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Choosing the right toys for your toddlers

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Our quick guide rounds up best toys for toddlers to help them learn, develop and grow.

a toddler on a cream blanket surrounded by toys

Choosing the best toys for toddlers in the UK

When it comes to picking out toys for our toddlers in the UK, it’s all too easy sometimes to just reach for the same old rattles or building blocks. After all, being a parent is a ridiculously busy (and often full-time job!) so how much time should we really be putting into understanding more about our young children’s toys? And how much are we expected to know about toy development and how different toys can help our kids learn? Here at Giant Bear, we’ve been in the business of crafting for years, which means we understand the importance of how children can learn, develop and grow alongside their favourite playthings. Whether it be a giant bear or a doll baby, most toys for toddlers have their part to play at some point in your child’s development.


But with so much variety out there when it comes to top toys for toddlers - how can we know we’re making the right choice when it comes to the best toys for toddlers in the UK? Well, to help you narrow down your search for the perfect young children's toys, we’ve created a blog to understand which soft toys for toddlers and babies are the best options, depending on their age and stage of development.


Read on for our quick guide to age-appropriate toys. We’ve even sorted these child development toys by age to make things super simple - because life as a parent is busy enough!


The best young children's toys for newborns

When your baby is below six months, it’s not likely that they’ll show too much interest in their young children's toys, no matter how colourful they are or how much they light up! However, fast forward a few weeks and they absolutely will, so it’s important to start thinking about which toys you’ll be picking out for them. It’s also important to keep their cognitive and physical progress in mind, by picking the right toys for children's development. At the age of 0-6 months, some of these can include:


a grey owl baby toy

Ollie The Owl

Ollie is one of the most popular toys for toddlers in the UK. He can be used from birth, and this Tommee Tippee companion also doubles up as both a nightlight and a baby monitor. With four built-in melodies, he plays music to your baby, even if they wake up during the night. Not only does he look adorable, but it’s also very huggable and soothing. It’s no wonder he’s one of the top toys for toddlers - as well as newborns! He may not have much going for him in the toy development department - but at this stage, toys like Ollie that offer comfort are the perfect ones you want to go for.


a multicoloured rattle shaped like a firefly

Freddie the Firefly rattle

Don’t be fooled, this young children's toy is far more than just a rattle! Freddie the Firefly is full of fun features your baby will love, with his soft fabric head, ribbon fillers, his colourful rotating wings and a see-through pod your baby can gaze at. The bright colours and high-contrast patterns are also perfect for developing your little one’s vision. As far as toys for children’s development go, this one is ideal for motor control, hand-eye coordination and arm strength - even for little ones as young as 4-6 months old. So if you’re looking for toys by age that are educational and cute, this is a great option.


a multicoloured children's building block set

Baby’s first building block kit

This young children’s toy is a staple of any newborn’s toy development collection. These Fisher-Price building blocks will help to introduce your baby to key shapes and colours, with their ten colourful blocks that they can sort and stack. All of them fit inside a cute bucket for storage too. Plus, the easy-carry handle means you can bring the fun anywhere you go. Fisher-Price has long been known to produce toys that help a child’s development and these blocks are definitely no exception. They really know how to make a baby product and often think of everything - colourful toys, age-appropriate toys, usability, durability and safety. So there you have it, our top three toys that help child development for little ones aged 0-6 months!


The best young children's toys for 6-12 months

When it comes to toys for children's development at 6-12 months old, you might find that your baby is ready to move on from some of the toys they’ve been playing with up to this point. But which toys for your children's development will you choose next for them to play with? We give our pick of the top three toy development options for 6-12 months olds.

A children's play spinning top with seaside theme

The Seaside Spinning Top

With 10 (surprisingly un-annoying!) melodies and three cute sing-along songs, your little’un will have hours of fun with this seaside-themed spinning toy, which is great for encouraging babies to play. It will also allow them to discover ocean animals, numbers and colours. This toy was also shortlisted in our 2019 Mother&Baby Awards, making it one of the top toys in the UK, and a great choice for a toy that helps with your child's development.


multicoloured children's growing rings

Little Sense Growing Rings

Another great toy development must-have for your baby! They will enjoy hours of fun stacking these pretty coloured rings that are full of interesting textures and cute finishes. This fun game helps your baby develop their problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination, making it a perfect option if you’re looking for toys that help in your child’s development.


a children's multicoloured piano

Learn and Groove Rainbow Lights Piano

This young baby learning piano can help little ones get to know numbers and colours in English, and even French from a super early age! Now how about that for a toy that helps with children’s development! Your baby will be abe to explore different instrument sounds, as well as learn how to play two cute songs. This toy development keyboard is designed for sensory play - and your baby can even press the melody button to hear up to 17 delightful tunes to play and sing along with.


There you have it. Our top three toys that help child development for your growing little’un that’s aged 6-12 months!


