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Little Kids

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kids

After rigorous testing by Canadian families, we've narrowed down the best toys for little kids aged five to eight.

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kids

Toy Guide 2014 Little Kid

Best toys for little kids

With an every-changing repertoire of likes and dislikes, there's plenty to choose from on our list of family-tested toys suited for little kids with every type of interest.

Read more: The ultimate toy guide 2014: 20 amazing toys for baby and toddler> 

A version of this article appeared in our November 2014 issue with the headline “The ultimate toy guide holiday 2014,” pp. 63-86.

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsIllustration: Gary Davidson

Asoblock

A great toy for little builders who are up for a challenge, and the ufb01nished product is a high-qualiu001ety action figure that's ready for battle. 

“Keep the instructions! Otherwise you’ll never be able to figure out how to put the figure together—it’s that intricate.”—Catherine, mom of Oliver, 5

Asoblock by Magnote, $26

Where to buy: amazon.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Brio Deluxe Labyrinth

The goal of this multi-level game is to carefully manoeuvre a small ball through the maze using two handles. It's perfect for teaching reasoning, fine motor skills, concentration and patience. 

“This toy gets everyone playing together. It’s rare to find a game that’s challenging for kids, parents and grandparents all at the same time.”—Rick, dad of Blake, 8, Cole, 8, Trent, 6, and Jillian, 4

Brio Deluxe Labyrinth by Schylling, $65

Where to buy: toysense.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Chatsters Gabby

New friend Gabby is, like, totally the coolest! Give your interactive BFF a makeover, play games, dance or text with her using the free app. Four AA batteries required.

Chatsters Gabby by Spin Master, $90

Where to buy: walmart.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Aquabeads Starter Set

With 800-plus beads and ufb01ve design templates, kids can create shareable works of art like a frog, rainbow or cupcake by arranging beads on the layout tray and spritzing water on their creations to fuse them together.

Aquabeads Starter Set by International Playthings, $16

Where to buy: mastermindtoys.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Castle Blast

The object of this wooden game is for young knights to seize the enemy castle with a wrecking ball, save the princess, slay the dragon and retrieve the kin's treasure. No big deal. 

"I like knocking down the walls and building them back up again." —Dontae, 5

Castle Blast by Mindware, $35

Where to buy: amazon.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Charming Chains Accessory Set

Young entrepreneurs can use this cute kit to start their own line of sophisticated headbands, necklaces and bracelets bedazzled with faux-suede flowers and cord, charms and shiny rhinestones.

Charming Chains Accessory Set by Creativity for Kids, $20

Where to buy: mastermindtoys.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Duplo Disney Princess Ariel's Magical Kiss

Join Ariel and Prince Eric for a magical boat ride through the palace lagoon. Set includes two figures, a boat, royal dining room and plenty of accessories. 

"This set is challenging enough to build and keep kids busy for awhile. It's also fun to play with afterward." —Tracy, mom of Anna, 8, and Avery, 5

Duplo Disney Princess Ariel's Magical Kiss, $40

Where to buy: shop.lego.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Forest Animals

This fun three-in-one model is great for monkeying around. Set includes a toucan friend, banana and a monkey who transforms into a squirrel or teddy bear. 

"I love the monkey and the banana is so cool!" —Maxime, 6

Forest Animals by Lego, $25

Where to buy: shop.lego.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Giant Toothless Battle Set by Ionix

Fans of the How to Train your Dragon franchise can join Toothless and Hiccup as they battle bad guy Drego and bring peace back to Berk with this fun building set. 

Giant Toothless Battle Set by Ionix from Spin Master, $45

Where to buy: Walmart.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Hexbug Warriors Transformers Battle Stadium

The ultimate battleground for robotic transforming Hexbugs. Batteries included.

Hexbug Warriors Transformers Battle Stadium by Innovation First, $45

Where to buy: mastermindtoys.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Hot Wheels Super Loop Chase Race Track Set

Race car fanatics will clamour for this gravity-defying track featuring a three-foot-high loop that attaches to the wall and enough space for multiple cars to rip through the track at once. Requires 4 D batteries.

"It's so loud! I like watching the cars go around and around and seeing if they'll crash." —Evan, 6

Hot Wheels Super Loop Chase Race Track Set by Mattel

Where to buy: walmart.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Snakes and Ladders

The classic children's game takes on a whimsical winter spin with this adorable revamp. The beautifully crafted wooden penguin pieces navigate the board with nets and ladders. 

