Babytalk Tot-Tested Toys of the Year

by admin

Babytalk Tot-Tested Toys of the Year

Our annual showcase of the year’s softest, safest, smartest and silliest playthings.

Popping up and falling down, blinking lights and tumbling around ¿ get ready for the — deep breath — Fisher-Price Stack ‘n Surprise Blocks Songs ‘n Smiles Sillytown. Babies can stack the blocks, roll the car down the ramp, and bat the light-up roller to hear songs. $49;

Building Old MacDonald’s farm has never been easier thanks to Chicco Magic Blocks Farm. The blocks’ built-in magnets keep everything stuck together, making stacking a cinch (great for developing those fine motor skills). It comes with farmer, three animal characters, tractor and platform. $35;

Put those teeny fingers to work with Quercetti Pop-Link Shapes. These 12 sturdy, brightly colored plastic connectors provide several activity options: Join the pieces in a chain, count them, or sort them by color (green, orange, yellow and purple) or shape (oval, flower, star and half-moon). $13;

She’s got Mommy Multi-Tasker and Daddy Downloader, so it¿s only natural that baby wants her own high-tech gadgets. Taggies Ring Ring Telephone is a soft take-along with a mirror, four ringtones and lots of textures to explore. With Taggies Smile Camera, turn the lens to make clicking sounds or press the button to hear the shutter snap. Both have Taggies’ trademark colorful, interactive looped ribbons. $16 each; and

It’s not enough for My Pal Scout by LeapFrog to help kids learn about food, animals, colors and feelings. He wants to do it all on a first-name basis. Just plug Scout’s USB cable into your computer, download your child’s name and consider Scout personalized. You can also download 30 additional learning tunes and lullabies. $20;

Hugging Antoinette the Queen by Blabla is like giving the planet a nice big squeeze. The doll is made from natural fibers grown in Peru and is knit by local artisans. Other Blabla characters include McNuttie the Squirrel, Sandwich the Cat and Basil the Bunny. $44.

Made from beechwood, Tony Tractor by Haba was our baby testers’ top pick for push toy. Tony bops up and down as you push him along. The trailer’s double-duty barrel can be removed to become a rattle. $40;

If a popcorn popper and a ball crawl had a baby, it would be the Playskool Explore ‘n Grow Busy Ball Popper. This air-powered gizmo shoots five multicolored balls into the air to a soundtrack of eight upbeat songs. Follow the balls as they land on the tray, roll down the ramp and into the clear tube rack. Auditory and visual stimulation at its ball-poppin’ best. $25;

Get your multilingual motor runnin’ with the Chicco Talking Vacation Car, which helps develop language skills by teaching words in both English and Spanish. It also offers riddles and tells stories (follow along via the storybook in the trunk). $35;

Fishing for Taggies is a soft, fun toy that grows with your baby. The mirror pond and three squishy fishies inspire the tiniest tots through touch and facial recognition. As baby grows, add the fishhook to play catch and release. $28;

Roar the Lion Jooble by Fair Indigo is so huggable, he feels like something Grandma would have made. Fashioned from organic cotton and earth-friendly dyes, each Jooble is hand-sewn by Peruvian knitters. $25;

How many ways can Earlyears Baby Activity Birdhouse keep your baby engaged? He can see his face in the mirror on the bottom, bring owl out of his hole, slide the ladybug and bee on the sides, help birdie get out of her nest, or shake it for a happy jingle. $24;

Think of the Baby Einstein Discovery Dragon as kindergarten condensed into a cuddly green lizard. Squeeze his belly to switch between world music melodies, numbers, shapes and colors. The bonus: He can do all of the above in three languages (English, Spanish and French). $22;

The clickity-clack of clams, the shiggity-shake of a seahorse: It can only be the Melissa & Doug High Sea Symphony. These four wooden musical instruments encourage auditory expression, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. $30;

Shake, rattle and roll the engaging, multi-sensory Amazing Baby Pop-Up Activity Ball. This boldly patterned and textured 6-inch sphere features a reflective mirror, pullout bear, ribbon tags, chime, crinkle, flap and rings. $22;