Best Dinosaur Toys for Your Kids in 2017 – 10 Great Choices

The best dinosaur toys are part art and part science. On one hand, these are based on the artists’ imaginations of the real dinosaur’s possible features, colors and textures. This is because the process of fossilization (i.e., decay) doesn’t preserve these features so creativity comes into play.

On the other hand, their depictions in toys are based on the scientific knowledge available to the general public at the time. The cultural depictions of dinosaurs are, in fact, among the important means of introducing scientific discoveries to the public and, thus, increasing their interest in these extinct animals. The scientific knowledge itself comes from a combination of several fields from biology to paleontology.

But what makes dinosaurs so appealing to kids and adults alike? According to Donald F. Glut, a prominent researcher, author and dinosaur enthusiast, there are several factors to it. While dinosaurs are considered monsters because of their huge size and/or carnivorous eating habits, these are already extinct so the element of vicarious thrills is strong. These animals are also engines for the imagination with kids and adults making their own assumptions about their general appearance, habits and habitats, among others.

Our Handpicked Dinosaur Toys that Your Kids will Love

Suffice it to say that children who receive a few or several of the best dinosaur toys in our list will love them! Many of these toys can even be used as educational toys for use in a classroom setting, such as show-and-tell sessions or science fairs.

1. Schleich​ Tyrannosaurus Rex

Suitable for: 3 to 15 years old

The T-Rex is considered as the king of the dinosaurs because of its fearsome appearance. No wonder then that of all the dinosaurs known to kids, it’s the most recognizable – just one look and the kids already know its name, which can’t be said of most other dinosaurs.

With the hyper-realistic details on Schleich’s T-Rex toy, your kids will fall in love with it on first sight. The toy may be a small fraction of the true T-Rex’s size but the scale is just extraordinary, too, a must when kids want to pretend-play with their action figures. The realistic details, from the strong jaws with their sharp teeth to the large feet with their talons, contribute to a deeper imagination as well.

The overall color scheme itself adds to the realism of the toy. Instead of just one shade of green on its entire body, there are several shades akin to crocodile skin.

What's Great About It: We like the attention to detail that Schleich poured into the toy. The durable vinyl plastic also ensures that it can withstand hours of use from kids who will likely handle it roughly during play. The hours of make-believe scenarios that they can think provides healthy mental stimulation.

2. Kids Imaginative 12-Piece Dinosaur Toy Figures

Suitable for: 3 years old and up

Why settle for just one dinosaur species when your kid can have a dozen of them? The 12-piece dinosaur toy figures provide kids with and education and entertainment tool in one set! These toys are a wonderful inclusion to their growing collection of dinosaur toys.

These are also made of lead-free, BPA-free durable plastic so kids can use them for several years. The dinosaurs also come in several colors – blue, pink, purple, yellow, green, silver, brown and red – as well as in several species. Your kids can learn to identify more species than the popular T-Rex since there are also the stegosaurus, triceratops, brachiosaurus, apatosaurus, spinosaurus, ceratosaurus, parasaurolophus, and velociraptor, among others.

The toys are even made according to their relative sizes to each other. These differ in size from 5 to 7 inches tall, just the perfect size for kids to carry them in a toy bag.

What's Great About It: The wider range of dinosaur species allows kids to exercise their imagination in making up different scenarios for the toys. Your children can even impress their peers because of their knowledge about the dinosaur species, especially when they use the coloring kits that come with the set.

3. Disney 6-Piece The Good Dinosaur Figure Play Set

Suitable for: 4 years old and up

Arlo, the title character in the movie “The Good Dinosaur”, is a clumsy dinosaur who became great friends with a boy. Your kids can relieve their adventures with the 6-piece play set, which includes Arlo, Forrest Woodbrush (styracosaurus), Butch (Tyrannosaurus Rex), Bubbha (velociraptor), Thunderclap (pterodactyl), as well as Spot, Arlo’s friend. You can even join in on the fun by thinking up of new adventures that weren’t in the movie.

The dinosaurs are just as they appear on the movie so the movie’s magic can be extended to the toys. Even Spot has his adorable expression that has kids imitating it, perhaps in hopes that their parents will grant them their wishes.

What's Great About It: The opportunity to recreate the scenes in the movie and to create new scenarios encourages the kids’ imagination, even allow them to understand the cause-and-effect relationships of actions. The set is then a good educational tool for parents to teach their kids in a more entertaining manner (i.e., no preaching). This is a great gift for the holidays or as a reward for good behaviour, too.

​4. Melissa & Doug T-Rex Dinosaur Plush

Suitable for: 3 to 15 years old

Many kids like dinosaurs so much that they want to cuddle with it, day and night. The T-Rex Dinosaur Plush is a stuffed toy that your child can cuddle anytime he wants. You may even find your child treating it as a security blanket of sorts.

The relatively large stuffed toy – 27 inches in height and 32 inches from nose to tail – is made of soft and supple polyester fabric in a bright green color. You will like that it’s so easy to clean so your child will always have a dinosaur that looks nearly brand-new. Your kid can even sleep with it and display it on his bed or on the shelf.

