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' in our 2020 Toy Awards

Toy Awards Best Soft Toys

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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, interactive plush toy that talks and makes funny noises, all that matters is that it’s super-soft and perfect for snuggling with.

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

1. Posh Paws Disney/Pixar Toy Story 4 plush toy, £14.99 – best for Disney fans

Age: 12m+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Soft Toy – Gold

What it is: Official 25cm/10” Disney/Pixar plush toys released following the latest Toy Story 4 film. Nine to collect, including new characters from Toy Story 4. Size: 10”

Why we love it: Your child can’t fail to fall for the hit films’ super-lovable Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the gang, just as our testers did.

Jenny, mum of Axel, 3, says “My son loved playing role-play with them. He had Bow Peep making dinner in the play kitchen for Woody and Buzz! The toys are excellent quality. The fabric is so soft and the colours are bright and cheerful. They are also an excellent size for travel – a few of them came to the museum with us!”

We can see kids playing with these until infinity and beyond…

Available from: Amazon

2. Squishmallows, £6.99 – best for bedtime cuddles

Age: 3 years+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Soft Toy – Silver

What it is: A collection of unbelievably soft, marshmallow-like plush animals, including Hans the Hedgehog, Gary the Giraffe and Esmerelda the Unicorn each has a ‘backstory’ you can read on Squishmallows. Size: 7.5”

Why we love it: Squishmallows are irresistibly squeezable, as our mini testers discovered!

Alina, mum of Leo, 5, says “Leo absolutely loves ‘Mr Squishy’. He mainly uses him for sleeping as ‘it’s not just a toy, but a pillow, too’. Squishmallows are on his Christmas list now, because Mr Squishy needs family!”

Besides the appealing, simple designs, we absolutely love the price, with Squishmallows the cheapest in this round-up. We predict plenty of piggy banks being emptied to spend on these…

Available from: Squishmallows

3. Fingerlings Hugs, £29.99 – best for fun interaction

Age: 5+

What it is: A 38cm 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. Requires 2 AAA batteries (included).

Why we love it: It’s super-cuddly and super-funny, and really interactive like the Snuff-a-luvs also in this round-up. The farting feature, in particular, thrilled our child testers to bits. We can’t think why…

Kerry, mum to Sienna, 5, says “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. A firm favourite!”

Becky, mum to Skye, 5, says “Skye loves her Fingerlings Hugs. She makes us all laugh. The recording option is fantastic and we like to make Bella ‘trump’ and hear her laugh cheekily afterwards!”

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Very

4. Jazwares’ Feisty Pets Plush, £14.99 – best for interactive play for older kids

Age: 6 years+

Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Soft Toy – Joint Bronze

What it is: Cute animal soft toys whose faces turn ‘nasty’ when you squeeze the back of their heads. Size: 10”

Why we love it: These soft toys have ‘a dark side’ that makes them more interactive and unique in this round-up for being a bit different from the average angelic plush toy. Our mini testers found these split-personality toys great for role-play games, and they loved their naughty names, too, including Fabio Flamefart Dragon and Glenda Glitterpoop!

MFM tester Ellie, 7, says of Fabio Flamefart Dragon “I really like how cuddly he is and how soft the material is. I like how he can be a sad and cute character or an angry animal when I’m playing with all my toys and I think his name is really funny!”

Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos and Very

5. Moose Toys’ Scruff-a-Luvs Electronic Rescue Pet Surprise Soft Toy My Real Rescue, £39.99 – best pretend pet 

Age: 4+ years
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Soft Toy – Joint Bronze

What it is: The latest from the Scruff-a-Luv rescue-themed range, this interactive, soft toy has over 35 lifelike sounds and movements. It arrives as a ball of fur that’s shaking with fear and needs a kind child to bathe, dry and groom it, feed it and shower it with love.

Why we love it: If your child has been begging you for a pet, then this is the next best thing. Like the other Bronze award-winner, Feisty Pets, this is an interactive soft toy, but on a much larger scale, and for this reason our testers felt it was well worth the money.

This interactive pretend pet will really bring out your child’s caring side and teach them all about looking after animals. We loved the surprise element – you don’t know if you’ve rescued a dog or a cat until you’ve given it lots of TLC. We can see plenty of kids giving these furever homes. Part of the profits go to help real-life animals in need, too.

Natasha, mum of Darcy-Mai, 4, says “My daughter absolutely loves this. She’s enjoying unlocking the new features, giving him lots of milk and cuddles, patting him and building a strong bond with this toy. She’s treating it as if it’s her own little pet she gives it a 1000 out of 10!

Available from: Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and Very

6. Rainbocorns, £24.99 – best for a surprise element

Age: 3 to 6 years

What it is: A large (28cm) cuddly creature with a unicorn and tufty rainbow hair. It comes in a brightly coloured egg and has a 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.

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

Tim, dad of Eleanor, 5, says “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 – and the toy is now a regular fixture amongst her soft toy family.”

Available from: Argos and Amazon

7. Jellycat Cordy Roys, from £12 – best for a gift

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, which come with a ring to attach to your buggy.

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 and the flamingo!

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

8. Cuddle+Kind Violet the Fawn, from £52 – best for a heritage toy

Age: From birth

Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Sustainable, Eco-friendly and Ethical Toy – Silver

What it is: This 100% cotton yarn doll (in two sizes 13” and 20”) is stuffed with hypoallergenic polyfiller. For each doll bought, 10 meals will be donated to children who need it most. Handmade in Peru using sustainable, fair trade practices.

Why we love it: The dolls are beautiful, and so well-made. They’re really soft and cuddly, with such a wonderful message and mission behind it all. We think this would be one of those favourite teddies that would be passed down through the generations – and it’s a great size to fit into a doll’s pram. We love its tag – “adventure awaits”.

And our testers loved it, too. Emma, MFM reviewer and mum to Ellie, age 3 says, “It was lovely for my girl to have some quiet time and naptime with this. It’s a little expensive but definitely worth it for a good cause.”

Available from: Cuddle+Kind

9. Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Activity Toy, £16 – best multi-purpose toy

Age: 4 months+

What it is: A baby toy with a removable soft, textured bandana teether round its neck. The body’s made from 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, dino, puppy, kitten, lion, unicorn or raccoon.

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, holding and jiggling it, and their mums were very impressed with the teethers.

Available from: Amazon and John Lewis

10. Little Live Pets Wrapples, £16.99 – best wearable toy

Age: 5+

What it is: A cool, rainbow-coloured wearable pet that lives on a wrist snapband and makes over 50 cute sounds. Pictured here is Una, but there are more you can collect. Requires 2 AAA batteries (demo batteries included).

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 they attach to your child’s wrist, so they’re less likely to get lost – genius!

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and John Lewis


We’ve got more award-winning toys here…

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