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Toddler Talk: It's a Zoo out There!

My son is obsessed with animals: puppies, kitties, turtles ... even ants. Basically, if it moves, he wants to hug, pet, kiss, chase—or, in the case of ants, unwittingly squish—it. Since we already have one grumpy, much-beleaguered-by-a-toddler cat, we can't add any more pets to our home. But these ten animal-themed toys are all awesome ways to celebrate the animal kingdom ... with no pooper-scoopers or pet sitters required.

1. Turtle Family Bath Set

Playmaker Toys' floating bathtime set combines two things my toddler loves: turtles, and babies with their mommies. It's good for playing in and out of water ... and for chewing on when teething, of course.

To buy: Amazon, $9

2. Pull Along Dachshund

Brio has been crafting this classic wooden pull-toy since 1953. My son doesn't know any of that—he just loves the pup's bright yellow ears, bouncy tail, and the excellent design which means that no matter how hard, fast, or tangled my son gets it, this hot dog always stays upright and ready to roll.

To buy: Amazon, $15

3.Counting Octopi Wooden Toy Puzzle

This natural-wood, hand-carved octopus puzzle from ImagiPLAY will not only help develop fine-motor skills, but the mommy and baby octopi will also teach your little one how to count to fifteen.

To buy: Amazon, $18

4. Blue Morpho Butterfly Wings Costume

What's better than chasing butterflies? Being the butterfly! Your little caterpillars can pretend to fly with these soft, stuffed-animal like costume wings from Blue Morpho.

To buy: The Big Zoo, $18

5. My First Zoo

Sturdy and colorful, this LEGO set will let your little zookeeper care for a baby elephant, tiger, giraffe and polar bear—and drive a sweet zookeeper car!

To buy: LEGO Duplo, $25

6. Mouse Family

You won't mind if this adorable family of stuffed mice invades your home! Danish design company Maileg has created a Borrowers-esque group of cuddly creations who will help spark your little ones' imaginations. Mum and Dad come in their own cigar-box bed, their kids sleep in cushy matchboxes and they live in Milk Carton Mouse House. Don't forget to add this slice-of-cheese rocker to your playset!

To buy: Pink Olive, from $28

7. Woodland Creative Play Set

Bring the outside in with this sturdy, simple but well-craft wood(land) set that features bears, beavers, turtles, foxes and more happy forest creatures. Thankfully, no mosquitoes.

To buy: DwellStudio, $29

8. Baby Bear Bean Bag Chair

This friendly, brown beanbag bear from Children's Plush has decided to lay down for a nap, and will certainly encourage your kids to hibernate with him ... or at least lounge a bit for reading, movie night, or cuddling.

To buy: Hayneedle, $70

9. Rocking Rabbit

Why settle for a rocking horse, when you could have this sleek, glossy rockin' rabbit from Playsam? Winner of the Excellent Swedish Design seal of approval, it'll earn your children's delight, as well.

To buy: Babesta, $109

10. Tumbling Elephants

Are they toys, furniture, or just pure awesomeness compressed into stackable foam fun? bOble has created a series of animal-themed geometric shapes that encourage motor-skill development while growing with your child. Don't stop with the Elephant -- add the Tumbling Fish, Crocodile and Chicken to your own personal menagerie!

To buy: Fat Brain Toys, from $49

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