15 Best Playsets to Buy Your Kid This Holiday
From Ancient Egyptian pyramid playsets and Thomas the Tank Engine mega stations to space command centers and Star Wars Destroyers.
When it comes to playing with dolls and action figures, kids get pretty far with their imaginations. But occasionally they need something that will jumpstart their world building. Enter the playset: these colosseums of creative play are perfect for providing your kids with inspiration. From Ancient Egyptian pyramid playsets and Thomas the Tank Engine mega stations to space command centers and Star Wars Destroyers, these 15 sets are not only ridiculously well constructed (and fun), but they also offer entrances into imaginary worlds in which kids can spend all day playing around. In short, they’ll make epic holiday gifts. Oh, one note: you will step on the pieces. So be prepared. It’s a small price to pay for holiday joy.
Sago Mini Jinja’s House Playset
So colorful and cute, this looks like it could be the scale model of a Wes Anderson set. Folded out, Jinja’s House reveals full rooms to explore, including a bunk bed reached by a ladder and a tongue-like backyard slide. It comes with two characters and an array of plastic toys useful for tea parties and fake conversation. When playtime is over, the set folds into a carrying case complete with a handle.
Playmobil Pharaoh’s Pyramid
Hidden treasure, traps, snakes, and a mummy: this playset has it all. Playmobil’s pyramid set also comes with three characters your mini archaeologists can use to explore the ruin. Just make sure they check the tombs for traps — you don’t want to unleash an ancient curse on you home.
HEXBUG nano Space Cosmic Command
For the sci-fi obsessed, there’s this massive space colony filled with a spaceship, elevator, rovers, turrets, a communications array, and even a gyroscope. Because no colony can run on its own, the Cosmic Command comes with two of Hexbug’s mini autonomous robots that wander around and interact with all of the different gadgets. They can even dive under the rover and drive it around. That’s cool.
Playmates Ben 10 Rustbucket Transforming Alien Playset
This playset on wheels is a no-brainer for any fan of Ben 10. The rustbucket comes with a transformation chamber, a cannon, a giant bad guy-nabbing claw, and lots more. The best thing, however, is when Ben is done turning into Humungousaur, the entire thing packs up into the rustbucket and can follow along. Note that the set doesn’t come with any actual figures.
Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage
This twisting, turning, towering Hot Wheels set has six levels and enough storage space for 140 vehicles. There’s a jet plane that carries two cars up to the top and, before you ask… yes it does have a giant red-and-blue gorilla that hurls some cars from the elevator. Mattel even built in connections for tracks at the bottom, so you can link up other Hot Wheels sets and really take over the living room.
WonderHood Grand Hotel
This modular playset by Wonderhood allows your child to construct their own hotel using the included panels, building up rooms around the central elevator. It comes with two characters that can wade in the pool, sip hot cocoa in the cafe, or play in the kids area. With a ton of different configurations, your kids are sure to get a good amount of playtime out of this one and they’ll learn about geometry and architecture while they’re at it.
Oyo End Zone Set
Any little football fan will enjoy kicking field goal after field goal with this buildable set. Since the blocks are completely LEGO compatible, if your kid gets bored with the Falcons, Darth Vader can step in and have a go. When the game is over, the players can even hit the showers in this matching locker room.
LEGO Star Wars First Order Star Destroyer
Have kids that dig the Dark Side? Then they’ll flip their stormtrooper helmets when they see the Star Destroyer from The Last Jedi. This First Order warship opens up to reveal a bridge, command center, and six minifigs inside.
Based on the first rocket to put astronauts on the moon, the 1,969-piece Saturn V (a hat tip to the year of the moon landing) stands more than three feet tall and is LEGO’s largest toy to date. Like the real thing, it comes in three sections ⏤ one for each rocket stage of the mission ⏤ and can be displayed either horizontally on the fireplace mantle or standing ready to launch in the middle of the living room.
This is the classic Dreamhouse set for any Barbie-lover in your life. This three-story house has a living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, animal room, and even a walk-in closet to hold Barbie’s considerable clothing collection. If that wasn’t enough, the set also comes with a full sized Fashionistas doll and a convertible for her to drive around town. Just don’t forget to have your kids park it in the included garage when they’re done.
Out of all the cars in the history of film, few hold a candle to the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. Playmobil manages to capture the magic of this vehicle in toy form, with functioning lights and that iconic siren. The car alone is fantastic, but the set also includes Winston and Janine mini figures complete with proton packs and a ghost trap. Just make sure your kids don’t cross the streams.
Animal Planet Deep Shark Research Playset
This playset from Animal Planet is a research vessel that comes with two characters to explore the briny deep. The set allows characters to dive into the shark cage and observe one of three included sharks. If the beasts get out of hand there is a net cannon and crane-powered claw to capture them. Just be aware there is a warning on the box advising parents that this toy is not meant for play in actual water.
Thomas & Friends Super Station
Have some Thomas-obsessed kids? This Super Station should sate ’em. The ludicrous locomotive set comes with three different levels, four different sized trains, and is compatible with them all. Your kids can visit all of the classic landmarks from Thomas the Train, and play with the giant crane and full sized track at the bottom. But let’s face it, the thing they will love most is the two giant ramps for the trains to zoom down.
Nano Metalfigs Nanoscene Batcave
With Justice League finally in theaters, DC toys are reaching new levels of popularity. Few are as immersive as this Batcave playset, which comes with metal figurines of the Dark Knight and Robin, as well as plenty of entertainment to keep them busy. Inside the bat cave is a Bat Computer, a working elevator (what no batpole?), garage door, and even a light-up bat-floor. Just keep in mind that this batcave is made for mini figurines, not full sized action figures. Well, unless your kids want to start some storylines involving enormous threats.
Playskool Heroes Star Wars Galactic Heroes BB-8 Adventure Base
Ever wonder what goes on inside that little rolling droid, BB-8? Well, there’s an entire playset for the resistance to hide. Bundled with a tiny Rey and even tinier BB-8, this Star Wars set includes a landing pad, spinning floor, cannon with projectiles, and a jail for bad guys. Once they’ve saved the day, your kids can fold it up into a full sized BB-8 case to play with, complete with lights and sounds.