Holiday gift guide 2016: The best gifts under $50 for babies

Making a list and checking it twice might be Santa Claus’ job, but it’s also a responsibility that falls to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. But while you don’t have the elvish assistance at the Big Guy’s disposal, you do have this: our comprehensive guide to what’s hot in Chicagoland this year. They’re all available at some of our favorite independent toy stores, and they all cost less than one bill with Grant’s face on it.

You’re welcome.

Top ideas for kids ages 0-12 months.

Your baby’s a genius (obvs). So shouldn’t his toys be just as smart? Start with 15 different rattle sounds (you thought picking a ringtone was hard!), then add in color-identifying technology and preloaded songs and stories, and you have a rattle that will help him reach his full brainiac potential.

Alilo Smarty Shake &Tell, $39.99, 0m+ (G)

Sorry, Chicagoans raised on Bozo, but this is way more charming than the old-school Bop Bag (and won’t instill a lifelong fear of clowns). The adorable wobbly lion is washable, for when your little one uses it as a teether. Plus it’s equipped with a chime — a more musical take on pugilism.

Roly-Bop Lion, $24.99, 6m+ (BB)

This musical soother’s sleek design is right at home in a world designed by Apple. The soft lights lull baby to sleep, or you can pick from one of 10 soothing soundtracks. It’s also Bluetooth enabled, just in case you want your little one to catch her zzzs while listening to whatever’s queued up on Spotify.

Mirari Glow to Sleep, $49.99, 0m+ (BB)

The problem with shape sorters is, at some point, that triangle, oval and square are destined to be lost forever behind the couch, under the car seat or at the bottom of the diaper bag. Not so with this version, which keeps those pesky pieces safely tethered to the sorter itself.

Oombee Cube, $17.99, 10m+ (P)

You may have thought you gave up loud concerts the moment you became a parent, but these protective headphones let you bring your little rockstar along. They’ll be in good company, too: Boomer Phelps, North West and Prince George have all been spotted rocking the look.

BanZ Mini earBanZ, $29.99, 3m+ (G)

Becky & Me Toys, Evanston

Building Blocks Toy Store, Lakeview and Wicker Park, Chicago

Galt Toys + Galt Baby, downtown and Lincoln Park, Chicago and Skokie

*play, Logan Square, Chicago

Moore Toys & Gadgets, Wheaton

Where we shopped

Dive in with us as Disneys The Little Mermaid Broadway Musical comes to life in Paramount Theatres production thats perfect holiday fun for all ages. SPONSORED

Under the sea and into your hearts this holiday season

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