The top toys for toddlers aged 1-2 years

As your baby passes the amazing (and emotional!) milestone of their first year, you’ll have noticed by now that it’s not just their cute little body that is growing in size. Their mind and skill sets are also starting to expand significantly by this point too. That’s why it’s now more important than ever to invest in a new set of soft and fun toys for toddlers that will continue to help them with their development. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best toys for toddlers in the UK that will continue to help them on their learning journey, as well as a couple that can simply offer them some comfort too.


a children's multicoloured camper van toy

The On-the-Go Camper

This is really up there with one of the top toys for toddlers especially if your little one has learned (or is in the process of learning) to walk! This plastic light-up activity centre on wheels has a handle that your toddler can use for pushing it along. The activity buttons trigger 3 learning levels of phrases, songs and sounds about letters, counting, shapes and colours. It also comes with over 10 removable accessory toys, including a campfire, fishing rod, a coffee pot and a variety of play food. If your toddler prefers soft toys, this might not be the right pick, but if your baby loves a bit of outdoor adventure, this is a great way to bring the great outdoors into the cosy indoors!


a squishmallow, shaped like a penguin blue and white

Squishmallows

You only have to take a look the Squishmallow range to see how undeniably cute they are. Plus, they’re extra soft and collectable too, coming in a number of cute character options and colours. Some of them are even slightly glow in the dark, making them top toys for toddlers if your little one prefers to have a nighttime companion. These might not exactly be toys for children's development, but they’re definitely soft toys for toddlers that will reiterate the importance of rest, as well as learning and play.


a brown mammoth rocking children's toy

Rocking Mammoth

This super cute rocking mammoth might have made it onto our list of toys for toddlers in the UK - but it’s actually designed by a Dutch inspired brand, Scandiborn. They make beautiful Scandinavian inspired nursery decor and baby accessories, as you can see by how adorable this rocking mammoth is! If you’re picking toys by age, you’re probably best waiting until your little one is around 18 months so they can enjoy this one properly - but once they can hop on and off themselves they’ll be rocking until their little heart’s content! Rocking toys aren’t just fun toys for toddlers - they’re also important toys for children’s development too! Besides being whimsically fun, they help tots improve gross motor skills, balance and coordination. While your child is busy being a cowkid (or mammoth rider in this case!) they'll be putting upper body muscles to work and learning new push-pull motions. Another bonus feature: the gentle rocking motion can be soothing and comforting to your toddler.


The top toys for toddlers aged 2-3 years

So your baby is now in the terrible two’s (eeek!). They’re more active now than they’ve ever been and we imagine they’ll be keeping you busy with their constant demands to play. As your little ones need occupying more than ever, it’s important to invest in fun toys for toddlers and toys that will help with your child’s development by their age. Here’s another selection of the top three toys for toddlers in the UK.


a child's doll toy with medical equipment

CoComelon Boo Boo JJ

This is one of the most sought after and top toys for toddlers in the UK. It perfectly combines being a plush soft toy for your toddler, as well as massively helping with toy development. Admittedly, you do pay a bit of a higher price for Cocomelon toys, but this cuddly doll sure does deliver on the toddler-thrill front. He's great and big to hold and squeeze and comes with 3 brightly coloured Velcro-backed fabric plasters – which you put on his head, elbow, knee or foot when that area lights up and JJ tells you he's got a 'boo boo'. Get your plaster in the right spot and JJ giggles and tells you how much better he’s feeling. You can also press his tummy and he'll sing the Boo Boo song. This is a great age-appropriate toy that’s also a great toy to help your child’s development will help your toddler to start identifying when they’ve hurt themselves or when pre-school classmates have, and will also help them to learn about different parts of their own body too!


a foldout dolls house

Bing’s House Playset

This foldout playset with a carry handle and chimney, inspired by the popular CBeebies show, includes four room sets (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room) and comes with two posable figures (Flop and Bing) and nine accessories including a sofa, bath, toilet, fridge and – of course – Brenda the Blender! This is a great fun toy for toddlers who love the CBeebies show and will also help them to understand the functions of various rooms within the family home too. This makes it a toy that help child development, as well as providing them with hours of amusement as they build their own version of the Bing family home.


4 giant bear sculptures

Majestic sculpture from Giant Bear

Concluding our list, we present the awe-inspiring sculptures from Giant Bear, designed to captivate the imagination of toddlers. These life-sized bear sculptures serve as a unique focal point in any child's space, stimulating their curiosity and wonder. Whether it's a gift for a friend's child's 2nd or 3rd birthday or a centerpiece for your own child's room, these sculptures are bound to be a source of endless fascination. Research indicates that children benefit immensely from an environment rich in stimuli that challenges their cognitive and sensory abilities. In the developmental years, children engage with their surroundings in a tactile manner, touching and observing to understand the world better. A Giant Bear sculpture provides a visual stimulus, encouraging children to observe, ask questions, and understand form and scale. Moreover, having such a sculpture can be a great way to spur imaginative play. Children can weave stories around the bear, its origins, adventures, and its place in their world. Think of all the creative tales and scenarios they'll concoct with the Giant Bear as the central character! And not just that, naming the sculpture can be a fun activity, enhancing their linguistic abilities. A Giant Bear sculpture, with its grandeur and presence, promises to be a valuable addition to any child's learning journey.


So there you have it! Our guide to the top toys for toddlers in the UK. We really hope you’ve been able to see how exploring your child’s development toys by age can be truly worthwhile, as each stage of their life journey requires different levels of stimulation and comfort. Here at Giant Bear, we know a thing or two about toys to comfort everybody from toddlers to the elderly.


Check out our blog today for more insights on how beneficial it is to gift a bear to your child, as well as lots of other gifting inspiration articles. You can also head over to our online store to pick out the lifesize bear of your child’s dreams today.

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