12 of the best soft toys

See which soft toys our baby and child testers (and their mums) rated most highly for value for money and 'cuddle factor'

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Every child needs a treasured soft toy or 2 – or 10! – and, whether it’s a traditional furry teddy bear or a modern softy with music, lights and stimulating textures, all that matters is that it’s super-soft and perfect to snuggle into.

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Here’s our pick of best soft toys, as tested by babies and children…

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1. Fingerlings Hugs, £19.99

GOLD winner, Best Soft Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 5+

What it is: A plush version of the bestselling interactive monkey with long arms and Velcro-tipped hands that you can wrap around you for a snuggly hug. It can kiss, giggle, whoop in delight, snore and (yup) fart. You can also record your own voice for it to play back in its own way. Choose from pink Bella or blue Boris. 2 x AAA batteries (Included). Dimensions: 38cm.

Why we love it: They’re super cuddly and super funny. And will withstand a lot of active play. The farting feature, in particular, thrilled our child testers to bits. We can’t think why…

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘We’ve all had fun discovering all this toy’s different features. Sienna’s favourite is the kissing: she thinks it’s very cute. You can also throw your Fingerlings Hugs up in the air and she’ll say “wheee” and if you hang her upside down, she makes monkey noises. The long arms with Velcro hands make her great for hugging. She’s soft enough for cosy cuddles and sturdy enough to be thrown about and played with. A firm favourite!’ Kerry, mum to Sienna, 5
  • ‘Skye loves her Fingerlings Hugs. She’s called Bella and, in fact, as a family we all really like her, too. She makes us all laugh. The recording option is fantastic and we like to make Bella “trump” and hear her laugh cheekily afterwards.’ Becky, mum to Skye, 5

Available at: Smyths Toys

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2. Rainbocorns, £20

SILVER winner, Best Soft Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 3 to 6 years

What it is: A large cuddly creature with a unicorn and tufty rainbow hair. It comes in a brightly coloured egg and has sequin heart on its chest which reveals a secret message when swiped. Each Rainbocorn comes with a surprise Booboocorn: a miniature collectable baby Rainbocorn hidden inside another secret egg. There are 12 Rainbocorns to collect and unhatch. Dimensions: 28cm.

Why we love it: Well, this is a soft toy that combines unicorns, unhatching, secret messages, surprises and collecting – nuff said!

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Eleanor is a great fan of unboxing things, so this toy delivers a lot of that thrill, with the added benefit of having a sturdy shell to keep putting it back into at night. She’s a massive fan of the “hidden message” that changes when stroked changes – and the toy is now a regular fixture amongst her soft toy family.’ Tim, dad to Eleanor, 5
  • ‘Amelia Lily loves the sequin heart – that’s her favourite part. She likes the fact it can be taken off, and she also says she loves the rainbow hair! The small collectible egg with toy at the bottom was a nice extra as well. All in all, she’s delighted!’ Aisling, mum to Amelia Lily, 4

Available at: Argos and The Toy Shop

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3. Posh Paws Christopher Robin Collection Winnie the Pooh, £12.94

BRONZE winner, Best Soft Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: From birth

What it is: A cuddly, fluffy Winnie the Pooh bear, wearing a sweet knitted jumper and presented in a Christopher Robin themed gift box. From a collection including Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet. Dimensions: 25cm.

Why we love it: We really like Pooh’s vintage styling – and he really is amazingly soft to hug.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘The quality of this soft toy is very high and it is very soft! Lyla has taken this with her everywhere since it arrived and it is still in great condition.’ Jodi, mum to Lyla, 4
  • ‘Soft and squishy: great fun to play with.’ Karla, mum to Lexi, 3

Available at:  Amazon

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4. Care Bears, £19.99 each

Age: 3 +

What it is: A plush bear with bright eyes, a heart shaped noses and embroidered tummy – a modern take on the Care Bears that were popular in the 00s. There are 6 differently coloured bears to collect, each with a different name. Dimensions: 35cm.

Why we love it: They’re sweetly retro and very huggable – and you can tell your child all about the Care Bear message of beaming love and kindness to everyone.

Available at: Amazon and Debenhams

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5. Meegos, £12.99 each

Age: From birth

What it is: A hand-crocheted plush dog. There are 6 Meegos to collect (each one comes with 2 pups) and 3 limited-edition families – and they come in a cute cardboard kennel. Dimensions: 10cm.

