The Best Toys for Dads (That Kids Can Play With Too)
You'll be reluctant to share these with the kids.
Buying gifts for dad is hard. But sometimes the best dad gift is the one he gets to share or the one he never would have thought to buy himself — or, ideally, both. Dad can’t share whiskey and high-end watches, but he can share a great toy. And, yes, grown-ass men like toys too. And, luckily, there are some really great, fun gifts for dads that won’t be dismissed out of hand for being childish because they are too much fun to ignore. The key to finding the best toys for dads? Considering the context in which the toys might be used. Would he want to share it with a kid and show it to a buddy? That’s a bingo, like the great options on this list.
Launch marshmallows up to 60 feet medieval style with this stunning bow. This crossbow is not for flinging hot cocoa marshmallows. No. In fact, the gorgeous crossbow from MMX can launch the full-size marshmallows up to 60 feet. That would be fun enough, but it is built well enough to be an heirloom, featuring a douglas fir stock, black walnut trigger, natural rubber bowstring, and composite aluminum fittings.
This set lets builders create buildable, posable tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, and Pteranodon skeleton models with displays. It's one of those brilliantly simple yet utterly thoughtful sets we've come to expect from Lego: Taking the expected (dinosaurs) and giving them a true museum-worthy twist. A smart toy, done right, that grown kids and actual kids can make together.
Of course, you can only kick a soccer ball around. Sure. It's easy. It's obvious. Or you can turn yourself into the soccer ball with this inflatable bumper ball, that you wear to throw yourself at your opponents. It has 2 handles and 2 adjustable shoulder straps for ultimate control. But really, isn't this all about letting loose and losing control? Yeah.
Dojo Battle is a sword version of the iconic laser tag game that purports to be for kids. However, the chest plate which helps players track who's been struck and how many times, is big enough for an adult to wear. That means that fathers can sword fight children anytime and anywhere.
Foosball is an analog soccer game that is all about the senses. It's a game about wrist action and hearing the clatter of the ball on the field of play. It's exciting for both dad and kids. And this table will last for years, complete with chrome detailing and premium bearings in a sturdy 125-pound package.
A simple game of ring toss might be all it takes to turn an ordinary day into a competitive throwdown. Hookey gives players a 12-inch diameter target studded with metal hooks, each of which has a point total. Toss the silicon rings and add up the points. Sounds easy, but the bounce of the rings adds a distinct challenge for all ages.
Bet you never thought about building a 3D wooden safe, which you can then actually use to store actual valuables. It's constructed from plywood and birch, and the 179 pieces are laser-cut, so they fit together with precision. You're sort of like master safe-cracker 007; the martini is optional.
The king of the battery-powered N-strike Nerf gun line is the Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster with its double barrels, 50-round capacity and the ability to rapid-fire elite darts up to 90 feet. Children will definitely want to play with it, but they'll be unlikely to want to play against the dad holding it. No, it's more likely to result in running and screaming. Fun!
Now that the entire Star Wars saga is streaming on Disney plus, dads everywhere will probably be revisiting their favorite space opera. This Luke Skywalker Battle Simulation helmet is less a toy than a high-quality full-scale replica complete with battle wear, padded interior and piped in immersive audio from the Battle of Yavin or the Battle of Hoth. Wear it while watching the original trilogy and it's almost like being in a galaxy far, far away.
The only downside with the Lego Yellow Submarine is that you can't actually live in it. Other than that, the Lego Yellow Sub is a groovy recreation of the psychedelic submersible and pleasingly curvy despite being rendered in plastic brick. The bonus? All four Beatles minifigs are along the ride. Build it while listening to the Beatles and kids can get a musical education along with some high-quality playtime.
The beauty of the Prism Synapse is that unlike expensive rigid frame delta stunt kites, there are zero parts to snap on impact or lose at the park. Even so, flyers can guide the graceful arc of the parafoil into the thrilling loops, dives and figure 8s common to two-line kites. A kite makes getting dad and kids outside way easier, but dads need to make sure that kids aren't blown away ... by the wind. Because parafoils love to fly.
Modern digital racing sets or Hotweels tracks are okay, but they don't have the same thrill that comes with the noise and speed of slot car racing. The Scalextric Sunset Speedway keeps the speed and sound but offers app control so racers can race ghost cars, or be thrown racing challenges like worn tires that require pit stops. Kids will love how fast the car can move and dads will dig the fact that this is racing to scale. And both will appreciate trying to best each other on the slot track.
There are many, many STEM toys out there. Many, many of them are not fun. This set, however, is pretty much next level because instead of building some weird robotic thing you'll never use, you put together a house. With 50 punch-out panels, 20 posts, 10 base boards, 10 light and sound modules, and 8 jumper and extender wires, this construction kit lets you build a working house with burglar alarms and flashing lights.
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