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34 gift ideas for kids of every age, from STEM sets to outdoor toys

Submitted by Tech Insider on June 23, 2022 - 3:48pm

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Side by side images of glowing bath cubes and a kid riding a scooter
We rounded up the best gifts for kids of all ages, including building sets, fidget toys, crafts, and toys from "Harry Potter" and Marvel.

Gifts for kids fall into two categories: the short-lived toys that are played with for only a few minutes and the ones that become daily favorites. But how can you know which gift will be a hit and which will be forgotten on a shelf?

The best gifts for kids are fun, durable, age-appropriate, and encourage imagination or physical activity. A child's favorite gift will often be one that fits their current interests, whether that's dinosaurs or crafts.

As a mom of three who hates the clutter of unused toys, I often spend hours researching gifts for my kids as well as my nieces and nephews. Along with some of our personal favorites, I've rounded up the top-reviewed and hottest toys of the year to help you choose a gift for the child in your life. Check them out below, listed from youngest to highest age recommendations.

Here are 34 of the best gifts for kids in 2022:

A long-lasting bath toy set
children in bath playing with green, yellow, red plastic tugboat toys - best gift for kids under 1

Green Toys Eco-Friendly Submarine and Tug Boat Set, available at Amazon and Target, from $19.88

My rough-and-tumble kids have yet to break any of their Green Toys vehicles. Made from sturdy recycled plastic, this submarine and tug boat set is the most durable bath toy I've owned and doubles as a cup for washing hair. Traditional bath toys like rubber ducks have hiding spots for mold, but these boats open up for easy cleaning.

Recommended ages: 6 months and up

A personalized puzzle just for them
wooden name puzzles with different color letters - best gifts for kids

Fat Brain Toys Personalized Name Puzzle, available at Fat Brain Toys and Amazon, $26.95

Personalized gifts are often a big hit, and this name puzzle has the added benefit of helping younger kids learn to spell their names. The puzzle can be customized with names up to nine characters long and can also double as a bedroom decoration. 

Recommended ages: 1 year and up

A custom bear for Harry Potter fans
harry potter themed build a bears

Build-A-Bear Harry Potter Collection, available at Build-A-Bear, from $12.50

Build-A-Bear's wide range of quality plush and accessories allows you to gift a customized teddy. The Noble Harry Potter collection is a great gift for fans of the series. You can choose a bear — or perhaps Hedwig or a house animal — and deck it out in clothes for one of the four houses.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A dollhouse that's big on responsibility
little girl playing with Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home, available at Amazon, $39.99

The Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home is a toddler-friendly dollhouse that encourages imaginative play. Parents will love that the set encourages tots to be Big Helpers — from feeding the toy dog to making the play bed. The set includes a house, three figures, and accessories.

Recommended ages: 1 to 5 years

A farm puzzle with sound effects
melissa and doug farm puzzle with barn animals

Melissa and Doug Farm Animals Sound Puzzle, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $9.99

Melissa and Doug's Sound Puzzles were a hit with my kids at the toddler and preschool ages. These tough wooden puzzles make the noise of the farm animal when the piece correctly falls into place, adding another level of play to a classic toy. This option teaches farm animal sounds, but there are also sets for vehicles, zoo animals, and musical instruments.

Recommended ages: 2 years and up

An action figure and ATV for little hands
Paw Patrol Ryder's Rescue ATV, Vechicle and Figure

Paw Patrol Ryder's Rescue ATV, Vehicle and Figure, available on Amazon, $19.99

Paw Patrol is popular among many young kids, but this four-wheeler and action figure is also a great first action figure. Parents say that the action figure and four-wheeler are easy for young hands to manipulate, and the posable figure works both on and off the ATV. 

Recommended ages: 3 to 5 years old

A tough but classic dump truck
Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Dump Truck

Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Dump Truck, available at Target, $27.99

A durable classic, this partial-steel dump truck works well for indoor play or driving around a sandbox. Kids can haul toys around and dump them out again with the working bucket. Parents will appreciate the durable design.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A sensory play set with a rainbow of colors
young girl and boy making fun shapes with colorful kinetic sand

Kinetic Sand, Sandisfactory Set, available at Amazon, $25.98

Kinetic sand is squishable, moldable sand that sticks together — making it both more fun and less messy than traditional sandbox sand. A toy that promotes both sensory play and creativity, this kit comes with 10 tools for molding and shaping the sand. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

An inclusive doll inspired by real kids
Lottie Doll Mia Wildlife Photographer

Lottie Doll Mia Wildlife Photographer, available at Amazon, $27.95

Lottie Dolls forgo the usual princess outfits for a diverse range of clothes, interests, and physical differences inspired by real kids. Mia is a wildlife photographer doll that comes with a camera and a cochlear implant. If Mia isn't quite the right fit, Lottie Dolls include a wide range, from paleontologist to activist.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A go-kart that grows with them
Red, white and black radio Flyer Ultimate Go-Kart

Radio Flyer Ultimate Go-Kart, available at Amazon, $329

Ride-on toys are a favorite in my house but tend to be quickly outgrown. The Radio Flyer Ultimate Go-Kart has an adjustable seat to accommodate ages 3 to 8 and is made from both steel and plastic for a longer lifespan. Parents will also appreciate the three different speed options and easy charging cable.

