It’s almost that time of the year again where families gather next to Christmas trees and kids eagerly anticipate to see what Santa has to bring.  Finding the perfect toy to give a baby or toddler can be a little daunting for some parents (myself included) because we want the toy to be fun, smart, sing, made of organic materials, grows with baby, easy to assemble… you get the idea. There are hundreds of toys in an aisle at Target’s toy department enough to make my head spin, not to mention online superstore like Amazon. Well, you probably can’t go wrong with award-winning toys. Here is a list (over 20 toys!) that are crowned best toys of 2018 by industry influencers, academia, media, leading parents magazine, and more. I’ve listed them from least expensive to most expensive. Hope this guide helps you find the best holiday present for the youngsters!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission, at no extra costs to you, if you purchase through these links.




holiday toys for babies and toddlers

1.   Dimpl by Fat Brain Toys

Recommend age: 10 months+

MSRP: $12.95

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Gold Medal)

Why it won: “Dimpl is a cleverly designed toy of silicone bubbles built into a sturdy plastic frame. Our testers, from infants to grandmas and pas, could not keep their hands (or mouths) away from the brightly colored “dimpls.” Push the dimpls in on one side and watch them come out the other. Dimpl is as gratifying in the bathtub as it is in a high-chair or car-seat. Made of 100% food-grade silicone, this easy to clean, no parts to lose, take anywhere toy is irresistible, captivating, and fun.” – Parent’s Choice

2.   Mirari Shellby by PlayMonster!

Recommend age: 1 – 3 years

MSRP: $19.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won: “Action-packed ball play with personality! Children drop the balls into Shellby’s shell & then make them pop out by rolling the snail along on the floor or tapping its tail! It’s fun & active ball play as they chase the balls, & the adorable snail makes a sweet new friend! When not in use, the balls store neatly in the shell, ready for playtime!” – Toy of the Year Awards

3.   LALABOOM 5 in 1 educational beads by TRALALA LTD

 Recommend age: 10 months+

MSRP: $19.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver Medal)

Why it won: ” The colorful and “can’t wait to touch” 30-piece LALABOOM bead set provides an open-ended supply of play and developmental opportunities—encouraging exploration, creativity and delightful adult-child co-play. Toddlers began connecting and stacking, followed by sorting and creating. Fine motor skills develop as a child works through her ability to separate, twist, click, stack and connect, or even lace the beads. The durable plastic beads are easily cleaned, stored, and portable. ” – Parent’s Choice

4.   Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer by VTech

Recommend age: 1 – 3 years

MSRP: $24.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won: “This delightful bulldozer encourages movement and motor skills in little builders when the colorful balls pop up through the smoke stack, into the scoop bucket and back again. Load the balls into the bulldozer, start pushing the handle and watch it come to life with poppin’ balls and fun sounds! Press four buttons to learn colors, numbers and more.” – Toy of the Year Award

5.   Stacking Garden Friends by Tender Leaf Toys

Recommend age: 18 months+

MSRP: $24.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver Medal)

Why it won:  “An ecofriendly toy in materials and concept, young stewards of the environment took turns carefully placing the 14 wooden plant, garden equipment and animal shapes on the stacking tree. They quickly learned about balance, testing which shapes worked where. Moving seamlessly from physics to pretend play, our testers used the delightfully illustrated shapes to act out stories of animals, a garden, and transporting the turtle back to his pond. At cleanup time, all 15 pieces fit easily in the cloth storage bag.” – Parent’s Choice

6.   Easy Clean Bath Squirters by Sago Mini

Recommend age: 1 year +

MSRP: $24.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver Medal)

Why it won:  “Crowned “the best looking toys in the tub,” the Sago Mini Bath Squirters instantly charmed our young captains of the bath. Made with easy to clean BPA and Phthalate-free materials, they gave heaps of sudsy thumbs up to the well-designed play.” – Parent’s Choice

7.   GearZooz™ Roll & Roar Animal Train™ by VTech

Recommend age: 1 – 5 years

MSRP: $29.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won: “Kids can customize the train by mixing and matching the 15 included gears while strengthening their fine motor skills. Four adorable Smart Gear animals can board the train and add to the excitement with fun songs, playful phrases, and animal sounds. Press the buttons to listen to different musical instruments or answer kid-friendly quiz questions.” Toy of the Year Award

8.   Mega Bloks Elephant Parade by Mattel, Inc.

Recommend age: 1 – 5 years

MSRP: $29.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won: “The Mega Bloks Elephant Parade lets baby build with a friendly elephant & animal friends. Pull the elephant to make the blocks spin inside the rolling tumbler. Open the tumbler & use the lid as a building plate to build animals, matching each animal to the same color. Connect them to the elephant & pull them along to create a parade!” – Toy of the Year Award

