Platinum Toys for Infants and Toddlers

October 28, 2016

 

Finding the best toys for this age group was the most challenging this year. Too many of the toys were just off the mark for the developmental needs of babies and toddlers. So the products on this list really came through. We also encourage you to review our Blue Chip Award winners in these age groups.

 

North American Bear Mosie Puppy

 

(North American Bear Co. $25)

A 14-inch black and white knit puppy with plenty of eye catching pattern for newborns to focus on. Mosie has all stitched features and no doo-dads for safe playing. Also a companion 8” squeaker, Moe ($12) is covered in black and white star pattern that wears a label saying Future Rock Star. Both are machine washable.

 

Ages: Infants, Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

eeBoo Hue Do You Love? Collection

 

 

(eeBoo $13 each)

A new collection of velvety plush dolls, with safe stitch features, grab-able arms, ears, or wings; each is soft and small enough (approx. 3" X 7") for toddlers to clutch and enjoy. Though they are not very big, they have beanie filled bottoms, so they can sit up. Baby Thistle Dog is lavender with crinkles in the ears and a rattle sound when you shake it. Papaya Bunny is the color of ripe papaya fruit with green eyes and ribbon and a stitched on carrot in its pocket. Also special, Cerulean Owl, in a beautiful shade of blue with crinkle wings and a three-prong tail feather and a Pink Smoothie Cat with a long tail to grab. Unlike so many dolls, these are machine washable—a real plus.

 

Ages: Infants, Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Little Tikes 3-in-1 Activity Walker

 

(Little Tikes $39.99)

A lot of toys claim to grow with your baby and this one really does. It’s a versatile toy that can be collapsed and used as a sit-down toy for babies or raised and used as a table for toddlers who are standing, and finally as a push toy walker for toddlers on the move. It has an activity panel that slides so it can be used in different positions for each stage. Loaded with 70+ activities, songs and sounds that are easily activated. Baby will like the three colorful gears that don’t come off, and pushing the three piano keys to make music and lights. There’s a spinning ball, a sliding bar that has a tiny mirror on one side and a dog on the other side and makes the ball in the middle light up and say peek-a-boo. In walker mode, it projects lights on the ground as it is pushed. This is not a weighted walker, so it’s not meant for the newest walker. Marked for 9-36 months. (Note: You'll have to be sure that the activity table is completely down in order to get the wheels to function properly. We hope Little Tikes updates the instructions.)

 

Ages: Infants, Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Hape Step and Stroll-Racing Stripes

(Hape $60)

Finding a push toy walker for young toddlers is no simple matter. Most are not weighted or well balanced. We’ve seen too many that are simply not stable. Although this elegant little walker is not weighted, it is extremely stabile. No lights or sounds here, just the happy thrill of walking tall while holding on. The shape of this walker leaves plenty of room for little feet and the wheels have rubber treads that keep it from turning into a run away racer. Marked for 12 months and up, this is perfect for the cruising toddler who may be slightly older than a year and is just getting started. It’s a toy with a relatively short play life but ideal for that all important piece of developmental business—of getting steady and confident on their two feet.

 

Ages: Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Fisher-Price Little People Sit 'n Stand Skyway

(Fisher-Price $40)

A lot of toys claim to grow with your child. This is one that really does. Getting this amazing convertible roadway together is really worth the effort—that’s the good news. The bad news is that you should plan on doing this when the children are not able to hear you fuming and shouting things they should not hear. It took our tester over an hour to get this set up and even if you never curse, it would be hard to do with eager little ones waiting to play. (Normally this would have bumped this toy off our Platinum List but the play value is so great, that we are making an exception. We hope Fisher-Price will address this issue going forward.) 

 

The great news is that once you have it set up this is going to be a fun setting for races and the kind of repetitive action toddlers and young preschoolers love. It comes with two Wheelies vehicles and converts from a tall 34” tall tower with twisting, turning curves to a horizontal set-up. So it’s like having two different roadways and that probably will prolong the long-term play value of the toy. Parents can do the change over easily. It is a large toy once it’s built and no one will want to take apart. It is big enough so that it can be used for side-by-side play as well as solo. Marked for 1 ½ -5, we’d say the sweet spot is more like1 ½ - 3.

 

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon

 

 

Blabla Giant Toutou 

 

 

(BlaBla $180)

Toutou is a three-foot huggable knitted doll that says nothing, but knows how to be a good listener, a long-term huggable, and decorative centerpiece for the nursery. It’s like a piece of folk art that’s made to be played with of 100% cotton, beautifully created in South America. We’ve told you about other BlaBla dolls, giants and otherwise. This year’s Giant Toutou has floppy ears, whiskers, brown overalls and a boyish look. As dolls go, this is one that will fit into the play life of boys and girls…instead of the usual totally feminine stereotype. We love Blabla dolls in all sizes. In fact, Toutou and other fun choices come in much smaller, still huggable sizes ($56). Link below is for this smaller size. They even have fist size versions as rattles. Giant Toutou is the showy biggie of the season.

