The Best Toys for Christmas for Kids of All Ages

Our favorite picks from Little Tikes, Disney, Flybar, Hot Wheels, LEGO, and more

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Must-Have Toys for Christmas

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

For this holiday season, popular toy trends include family games and educational toys. "With more kids being home over the last year, parents naturally started becoming more involved in their children's play and way of learning," says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at BlackFriday.com.

To help with your gift list this year, we researched the best toys on the market right now based on factors including age recommendation, educational value, and safety precautions. Our favorite picks include an interactive pet snow dragon from furReal, a magical cauldron from Magic Mixes, and The Fort for its innovative design that keeps kids engaged for hours indoors or outdoors.

Here are the hottest gifts of the holiday season.

Our Top Picks

FORT LLC FORT

4.8
FORT LCC FORT

FORT LLC

What We Like
  • Waterproof and easy to clean

  • Suitable for various ages

  • Can be used indoors or outdoors

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

Building a fort has never been easier with FORT, making it our top pick. FORT pieces are constructed out of foam blocks and have a waterproof covering that sticks together with magnets for easy assembly.

Kids of all ages can create houses, ramps, castles, slides, mazes, and more with just a few pieces and their imagination. The easy-to-clean fabric makes this toy suitable for outdoor use as well. When not in use, piece the blocks together to form a couch or add on a storage case with a convenient handle for bringing on the go.

While this kit is bulky and expensive, the overall entertainment value and versatility make the extra size and high price tag worth it. Kids will foster their imagination when thinking of new shapes to construct their FORT in. Plus, the whole family can relax on the comfortable pieces that double as practical seating and aren't an eyesore in your living room.

Dimensions: 26 x 26 x 30 inches | Material: Polyurethane Foam and Polyurethane Leather | Recommended Age: Not Listed

Fisher-Price Linkimals Play Together Panda

Fisher-Price Linkimals Play Together Panda

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to clean

  • Interactive phrases and lights

  • Educational

What We Don't Like
  • Off switch can be difficult to get to

This adorable interactive panda from Fisher Price is an educational and engaging electronic toy that your little one will love. Press the panda's belly to hear more than 30 sounds and phrases that promote learning about shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and emotional skills like being a good friend and sharing. Collect other critters from the Linkimals line to watch them interact for even more learning and play opportunities. The best part? Once the electronics are removed, the plush panda is machine washable for easy cleaning.

Dimensions: 3.54 x 7.48 x 11.02 inches | Material: Plastic, Plush | Recommended Age: 9 months and up

Osmo Detective Agency

Osmo Detective Agency

Amazon

What We Like
  • Educational

  • Interactive

  • No wifi required

  • Suitable for group or solo play

What We Don't Like
  • May be too simple for older kids

  • Not screen-free

Osmo is an expert in combining physical elements with technological play on an iPad or Fire tablet for a completely unique and interactive experience. With Osmo's Detective Agency, kids use the game pieces and magnifying glass to search for landmarks around the world while learning facts about geography, culture, and history. While not completely screen-free, no wifi is required to play, so kids can learn trivia from around the world while in the car or on the go.

Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.25 inches | Material: Cardboard, Plastic | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Little Live Pets Lil' Dippers Playset

Little Live Pets Lil' Dippers Playset

Amazon

What We Like
  • Great alternative to a real pet

  • Sturdy

  • Realistic movements

What We Don't Like
  • Battery can deplete quickly

A great alternative to a real pet, this Lil' Dippers play set is exciting and interactive for young ones. When the toy fish are placed in their tank, they begin to swim! Kids will love watching their new friend explore her new home fit with colorful plants. She will even swim towards you with the magical feeding tool that puts kids in control of her movements.

