Stuff Guys Dig

The Best Kids Toys of 2024 are Ones You Won’t See Everywhere Else

Virtual toy aisle adventures!

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Best Kids Toys 2024

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Alright, here we go: you’re on a mission, a quest for the ultimate toy that’ll light up a kid’s eyes like fireworks on the Fourth of July.  Whether you’re shopping for Christmas, a birthday, or just because, you’ve got hope in your eyes as you browse through the virtual toy aisles online, packed with possibilities.  Do you go for the classic action figure, the high-speed race car, or maybe something that sends imaginations soaring?  It’s a tough choice, like being a toy detective (if that were a thing).  But fear not, because with every toy you consider, you’re not just choosing a gift – you’re choosing a ticket to a world of playtime and possibilities.  So go ahead, dive into the treasure chest of toys and let the magic of giving ignite your spirit.  And, if you’re looking for some fun ideas, we’ve got you covered – whether it’s a cuddly teddy bear or a high-tech gadget, there’s sure to be a toy out there that will capture their imagination.

For babies and toddlers (0-2 years), the best toys are those that promote sensory development. Look for brightly colored items that make noise (sorry!), such as rattles and squeeze toys. Soft, plush toys are also great for this age group, as they’re perfect for snuggling and cuddling.

For preschoolers (3-5 years), the ideal toys are those that encourage imagination and creativity. Building blocks, dolls and all kinds of toy cars are great choices. Games that help with early learning skills, such as matching and counting, are also beneficial.

Kids in the early school years (6-8 years) are starting to develop more complex interests. They may be interested in sports, music or creative pursuits. Toys that tap into these interests are the perfect way to keep them engaged and challenged.

For tweens (9-12 years), the best toys are those that foster independence and allow for self-expression. Puzzles, board games and art supplies are all great choices.

According to the latest toy research trends, this year one of the most popular categories is “Eco-lasting Play”  and “Eerie Enchantment.”  As a result, I’ve also included some of those ideas below.  But while these toy categories are having a moment right now, there’s also a focus on social play.  After Brostrick consulted with our favorite toy expert, Charlene DeLoach from Toy Insider, on what toy themes we’ll be seeing this year, we learned: 

"This year, I am observing a significant emphasis on toys that promote social-emotional development, encouraging children to engage in meaningful interactions, empathy-building activities, and cooperative play experiences. While sensory play remains essential, there's a notable shift towards toys that stimulate the senses and nurture emotional intelligence, resilience, and interpersonal skills, reflecting a growing recognition of the crucial role of social-emotional learning in child development post-COVID."

I’ve also scoured some of the top toy wish-lists and all-around great gift ideas, uncovering the best selling toys and games from the top toy retailers  – and also found some great back-up ideas, so you don’t have to.  But wait, there’s more!  Some of these are actually on sale right now too and their updated price will be displayed below.  Get your sale on!

Shop some of the best toys for kids of all ages (baby, toddler, big kids, and tweens) this year below!

BROSTRICK'S SELECTION PROCESS

AGE

I chose gift ideas that match a variety of developmental stages. Many toys come with age recommendations to guide your selection. Always consider factors like small parts that could pose choking hazards for younger children, or complexity that might frustrate them.  And nobody needs that!

PRICE

I think it’s possible to choose a cool toy that doesn’t break the bank. While there are plenty of trending toys that can be hard to find, sell out quickly, or you just can’t get your hands on due to overwhelming popularity – there are also plenty of budget friendly, can’t go wrong toys, that kids love!

INTERESTS

I tried to take into account a variety of children’s likes, hobbies, and interests. Whether they’re into arts and crafts, building, puzzles, sports, or imaginative play, selecting a toy that aligns with their preferences increases the likelihood of it being well-received and enjoyed.

DURABILITY

Let’s address the fact that toys break. They really take a beating.  I tried to prioritize toys that are made from high-quality materials. While there really aren’t any guarantees (I’ve seen it all), it’s helpful to consider durability, especially if it might be subjected to rough play or frequent use.

