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Best teddy bears and soft toys kids will love to cuddle

Cute and comforting, soft toys and teddy bears make the perfect companion for children of all ages. Here are the best teddy bears and plush toys you can buy today, as recommended by real parents.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Jan 2, 2024

Best Teddies and Soft Toys

Whilst parents tend to fit strongly into the love them or loathe them camps, children just can’t get enough of teddies and plush soft toys. Thanks to their cuddly nature, super soft fabrics and adorable, friendly faces, the best teddy bears can also be a huge source of comfort for a child. Snuggling up in bed with the favourite teddy bear or best doll at story time helps kids get ready for a good night’s sleep, and they can also be a familiar and reassuring friend when your child is in unfamiliar surroundings.

Teddy bears make a lovely gift for babies, as well as being one of the best toys for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. Older kids love them too, especially collectibles like Beanie Boos and Squishmallows.

If you’re considering buying a soft toy or teddy bear for a child, you’ll want one that’s high quality, soft to the touch and can withstand some fairly forceful hugging. We've turned to the wisdom of the thousands of parents who post in the Mumsnet forums every day, searching fro authentic, tried-and-tested recommendations of toys their children love. Whether it’s a super soft teddy bear, a giant teddy bear or even a talking teddy bear, we’ve researched the best teddy bear and soft toys that your child can cherish forever.

Here are the best teddies and soft toys you can buy in 2024.

1. Best overall teddy bear: Jellycat Bartholemew Bear

Jellycat Bartholemew Bear

RRP: £32 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs:

Age Suitability: From birth | Material: 100% polyester | Washable: Hand wash | Dimensions: Height 16cm, Length 8cm, Width 7cm

What we love:

  • Traditional teddy design

  • Jellycat’s super soft fur

  • Excellent quality

What to know:

  • Costly

  • Some children may prefer the Bashful Bunny Jellycat design

What Mumsnet users say:

Has to be Jellycats, they are gorgeous designs and the softest, cuddliest thing you'll ever feel!”  (Brand tried and tested  by Mumsnet user rbe78)

JellyCat...My son got his first just after being born, he's had a new one each year so now has a lovely collection. He's 12 now and still likes a new one even though they all sit on his shelf...except for the one he got for his first birthday that he still sleeps with.”  (Recommended by Mumsnet user Sheldock)

Our verdict

When parents ask in the Mumsnet forums for soft toy recommendations, there is one brand that gets mentioned time and time again - Jellycat. Thanks to their incredibly soft fabrics and high quality designs that are suitable from birth, these cute and cuddly characters make the perfect soft toys to send to a child as a gift.

Whilst the Bashful Bunny is the most popular Jellycat toy, Bartholemew Bear has a more traditional teddy bear design with soft squishy limbs, friendly dark eyes and an adorable embroidered nose. Measuring 28cm tall, he’s also the ideal size for bedtime cuddles, with super soft tousled fur.

2. Best budget teddy bear: Ikea Fabler Bjorn Bear

Ikea Fabler Bjorn Bear

RRP: £1.75 | Buy now from Ikea 

Key specs:

Age suitability: From birth | Material: 100% polyester | Washable: Machine wash at 40 degrees | Dimensions: Length 21cm

What we love:

  • Bargain price tag

  • Super cute smiley face

  • Super soft body

What to know:

  • Fairly small in size - so easier to lose, but at that price, you can always justify buying a spare!

What Mumsnet users say:

My daughter  is 8 months and obsessed with a stuffed bear from IKEA. It was actually ours one of the first things we brought together on an IKEA trip”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MustBeAWeasly)

“Blue bear was my daughter’s favourite teddy and an absolute bargain” (Recommended by Mumsnet writer Lucy Cotterill)

Our verdict

If you’re after a cute and friendly teddy for your child but don’t want to spend a fortune, they don’t get much more affordable than this budget friendly blue bear from IKEA.