9.   Maze-O Starter Set by Maze-O LLC

Recommend age: 2 years+

MSRP: $29.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “These brightly-colored tiles are perfect for small hands, and every piece connects. Ramps, turns, and branches combine however you’d like for endless labyrinth variations. Follow the activity cards, or strike out on your own. Then have action figures find their way out, or send a car on a dizzying drive! You’ll be a-mazed!” – Parent’s Choice

10.   Disney Junior Minnie’s Walk and Play Puppy by Just Play Products

Recommend age: 3+

MSRP: $39.99

Award: The Toy association & Toy of the Year Award ( Plush Toy of the Year)

Why it won: “It’s puppy love for Minnie Mouse and her pooch Snowpuff! The Minnie’s Walk and Play Puppy Plush features two modes of play. Use the clicker to teach Snowpuff to bark, spin, and dance. Then go on a dog-walk together! Minnie sings and talks to Snowpuff, who makes happy doggy sounds!” – Toy of the Year Award




11.   Pop-Oh-Ver Stove and Counter Top Sets by Kangaroo Manufacturing

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $39.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Gold medal)

Why it won:  “The innovative configuration and modern design serve up pretend play from role-playing to construction. Kids can take charge of the meals as well as the renovation, moving the kitchen from the playroom to the bedroom and to Grandpa’s apartment in Paris. Parents applauded the inventive design, easy assembly, and storage.” – Parent’s Choice

12.   Folkmanis® Opossum by  Folkmanis, Inc.

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $53.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Gold medal)

Why it won:  “Ample arm and finger pockets give puppeteers the choice of “talking” (with both a head and jaw opening) or walking (with the two front leg openings). The 18″ body extends to a full yard when the tail is stretched to its limit. Shiny eyes, tiny teeth, and realistic feet add to this animal’s intrigue, and its overall appeal inspires further science explorations.” – Parent’s Choice

13.   Little Tikes Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone by MGA Entertainment

Recommend age: 2 – 3 years

MSRP: $54.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won: “Triple the play with the Little Tikes Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone! Dunk, kick and score with your child’s 3 favorite sports: basketball, soccer and bowling! The backboard lights up and features over 75 songs, sounds and phrases that activate when shots are made! Plus, it folds up compactly for easy storage.” – Toy of the Year Award

14.   Magformers My First Pastel 30pc Set by Magformers

Recommend age: 3+

MSRP: $59.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award

Why it won:  “Magformers My First Pastel 30Pc Set is the perfect introductory kit for imaginative creators. Using the pastel-tone magnetic shapes, create houses and towers. Discover the magic of Magformers by pulling 2D shapes up into 3D structures. When playtime is over, use the magnetic power to stack and store.” – Toy of the Year Award

15.   PAW Patrol Sea Patroller by Spin Master Ltd.

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $59.99

Award: The Toy Association & Toy of the Year Award (Vehicle of the Year)

Why it won:  “With an amazing sea-to-land transformation, the Sea Patroller is prepared for wherever the rescue leads. It’s equipped with a boat-load of features including lights and sounds, a working crane, a life-saver launcher, and storage for basic vehicles. It comes with an exclusive Ryder figure and his ATV, an exploration cage, and a baby octopus.” – Toy of the Year Award

16.   Folkmanis® Frog Life Cycle by Folkmanis, Inc.

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $67.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Gold medal)

Why it won: “It begins as an egg-like, jelly-shelled encasement, with a tiny hologram lens center that hints of legless baby tadpoles. This “egg” is handheld with no pockets or moveable parts. Unzip that egg and turn the contents inside out for a more mature tadpole, then unzip-and-tuck once again for a full-bodied, bigger-than-life, adult frog—an impressive instant metamorphosis! The last two cycles have hand pockets for the mouths of the creatures. The chosen fabrics and embellishments create a credible and appealing realistic representation of the related scientific facts. Some of the zipping and tucking (returning the adult frog to baby tadpole) of the tightly-packed sections might challenge the manual dexterity of young children, but the sturdy zippers and strong fabrics can survive many forceful twists and turns.” – Parent’s Choice

17.   My Fabulous Storyteller by Lunni

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $69.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “When tech meets tradition, magic can happen. My Fabulous Storyteller lets children ages 3+ create and listen to up to 48 stories in the starter set. Well-conceived and beautifully designed, the appealing device feels great in the hand, is easy to operate and intuitive to explore. The manual clearly and cheerfully details contents and operation. Kids were able to “write” and rewrite their own stories by selecting a protagonist, a location, a companion, and an object. Choices are confirmed by turning the knob and then pressing the ‘ok’ button. When all four choices have been made, the story begins. And imaginations never end.” – Parent’s Choice

18.  Teddy Ruxpin by Wicked Cool Toys

Recommend age: 2 years+

MSRP: $99.99

Award: Toy of the Year Award & The Toy Association (Infant/Preschool Toy of the Year)

Why it won: “Wicked Cool Toys re-launches the world’s first animatronic teddy bear, Teddy Ruxpin! Named as one of the 100 Greatest Toys of All-Time by Time Magazine, the new Teddy Ruxpin will engage with a whole new generation of preschoolers and pre-readers whose parents and grandparents adored Teddy for his wholesome fun, exciting interactive adventures and cutting-edge technology, making Teddy Ruxpin more captivating for kids than ever before.” – Toy of the Year Award

19.  Teeny House Dollhouse by KidCraft

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $99.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “Inspired by the “tiny house” trend, this doll house showcases how living in a small, transportable, and sustainable space can lead to exciting adventures. Designed for 12″ dolls, the assembled house measures nearly three feet long, two feet tall, and one foot wide. Set on wheels, it’s easily stored in a corner, or moved to another room. It even has a car hitch.” – Parent’s Choice

20.   PAW Patrol My Size Lookout Tower by Spin Master Ltd.

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $99.99

Award:  Toy of the Year Award & The Toy Association (Preschool Toy of the Year)

Why it won: “Big rescues call for an even bigger tower. Bring the most iconic location in Adventure Bay to life with the new Life Sized Lookout Tower playset. With a working elevator, a backpack storage unit, lights and sounds, a functioning periscope and more, it’s never been easier to recreate moments from the show and embark on new PAW Patrol rescues.” – Toy of the Year Award

21.  Our Generation Awesome Academy by Maison Battat Inc

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $129.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “The Our Generation Awesome Academy is a 76-piece school room playset designed for 18″ dolls. With real life working accessories like a clock, a fire alarm, classroom lights and a recess bell, a chalkboard with chalk and a glow-in-the-dark whiteboard, the curriculum focuses on pretend play. Throughout the play, the children had wonderful conversations, lots of role playing, taking turns being teachers and students, and commented frequently how much fun they were having. Children’s development will add to the experience and their creative, open-ended play will be different with every session.” – Parent’s Choice

22.   The Play Gym by Lovevery

Recommend age: 0 – 2 years

MSRP: $140.00

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Gold medal)

Why it won: “Made with sustainable wood and organic materials, not only is the Play Gym safe for infants, the color scheme is appealing to all. The five development zones, each thoughtfully designed and executed, offer, encourage and promote different sensory systems. Sweetly labeled as Learning to Focus, Hiding and Finding, Making Sounds, Exploring Colors, and How Things Feel, the clever reveal and coneal flaps control the extent and timing of exposure. All detachable, and non-toxic. The four sets of picture cards begin with black and white for the newborn, and continue with mirror cards, everyday objects and images of body parts to use as the child’s vision develops. The activities guide parents through what to expect and when. The folks at Lovevery got everything right.” – Parent’s Choice

23.  Garden View Kitchen by The Simplay3 Company

Recommend age: 2 years+

MSRP: $159.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “Standing at almost 4′ tall, this open plan kitchen/playhouse offers up oodles of space for plenty of pretend play. This complete kitchen includes all the standard appliances – refrigerator, microwave, and oven as well as contemporary add-ons such as a utensil rack above the sink, a grill area and a large pass through window and a back counter perfect for a midday snack. It also features a 30 piece accessory set and a detail beloved by our testers – a doggy door sized just right for a favorite stuffy. Easy to assemble, this sturdy, plastic kitchen is just as easy to pack away – the side panels fold in for storage.” – Parent’s Choice

24.  Seaside Cottage Outdoor Playhouse by Kidcraft

Recommend age: 3 years+

MSRP: $399.99

Award: Parent’s Choice Award (Silver medal)

Why it won: “This costal cottage playset has a lot to offer: the kitchenette has a little sink and stove top with movable knobs, with flame stickers that show the burners getting hotter as the knobs are turned. There’s a working weather vane, multiple windows on all sides, real flower boxes, a working doorbell, and a beach-inspired scalloped roof. In addition, the cottage contains two clocks with moveable hands, a phone, and two double-sided chalkboards. With a café-style canopy over an open serving window and bench, our testers loved taking orders and serving their “customers.”The instructions are clear and easy to follow; all the needed hardware is included.” – Parent’s Choice

award winning toys for babies and toddlers




 

Write A Comment