Gifts for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
Looking for Christmas or Hanaukkah gifts for the little ones in your life? What toys are best for infants, toddlers and preschoolers?
"The best toys are the ones that kids will play with and love," said Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of "The Toy Insider." "They will teach, and sometimes those toys use 'stealth teaching,' in other words, kids are having so much fun playing they don't realize they're learning."
To see more holiday gift guides, visit newsday.com/giftguides.
Best Friend Max Feature Plush(Credit: Spin Master)
Bring home all the action and personality of Max, the star of "The Secret Life of Pets," due to hit theaters in July. The plush features a detachable leash, lifelike walking action and 20 different sounds and phrases from the movie. $44.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2d4ghEW; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2ddzwrH.
Funskool Activity Ball(Credit: Funskool and TOOBEEZ Brands)
The Funskool Activity Ball has two rings that, when connected to the 12 colorful pieces, form a ball. $19.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2d4dXxJ.
Love2Learn Elmo(Credit: Hasbro)
Once parents download the free Love2Learn Elmo app, they can program Elmo to know their child's name, favorite colors, favorite animals and favorite foods. Customize the app based on your child's age, abilities and interests as kids learn numbers, shapes, letters, colors and animals. Elmo will say more than 350 phrases and responses, sing songs and more. $69.99. More information: http://hasb.ro/2dpbaP5; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2cAGhX1.
Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym(Credit: Skip Hop)
The Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym from Skip Hop has a hooting owl, a musical hedgehog, a dancing fox, and more. Position the arch overhead for newborn exploration -- and slip your phone in the parent pocket to record special movements or let Grandma observe the action from afar. $90. More information: http://bit.ly/1Q82IhL; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dpqJlp.
Cupcake Set(Credit: Green Toys)
The Cupcake Set from Green Toys lets little bakers practice colors and counting, develop fine motor skills and host make-believe parties for their stuffed animals and friends. This 16-piece mix-and-match set includes frosting, cakes and cupcake liners for five complete cupcakes, plus a cake stand display. It is made of recycled plastic with no BPA, phthalates or PVC. Suggested retail price $24.99, for ages 2 and older, available spring 2016.
Care for Me Learning Carrier(Credit: VTECH)
The Care for Me Learning Carrier from VTECH lets kids put the plush puppy inside or take her out of the carrier. Hear playful phrases when opening and closing the door. There is an activity panel on the side of the carrier. Suggested retail price $24.99, for ages 9 to 36 months, available fall 2016.
Go! Go! Smart Animals(Credit: VTech)
Go! Go! Smart Animals-Furry Animals Assortment from VTech, when placed on Go! Go! SmartPoint locations, respond with different phrases. Caroline is a cat, Dawn is a Dalmatian, Richard is a rabbit and Debbie is a Labradoodle. Press each of their light-up buttons to hear three sing-along songs. Push the animals to hear fun sounds and six melodies. While a melody is playing, push them again to add fun sounds on top of the melody. Suggested retail price $9.99, for ages 1 to 5, available spring 2016.
Play-Doh Town 3 in 1 Town Center Playset(Credit: Hasbro)
This ultimate Play-Doh Town 3 in 1 Town Center Playset features a bakery, florist, mechanic and a vehicle. Kids can create items such as cakes and flowers. The set includes two figures, a vehicle, accessories and eight cans of Play-Doh. Suggested retail price $39.99, for ages 3 and older, available fall 2016.
Walking Talking Pets(Credit: Spin Master)
Characters from "The Secret Life of Pets," a Universal Pictures movie that hits theaters in July come to life with these motorized figures that walk and talk. Choose Max, Gidget, Snowball and Mel, each with their own phrases and unique action moves. $12.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2d4ghEW; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2czq8Mt.
Bizzy the Mix & Move Bot(Credit: VTech)
Mix & Move Bizzy from VTech lets kids build their own robot. It comes with 10 different accessories so kids can create a different robot every time they play. It also includes 10 melodies that children can personalize by switching around the accessories to add in their own special sound effects. $24.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cyKYM1; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2d6Mib0.
My Friend Dory(Credit: Bandai America)
The My Friend Dory interactive plush doll features motion and touch sensors that activate sounds and up to 50 phrases. She moves both her eyes and mouth and speaks "Whale." $39.99, for ages 5 and older, available May 1, 2016.