Despite its low price tag, this CE marked teddy can quickly become a firm favourite thanks to his friendly expressive face, heart vest and gently weighted body. He’s the ideal carry along teddy for trips out in the pushchair, but be careful, due to his small size he’s a little more easy to lose than some.

Related: The best trikes for babies and toddlers, tried and tested by Mumsnetters

3. Best talking teddy bear: Furreal Friends Cubby Bear

Cubby Bear

RRP: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs:

Age suitability: 4 years + | Materials: Plush (unspecified) | Washable: Surface clean only | Dimensions: 21.59 x 50.8 x 44.45 cm

What we love:

  • Interactive teddy with over 100 different sounds and reactions

  • Larger size is great for siblings to share

  • Night time mode can play sleep sounds

What to know:

  • Heavy

  • Requires four C batteries (not included)

  • Costly

What Mumsnet users say:

“My just turned 5-year-old daughter had a Cubby Bear for Christmas. He still gets played with every evening when she’s winding down for bed, and he has pride of place in her bed!”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user PaulineScrambledPhones )

“My daughter loves her Cubby bear which she got when she was 6 and still loves him now 3 years later.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user CoffeeChocolateWine)

Our verdict

This is no ordinary teddy bear. Cubby from FurReal is an interactive and expressive bear that responds to your child’s touch - moving his head, eyes, nose, mouth and arms and creating over 100 sound and motion responses during play.

Suitable for children aged four and over, he even comes with a cute 3 in 1 accessory which is a bottle, snack and comb in one, allowing your children to nurture and care for their new friend.

Thanks to Cubby’s night time mode, you don’t have to worry about him keeping your children aware at night. Quite the opposite in fact. Cubby can play soothing sounds and soft music to help your children become calm and relaxed before bed.

4. Best soft toys for older children: Squishmallows

Squishmallows

RRP: From £9 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs:

Age suitability: 3 years + | Materials: spandex filled with polyester fibre | Washable: Spot clean or machine wash on cool cycle | Dimensions: Choice of sizes including small, medium, large and extra large

What we love:

  • Ultra soft and squishy

  • Collectable nature

  • Ideal for travel

What to know:

  • Be warned - they won’t want to stop at one

What Mumsnet users say:

My 8-year-old loves them. She has a massive one she uses as a pillow. Her friends really like them still. She has asked for another one for Christmas to add to her collection. I quite like them. Nice and cuddly”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Angelopal)

My 8-year-old son is obsessed with them, they are cuter than other soft toys I’ve seen sand are extremely soft much more so than other toys. He wants loads” (Recommended by Mumsnet user SpinningFloppa)

Our verdict

With a somewhat iconic status, the super soft, squishy and huggable Squishmallows have grown hugely in popularity over recent years and with good reason - they’re so cute and soft to touch that even some Mumsnet users admit to having one or two themselves!

Available in a range of sizes from small to giant, Squishmallows come in a wide range of fun and friendly themes including animals, foods and licensed characters. They make a cosy and comfortable pillow for relaxing, reading or travel. A word of caution however, your child is likely to want to amass quite the Squishmallows collection and the larger size ones don’t come cheap.

5. Best soft toy for a newborn: Jellycat Bashful Bunny Baby

Jellycat Bashful Bunny Baby

RRP: £16 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs:

Age suitability: From Birth | Material: 100% polyester fill | Washable: Hand wash | Dimensions: H14cm x W6cm x L7cm

What we love:

  • Super soft

  • Gently weighted body

  • Smaller size perfect for babies

What to know:

  • Although suitable from birth, this toy should not be left in the cot whilst your baby sleeps

What Mumsnet users say:

The Jellycat Bashful Bunny range is cute and popular and come in different sizes.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user SpacePotato)

“The smallest Jellycat bunny is what I always get for a new baby; they are so soft and perfect for tiny hands. My granddaughter (who will be 3 in the summer) still loves her white one, but also now has a larger pinky-red one. They are very appealing” (Recommended by Mumsnet user GiantKitten)

Our verdict

One of the most popular soft toys for newborn, Jellycat’s Bashful Bunny comes highly recommended in both the Mumsnet forums and online retailer reviews thanks to his super soft fur, long floppy ears and a gently weighted body.

