Need a bestie? How about three? Alex, Nico and Ellis each come with stylish threads and a cute coordinated companion. The easy-remove outfits promote motor development and nurturing skills, and the cool fashion can’t hurt when it comes to fine-tuning kids’ own style. Plus, the dolls are 100 percent washer- and dryer-safe.
More than just a cute face, this friendly woodland critter is here to help your baby self-soothe, playing more than 50 peaceful lullabies, melodies and popular kids’ songs. Her heart glows, casting a soft light that fades in and out to match her nature sounds, phrases and music. If you’re looking for a distraction, Fox’s crinkly ears, soft tail and ribbon tags should do the trick.
VTech Soothing Songs Fox, $19, mastermindtoys.ca
Squirmy-wormy babies will find a fond friend in this bendy critter. Each of its twistable segments offers a different stimulation. Spin his rings, shake his beady bottom or press his heart to light up and play more than 30 phrases, songs, sounds and sayings.
VTech Twist & Explore Caterpillar, $16, mastermindtoys.ca
This cool treehouse-themed activity centre is divided into four quadrants, and there’s plenty for little hands to explore. The wooden playground includes an abacus track, five bead runs, spinners, 20 gliders and even a springy bear riding a dinosaur, all expertly designed to encourage cause-and-effect learning with a side of motor skill development.
Manhattan Toy Playground Adventure, $160, mastermindtoys.ca
Toddlers will have so much fun playing this moving and grooving game that they won’t even notice they’re learning to listen and follow directions. Each player flicks the spinner then draws a card to reveal an action to perform—like dancing, jumping or crawling—that they must do while feeding the dogs stuffed bones.
Peaceable Kingdom Get Up For Pup, $25, mastermindtoys.ca
Kissy the Penguin loves to dole out love to her friends. Press her feet and she’ll sing a song and move her wings. The soft, huggable bird is ready to teach, too. She’ll lift her wings to her beak to blow kisses and your little one will be sure to mimic her.
Spin Master Gund Kissy the Animated Penguin Plus, $55, mastermindtoys.ca
Kids as young as 10 months and as old as five years can put their pedals to the, uh, sidewalk with this adjustable three-wheeler. This sturdy bike is the only one of its kind on the market. Its metamorphosis looks like this: An infant trike with a five-point harness and canopy easily transforms tool-free into a guided trike, then a training trike and finally a balance bike. We love sustainability and a good evolution.
Globber Explorer Trike 4-in-1, $180, mastermindtoys.ca
Manifesting good galaxy vibes, here’s a super squishy, quilted play mat with high-contrast colours and a supportive crescent-shaped pillow for optimal tummy time. There’s lots to explore, with a removable shooting-star mirror and five hanging toys, including a musical metallic star, a rattling raccoon teether and crinkly snow owl.
Skip Hop Celestial Dreams Activity Gym, $120, mastermindtoys.ca
Out of the way! There’s lots to learn and do with this beautiful wooden walker that supports early steps and confident cruisers. Need a minute to sit? It’s got a maze, noisemaker knob, metal xylophone, drum and twisty gears to play with. Parents will love the quiet rubber wheels and the felt mat bottom that muffles the sound of crashing blocks from the shape sorter.
Janod Sweet Cocoon Multi-Activity Baby Walker, $100, mastermindtoys.ca
Deep-sea bathers will have a whale of a time with this musical tub toy. Play the five colourful leviathan fountains like the keys of a piano, orchestrating your own symphony, or watch the water spray and dance to a pre-programmed tune.
Hape Whale Music Fountain, $50, mastermindtoys.ca
Four-in-one sounds like a tall promise, but here’s what you can expect from your new robot friends: Bot One likes to spin and twist, Bot Two makes balls pop, and Bot Three loves a good chase. To create Bot Four, stack them all together and you’ll have an eye-spinning robot ready to host a dance party and share sounds and phrases. Three different modes of play mean you can choose which level best suits your child’s age and ability.
