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From toddlers who love T-Rexes to Brachiosaurus-adoring big kids, these dino toys make great gifts. Monthly Science Kits
Dinosaurs may have gone extinct 65 million years ago, but, for kids, dinosaur love is everlasting. And it's a good obsession for them to have, because dinosaurs can be used to help kids practice everything from science experiments to art projects. They can even help kids learn to code! So, the next time you're on tap to buy some gifts for kids, whether you're looking for gifts for toddlers or gifts for tweens, lean into the dino-mania and get them something from prehistory.
But what to choose? The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute spend the year evaluating toys, keeping track of new releases, calling in favorites to see they're safe and well-constructed, and, most importantly, testing toys with real kids ensure the fun factor. For this list of the best dinosaur toys to buy in 2022, we included some of our top-tested toys of the year as well as a few perennial favorites, editors' picks and popular bestsellers. You'll find art kits, STEM sets, educational toys, family games, building kits, surprise collectibles, Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award winners and everything else a budding paleontologist could possibly want.
Looking for more of the best gift ideas for kids this holiday season? Check out our guides to gifts for gamers, gifts for Pokémon fans, gifts for Encanto lovers, gifts for Star Wars obsessives and gifts for Marvel fans.
Now kids can learn about dinosaurs in the virtual and real world all at once! The kit comes with supplies to do more than 30 hands-on science activities, like erupting a volcano, digging out a fossil or making amber lollipops. But the real magic begins when the kids don included VR goggles (app required) and see the activities — along with an 80-page book of dinosaur information — come to life! Good Housekeeping Institute parent testers say their kids were awed by the VR, which made them feel like the dinosaurs were right there alongside them. Ages 7+
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This is the best book for dinosaur fans, since it lets kids become dinosaurs. Two die-cut holes in the top of the book let readers peer through, transforming the pages into dino masks. “I would read the sentence about the dinosaur and then flip the book to peer out at my son," says one of our parent testers. "He. LOVED. It. I couldn’t believe it!" Ages 0 – 4
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This game requires nerves of steel! A T-Rex is inside a crate, ready to escape. Players must take turns inserting different-colored bones into the slots — but watch out, because one will make the dino pop out! "This is a super fun game to play with my siblings," one kid tester reports. Ages 4+
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If Professor Maxwell's larger VR Dinosaurs set is out of your budget, this offers a smaller, more affordable way to explore the prehistoric world in augmented reality. First, kids can use the included tools to dig out a dinosaur fossil. Then, they don the app-enabled VR goggles to see what the world looked like when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Ages 8+
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These work for stocking stuffers, goodie bag favors, Easter baskets and other places where you might need just-a-little something. The dozen dino eggs each have a different type of dinosaur inside, including a Pterodactyl, an Ankylosaurus, a Dilophosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus, a Stegosaurus, a Diplodocus and others. The kit also comes with dig-out tools and cards with facts about each one. Ages 6+
There are so many dino-themed surprises loaded up inside this Jurassic World-themed egg, including lava slime, a trio of buildable dinosaurs, a vehicle and a playmat. "I loved the green slime around the dinosaur and using the tool to dig out the fossil," one of our tiny testers reported. "I loved taking the pieces apart and putting them back together again. I have been playing this every day since I got it." Ages 3+
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Perfect for imaginative play, this comes with a six-wheeled truck with real working doors, cab lights and realistic truck sounds — plus a T-Rex passenger. And they can fill out the rest of the dinosaur world, there are more prehistoric toys from Terra By Battat, including the elaborate Jungle Expedition Dinosaur Play Set or the ever-popular bucket of small dinosaurs. Ages 3+
Whether or not they've seen the Jurassic World movies, they'll thrill to all that comes with this LEGO set. It comes with structures that are easy for preschoolers to build, including an airport, a helicopter, a dinosaur transport cage and a fence that collapses during the dinosaur "breakouts." In addition, the set comes with figures of Owen Grady, Zia Rodriguez a wildlife guard and, of course, a T-Rex. Ages 4+
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For the Playmobil Dino Rise line, dinosaurs are armored and ready for battle! In this set, a robot dinosaur, equipped with a projectile catapult, is ready to launch an attack, but Jaden and his raptors are ready to defend. The set includes a Jaden figure, a miner, two velociraptors, the dino robot, two cannons with projectiles, energy crystals, and other accessories. Ages 5+
Perfect for a rainy-day activity, this inexpensive origami set comes with 24 different sheets featuring dinosaur motifs. Kids can fold them into prehistoric scenes, and then finish them off with the included stickers. Ages 4+