Kidz Delight Smooth Touch Smartphone(Credit: KD Group)
This interactive device includes four fun games to help little ones learn colors, numbers, animal names and sounds. It has a touch-sensitive screen with 22 different interactive icons that allow curious little fingers to trigger voices, sounds and music with a single touch. When the child leaves the phone idle for a few seconds, it will automatically call them back. The incoming pretend call icon flashes, just like a real phone. $14.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2d0G0e9; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2dwDI5k.
Svan Ice Cream Cart(Credit: Svan)
The Svan Ice Cream Cart lets kids serve customers by scooping play frozen treats onto connectable cones. The cart is equipped with more than 30 pieces, including scoops of ice cream, connectable cones, an ice cream scoop, popsicles and Italian ice. Suggested retail price $159.99, for ages 3 and older, available spring 2016.
Light 'n Go 3-in-1 Activity Walker(Credit: Little Tikes)
This 3-in-1 walker features projected lights to encourage little ones to take their first steps, more than 70 activities, songs and sounds. Best for ages 9 months to 36 months; $39.99.
Disney Zootopia's Judy's Police Cruiser(Credit: Tomy)
Judy Hopps is a Zootopia police officer in a police cruiser with lights that flash when driven. Disney Zootopia's Judy's Police Cruiser playset includes the cruiser, Judy figure and Law-Breaking Mouse figure. $24.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2d6pN87; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/2doBGs1.
Shopkins Tall Mall(Credit: Moose Toys)
This set features different play areas with level one for home and garden, level two is where Shopkins can hang out to eat and level three is where kids will find electronics. The Tall Mall folds down for easy on-the-go transport and features extra storage. It also comes with two Toys R Us exclusive Shopkins figures. Best for ages 5 and older; $34.99.
Dreamworks Animation Trolls Hug Time Poppy Doll(Credit: Hasbro)
Poppy includes music, phrases, lights and sounds. She comes with a comb, a tiara and a matching wearable Hug Time bracelet for kids, and when activated, both bracelets and Poppy's hair light up. Best for ages 4 and older; $29.99.
Doc McStuffins Hospital Care Cart(Credit: Just Play)
The Doc McStuffins Hospital Care Cart features a light-and-sound patient scanner, a talking EKG with a printout roller, a kid-powered blood pressure cuff and more. The cart plays "Welcome to the Hospital" and comes with patient Findo; $49.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cucaP0.
Paw Patrol Zoomer Marshall(Credit: Spin Master)
Zoomer Marshall makes more than 150 real sounds from the hit TV show "Paw Patrol." Press his badge for 80 different interactive missions and tricks. His backpack also transforms into water cannon launchers and two motors in his front paws help him zoom to his next mission; $69.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dbjySu.
T-Blasts Quad Blaster(Credit: Playmates Toys)
Each T-Blasts Quad Blaster from Playmates Toys fires up to 40 feet and comes with four Ninja Turtles character darts, which are oversized and made of safer, soft foam. Collection includes Quad Blaster Leonardo, Quad Blaster Michelangelo and Quad Blaster Raphael. Suggested retail price $14.99 each, for ages 4 and older, available spring 2016.
Floof Indoor Snow and Snowball Maker(Credit: Play Visions)
The Floof Indoor Snow and Snowball Maker from Play Visions includes a new compound that looks like snow, feels like a marshmallow and molds like clay. Suggested retail price $12.99, for ages 3 and older, available spring 2016.
My Life As A Food Truck(Credit: My Life As)
This Walmart exclusive includes more than 40 accessories, such as pretzels, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, onion rings, soda bottles, ice cream scoops, cones and more. Your kid's doll (not included) can fit comfortably in the driver's seat and the kitchen area expands for additional play; $97.97. More information: http://bit.ly/2dh9RxC.
TMNT Half Shell Heroes Headquarters Playset(Credit: Playmates Toys)
This transforming playset unfolds to reveal new play areas. It features street level trap doors for kids to decide whether to send the Turtles to freedom or Shredder to jail. There are four levels of surprises and it contains two action figures, Raphael and Bebop; $49. More information: http://bit.ly/2cRJb6X.
Little Kingdom Arendelle Treat Shoppe Playset(Credit: Hasbro)
Visit Elsa's favorite spot in Arendelle with The Arendelle Treat Shoppe Little Kingdom Playset. Elsa wears her Coronation Day gown, and the set comes with a pretend snow-cone-making station and a cooler to store accessories. Suggested retail price $17.99, for ages 4 and older, available spring 2016.