Dimensions: 11.18 x 5.24 x 6.52 inches | Material: Not listed | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

furReal Moodwings Snow Dragon Interactive Pet Toy

5
furReal Moodwings Snow Dragon Interactive Pet Toy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Super interactive

  • Includes three surprise accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Getting hard to find due to high demand

Your little one can learn more about emotions—in a super fun way! The furReal snow dragon has a multitude of moods, from feeling extremely cranky to happy and peaceful. Her eyes express how she's feeling, so your child can quickly learn how to care for her, so she's in a good mood again. Your purchase even include three surprise accessories to help care for your baby dragon.

Dimensions: 5.25 x 9 x 9 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

Treasure X Monster Gold

Treasure X Monster Gold- Monster Coffin

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple ways to play

  • Includes slime element

  • Collectible figures inside

What We Don't Like
  • Instructions can be difficult to follow

Perfect for those who love slime, collectible figures, or hunting for treasure, this Treasure X Monster Coffin has it all. Kids will love searching through the gooey slime and multiple compartments inside to search for the collectible monster figures, perfect for showing off or trader with friends. Which one will you discover?

Dimensions: 3.78 x 3.78 x 8.27 inches | Material: Not Listed | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron with Interactive 8 inch Blue Plush Toy and 50+ Sounds and Reactions

 Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron with Interactive 8 inch Blue Plush Toy and 50+ Sounds and Reactions, Multicolor

Magic Mixies

What We Like
  • Interactive

  • Multiple ways to play

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to buy due to high demand

Cast magical spells with this interactive cauldron that produces an adorable furry friend. Kids ages five and up use the easy-to-follow included directions to complete their spell, while the cauldron makes over 50 sounds and produces spooky mist. Be sure to charge your cauldron before you cast any spells to ensure the highest amount of magic possible. After children use their magical objects, they can enjoy hours of play with their new adorable plush.

Dimensions: 9.25 x 7.91 x 8.27 inches | Material: Plastic, plush | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

Little Tikes First Slide Toddler Slide

Target

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Indoor or outdoor use

  • Suitable for a variety of ages

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to assemble

  • Hard to pack and travel with

The holidays just got even more exciting with this adorable and thrilling slide from Little Tikes. Little ones can experience the classic playground equipment from home as they slide into mountains of pillows, piles of leaves, a ball pit, or right onto the living room floor. Thanks to its folding mechanism, children can enjoy it happen year long, indoors or outdoors and rain or shine.

Dimensions: 39 x 18 x 27.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Amazon

What We Like
  • Quiet

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Suitable for various ages

What We Don't Like
  • Can be flimsy

Kids will reach new heights with his foam pogo jumper without the noise. The soft foams make bouncing on hardwood floors, carpet, or concrete a breeze as little ones face their fears and learn a new skill. Children of various ages can master their balance and burn off energy as they bounce the day away.

Dimensions: ‎10.35 x 5.63 x 5 inches | Material: Foam | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Disney Princess Disney's Raya and The Last Dragon Color Splash

Disney Princess Disney's Raya and The Last Dragon Color Splash

Amazon

What We Like
  • Cool color-changing element

  • Can be played wet or dry

What We Don't Like
  • Takes a while to drain Sisu's tail

Dip Sisu's dragon tail in the water, and watch it sway back and forth—and change colors! The 2-foot dragon toy is nicely proportioned to the included Raya doll, whose accents also undergo a color transformation when immersed in water. Despite the set being water-friendly, both figures can be played wet or dry.

Dimensions: 3.11 x 17.87 x 12.76 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

WowWee Got2Glow Fairy Finder - Electronic Fairy Jar

WowWee Got2Glow Fairy Finder - Electronic Fairy Jar

Amazon

What We Like
  • Each fairy is different

  • Mini games included

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging is difficult to open

Boys and girls will love the thrill of catching a new fairy every time because each fairy is unique with its own characteristics. Fairies come from four levels of rarity, and your little one can find them by playing games or bringing the jar to a new location. The virtual fairies can be fed, hugged, and greeted.

Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 7 inches | Material: Plastic, virtual | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Stunt Tire Play Set

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Stunt Tire Play Set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be folded up for easy storage

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Trucks don't launch as well as the cars

It comes packaged in a tire-shaped case that can be used for portability later on. It's super easy to assemble and break down each time—simply open and close to set up your racetrack. Your child can launch cars or the included Monster Truck through the Ring of Fire and even stack the included crushed cars to make more fun obstacles.

Dimensions: 4.25 x 17 x 10 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set

4.6
Melissa and Doug's cleaning set includes a dustpan that attatches to the handles of the other tools.

Amazon

What We Like
  • Great for pretend play

  • Actually cleans

What We Don't Like
  • Flimsy dustpan

Toddlers love copying you, even when you're cleaning—this set lets them play, help, and build confidence as they handle each housekeeping tool on their own. The set includes a broom, mop, dustpan, and hand brush, and each tool is perfectly sized for toddler play. When they're done, you can hang them on the included stand via the sturdy cords.

Dimensions: 11 x 4.5 x 28 inches | Material: Wood, plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

AKSDTH Push and Pop Bubble Fidget Sensory Toy

AKSDTH Push and Pop Bubble Fidget Sensory Toy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Fun for a wide range of ages

  • Comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as some parents expected

  • Some find the popping sounds too quiet

Though relatively basic, kids love these hugely popular toys because they’re fun to squeeze, hold, stretch, and—of course—pop. The standard square is a bestseller, but they also come in tons of fun shapes and sizes like unicorns, ice pops, crabs, and more. It also makes for a great stocking stuffer.

Dimensions: 5 x 5 inches | Material: Silicone | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

LEGO Star Wars: The Mandalorian, The Child Building Kit

LEGO Star Wars: The Mandalorian, The Child Building Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fun to build

  • Can be played with groups

What We Don't Like
  • Long play time

Star Wars fans can bring The Child to life, thanks to this over 1,000-piece building kit and clear building instructions. Multiple players can help build the mini-figure, and once complete, The Child makes for a phenomenal display. You can even pose its head, ears, and mouth for various expressions and prop the included gearshift knob in his arms.

Dimensions: 7.5 x 8.5 x 5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 10 years and up

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Kids' Digital Watch

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Kids' Digital Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Teaches time and schedule management

  • Non-toxic materials

What We Don't Like
  • Limited functionality

  • Strap could be a bit more durable

With this watch, the littlest set will feel all grown up—and just like their parents. Emblazoned with the ultra-popular Marshall from "Paw Patrol," this watch appeals to their interests, but the adults in their lives will love the fact that it teaches them all about telling time and accountability.

Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

SPACE JAM: A New Legacy Super Shoot & Dunk Playset With Lebron Figure

SPACE JAM: A New Legacy Super Shoot & Dunk Playset

Amazon

What We Like
  • Compact

  • Suitable for a wide range of ages

  • Interactive

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more detailed

  • Only one player included

What’s old is new again, and thanks to the new movie, "Space Jam" is a hit with the younger set. Kids can test their own dunking skills with the help of modern cast member and basketball legend Lebron James.

Dimensions: 7.01 x 6.93 x 10.04 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

CoComelon Musical Yellow School Bus

CoComelon Musical Yellow School Bus

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple play possibilities

  • Easy for young kids to maneuver

What We Don't Like
  • Only plays limited version of one song

This big yellow school bus houses six of their favorite "CoComelon" characters, plus plays the tune you’ve been hearing on repeat all year long: "The Wheels on the Bus." It’s the perfect way to jumpstart imaginative play.

Dimensions: 13 x 12.75 x 12.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2 years and up

Do, Re & Mi Blue Jay Plush Toy

Do, Re & Mi Blue Jay Plush Toy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Collectible

  • Encourages musical skill and appreciation

What We Don't Like
  • You can only purchase on Amazon

Kids aged 3 years and up won't stop dancing and singing along with these adorable, 8-inch plush toys, found exclusively on Amazon. Each figure features sounds and voices from the pre-school TV program, Do, Re & Mi—this specific plush doll represents Mi, the bubbly blue jay. Along with the super soft and cuddly plush dolls, you can also collect the series' musical instruments and playsets.

