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 and decay doesn’t preserve these features, so creativity comes into play.

On the other hand, their depictions through toys are based on the scientific knowledge available to the general public at the time that they are made. The cultural depictions of dinosaurs are, in fact, among the important ways of introducing scientific discoveries to the public and 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 carnivorous eating habits, they are already extinct so the element of vicarious thrills is strong.

These animals are also engines for the imagination with kids and adults, who have to make their own assumptions about these dinosaurs' general appearance, habits, behavior, and habitats.

Our Handpicked Dinosaur Toys that Your Kids will Love

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

1. Schleich​Tyrannosaurus Rex

Suitable for: 3 to 15 years old

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is considered to be the king of the dinosaurs because of its fearsome appearance. It's no wonder then that out of all of the dinosaurs known to kids, it’s the most recognizable. Just one look and your kids will already know its name, which can’t be said for most other dinosaurs.

With the hyper-realistic details on Schleich’s T-Rex toy, your kids will fall in love with it at first sight. The toy may be just a fraction of the true T-Rex’s size, but the scale and details are just extraordinary - 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 long claws, contribute to the development of your child's imagination too.

The overall color scheme adds to the realism of the toy. Instead of just one shade of green over its entire body, there are several different shades similar to that of 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 your kids can think up provides healthy mental stimulation and creativity development.

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? This 12-piece dinosaur figure toy set provides kids with an educational and entertaining tool all in one set. These toys are a wonderful inclusion to their growing collection of dinosaur toys.

These dinosaurs are also made out of lead-free, BPA-free durable plastic so your kids can use them for several years without having to worry about health issues.

The dinosaurs also come in several colors, such as blue, pink, purple, yellow, green, silver, brown and red.

There are also several species included in the set. Your kids can learn to identify more than just the popular T-Rex with this set as there is also a stegosaurus, triceratops, brachiosaurus, apatosaurus, spinosaurus, ceratosaurus, parasaurolophus, and velociraptor, among others.

The toys are also made according to their relative sizes to each other. These range in size from 5 to 7 inches tall, which makes them the perfect size for kids to carry along 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 with the toys. Your children can even impress their peers with their knowledge about the various 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 becomes great friends with a boy.

Your kids can relive their adventures with this 6-piece play set, which includes Arlo, Forrest Woodbrush the styracosaurus, Butch the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bubbha the velociraptor, Thunderclap the pterodactyl, as well as Spot, Arlo’s friend.

Mom and dad can also join in on the fun by thinking up of new adventures that weren’t in the movie.

The dinosaurs are just as they appear in the film, 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 scenarios in the movie and to create new scenes will encourage your kids’ imagination, and allow them to understand the cause-and-effect relationships of actions. The set is also a good educational tool for parents to teach their kids in a more entertaining way. This is a great gift for the holidays or as a reward for good behavior 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 them, day and night. This T-Rex Dinosaur Plush is a stuffed toy that your child can cuddle with anytime he wants. You may even find your child treating it as a security companion of sorts.

This is a relatively large stuffed toy – 27 inches in height and 32 inches from nose to tail – and is made out 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 clean and brand-new. Your kid can cuddle with it as he sleeps, or 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 the stuffing. Be sure to regularly wash it so that dust mites and dirt will not affect your child’s health.

What's Great About It: The soft fabric and thick stuffing makes this stuffed dinosaur both a cuddle toy and a sleeping aid. Its colorful design also makes it a standout when placed alongside other plush toys. It can be used for imaginative play too, 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 your child to quickly pick 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, all 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 your child and his collection of toys.

What's Great About It: Such two-in-one functionality provides your 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 this toy thanks to its realistic design, from the fully articulated jaws with their jagged teeth to its gnarled skin. You may even like its open jaws that look 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 themselves, perhaps even invent several voices and sounds for their dinosaur toy.

What's Great About It: The king of dinosaurs is depicted as close to the real thing as possible with this toy, 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 be 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 your kids to use their imagination, such as in imagining the ways that the brachiosaurus ate from tall trees using its long neck.

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 as it needs to be for that use. You should caution your child if they are 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, and for a good reason. Aside from the entertainment value, parents like it as it contains valuable lessons for their kids, especially about friendship, acceptance and teamwork.

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, with a large bulbous head with wide eyes, a polka-dotted nose, and round face as well as a 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 nap time 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 your 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 will make your kids happy, which is the main reason for buying toys. Many parents also use it for introducing kids to the concept of owning pets, if pets aren’t already part of your family.

​10. WowWee Roboraptor X Dinosaur Robot

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

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

The dinobot can be controlled via an Android and iOs device, such as a smartphone, so older kids can easily 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 from all of the 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 the 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 that they should be free of harmful chemicals like BPA and lead. The plastic materials should be sufficiently thick so that they can endure rough handling from your kids, especially when younger kids are using 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

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

Of course, we know that the dinosaur toys will be more colorful than the dinosaurs probably were, such as in the 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 that aspect.

Education and entertainment values

We also know that kids of varying 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, from toddlers to teens. We wanted to give parents and their children the opportunity to choose dinosaur toys that have high educational and entertainment values.

Furthermore, parents should make their decision about which of these dinosaur toys will address their kids’ specific needs and wants based on 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 they were bigger than anything we know today, are different from even the weirdest animals that are still alive, and are extinct as far as we know.

We may have heard of the possibility that a few dinosaur species may have survived – like the Loch Ness monster which is thought to be a dinosaur – but no concrete proof 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 lessons, 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 that is 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 subject discussions, including their diets, hunting habits, and nesting habits, as well as the natural evolution happening on our planet.

Teachers who use dinosaurs in their classes also find that these creatures spark their students’ creativity and interest, whether it’s through 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 develop their imagination when using the information which is available when drawing dinosaurs and speaking about their lives.

The best dinosaur toys on our list are great tools in encouraging kids to use their creativity and imagination, even getting them to question the scientific information provided by their teachers and parents 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 your kids’ physical and psychological development. 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 when sharing.

Conclusion

In the end, dinosaur toys are just that – toys. Parents have the responsibility to ensure that their kids will enjoy these toys and learn from them so that they 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 some 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 centered movies together, like Jurassic Park and The Good Dinosaur, so that your kids will have a deeper appreciation for dinosaurs, even when they are already extinct.

You never know if your young child will become a prominent paleontologist r archaeologist in the future.

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Sandra 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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