Good Housekeeping Institute experts have long been fans of Crayola's line of Scribble Scrubbie toys because of the replay value: Kids can color in and draw designs on these white dinos, wash them off and then color them in all over again! This set comes with four dinosaurs, a waterfall play area, three markers, three bottles of color drops and a brush. Ages 3+
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Even the littlest builders can get in on the fun with this Jurassic World DUPLO set. The nursery comes with three baby dinosaurs (along with a Claire Dearing) and enough pieces to build a habitat for each of them. There's also a DUPLO version of the T-Rex breakout if you want to expand the world even further. Ages 2+
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Why settle for one dinosaur toy when you can have 24? This advent calendar comes with tons of figures and accessories, all with the level of detail Schleich is known for. Behind the doors, they'll find a Velociraptor, a baby Stegosaurus, a baby T-Rex, an Archaeopteryx and a Saichania, along with a researcher and other items. If you don't want to go the advent calendar route, Schleich has tons of figures for dino fans, from amazingly detailed single dinosaurs to the imaginative Dinosaur Volcano Play Set to the limited-edition T-Rex made to celebrate FAO Schwarz's 160th anniversary. Ages 4+
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This dinosaur gift keeps the A in STEAM. The magnetic pieces let kids make different dinosaur mosaics (or whatever art they'd like). "I like the shiny pieces," one kid tester reported. "I like the dinosaurs. The colors are fun." It comes with 10 patterns, two make-your-own backgrounds, 300 magnetic shapes and a case to store everything in. Ages 3+
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This plush is a perfect baby gift, but even adults have been known to collect Jellycat stuffed animals, because they're ultra-soft and super satisfying to hug. There's also a larger, floppier, darker green version. Ages 0+
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This puzzle comes with 25 oversize pieces that, when connected, make a 22" x 22" puzzle perfect for preschoolers. The puzzle is made from 90% recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink. Ages 3+
Rumble and Bumble, this little triceratops pair, can help preschoolers learn to code without any screens necessary. They come with a storybook full of activities that teach them the basics of coding. They can also play fetch, hide and seek and other games, and they come with more than 20 pieces in a play set that can also be used for open-ended imaginative play. Ages 4+
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They'll feel like real paleontologists with this kit, which lets kids dig out a T. Rex tooth replica molded from a real fossil. The kit also comes with a book where they can learn more about dinosaurs, dig-out tools like brushes and a magnifying glass and — a perennial kid favorite — fossilized coprolite (dinosaur poop). Ages 8+
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This smiling dino makes it easy for kids to practice numbers, counting, colors, shapes and foods. "Feed" it the different tokens, and it'll react differently depending on which one is used. Rotating the spinning disc makes it play different songs, and the buttons offer sounds and songs featuring the different shapes, colors and numbers. Ages 1+
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When they're done with this puzzle, they'll have created something that they can proudly display on a dresser or shelf. It's also made from recycled cardboard and printed with vegetable inks. Ages 3+
Before including our favorite picks in an article, the Good Housekeeping Institute does rigorous toy testing to ensure we're recommending only the best. Many of our choices come from our yearly Toy Awards, where we test each item based on the following criteria:
✔️Safety: Our engineers and analysts make sure that each toy reaches all safety standards. They also assess things like pinch points and make sure toys won’t shatter into small pieces to pose a potential choking hazard.
✔️Ease of Use: We look at each toy to evaluate how simple it is to assemble, how well it’s constructed and how durable it is during play.
✔️Kid Approval: Aside from testing each toy for skill-building attributes, like how well it develops social-emotional skills, all our final decisions come from more than 100 children, ages 1 to 15, who assess the fun factor!
For decades, the Good Housekeeping Institute has provided expert reviews and advice on everything parents and children love, including STEM toys, educational toys, sensory toys and more.
Much of the toy testing for this article was overseen by Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's chief technologist and director of engineering, with the help of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's senior parenting and relationships editor. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Plus, as a mom to three kids under 5, she has plenty of first-hand experience.
Marisa has covered all aspects of the world of parenting since 2015, and she's worked on Good Housekeeping's toy coverage since 2018. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, who are both avid toy collectors.
Dinosaur Excavation Toy Looking for more great gifts for kids? Let the experts do all the hard work for you! The Good Housekeeping Institute's Parenting Lab has expert-tested, kid-approved picks for the best toys and gifts for kids of every age, including: