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Best Stuffed Animals of 2021

Updated
The cuddliest & most huggable stuffed animals for every age.

Is your little one starting to sleep in their own bed? Or maybe you’re going on a long journey and want your child to feel comfortable? Now’s the time to find the best stuffed animals for kids.

Many of us still have our childhood teddy somewhere. Stuffed animals become companions, the faithful friend who’s always there.

We’ve come a long way from the traditional teddies and ragdolls. Now, a variety of animals and characters have been recreated into stuffed toys.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the Melissa & Doug Giant Giraffe - Lifelike Stuffed Animal (over 4 feet tall)
Best of the Biggest
Melissa & Doug Giraffe
  • Realistic details, beautiful markings
  • Graceful, sturdy, wire-framed legs
  • Easy to clean
Product Image of the InFLOATables Llama Stuffed Animal - Cute Llama Doll - Llama Plush with No Prob...
Best Stuffed Llama
Llama Stuffed Animal
  • Compliant with USA child safety
  • Gift ready
  • Incredibly soft
Product Image of the GUND Baby Animated Flappy The Elephant Stuffed Animal Plush, Gray, 12'
Best Stuffed Elephant
Flappy the Elephant
  • Award-winning
  • Adorable singing animated plush
  • Play and sing with real movement
Product Image of the Melissa & Doug Giant Penguin - Lifelike Stuffed Animal (nearly 2 feet tall)
Best Stuffed Penguin
Melissa & Doug Penguin
  • Life-like giant penguin
  • Crafted with care
  • Combination of plush and soft
Product Image of the Aurora Bundle of 2 Stuffed Beanbag Animals - Blueberry Ripple Unicorn & Jelly...
Best Unicorn for Twins
Blueberry Ripple
  • Bundle of 2 mythical unicorn
  • Fun, bright colors
  • Hand washable
Product Image of the Gund Ramon Teddy Bear 18' Plush
Best Classic Teddy Bear
Gund Ramon Bear
  • Realistic paw pad accents
  • Surface-washable construction
  • Huggably soft plush
Product Image of the ebba - Loppy Giraffe (ebba) - 11' Loppy Giraffe
Best With Rattle Toy
Aurora World
  • 11 inches long
  • Baby-safe embroidered details
  • Top quality materials
Product Image of the LeapFrog My Pal Violet (Frustration Free Packaging)
Entertaining & Cuddly Pal
LeapFrog My Pal
  • 40+ learning songs
  • Can be sync with smartphone
  • 15 learning activities
Product Image of the Starshine Watchdogs ORION Bedtime Toy, Plush Stuffed Animal Night Light with...
Best for Nighttime Light
Starshine Watchdogs
  • Helps lower child's anxiety
  • Remotely illuminate portable star light
  • Reduce bedtime resistance
Product Image of the Winsterch Giant Fluffy Sloth Stuffed Animal Toy for Kids Large Plush Sloth Toy...
Most Huggable Sloth
Winsterch Giant Sloth
  • 27.5 inches tall
  • Eco-friendly fabric and filling
  • Great for snuggling

How to Choose a Stuffed Animal

When on the hunt for the best stuffed animals for kids, there are some things to look out for. Remember that this toy will likely have to sit by the dinner table, receive countless hugs and kisses, and much more.

Children love playing pretend, and it’s even better when mom or dad joins in. Look for a simple stuffed toy that encourages their imagination, or maybe a toy to impress if you’re looking for a special gift. Here are some other things to think about:

Type of Animal

Unless it’s something that will eventually cause harm or encourage bad behavior, give your child the freedom to choose. Children are particular — if the stuffed animal seems to please your kid, then go for it. This could be a shimmery unicorn, or a fluffy bear, for example.

If you have small children, you would want to ensure that there are no small pieces that they could choke on if it came off such as eyes or noses.

Color

Most children tend to gravitate toward colorful objects, which they associate with happy emotions (1). This also applies to stuffed animals, and your little one will likely be happier with a colorful turtle, than a plain black dog.

Size

Consider what your child needs — do they want something to carry or an item for their bed? Maybe they’d like a larger-than-life option?

Material

As this animal will probably go everywhere with you, choose a long-lasting material, such as high-quality cotton, or a plush variety for softness.

Cleaning

In cleaning baby toys, do consider that not all stuffed animals are machine washable; this depends on the material and features. Some can only be wiped down by hand, so if machine wash is important to you, for hygiene or convenience, check the label.

Sensory Features

Some stuffed animals are weighted. The added weight may help soothe those with anxiety, or with sleep issues (2). Other sensory features could include a soft glowing light.


The Best Stuffed Animals of 2021

Here are 25 great stuffed animals, suited for different ages and genders.

1. Melissa & Doug Giant Giraffe

Best of the Biggest

Imagine you’re a three-year-old, standing in front of a 4-foot tall stuffed giraffe. Wouldn’t that excite you? This giant giraffe from Melissa & Doug is the perfect accessory for the kids’ bedroom.