Since it’s made of polyester fabric, you don’t have to worry about allergy attacks unless your child has allergies to the fabric and/or stuffing. Be sure to regularly wash it to ensure that dust mites and dirt will not affect your child’s health.

What's Great About It: The soft fabric and thick stuffing makes the stuffed dinosaur both a cuddle toy and a sleeping aid. Its colourful design also makes it a standout when placed alongside other plush toys. It can also be used for imaginative play, such as your child imagining that he has a T-Rex for a friend.

​5. ZipBin Neat-Oh! 160 Dinosaur Collector Toy Box and Play Set

Suitable for: 3 to 8 years old

The best dinosaur toys are the ones that serve dual purposes and allow for fast tidying (i.e., picking up the pieces for cleaning up). The Neat-Oh meets both criteria since it combines an organizer storage box, a wide range of toys, and a play mat in one set.

When it’s in a box form, the storage box can contain the animal toys, action figures and vehicle toys already included in the set. When the zippered sides are unfolded, the box transforms into a large play mat that can accommodate a child and his bevy of toys.

What's Great About It: Such two-in-one functionality provides the kids with a sense of responsibility – as soon as they are finished playing, they should put back their toys into the box. The toys also encourage imaginative play, such as pretending the dinosaur figures aren’t extinct in the modern world. The play mat can even be used inside a play tent for more playtime opportunities.

​6. Colonel Pickles Novelties Tyrannosaurus Rex Dinosaur Toy

Suitable for: 3 years old and up

Yet another great T-Rex toy figure, this one measures 5 inches in height and 12 inches from its nose to its tail. Your kid will have hours of play time with it, thanks to its realistic design from the fully articulated jaw with its jagged teeth to its gnarled skin. You may even like its open jaw that looks like a crocodile ready to snap up its prey.

This dinosaur figure may not have the earth-shaking roar that Hollywood depicts the T-Rex’s roar to be but it’s a minor issue. Kids, after all, are more than capable to make the roar, perhaps even invent several voices for the dinosaur toy.

What's Great About It: The king of dinosaurs is depicted as close to the real thing as possible albeit at just 5 inches in height. Kids will love playing with it and imagining things that it may have done during prehistoric times.

7. Jet Creations Inflatable Brachiosaurus

Suitable for: 4 years old and up

The brachiosaurus is arguably the best-known herbivore among dinosaurs, thanks to their exposures in movies like Jurassic park. Kids who want larger dinosaur figures will like it, too, since it can inflated to its full size of 27 inches in height and 48 inches (4 feet) in length. Parents, in turn, will like it because it encourages kids to use their imagination, such as in imagining the ways that the brachiosaurus ate from tall trees.

Be careful about using it as a pool toy, much less as a lifesaving device similar to a flotation device, since it may not be as durable. You should caution your child when using it in the pool and when placing it near heat sources.

What's Great About It: We like the sheer size of the inflatable toy, which gives kids a better perspective of the real-life size of the brachiosaurus. The green color with black stripes also attracts attention.

​8. Disney Arlo - The Good Dinosaur

Suitable for: 4 years old and up

The 2015 Disney Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur, was a blockbuster hit for good reasons. Aside from the entertainment value, parents like it since it contained valuable lessons in friendship, acceptance and teamwork for their kids.

With The Good Dinosaur plush toy, your kid can pretend to be Arlo, the clumsy dinosaur who fears the family’s chickens but who eventually found courage with his friend, Spot. The plush toy is a replica of the movie dinosaur – large bulbous head with wide eyes, polka-dotted nose, and found face as well as graceful neck, round body, and short legs ending on large feet.

What's Great About It: We like the super-soft plush material that feels so light to the touch. This can even be used as a naptime toy that your kid can cuddle, aside from being a tool for imaginative play.

​9. Zoomer Chomplingz – Tiger Tail Interactive Dinosaur

Suitable for: 5 to 10 years old

Most of the products in the best dinosaur toys list are stuffed toys and plastic toys without animated movements. The Chomplingz toy is difference because the dinosaur toy can actually move on battery power! Your child will love that it mimics the actions of a playful dog but looks like a dinosaur.

The dinosaur toy has fast actions, too, especially when running after its “bone” so there’s always something to entertain the kids. The design itself is attractive, particularly when you’re familiar with the Zombie Dash game.

What's Great About It: The animated actions of the dinosaur toy makes kids happy – and it’s the main reason for buying toys. Many parents even use it for introducing kids to the concept of owning pets, if pets aren’t still part of the family.

​10. WowWee Roboraptor X Dinosaur Robot

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

Yet another dinosaur toy with robot-like movements if the Roboraptor, a dinobot. This is inspired by the fierce appearance of velociraptors, which are depicted as fast, agile and fearsome, so older kids are the main target market.

Plus, the dinobot can be controlled via an Android and iOs device, such as a smartphone, so older kids can play with it. There are three modes to choose from – hunter mode, playful mode, and cautious mode. Aside from the realistic rendition, the dinobot also features fluid body movements and bipedal motion, which reinforces its playability.

What's Great About It: We like that it can be controlled from a smartphone so there are plenty of creative programs that can be done with the Roboraptor. Your kid can work on his problem-solving skills while also just enjoying the robot dinosaur as a toy.

How I Picked these Dinosaur Toys

We have to admit that picking best ones among various dinosaur toys for kids wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be for many reasons. We had to look at hundreds of choices from plastic and plush toys demanding little more than the imagination to automated toys requiring more advanced skills. We also had to read the consumer reviews for the toys on our shortlist, which became something of a chore considering the dozens of review sites.

But we made our job easier by agreeing on the most important aspects of dinosaur toys. We decided on the following criteria to narrow down our choices:

Safety and durability of the materials

The toys should be made of non-toxic materials, which means these should be free of harmful chemicals like BPA and lead. The plastic materials should be sufficiently thick to endure rough handling from kids, especially when younger kids will use the toys. The fabrics used on the stuffed toys should be soft enough on the skin yet sturdy enough to withstand cuddling and cleaning for a few years.

Realistic depiction of the dinosaurs

The dinosaur toys as depictions of the extinct creatures are obviously based on conjecture, particularly as a combination of art and science. We chose toys, nonetheless, that depicted dinosaurs as the scientists believe them to be so kids can mine their imagination.

Of course, we know that the dinosaur toys will be more colourful than the dinosaurs probably were, such as in the 2. 12-Piece Dinosaur Toy Figures by Kids Imaginative with its riot of colored dinosaur toys. But such bold colors add to the appeal of the toys so we have no issues with said aspect.

Education and entertainment values

We also know that kids of different ages will have different needs and wants in their dinosaur toys. We then decided to include as many toys that appeal to a wider range of kids, such as from toddlers to teens. We wanted to give parents and their children the opportunity to choose dinosaur toys with high education and entertainment values.

Furthermore, parents should make their decision about which of these dinosaur toys will address their kids’ specific needs and wants in these values. Your older kid, for example, will enjoy the Roboraptor because of the control opportunities while your younger kids will likely go for the Neat-Oh dinosaur set and the Arlo stuffed toy.

Why Let Your Kids Play With Dinosaur Toys

According to Jack Horner, the discoverer of Maiasaura and technical consultant for the Jurassic Park franchise, the main appeal of dinosaurs among kids can be explained in three words – big, different, and extinct. We as a society have a fascination with dinosaurs because these were bigger than anything we know today, different than even the weirdest animals still alive, and extinct as far as we know. We may have heard of the possibility that a few dinosaur species may have survived – the Loch Ness monster is thought to be a dinosaur – but no concrete proofs has been found yet.

But that’s not all. Teachers also use dinosaurs as a learning tool for their students with surprising results. Students are more likely to learn their academics, thanks to the fact that dinosaurs are imagination engines – everybody can imagine what these extinct creatures looked and sounded like, even what they did and didn’t do!

The study of dinosaurs in schools isn’t just for the scientific aspect although it’s an important one. Students learn about biology, evolution, and prey-predator relationships, among other subjects, from studying these prehistoric creatures. Even touching on the topic of their anatomy can lead to diverse subjects including their diets, hunting habits, and nesting habits, as well as the natural evolution happening in our planet.

Teachers who use dinosaurs in their classes also realize that these creatures spark the students’ creativity, whether it’s in drawing or writing. Students can write about dinosaurs and use them as analogies in their journals, as well as revel in their control over their colors, textures and facial details. The latter can use their imagination and information available in drawing dinosaurs and speaking about their lives.

The best dinosaur toys in our list are great tools in encouraging kids to use their creative imagination, even question the scientific information provided by their teachers and parent about real-life dinosaurs. Keep in mind that critical thinking is just as important as creative thinking and cognitive functioning.

While it may not be apparent now, the knowledge and skills learned while playing with these dinosaur toys will contribute to the kids’ physical and psychological benefit. In terms of physical development, kids learn to manipulate the toys, such as inflating the inflatable dinosaur, and place them inside their storage boxes. In psychological development, kids acquire the emotional skills needed to successfully cope with the challenges of life, such as when dealing with frustration.

Conclusion

In the end, dinosaur toys are just that – toys. Parents have the responsibility to ensure that, indeed, their kids will enjoy these toys and learn from them, thus, get the best value for their money. Kids who see that their parents are also appreciative of the dinosaur toys will likely spend more time playing with them.

We hope that when you give your kids a few or several of these dinosaur toys, you will also find the time to answer their questions, encourage them to use their imagination to the fullest, and play with them. You will be surprised by the physical and emotional bonds that can be developed when you do so, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day. You can also watch dinosaur-centric movies like Jurassic Park together so that your kids will have a deeper appreciation for dinosaurs, even when these are already extinct.

You never know if your young child now will be a prominent paleontologist in the future!

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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