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

Our toy expert visited 10 local stores to bring you the hottest gifts for the holiday season. Here are Chicago Parent’s picks for the infant crowd.

Every fashionable nursery needs some adorable bookends toprovide a little literary style. These whimsical wooden sets comewith fairies, dogs and even a sun and moon.

0m+, $32

Tatutina Bookend Sets

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

3m+, $16.99

Vulli Chan Pie Gnon Natural Rubber Soft Chew Toy

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

9m+, $24.99

Melissa &Doug Pull-Back Vehicles Baby and Toddler Toy

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

0m+, $16.99

Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic

Little ones can stroll the town in style thanks to these funsunglasses for the under 3 set. The aviator-style shades come innine colors and are guaranteed not to break for at least a year. Soapparently they’re miracle workers, too.

0-3m, $19.99

Junior Babiators

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

6m+, $26.95

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

Book lover parents will adore these ingenious board books thatuse classic literature to teach concepts like opposites, numbersand colors. Our favorite? A take on Pride & Prejudice thatintroduces counting.

0m+, $9.99

Gibbs Smith BabyLit

If you need a way to keep your baby content in the highchairwhile the rest of the family eats, this is for you. The steeringwheel attaches to their tray with a suction cup and includessideview mirror, flashing lights and buttons to press.

6m+, $20.99

Early Learning Centre High Chair Steering Wheel

  • 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 downtownand in Lincoln Park neighborhood, Chicago); galtbaby.com
  • Geppetto’s Toy Box, Oak Park; geppettostoybox.com
  • Marbles: The Brain Store, Skokie (additional locations inNaperville, Schaumburg, and downtown and Lincoln Squareneighborhood, Chicago); marblesthebrainstore.com
  • My Favorite Toy Store, Downers Grove (additional location inElmhurst); myfavoritetoystore.com
  • *play, Logan Square neighborhood, Chicago;playlogansquare.com
  • Timeless Toys Ltd., Lincoln Square neighborhood, Chicago;timelesstoyschicago.com
  • Toys et Cetera, Andersonville neighborhood, Chicago (additionallocations in Hyde Park and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, Chicago);toysetcetera.com

Where We Shopped:

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