Up Close Plush
-- Kids Today, 5/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
The plush and activity toy market continues to grow, with a variety of options from which to choose. The green shift is evident, with Kids Preferred debuting a collection of Peter Rabbit soft dolls made of organic cotton. And the market for education plush is also expanding. Activity toys, such as rattles and play mats, remain popular for babies and toddlers, but many manufacturers have added an Internet component to their offerings. Kids buy the plush character in the store and are then able to access a Web site with games and activities designed to educate and entertain. But there are still plenty of choices perfect for just cuddling and snuggling, such as Aurora's new Giggles the giraffe and Gund's Gordy the bear.
Russ Baby, a division of Russ Berrie, is launching Bright Beginnings, a collection of plush, activity toys and clothing accessories for babies and toddlers. The Bright Buddies, available in six characters, help toddlers learn to tie laces, use zippers and much more, $13, www.russberrie.com
|Folkmanis' WebWilds Panda comes with a code that allows access to a Web site with animal videos, stories and games, $20, (510) 658-7677.|
|The Play Time center from Infantino has activities for baby on all four sides, $24.99, (800) 365-8182.|
|Gordy the bear from Gund has an ultra-suede nose and is made of premium fabrics that are surface washable, (732) 248-1500.|
|Douglas Co.'s Into the Wild series features a collection of woodland character such as Woody the moose. The toys, made of fluffy fur, retail between $9 and $24, www.douglastoys.com|
|An old classic goes green. Kids Preferred's Naturally Better Peter Rabbit plush line is phthlate free, made of certified organic cotton and produced in socially responsible factories. The four characters, including Peter and Mopsy, retail at $18 and $30, www.kidspreferred.com.|
|North American Bear Co. goes quirky retro with Pattycakes, $7.50. The 7” toys are made of washable fleece and have embroidered facial features and parts that squeak, rattle and crinkle, (773) 247-9860|
|Babo's Bird is the newest member of the Uglydoll family. The turquoise creature comes in four sizes and retails between $6 and $50, (908) 620-0931.|
|Tiny Love is marking the 15th anniversary of its Gymini with the introduction of Monkey Island, which has 18 developmental activities, including the Monkey Mate that plays music and lights up, $59.99, (888) 846-9568.|
|Learning Curve's Lamaze Morgan the Monkey link set comes with six rings for tactile stimulation, $5.99, (630) 573-7200.|
|Giggles is one of the latest additions to Aurora World's baby collection. The purple and yellow giraffe has embroidered eyes and satin details and is available as an 8” or 16” toy ($5.49 and $15.99 retail respectively). The character is also available on bibs, booties and other accessories, (888) 287-6722.|
|Mary Meyer's Storytellers plush animals come with their own story or stories designed to engage children. The illustrated stories are printed on soft fabric sheets that are tucked into the animal's pocket. The plush characters are offered in several sizes and retail at $15 and $30, (800) 451-4387.|
|The All Star Buddies play in an interactive online world designed just for kids. The purchase of one of the plush characters, $14.99, gives kids free access to an Internet site that features chat rooms, educational games and extras such as coloring pages and wallpapers, www.allstarbuddies.com|
Kushies' Lovebug is designed to engage baby's senses — the toy giggles when shaken and has legs that can pulled, demonstrating cause and effect, $21, (905) 643-9118.
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