 

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum

Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

Hape High Seas Rocker

 

(Hape $96.99)

Ship ahoy! Little sailors will be in and out of this brightly painted wooden boat rocker! Low to the ground, your toddler will be able to climb in and out of this adorable boat. Fun for active play that’s so important for big motor development. It will also become a favorite vehicle for pretend play with teddy bear passengers. It was fairly straightforward and easy to assemble and will make a major decorative piece in the nursery or playroom. Marked for 12 months and up. We think the High Seas Rocker is big enough to have a long play life.

 

Ages: Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Corolle Mon Premier Bebe Calin Bisou Doll

 

 

(Corolle $49.99)

This baby doll doesn’t just say Mama, he also says Papa! About time, too. We usually prefer dolls that say only what your child imagines, but this is a refreshing update worth noting. A great big brother gift, 12” Bisou is dressed in grays and white, to make him look more masculine, no doubt. He’s not anatomically correct but has a bean filled body that can be posed. Surface washable and lightweight, he also makes kissing sounds and giggles. Takes 3 batteries and is vanilla scented, like all Corolle dolls. 18 months & up.

 

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

Cuddle & Kind Handmade Dolls

 

(Cuddle & Kind $45 & up)

Soft huggable13” and 20” dolls are done in cotton knit fabrics handmade in Peru by women artisans. We like Chloe and Benedict Bunny. Also adorable, Sadie and Wyatt, both foxes that looked ready for cold weather. There are no colorful doo-dads to remove, so these huggables are safe enough for all ages. For every doll sold the company donates 10 meals for children through the World Food Program. For more info visit: Cuddleandkind.com

 

Ages: Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

 

 

Lakeshore Stack and Roll Wooden Race Cars

 

 

(Lakeshore $19.99)

It’s not always easy to find small cars that are safe enough for toddlers to handle. Most little cars also have little parts and are for kids who no longer mouth their toys. For toddlers and the under three crowd we just received a set of five wooden racing cars that will have a long play life as props for blocks. But for now they are stand alone toys that can be rolled around and carried with ease. They are also of graduated sizes and can be stacked from largest to smallest. Stacking them will take some motor skills beyond the 18 month age on the box, but the idea of talking about size differences certainly can begin. We’d suggest starting with the biggest and smallest, since the differences are most apparent.  Available exclusively at Lakeshore.

 

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

 

 

Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo and BeatBelle

 

(Fisher-Price $35.00 each)

Pink BeatBelle (and yellow BeatBo, pictured) are talking singing interactive characters designed to get your child up and moving. They have three buttons in their feet. The one with musical notes is for music and singing that tells kids to clap, wiggle, jump and hop as Belle/Bo wiggle from side to side and their light up chests change colors. Another button has 1-2-3 on it but the songs it plays include alphabet, numbers and colors, the latter is synchronized to the lights that change as colors are mentioned. The third button is a recording button. Belle/Bo tell the players to say or sing something when their lights turn red. There is a pause and then the child’s voice is recorded and played back. Technically this is a pretty bossy toy with an agenda that directs the play, something we generally try to avoid. That said, on a rainy day at home, it will at least get a child up and moving. The A-B-C’s and 1-2-3 songs are ridiculous for babies who are not even talking yet, but they will probably find it entertaining to make things happen as they push the buttons, at least for a while. This and other toys in the line are basically novelty toys that often do not hold baby’s attention for long. This is much better than the Interactive Dance Mat from the same collection, which has a mat that doesn't respond along the edges and has many activities that are way beyond the age group for which it’s being promoted. It’s marked for 9-36 months, but will be most enjoyed by the 18 month and up crowd.

 

Ages: Infants, Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Vtech Ring & Learn Cash Register

 

 

(Vtech 24.99)

Designed for the youngest shopper’s playtime. This register comes with a shopping basket of plastic foods (ten pieces) that toddlers will like filling and dumping and carrying around or using in their pretend kitchens. The register itself has a lot of sound effects that speak and sing when the big buttons are pressed. There’s a button to make the drawer open and no coins to put in little mouths. There’s a little scale and a credit card. Unlike most toy registers, this one is not so much a learning toy as a prop for dramatic play, totally appropriate for young players. Though the numbers are on the keyboard, it's not really about counting or adding. It’s about making things happen when they push the buttons and maybe naming-and-knowing the names of the familiar foods in the basket. Marked for 1 & up and probably even more entertaining for slightly older kids.

 

Ages: Toddlers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2016 by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio | The Independent Guide to Children's Media

 

Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.