Dimensions: 7 x 6.3 x 8.5 inches | Material: Plush | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Madame Alexander My First Doll

Madame Alexander My First Doll

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in a range of skin tones

  • Soft and cuddly

  • Great for pretend play

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t come with any accessories

  • Pom-pom on hat could accidentally detach

A perennial favorite with toddlers for a reason, these 12-inch baby dolls are ripe for imaginative play but are soft and plush enough to cuddle with. Plus, now the Madame Alexander “My First” dolls come in an expanded range of skin tones, so more little ones will see themselves in their pretend toys.

Dimensions: 8 x 4.5 x 10.5 inches | Material: Vinyl, fabric | Recommended Age: 0 years and up

GUND P.Lushes Designer Fashion Pets

GUND P.Lushes Designer Fashion Pets

Amazon

What We Like
  • Collectible set

  • Soft and cuddly

  • No choking hazards

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging is lackluster

  • Care instructions difficult to read

There’s no question your little one will be excited to add another fashionable pet to a growing squad—or start a whole new collection. Each one of the award-winning plush toys features embroidered accents like a metallic bow, plus sparkling eyes, and lined ears.

Dimensions: 4 x 4.8 x 6.8 inches | Material: Microfiber | Recommended Age: All ages

Little Bridges Grandma & Me: In The Kitchen

Little Bridges Grandma & Me: In The Kitchen

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple activities in one

  • Great bonding activity



What We Don't Like
  • Requires adult help

This do-it-together activity kit is a practical and fun way for grandparents and other family members to get in on the fun. With "Grandma & Me: In the Kitchen," you'll work hand-in-hand in the kitchen to create a tangible product you’ll both love to show off. Each kit comes with conversation cards, a journal with prompts, and recipe pages, as well as a read-aloud storybook, a child-size apron that can be personalized, a keepsake potholder, and fabric paint.

Dimensions: 8.75 x 2.1 x 10.75 inches | Material: N/A | Recommended Age: 4-8 years

DC Comics Batman All-Terrain Batmobile Remote Control Vehicle

DC Comics Batman All-Terrain Batmobile Remote Control Vehicle

Amazon

What We Like
  • Powerful

  • Fast

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Not as waterproof as indicated

  • So lightweight it frequently tumbles upside down

Whether your child loves "DC Comics" or simply has a penchant for speed, this remote control vehicle will be a welcome addition to their toy bin. It’s perfectly suitable for indoor or outdoor play—the all-terrain tires have no problem tackling water, snow, mud, rock, and grass. It also has out-of-range sensors, so it’ll never stray too far.

Dimensions: 10 x 13.5 x 10 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

Barbie Career of The Year Music Producer Doll

Barbie Career of The Year Music Producer Doll

Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes fun accessories

  • Great for collectors

  • Various color hair available

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging is hard to open

This year, Barbie is taking the music world by storm. The producer comes dressed in a trendy graphic tee, jeans, and an iridescent crop jacket, plus includes fun accessories like a sound mixing board, a computer, and headphones. Great for any musically-inclined kids—or the avid Barbie collector.

Dimensions: 1.34 x 2.76 x 11.73 inches | Material: Rubber | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Tonies Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Tonies

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Easy for kids to use independently

  • Screen-free

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to set up

  • Other characters cost extra

The whole family will undoubtedly enjoy this small, portable audio system. It plays classic sing-a-longs that’ll be on repeat for the foreseeable future. And you don’t have to worry about them fiddling with tech beyond their years—the speaker, available in six colors, is made of a material that's soft enough to handle but durable enough to withstand any accidental tumbles.

Dimensions: Not listed | Material: Not listed | Age Range: 3 years and up

Playmobil Large City Zoo

Playmobil Large City Zoo

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multiple ways to play

  • Add-ons available

What We Don't Like
  • Pieces are easy to lose track of

Animal lovers and budding tinkerers alike will spend hours laboring over this build-your-own zoo kit. With the included parts, they’ll have the unique opportunity to play zookeeper, erecting a penguin habitat, a giraffe viewing platform, and even their very own souvenir shop. An add-on lion enclosure (sold separately) extends the fun.

Dimensions: 26.8 x 11.8 x 6.3 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

The Woobles Penguin Crochet Kit

The Woobles Penguin Crochet Kit
What We Like
  • Lots of instructional help

  • Comes with (almost) everything you need

What We Don't Like
  • One-time project

For older children growing tired of the same old arts and crafts, consider this DIY kit, which almost instantly expands their repertoire—and teaches a very useful skill. The beginner crochet kit comes with everything they need to get started (hook optional, but certainly recommended!) to create a loveable little knit penguin they’ll proudly display or cuddle. They’ll also get access to step-by-step videos for a frustration-free experience.

Dimensions: 3.5 inches tall | Material: Acrylic yarn | Age Range: 8 years and up

Bluey Family Home Playset

Bluey Family Home Playset

Amazon

What We Like
  • High quality

  • Lots of play potential

  • Screen-free

What We Don't Like
  • Characters don’t fit in furniture well

  • Could use more detail

Toys based on hit television or movie series are always a sure bet, and this playhouse made especially for "Bluey" characters is no different. The two-story, four-room house is readily recognizable and comes with a variety of removable furniture to bring some of their favorite characters to life.

Dimensions: 17.5 x 4.94 x 11.32 inches | Material: Plastic | Age Range: 3-15 years

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course

LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course

Best Buy

What We Like
  • Very interactive

  • Lots of play potential

  • Add-ons available

What We Don't Like
  • Some parents don’t like that the app requires location services

  • Can be difficult to configure

This collectible 231-piece LEGO set gives kids the opportunity to construct their own obstacle course with bricks and star characters from an all-time classic video game. It’s not your average LEGO set—a compatible smartphone app brings the whole thing to life in new and exciting ways.

Dimensions: 12.48 x 10.32 x 3.54 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 6 years and up

Crayola Paper Butterfly Science Kit

Crayola Paper Butterfly Science Kit, STEAM Toy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Learning components

  • Non-toxic art materials

What We Don't Like
  • Requires some parental help

This fun arts and crafts kit gives kids hands-on learning experience in physics while making creations that are just as unique as the real-life creatures they’re constructing. The set includes 12 pre-cut butterfly wings and supplies, markers, and a display stand. The kit includes essentially everything kids need to get started.

Dimensions: 2.75 x 11.5 x 12 inches | Material: Not listed Age Range: 7 years and up

LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train

Lego Luplo Train

Walmart

What We Like
  • Easy to handle

  • Durable

  • Lots of play potential

What We Don't Like
  • Requires help assembling

  • Blocks may come apart too easily

Consider this a first-foray into the wonderful world of LEGOs. These blocks are slightly oversized, so the tiniest fingers can stack and build to create a train set that helps them count from zero to nine.

Dimensions: 13.94 x 7.52 x 3.58 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

Rainbow High Rockstar Vanessa Tempo Fashion Doll

Rainbow High Rockstar Vanessa Tempo Fashion Doll

Amazon

What We Like
  • Stylish and fashionable dolls

  • Comes with accessories

  • Collectible item

What We Don't Like
  • Due to high demand, dolls are difficult to find

This modern fashion doll brand has been a hit lately due to the dolls' creative and fashion-forward style. This set in particular features Vanessa Tempo, the drummer of the Rockstar band. She comes in her own outfit, complete with printed work boots, gloves, and jewelry accessories. Also included is a second outfit that she can mix and match, like a green mod jacket and platform heels. All Rainbow High dolls feature posable arms and legs during play or for display on the included doll stand.

Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 3.2 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 6 years and up

FFTROC Wooden Stacking Dinosaur Toys

FFTROC Wooden Stacking Dinosaur Toys

Amazon

What We Like
  • Well made

  • Durable

  • Lots of play potential

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller than expected

  • Watch for pointy dino tails

The youngest set will have a roaring good time balancing colorful wooden blocks on a teetering see-saw. But the fun doesn’t stop there—there’s plenty of playtime to be had using each of the figurines separately.

Dimensions: 0.6 x 9.45 x 7.56 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 2 years and up

LeapFrog Blue’s Clues and You! Really Smart Handy Dandy Notebook

LeapFrog Blue’s Clues and You! Really Smart Handy Dandy Notebook

Amazon

What We Like
  • Batteries included

  • Realistic

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more interactive

  • Audio may be too soft for some

Just like the one in the show "Blue’s Clues and You!" this handy-dandy notebook features 14 light-up app icons that introduce toddlers and young preschoolers to educational concepts like colors, counting, shapes, and even health and hygiene. It also features phone, music, and mail apps for pretend play with Blue, Josh, and Mailbox.

Dimensions: 1.3 x 3.74 x 6.1 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2 years and up

YGJT Baby Balance Bike

YGJT Baby Balance Bike

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to assemble

  • Easy for young kids to use

  • Great for burning energy

  • Can be used indoors or outdoors

What We Don't Like
  • Too small for taller kids

  • Back wheels could be further apart to stop tipping

  • Foam handles are soft, but bitable

For the most active youngsters, a small, low-profile, four-wheeled bicycle that’ll help them learn the fundamentals of riding. It’s suitable for both indoors and out, so they won’t need to wait for the weather to warm. And it comes in three fun colors, so you’re bound to find something just right for your tot.  

Dimensions: 19.29 x 9.76 x 7.09 inches | Material: Carbon steel | Recommended Age: 10-24 months

Kinetic Sand Sandwhirlz Playset

sand-whirlz

Walmart

What We Like
  • Vibrant colors

  • Pleasant texture

  • Lots of play potential

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t hold together as well as advertised

  • Molds can be awkward to use

This kit comes with three different colors of kinetic sand—squishy, moldable sand—that your little one can shape and reshape over and over. The 2-pound set also comes with 10 different tools (cutters, molds, and more) for endless fun. Parents will love that it’s all packaged in a plastic tote for easy storage.

Dimensions: 3.25 x 12 x 11.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

ThinkFun Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game

ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lots of play potential

  • Fun and challenging

What We Don't Like
  • Pieces can be hard to keep track of

This award-winning toy doesn’t need any batteries or electricity (a win for parents everywhere). Instead, kids focus on building a marble run using one—or more—of the 60 challenges that come with the toy. Complete each task can improve everything from spatial reasoning to visual perception—all skills a budding engineer needs.

Dimensions: 9.38 x 3 x 10.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 8-15 years

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

5
Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lots of play potential

  • Easy to grip

  • Colorful

What We Don't Like
  • Storage compartment is hard to open and close

Toddlers will love fitting this hedgehog's colorful quills into its back. Rather than the sharp quills that you might be used to seeing, the needles are actually chunky, peg-shaped pieces that are perfect for tiny hands to grab and explore. And as your child grows, they’ll also get the opportunity to use the toy to learn colors, counting, and even pattern play. 

Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.1 x 3.9 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

Purse Pets Glamicorn Unicorn with Over 25 Sounds and Reactions

Purse Pets Glamicorn Unicorn with Over 25 Sounds and Reactions

Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be played on the go

  • Eyes really blink

What We Don't Like
  • Requires three AAA batteries to operate

Children ages 5 years and up can wear this adorable purse and easily lug it with them so they can play on the go. Featuring a glitter horn, pink faux leather, and an adjustable strap for a more comfortable fit, this Purse Pet can go with virtually any outfit. Purse Pets come in a range of animal characters, such as Fox and Leopard, and each one can blink its eyes, play fashion show music, and make the cutest animal sounds. Note that the purse requires three AAA batteries to operate, but an initial set is included with the purse.