A great gift for babies, he ’s the ideal size for small hands to reach out and grab. He’s also built to last, easily coping with lots of cuddles as your child grows up. The only downside, his white fur can become grubby quite quickly with sticky toddler fingers. A quick hand wash however, and he will be good as new in no time.

6. Best giant soft toy: Melissa & Doug Sea Turtle

Melissa & Doug Sea Turtle

RRP: £41 | Buy now from eBay

Key specs:

Age suitability: 3 years+ | Materials: Polyester | Washable: Washable surface | Dimensions: 23.8 x 17 x 6.5 cm

What we love:

  • Realistic design

  • 3 feet long giant soft toy

What to know:

  • Difficult to store

  • More suitable for larger bedrooms or playrooms

What Mumsnet users say:

The large Melissa and Doug large soft toys are brilliant. We have quite a few and the sea turtle is lovely.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user OohKittens)

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a teddy or soft toy that makes a real statement, these giant size Melissa and Doug toys certainly do just that. With realistic, lifelike designs of animals in the natural world, we love the attention to detail and authentic markings on this giant sea turtle.

These larger sized soft toys are great for hands on creative play, whilst also making the ideal companion for your child’s bedroom or playroom. A cute and cuddly friend for your child’s book corner, they can quickly become the perfect pillow for reading, chilling or listening to audio books before bed.

7. Best quality teddy bear: Steiff Jimmy Teddy Bear

Steiff Jimmy Teddy Bear

RRP: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs:

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Materials: 100% polyester | Washable: ‎30° C Gentle Wash | Dimensions: ‎20 x 18 x 8cm

What we love:

  • Traditional teddy bear design

  • Excellent quality

  • Great option for a keepsake bear

What to know:

  •  Costly

What Mumsnet users say:

“My two have cuddly Steiff bears, both are the only soft toys they cuddle in bed. Lovely bears, more reasonable than one of the collectable jointed Steiff.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user mnahmnah)

“ I got mine a Steiff teddy - one of the cuddly ones designed for younger children. Less than a year on it was happily her favourite of many stuffed toys she has been given” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Etherealhedgehog)

Our verdict

With over 120 years experience, Steiff certainly know how to make a high quality teddy bear. Unlike the more rigid jointed Steiff bears that you may be familiar with however, the Soft Cuddly Friends range from the same brand offers excellent quality soft bodied bears that are ideal for younger children.

A traditional teddy bear design, children will love Jimmy’s super soft tousled fur, friendly little smile and the Steiff button tag on his ear. At 30cm tall, he makes a great bedtime companion to help little ones snuggle up and drift away to the land of Nod.

8. Best cuddly toy sleep aid: myHummy

myHummy

RRP: £43 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs:

Age suitability: From birth | Materials: 90% polyester, 10% cotton | Washable: Machine washable (with sound device removed) | Dimensions: ‎5 x 13 x 24 cm

What we love:

  • Sleep aid and cuddly toy combined

  • Range of comforting white and pink noise sounds

What to know:

  • Poor battery life

  • Costly

What Mumsnet users say:

“It really worked for me, it was a big help in getting my daughter to actually nap with me rather than always with her mother. The teddy bear one is great as it helps become a 'friend' too.” - (Recommded by Mumsnet user isabloguk)

We still use myHummy for our 4 year old! You can also put it on repeat for 12 hours. We bring it on holidays and nights away. It’s really handy to block out background noise. Absolutely recommend!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Givemeallthegin8)

Our verdict

If your baby or toddler has difficulty drifting off to sleep, myHummy can be a great solution. An innovative sleep aid and soft toy combined, myHummy is a cute and cuddly sleep aid with a sound box that can create familiar white noises to calm and settle your baby or toddler at bedtime.

