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
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 Toddlers (1-3
- Elizabeth Diffin
Your toddler has starred in enough Facebook albums to last a
lifetime, so this play camera lets them go behind the lens. It
features real-sounding clicks, music, giggles and a flash on top,
plus a mirror to keep them engaged. Say cheese!
You'll be singing "It's Easy Being Green," thanks to these
earth-friendly instruments. All products, from whistles to drums,
are made from chemical-free Rubberwood. We love the Mama Bear Drum,
Papa Bear Glockenspiel and Baby Bear Shaker.
Your little one will be ready for lights-out thanks to this
plush toy that doubles as a nightlight. It also projects
constellations on the ceiling, so they'll feel like they're
sleeping under the stars.
It's time for tea-and some fun! The teapot comes with four
mini-tea cups that are color-matched to their respective holes,
making it a shape sorter that doubles as a real teapot (a
liquid-filled beaker can be placed inside).
Sick of your tot using your smartphone as a teether or getting
their tiny prints all over your iPad? Check out these pretend
versions (shh, they'll never know!) that double as educational
18m+, $19.95 and 12m+, $26.99
Isn't it time your baby gets a baby of their own? Baby Stella is
a great first doll, soft enough for little ones to snuggle and with
clothes to change as they get older.
Introduce your little one to the toys you used to love, thanks
to the Classic Toy line from Fisher-Price. It looks just the same
as the original, but this time around, you can call its
old-fashioned look retro.
Meal time becomes a lot more fun (and less of a battle) with
these utensil sets. Silverware newbies will love pushing food onto
their fork with the help of a bulldozer or garden hoe-and mom and
dad will love having their own hands free.
It's never too early for puzzles! Toddlers can become familiar
with shapes, colors and spatial concepts with this cute game where
they attempt to re-create a challenge card using blocks and a
These might look like the blocks that tykes have been playing
with for generations, but they come with a twist. Kids can build
towers and their language skills, thanks to cubes that come in
Spanish, Japanese and even Cherokee.