Thanksgiving is on the early side in 2023 which means Christmas shopping feels that way too! We’re here to get you jumpstarted, Smarties! Our friends at Toy Mania Cotswold are experts in the industry and have shared with us the latest and best in toys for this holiday season. The experienced staff at Toy Mania shared its insider info with us for this guide, the same way it does every customer who walks through the doors each day. They offer the personal service you can’t get in an online search engine!
This week in our 2023 Smarty Toy Guides, we share some of Toy Mania experts’ favorite picks for children of all ages. Make your list and head to Toy Mania at Cotswold Shopping Center! You can avoid the shipping charges and stress of delayed deliveries and get all your presents wrapped at no extra charge! We at Charlotte Smarty Pants love supporting local, family-owned businesses like Toy Mania!
Without further ado, here are 10 outstanding toy ideas for newborns through age 5. Also, check out our Smarty Holiday Toy Guide for Ages 6-11 and coming soon our Smarty Toy Guide for ‘Tweens and Teenagers!
1. Hape Off Road Balance Bike. Ages 3-6. Price $199.99.
Nothing says memorable Christmas like a brand new bike and this one gets kids a jump start on learning to run by bypassing training wheels altogether. And this one is super enticing for even the most apprehensive of riders given it’s souped-up dirt bike features! The seat is extra cushiony soft and the tires are puncture-proof. Can’t lose!
2. TinkerTar, a one-string guitar. Ages 3 and up. Price: 35.99.
The musical toy that not only your child will love but parents will too. This one-string design, created by Rockbridge Guitar Co-Founder Brian Calhoun and developed by musicians, actually helps your child learn how to play – not just randomly strum. It’s easier for smaller fingers, doesn’t require tuning and is simple enough to follow along in a color-coded music book. They come in all sorts of kid-pleasing designs like cheetah, rainbow, pizza and more.
3. BRIO Christmas Steam Train Set. Ages 3 and up. Price: $124.99.
It’s a classic Christmas gift that can become a family heirloom or part of your annual Christmas decor. This adorable and durable train set made by storied toy makers at BRIO comes with a twist – it actually steams! Fill the water compartment and watch the realistic yet safe-to-touch steam train travel around an oval track with all its Christmas accessories. This might be a fun one to open on Christmas Eve.
4. Djeco Animambo Rainstick Musical Instrument. Ages 3 and up. Price: $15.99.
Speaking of classic toys, this brightly-colored wooden rain stick is easy on the ears and oh so fun for little fingers to either turn upside down to make the soothing sound of rain, or to shake along with a beat. Its beautiful fish illustration was created by French illustrator Magail Attiogbe.
5. Kidoozie Splish n Splash Chomping Shark. Ages 2 and up. Price: $19.99.
No Smarty Holiday toy guide is complete without a bath toy and this one is guaranteed fun. What child can resist bath time when you’ve got the chance to play with this shark that can “chomp” three little floating fish by a squeeze of the tail trigger? Not only will your child be getting clean but working on fine motor skills too. Win-win!
6. Jellycat reindeer plush with “A Reindeer’s Dream.” Ages 0 and up. Price: $32.00 for plush and $14.99 for book.
We dare you to find a softer plush toy than what Jellycat creates, and this particular set makes a sweet story come to life with this precious reindeer plush little hands can hold as you read. What a lovely way to remember the 2023 holidays than with this endearing set, which is a nice alternative to Rudolph.
7. Hape Vehicle Service and Repair Workbench. Ages 3 and up. Price: $129.99.
Not all kids’ workbench toys are created the same. This one is unique because it lets your budding mechanic repair a car! Ever watch your child linger over the tire-changing exhibits at Discovery Place Kids or the NASCAR Hall of Fame? Now your child can have that fun at home, with a set that includes a battery-operated drill and a tape measure – both can’t-miss toys for little hands!
8. Air Toobz by Fat Brain Toy Company. Ages 3 and up. Price $159.99.
This is a STEM-toy at its finest and one of those toys you can just visualize your children playing with for ages. The expert creators at Fat Brain Toys have done it again. Kiddos can arrange the tubes and connectors any way they want, experiment with making foam balls jump from one tube to another or hover in mid air. It’s like all the fun of a marble run combined with a deflated balloon, only better!
9. Pugs at Play, walking, wagging and barking dogs. Ages 3 and up. Price: $19.99.
Somewhere between and pet and a plushie comes these adorable Pugs at Play friends, like Goldie the walking retriever and Spotty the walking Dalmatian. These little toys will walk, wag and bark their way into your child’s heart!
10. WubbaNub pacifiers and Plush. Ages 0 to 6 months. $18.99.
WubbaNubs are gifts moms look back on years later and want to hug the friend who introduced them! They are not only a great pacifier, but come with adorable, easy-to-grab plush toys, which help babies find their own pacifiers, like, say, when their parents are sleeping! And the sweet little animals can become friends for years to come. WubbaNub continues to pair classic animals like monkeys, giraffes and penguins with their pacifiers while introducing new ones like llamas, pink ducks and rabbits.
– Smarty Carroll
Check out our Smarty Holiday Toy Guide for Ages 6-11 and coming soon our Smarty Holiday Toy Guide for Teens and ‘Tweens!
The 2023 Smarty Holiday Toy Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toy Mania in Cotswold. Find everything on your child’s wish list without having to worry about shipping costs and delivery dates! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve!
Cotswold Village Shops
242 S. Sharon Amity Road
Hours: Monday -Saturday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.- 6 p.m.