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Treasure Mountain Train Adventure(Credit: VTech)
Kids can turn on the motorized freight train and watch as it chugs around the tracks, through the tunnels and up hills on its own. There are nine SmartPoint locations featuring fun phrases, music and more; $43.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2dhbMT4.
My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle(Credit: Hasbro)
This My Little Pony playset has rotating light-up features and reflects three cutie marks at the press of a heart-shaped button. It also includes two staircases, 16 accessories, two closets that spin and a swing for the Baby Flurry Heart figure. It also includes a Princess Cadance figure as well; $39.99. More information: http://hasb.ro/2cVaonu.
24V Disney Princess Carriage Ride-On(Credit: Dynacraft)
A Walmart exclusive, this pink ride-on carriage features Disney Princesses graphics, gold accents, working doors and ornate interior details. The coach is large enough for two children and includes a detachable "wear and share" tiara, heart-shaped steering wheel and luxurious curtains. There's also a magical light-up wand and enchanting fairy tale sounds; $398. More information: http://bit.ly/2ctAq4o.
Barbie Rainbow Cove Princess Castle Playset(Credit: Mattel)
The rainbow theme runs throughout the playset floors and brightly colored backdrops. At the top, sparkly clouds can hold a fairy doll (sold separately). There's also double doors are decorated with rainbow hues and cutout butterflies, a dining room on the first floor and a shell-shaped mermaid pool outside; $99.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cZPp6F.
Fisher Price Little People Sit 'n Stand Skyway Playset(Credit: Fisher-Price)
Toddlers can take their Wheelies vehicles at the top and watch as the cars zip and zoom their way around the many spiral ramps to the bottom. The playset changes from a sit-at roadway to a stand-up Skyway. It includes two Little People Wheelies cars; $40 http://bit.ly/2cQXp9V.
Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar(Credit: Fisher-Price)
Kids can develop coding skills with the Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar by arranging the segments in many combinations to send the creature on his path (forward, left, right and more). You can configure the segments in such a way that the toy can reach targets throughout a room; $49.99 at fisher-price.com.
Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace(Credit: VTech)
VTech's Princess Palace features a ballroom, music room, kitchen, parlor and observation tower. There are five MagicPoint locations, phrases, lights and more. The MagicChat lets two characters chat and sing with each other (additional characters sold separately); $54.99 at vtechkids.com.
Disney Frozen Northern Lights Elsa(Credit: Jakks Pacific)
When kids wave their hand over the snowflake and hold it there, they can watch as the Northern Lights are restored and sparkle on Elsa's dress. The doll says 40 phrases and sings "Let It Go;" $39.99 at jakks.com.
Lion Guard Training Lair Playset(Credit: Just Play)
The popular Disney Jr. television show comes to life with The Lion Guard Training Lair Playset, which stands 3 feet tall and features lights, sounds and secret surprises. The set comes with two exclusive figures, a rock-climbing area, a bungee launcher, a race track, a telescoping lookout perch and more. There's also a working zip line, rock lift and boulder drop; $59.99 at justplayproducts.com.
Disney My Time Singing Elena of Avalor Doll(Credit: Hasbro)
Press Elena's gem necklace to hear her sing "My Time," a song featured in the hit TV show "Elena of Avalor" on the Disney Channel. The doll's arms allow her to hold the included guitar as she sings; $29.99 at hasbro.com.
Talk-to-Me Mikey(Credit: Playmates)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo recognizes a child's questions and responds in hundreds of unique ways in less than a second. Mikey features movement and position sensors, he signs songs and plays games with kids; $39.99 at playmatestoys.com.
Little Live Pets Snuggles My Dream Puppy(Credit: Moose Toys)
This puppy moves, feels and responds just like a real pet. Kids can feed this no-mess puppy with his bottle and he'll fall asleep in their arms. Pat his head or rub his tummy and Snuggles will make puppy sounds; $54.99 at moosetoys.com.
Paw Patrol Jungle Playset(Credit: Spin Master)
This interactive playset transforms from a Monkey Temple into Jungle Headquarters. The set includes lights and sounds, trap doors, control panels, vines to slide down into the jungle explorer vehicle and an elevator that takes the pups up safely. The set includes the new pup Ryder; $49.99 at spinmaster.com.
