Best dinosaur toys for all ages
We've also picked out some great dinosaur toy Black Friday deals to take advantage of right now.
Does anything go together better than kids and dinosaurs? If you've got a youngster in your life who loves these prehistoric beasts, we have suggestions for toys that will spark their imagination and curiosity. We've focused on toys with proven STEM-learning benefits, such as opportunities for open-ended play and spatial reasoning. And for the sake of quarantined parents everywhere, we've ignored anything with strobing lights and loud noises. Whatever the age of the budding paleontologist on your list, we think you'll find something to suit them here.
Best Black Friday Dinosaur Deals
Learning Resources Steggy the Fine Motor Dino:
$14.99 $7.69 at Amazon
Recommended for ages 18 months to 4 years, this plastic Stegosaurus will delight little ones with its bright colors and removable spikey plates (called "scutes" for the little paleontologist). Steggy the Fine Motor Dino includes 10 numbered scutes in five bright colors. Right now, Amazon is selling the dino-toy for nearly 50% off.
LEGO Jurassic World Dr. Wu's Lab: Baby Dinosaurs Breakout:
$19.99 $15.99 at Amazon
What's cuter than a baby dinosaur?? For your budding paleontologist, the answer is likely "nothing." After following the easy-to-understand instructions, kids can dream up their own tales of scientific breakthroughs and dinosaur escapes with two minifigures — Owen Grady and Dr. Henry Wu — plus baby Triceratops and Ankylosaurus toy figures. And Amazon is offering the set at a great price.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs Pop-Up Book:
$42.99 $19.50 at Amazon
This stunning hardback book recounts the history of paleantology, is packed with intricacy and features some of the most well-known dinosaurs springing to life in the most intricate pop-up designs we've ever seen. It is a top-quality product that now comes with a great discount.
Dinosaur Toys for Infants & Toddlers (0-2)
VTech Chomp and Count Dino: $19.82 on Amazon
Your baby can feed this adorable dinosaur any of eight brightly colored pieces … and as the dino chomps, it gives fun responses. Along the way, your 1- to 3-year-old will learn about colors, foods, shapes and counting. You can set the play mode to either “counting" or “meal.” And the dinosaur will even ask for particular food pieces, so your baby can learn to identify which food is which.
$20.99 $18.99 at Amazon
These brightly-colored dinosaur puzzles are just the toy to get your little one excited about playtime … and learning. Each of the six puzzles is made of smooth-edged wooden pieces covered in non-toxic paint. Not only will kids get to hone their fine motor skills, but they will learn about problem-solving and a tad of paleontology. With your help, they can piece together Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Oviraptor, Brachiosaurus, Parasaurolophus and a Pterosaur — though Pterosaurs lived among the dinosaurs, they are not dinosaurs but rather flying reptiles.
Glow-in-the-Dark Dinosaur Wall Decals:
$19.69 $15.75 at Amazon
Give your little one’s room a Jurassic Park feel with these glow-in-the-dark dinosaur decals. Even during the day, the wall art will draw in baby’s eyes with the vibrant colors. All the usual suspects are included: T. rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and more. Each package includes 42 decals: four large dinosaurs, two trees,17 stars, four clouds, five stones and six dinosaur-era plants.
Dino Tails Book: $16.50 on Amazon
The youngest babies love crinkly books and touch-and-feel textures, and this soft book from JellyCat delivers. Smooth, fuzzy, crinkly — let this be your baby's first dinosaur book.
Dinosaur wooden toddler puzzles:
$17.99 $14.39 at Amazon
These wooden puzzles are a perfect introduction to shape-matching for toddlers as young as age 2. Each puzzle has only three or four pieces, so they're simple to finish. They come with their own carrying case for containing pieces and preventing any parts from getting lost.
SmartMax My First Dinosaurs: $21.99 on Amazon
Kids can explore dinosaurs and magnets at the same time with these mix-and-match pieces for 1-year-olds and up. The set comes with 14 pieces that can construct five separate dinosaurs in any combination your little paleontologist would prefer.
Dinosaur Toys for Preschoolers (3-4)
Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Puzzle:
$12.99 $8.99 at Amazon
Perfect for preschoolers age 3 and older, this large, 48-piece floor puzzle features a slew of dinosaurs in a swamp-like setting. The pieces are durable and wipe clean for easy reuse.
DUPLO My First Dinosaur: $3.49 at LEGO
These simple sets are ideal for 3-year-olds (and can be enjoyed by even younger kids). The seven included pieces can be made into four different dinosaurs… or any other creature of the imagination.
