Impressive level of detail. Lifelike paint job. Dinosaurs have exciting poses. Durable. Includes illustrated informational booklet. Hefty model. Many alternate dinosaur models available.
Some PNSO models are more readily available than others.
Value-packed purchase. Includes 5 chunky dinosaurs. Soft yet ruggedly made. Extra-large. Will withstand rough play. Iconic dinosaur species. Bright and colorful paint jobs. Easy to stand on its own.
Not the most scientifically accurate dinosaur toys on the market.
Movie-accurate sculpt and paint job. Features articulation in wrists, jaw, neck, toes, ankles, and more. Large figure. Premium packaging. Includes adjustable, transparent figure stand.
Best for bigger kids.
Affordable. Extremely soft and easy to clean. Durable construction. Fuzzy texture with stylish coloring. Adorable. Multiple dinosaur species available.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Dinosaurs have long captivated the public imagination of adults and kids alike. Toy dinosaurs can stoke a child’s imagination, encourage play, and teach them about prehistoric life. While there are near-limitless toy dinosaurs to choose from, considering who the toy is for can help you make a more informed purchase.
For example, are you choosing a toy dinosaur for a toddler or an eight-year-old? Are you looking for a stuffed toy dinosaur or something a bit more interactive? Aside from age, consider whether or not you want a learning toy for the child in your life, which may come packaged as a kit with additional accessories. Regardless of your deciding factors, you’re likely to find a toy dinosaur you love.
Dinosaurs have captivated the public imagination for centuries, from depictions in early 20th century movies to modern-day natural museum exhibits. On one hand, it’s incredible to believe that such massive animals once lived on the same earth as us. Even though dinosaurs went extinct millions of years before the first humans appeared, some of us take joy in imagining a world where we all coexisted.
Play is a critical part of child development; playtime with dinosaur toys can help develop children’s imaginations and therefore creativity, build their curiosity for the world around them, and can even build confidence and resilience down the line. Not to mention that toy dinosaurs can provide an excellent natural history lesson. While “gendered” toys are largely due to marketing, toy dinosaurs can truly be enjoyed by all children. For a child with great interest in the Mesozoic era, you can pair a series of play sessions with trips to a local history museum or even a movie-watching night.
Age plays a decisive factor in any toy purchase, and toy dinosaurs are no exception. To make sure the toy dinosaur is enjoyed to the fullest, consider the developmental stage of the child who will play with it.
Babies 12 months and under are still developing their motor skills. This is an age of tactile and sensory exploration. As babies learn about the world around them, they touch things and put them in their mouths. At this age, there won’t be too much independent play time — a caregiver is still the primary playmate. Toy dinosaurs in puppet form, as stuffed animals, or as a crib mobile are solid choices for this age.
As toddlers (12-36 months) become mobile, they engage more with their world. The majority of two- to three-year-olds can firmly grasp items in their hands, recognize colors, and count to 10. This is also an age where children develop an interest in role-playing. You can build upon their growth and interests with toy dinosaurs that include a simple counting component or puzzle component.
Four- to five-year-olds lean even further into the role-playing aspects of playtime. At this age, children have learned enough about the world around them to understand the intended purpose for items. With this knowledge, children this age use that knowledge to create their own worlds and their own creations. Toy dinosaurs with a creative component, such as molding Play-Doh or drawing pictures, exercise the growing imaginations of children this age.
At six years and up, elementary-age kids have more thirst for adventure. This is when peer friendships take on a new meaning, and new skills such as bike-riding are mastered. Toy dinosaurs can be an excellent tool to reinforce what kids are learning in their classrooms. More complex puzzles, fossil digging kits, or Lego sets are great choices for this age.
Toy dinosaurs come in all varieties of sizes and materials. The majority of toy dinosaurs tend to be plush or made from hard plastic. More often than not, the materials are synthetic. Plush stuffed animals are commonly made from a polyester blend, though some manufacturers opt for cotton on the exterior. Stuffed toy dinosaurs can be enjoyed by any age, but they make the most developmental sense for babies and toddlers.
Hard plastic toys are taken from crude, raw organic matter and transformed into propane and ethane. ABS plastic is a high-quality plastic in many toys, such as Legos. These are most common in smaller dinosaur toys with more pieces, best suited for children over age three.
Technically, any toy dinosaur can be a learning toy. Here, “learning toy” refers to toy dinosaurs with an explicit function of gaining knowledge. For example, dinosaur toys that reinforce counting principles would be a learning toy.
One very popular toy dinosaur set is for fossil or bone excavation. With these toys, toy dinosaur bones are embedded into a block of dried clay or sand. The set includes “archeology” tools like a mini pickaxe, a small hammer, and a chisel. Kids can gently chip away at the sediment until the dinosaur bones are revealed. Learning toys are an excellent way to solidify what kids learn in the classroom.
Battery-operated toys can make playtime more dynamic. Often, these toy dinosaurs mimic movement of dinosaurs. The toy figure may be able to walk, move its arms, move its mouth, or even roar.
Even still, there are battery-powered figures that aren’t necessarily dinosaur figures, such as a nighttime dinosaur projector.
For children with a flair for drama, it might be more fun to be a dinosaur instead of playing with one. In this case, opt for dinosaur tails or dinosaur capes. No need to limit your search to toys, either. You can find dinosaur onesies, dinosaur headbands, and dinosaur pajamas in a number of places.
Toy dinosaurs make great home decor. Whether it's for the dinosaur-obsessed kid or adult in your life, toy dinosaurs can be repurposed into small planters, tchotchkes, or figures in a diorama.
Toy dinosaurs can be refreshingly affordable. For $5 to $15, you can find toy dinosaurs that activate young imaginations without breaking the bank. Many of the toy dinosaurs in this range are simple. A set of small plastic toys or a small plush animal is easy to find.
For $15 to $35, your toy options open enormously. Here you can find toys with more interactive components and toys that are explicitly meant for learning, puzzles, and Lego sets.
If you have the means for a splurge, consider a toy dinosaur over $35. Oftentimes, these toys are interactive or battery-powered. For example, think of a T-rex toy with jaws that open and close, or the toy might be a child-sized stuffed animal or playset.
A. Many things. Kids can use toy dinosaurs to act out stories, to make their own archeology games by burying the dinosaurs in sand (if small enough), or to have them identify different dinosaur species.
A. Absolutely. Try looking for a more complex toy dinosaur, such as a building set or an excavation kit. There’s no age limit on play and imagination.
A. Although each school has its own donation policy, it can’t hurt to ask—and chances are there is a teacher at that school who could put dinosaur toys to good use in their classroom, whether it’s for a unit on dinosaurs, an art project, or a creative writing prompt.