The 10 Best Stuffed Animals

Cuddly and cute plush friends for every age

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If you're looking for that perfect gift that will bring a child love and comfort, a stuffed animal is a great choice. It's a classic gift that kids of all ages will love and cherish for years to come.

There's a special bond between a child and a stuffed animal, so picking the right one is important. You'll want to consider the recommended age range for the toy, as well as the size and quality of the stuffed animal. They come in all different designs, from cartoon characters to stuffed sloths, so you have lots of options when picking one out.

Here are the stuffed animals that will quickly become new favorites.

Our Top Picks
A great size for carrying around on the go.
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Adorned with a shimmery horn, hooves, and other details, it measures nearly 3 feet tall and can sturdily stand on all four legs.
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These stuffed Labradoodles...are simply squee-worthy.
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Made of soft fabric with realistic details and arms long enough to give your kid a hug.
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Incredibly soft with tons of personality.
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Recommended for ages 3 and up, it also comes in pink.
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Rather than the fluffy fur on most stuffed animals, the fabric has a corduroy texture, making it a little easier to clean.
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One of the most fun ways to measure a growing child's height.
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This stuffed pig measures 12" high and is covered in velvety pink fur.
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Measuring 22 inches, it’s a great way to add a pop of personality to a nursery or other ocean-themed bedroom.
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Best Pokémon: TOMY Pokémon XY Pikachu Plush

Pokemon Plush

Stuffed video game characters are perfect for little gamers who want to cuddle their favorite characters offscreen. This plush Pikachu is sure to be a hit with Pokémon fans.

Inspired by Pokémon X and Pokémon Y (don’t worry, your kids will know what that means), it measures just 7 x 4 x 8 inches. It’s a great size for carrying around on the go.

Recommended for ages 3 through 7, customers say it’s cute, and the quality is good. Game on!

Best Unicorn: Melissa & Doug Giant Unicorn Stuffed Animal

melissa-and-doug

There isn’t a creature more magical than the mythical one-horned unicorn. This giant stuffed one by Melissa & Doug takes that magic to a whole new lovely level.

Adorned with a shimmery horn, hooves, and other details, it measures nearly 3 feet tall and can sturdily stand on all four legs. While it’s not made for riding, it’s sure to spur lots of make-believe fun.

Recommended for ages 3 and up, it’s great for anyone who could use a little magic in their lives. Customers say kids go crazy for it and that it’s super soft and sturdy.

Best Dog: Pottery Barn Kids Labradoodle Plush

Labradoodle Plush Collection

Nothing is sweeter than kids with puppies. These stuffed Labradoodles from Pottery Barn Kids are simply squee-worthy.

Made from faux fur, they’re soft and snuggly. They come in three sizes: small (12 inches high), medium (18 inches high) and jumbo (30.5 inches high). You can get one or a whole litter. The small is okay for all ages, while the medium and jumbo are recommended for ages 2 and up and 3 and up, respectively.

Whether they have a real pup of their own or not, one of these is sure to be a constant companion.

Best Sloth: Wild Republic Cuddlekin Three Toed Sloth Plush

Wild Republic Cuddlekin Three Toed Sloth Plush

What could be more calm and comforting than a stuffed sloth? This three-toed sloth from Wild Republic is a great companion for lounging and hanging around.

Made of soft fabric with realistic details and arms long enough to give your kid a hug, it’s a sweet, unique friend they can add to their collection. It measures about 12 inches high, and kids and adults alike love this quirky stuffed animal.

Best Cat: Jellycat Bashful Grey and White Kitty Stuffed Animal

Jellycat Bashful Grey and White Kitty Stuffed Animal

For a furry feline friend, this bashful grey kitty from Jellycat is hard to beat. Incredibly soft with tons of personality, we’d say it’s the cat’s meow.

It’s suitable for babies from birth and up and comes in two sizes: small (7 inches) and medium (12 inches). One of these (or a whole litter) makes the purr-fect gift for cat lovers both young and old.

Best Elephant: ebba Lil Benny Phant

ebba Lil Benny Phant

They say elephants never forget. We’re pretty sure little ones won’t forget to bring this cute little elephant from Aurora World along with them wherever they go.

Complete with heart-stealing droopy eyes, it measures 9 inches tall and is simple, sweet, and soft. Recommended for ages 3 and up, it also comes in pink. This plush pachyderm is affordable too, and it's perfect for a gift or any special occasion.

