Best Toy Design 3-5 years | Junior Design Awards 2021

These were the toys that wowed the judges at the 2021 Junior Design Awards - and make the perfect gifts for toddlers and pre-schoolers.




WHO: ThreadBear Design

WHAT: Tenderleaf General Stores Bundle
This beautiful wooden Grocery Store with multiple shelves and compartments for children to display their own perfect configuration of fruit, veg and sundries, really blew our judges away. The incredible quality and attention to detail – every item of food was beautifully made – were admired from every angle and many of our judges couldn’t resist sitting down for a little play. The panel felt that this grocery store with accessories including food and scales and baskets, would be so much fun to play with and would encourage role play, an understanding of shopping locally, different food types, numbers and so much more. Everyone agreed that this was a premium toy that would bring a huge amount of joy and style to any home, and thanks to it’s quality and timeless appeal could be handed down through generations.

The eco-conscious values of this brand were also much admired and the panel were thrilled to hear that these toys are made from reclaimed wood from sustainable Indonesian rubberwood plantations, colours and illustrations are applied with earth-friendly inks and packaging is mindful of waste and plastic-free. On top of this, ThreadBear Design has partnered with Eden Reforestation projects to plant 10 trees for every order processed and have planted over 25,000 trees to date! Congratulations on your award and all your good work, ThreadBear Design!

This is one of my favourite entries from this year’s Awards. I can imagine so many children enjoying playing shop and inviting their friends over to queue for veg! I can't tell you how much fun I had setting this up for judging day... its such a beautiful toy that will just last and last!
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior
Just gorgeous! The attention to detail is wonderful. My children would absolutely love this and it’s so gorgeous I wouldn’t mind it living in any room of the house.
Eleonore Crompton, Contributing Editor, Junior
I absolutely love the eco factor of this company!
Chloe Thurston Stylist and Influencer @chloeuberkids
Such beautiful attention to detail!
Sonia Haria, Beauty Director, The Telegraph Group

WHERE: ThreadBear Design



WHO: Tonies
The Toniebox a portable, soft, safe and fun audio speaker for kids aged 3-8years

WHY: These bright and fun looking cubes are such a fantastic invention for children who love audio stories and parents who want to give their children some independence when it comes to selecting their own entertainment without having to give them access to a screen. Many of our judges were already fans of this audio system and knew all about the many and varied hand painted figurines known as Tonies, that are placed on top of the cube to activate the sound – either music, stories or educational content – and then taken off again to stop it. Our panel felt that this highly original way of listening and giving children a sense of autonomy was fantastic.

Sturdy, intuitive design. Love the look and feel.
Charlotte Jolly, Beauty Director, Hello!
We LOVE our tonies! It is so easy to use ( and I am a real techno phobe)! The kids navigate it easily too - even my one year old. A fantastic product!
Chloe Thurston, Stylist and Influencer @chloeubderkids

WHERE: Tonies



WHO: Mabel & Me
A beautifully illustrated play set designed to inspire imaginary play and storytelling.

WHY: Sometimes it’s the more simple, low tech toys that captivate children and hold their attention. Our judges felt thatMabel’s Mouse House was definitely one such toy. This cardboard mouse house that opens up to reveal its charming cottage interior with its roof turning into a pretty garden complete with washing line, really struck a chord with our panel – including 11 year old Pepper of @peppapics – who felt this super cute and nostalgic play house would provide the set for so many adventures and imaginary tales. The beautifully illustrated house shaped box has a useful carry handle, magnetic fastenings and comes complete with Mabel Mouse, her nightdress, bed clothes, cosy bed, a little storybook and a set of illustrated accessories. Our judges also liked the idea that this set could help encourage children to wind down for the day, practicing putting Mabel Mouse to bed before they put their own pyjamas on.

This is so adorable. A wonderful miniature world with so much detail that little children will immerse themselves in for hours.
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior
Lovely design and details. Pepper looooooves it even though she's already 11. Haha!
Bonnie Van Geel and Pepper, Stylist and Child Model of
I really like the aspect that it helps a child settle into their bedtime routine by performing it with Mabel. I also really like that it is a mum led business!
Chloe Thurston, Stylist and Influencer
Great idea and compact, it would make a lovely gift.
Sonia Haria, Beauty Director, The Telegraph Group

WHERE: Mabel & Me



WHO: Micro Scooters
Mini Micro Deluxe LED Magic Scooter

WHY: Our judges loved this innovative scooter with unique touch response handlebars that light up the minute kids touch them, and alternate through five bold colours as they ride. As if this wasn’t enough, the wheels also light up using induction energy to turn the power kids create as they scoot into bright white light. The JDA panel felt that this exciting light up element combined with all Micro Scooter’s quality craftsmanship, not only added to the fun but made for a safer ride, providing visibility in the dark.

Just when we thought scooting couldn’t get any more exciting, Micro Scooters raises the bar!
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior
I love this way of adding lights to a scooter and making it more visible at night!
Chloe Thurston, Stylist and Influencer
Sturdy and long lasting. Lovely detail with the light up wheels and handles.
Sonia Haria, Beauty Director, The Telegraph Group

 WHERE: Micro Scooters



WHAT: The BRIO Smart Tech Sound Action tunnel Travel Set

WHY: This impressive 37-piece toy train set, packed full of action and innovative features really stood out to our judges who thought it would make a fantastic first train set or an exciting add-on for any established BRIO collectors. The unique addition of sound effects that children can record themselves and hear played back as the train roars through the Sound Action Tunnels takes this train set to another level of interactive play and our judges were really impressed with the way children can control the engines’ direction using the Change Direction Tunnels. Magic!

Trains that have a life of their own and noises that you can record yourself? This sounds like a train enthusiast’s dream!
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior
Brio can't be faulted! And this set looks like a great pack!
Chloe Thurston, Stylist and Influencer
I really like this, even kids not into trains would love this!
Sonia Haria, Beauty Director, The Telegraph Group