THE BEST TOYS FOR KIDS

1

National Geographic Fossil and Gemstone Dig

Recommended ages 8+

National Geographic Mega Fossil and Gemstone Dig Kit

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My kids (both girls and boys) always loved these digging kits, and we went through quite a few over the years. It was like they got to become a real-life Indiana Jones.  Includes ancient fossils and dazzling gemstones, this kit lets them dig and uncover the coolest treasures  They’ll get to hold 10 real gemstones and 10 real fossils in their little hand – talk about a show-and-tell win.

But it’s not just about the cool finds.  This kit is also a cool educational tool.  It comes with a detailed learning guide that’s with interesting facts about each fossil and gemstone they unearth.  To the tune of polished agate, green aventurine, rose quartz, red jasper along with rough desert rose, geode, tiger’s eye, pyrite, blue quartz, and Aragonite specimens.  Real fossil specimens include crinoid, bivalve, coprolite, brachiopod, natural orthoceras, pink gastropod and more.  Phew!  They’ll be busy.

2

Mash'ems Disney Princess

Recommended ages 4+

Mash'ems - Disney Princess - Squishy Surprise Characters

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It seems like collectibles never really go out of style, and over the past several years now, “surprise” or “mystery” toys have been having a moment.  They can step into a magical world with these squishable collectibles, which bring six enchanting princesses right to their fingertips –  including Belle, Ariel, and Mulan.  And for an extra sprinkle of magic, there’s an ultra-rare gold mystery character waiting to be discovered.  The catch?  In this series, each Mash’em is sold separately. 

But they have way more than princesses!  Each Mash’em comes in a mystery capsule, so they never know which character they’ll get until they pop it open.  From beloved Disney Princesses and Marvel superheroes to Harry Potter and quirky cartoon characters, there’s a Mash’em for just about everyone.  It’s like embarking on a treasure hunt.  With each series featuring unique characters, along with the excitement of discovering an ultra-rare figure, these little guys are perfect for trading with friends, decorating their space, or simply squeezing for stress relief.  Ahhh.  

3

TeeTurtle Original Reversible Octopus

recommended ages 3+

Teeturtle Toy

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I love that this reversible octopus is like their own cuddly little mood ring.  Happy?  Show its smiley face.  Having a rough day?  Flip it to the frowny side.  It’s a fun way for them to express themselves and a great heads up for you!  These have definitely been having a moment, and  owning a piece of pop culture might just rack up a few cool points as a gift giver. 

This emotional fellow is as expressive as it is squishy and an easy way for them to show off their mood without saying a word: happy face on one side, grumpy on the other.  It’s available in a kaleidoscope of colors – from serene blues to radiant rainbows, making it easy to find their favorite color. And since they’ve expanded beyond grumpy faces, (to include worried, bored and sleepy), there’s a match for every personality.  Designed for a wide range of ages, but especially loved by tweens and teens, it’s the perfect buddy whether they’re in preschool or middle school.

4

Manhattan Toy Soft Baby Doll Set

recommended ages 1+

Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Soft Doll

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i really appreciate that this cute little doll is all about being soft and snuggly and in a variety of skin tones.  Made from super soft fabric, this doll is perfect for snuggles, squeezes, and all the cozy little nurturing moments.  Kids can practice feeding, changing, and caring for their little buddy.

This doll comes ready for playtime right out of the box with a bottle, a binky, a book and a bear (the pacifier magically attaches with a magnet).  It’s an instant playdate packed in one adorable package!

5

Toy Doctor Kit for Kids

Recommended ages 3-8

Meland Toy Doctor Kit for Kids

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I love that this set includes so much (although double edged sword here, as pieces can go missing).  It comes with 24 pieces, which includes a cute, stuffed dog and a bag to carry all the necessities.  An added bonus is that it can also help kids learn about medical tools and treatments in a non-intimidating way, while being a great way to develop problem-solving skills and boost confidence through imaginative play and role-playing.

I always loved this option, especially since one of my kids was animal obsessed (still is, actually!), so this one makes a fantastic choice for any child interested in animals and medicine.  It sets the stage for imaginative play and learning, all while caring for a furry friend. Just be prepared to manage the many mini medical supplies and the occasional lost tool or two along the way.

