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The Best Baby and Toddler Toys

  • Jon Whittle

    If the Alex Jr. My Busy Town is in fact a city, then it has five distinct neighborhoods: bead mazes, peek-a-boo doors, spinning letter tiles, mix-and-match animal blocks and wiggly vehicle rollers. This activity cube will keep baby moving and encourage fine and gross motor skills. ($110; alextoys.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 0-12 months

    What's bumpy, soft, crinkly, and rattly? The three-piece Sensory Ball Set by Sassy, a triple play of fine motor skills and good times. ($10; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 0-12 months

    Finally, a snuggly attachment object that can turn your tot into a veggie lover. Bonus: A portion of the Torva Soft Toy proceeds goes to UNICEF and Save the Children. ($8; ikea.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 0-12 months

    The Wonder Wheel's suction-cup bottom holds fast to the highchair tray, so your little one can spin away. Textures, color, and rattling beads add to the sensory lesson. ($9; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 0-12 months

    The Dance & Play Puppy chats up your bambino (“Hi there!” “Let's play!”), while teaching songs, language, and how to follow directions. ($30; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 1 & Up

    The Mix 'n Max Zoom Around Rocker is the first huggable rocking seat. This plush ride sits inches from the ground, so tumbling off mid-ride won't hurt a bit. ($100; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 1 & Up

    B.toys Alphaberry's buttons, letters, and alphabet songs (including blues and country-western versions) will keep her entertained—and your own phone drool-free. ($30; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 1 & Up

    Got a walker in training? He'll flip for the Bit Bike. It'll help him get his balance as he scoots down the hall, and you'll love the display-worthy mod design. ($160; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 1 & Up

    She'll grasp the big-middle-little concept with the P'kolino Fishing Hole Size Sorter. The sturdy sea creatures plop down in the tank, making a satisfying thwack! ($23; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 1 & Up

    My First DUPLO Set includes chunky building blocks (a must for little fingers developing fine motor skills) equipped with the interlocking ability that's oh so LEGO. ($15; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 2 & Up

    The faces on the Deluxe Pounding Bench pegs seem almost too joyful to whack. And the genius design means no stuck pieces (when one color is pushed down, his mate pops right up). ($17; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 2 & Up

    A large pizza with mushrooms and onions, hold the nonbiodegradables. Smartly made from recycled plastic milk containers, the Green Toys Pizza Parlor comes with a cutter and order pad to play “restaurant.” ($28; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 2 & Up

    Apartments, skyscrapers, and office towers go up in style with jangly Citiblocs Little Builders Rattle Blocks. They're also eco-friendly, made with water-based paints and sustainable pine. ($32; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 2 & Up

    Two-year-olds are the perfect size for the wide-bodied, low-to-the-ground yBike Kicker. The rugged rubber treads can easily cover all terrains: carpet, grass, or the driveway. ($95; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 2 & Up

    Music, stories, activities—even personalized e-mails are part of the My Own Story Time Pad experience. Scout the dog leads the way with prompts and sunny chitchat. ($20; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 3 & Up

    The intergalactically awesome Educo Discovery Spaceship and Lift Off Rocket has more than just astronauts and aliens. There are space rovers, jet packs, and even a treadmill (don't get flabby in zero gravity!). ($114; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 3 & Up

    So close to the real thing, but without the extra vacuuming! Cookie My Playful Pup responds to pats on the head and back, barks, wags her tail, and “chews” her toy bone. ($47; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 3 & Up

    With the Crayola ColorStudio HD app and iMarker, an iPad becomes a portable easel. There are preset pages to color, blank ones for scribbling, plus cool animation. ($30; griffintechnology.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 3 & Up

    The Fisher-Price Doodle Bear can be endlessly decorated, thanks to the washable markers, stencil, and stamper tool. After a toss in the wash, this ursine princess is ready for another coat of scribbly couture. ($40; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 3 & Up

    Anamalz are animal figurines with pipe-cleaner DNA. These irresistible, eco-friendly bendables come in four groups (prehistoric, farm, Australian, and wild). ($9 to $17 each; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 4 & Up

    Riotous patterns adorn the plastic and foam shapes of the five new ZoLo Creativity Sets, leaving your mad-scientist-in-training to design delightfully trippy, Picasso-esque thingamajigs. ($28; zolo.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 4 & Up

    With the LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet, the possibilities are endless (OK, so it's only 100 possibilities, but still). There's reading, math, science, geography, animation, games, plus a camera and video recorder. ($204; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 4 & Up

    A steel ball rolls along the curvy chutes, ramps, and trapdoors as you rotate and flip the Perplexus Rookie, a mesmerizing 3-D maze. ($19; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 4 & Up

    With Laser Pegs, a fabulous new LED construction kit, tubes and circles fit neatly together to form glow-in-the-dark castles, creatures, and anything else your kiddo can dream up. ($45; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Age 4 & Up

    The Vtech InnoTab Interactive Learning App Tablet guarantees your iPad gets a break from PB&J fingers. Your preschooler now has his own touchscreen tablet with games, drawing apps, e-books, and music. ($123; amazon.com)

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