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Top Toy Brands for Kids & Babies
If you’re anything like us, after having children your house has quickly become filled over the years with cheap toys that inevitably break or toys that were quickly discarded and never played with again. So today I wanted to share some of our favorite toy brands (along with some of our very favorite toys from those brands) so that you can hopefully have better luck and avoid some of our mistakes.
Having educational toys for your children to play with is important for their development. They can encourage learning of problem solving skills, teach causal relationships and even develop gross and fine motor skills. Toys also inspire creativity and imagination. Here are our favorite brands that offer toys meeting these developmental needs.
Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug are an American toy manufacturer founded in 1988. They are known for their wooden toys, puzzles, and arts and craft products. When I think of them, I think of high quality, durable, educational children’s toys. Some of our favorite toys from Melissa & Doug are:
- Melissa & Doug Dust, Sweep, and Mop set – Both of my kids play with this thing constantly. As an added bonus, you may even get a little dusting done if you are lucky.
- Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle – Melissa & Doug make so many adorable puzzles, and it is one thing they are well known for. This one makes a sound with the puzzle pieces are lifted out, but you really can’t go wrong with any of their puzzles.
- Melissa and Doug Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter – Another huge hit in my house. Melissa and Doug make a ton of wooden kitchen toys that are very durable and provide endless hours of entertainment.
Green Toys are unique in that they are made in the USA from 100% recycled milk jugs. With all the waste that comes from being a parent, it’s nice to know that by supporting this brand, you are supporting the environment. You won’t find any screws, paint or batteries in these toys. Just imaginative play! Some of our favorites are:
- Green Toys Ferry Boat with Mini Cars Bathtub Toy, Blue/White – This one is one of my son’s very favorite tub toys. It includes a ferry boat with two cars.
- Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet Stacking Set, Assorted – This is an adorable set that allows your little one’s inner gardener to come out. They can build flowers from the pieces. My daughter loves making and bringing me bouquets.
- Green Toys Construction Vehicle (3 Pack) – A great option if you have a little one who loves trucks and vehicles.
Baby Einstein products are designed for interactivity for toddlers and babies. They were originally based around musical videos designed to encourage babies to learn sounds, shapes and colors. They’ve expanded well beyond that, and have made some of my children’s favorite toys.
- Baby Einstein Magic Touch Ukulele Wooden Musical Toy – This is our very favorite Baby Einstein toy, and it is actually a collaboration between Baby Einstein and Hape (the next on our list).
- Baby Einstein Curiosity Table Activity Station Table Toddler Toy with Lights and Melodies – This is another well-loved toy in our house. My kids love putting together the gears in different configurations and pushing the button to make them go.
Hape is a German founded toy company that is the world’s largest producer of wooden goys. They focus on using sustainable natural materials in their toys. The Hape toys that we have purchased have all survived our two little gremlins tossing them, biting them and throwing them. I find they are incredibly well made, and frankly most are pretty to look at too. Here are some of our favorites, but you really cannot go wrong with any of their toys:
- Four Stage Toddler Rocket Ship Playset by Hape – A great pick for any aspiring astronaut.
- Award Winning Hape All-in-One Wooden Kid’s Art Easel with Paper Roll and Accessories – My daughter could play on her easel for days. This one is very sturdy, includes a chalkboard and a roll to hold paper.
- Hape Adventure Van, Pretend Play with Action Figures – I’m not sure what it is about vans, but my kids absolutely love playing with them. This one comes with a cute camping set.
Fat Brain Toys
As the name suggests, Fat Brain Toys are focused on creating the best educational toys and games for children. Their toys are often brightly colored and often feature built in puzzles or construction components. This was hard for me to narrow down because there are so many great options, but my suggestions are:
- Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set – These are sets of suctions cups that can be assembled together on a window, floor or tub to build and join together.
- Fat Brain Toys SpinnyPins Baby Toys – There is something really satisfying about putting these weighted pins into the container. They fit in both directions and it wobbles around, creating tons of fun for young toddlers and babies.
- Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toys – I am not kidding when I say even I enjoy playing with this one. It makes a great fidget type toy.
Everyone knows Fisher-Price, most of us remember these toys from when we were children. In fact, they still manufacture some of the same toys from the many years ago that will bring back all of the nostalgia as you play with them and your child today. They were founded back in 1930 and have been leading the toy market ever since. Some of our favorite products are throwbacks, as I mentioned that my kids love playing with on an almost daily basis:
- Fisher-Price Classic Toys Retro Cash Register – My daughter picked this out for herself with her birthday money, and she absolutely loves it.
- Basic Fun Fisher-Price Play Tape Recorder – I had this one as a kid and still remember playing with it. My kids love making strange noises into the recorder and hearing themselves.
- Fisher Price Classic Toys Retro Music Box Record Player – Another Classic toy that has stood the test of time.
Learning Resources is another toy company focused on educational toys that help to provide hands-on learning through play for children of all ages.
- Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog – My kids have so much fun moving the spikes around, taking them all out and putting them back in. I keep this in my bathroom permanently to keep them entertained while I get ready.
- Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Set – This is a great toy food set that allows children to sort by color.
Last but not least on the list is LeapFrog. They are a toy company focused on making learning fun through interactive teaching toys. They are most well known for their toy tablets, toy computers and other electronic toys. They even have an online learning academy as well. These are toys I might not have always gravitated towards myself, but my kids always found these in stores and asked for them. Some of their favorites are:
- LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate Ready for School Tablet – I have to include one of their tablets, and their computers and tablets are how they got started. This one includes tons of school readiness apps for your child to learn and play with.
- LeapFrog My Pal Scout/Violet – My kids absolutely adored these when they were little. They are programmed to say their name and some of the favorites. Scout/Violet will sing songs and do activities when you squeeze one of the paws.
Did I miss one of your favorite toy brands for children? Let me know down in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out The Best Subscription Boxes for Kids: My Honest Review of the KiwiCo Activity Crate.
Thanks for stopping by!