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Dinosaurs are figurines that provide children with tools to learn while also practicing the art of make-believe, says Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist at Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City.
We researched and tested the best dinosaur toys from top brands, considering recommended age range, safety, and interactivity. Our top pick, the National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit, gives kids the opportunity to excavate fossils while learning about paleontology and the ancient world.
Here are the best dinosaur toys for kids and beyond.
National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit
Fun introduction to earth science
Contains genuine fossils
Can get messy
What kid (or adult!) wouldn't want to dig for dinosaur fossils? This STEM activity kit lets children discover 15 different real fossils. Using the chisel and brush, they'll unearth gastropods, teeth, bones, and more. As they uncover these finds, they can read up on them in the 16-page guide that includes images and information on each specimen.
Our tester loved that this science kit provided her child with a basic but fun introduction to paleontology and earth science. It took about an hour for our tester's daughter to find all of the fossils, and she particularly enjoyed inspecting and identifying them using the included magnifying glass.
One downside of this hands-on kit is that the excavation process produces a lot of dust, so it can get messy and may not be suitable for kids with certain types of allergies. Our tester recommends using the kit outdoors to cut down on clean-up time.
LEGO Creator Mighty Dinosaurs 31058 Build It Yourself Dinosaur Set
Affordable, especially for LEGO
Small pieces can get lost or become a choking hazard
This LEGO set can create a pterodactyl, Triceratops, or T-Rex with 174 pieces providing them with hours of entertainment and STEM building skills. There are tons of accessories like colorful eyes, claws, and teeth, so kids can truly flex their creativity. And once the dinosaur is complete, kids can enjoy the moving parts of their build for tons of imaginative play.
Manhattan Toy Little Jurassics Chomp Dinosaur Plush
Perfect for babies and toddlers
High-quality soft materials
Some found the dinosaur smaller than expected
While this adorable dinosaur plush may start out as nursery decor for a baby or toddler, it will quickly turn into their first dinosaur toy that they will love hugging and cuddling. Chomp, the stegosaurus, is a perfect addition to any plushie collection, and as little ones grow older, they can learn more about the dinosaur they love.
Easuntec 3D Dinosaur Night-Light
Suitable for various ages
Different color and light settings
Some found the light smaller than expected
Dino lovers of all ages will love adding a T-rex to their bedroom decor with this awesome night light from Easuntec. Kids can control the color of their dinosaur with a remote, choosing from red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, purple, and white, as well as different flash modes to fit every mood and occasion. It runs on batteries or a USB cord, so it can be placed anywhere in their room for a ferocious touch.
The Company Store Hooded Towel
Soft and absorbent
Pricey for a towel
Little dino fans will love warming up after a shower with a dinosaur-themed towel, complete with menacing teeth and colorful spikes all down the back. The Company Store's kids towels are woven of soft and absorbent cotton terry to keep skin cozy and dry. Personalize the towel with your child's name for an extra-special gift they will enjoy for years.
3 Bees & Me Dinosaur Toys
Perfect size for toddlers
Many ways to play
Can be difficult for little ones to rev them up and make them go
Got a little dinosaur lover on your hands? This set of four rolling dino toys will have your preschooler moving around the house with joy. This pack includes a T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Triceratops. The adorable design perfectly combines dinos with easy-to-use car toys.
VTech Mix and Match-a-Saurus
Teaches different emotions
Interactive and engaging
Lots of play options
Some reviewers wish there were more sound and button options
This expressive dinosaur is a fun role-play toy for kids ages 2 through 5. Using the nine tiles, kids place them on his back in different combinations. Each one represents a character (dinosaur, robot, monster), type of music (ballet, hip-hop, marching), or feeling (happy, angry, sleepy), and the dino will respond with noises and movements based on each tile. He can talk, sing, dance, and move, and there are 27 different performances in all.
Jurassic World Chomp 'n Roar Mask Velociraptor Blue
Perfect for a costume or party
Suitable for various ages
Some found the mask heavy and uncomfortable to wear
If your kid is really into "Jurassic World," let them play out the Blue character with this interactive mask. Children will get a kick out of the three different sounds and chomping styles this mask has. If anything, you'll be sure to get some great pictures out of this buy and will scare the neighbors. Buy a bunch for imaginative play at a dinosaur-themed birthday party.
HearthSong Inflatable Hop 'n Go Ride-On Dinosaur
Perfect for indoor or outdoor play
Easy to inflate
Two come in the set
Dinosaurs can deflate after rough play
Race through prehistoric worlds on these inflatable dinosaur ride-on toys from HearthSong. The durable toys can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors and can hold up to 200 pounds so kids of all ages can get in on the fun. The green dinos are easy to inflate and have two handles to keep little ones from falling off and a weighted sand bottom for sturdiness. They come in sets of two which is perfect for twins or competitive siblings.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs
Includes pronunciation guide
Some reviewers had issues with the quality of their books
Bring the prehistoric age to life with this informative book intended for children. With these illustrations, kids will get a better sense of what the dinosaurs' day-to-day life was like while they practice their reading and comprehension skills.
Prextex Realistic Looking 7" Dinosaurs Pack
Includes book of facts
Inspires imaginative play
Some dinosaurs don't stand as well as others
The best dinosaur toys inspire imagination. This set of 12 dinosaurs comes with a book that highlights facts about each type including habitat, diet, size, and more. As they learn about the Monoclonious, Triceratops, and more, they'll begin to act out play scenes at home.
Hey Clay Dinos
Compatible with app
Easy to follow instructions
App can be difficult to navigate
This kit comes with 18 small cans of modeling clay that kids can use to build six different dinosaurs: Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Brachiosaurus, Pachycephhlosaurus, Triceratops, and Pterodactyl. An app provides 3D instructions that explain how to make shapes like spheres and cylinders, as well as facial features and different textures.
Rubie's Silly Safari Triceratops Costume
Lightweight but durable material
Easy to put on and take off
Some reviewers found their typical size too small
Rubie's is known for making good-looking, high-quality costumes that don't require a Broadway-size budget. This Triceratops suit, sold in two sizes, will fit kids who wear 2T through 6, and the elaborate horned headpiece is easily removable—in case your little one gets hot or cranky and just can't deal. Whether it's Halloween or a random weekday, kids will love transforming into a terrifying (yet adorable) dino.
Jurassic World Grab 'n Growl Indoraptor Dinosaur
Waterproof and suitable for rough play
Although this dino is based on the movie "Jurassic World," your kids need not have seen the film to appreciate this dude's realistic awesomeness (and, truth be told, terrifyingness). He's meant to be an "indoraptor," which in the film is a new hybrid known for being small but dangerous. The toy has all kinds of impressive animal effects, including a chomping mouth, thrashing tail, and glowing, red eyes. Did we mention he also screeches?
TEMI Dinosaur Toy Figures with Activity Play Mat
Great for imaginative play
Mat is a bit small
Let their imagination run wild with this play mat and nine dinosaur figurines set. Children can create fun scenes with the dinos, as well as the five trees that are included. Best of all, when they are done, the mat and figurines pack up into a handy carrying case making this a smart buy for those who travel or want to keep toys neatly contained.
What to Look for in a Dinosaur Toy
Consider the age of the dino-lover on your list when shopping for your gift, and make sure to check the label to see if it matches up. There are prehistoric-inspired toys for young children who'll enjoy pushing around a whimsical wheeled dinosaur, but this isn’t likely to capture the attention of a teenager who may want something more high-tech or hands-on. If you’re shopping for an adult, look for collectible dinosaur gifts or themed mugs, apparel, or accessories that serve a practical purpose.
There's no shortage of realistic, detailed collectible dinosaurs out there, but kids won’t readily learn much from these figurines, except for maybe the different types of dinosaurs. For something with a little more educational value, there's an abundance of more informational gifts, like books or hands-on activities, that teach about science and natural history but still entertain.
Bring another world to life with a dinosaur gift that responds to commands via voice or an app, just keep in mind that these types of gifts are better for older children who can figure out how to operate them without getting frustrated. Or, for a low-tech but still interactive option more suitable to the younger kids, choose from LEGO building kits or sets of realistic dinosaurs for imaginative play.
While you don’t have to worry about dinosaur bites, you should evaluate any potential toy for safety. Make sure to choose toys made out of rubber or BPA-free plastic for younger kids. You’ll also want to keep any battery-operated toys out of reach of babies and young toddlers, since they can be dangerous if ingested, says Hafeez. When they get a bit older, children can handle toys made out of heavier materials—like metal or wood figurines—since they have better control and hand-eye coordination. And for any age, make sure that all materials used have been tested for safety and that any paints are safe for use on toys.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This article was written by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays. She's also covered similar topics in other roles, including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more.