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6

PLAY Eco-Friendly Garbage Truck

recommended ages 1+

PLAY Eco-Friendly Garbage Truck

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I always find that it’s the simplest toys that seem have the longest life.  While there’s excitement surrounding “fancier” tech toys with all the literal bells and whistles, it seems like those are always the toys found at the bottom of the toy box – long forgotten and making weird sounds as their batteries slowly die.  

But this toy truck is like the superhero of the playroom, and the planet.  He’s, cruising through the imaginary streets with purpose – it’s crafted from recycled materials itself!  Talk about walking the walk.  With its bright colors, movable parts and easy rolling wheels, it’s perfect to take just about anywhere, whether it’s the playroom, the yard or the beach.

7

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

recommended ages 18 months - 5

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

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Owning a Cozy Coupe is like a rite of passage.  Whether you’ve bought one yourself, or had one handed down to you, these little cars are an iconic piece of the formative years.  I can’t tell you how many cute “gas pump fill-ups,” adorable “car washes,” and epic toddler fist fights I’ve seen in my backyard with this car.  It is truly amazing how quickly they go from sweet and helpful gas attendant, to rage filled car flipper.  

With that being said, the Cozy Coupe is instantly recognizable and endlessly photogenic with its bright colors and unmistakable friendly face.  Whether it’s an updated version with a little pizzazz, like the dino, or the classic red and yellow – it’s been a nostalgic part of childhood for decades, creating amazing memories that last and it’s durable enough to pass on to siblings, neighbors, and friends.  Just take into consideration it’s size (for storage), it’s toddler learning curve for curves, getting stuck and backing up, and the lesson in sharing and taking turns (that one is the roughest!).

8

LCD Writing Tablet

recommended ages 3-6

LCD Writing Tablet

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I am always a fan of mess free options.  Since we’re inundated with mess, sounds, pieces and parts, simplicity is always appreciated – especially in the car.  So say goodbye to paper waste, spilled paint, and uncapped markers.  They can use this LCD tablet to write, sketch, and erase thousands of times with a single swipe.  It’s also perfect for those who are all about that green life.

Designed with both kids and adults in mind, it’s durable, lightweight, and super easy to use. Plus, it’s a quiet way to keep the kiddos entertained without the mess of crayons and markers.  Hooray!  And the long-lasting battery life means they can keep on writing without worrying about frequent recharges. It’s ready whenever inspiration strikes, and when they’ve had it, they can erase with the touch of a button.  With that being said, since simplicity is the name of the game here – there isn’t a save option.  So once they erase it’s gone for good. 

9

PicassoTiles Interlocking Building Blocks

recommended ages 3+

Picasso Interlocking Blocks

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I always loved having blocks on hand and my kids were big fans of both, the magnetic tiles and these interlocking blocks.  When you have 2 siblings, the fact that they interlock was like a little bit of extra insurance –  so they couldn’t knock them over easily. 

Transform your floor into the blueprint of their imagination.  These vibrant blocks (120 pieces!) click together to form whatever wild structures they want to create, like a 3D colorful canvas.  Kids improve their spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and problem-solving abilities with every structure they craft.

10

Barbie's Dream House

recommended ages 4+

Barbie's Dream House with Pool

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It probably goes without saying that this was  one of the most popular gift this past season on Amazon.  Barbie was living her best life after the release of her Oscar nominated movie, and she was absolutely the moment.  With that being said, Barbie is a timeless classic, and it’s pretty cool to watch your kids play with the same toys you grew up playing with.  

This dream house (good for you Barbie) comes with over 75 pieces and include a three story slide, a pool, an elevator, a pet area, integrated lights and sounds and more.  Whether it’s a rooftop party or a ground-floor gala, there’s plenty of room for adventure.  It’s the ultimate in dollhouse luxury (is that a thing?), providing endless hours of imaginative play.  Just keep in mind it’s on the larger side, so take space and setup into account.

11

LED Stomp Rockets

Recommended ages 5+

LED Stomp Rockets

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These were always a hit in my house and with the neighborhood.  Well, not literally in my house.  And technically, I’m sure the neighbors who found these in their yard a block away might disagree, but fun after dark for sure!  These rockets come with dazzling LED lights, making them perfect for some epic night launching.  They’ll love watching them streak through the night sky, leaving a trail of light behind. 