Dimensions: 4.25 x 6.2 5x 2.5 inches | Material: Faux leather | Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Mega Construx Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Mega Construx Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Amazon

What We Like
  • Spring-tail can wiggle

  • Building toy

What We Don't Like
  • Not all pieces snap together easily

Pokemon has always been relevant, but there's been a major uptick in trading and collecting cards and Pikachu-themed everything in the past couple years. This Detective Pikachu building toy features over 200 pieces and stands a little over 4 inches tall when completed. His spring-loaded tail can wiggle around, and the head and arms can move for added fun.

Dimensions: 9 x 2.65 x 10.3 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Blippi Bendable Plush Doll

Blippi Bendable Plush Doll

Amazon

What We Like
  • Batteries included

  • Realistic

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult for a young child to press

B-L-I-P-P-I. There’s a whole generation of kids who are learning to spell "Blippi" before their own name. And these toddlers will go crazy for the plush doll in the YouTube sensation’s likeness. The 16-inch figurine, which is largely soft enough to snuggle with, repeats some of the star’s most commonly-uttered words and phrases for plenty of playtime fun.

Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 16 inches | Material: Not listed | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What to Look for in a Toy for Christmas

Age-Appropriateness

Though age may appear clear just by looking at the toy, it’s a good idea to check the formal manufacturer recommendation. This guideline is a great indication as to whether the toy is safe and engaging enough (or too complicated) for the child you’re shopping for, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association. 

Safety

When shopping—especially for younger babies and toddlers—keep an eye out for toys with small parts that can be a choking hazard. In general, avoid toys for tiny tots that are labeled 3+, says Morency Goldman. 

Educational Value

Though overt learning components (numbers, letters, colors, and other technical features) are always nice, experts say toys don’t need to be complicated to have great educational value. Children are always learning—even during playtime, says Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in South Overland Park, Kansas. Even traditional toys, like blocks and dolls, can help teach young children important cognitive, social, and motor skills, she says.

FAQ
  • What are the must-have toys for Christmas 2022?

    Families spent a lot of time together at home in the last few years, making family games, educational toys, and toys that allow kids to explore their creativity more popular than ever. Other popular picks are outdoor games that allow kids to get some fresh air without leaving the backyard, fidget toys for restless kids, character toys based on favorite film and TV characters, and nostalgic toys that never go out of style. You can rest assured that your kids and fellow parents will let you know which toys become breakout favorites in their friend group or school class. 

  • Which toys are best to give as gifts?

    There are as many answers to that question as there are children in the world. Each kid has their own likes and dislikes, some of which become enduring passions and others that change on a whim. If you are up to date on the child’s current interests, offer them a toy they don’t have that builds on those interests. If not, stick to age-appropriate and timeless gifts, such as books or classic board games. When gifting toys to someone else’s child, consider both the child and the parent, taking care not to offer anything that makes a lot of noise or needs assembly. Above all, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect gift—it’s the thought that counts. 

  • What do I gift my child for Christmas?

    If your child is old enough to write or even dictate a letter to Santa, start by asking them what they want for Christmas! This is a great time to give them something special that they have been pining for all year. Otherwise, offer them a gift that will help them to practice their hobbies and indulge their passions, like a new skateboard, guitar, camera, robot-building kit, or set of bird-watching binoculars. Or, you can offer them an experiential gift that will introduce them to new ideas and possibilities, like a trip to a new city or a parent-child class that will teach them how to bake bread or build a telescope. Give your child a gift that shows you know them, or helps them to discover something new about themselves. 

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 since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more.

For this list, she considered the recommended age, durability, and how interactive the toy is—plus tapped into her personal experience. She also consulted with two experts to gain further insight: Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association, and Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician based in South Overland Park, Kansas.

Continue to 9 of 41 below.
Continue to 13 of 41 below.
Continue to 17 of 41 below.