Many kids go through a dinosaur phase. It’s amazing to think that the planet we’re living on now is the same planet where these magnificent reptiles roamed some 66 million years ago. Until scientists figure out a way to bring these massive animals back to life, playing with dinosaur toys is the next best thing.
The perfect dinosaur toy unlocks your child’s curiosity and imagination. As a top pick, the Papo Pentaceratops Figurine is highly detailed and super durable. Whether you’re buying for an action movie fan or a natural history buff, here’s what to consider.
Paleontologists have identified over 700 different species of dinosaurs. Toy manufacturers tend to focus on the dozen or so most popular species that are most identifiable to children. These species include the tyrannosaurus rex, the triceratops, the stegosaurus, the brontosaurus and the pterodactyl.
Some kids may want a big and ferocious dinosaur like the carnivorous tyrannosaurus rex. Others may prefer a gentle giant like the herbivorous brontosaurus. The pterodactyl, the best-known species of flying dinosaur, is a fun addition to any collection.
If you’ve got a child with a budding interest in paleontology, you may want to opt for a scientifically accurate dinosaur toy with a realistic design and features. These toys are based on the latest academic findings and are also a great gift for dinosaur-loving adults.
If you’ve got a child who just wants a big scaly monster to rule over the rest of their toys with a mighty roar, scientific accuracy will be less important. Most manufacturers tend to focus on one type of toy or the other. You won’t need a degree in paleontology to figure out which is which.
Dinosaurs are ferocious reptiles. They have horns, bumps and claws. That means a lot of sharp edges and potentially dangerous small parts, especially if you opt for a scientifically accurate toy. Pay close attention to the recommended age range and use common sense. Only you know whether or not a toy will be safe for your child.
For very young children, consider a dinosaur stuffed animal like this adorable Wild Republic Brachiosaurus Plush.
Some dinosaur toys are static figures meant for display only. The more expensive and the more scientifically accurate the toy, the more likely it’s meant to be admired on a shelf.
Other dinosaur toys have moving parts like a tail that goes up and down, a head that turns side to side or wings that actually flap. Some may even have a button for sound. While your child may love hearing their dinosaur over and over again, you may not appreciate the constant noise. Make sure to consider your own sanity before buying.
Look for toys that are part of a larger family of products. While some kids may want just the single dinosaur, others may want to start a collection. Most manufacturers make at least a few species, but some go so far as to offer other prehistoric animals or full play sets.
There are also building kits that will allow your child to make their own dinosaur. One of the simplest and best is the LEGO Creator Mighty Dinosaurs Kit. A single 174-piece kit allows you to make a tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops or a pterodactyl.
Any movie or TV show featuring dinosaurs should have some sort of merchandise. The “Jurassic World” franchise is constantly putting out new toys to accompany each film. The popular “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” animated series on Netflix also has its own line of products.
When purchasing an officially licensed dinosaur toy, be sure to buy from trusted retailers and not secondhand sources like Etsy or eBay. It’s difficult to confirm a toy’s authenticity if you don’t buy it directly.
Dinosaur toy prices depend on size, scientific accuracy, interactive features and whether the dinosaur comes by itself or as part of a set. Small and simple figurines hover around $8-$10. Larger, scientifically accurate or officially licensed figurines range from $20-$35. Sets with multiple dinosaurs can be $25-$50.
A. If they’re out of the original packaging and they’ve been sitting around collecting dust and moisture in your basement for the past couple of decades, then probably not. If you’ve got unopened toys in mint condition, then it’s worth checking auction sites or with a local collector to see if you have anything of value.
A. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to know for sure until you get the toy in front of your child. Be sure to keep the tags on if you can. Not only will this make the dinosaur less intimidating, but it’ll also ensure an easy return if necessary. If you’re truly concerned, consider a cute plush dinosaur instead of a ferocious plastic dinosaur.
What you need to know: Papo’s figurines feature intricate designs and gorgeous hand painting.
What you’ll love: This manufacturer makes a wide variety of scientifically accurate species that are durable and hefty. They’re great for kids or adults.
What you should consider: It may be too scary with too many small and pointy parts for younger children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: These are five soft plastic dinosaurs for the price of one.
What you’ll love: The squishy design is great for all ages. The set includes a mix of scary and friendly species.
What you should consider: The figurines have no moving parts.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This features the biggest and baddest dinosaur toy in town.
What you’ll love: As an officially licensed “Jurassic World” tie-in product, the head, neck, legs, arms, tail and jaws all move.
What you should consider: Some parents report that the toy’s roaring feature is very loud with no way to adjust the volume.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.