With five unique white and pink noise sounds to soothe and settle your baby, myHummy offers a 60 minute running time, with sounds gently fading away to silence. You will need a steady supply of batteries however, as the sleep aid can guzzle through your Duracels pretty quickly.

9. Best collectible soft toy: Ty Beanie Boos

Ty Beanie Boos

RRP: from £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs:

Age Suitability: 18 months plus | Materials: ‎Polyester | Washable: Spot clean / handwash | Dimensions: ‎7.62 x 8.89 x 15.24 cm

What we love:

  • Huge glittery eyes

  • Smaller size for portability

  • Each Beanie Boo character has their own birthday and fun facts

What to know:

  • Some Beanie Boos are rarer than others, meaning it can be challenging to collect them all

What Mumsnet users say:

“My girls (6 and 8) LOVE teddies. They switched from liking Jellycats to Ty Beanie Boos a few years ago. The beanie boos have weird big eyes but that seems to be part of the attraction… Lots of unicorn options (we must have 10 different ones!).”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user BadgerFace)

“TY beanie boos - but you may want to check any they may already have, lots of girls collect them (mine are obsessed!)” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Hophop26)

Our verdict

With loads of different designs to collect, the adorable Ty Beanie Boos have become incredibly popular amongst tweens across the globe in recent years.

Not to be confused with Beanie Babies or Squish a Boos, Beanies Boos have a cute sitting stance with large glittery eyes and a cute smirk like smile. Each Beanie Boo has their own name and birthday, meaning you can even try and match your child’s birthday whilst gifting.

10. Best small soft toy: Living Nature Highland Calf

RRP: £14.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs:

Age suitability: From birth | Materials: Plush (unspecified) | Washable: Hand wash only | Dimensions: ‎8 x 6 x 17cm

What we love:

  • Super soft fur

  • Realistic and true to life design

  • Educational facts on tag

What to know:

  • Costly for a smaller toy

  • There are over 120 to collect

What Mumsnet users say:

My child has a few of the Living Nature ones. They have a nice brown bear - they also have a very cute hedgehog, and the reindeer and Highland cow are nice too!”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Goldbar)

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a more lifelike and realistic cuddly toy, these soft toys from Living Nature are a great place to start, with over 120 soft toy animals to collect and authentic designs from the natural world.

Thanks to the list of fun and educational animal facts on the tag, children can learn more about their new friend whilst snuggling up to his dense, dual tone plush fur.

What’s the best brand for teddy bears and soft toys?

The best brand for teddy bears and soft toys will very much depend on your budget and preferences, however, with a fairly unanimous verdict from Mumsnet users, Jellycat is a popular choice for a wide range of cute and cuddly soft toy designs including the Bashful Bunny range and our top teddy bear pick, Bartholomew Bear.

What’s the best way to wash a teddy bear?

Due to being a much loved companion for your child, teddy bears can be prone to getting a little grubby. Whilst some teddies can be thrown into the washing machine on a cool wash, the safest way to wash your teddy is by hand, as this prevents them from becoming misshapen or damaged during cleaning.

We recommend you check the care instructions on each individual toy, as some products recommend spot cleaning only. It’s also important to consider any parts that may need removing before making contact with water.

What’s the best teddy bear to buy?

The best teddy bear to buy today is Jellycat’s Bartholemew Bear, thanks to his super soft fur, traditional teddy bear design and engaging friendly face. That said, we are confident that all of the teddy bears and soft toys on this list would go down well with little ones; each offering something unique and appealing for young children.

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard. When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

There is a lot of debate within the Mumsnet forums about teddy bears - with some saying they love them, and others who have so many they’re struggling to know how to store them.

First, we sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users, to get their feedback on their kids’ favourite teddy bears and soft toys - the companions their kids own and have cuddled to their heart’s content.

We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsetters highlighted teddy bears and soft toys that they felt were poor quality or overpriced.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best teddies and soft toys, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, John Lewis and The Entertainer to get broader consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.