Snakes and Ladders by Djeco, $16

Where to buy: toyhaus.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Litehawk Glider

Lightweight and easy to assemble, young aviation enthusiasts will love this foam hand-launched plane that's capable of soaring up to 150 feet in the air. 

Litehawk Glider, $16

Where to buy: thesource.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Littlest Pet Shop Style Set

Minka, Sunil and Kittery are living the high life in this pet shop complete with a bookshelf, fabric rug and a slew of teeny decorative stickers and accessories.

"I like how the roof opens so I can see inside easily." —Karlie, 7

Littlest Pet Shop Style Set by Hasbro, $55

Where to buy: toysrus.ca>


The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Lottie Spring Celebration Ballet Doll

Pint-sized Lottie is the cutest little twinkletoes

Lottie Spring Celebration Ballet Doll, $20

Where to buy: indigo.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Maplelea Pirouettes and Plies outfit

Popular Canadian Maplelea dolls will be recital ready in this 10-piece outfit set featuring a headband, tights, leg warmers, ballet slippers and a bun maker. Kids can learn about the Canadian National Ballet with fun facts in the included journal. 

Maplelea Pirouettes and Plies outfit, $47

Where to buy: maplelea.com> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Paint Maker

Young artists will love creating and naming their own custom colours or picking from a 15-colour mixing guide. Cleanup is a breeze thanks to the fold-up case.

Paint Maker by Crayola, $27

Where to buy: walmart.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Rubber Band Snap Wraps

Taking a cue from '80s fashion, these customizable slap bands encourage independent play as bitty crafters easily tailor their bracelets with charms and latex-free rubber bands.

Rubber Band Snap Wraps by Creativity for Kids, $18

Where to buy: indigo.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Super Slamwich

Perfect for helping with hand-eye coordination, kids will love the fast-paced action of stacking and flipping the large sandwich-shaped cards as they build "slamwiches." 

Super Slamwich by Gamewright, $20

Where to buy: scholarschoice.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Spy Tag

Attention all secret agents: This fast-paced matching game requires players to choose from a pile of spy tiles and match them to corresponding secret agent files. Get caught with the stolen gizmo card and you're toast!

Spy Tag by Ravensburgers, $20

Where to buy: amazon.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Tenkai Knights Volt Jet/Sky Griffin by Ionix

This two-in-one shape-shifting kit transforms from a hulking ship into an evil sky bird in an epic battle of good versus evil. 

Tenkai Knights Volt Jet/Sky Griffin by Ionix from Spin Master, $30

Where to buy: toysrus.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Tetra

A bright and modern version of Yahtzee, roll the colourful pyramids to create combinations like full house, five or a kind and doubles.

Tetra by International Playthings, $15

Where to buy: monkeymountain.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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uKloo Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game

Developed by a mom whose sons shied away from reading, this clever game gives kids word clues that parents hide around the room, with the promise of a prize (like dinner out, snuggles or a treat) at the end of the search.

uKloo Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game, $18

Where to buy: learningtoys.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Widescreen Light Designer

Little Picassos can bring their works of art to life with this bright light-up surface. Three AA batteries required.

Widescreen Light Designer  by Crayola, $40

Where to buy: toysrus.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

Magic School Bus Engineering Lab

Calling all budding engineers! This kit is jam-packed with fun family projects, making it the perfect remedy for a rainy day. The package includes all the materials and instructions for up to 33 different experiments and activities—design a car, build a bridge, store solar energy and more.

Magic School Bus Engineering Lab by The Young Scientists Club, $45

Where to buy: scholarschoice.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Ogre and Monsters

Make monsters as spooky as you like with this kit featuring durable foam-and-plastic pieces. Follow the instructions to create a Smelly Ogre or Sea Gruff, or try your hand at your own ghoulish creation. 

"I loved how enthusiastic my son was to build a monster, and the end result looks pretty great." —Alicia, mom of Jeremy, 5

Ogre and Monsters by Bloco, $30

Where to buy: indigo.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kidsPhoto: Tony Lanz





The ultimate toy guide 2014: 25 toys for little kids
This article was originally published on Nov 04, 2014

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Amy Valm

Amy is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto, Ontario. Her work can also be found in publications like Chatelaine, Toronto Life and The Globe and Mail

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