Back in Time Dinosaur Counters:
$22.99 $18.64 at Amazon
Get your dinosaur-loving preschooler interested in math with these cute dinosaur counters from Learning Resources. Each bucket comes with 72 counters in six different shapes and colors. Count, sort, add, subtract and compare numbers for early math literacy and color and shape learning.
Plush Dinosaur House:
$29.00 on Amazon
Carry five prehistoric pals around with this dinosaur hotel shaped like an egg. Kids can use their imaginations to play with these small plush dinos, and will enjoy arranging them in their carrying case when they're done.
Kidtastic Dinosaur Construction Toys:
$39.99 $29.99 at Amazon
Using a kid-sized screwdriver and screws, children can put together and take apart three different dinosaurs in this STEM kit. If you know a kid who loves construction sites and dinosaurs, this may be the gift for you.
Best Dinosaur Toys for Young Children (5-7)
Creative Kids Dinosaur Craft Kit:
$29.99 $16.89 at Amazon
Prehistoric anatomy comes to life with this modeling clay kit that comes with three dinosaur skeletons. Kids can pile on clay (and wiggly eyes!) and create colorful, textured skin for their prehistoric Triceratops, T. rex and Stegosaurus.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs: $13.45 on Amazon
Perfectly pegged for the kindergarten and early-elementary crowd, this book features two-page spreads on 52 different dinosaurs, grouped by size. It's an engaging read-aloud for pre-readers, while also being accessible for older kids to read on their own. And adults might learn a thing or two, too.
Feathered T. rex: $24.93 on Amazon
Safari, Ltd. has a long history of creating realistic, accurate dinosaur models. Between 1988 and 2015, the company produced dinosaur figurines for the Carnegie Collection, a partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Sadly, the Carnegie Collection is no more, but Safari, Ltd. still produces an excellent line of prehistoric creatures, including this T. rex with feathers.
Meland Dino Eggs Dig Kit: $19.99 on Amazon
If only real paleontologists had it this easy. After chipping through these plaster eggs, kids will find fully-articulated, ready-to-paint dinosaurs inside. Be sure the guardians of the kids on your shopping list don't mind a little mess, as it's recommended to soak the plaster eggs in water for at least 10 minutes to soften them before letting kids break them apart.
Plus-Plus Dinosaur Play Set: $29.71 on Amazon
Plus-Plus blocks are versatile little building pieces from Denmark. This set comes with 480 pieces and instructions to make dueling dinosaurs: a sauropod and a stegosaurus. For kids on the younger side who might prefer larger pieces, Plus-Plus sells a Triceratops kit made from its big blocks, which are more than double the size of the original blocks.
Best Dinosaur Toys for Older Children (8-10)
LEGO Mighty Dinosaurs:
$14.99 $11.99 at Amazon
This nifty LEGO kit includes 174 pieces and instructions to build a poseable T. rex. Even better, when your little creator is tired of the king of dinosaurs, the same pieces can be broken down and repurposed to make a Triceratops or a Pterodactyl. (It's temporarily out of stock as of press time, but we'd be remiss if we didn't also point you to this fantastic Dinosaur Fossil set, which lets you build your own LEGO hall of natural history.)
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs Pop-Up Book:
$42.99 $19.50 at Amazon
This stunning hardback book recounts the history of paleantology and features some of the most well-known dinosaurs springing to life in the most intricate pop-up designs we've ever seen. It is a top-quality product that now comes with a great discount.
World of the Dinosaurs Wall Map Poster: $15.99 on Amazon
Know a kid who hunts for fossils in his or her own backyard? This colorful wall poster shows where dinosaur fossils are found on a modern map of the world, along with when the creatures lived.
Created by Me! Dinosaur Figurines Craft Kit: $5.99 on Amazon
Melissa & Doug's craft kit comes with two solid resin dinosaur figurines and six pots of paint. Kids can let their imaginations run wild — what color was Apatosaurus, anyway?
National Geographic Kids Tyrannosaurus Rex 3D Puzzle: $29.99 at Target
This 150-piece puzzle features a toothy T. rex and a 3D lenticular design that makes it look as if the dinosaur is moving if you look at it from different angles.
National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit: $9.99 on Amazon
Kids can practice paleontology with this dinosaur dig kit, which contains three actual fossils (a bit of dinosaur bone, a mosasaur tooth and a coprolite, or fossilized dinosaur poop).
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
By Harry Baker
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By Harry Baker