Walk through any toy store and you’ll find shelves overflowing with the latest tech toys and play sets with teeny tiny pieces. These options may not be the most baby-friendly of the bunch.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find something age appropriate, but still exciting enough to keep the little ones entertained. Check out my favorite toys for tots and toddlers to impress even the pickiest of critics!

Stack & Tumble Elephant (LeapFrog)

Elephants are intelligent animals, so this little guy will make the perfect companion for curious and developing minds. Babies can stack the fun colored rings onto the elephant’s trunk to hear him introduce colors, numbers, and shapes, or press the music note button on his trunk to hear playful songs. For a sniffly surprise, kids can push down on his tail to watch him sneeze, sending the rings tumbling off his trunk so they can start all over again. Gesundheit!

Dolce Activity Zebra (Magformers)

This funky fresh zebra is more is not your basic stuffed animal. It’s chock full of rattles, rings, peek-a-boo mirrors, squeakers, ribbons, and more to keep active babies occupied. There’s tons of different textures, such as the crinkly ears, ribboned neck, and bean bag base to help develop newborn sensory skills. And it even comes with a Dolce teether, perfect for soothing fussy babies. Now that’s how you multitask!

Rockin’ Rider Baby Rocker (Tek Nek)

Let’s go for a ride, but instead of tucking the kiddies into their car seats, let them take the driver’s seat themselves with this plush rocker. It’s available in a full zoo variety, so toddlers can pick their favorite version including ladybugs, teddy bears, horses, elephants, lambs, dragons, and butterflies. Its padded safety seat can hold up to 40 pounds and kids can rock to the tune of four lullaby melodies, including “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Rockabye Baby.”

Crayola My First Draw n Dabble Easel (Grow’n Up LTD)

Nothing can stop kids from drawing, even if that means turning the bedroom walls into the MOMA. Spare your home décor and funnel all creative energy into this jumbo starter easel instead. The extra-large chalkboard surface has an easy access tray and a fold-away design for aspiring artists, graffiti aficionados, or any crayon obsessed tots. If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!

Fisher Price Bouncesational Bouncer (Bestway)

Turn your living room or backyard into an instant party with this bright and colorful inflatable bounce house. It couldn’t be any easier to set up, with a built-in pump that inflates in under 4 minutes (yes, for real) and auto-deflates for the quickest clean up of all time. Kids ages 3 to 6 can crawl in and out and jump safely surrounded by puffy side walls and mesh windows. To really turn it up a notch, throw the 50 included plastic balls into the mix for a bouncy ball pit wonderland. Good luck getting the kids to leave!

About the author

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco was a Senior Editor of The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. She covered toy trends, pop culture, and entertainment news, and made appearances on national and regional outlets, including CBS, WPIX, News 12, and more. Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there.