Its long legs are wire-framed and the neck is soft and bendable. Your little one will love to hug and snuggle with this one. The giraffe is handcrafted with polyester fabric, making it durable and easy to clean.


2. Llama Stuffed Animal

Stuffed Llama From Your Mama

This little stuffed llama from Infloatables is both cute and fluffy. The material is high quality and compliant to current child safety standards.

The llama looks adorable, with a small blanket covering its back. Additionally, it’s a great size — 12 inches high and lightweight. Infloatables even includes its own birth certificate, so your child can officially name it.


3. Flappy the Elephant Plush Toy

Sweetest Stuffed Elephant

This 12-inch baby elephant from Gund is cuter than cute. If your little one loves elephants, then this is surely a worthy candidate. It’s made from a high-quality plush material and suitable for children from birth.

Flappy the elephant has big ears that move to play peek-a-boo, by pressing his left foot. Press his right foot and he sings a little song — perfect for nighttime. Batteries required.


4. Melissa & Doug Giant Penguin

A Super Stuffed Penguin

This penguin from Melissa & Doug is excellent for penguin-loving kids. Because of its texture — it’s quite stiff — it’s not suitable for children under three years old.

The penguin is nearly 2 feet tall, so it’s perfect for pretend play, or as a huggable friend. Its features are extremely lifelike!


5. Blueberry Ripple & Jelly Roll

Stuffed Unicorn for Twins

Want matching stuffed animals for your twins? Unicorns are always magical, and in this set, you get two! Blueberry Ripple and Jelly Roll are two of the cutest unicorns ever. They’re bright and colorful and will capture the heart of any child.

They’re actually small bean bags with a hand-washable polyester exterior. Each measures 7 inches long, perfect for little users from 12 months old.


6. Gund Ramon Teddy Bear

Great Classic Teddy Bear

Teddy bears are a classic option, and Gund’s version will not disappoint. This teddy, called Ramon, with a heart-shaped tummy patch and a lopsided smile, ticks the boxes of cute, super-soft, and huggable.

Ramon is 18 inches tall and safe in the hands of children as young as 12 months. The plush material is surface washable.


7. Aurora World Loppy Giraffe

Best Stuffed Animal With Rattle Toy

This plush giraffe from Aurora is super soft and snuggly. Inside its tummy is a rattle for grabbing a baby’s attention. Speaking of grabbing, the giraffe’s neck is just the right size for baby’s grip!

It’s completely safe thanks to its embroidered features. We love the natural colors — it’s easy on the eyes and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

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Smiling baby boy in stripes playing with a rattleBest Baby Rattles of 2021

8. LeapFrog My Pal Violet

Entertaining & Cuddly Pal

Toddlers are sometimes hard to entertain. Fortunately, this stuffed animal from LeapFrog might provide some distraction. It’s suitable for babies aged from six months.

This stuffed animal will give hours of fun. It has over 15 activities and 40+ songs and lullabies. You can even sync it with your smartphone or tablet for personalization.


9. Starshine Watchdogs Orion Light-Up

Great for Nighttime Light

Nighttime can sometimes be a little scary for children. Here we have Orion, a small plush toy dog that lights up whenever your child needs it.

It comes with two portable star lights that you can place in different areas of the room. If your child wakes up and feels scared in the night, pressing a button on the dog’s paw will make the stars light up.

Additionally, it plays soft-spoken phrases to soothe your child. You’ll also get a storybook filled with encouraging tales. Suitable for children from age 30 months.


10. Winsterch Giant Sloth Stuffed Animal

Most Huggable Sloth

Who doesn’t love a super soft stuffed animal that’s big enough to hug? This giant handmade sloth from Winsterch is almost too huggable. Its giant arms fit perfectly for any child over three years in need of a cuddle.

On the outside, it’s made from a fluffy plush material and the inside is filled with cotton. It has big googly eyes and a cute button nose. The size varies as they’re handmade, but the average is 27.5 inches.


11. Warmies Cozy Therapy Plush Elephant

Hot or Cold Comfort Elephant

Sometimes the world gets a little crazy and we all need some comfort. Intelex’s therapy plush elephant can do just that.

Perfect for all ages, this stuffed animal is pretty cool, or warm in this case. You see, this elephant can go in the microwave where you can heat it when needed.

It’s stuffed with lavender seeds to calm aches and sinus problems, among other things. You can also place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer to use as a cold pack.


12. Giant Pandas Plush Stuffed Animals

Perfect Plush Pandas

Pandas are exceptional animals, and here your child gets a mom and her cub. This duo from Exceptional Home is excellent for toddlers, or even older children. The material is safety certified and is free from toxins, such as lead and phthalates.

The momma bear is 18 inches tall, and her little cub is detachable for separate play. Along with the stuffed animals, you also get an Ebook focused on endangered species.


13. Bellzi Baby Shark Stuffed Animal

Great Choice for Water Enthusiasts

Who knew sharks could be cute? I guess different rules apply when it comes to stuffed animals. This baby shark from Bellzi is adorable, plush, and suitable for the tiniest baby. It’s also machine washable, although hand wash is recommended.