Mattel Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot, $70, mastermindtoys.ca
And who is this little cutie? A mini guitar with three musical modes that play riffs, fun songs and special puppy tunes. Easy for wee hands to hold and explore, this guitar strums new songs while helping your baby develop their cognitive and musical skills.
B. Toys Mini Woofer Dog Guitar, $20, mastermindtoys.ca
Your little one will love scooping up these sweet treats. The 10-piece ice cream set nestles into a rainbow serving stand with three cones and six stackable mix-and-match scoops that change colour and reveal sprinkles and swirls when dunked into water. The unicorn scoop is like the cherry on top.
Skip Hop Zoo Sweet Scoops Ice Cream Tray, $16, mastermindtoys.ca
Who’s up for pizza? You’ve got your choice of toppings when it comes to this foodie-inspired playset featuring a mix of wooden and felt textures. Start with the base, add some cheese and then garnish with your faves: pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and more. The pizza oven doubles as a delivery box,
so once it’s ready, just slice and serve. Ciao!
Hape Perfect Pizza Playset, $30, mastermindtoys.ca
Busy toddlers have met their equally active match in this sit-to-stand table. Packed with activities to encourage number, animal and colour recognition, it’s got a phone, alligator xylophone, shape sorters and 90+ sounds, melodies and phrases. The detachable tabletop is perfect for floor play before little ones graduate to standing height.
VTech Touch & Explore Activity Table, $52, mastermindtoys.ca
This touch-sensitive wooden board is actually a sustainably made toy tablet that teaches kids about nature. Weather, ABCs, 123s, animals and conservation are on the docket with seven engaging lessons presented on a light-up LED screen.
LeapFrog Touch & Learn Nature ABC Board, $32, mastermindtoys.ca
All aboard the learning train! Today’s lesson is letters. Kids can sit on the caboose of this ride-on train, push it along as a walker, pull their educational locomotive or play on the floor exploring 13 double-sided alphabet blocks. They’ll never get bored with the interactive play panel (it has more than 270 songs, sounds and sayings), a travel book, turning gears and popping beads.
VTech 4-in-1 Learning Letters Train, $73, mastermindtoys.ca
Aesthetic and educational, this set is complete with 40 wooden blocks painted with letters and numbers. They are fun to stack and clank, or to match with the 36-piece puzzle (that can be used as a play mat once assembled). It’s a two-in-one learning adventure.
Janod Kubix 40 Blocks Letters/Numbers, $50, mastermindtoys.ca
Whew, there’s lots to learn and do on the farm! Build a barn, tend the coop, till the fields with the tractor and care for a host of animals (like a pig, sheep, rooster, cows and more). The perfect setting for free-range imagination, this 97-piece set has so much to build and discover. Our fave part? The strawberry stand!
LEGO Duplo barn, Tractor & Farm Animal Care, $80, mastermindtoys.ca
This animal-themed activity book is filled with woodland whimsy. Made from padded fabric, it folds out flat for a cozy play mat to upgrade tummy time. Your babe will be kept busy with an array of textures to explore, like a peek-a-boo crinkle leaf, discovery mirror, pop-out bunny, squeaky mushroom and textured corner. The fabric loop affixes to strollers for stimulation on the go.
Manhattan Toy Deer One Soft Book, $22, mastermindtoys.ca
Ready to stack? Spike is. The hedgehog’s colourful core is sized just right for small hands to grasp, and his spiky cups can be piled horizontally or vertically. He’ll help to develop fine motor and sensory skills and build on number, shape and colour recognition. Plus, Spike loves a splash: Take him in the bath for some water fun.
Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog Rainbow Stackers, $18, mastermindtoys.ca
Culinary arts training starts early with this interactive cooking pot that recites recipes, offers encouragement and mimics the sound of boiling water. Hone your knife skills by “cutting” the food on the chopping board; then set the temperature and give it a stir before ladling out your five-star meal into the bowl. Bon appétit!
LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot, $26, mastermindtoys.ca