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The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlers

We tested this year's crop of new toys with real families to bring you awesome picks for babies and toddlers.

By Leah Rumack

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlers

Toy Guide 2014 Baby and Toddler

Best toys for babies and toddlers

Looking for the perfect gift for your little one? There's something for everyone from zero to three years old in this jam-packed guide featuring toys tested by real families. 

Read more: Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picks> 

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: 19 toys for babies and toddlersIllustration: Gary Davidson

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant

Here's a friendly elephant who will grow with your little one. It plays music to get your tot bouncing up and down, transforms into a walker to steady those wobbly first steps, and then evolves into a ride-on when he's ready to feel the wind in his hair. Its upbeat sounds, bright colours and lights and buttons make it extra exciting. Four AAA batteries included

"Autumn bounces to the music and screams with excitement!" —Darleen, mom of Autumn, 9 months 

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant by Fisher-Price, $60

Where to buy: sears.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Animals-on-Wheels

Made from eco-friendly recycled-plastic milk jugs, Elephant's, Pig's and Turtle's easy-to-clutch handles and free-spinning wheels encourage motor skills development (not to mention, they're totally adorable).

"I especially like the handle, so that he can push it along as he learns to crawl." —Sadiya, mom of Isa, 6 months

Animals-on-Wheels by Green Toys, $17

Where to buy: well.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Bebe Bath Baby

Does your little fishy want a buddy to take in the bath with her? This vanilla-scented doll comes with all the accessories to make her a perfect playmate. With her floaties and flippers, Bebe is ready to snorkel. 

"The quality is excellent, and the doll washes up beautifully." —Mary, mom of Amélie, 2

Bebe Bath Baby by Corolle, $42

Where to buy: mastermindtoys.com> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Bee Day Bath Puzzle

This fun bath puzzle sticks to wet surfaces and helps kids learn about shapes and environments. It gets the imagination stirring while it encourages storytelling and fine motor skills.

"Neveaha plays with this every morning. She loves how she can stick them anywhere in the tub." —Neha, mom of Neveaha, 1

Bee Day Bath Puzzle by International Playthings, $10

Where to buy: toysrus.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

CaaOcho Baby Natural Rubber Rainbow Ball

It’s the perfect ufb01rst toy for your bundle. u001eThis cheerful ball is made from 100 percent natural rubber, is free from PVC, phthalates and nitrosamine and is painted with non-toxic food-grade paints.

“I love the bright colours and the textures." —Darleen, mom of Autumn, 9 months

CaaOcho Baby Natural Rubber Rainbow Ball by Nova Nature, $20

Where to buy: amazon.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Take Along Shape Sorter

This is no ordinary carrying case. Teensy hands can poke shaped blocks through the corresponding holes while they're on the go.

"He enjoyed the puppy zipper—it's large, soft and easy to grasp." —Cinzia, mom of Jakob, 11 months

Take Along Shape Sorter by Melissa & Doug, $20

Where to buy: wizkidz.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Sound and Busy Table

Up to three little monkeys can play with this wooden music maker at the same time. They can explore its vibrantly coloured xylophone, drum, curvy bead maze and spinning gears for hours.

Sound and Busy Table by Alex Toys, $83

Where to buy: amazon.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Dachshund Ride-On

The classic 1953 pull-toy now comes in a size your little one can ride. Non-slip rubber wheels make for a safe journey wherever he goes. 

"Zoey plays with this toy daily. It's good to ride on the tile surfaces in the house." —Julie, mom of Zoey, 1

Dachshund Ride On by Brio, $130

Where to buy: toysense.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Walk Along Hedgehog

As your tiny one trundles forward, this little guy will toddle behind him.

“Joia isn’t walking yet, but she dragged it with her as she crawled.” —Rachel, mom of Joia, 1

Walk Along Hedgehog by Hape, $30

Where to buy: indigo.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Kinderfeets Balance Bike

This bicycle will get your toddler from point A to point B in style. Its EVA tires don't require any air, so you don't have to worry about flats. Does your child have an artistic flare? The bike's chalkboard side (made from sustainable birchwood) is the perfect canvas. 

Kinderfeets Balance Bike by Stortz Toys, $130

Where to buy: well.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Whoozit Textures and Sounds Activity Toy

This little buddy will shake, rattle and roll for your baby. With three colourful fabric teethers, noise-making beads and a mirror, she'll have lots to keep her entertained. 

Whoozit Textures and Sounds Activity Toy by Manhattan Toy, $14

Where to buy: manhattantoy.com> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair

In her own little corner, in her own little chair, she can be whoever she’d like to be. u001fThis magical toy is more than just a place to
sit. When your little one plants her derrière on the chair, she’ll activate its singsong chatter and lights. It’s designed to grow
with your baby, so you can adjust the developmentally appropriate phrases, songs and sounds according to your child’s age. Requires three AA batteries. 

Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair by Fisher-Price, $50

Where to buy: walmart.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Learn and Discover Pretty Party Playset

Would you like a spot of tea and a song? This musical set comes complete with plastic goodies like cakes, cookies and a pitcher of lemonade, as well as flashing lights and music for entertainment. Now, is that one sugar, or two? Requires two AA batteries. 

"She loves music, so when a tune plays she bounces and gets excited." —Kathleen, mom of Josephine, 1

Learn and Discover Pretty Party Playset by Vtech, $25

Where to buy: vtechkids.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Lego Big Farm

There was a farmer who had a chicken and a car and a tractor, too! A farmhouse, barn, stable and a variety of animals make up this fun set. Your tyke will quickly get to work making up stories about his new barnyard friends. 

"My favourite thing about this toy was how it allowed my child to use his imagination." —Monica Julie, mom of Bryan, 3

Lego Big Farm, $60

Where to buy: shop.lego.com>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure

This wooden tree is a fun activity centre full of knobs, gliders, flowers and beads of different colours. The animal-themed wooden handles go up, down and around their tracks as quickly as those wee hands can move them.

Manhattan Toy Treetop Adventure, $100

Where to buy: manhattantoy.com> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Pull-Back Vehicles

Your baby will love pulling these softu001d automobiles back and watching them zoom across the floor.

“Great quality—they’re cloth, so they can take the abuse!" —Jess, mom of Wilfred, 3, and Atticus, 9 months

Pull-Back Vehicles by Melissa & Doug's K's Kids, $29

Where to buy: cooltoysfortots.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Rock Ride 'n Stride Hippo Toy

From a walker to a rocker, to a ride-on, this three-in-one musical toy grows along with your baby. Requires two AA batteries. 

“He loved riding it around the house yelling: ‘Giddy up!’" —Tammy, mom of Sawyer, 3

Rock Ride 'N Stride Hippo Toy by Playskool, $50

Where to buy: playskool.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Roller Derby

These painted wooden balls are on a roll. Little ones will love releasing the balls and watching them roll down ramps, weave their way through holes and "ding" once they've reached the end!

Roller Derby by Hape, $50

Where to buy: indigo.ca> 

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz

Train

This little locomotive is dishwasher safe, free of phthalates, PVC and BPA. As your teeny conductor steers his train, you’ll be glad to know it’s also made from recycled-plastic milk jugs. Link the caboose to the carts and watch it chug along!

"The plastic is sturdy  and I love that it's eco-friendly." —Michelle, mom of Simon, 2 

Train by Green Toys, $35

Where to buy: well.ca>

The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlersPhoto: Tony Lanz





The ultimate toy guide 2014: 19 toys for babies and toddlers
This article was originally published on Oct 15, 2014

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