Best toddler toys, gadgets and accessories

From baby monitors to bike accessories

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Toddlers are like forces of nature, barreling through life at full speed, with two levels: calm before the impact and completely catastrophic. How cute are they though? Tornado talk aside, kids aged two to five provide endless hours of built-in entertainment and unconditional love — unless you cut their cucumbers wrong.

Needless to say, there are many practical toddler-friendly gadgets, gizmos and garb on the market to help parents and caregivers keep their tiny tempests happy, healthy and looking sharp. Below are my current favourites.

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The best toddler gadgets

The Nanit Pro Camera.
The Nanit Pro Camera. Photo by Nanit

Nanit Pro Camera

Why buy: This portable baby monitor tops “best of” lists across the internet for its monitor and app combos. Expect crystal clear video from anywhere in the world on your connected smartphone via the Nanit Pro app. The camera is flexible, easy to set up and the perfect travel companion. We’ve had lots of issues travelling with other monitors — this one has proven to be a great investment every time. Sound and motion alerts are available but can be easily turned off.
Price: $330
Where to buy: Nanit | Amazon

Yoto Player + Starter Pack Bundle
Yoto Player + Starter Pack Bundle. Photo by Yoto

Yoto Player + Starter Pack Bundle

Why buy: This little device acts as the perfect screen-free stopgap for anyone with 2-4-year-olds who are suddenly obsessed with TV. It’s a Bluetooth-connected device that gives kids the autonomy to choose between different stories or music cards — or even podcasts designed for littles. It can be controlled by a parent’s smartphone, including capping sound levels. My 2.5-year-old can’t get enough of the Moana soundtrack or the Mindfulness Moments card that teaches young ones how to breathe like different forest animals,
Price: $140
Where to buy: Amazon

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Graco Pack 'n Play On The Go Playard
Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard. Photo by Graco

Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard

Why buy: When my daughter was under two, we had a great, super lightweight travel crib (I can’t find it online, but this one has similar specs). The moment she turned two, she realized she could completely flip said lightweight crib and climb right out. Cue the Graco Pack ‘n Play. While this one doesn’t pack up as small and weighs quite a bit more (it’s 9.6kg), there is no way my kid is getting out. And as any parent knows, this is the only true requirement. I mean, safety sure, but mainly a secure space to keep my little one contained. It’s been through rigorous safety tests and is backed by the Graco name — plus it folds in and out at the push of a button, making it a dream to travel with.
Price: $189
Where to buy: Amazon | Best Buy | Walmart (similar model)

Kids Ride Shotgun 2.0
Kids Ride Shotgun 2.0. Photo by Kids Ride Shotgun

Kids Ride Shotgun 2.0 

Why buy: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — this is the best investment for outdoorsy or athletic parents, or simply those who enjoy a good bike ride around the neighbourhood. My daughter has the most fun riding up front with me or my partner. We’ve even taken her over some baby jumps (not advised, unless you’re confident you and your kid are ready) which resulted in the highest-pitch squeals of joy you can imagine.
Price: $309
Where to buy: Amazon | Kids Ride Shotgun

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Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush
Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush. Photo by Amazon

Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush

Why to buy: We’ve all seen those memes of wrestlers in the throes of battle with the caption “ Me brushing my toddler’s teeth.” Those memes make me feel seen. While this kid-friendly electric toothbrush doesn’t eliminate the battle, it certainly makes it more fun. If I can turn an otherwise boring or unsavoury task into something that is “just like mommy!” that task gets easier. This Bluetooth-connected, rechargeable brush makes my kiddo feel like a big girl with lots of autonomy making for a happier bedtime.
Price: $48
Where to buy: Walmart | Amazon

The best toddler clothing

Helly Hansen Kids' Bergen 2.0 PU Rain Set
Helly Hansen Kids’ Bergen 2.0 PU Rain Set. Photo by Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen Kids’ Bergen 2.0 PU Rain Set

Why buy: This set is completely waterproof, whether you get caught in a drizzle or a downpour, We live on the rainy west coast of Canada, and this set has held up against the harshest of days, allowing my little one to hop happily through puddles while staying warm and dry. The finer details like the detachable hood, elastic boot straps and cuffs, reflective design elements and quick-dry lining set it above competitors.
Price: $75-100
Where to buy: Helly Hansen | Amazon

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Joe Fresh Toddler Girls' 2 Pack Bike Short
Joe Fresh Toddler Girls’ 2 Pack Bike Short. Photo by Joe Fresh

Joe Fresh Toddler Girls’ 2 Pack Bike Short

Why buy: Joe Fresh offers consistent value. My kiddo and I love these shorts (me —they go with everything; her — complete freedom of movement) but the entire toddler section is affordable and frankly, really darn cute. Grab a 5 Pack of Quarter-Crew Socks with perfect spring designs for $8, comfy and versatile joggers for transitional weather or opt for the trendy Jessi Cruickshank collab.
Price: $12
Where to buy: Joe Fresh

Icebreaker Kids' Merino 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip Thermal Top
Icebreaker Kids’ Merino 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip Thermal Top. Photo by Icebreaker

Icebreaker Kids’ Merino 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip Thermal Top

Why to buy: This thermal top, paired with Kids’ Merino 260 Tech Thermal Leggings makes the perfect base layer for end-of-season mountain adventures, early spring camping or simply as a warm layer under clothing on a chilly or rainy day. Made of 100 per cent merino wool jersey fabric, for extra breathability.
Price: $85
Where to buy: Icebreaker

Miles the Label Cactus Long-Sleeve Swimsuit
Miles the Label Cactus Long-Sleeve Swimsuit. Photo by Miles the Label

Miles the Label Cactus Long-Sleeve Swimsuit

Why buy: A long-time favourite Canadian kids brand, Miles the Label makes clothes that last, however, my toddler seemingly grows faster than giant kelp (at 60cm per day). I find myself investing in a Miles swimsuit around this time each year and handing down the previous suits to the next generation.
Price: $52
Where to buy: Miles the Label

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George Toddler Girls' Wide Leg Pant 3-Piece Set
George Toddler Girls’ Wide Leg Pant 3-Piece Set. Photo by Walmart

George Toddler Girls’ Wide Leg Pant 3-Piece Set

Why buy: Walmart-owned brand George has completely surprised me. The toddler range offers cute clothes that are so affordable, I don’t mind my kiddo growing out of them within a few months. If this wide-leg pant set was made in adult women’s sizes, it would surely fly off the shelves. Some other current favourites: the George Toddler Girls’ Short Sleeve Dress for tiny ones who have decided they want to look like princesses every day (my kid) or the George Toddler Boys’ Hoodie 2-Piece Set (what I wish she would wear). Pair either with the unisex and equally affordable Athletic Works Toddler Max Sneakers. Can’t go wrong for $15.
Price: $18
Where to buy: Walmart 

The best toddler toys and accessories

Claymates Family of Four
Claymates Family of Four. Photo by Claymates

Claymates Family of Four

Why buy: This sweet little family of four wooden figures has been hand-crafted with love in Maine, US. A sustainable toy brand with a mission of bolstering children’s education and development, Claymates designed these figures with Montessori principles in mind. “Claymates fosters a love of learning through creative, interactive play,” says the brand’s website. Children have the opportunity to create whatever they like, using the four figures — which come in different wood tones keeping inclusivity in mind — and a roll of six colourful blocks of non-hardening clay.
Price: $33
Where to buy: Claymates

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Kids' Burton Gromlet 15L Backpack
Kids’ Burton Gromlet 15L Backpack. Photo by Burton

Kids’ Burton Gromlet 15L Backpack

Why buy: My daughter got sent home from daycare with a note asking for a bigger backpack. Burton’s tagline for this product, “Because Modern Kids Have Way More Stuff” is totally relevant. The pack feels like it’ll withstand the roughest, toughest, messiest humans — even toddlers — to provide years of supplies and essentials hauling.
Price: $65
Where to buy: Burton | Amazon

Friday Harbour & Co. Kids Cloud Towel
Friday Harbour & Co. Kids Cloud Towel. Photo by Friday Harbour & Co.

Friday Harbour & Co. Kids Cloud Towel

Why buy: These cozy hooded towels are crafted on Vancouver Island and provide a warm embrace after a day out on the river or lake, or post swimming lessons. It’s made from Oeko-Tex Standard-certified organic cotton, which is free of harmful chemicals and safe on your child’s skin. The fabrics are Fair-Trade certified, and each towel comes with a magnetic front closure to keep your littles all tucked in.
Price: $74
Where to buy: Friday Harbour & Co.

Superstar Potty Training Book for Girls
Superstar Potty Training Book for Girls. Photo by Amazon

Superstar Potty Training Book for Girls

Why buy: This potty-training helper was our best asset during our three-day crash course (I highly recommend spending $34 on the “Potty Training Made Simple” program from Big Little Feelings). The book was inspiring, inclusive and encouraging, plus it covers accidents and night-time “sleep undies” in a way that aligned with our messaging around this big transition. There’s a specific version for potty-training boys, too.
Price: $11
Where to buy: Amazon

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Rascals CoComelon Training Pants
Rascals CoComelon Training Pants. Photo by Rascals

Rascals CoComelon Training Pants

Why buy: If you’ve made it through potty training it’s time to consider pull-ups or “sleep undies” as we call them. Most kids don’t learn the skill of holding their urine overnight until about five years of age, so finding a pair of sleep undies that are comfortable and absorbent is key. I fell in love with Rascals (previously Rascal + Friends) during our diaper era and stuck with them through the pull-up era because its products are free from what it calls the “nasties.” Namely, Lotion, latex, fragrances and non-water-based inks. They’re also dermatologically tested and made with sustainable pulp.
Price: $32
Where to buy: Walmart

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