Why do kids love horses so much? There are a lot of theories, but the one that sticks best for me is this one, from Laurel Braitman, an MIT graduate student who writes about animals, in an article from NPR:
“Horses and dolphins and unicorns — these are all borderland creatures; gateway animals to other worlds… They help us imagine wonderful other ways of being in the world. They let us be cowgirls and oceanographers and mermaids and princesses.”
The best way for kids to engage with those imaginary worlds is through playtime, and luckily, this is a great year for all things with hooves and horns! Unicorns are especially trendy this year, as we saw at Toy Fair, which means that your little colts and fillies will have plenty of magical friends to choose from. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Jellycat Bashful 12” Unicorn, ages 1 & up
The perfect companion for bedtime stories: this snuggly pal has that signature Jellycat squish, and a bit of sparkle to boot.
Cloud B Twilight Buddy Unicorn, newborn & up
This plush unicorn brings magical comfort to kids who are afraid of the dark, projecting soothing colorful constellations on the ceiling. It even comes with a Constellation Star Guide so older kids can learn all about the real stars in the night sky!
Douglas Pax Unicorn, ages 2 & up
Toddlers will love to pet and play with this silky-soft unicorn, made to gallop across any playroom, living room, or bedroom comforter.
Melissa & Doug Farm Friends Hand Puppets, ages 2 & up
Little kids love animal noises, so they’ll never say “neigh” to playtime with these four soft and snuggly farm friends! Along with a horse, this set comes with a cow, sheep, and pig, and they’re all great fun for both parents and kids.
Douglas Stoney Appaloosa Horse, ages 2 & up
Celebrate our horsey heritage with this beloved American breed in cuddly kohair! The Appaloosa is one of the most popular breeds in the US because of their gorgeous spots.
Douglas Pink Ballerina Sassy Tote with White Horse, ages 2 & up
For the ultra-girlie horse fancier: this teeny pony rides in a pink floral purse with plenty of tulle and glitter. It’s a great way to take pretend-play on the go!
FIGURINES AND PLAYSETS
Schleich Unicorn Figure, ages 3 & up
Schleich Unicorn Foal, ages 3 & up
Schleich Zebra Stallion, ages 3 & up
Schleich Griffin Knight on Horse, ages 3 & up
Schleich Sera Fairy with Horse, ages 3 & up
Schleich Feya Fairy with Horse, ages 3 & up
The gorgeous realistic details of Schleich figurines makes them irresistible for animal-loving kids of all ages, and they’re solid all the way through, built strong enough to handle rough usage. We also love how the riders on the horses stick with magnets, so kids won’t get frustrated by a rider being ejected during a particularly lively gallop!
Playmobil Fairies with Toadstool House, ages 4 & up
Playmobil Fantasy Horse Carry Case, ages 4 & up
Playmobil 123 Take Along Barn, ages 18 months & up
There’s something for every little horsie fan in this assortment! Toddlers can enjoy their earliest pretend play with the 123 Take Along Barn, taking the cute little rider on imaginative adventures at home or abroad. The Fantasy Horse Carry Case is just as portable and a little more advanced – the horse has a mane and tail they can really brush! And the Fairies with Toadstool House set comes with tons of accessories to provide an immersive play environment for the fairies and the three included unicorns.
WOW Toys Poppy’s Pony Adventure, ages 18 months & up
More fun for toddlers and preschoolers: take Sally on pretend-play adventures with her car, Poppy, and her horse, Popcorn! The horse trailer attaches to the car to bring Popcorn to the horse show, and the car and tailgate open and close to let Sally and Popcorn easily in and out.
Breyer Color Surprise Horse Bath Toy – Ella, ages 4 & up
Who knew that horses were so enthusiastic about baths? When Ella gets wet, she changes from purple to pink. Kids will love playing with her glamorous mane and dressing her in her fancy bathrobe when it’s time to get out of the tub.
Plushcraft Unicorn Pillow, ages 5 & up
Kids can create their own pretty-in-pink decoration simply by punching pieces of fabric into the pillow with the included tool, according to the numbered legend. It’s easy to make a pillow that comes out looking great!
Glitter Petz Unicorn, ages 6 & up
Glitter Petz Dixie Pony, ages 6 & up
Personalize a friend who can come along for all of your adventures: Glitter Petz are made to be customized with the included glittery gems, and they come with a hook to hang them on your bookbag. I love how until you stick the glittery eyes on, they appear to have their eyes closed – how cute is that?
Fashion Angels My Little Pony Sketch Portfolio, ages 4 & up
Fashion Angels My Little Pony Mini Sketch Book, ages 4 & up
Discover the magic of friendship and have some creative fun with the Mane Six and all of their pony friends! The Sketch Portfolio has more deluxe design options, including stencil sheets and foil stickers.
Hog Wild Unicorn Popper, ages 4 & up
The Unicorn Popper is an ever so slightly more magical variation on the Pig Popper: like the rest of the Popper toys, you squeeze the unicorn’s belly to eject a soft foam ball out of its mouth with a mighty POP! Great for indoor or outdoor fun.
Djeco Fairy and Unicorn Puzzle, ages 4 & up
This 36-piece puzzle has thick, solid pieces for small hands, and depicts a moonlit woodland scene where a charming fairy meets a playful unicorn.
Skip Hop Zoo Pack Unicorn Backpack, ages 3 & up
Zoo Pack backpacks are sized just right for little kids, and give them a great way to show off some personality! The Unicorn Backpack features a spiral horn, charming pink ears, and little rainbows on the zipper pulls – it couldn’t be cuter.