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Best Toys for Kids of All Ages
Whether your child is still swaddling in their crib at night or you’re taking them in for their driver’s permit soon, we've got the best toys for kids of any age. From LEGO sets and Melissa & Doug dress-up costumes to Nerf blasters and book subscriptions, there is no end to the age-appropriate toys that encourage play and entertain kids. That said, before you dig into your wallet too deep, remember whether it’s reading books that are scattered around the living room floor, coloring together at the coffee table with crayons that are strewn all around, or putting on a silly cape and declaring everyone strike their best superhero pose, the best toys for kids of all ages are also best enjoyed together. So, moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, and loved ones everywhere, may we all take time to get a little goofy and play alongside one another.
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Pond Pals Twist & Fold Activity Gym & Play Mat
Moms and dads love the Pond Pals Twist and Fold Activity Gym and Play Mat because it features a tummy time bolster to get those neck muscles working, a mirror to encourage silly faces, and a brightly colored play mat which also doubles as an easy-to-clean space. The mat comes with four plush pals to play with that don teethers, rings, crinkle fabric, and more. Parents appreciate the fact that this toy folds down easily to store under a crib, couch, or even take while on-the-go. Activity gyms can be some of the best kids toys for newborns with older siblings. Together, they can play around the mat and interact. Just pay careful attention, parents, to ensure big brothers and sisters don’t get too rambunctious around the newest family member.
What’s Inside? Soft Feely Box
The What’s Inside? Soft Feely Box is a fun, interactive sensory toy that can get the whole family involved. Intended for infants through preschoolers, the box includes 10 small objects that all fit in the box, which your child is then encouraged to reach inside the top and pull out an item inside. Ranging from a butterfly and lion to an airplane and car, these objects come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. The box even makes for a great gift and is one of the best toys for children when new little brothers or sisters arrive because it allows the older child to play with and show the younger one what’s inside. Parent’s love to watch the new siblings giggle and chatter thanks to this fun toy. Hitting the road with the family and stressing about what to bring for entertainment? Bring the sensory box for nonstop fun in the car as well. Bonus: It’s also washable. ($50; amazon.com)
ECR4Kids 2 Station Square Sand and Water Table with Lids
For the curious tot and preschooler who always want to splash and dig their hands into the sand, the ECR4Kids 2 Station Square Sand and Water Table is one of the best toys for children, ages 3 and up, to do just that. Each bin is made of durable plastic with steel legs that enable parents to adjust to three different heights (20", 22.5", and 26"). The tables not only encourage kids to splash and play, but they also promote fine motor skills and social interaction. When it’s time to head in for dinner, parents and kids can conveniently put a lid on each bin to ensure contents are kept safe until next time. You can also connect to other sand and water tables by the same manufacturer for even more fun. Each bin is removable to ensure easy filling, dumping, cleaning, and, of course, repeating. Before you toss out that leftover butter tub or plastic kids meal milk carton, “go green” by washing them out and tossing them in these tubs. Your kids will enjoy filling them, dumping them, and pouring them from one bin to the next over and over again. As with any water toy, always keep a close eye on kiddos to ensure they are playing safely. ($135; amazon.com)
Melissa & Doug Band-In-A-Box - Clap! Clang! Tap!
Calling all aspiring rock and pop stars! It’s time to jam out with Melissa & Doug’s Band-In-Box. Inspire your tot or preschooler to love music by handing them this 10-piece musical instrument set which includes a tambourine, cymbals, maracas, clacker, tone blocks, and a triangle. It even comes with a handy wooden crate to store it all together. It’s one of the best kids toys because you can get the whole family involved and playing together. Make up your own lyrics, turn on your favorite tunes, or start streaming those silly songs, and get moving to the beat! ($22; target.com)
Crayola Color Wonder Stow and Go Travel Studio
The Crayola Color Wonder Stow and Go Travel Studio is one of the top toys for kids when you want to get their creative juices flowing, even on-the-go. It ensures all the fun and artistry but without the mess; we promise. You can rest easy because the Color Wonder Markers will only color on the Color Wonder pad, rather than carpet, furniture, clothes or car seats. The set includes four mess-free markers, a 30-page Color Wonder coloring pad, and easy-to-open storage bin to hold it all, plus any stamps or stamp pads you might have (sold separately). Bonus: The storage bin also serves as a hard surface to draw on with stay-put clips at the top to avoid paper from moving around. ($13; michaels.com)
Melissa & Doug Kids’ Astronaut Dress-Up Set