Laugh & Learn Crawl-Around Learning Center(Credit: Fisher-Price)
This learning toy features three adjustable levels to grow with baby and four stations to explore, including a self-discovery mirror, jumbo rattle roller, fishbowl clicker and more. Babies will learn body parts, opposites, colors, shapes and ABCs. Parents can also leave a personalized message for their baby to hear; $49.99 at fisher-price.com.
PJ Masks Headquarters Playset(Credit: Just Play)
Based on the hit preschool superhero animated TV show, the PJ Masks Headquarters Playset features three character-themed levels and stands more than two feet tall. The PJ Picture Player allows kids to choose their mission while using the zip line, working elevator, hanging cat rings, trap door and pop-out hatch. Cat Boy figure and Cat Car are included; $69.99 at justplayproducts.com.
My Friend Pikachu(Credit: TOMY)
Hug the plush Pikachu to make its ears move, cheeks light up and activate cute sounds; $29.99 at tomy.com.
Weebles Core Figures(Credit: Jazwares)
Weebles Core Figures and Core Figures with Vehicles from Jazwares brings the Weebles brand to the 21st century. All six Weebles feature a weighted round base and 3D heads and arms. $3.99 to $34.99. More information: http://bit.ly/2cIeMcc; Find the best prices: http://bit.ly/2d0wJT1.
Pajama Dance Party Cabbage Patch Kids(Credit: Wicked Cool Toys)
Boogie down baby and get into the groove with the first ever Dancing Cabbage Patch Kid. These talented dolls are ready for adoption from BabyLand General Hospital. Simply squeeze their hand to hear everyone’s favorite dance song “I Feel Good” and watch them dance; $37.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1OlENvG; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1M9Wo43.
Rotisserie and Grill Barbecue Set(Credit: Melissa and Doug)
The Rotisserie and Grill Barbecue Set from Melissa & Doug comes with 24 pieces, including a rotisserie chicken that spins on a skewer and vegetables for grilling kabobs as well as a kid-friendly wooden basting brush, spatula and tongs. For ages 3 and older; $49.99. More information: http://bit.ly/1XdjspL; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1LXLBZF
Cozy Comforts Kitchen(Credit: American Plastic Toys)
American Plastic Toys Cozy Comforts Kitchen features the latest in realistic kitchen design, including a single-cup coffee machine. Recommended for kids ages 3 and older. Suggested retail price: $74.99; More information: http://bit.ly/1RQbaRw; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1ZOIQEj
'Inside Out' Plush line(Credit: TOMY)
The Inside Out Plush line from TOMY comes out in conjunction with the Disney Pixar animated movie of the same name, featuring the five emotions personified in the film -- Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust; $9.99 each; More information: http://bit.ly/1LXLPjF; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1QIYPO9
All Paws on Deck/lt(Credit: Paw Patrol)
This "Paw Patrol"-themed play set called All Paws on Deck from Paw Patrol features crawl-through openings, peek-through windows and 20 balls; suggested retail price $39.99. Available at walmart.com, toysrus.com and amazon.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1hRg97J; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1GRjMko
Switch-A-Rooz(Credit: Wild Republic)
Switch-A-Rooz from Wild Republic lets kids switch between two stuffed animals; 24 Switch-A-Rooz offer 48 animal choices; $14.99; More information: http://bit.ly/1W0TSqA; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1GdfEk9
Worry Eaters(Credit: The Haywire Group)
Worry Eaters from The Haywire Group are plush dolls with a zipper pocket mouth. Kids write down their stress of the day and feed it to their doll, and as the child sleeps, mom and dad can read the worry and be ready to talk about it with kids; $15.99 small, $22.99; More information: http://bit.ly/1RiJFzc; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1MxzYtd
Care Bears Sing-a-Longs(Credit: Just Play)
The Care Bears Sing-a-Longs from Just Play interact with each other and can talk, sing and dance to three different songs. Recommended for ages 3 and older. Kids can choose from Cheer, Grumpy, Funshine and Share Bear; suggested retail price: $29.99 each; More information: http://bit.ly/1knk6mt; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1XivOwK
Frozen Castle Light-Up Karaoke Machine(Credit: Toys R Us)
Kids will have a blast singing along to their favorite tunes by syncing the karaoke machine up to an iPad, iPhone, iPod or other tablet. It comes with one microphone, flashing lights and two songs from the movie ("Let it Go" and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman"); $99.99 at toysrus.com.