Best Fox: Jellycat Cordy Roy Fox Stuffed Anima

Jellycat Cordy Roy Fox Stuffed Animal

What did the fox say? We may never really know, but kids can come up with plenty of guesses as they play with this adorable Cordy Roy fox from Jellycat.

Quirky and fun, this fox is sure to become a favorite companion. Rather than the fluffy fur that you see on most stuffed animals, the fabric has a corduroy texture, making it a little easier to clean.

Parents say it’s well made, and some even say that their kids love it so much that they order a backup in case their kids' foxy friend gets lost.

Best Giraffe: Melissa & Doug Giant Giraffe

Melissa & Doug® Giant Giraffe - Lifelike Stuffed Animal (over 4 feet tall)

At over 4 feet tall, this giraffe from Melissa & Doug is sure to be king of the jungle, or at least the playroom. If your child's room has a jungle theme, it's sure to blend right in.

Designed for kids 3 years and up, it has big potential for playtime fun. It's also one of the most fun ways to measure a growing child's height.

Best Pig: Jellycat Bashful Piggy Stuffed Animal

bashful-piggy

This soft and cuddly stuffed pig is so cute, you’ll squeal! This stuffed pig measures 12" high and is covered in velvety pink fur. Your little one will love to cuddle up to this sweet barnyard animal during bedtime and story time. If it gets dirty, it can be hand-washed and left out to dry.

Reviewers gave this stuffed animal glowing reviews, and they made note of the accompanying board books that can be purchased with the pig.

Best Squid: Wild Republic Giant Squid Plush Toy

Wild Republic Giant Squid Plush Toy

Do you have a little one who dreams of being under the sea? Wild Republic has the coolest toy—this amazingly quirky and fun giant stuffed squid.

Super soft, the squid has lifelike features, including eight arms, two tentacles, and bulging eyes. It even has a great beak to complete the realistic feel.

Measuring 22 inches, it’s a great way to add a pop of personality to a nursery or other ocean-themed bedroom. It lets kids explore the depths of their imaginations during playtime.

What to Look for in Stuffed Animals

Size

Stuffed animals come in all different sizes, from ones that fit in your hand to ones that take up a whole room. When choosing a stuffed animal, the size is important. Too small and you can't cuddle with it; too big and it won't fit in bed comfortably. That's why it's necessary that you look at those dimensions so you know exactly what size the stuffed animal is.

Quality

Stuffed animals can go through a lot. They're tossed around, chewed on, and stomped all over, so they need to be made well so they last. Look for sturdy stitches, especially those that connect ears and legs to the body. The noses and eyes should be sewn on well for safety. Quality stuffed animals are filled with cotton, wool, or polyester.

Type

Stuffed animals can be the classic characters you know or unique ones that you could never think up. You may know right away what type of stuffed animal you want to get. That makes the search much easier because you can narrow it down immediately. If you're not sure which one would be best, take a minute to think of the person who will be receiving it. Think about their favorite animals, colors, and activities. That will give you a pretty good clue for what they might like.

Recommended Age

All stuffed animals will come with a recommended age. Keep within that age range to keep everyone safe and happy.

FAQ
  • How should you store stuffed animals?

    Stuffed animals can take up a lot of room and really call for a special storage solution. There are a variety of ways to store stuffed animals, including using baskets, hammocks, cubbies, shelves, and a whole lot more. These storage tools will keep them out of the way but also ready to play with at a moment's notice.

  • How do you clean stuffed animals?

    Kids can be messy, and if they have a stuffed animal as a companion, it's going to get messy, too. There are a few different ways to clean stuffed animals depending on whether they're machine-washable or not. If there's a care tag on the toy, follow the directions for the best results. Some stuffed animals can be machine-washed, while others will need to be spot-cleaned, dried, and treated for odors.

  • Where can you donate stuffed animals?

    There are many children out there who would love to have the comfort of a special friend. Many organizations accept new and even gently used stuffed animals. Start by contacting your local hospital, children's shelter, and police and fire departments to see if they're in need of donated stuffed animals. You can also contact charities, daycare centers, and churches. All of these places can hopefully help connect your donation with a child in need.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Additional research for this article comes from Stacy Fisher, a long-time writer who specializes in crafting, DIYs, and other home topics.

Updated by
Stacy Fisher
Stacy Fisher, Writer

Stacy is a writer and freebies expert with nearly two decades of experience. She has appeared as an expert on Dr. Oz Show and several radio shows, published hundreds of articles, and co-authored a book. Stacy's written about how to celebrate the holidays for less, decorate your home with free printables, and has curated the best free resources for parents and teachers. Stacy also has an extensive background in academia.

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