The Best Toys for Babies and Toddlers This Christmas

toddler playing with toys

If you're wading through the Smyths' toy brochure this Christmas wondering what on earth to buy your little ones, stop right there.

As Editor at My Baba, I'm part of a team constantly reviewing and researching the best toys for kids of all ages. I'm also a mum to two outrageous children who prove time and time again that there's very little play value in at least 95% of their toy load, so I feel I'm more than qualified to tell you that there 
are some fantastic toys out there for babies, toddlers and preschoolers this Christmas… Here are my top ten. 

What are the best toys for babies and toddlers? 

Toniebox, tonies®

The Toniebox should be on top of every little wish list to Santa this year when it comes to the best toys for babies and toddlers. 

The magical, musical Toniebox plays favourite stories, songs and educational content via hand-painted figurines called Tonies. Made especially for little ones to use by themselves, the Toniebox is screen-free, with safe and easy-to-use controls. It's squishy, huggable, portable, and doesn't need charging every day, and the best bit? It's toddler-proof. It'll withstand being accidentally thrown down the stairs. (Yes, first-hand knowledge of that one!)

Tonies® magical story box is brilliant for even the littlest of listeners. For newborns and babies, it'll play white noise, lullabies, nursery rhymes and soothing sounds, and for toddlers, well, there are many exciting worlds to be discovered. Choose from Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig to Thomas the Tank Engine, The Gruffalo, Fireman Sam and more. There's so much to choose from for kids of all ages.

Enjoy classics like Paddington Bear, beloved fairy tales, favourite Roald Dahl stories, Enid Blyton's epic adventures, and all the Disney favs and Netflix shows they love – to name a few!

The Toniebox is hands down the most-used toy in our house, so it's no surprise that tonies® recent research showed that the Toniebox is picked up and played with 148 times more than the average gifted toy. Tonies make great stocking fillers too, and this will be the third year ours will wake up to unwrap new stories – with Disney's Coco and We're Going On A Bear Hunt waiting for them. 

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Biscuit, the 2-in-1 Rocking Horse, JoJo Maman Bebe

The ride-on has been a popular toy for little ones since the 17th century, a rite of passage if you will. As Christmas presents go, a ride-on has plenty of wow factor and will make a fabulous main gift. 'Biscuit, the 2-in-1 Rocking Horse' from JoJo Maman Bebe is a sturdy wooden ride-on and he comes with two accessory packs, so you can dress him up as either a gymkhana or a sheriff's horse. There's even an option to personalise the horse with a name of your choice! 

Cozy Coupe Dino, Little Tikes

Speaking of wow factor presents, it doesn't get much bigger than their first set of wheels. The iconic Cozy Coupe has been around since we were kids. I remember my little sister getting one for Christmas when she was 3, but by that time I was 7, and just too big to squeeze into it. Such sadness. The Cozy Coupe is a favourite among little ones, and it's great for encouraging physical and social development and fine-tuning those (excuse the pun) motor skills. 

There are many versions to choose from these days to suit every mini-personality, from police cars to fairy and princess-themed cars to fire engines, black cabs, and of course, the Cozy Coupe Classic in red and yellow. 

My Pal Scout Smarty Paws, LeapFrog

My Pal Scout comes in green or purple, with touch-sensitive front paws that teach little ones about cause and effect. Touch a paw for a silly reaction, music, games and mindfulness exercises, this plush interactive toy from Leapfrog is personalisable and can be connected to your smartphone, tablet or computer for easy personalisation while it's still in the box! You can program Scout to say your child's name, favourite food, colour and animal, Scout has a soothing nighttime mode too, and he's super cuddly for nighttime squishes.  

Suitable from 6 months to around 3 years.

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Personalised Wooden Children's Activity Table, My First Years

When it comes to the best toys for babies and toddlers, I'm a huge fan of wooden toys, and My First Years do them so well. 

If you want to combine learning and play, this Wooden Children's Activity Table is a great shout. Jam-packed with many activities that will engage curious little minds, enrich senses and develop motor skills. There's a xylophone, shape sorter, turning cogs, sliders, flippable mirrors and a bead puzzle. I love that it's built with detachable legs, so it's a toy that will grow with your child. Floor play turns into standing play when they're ready. You can even personalise the table for the ultimate (if a little large) family keepsake.

Children’s Weather Station, Little Paw

Another toy that encourages learning through play for older toddlers/preschoolers is Little Paw's Children's Weather Station. It's not only incredibly cute, it will also teach them all about the weather! There are movable parts and five weather symbols, so mini meteorologists can forecast the weather. 

Little Paw's Children's Weather Station is made from solid beech wood from sustainably certified forests with non-toxic paint and measures 29.4cm x 23.8m. 

Easel, Tikk Tokk

This was another huge win in our house, brought three Christmasses ago, and still going strong. On one side of the easel you've got a traditional black magnetic chalkboard and on the other side is a whiteboard with clips. There's a ledge for chalks and paint holders too. 

Tikk Tokk's Easel is manufactured using solid European Beech Wood, and it's sturdy, so they can paint, chalk or draw to their heart's content. The easel is designed for easy storage and folds down when not in use. 

Lolly and Ice Cream Shop, GLTC

Another wooden toy that has truly stood the test of time in our house and is still much loved by both my son (3) and daughter (5) is the Lolly and Ice Cream Shop by Great Little Trading Company. 

GLTC's Ice Cream Shop comes with the most gorgeous lollies, ice creams, wafers and toppings for the ultimate summertime fun – even in December! I love that it's portable, the kids can pick it up and play with it anywhere around the house, and it doesn't take up too much space. 

The shop is made out of painted wood and MDF and comes with 25 accessories you can slot together, including magnetised scoops of ice cream. This toy has won multiple awards, and it's no surprise; it really is pretty cool. 

CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Doll, Smyths

Okay, I'll level with you. I'm not the biggest fan of JJ and the wonderful world of CoComelon, but I'm not his target audience. I just know how irritating the YouTube channel is… But, the kids love him and there's nothing I can do to stop them. And this year's CoComelon doll is probably one of the hottest trending toys for babies and toddlers. 

The Boo Boo JJ Doll is a plush doll suitable for 2 years plus. CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Doll lights up where he's hurt to encourage little ones to come to his rescue with the doll's accompanying bandage case. JJ reacts when he's hurt and then when he's healed, he'll cry until you cure the "boo boo" and then giggle once you've applied a bandage over the lit-up area. In fact, there are lots of cute phrases and sounds your little one will love. If you're like me, you probably won't love them as much, but moving on. 

Sweetie For Babies, Baby Annabel

Baby Annabel Sweetie for Babies is an excellent option if you're looking for your baby's first-ever doll. A 30cm soft body with an integrated rattle, this little cutie is even suitable for newborns. She's lightweight and easy to hold, with no batteries required. She even arrives in 100% plastic-free and fully recyclable, fuss-free packaging. Won't that make a change on Christmas morning!? Playing with dolls helps little ones develop social skills and empathy and encourage imaginative play, so why not start them young? 

 

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