Say adios to screen time and hello to green time.  Since they require some good old-fashioned foot power to launch, getting kids (and adults!) moving outdoors is easy.  Just be sure to give yourselves enough outdoor space, as these launch up to 100 feet into the air.  Fun with a little gravity and force. 

12

Magic Mixies Magical Gem Surprise

recommended ages 5+

Magic Mixies: Magical Gem Surprise

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I like that this isn’t just a toy, it’s like a mystical event where they can unleash their inner wizardry.  Add the special ingredients, and with a little bit of water magic, poof!  A cute, creature appears right before their eyes. 

Each cauldron comes with a surprise creature (also known as a Mixie Plushie) and a ring, making it like a treasure hunt where they’re guaranteed to find the loot every time.  It lets kids (recommended for ages 5 and up) play wizard, mix potions, and magically reveal a surprise creature within a cloud of mist.  Cauldrons are available in a few colors, so you can choose the perfect hue for your kid’s style – it’s like a potion-powered party.  Mixing up magic can get a little messy. If you’re not careful, you might end up with more potion outside the cauldron than inside, so try to prepare your spell-casting area accordingly.

13

Bitzee Interactive Digital Pet

recommended ages 5+

Bitzee Interactive Toy Digital Pet

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It’s the 90s all over again!  Ahh, simpler times.  This pocket sized pal is an electronic buddy with retro vibes.  Remember when digital pets taught us the joys and challenges (all out sweating stress) of pet care?  This keeps that tradition alive, helping kids understand the responsibility of looking after a pet, even if it is just digital.

This time around kids can touch these 3 dimensional pets, and the more they play, the more pets they can unlock – and collect 15 little interactive critters (using treats to attract).  This delightful little mix of old-school charm and new-school tech is the perfect bit of nostalgia with a modern twist.  Just be ready for the commitment  – They need love, attention (if they forget about them for too long, their pet will not be happy) and a steady supply of batteries to keep the fun going.

14

Remote Control Stunt Car with Lights

recommended ages 6+

Remote Control Stunt Car with Lights

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Is it just me, or is everything just better with lights? With upgraded strip lights and headlights, this car turns any race or leisurely drive into a dazzling display.  Great for anytime, but perfect for nighttime driving, it’ll light up their path (7 different colors!) and wow onlookers with its bright, colorful flair and pizzazz. 

It can twist, turn, and perform epic spins (to the tune of full 360-degree drifts), making it a total show-off in the stunt department.  A little tumble and roll?  No problem since it’s designed to handle the flips and tricks that come with adventurous driving.  Equipped with a remote control, they can steer it near or steer it far, whether it’s high-speed chases around the house (good luck walls and kitchen cabinets) or the park.  I recommend the park.

15

LEGO Creator 3 in 1 Magical Unicorn

recommended ages 7+

LEGO Creator 3 in 1 Magical Unicorn

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Whether they’re the kind of kid that likes to free build, or the kind of kid that likes to meticulously follow the directions and display their handiwork for all eternity, I think you really can’t go wrong with LEGOs.  And it’s so easy to find a set that is age appropriate, while also scoring one that suits their interests.  

The cool factor with this particular one, is this 3 in 1 unicorn is actually a trio of mythical possibilities packed into one magical box.  They’ll have the ability ability to switch between three different mythical creatures – a unicorn, a seahorse and a peacock.  Geared toward ages 7 and up, just keep in mind that while the detailed builds are a pro for many, they can also be a bit daunting for others, especially for younger builders. 

16

Franklin Sports MLB Throw Down Base Set

Recommended ages 13+

Franklin Sports MLB Throw Down Bases

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My kids always like having these on hand.  They’re perfect for impromptu wiffle ball games in the yard, or planned kickball games at the park.  No field?  No problem!  Whether you’re at the park, backyard, or beach, just throw down these bases, and bam – you’ve got your diamond ready for play.

This set is lightweight and super easy to carry around, while also being durable.  Made of rubber, they’re built tough and built to last (within reason, of course).  While it’s worth noting that these throw down bases are not nailed down, we never really ran into many issues with them sliding all over the place.  It’s more about the quick and easy setup, and not having to use empty water bottles, smashed cartons or rocks and sticks as bases (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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