Bookmark this list for your next baby shower, birthday, or really any excuse you might have to buy something for a kid. Because shopping for children is way more fun than buying wedding presents or housewarming gifts, we've rounded up a top ten list of unexpected plush toys that will earn you brownie points with kids and adults alike.
Started in 2002 by Shawn Smith and Jen Brody, Shawnimals plush toys are designed and made in Chicago. The collection ranges from "pocket-sized vinyl ninjas to huggable plush mustaches." Shown: Master Ninja, $30.
Based in the Netherlands, Hektik Boutique maintains a webshop where you can place international orders. Handmade from wool felt, their baby rattles and "cuddles" come in unique shapes and bright colors. Shown: Flap the Rabbit Rattle, €19.
Looking for a Tim Burton-style stuffed Cheshire Cat or Mo Willems plush toys? ShopRockCandy is a webshop (headquartered out of Holbrook, NY) that sells just such weird and wacky stuff for kids. Shown: Alice In Wonderland Cheshire Cat 5" Plush, $11.95.
These are so ubiquitous that they're not really 'out of the ordinary' anymore, but Ugly Dolls — created by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim — deserve to make the list, since they're the instigators of the last decade's plush toy boom. Shown: Dave Darinko Red, $20.
This is one of San Francisco's largest toy stores, with two locations in the city and a good webshop. They carry the classics — teddy bears and plush bunnies — as well as harder-to-find storybook characters. Shown: Where the Wild Things Are Puppet, $25.
Located in four places throughout the Boston area (with a massive webshop as well) Magic Beans is one of those well-stocked stores that has a huge selection of toys, from classics to hip modern brands. Shown: Melissa and Doug Plush Giraffe, $100.
John and Amber Westerman run Pop Deluxe, a gift and accessories shop in Madison, Wisconsin, where they "strive to have the best store in the universe." Shop here for toys from STUF, Kimochi, and Ugly Dolls. Shown: Bird STUF Robin, $13.
From Paddington Bear to Velveteen Rabbits to Mo Willems toys, YoTToy stocks classic and contemporary stuffed animals, alongside their own line of handmade toys. You can shop online and browse by style. Shown: Mo Willems Pigeon Soft Toy, $26.
Wexner Center for the Arts
This is one of our favorite museum shops for kids' toys, and their online store is well stocked. Shop here for designer toys by Charley Harper, Playsam, and House of Ingri. Shown: Moki Monkey by House of Ingri, $25.
Their motto is "No batteries. No blinking lights. No cartoon-themed toys. Period." It gives you an idea of the kinds of things to expect — they have a huge inventory of high-quality plush toys for kids and babies. Shown: Grande Mozart Monkey, $46.
Top Photo: Hektik Boutique