You might not think you know Best Years, but I’m almost certain you will recognise their fabulous knitted and crocheted toys, particularly the iconic dinosaurs. Inspired by their own children, they began making toys over 10 years ago to offer an alternative to plush toys.
Why we love: What’s not to love about a knitted rainbow stripe T-Rex? I mean, seriously! He may have his teeth bared, but he’s definitely more huggable than horrifying. On a more practical note, the texture of knitted and crochet toys is great for sensory development and there are no small pieces, so all toys are suitable from birth… to adulthood! Oh, and they’re machine washable. Win! We applaud their ethical credentials as well – the range of Fairtrade crocheted items is made by cooperatives in rural Bangladesh creating thousands of jobs.
Three cool buys: Aside from the knitted dinos, we love the Fairtrade crochet cotton dolls, particularly the smiley mermaid with her stripy tail: she’s available in turquoise and pink as a rattle, £12.99, large, £24.99 and giant doll, £82.50. The natural rubber dinosaur range, £9.99 each, is brilliant for babies – easy to clutch and chew with lots of different bumps and textures to soothe sore gums – but also appealing for older children’s small world play. Our favourite is the super-cute red triceratops. Finally, it has to be the knitted sausage dog in his jolly jumper, £14.99, although it was a close call between him and the sweet Friendly Fruit crochet rattle set, £26.99.
Brands: In addition to Best Years’ own brand knitted toys, you’ll find their partners Pebble’s Fairtrade crochet toys and rattles and Under the Nile’s organic cotton baby clothes and toys.