Chances are good that you barely remember what you had for dinner last night, or who backstabbed whom on the most recent episode of The Crown. Your dinosaur-obsessed child, on the other hand, can easily rattle off the difference between the diplodocus and the mamenchisaurus, and tell you with supreme confidence that of course the velociraptor was a feathered carnivore with enlarged claws. And by association, these same reptile aficionados love cool, big dinosaur toys and figures. There’s something about the majestic, powerful, and extinct creatures that captures the imaginations of children across most age groups.
“Dinosaurs are exciting and powerful but relatable,” says education professor Keith Sawyer, who studies and teaches about creativity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “In the case of dinosaurs, both boys and girls play with them. It’s not gendered. That’s a really good thing.”
Of course, kids’ love for dinosaurs is ubiquitous, meaning that it can be hard to sort through the options and find the best dinosaur toys based on your kid’s interest. It’s especially difficult considering you probably aren’t an expert on the prehistoric animals yourself. When choosing the best dinosaur toys, use your common sense: Pick the right toy for your child’s level of cognitive development. Make sure the toy is neither too challenging or too simplistic, or else kids will be bored or overwhelmed. And lean in to your kid’s preferences: If she loves puzzles, get her one; if he’s into action figures, go with those.
The Best Dinosaur Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers
This colorful T. Rex stands up on its own and comes in at about two and a half feet from nose to tail, and the polyester fabric means it's super soft and huggable. And sometimes, that's enough.
A cuddly, weighted seven inch tall dinosaur. That stands on its own. And is soft enough for bedtime snuggles. Win-win.
What cooler than dinosaurs? Baby dinosaurs, of course. This set includes six of them, with movable arms and legs.
Kids use the sand to mold an environment for their dinosaurs. And then let them roam. The set includes 15 sand molds, four dinosaur molds, five digging tools, and four mini dinosaurs. It's a wonderful sensory toy set, too.
Any dinosaur lover gets excited about a triceratops. This stuffed animal, with its incredibly soft exterior and plush insides, will become your kid's next best friend.
A set that blends the creativity of clay with the wonders of paleontology: The set includes three plastic dinosaur skeletons, plus five different colors of clay so kids can create a blue and purple T. rex.
Blending the joys of construction toys with the magic of a dinosaur, this wood set lets builders transport dinosaur eggs and unload them using the creature's mouth.
A whole play space devoted to dinosaurs! This set includes eight dinos, as well as a freestanding tree that is movable. Kids slot together the wooden pieces, which helps them work on their problem solving and motor skills. Oh, and the set includes baby dinos.
This particular T. Rex dinosaur walks, moves its limbs, and even roars. It's made of plastic and has no sharp edges, so it's safe for younger dinosaur-obsessed kids. Its eyes glow and yes, oh yes, it roars. A lot.
This is no 'gator, folks. This dino comes alive when kids move its tail, leading its body to twist around. And when they push the button on the tail, the jaws chomp.
Sometimes the simplest toys are the best. These models are covered in felt, and they range in species from the well-known (T. Rex and Velociraptor) to the obscure (Pachycephalosaurus and Ankylosaurus).
Little kids can create their very own Jurassic World with this complete set of nine dinosaur action figures, as well as a colorful dino mat so they can hone their exploration skills. Kids get all the big guys, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giganotosaurus, Therizinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Acrocanthosaurus and Brachiosaurus..
The Best Dinosaur Toys for 5-Year-Olds
This set lets explorers check out the island from above, while monitoring activity in the chopper. The pterodactyl is soaring around nearby. In addition to the dino, the set includes a dart gun, a tree landscape, and eggs. Plus the copter of course.
This fearsome creature has slick black scales, long arms with dagger-like claws and extra articulation so kids can move him around and attack enemies. As one does.
This highly-detailed dinosaur set from Playmobil features a T.Rex with movable arms, legs, and jaw allow. Kids four and up maraud through Dino Island to find the hidden temple that houses the T.Rex. Coolest of all is the UV flashlight that kids can use to reveal glow-in-the dark features, such as with the ruins crystal eyes, and jungle plants.
It's a surprise toy, dino-edition. Kids smash these dinosaur eggs, and find the treasures inside. By treasures, we mean slime, putty, and bones. The goal is to collect all the bones to build a Brontosaurus or T.Rex.
Kids get 10 cans of Play-Doh, and brontosaurus and dinosaur foot print cutters so they can create their own prehistoric world.
The Best Dinosaur Toys for 6-Year-Olds
Kids excavate seven prehistoric creatures and learn about each. They get one giant egg and two chisels to do the work. First they soak the egg in water, then chisel away to reveal the dinos inside.
This plastic mask has moving eyes and a mouth that opens to bare sharp teeth. Modeled after Blue from Jurassic World, this mask has three levels of sound effects – from growls to roars — and goes nicely with (separately sold) claw gloves for an even more realistic dinosaur costume.
This 174-piece Lego kit comes with instructions for three different dino builds. Kids can toggle between creating a Pterodactyl, Triceratops, and T. Rex.
An incubator. A microscope. An adjustable robot arm. This brick-built version of Dr. Wu’s lab is on point for any budding paleontologist. There's even a baby triceratops.
The Best Dinosaur Toys for 7-Year-Olds and 8-Year-Olds
A breathtaking 200-piece jigsaw puzzle for third graders that pays proper homage to the extinct giants.
This kit is a celebration of the human heroes of the dinosaur world, the scientists who find fossils and study them. This dig brick comes with tools similar to those used by real paleontologists on real fossil digs. Once kids finish excavating, the full-color booklet that's also included is packed with educational information.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.