Recommended ages: 3 to 8 years old

A fidget toy with all the fun of bubble wrap
child playing with rainbow-colored pop it bubble wrap toy

Chuckle & Roar Pop It! XL, available at Target, $19.99

Pop Its are like reusable bubble wrap for kids to pop over and over. Besides having the irresistible draw of popping bubble wrap, fidget toys can also help build fine motor skills. Parents love this XL size Pop It because it's large enough for two kids to play together but still small enough to play with in the car.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A Play-Doh set with all the must-have tools
playdo starter set in plastic case

Play-Doh Starter Set, available at Target, Walmart, Joann and Macy's, from $7.99

Play-Doh is a classic toy that often keeps my kids occupied for hours. This starter kit comes with kid-safe scissors, a knife, a rotary cutter, a scooper, a roller, and some stencils. Of course, it also includes four cans of Play-Doh and a case to put it all in.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A play set for imaginary chefs
Child pretending to cook with the Hape Fun Fan Fryer

Hape Fun Fan Fryer, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Saks Fifth Avenue, from $19.05

Play kitchens and food are great for imaginative play. This tabletop stove by Hape has a built-in fan, so the included disks actually move around as they "cook" in the pan. Parents love that it's small enough to keep in a cupboard so kids can "cook" in the kitchen right next to them.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

An open-ended building toy
colorful magnatiles built together like a castle

Magna-Tiles, 32 pieces, available at Amazon, Fat Brain Toys, and Bloomingdale's, from $49.99

Magna-Tiles are building toys that fuse together creativity, geometry, and problem solving but just feel like a fun toy. My kids have continued to have fun with Magna-Tiles after the initial build, creating houses for stuffed animals and action figures. These versatile toys are suited for a wide range of ages and interests, making them easily giftable.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A slime alternative with less mess
young girl sticking crayola gobbles to a brick wall

Crayola Globbles, available at Amazon and Staples, from $8.99

Crayola Globbles offer the fun of slime without the mess. These squishy, moldable balls will stack together, stick on surfaces, and more. Unlike slime, there's no worry about colors mixing together and they peel right off.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A remote control truck for stunt lovers
young child controlling the remote control monster jam car

Monster Jam Grave Digger Freestyle Force RC Car, available at Amazon and Target, $59.99

Remote control cars are often a kid favorite, but this monster truck is packed with extra tricks. An RC vehicle that will do forward and backward wheelies, spins, and flips, fans of Monster Jam will also appreciate that it's modeled to look like the real Grave Digger.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A Baby Yoda character that talks and moves
young teenagers interacting with the animatronic baby yoda toy

Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition, available at Amazon, $36.49

The Child — often referred to as Baby Yoda — is a beloved figure from "The Mandalorian." This toy mixes that character with animatronics that will probably remind '90s kids of Furbies. The Child Animatronic Edition, the 2021 Toy of the Year award winner, has 25 different sounds and motions inspired by the Disney+ series.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A scoop for epic snowball fights
Hey! Play! Snowball Maker Tool next to snowballs with smiley faces on them

Hey! Play! Snowball Maker Tool, available at Amazon, $9.95

This snowball maker has taken my kids' snowball fights up a level. It quickly scoops snow to make nice-sized snowballs for playing. Retailing for about $10 with two included, it's an affordable gift for kids who live in snowy climates.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A basketball legend in action figure form
lebron james action figure in tune squad uniform with accessories

Moose Toys Space Jam: A New Legacy Lebron James Ultimate Tune Squad 12" Action Figure, available at Amazon, $19.99

This large action figure makes a great gift for both basketball fans and kids who love Warner's "Space Jam: A New Legacy" movie. The 12-inch tall Lebron James action figure includes four accessories to play out scenes from the movie or to just pretend to play basketball. The figure's limbs are articulated for a wider range of play options.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A giant dinosaur with posable limbs ... and jaws
Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Super Colossal Indominus Rex

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Super Colossal Indominus Rex, available at Amazon and Target, $64.99

Based on the Netflix series "Camp Cretaceous," this dinosaur stands 18 inches tall and is more than three feet long. Parents say that kids love the larger size as well as the posable limbs that make it more of a  toy than a stiff collectible. "Camp Cretaceous" was one of Netflix's most-watched shows at launch, but this toy will also appeal to other dino fans.