The material is an eco-friendly plush variety with an allergy-free polyester stuffing. The eyes are plastic, but Bellzi uses reinforced stitching so that nothing comes off. If sharks are just a bit too scary, a dolphin is also available.


14. My First Teddy Bear

Newborn-Friendly Teddy Bear

Whether you’re looking for nursery decor or something your bundle of joy can cuddle when he gets a little older, this teddy is amazing. Gund’s My First Teddy Bear is cute and soft, and available in three different sizes.

The details are embroidered and you can wash it in the machine, which is a definite plus. No more awkwardly wiping spit up from a fuzzy stuffed animal!


15. Wild Republic Jumbo Crocodile

Great Scary Animal for Older Boys

This stuffed crocodile from Wild Republic is excellent for any boy’s room. It’s made from soft fabric and is completely huggable, even for tough boys (when nobody’s looking).

Your kids will love its size. It’s approximately 30 inches long and is excellent for pretend play. With great attention to detail, this crocodile isn’t missing anything.


16. Bellzi Teal Whale

Sweet Dreams Stuffed Whale

This whale from Bellzi is suitable as early as newborn. The whale is bright blue, with large sweet eyes and 100 percent hypoallergenic.

It’s perfect for car rides and vacations, due to its compact size of only 12.01 inches. The details are all stitched, so there should be no loose fragments coming off.


17. Giant Elephant Stuffed Animal

Best Stuffed Animal for a Quick Gift

This giant plush elephant is the perfect size for any kid and is delivered gift-wrapped for a convenient present. It has big fluffy ears and a soft trunk. Made from plush material, there’ll be cuddles galore.

Your kids will love hugging this giant stuffed floppy animal. It’s almost 39 inches tall. The exterior is also easy to clean — a wipe with a damp cloth should do it. As the details are stitched, it’s probably even suitable for babies — if they like their toys to be huge, that is!


18. Sparkles the Unicorn Plush Toy

Sparkly & Sensory Focused

If your child is over five years of age and you’re looking for a sensory toy, then this unicorn from Creativity for Kids is cuteness overload. The animal is weighted, providing some tactile benefits that create a comforting feeling, much like a hug would.

This chubby unicorn has sequin material on its back, which is reversible. Along with the sequins, there’s a sheet of reusable stickers to decorate the unicorn. There’s also a hedgehog available.


19. Crayola Travel Lap Desk

Cuddle and Scribble Fun

If you’re planning a vacation, take a look at this. This cuddly bunny is the perfect travel companion for your kids. It’s actually a little lap desk, that is suitable for children over four years old.

At the back of the bunny, there’s a pocket with space for drawing supplies. Then at the front, there’s a little drawing desk. Six colorful markers are included.


20. Let's Cuddle Cookie Monster

Great Stuffed Toy for Cookie Lovers

Sesame Street is a favorite among many, and I personally love Cookie Monster. This stuffed character is bright and colorful, soft and plush. It’s recommended for children aged 12 months and over.

This version is rather small, just under 11 inches tall. But that means he’ll fit in even the smallest hands.


21. HollyHome Stuffed Animal Horse

Great Horse Lover’s Toy

This hand-crafted stuffed horse from HollyHome is excellent for little girls aged 3 to 8 years. It’s made from soft plush material and includes a leather saddle.

It’s not really for cuddling but has a lifelike mane that can be combed and braided using the included comb, with a pink bow to finish. There’s also a cloth, to wipe the coat clean after a gallop on the trail!


22. Green Stuffed Dinosaur

The Sweetest Dinosaur

This sweet, 16-inch dinosaur from Marsjoy is excellent for both boys and girls. It’s made from a high-quality plush material and stuffed with cotton.

With a funny face and cute polka dots on its back, this dinosaur is suitable for children over three years of age. Additionally, it’s surface washable. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth.


23. Jellycat Squiggle Lamb

Best Nursery-Rhyme Inspired

The Jellycat squiggle lamb is so cute! It reminds us of the classic nursery rhyme featuring Mary and her little lamb. This 9-inch toy is fluffy and soft, making it the perfect cuddle partner for any age.

Other characters are available, including a piglet, puppy, kitty, or even a gorgeous green frog!


24. Play & Sing Harry the Bunny

Super for Educational Play

Harry the Bunny is a 13-inch stuffed animal toy, great for any age, although we recommend its features for toddlers. He’s interactive and will help your little one count, learn the alphabet, and more.

He’s super cute with a little carrot on his tummy. The toy also plays some popular nursery rhymes, including “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Includes 3 AAA batteries.


25. Organic Sherpa Bear

Great for Charity

This adorable Sherpa bear from Bears for Humanity is not only super cute but also organic. It’s made from GOTS certified cotton, from co-op farmers. It’s suitable for any child.

Inside, the stuffing is made from recycled plastic bottles, inspired by Patagonia. Apart from the cuteness and eco-friendly production, when you buy this, Bears for Humanity donates a stuffed animal to a child in need.


Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.

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