Toy Experts Reveal 2017’s Hottest Holiday Toys for Infants and Toddlers
Lifestyle| | By Robin Milling
Buying gifts for our little ones can be exhausting. Lucky for us — and you— the Toy Insider is here to help. Toy Insider is making holiday toy shopping just a little easier with its picks for 2017’s hottest toys for infants and toddlers. A trusted, go-to resource for gift-givers, Toy Insider even has a Parent Panel to test and review the toys. With more than 20 years of experience, Toy Insider mom Laurie Schacht leads a team of experts who attend major toy trade shows and chat with toy retailers and industry analysts to come up with a best of guide for each year. Here are some of their top toy picks that will not only keep your child occupied for hours, but also will educate them. For your newborn, check out Animal Pals — three organic plushies that your baby can cuddle. There’s a puppy pal, a tiger pal, and a dinosaur pal. Bonus: For every Animal Pal purchased, one is donated to a child in need.
For those approaching their first year, there’s Fisher-Price’s Laugh & Learn First Words Smart Puppy. This interactive puppy teaches your baby their first words using eight starter blocks. The Smart Stages block reader reads a word when the baby places a block, unlocking different levels of learning. It includes shape buttons, lights, and music. For one year and older, there’s the Tonka Mighty Builders Tow ‘N Go Tuff Truck. This truck features large wheels, an easy flip handle, and a removable storage lid that doubles as a play table. Kids can build on top of the vehicle with the 23 included blocks. Little ones can race each other with Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park from VTech. Kids can launch Gavin the go-kart to the top of the playset with the catapult launcher, and watch as it goes around the 360-degree loop and off the jump ramp. Four SmartPoint locations add fun sounds, phrases, and sing-along songs. Fisher-Price’s Little People Animal Rescue teaches your 1-year-old all about helping people in need. Press the Discovery button to turn on the light at the fire station, sending Firefighter Rob into action with songs and phrases. Turn the crank to spin the helicopter propellers to activate lights, sounds, songs, and phrases. In the world of games, there’s Elmo’s World Hide and Seek for toddlers one year and older. In the game, one player hides the Elmo figure anywhere inside the house, and opponents use the included cards to find it. Elmo calls out to players every 10 seconds to help guide them to his hiding spot. For 2-year-old tots, there are computer learning games, such as the 2-in1 LeapTop Touch from LeapFrog. When you open the laptop, a screen appears in keyboard mode. When it closes, watch the screen magically swivel into tablet mode. Kids can choose from five learning modes — ABCs, numbers, games, music, and messages on this 2-in-1 device.
The Count & Build Totbot from Learning Resources is for kids ages 2 years and older. It lets your child build their very own robot with easy-to-use wrenches. Using their fine motor skills, they will twist five color, shape, and number pieces into place to construct the 8-inch robot. Your budding Picasso can draw on My First Draw ‘N Dabble Easel, which is great for young scribblers 18 months and older. It features an extra large chalkboard surface, an easy-access tray, and a fold-away design. They grow up so fast! For early drivers, the Elly Coupe is a foot-powered, ride-on vehicle featuring caster wheels, a pretend steering wheel, an opening driver’s side door, and a storage compartment inside to hold kids’ drinks and snacks. The Step2 McLaren 570S Push Sports Car Ride-on Toy will have your kid styling; it features the real McLaren 570S sports car look, plus Whisper Wheels and an easy-fold handle. There is a storage area under the seat and a flat-bottom steering wheel that makes electronic sounds. Or if your kids are into trains, there’s GearZooz Roll & Roar Animal Train from VTech for ages 18 months and older. Kids mix and match the 15 included gears to create their own unique train and press buttons for kid-friendly quizzes. Little ones can push the train or pull the string to watch the gears spin together. Most kids love ice cream, but for some reason they seem to wear it more than they eat it. Fortunately, there’s a mess-free, no-calorie option now. Children 18 months and older can fill their bath with TOMY’s Bath Foam Cone Factory — with no mess. Suction pads fasten this ice cream station onto the side of any bathtub. Watch your kids create pretend treats with bubbles when you pour in a few drops of bubble bath, add water, and then pull on the handle for fluffy, bubbly ice cream cones.
For riding enthusiasts who are 1 year and older, Rockin’ Rider Candy 2-in1 Pony Ride-On easily converts from a rocking pony to a rolling pony. Kids can squeeze its left ear to hear the “I’m a Little Pony” song, or press its right ear to listen to six phrases. The pony features easy-grip handles, non-slip footsteps, and volume control so it doesn’t drive mom and dad bonkers before New Year’s. Your budding musician can learn to count and develop coordination as they follow along with the melodies and sing-along songs — or even create their own beats — with the Zoo Jamz Stompin’ Fun Drums set from VTech. When kids step on the elephant bass pedal, the elephant trunk moves up and down and emits a fun, bass sound effect. This is just a sampling of the wonder that awaits your child for the holidays. Here is a complete list of the infant and toddler recommendations from Toy Insider. SHARE this story with other parents looking for great holiday toy ideas.
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