Recommended ages: 4 years and up

A folding scooter
child riding the razor a kick scooter on the sidewalk, our pick for best gift for kids

Razor A Kick Scooter, available at Amazon, Target and Walmart, from $29.99

I've gifted several Razor A Kick Scooters before — and always accompanied with a great reaction. These scooters are durable outdoor toys that feel like a big gift yet retail for under $30. Because these scooters also fold up, they are easier to store and take on the go than a bike.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A play set for camping adventures
Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus with tiny playmobil figures inside

Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus, available at Barnes & Noble, $49.99

With a bus, mini action figures, and camping accessories, the Playmobil Volkswagen Camping Bus will appeal to kids with a variety of interests. The top lifts off, so after pushing the bus around, kids can take the play figures on imaginary adventures. The bus works as a stand-alone toy or with other Playmobil sets.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A bottle of catchable virtual fairies
two young girls holding the bottle for catching virtual fairies

Got2Glow Fairy Finder by WowWee, available at Target, $29.49

The Got2Glow Fairy Finder mixes the fun of geocaching games like Pokemon Go with the fun of virtual pets. With this toy, kids find and catch virtual fairies that light up the jar when captured. Unlike most screen-based games, this one simultaneously encourages physical activity and exploration.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A kid-friendly book on difficult topics
different A Kids Book About books on a collage

A Kids Book About, available at A Kids Company About, $19.95

A Kids Book About is a line of books that tackles tough topics in a kid-friendly way. The series covers topics from racism and inclusivity to recognizing emotions like grief and understanding a diagnosis like cancer. Reviewers say that kids love the storylines while parents and caregivers love that they invite conversation on difficult subjects.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A card-filled game for new Pokemon fans
Pokemon Trading Card Game Battle Academy

Pokemon Trading Card Game Battle Academy, available at Target and Walmart, from $19.99

I'm the mom of two Pokemon fans, but none of our Pokemon toys get played with as much as the classic trading cards. A 2021 Toy of the Year Award recipient, Pokemon Battle Academy is a game that teaches kids how to play with those classic trading cards. Because it includes three full decks of cards with 60 cards in each, it's also a better value than purchasing individual packs of cards.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A building kit with endless play for Marvel fans
child playing on the floor with the Lego Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor

Lego Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor, available at Amazon, $61.82

Lego makes great gifts, especially when choosing a set based on the child's top interests. This set, ideal for Marvel fans, allows kids to build Iron Man's Hall of Armor. Once built, kids can play with the rotating platform that switches up the Iron Man mini-figure's suit.

Recommended ages: 7 years and up

A stuffed animal craft kit
woodland friend animal sewing kit

Craftlab Woodland Friends Sewing Kit, available at Amazon, $24.97

This craft kit allows kids to create their own stuffed animal friends. The sewing kit includes all the materials and instructions for kids to create five woodland animals. Parents will appreciate that it comes in a reusable tote for putting the mess away.

Recommended ages: 7 years old and up

An arena for friendly Beyblade battles
two people playing with beyblade burst on the ground

Beyblade Burst Surge Speedstorm Volt Knockout Battle Set, available at Amazon, $38.99

Beyblade is a two-player game where kids "battle" with spinning tops in an arena designed to increase their speed. When the Beyblade Hypersphere tops meet, one will burst apart — giving the other player two points. It's a well-ranked game that can also interest kids who don't watch the TV series.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A classic toy for rock collectors
two young girls polishing rocks with the national geographic rock tumbler

National Geographic Rock Tumbler, available at Amazon and Target, $69.99

For the kid who's always finding cool rocks outside, the National Geographic Tumbler encourages further STEAM exploration. The tumbler includes everything that's needed to polish gemstones with a high-quality, kid-friendly tumbler. Gifters should know, however, that tumbling takes a few weeks and is noisy, so it's best gifted to kids with a garage or basement to keep the noise away.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A microscope that can go anywhere
pocket microscope for kids

Carson Micro Brite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Zoom Pocket Microscope, available at Amazon, Walmart and Office Depot, from $13.99

Traditional toy microscopes are limited to objects that fit on a slide, but pocket microscopes can easily magnify both large and small objects. This Carson Micro Brite Plus is a portable microscope that kids can use outdoors or indoors to magnify anything that allows the microscope to sit flat on the surface. It's an affordable gift for kids who love science or the outdoors.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A unicorn pool float they'll use all summer
unicorn float

Joyin Inflatable Unicorn Pool Float, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $16.99

Pool floats are so popular that even adults post Instagrams with them all the time. This glittery unicorn float has handles on the neck to make it easier for a child to climb on and is made of durable materials to last many a summer. 

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A colorful tablet for them to draw to their hearts' content
LCD writing tablet

Orsen LCD Writing Tablet, available at Amazon, $11.03

This LCD writing tablet is perfect for doodling — without the mess or paper waste. The drawings and writings appear in a pretty gradient rainbow, and the tablet is especially great for travel when kids want something to do but can't easily use crayons or markers. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A fun, educational board game that teaches them real chess
storytime chess for kids

Storytime Chess for kids, available at Uncommon Goods, $25

Chess is a timeless game but can be a bit overwhelming for young kids to pick up. This clever board game gives the pieces their own character names and backstories, offering an engaging and simple way for children to gradually learn the rules. There are also expansion packs to keep the game going, making it a genuinely engrossing toy for kids and their parents alike.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

Glow-in-the-dark bath cubes to make bath time their favorite
glowing bath cubes

Glowing Bath Time Cubes, available at Uncommon Goods, $20

These cubes (which last a few weeks, or 72 hours total) automatically start glowing when they come in contact with water — and turn off the moment they're out. Beyond just looking super cool, they can entertain kids for hours as they place the cubes in and out of the water, trying to figure out their magic.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

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