Why we love it: These handmade pooches are adorable-looking (and handily machine-washable) and the cardboard kennels are cute. This first series of Meegos has helped create jobs for 4,025 women in Bangladesh, which helped win them Silver in our Best Sustainable Toy category.

Available at: Funky Hedgehog

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6. Little Live Pets Wrapples, £16.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A cool, rainbow-coloured wearable pet that lives on a snapband and makes over 50 cute sounds. Pictured here is Una, but there’s another 2 you can collect: Princeza and Skyo. 2 AAA batteries needed, and demo batteries are included. Dimensions:

Why we love it: Big light-up eyes and cute songs and giggling make these pets SO adorable. We love that they interact with other pets, and that there aren’t a ton you need to collect – they’re just as fun with one. Dimensions: 15.5cm x 12.3cm x 9.5cm.

They’ve also got that exclusivity factor. They’ve sold out online once before and we expect they’ll keep being SUPER popular over Christmas.

Available from: John Lewis

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7. Waffle the Wonderdog Soft Toy with Sounds, £16.43

Age: 10 months+

What it is: A speaking, singing, soft dog based on the popular CBeebies character, Waffle the Wonderdog. If you press his paw, he speaks sentences, and sings the theme tune. Batteries required: 3 x LR44 (Included and non-replaceable). Dimensions: 15cm x 15cm x 25cm.

Why we love it: This cute doggie is hotly tipped to be a Christmas best-seller! He’s very cute and super soft. Although the Waffle Doggie theme tune may get stuck in your head for weeks on end if your little one owns this!

Available from: Amazon

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8. Flora the Animated Bunny, £38.95

Age: From birth

What it is: A plush and cuddly rabbit that sings and plays peekaboo, covering her eyes with her floppy ears, when you squeeze her paws. Batteries included. You can also buy Flappy the Elephant, who does the same, in an elephantine way. Dimensions: 30cm high.

Why we love it: Her fur is incredibly soft – and those ears! The way they flap is beyond cute – our baby testers were all utterly beguiled, winning Flora a Silver in our Best Baby Toy (6-12 months) category.

Available at: Amazon and Maison White

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9. Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Activity Toy, £16

Age: 4 months+

What it is: A baby toy with a removable soft, textured bandana teether round its neck. The body’s made of lots of differently textured fabrics, and there’s a rattle and chime and an extra teether. Comes with an attachment ring for fixing to your baby’s buggy. Choose from a fox, monkey, elephant, puppy, kitten, lion or raccoon. Dimensions: 12.7cm x 7.6cm x 25.4 cm.

Why we love it: This is a really good-quality first soft toy, with fabulously crinkly ears and a nice bead rattle. We also thought the textured bandana was a lovely humorous touch. Our child testers all loved feeling and holding and jiggling it, and their mums were very impressed with the teethers.

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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10. Jellycat Cordy Roys, from £17

Age: From birth

What it is: A range of charming soft but corded characters in a huge choice of animals, from pigs and badgers to dinos and rhinos. Choose from 2 sizes of toy or the soother and jitter options for babies.

Why we love it: Classy designs, soft but durable materials, and a lovely variety of animals to suit every taste. The colours are true to life without a hint of pink – apart from the pig!

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

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11. Best Years Knitted Dinosaur, from £15

Age: From birth

What it is: A range of handknitted dinosaur characters in bold colours made from ethically sourced material. Choose from T-rex, triceratops, diplodocus and stegasaurus designs, in 3 sizes. The smallest size contains a rattle. Dimensions: smallest 26 cm x 26 cm.

Why we love it: These toys have an adorable handmade feel and such sweet faces. The colours are bold and brilliantly gender-neutral. A perfect new baby gift that will evolve into a toddler role-play favourite.

Available from: Amazon and Trouva

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12. Ty Flippables Beanies, £7.99
Age: 3+

What it is: Small sequinned toy animals, and you can choose from a variety of dinosaurs, dogs, cats, penguins, among others. Dimensions: 9cm x 10cm x 14cm.

Why we love it: The best part of Flippables is the flipping! When your child runs their fingers over the sequins, the toy changes colour. Plus they are SO sweet, especially with their big eyes, and collectibles.

Available from: Smyths Toys

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