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Best Toys

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 116 Models Considered
  • 21 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 97 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best toys

    Last Updated July 2018

    Want to pique a child’s interest and bring a smile to his face? Present him with a new, exciting toy.

    Shopping for toys can be fun, but kids’ trends move so fast these days, it can be hard to keep up with them.

    When you purchase a toy for a child, you of course want to select one that will be well-received.

    Whether you’re shopping for a child, grandchild, niece, or nephew, you’ve come to the right place.

    The guide below will give you an outline of the current toy landscape, and the matrix above will point you in the direction of five awesome toys we think would make that special kid in your life very happy indeed.

    Children learn through play. When you buy toys for kids, you’re not just entertaining them; you’re helping them learn about and explore the world.

    Finding an age-appropriate toy

    One might argue that age-appropriateness is the most important factor when selecting a toy for a child.

    It’s not enough to just buy something that’s popular. A really cool robot might frustrate a six-year-old, and a talking stuffed animal might bore a 12-year-old.

    Thankfully, most toys manufacturers specify an intended age range for the toys they sell.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you’re considering buying a video game for a child, find out which game system (and which version) they have first. Some games don’t work across every platform, and some don’t work on all versions of a given system.


    Toy categories

    There are are number of categories from which to choose in the toy world. These categories include, but are not limited to, the following.

    Games

    Kids love games. For that special child, you may be interested in purchasing a traditional board game, a card game, or even a video game.

    Stuffed animals

    Stuffed animals are a classic favorite. Young children typically love them, and older children have been known to enjoy them as well.

    Tech toys

    This category grows larger and larger as time marches on. The tech toy realm includes video game consoles, music players, robots, and STEM toys, which may focus on science, tech, engineering, and/or math.

    Dolls/action figures

    Dolls and action figures change with time but are still appreciated by kids everywhere. Your choices range from baby dolls to Barbie dolls to Star Wars action figures. If you want to buy an action figure or doll for a child but aren’t sure which one, find out if the child has any favorite movies or TV shows. Often, you can find toys that coordinate with popular kids’ programming.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with determining the safety of children’s toys.

    Building toys

    Kids love to get down on the floor and build things, whether it’s with the help of some old-fashioned blocks, classic Legos, or the newer K’NEX sets. Some of the most popular building toys these days are actually magnetic pieces that adhere to one another to create fascinating free-style architectural structures.

    “Home life” toys

    Children like to imitate what they know. Toys that emulate what they see happening in their everyday life often strike a chord with kids. Ideas include pretend tool sets for the aspiring woodworker and play kitchens for the aspiring chef.

    Vehicles

    Toys in this category range from the classic self-powered bicycle to electric riding cars to handheld cars and trucks. You could spend any amount of money you wish on a toy vehicle for a child. There are matchbox cars that sell for as little as one dollar and ride-on kids’ vehicles that sell for hundreds of dollars.

    Sports

    Sports toys encourage children to be active and learn about sportsmanship. If you’re thinking of a sports toy, consider a toy basketball hoop, golf set, or bowling set. And while playing with Nerf guns isn’t exactly a sport, it gets kids up, moving, and having fun.

    Toys can be like the flavor-of-the-month for kids; they can tire of them rather quickly. Before a holiday or a birthday, teach children about charity by having them donate their unwanted toys to a charitable cause.

    FAQ

    Q. Where can I find educational toys?

    A. Educational toys are sold in many places, including brick-and-mortar stores and online. Some of the best educational toys fall under the “STEM” category, but there are other toys that teach important lessons as well.

    Q. At what age do children grow out of playing with toys?

    A. Some children stop playing with traditional toys the moment they start playing video games on their tablets and computers. But some kids take a lot longer to outgrow their love of hands-on toys. It’s not unusual to see a tween playing with dolls or a teenager playing with K’NEX. The answer to this question really depends on the specific child.

    Q. What are the general guidelines to follow to be sure toys are safe?

    A. Toys that consist of fabric should be made of flame-resistant or flame-retardant material. Toys should be non-toxic and washable. Any paint found on any toy should be lead-free. Crayons and paints should be approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials. (You’ll know if the item has been approved because it will say “ASTM D-4236” on the package.)

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Laura
      Laura
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor