought she was real.”
— Judy, mom of Eliot, 7, Natalie, 5, and James, 3


Where to buy?
FurReal Friends, $90, hasbro.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Littlest Pet Shop Playset

Kids will love acting out their favourite scenes from the show with this easily portable pet store. The set includes Penny Ling Panda, a ferret pet, two Rolleroos friends and accessories.

Our toy tester says...
“Phoebe couldn't wait to get the box open and went to sleep with it on the first night! She played with it almost every day.”
— Antonia, mom of Phoebe, 4

Where to buy?
Littlest Pet Shop, $35, hasbro.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Polly Pocket Mall on the Wall

Polly can shop her little heart out on this wall-mounted playset that comes complete with a shoe boutique, Ferris wheel and food court.

Our toy tester says...
“Emilia loved the colours, Ferris wheel and slide. She wanted to buy more friends for Polly!”
— Ashleigh, mom of Emilia, 4

Where to buy?
Polly Pocket, $50, shop.mattel.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Flying Heroes

Superman fans can make their hero soar with a quick pull on the launcher.

Where to buy?
The Bridge Direct, $17, toysrus.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Magneti'book Crazy Face

Kids can use magnetic pieces like hairstyles and facial features to match the characters on playing cards, or create their own wacky faces.

Our toy tester says...
“The boys giggled more than ever before!”
— Vicky, mom of Connor and Cameron, 3

Where to buy?
Janod, $20, qhousekids.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Wheeee-mote Control

An easy one-touch remote makes this an RC car that even the youngest Formula One aficionado can operate.

Where to buy?
B., $25, mastermindtoys.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Spider-Man Web Racing Funhouse

Spidey can latch onto a web, put the Green Goblin into a cage or zoom around the track on his motorcycle.

Our toy tester says...
"Spencer played with this all the freakin' time! It's good imaginative play because he created storylines as he went."
— Guyanna, mom of Spencer, 5

Where to buy?
Playskool, $60, hasbro.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Switch & Go Dinos Blister the Velociraptor

Blister's cool whether he's in dino form or zipping around as a helicopter. He'll make flying noises when your child moves him through the air, plus 70 other sounds and phrases. Comes in French, too.

Where to buy?
VTech, $30, shop.vtechcanada.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Showcam 2-in-1 Digital Camera and Projector

Little shutterbugs will be all over this sturdy camera that comes with a “silly” button so they can customize their snaps with stamps, animations and sounds. Flip a switch and the Showcam turns into a projector so they can share their genius with the world. Comes in grey and green or white and pink.

Our toy tester says...
“This is a good toy for siblings; it can be a group project. Straightforward, excellent quality and good potential for long-term play.”
— Kelvinder, dad of Jasleen, 10, Hrithika, 8, and Jeevan, 5

Where to buy?
Playskool, $70, hasbro.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Shelby's Snack Shack Game

It's a numbers and counting “bone-anza.” Beginner board-game players will have fun helping Shelby find all her bones.

Where to buy?
Educational Insights, $26, mrstiggywinkles.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Phoebe "From Hair to There" Doll

Phoebe's no shrinking violet — this 18-inch doll is, awesomely, almost kid-sized and comes with stylable hair, clip-in extensions and a comb.

Where to buy?

Our Generation, $32, target.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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R.V. Seeing You Camper

A pretend road trip is definitely in the cards with this fully stocked RV. It comes with a kitchen, dishes, bed and bedding. Sounds like the most comfy adventure ever!

Where to buy?

Our Generation, $65, target.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Clifford the Big Red Dog Rainbow Science

Young scientists (and their adult lab assistants) can follow a colourful manual as they're guided through tons of fun and easy experiments, all with a rainbow theme.

Where to buy?
Young Scientists Club, $20, mastermindtoys.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Chatter Phone

Ring, ring! This reissue of the classic pull toy is quite possibly the cutest option for your baby's first phone.

Our toy tester says...
“Ava loves this game — listening to clues, trying to win. Very cute new take on an old favourite.”
— Lisa, mom of Ava, 4

Where to buy?
TCG Fisher-Price, $25, canadiantire.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Quadrila Music Motion Marble Run

Build as intended, or let the kids turn these colourful blocks with built-in xylophone keys into a mini musical machine.

Our toy testers say...
“Both boys liked rebuilding the set and listening to the noises the marbles made.”
— Kerrie Lee, mom of Connor, 8, and Brock, 4

“This was easy to use, comes with storage bags for small parts and has good long-term play value."
— Myles, dad of Henry, 4

Where to buy?
Hape Toys, $100, hapetoys.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Kidnoculars

Binoculars designed for little faces and hands.

Our toy tester says...
“We got these just before a camping trip, so it was perfect timing. They were sturdy, comfortable, easy to use and I liked that they didn't require focusing so he could use them with absolutely no assistance.”
— Judy, mom of James, 3

Where to buy?
GeoSafari Jr., $17, scholarschoice.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Jake's Pirate Ship Bucky

Fun on the high seas!

Our toy tester says...
“Ben liked building Jake's ship, but he liked making his own creations even more.”
— Leah, mom of Benjamin, 2

W
here to buy?
Duplo, $40, shop.lego.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013

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Strum & Jam Kidiband

This three-in-one toy can be used as a guitar, piano or drums, and will have your mini musicians rocking out in no time. Choose freestyle mode or let them strum along to popular kids' songs.

Our toy tester says...
“Charlotte played with it right away. Good quality, versatily and can be used for all ages.”
— Roseanne, mom of Charlotte, 5

Where to buy?
5VTech, $25, indigo.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Silly Me Photo Booth

Goofy craft-able props make for two-in-one fun. First, kids get the giggles creating funny faces with cut-outs, stickers, straws and pipe cleaners. Then parents get the giggles taking photos of kids wearing their creations. Everyone wins!

Where to buy?
Alex Toys, $14, alextoys.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Lalaloopsy Sew Sweet Sticker

Budding interior decorators will love helping their favourite Lalaloopsy characters accessorize their homes or playing with the punch-out paper dolls.

Where to buy?
Playhouse Fashion Angels, $10, indigo.ca

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Enforcer Car Track Set

Players can make endless customizable tracks because all the lights, sounds and car movements are activated by codes placed on the track pieces.

Our toy tester says...
“Oliver played with this tons, and he also liked playing with the cars on their own.”
— Michelle, mom of Oliver, 4


Where to buy?
Tagamoto, $40, mastermindtoys.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Doc McStuffins Operation Game

Now aspiring veterinarians (and fans of the TV show) can bring Doc's backyard clinic home. The doctor who fixes the most animal friends wins!

Our toy tester says...
“A totally fun revamp of the classic game.”
— Nadine, mom of Lucy, 6

Where to buy?
Disney, $25, hasbro.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Barbie Dreamhouse

It doesn't get more glam than Barbie's latest piece of fully tricked-out luxury real estate (dolls not included). Lavishly furnished, with two elevators — one just for her clothes, natch.

Our toy tester says...
“Karlie loved playing with this. She used all of the items that were included. It had everything you could ask for in a house.”
— Melissa, mom of Karlie, 6

Where to buy?
Mattel, $190, shop.mattel.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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Thomas Trackmaster Quest for the Crown

Thomas must return the king's missing crown, but he needs help avoiding obstacles like missing track pieces and the castle gate.

Where to buy?
Thomas & Friends, $60, shop.mattel.com

Best toys for preschoolers 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

More 2013 toys for little kids

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