When it comes to good toys for kids, you can’t go wrong with throwing on some dress-up clothes and playing make-believe. The Melissa & Doug Kids’ Astronaut Role Play Set includes an intergalactic-worthy spacesuit, shiny helmet, glistening gloves, and a name tag that can be used again and again. It is sure to bring on hours of fun pretending to do everything from rocket launches to orbits around the sun. Dig out an unused chest or trunk from the closet and add this great costume to the other fun things that can spark the imagination such as large sheets for forts, fun hats, silly wigs, and old shoes. No matter if the pretend clothes are purchased or handed down from parents’ closets, dress-up and pretend play can be some of the best kids’ toys because there is no end to the scenes that may unfold in your toy room. The astronaut costume is machine washable too, you know, just in case that zero-gravity thing makes the afternoon snack spill. ($30; macys.com)
The early school years can be a confusing age for toys. They can all seem either too babyish or a little over kids' heads. Not so with Cranium Cadoo! The great thing about board games is they are fun for family game nights, or when friends come over to play, and are even great to bring on trips and vacations. Cranium Cadoo is one of the best children's toys because it gets kids puzzling, sculpting, acting, sketching, and code-cracking, just like it did when it was initially released more than 15 years ago. Gameplay can take place with two or more kids, or you can break up into teams if you’d rather, and let the laughter, challenges, and play unfold. ($25; amazon.com)
LEGO Super Heroes Spider-Man: Doc Ock's Tentacle Trap
Many of us fondly remember spending hours with a bin of LEGOs and building blocks, creating, rebuilding, remodeling, and reimagining the perfect setting for whatever scene was about to play out. And these days, there’s something for everyone from the littlest LEGO lovers to those who want to challenge themselves as “master builders.” From superheroes and movies to Duplo and Creator, there is seemingly no end to the number of themes available for your grade school child, not to mention categories such as building, car, and aircraft sets. This Marvel set is one of the best toys for children who love LEGOs and superheroes because it’s sure to have your kiddo on a rescue mission to save the most recent captive on Doc Ock’s Octo-Boat. The set includes Spider-Man, Doc Ock, Vulture, White Tiger, and Captain Stacy. Combined with Spider-Man’s surfboard, web blast, web rope, and more, there’s no end to the adventures your little superhero can dream up. ($40-$50; amazon.com)
NERF Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow
Channel your inner Daryl Dixon and get ready for some zombie takedowns. Kids ages 8 and up, moms and dads included, can get into the action with the NERF Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow. With real crossbow action and a five-dart rotating drum, it is perfect for hours of zombie battles. The set includes the blaster, bow arms, five darts, as well as instructions so your tween or teen is totally set for the “walker” wars about to take place. The bow also features authentic designs that make it seem like it’s from the Zombie Strike story, where the good guys are piecing together found objects to take on the hordes of zombies. ($20; amazon.com)
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera Bundle
The best toys are often those that generate smiles, silly faces, and some serious fun. Put it all together and you’ve got selfies galore when your pre-teen starts snapping pics with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera. It takes gorgeous instant photos thanks to the brightness adjustment dial and constant firing flash that automatically adjusts to whatever the lighting conditions are. Not only that, the High-Key mode lets tweens and teens take photos with a “softer look” for those locker-worthy portrait prints. Kids love the selfie mirror, and parents love the fact that this camera just prints pics and doesn’t enable sharing online. This bundle includes the Instax Mini 9 Camera, two AA batteries, a close-up lens accessory, convenient carrying strap, and even 20 extra instant films for more snaps and fun!
- Crate & Barrel
Crat & Barrel - A Teepee to Call Your Own
There's something about a fort that brings you right back to childhood. For that reason, and the hours of fun ahead, we love Crate & Barrel's play tent. The best toys are those that can be enjoyed by all of the family members from young to, well, big kids (we’re talking to you, mom and dad). This tent is perfect for everything from a bedtime story or quiet nap to some rowdy pretend play and giggles as you ask in shock, “Uh-oh! Where did you go?” as they “surprise you” and bound out of the tent. It quickly and easily sets up, collapses for convenient storage, and comes with a matching carrying bag. ($160; crateandbarrel.com)
Prime Book Box
Books often make the best children's toys because they can stay within reach on a bookcase, be taken in the car, stored in a stroller, stashed in a backpack, and treasured for a lifetime. The Amazon Prime Book Box Kids is a subscription that sends you hand-picked children’s books at the frequency you choose (every one, two, or three months). Boxes come with either four board books, for baby to age 2, or two hardcover books for ages 3 to 12. Titles are geared specifically for your child because, prior to shipment, you pick your preferences and tell Amazon a little about your budding bookworm. You’ll be raising a little reader in no time! Bonus: With this subscription, you get 35 percent off list price. ($23 per box; amazon.com)
*Note: Amazon Prime Book Box is only available for Prime Members.