25 best toys for babies and toddlers

Check out our favourite toys for babies and toddlers, from newborn to age three, tested and picked by real families.

Photo: Carmen Cheung

Shopping for baby toys can be tough—how do you know what they want when they haven’t got the words to tell you? These 25 toys have been tested (and approved) by real kids for maximum enjoyment. From battery-operated to classic wooden toys, we’ve got you covered this holiday.

1. LeapBuilders Fruit Fun Elephant

Leapbuilders fruit farm elephant toy
Image courtesy of LeapFrog

Learning about animals, numbers and colours is extra fun when you’ve got a fruit-loving elephant to help you. There are 21 easy-to-hold pieces, including 10 interactive blocks that respond with educational songs and encouraging words. Tap the question or music button to learn animal facts, or listen to one of five melodies. LeapFrog, $20, walmart.ca

2. Explore and more selfie phone

Explore and more selfie phone baby toy
Image courtesy of SkipHop

With a shiny mirror sticker, your babe can mimic the fun selfies you take together on their very own phone. This cute toy makes barking and meowing sounds and has three light-up face filters, including doggy ears and silly glasses. SkipHop, $13, snugglebugz.ca

3. Lego Duplo Submarine Adventure

Lego Duplo Submarine Adventure toy set
Image courtesy of Lego

All aboard! With a floating submarine and whale, this underwater adventure set is perfect for bathtime. Two diver figures snap photos of the fish with their under-water camera as it spurts out bubbles to create the perfect shot. Lego, $25, lego.com

4. Magical Tales Gymini

Magical Tales Gymini baby toy play set
Image courtesy of Tiny Love

This play mat works at various stages of a baby’s development, stimulating the senses on day one, then making a comfy spot for tummy time. Silky ribbons and crinkly flaps to grab and pull encourage fine motor skills. You grow, baby! Tiny Love, $100, westcoastkids.ca

5. Spitzy the Llama

Spitzy the llama toy
Image courtesy of Club Petz

All Spitzy the Llama wants to do is eat and make you laugh. He’s a goofy, hungry, battery-powered guy who is so noisy when he chews. But that’s not all: He’s a big burper. And don’t even think about pressing his leg, which makes him spit (how rude!). Oh, shoot—he just ate so fast his jaw dislocated. Silly llama. You’d better help him. Club Pets, $35, target.com 

6. Crawl About Bee

Crawl about bee baby toy
Image courtesy of The Learning Journey

This buzzing bee is a fun way to get kids moving. Place this striped plastic toy on the floor and he’ll wiggle about with lights and cute songs to encourage little ones to follow him. The Learning Journey, $25, mastermindtoys.com

7. 1.2.3. ZOO

123 zoo toy
Image courtesy of Playmobil

Zoologists in training, step right up! Come and see the monkeys on the swing and the penguins slipping down the slide. This set has two separate enclosures to explore and includes four figures, two monkeys, two penguins and loads of accessories. Playmobil, $50, playmobil.ca

8. Llama Soft Book

Llama soft book baby toy opened
Image courtesy of Manhattan Toy company

Llamas are having a moment. This soft, wordless book follows the squeaky fellow from page to page as he encounters different activities and textures. There’s something to crinkle, a baby-safe mirror to gaze into, Velcro to pull and loops to tug. Manhattan Toy, $20, amazon.ca

9. Cabbage Patch Kids Cuties Petting Zoo Friend

Cabbage patch kids chick baby toy
Image courtesy of Cabbage Patch Kids

Dressed in a variety of cute animal-themed costumes, like a bunny, kitty, chick, billy goat, puppy and lamb, these nine-inch dolls have plush bodies and make perfect snuggly companions. Cabbage Patch Kids, $22, amazon.ca

10. Rainbow Cloud Pop

Wooden Rainbow Cloud Pop baby toy
Image courtesy of Le Toy Van

This sustainable rubberwood toy promotes colour recognition and hand-eye coordination. It takes some practice, but soon kids will be pushin’, poppin’, matchin’ and catchin’ those rainbow rods like it’s nobody’s business. Le Toy Van, $36, indigo.ca

11. Jungle Press and Slide

Jungle press and slide toy
Image courtesy of Hape

Let it slide! This well-crafted wooden toy features an easy-to-grip ball that loops and races around a large jungle tree to the ground below, where a lever shoots it back to the top so it can race down again. Hape, $25, treasureislandtoys.ca

12. Hungry Hippos Foot to Floor Push Riding Toy

Hungry Hippos foot to floor push riding toy in orange
Image courtesy of Hasbro

The childhood classic game has morphed into a ride-on toy with the same head-bobbing, chomping action we all know and love. Push or roll over the seven included balls and watch Hippo gobble them up into his clear plastic belly. Hasbro, $60, toysrus.ca

13. Smart Sizzlin’ BBQ Grill

Smart Sizzlin bbq grill toy
Image courtesy of LeapFrog

Your bitty Bobby Flay will love using this interactive ’cue to fire up their imagination. Eight different foods to skewer and char can be placed on the grill to teach kids about each item’s name and colour. Twist the skewer and count along as you turn up the heat from one to 10. The included utensils and sauce keep it profesh. LeapFrog, $50, toysrus.ca

14. Lil’ Cuddles Doll Gift Set

Lil cuddles doll and doll clothing
Image courtesy of Madame Alexander

Baby dolls are always a hit, and this sweet set is no exception. With a soft cloth body, a lifelike head that bobs and cute little fingers and toes that grasp, this baby comes with an extra outfit complete with a bib and booties. Madame Alexander, $50, toysrus.ca

15. Cute Rider: Panda

Viking cute rider panda toy
Image courtesy of Viking

Hop on! Perfect for practising mobility and balance, this bear-y cute ride-on is constructed of durable recycled plastic. Parents will love that the wheels spin easily and silently(!), while kids will love the under-seat storage for stashing treasures. Viking, $80, toysense.ca

16. Double Fun Fishing Set

Hape double fun fishing set
Image courtesy of Hape

Take tub time to new depths with this fun fishing set. Push your new sea friends into the water, and they’ll pop right up. Hook their little gills with your fishing pole then stash them in the included net for later. Hape, $25, bbbuggy.ca

17. Sophie Touch Musical

Sophie touch musical giraffe plush baby toy
Image courtesy of Sophie la girafe

Everyone’s favourite French giraffe is back and reporting for double duty. Not only is she a soft, cuddly friend, but two special skin-contact sensors on her front hooves also play music to teach babies about cause and effect. Sophie la girafe, $50, toysrus.ca

18. My First Railway Farm

Brio railway farm with toy animals
Image courtesy of Brio

Things are busy on the Railway Farm. There’s a train, and five animals who love to make sounds when placed on the grassy meadow sensor. Constructed of high-quality wood, this 12-piece set is a good point of entry into Brio’s more expansive railway systems. Brio, $75, indigo.ca

19. Ocean A to Z Puzzle and Playset

Ocean puzzle play set
Image courtesy of Begin Again

Each part of this wooden deep-sea puzzle has a pretty water-based decal that coordinates with a letter, like “O” for “octopus.” Once they’re done with the puzzle, let them use the pieces as figurines to tell an underwater story, and then tuck them away in the wooden storage box. Begin Again, $50, thebay.com

20. Fantasy Bird

Colourful fantasy bird toy
Image courtesy of Manhattan Toy

The C-clip on this parrot pal makes it easy to fasten to your stroller. The colourful design will help stimulate their imagination, and details like a crinkly tail feather, mini mirror and teether can curb fussiness. Manhattan Toy, $19, charlotteetcharlie.ca

21. Latches and Doors Busy Board

Latches and doors busy board toy
Image courtesy of VTech

Toddlers are notoriously curious, so give them something safe to explore with this busy board. There are doors to slide or swing open, buttons to press, knobs to turn and locks to unlatch. It’s a fun way for littles to develop and build their motor skills while learning numbers, colours and the ABCs. VTech, $40, mastermindtoys.com

22. Animal High Rise

Colourful wooden animal high rise toy
Image courtesy of Haba

The best piece of real estate on the street is this cheery rainbow high-rise. Made of 15 wooden blocks, this stacked apartment complex can be constructed in a multitude of ways. Haba, $33, dillydallykids.ca

23. Lica Bella Unicorn

Lica bella unicorn light up toy
Image courtesy of Gipsy

Rainbow dreams come true with soft, fluffy Lica Bella. Full of magic and splendour, your mystical bestie’s eyes glow with pretty colours when you press her magical star. Want a little night light ambience? Press her hoof, and her body will shine with a shimmery glow. Gipsy, $40, toysrus.ca

24. Cry Babies

Cry Babies toy doll
Image courtesy of Cry Babies

This baby is a little sad sometimes and needs to be cheered up. Remove her pacifier and she’ll start to fuss. Her saucer-like eyes will well up and shed real tears (she has a compartment for water), and it’s up to pint-sized parents to calm her. Give her the pacifier or lay her down and soothe her, just like a real baby. Cry Babies, $57, amazon.ca

25. Robo Alive Baby Shark

Robo alive baby shark toy in yellow
Image courtesy of Zuru

When it comes to bath toys, there’s nothing cuter than an on-trend baby shark. Place Sharky in the tub and the water will make him start to swim and sing that catchy tune. Tubby Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo. Zuru, $20, toysrus.ca

Read more:

25 best toys for little kids
33 best toys for preschoolers
17 best toys for big kids

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