Eight must-have gifts for Chicago babies


We know how it goes: the holiday season has arrived, so you're in a race against time to find some gifts that a) your kids will actually like; b) fit your budget; and c) can be bought, wrapped and handed over to the munchkins sometime near the appropriate holiday.

So this year, we did the work for you. We visited 10 toy stores in and around Chicago to find this holiday season's hottest items. Best of all, every gift is less than $50, so you won't break the bank in order to see that awed expression on your child's face.

Here are the results for Infants (0-12 months).

- Elizabeth Diffin


Tatutina Bookend Sets

Every fashionable nursery needs some adorable bookends to provide a little literary style. These whimsical wooden sets come with fairies, dogs and even a sun and moon.

0m+, $32


Vulli Chan Pie Gnon Natural Rubber Soft Chew Toy

You already know Sophie the Giraffe, now meet her friends, Chan, Pie and Gnon. These odd-but-cute teething toys are made with phthalate-free natural rubber, so you know your baby is gnawing away safely.

3m+, $16.99


Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles Baby and Toddler Toy

Go from zero to 60 with these cute cars that are soft, chewable-and machine-washable. The car, school bus, police car and firetruck are sure to appeal to your little transportation nut, especially once they see how fast the cars race on the hardwood.

9m+, $24.99


Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic

Babies will want to play with this wooden toy for hours. The brightly colored pegs catch the eye, while the unique, squishy shape is perfect for curious hands.

0m+, $16.99


Junior Babiators

Little ones can stroll the town in style thanks to these fun sunglasses for the under 3 set. The aviator-style shades come in nine colors and are guaranteed not to break for at least a year. So apparently they're miracle workers, too.

0-3m, $19.99


Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

This brightly colored toy is fun whether you're stacking it up or watching it fall. The weighted pieces balance on each other to make a perfectly wobbly tower. Or (we're guessing) they're pretty fun to chew or roll.

6m+, $26.95


Gibbs Smith BabyLit

Book lover parents will adore these ingenious board books that use classic literature to teach concepts like opposites, numbers and colors. Our favorite? A take on Pride & Prejudice that introduces counting.

0m+, $9.99


Early Learning Centre High Chair Steering Wheel

If you need a way to keep your baby content in the highchair while the rest of the family eats, this is for you. The steering wheel attaches to their tray with a suction cup and includes sideview mirror, flashing lights and buttons to press.

6m+, $20.99


Where We Shopped:

  • Becky & Me Toys, Gleview (additional location in Evanston); beckyandmetoys.com
  • Building Blocks Toy Store, Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago (additional location in Wicker Park neighborhood, Chicago); buildingblockstoys.com
  • Cat and Mouse Game Store, Bucktown neighborhood, Chicago; cat-n-mouse.com/ocart/
  • Galt Toys + Galt Baby, Skokie (additional locations downtown and in Lincoln Park neighborhood, Chicago); galtbaby.com
  • Geppetto's Toy Box, Oak Park; geppettostoybox.com
  • Marbles: The Brain Store, Skokie (additional locations in Naperville, Schaumburg, and downtown and Lincoln Square neighborhood, Chicago); marblesthebrainstore.com
  • My Favorite Toy Store, Downers Grove (additional location in Elmhurst); myfavoritetoystore.com
  • *play, Logan Square neighborhood, Chicago; playlogansquare.com
  • Timeless Toys Ltd., Lincoln Square neighborhood, Chicago; timelesstoyschicago.com
  • Toys et Cetera, Andersonville neighborhood, Chicago (additional locations in Hyde Park and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, Chicago); toysetcetera.com

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