Best Toys of 2022 for Big Kids

Children in kindergarten and elementary school start thinking more deeply, and these 16 toys reflect that. Building toys get more elaborate, science kits illuminate concepts they're learning in school, and games start to involve real strategy and literacy skills.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

An image of a girl jumping on bed with a seal on it.
Photo: Getty Images.
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3 STEAM Toys For Kids To Encourage Creativity & Adventure | Toy Insider | Parents

02 of 17

Cluckle

Cluckle Game
Peter Ardito

Cluckle is a fast-moving, word-making game for two to six players that's reminiscent of Boggle. Start by squeezing the chicken to pop the die out as though it has just laid an egg. Then flip the tiles, form a word, and grab the chicken to end your turn. "It keeps my kids' interest while honing word skills," a parent observed.

Ages 7+

03 of 17

Hangry

Hangry game
Peter Ardito

A riff on the card game Slapjack, Hangry has players racing to fill their table setting. In each round, three to six players simultaneously show a food card and look for a match. The person who claims matching cards first can keep them. Surprise cards like the Buffet add drama by changing the number of cards players hold. "Good for everyone to play together, including grandparents, unless you're all vegetarian," joked a tester.

Ages 6+

04 of 17

Crayola STEAM Paper Butterflies Science Kit

Crayola STEAM Paper Butterflies Science Kit
Peter Ardito

Testers (and editors) couldn't get enough of the Crayola STEAM Paper Butterflies Science Kit, which uses drops of dye to colorfully demonstrate how the creature's capillaries move liquid along. Kids create a dozen one-of-a-kind butter flies to display or use in pretend play.

Ages 7+

05 of 17

Disney Toy Story Talent Show

Disney Toy Story Talent Show Funko Games
Peter Ardito

Disney Toy Story Talent Show takes the planning out of performing. Pick a card, complete a low-risk act like rolling the game's ball with your nose, and collect a ticket (and applause!). One family raved that it's the first family game, for two to six players, that their 6-year-old enjoys.

Ages 6+

06 of 17

The Young Scientists Club Space Adventure Pack

The Young Scientists Club Space Adventure Pack
Peter Ardito

Testers said The Young Scientists Club Space Adventure Pack was out of this world. More than a dozen galactic activities are tucked into the backpack, teaching about moon phases and constellations. Sibling testers worked together to make a clay solar system. "They had fun mixing the clay's colors and making the planets," their mom said. "And they learned the order of the planets and their relative sizes."

Ages 6+

07 of 17

LEGO Minecraft: The First Adventure

LEGO Minecraft: The First Adventure
Peter Ardito

Minecraft goes 3-D and IRL with this 542-piece LEGO Minecraft: The First Adventure set. Kids know the cat, sheep, and skeleton and build familiar features such as a waterfall elevator. "It's a 9-year-old's epic dream," raved a mom.

Ages 8+

08 of 17

Luki Lab Pinxies Vet Care Center

Luki Lab Pinxies Vet Care Center
Peter Ardito

Kids like our 10-year-old tester may be so excited to "treat" the unicorn and flying pig at the Luki Lab Pinxies Vet Care Center, they won't notice they use problem-solving skills to put the 110 pieces together.

Ages 6+

09 of 17

Laser Pegs Multi-Models 4-in-1 Mini Construction Set

Laser Pegs Multi-Models Mini Construction Set
Peter Ardito

Bricks for the Laser Pegs Multi-Models 4-in-1 Mini Construction Set glow, and the 91 tiny pieces turn into a truck, an excavator, a grader, or a forklift. Build, take apart, make another one!

Ages 8+

10 of 17

Spirograph Animator

Spirograph Animator
Peter Ardito

Like the original, the Spirograph Animator lets kids create endless amazing designs. But now they can watch them appear to dance via a device that spins the spirals under light so they look as if they're moving. One dad joined in. "I made a bunch of them because apparently I'm 9 years old again," he said.

Ages 8+

11 of 17

Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Rapid Launch Builder Box

Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Rapid Launch Builder Box
Peter Ardito

The Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Rapid Launch Builder Box has been in one tester family's playroom for weeks as the kids continue to go back for more. The 28-piece set, with a four-car high-speed launcher and loop components, connects to other tracks from the brand, but it's also a great starter kit. "Every time I walk past, my kids are yelling, 'Watch this!'" a mom said.

Ages 6+

12 of 17

American Girl Kira Bailey Doll, Book & Accessories

American Girl Kira Bailey Doll, Book & Accessories
Peter Ardito

Splurge on the American Girl Kira Bailey Doll, Book & Accessories bundle to get a plush koala, a well-written book about Kira caring for the Australian environment, and more. "This brand is always top quality," a parent enthused.

Ages 8+

13 of 17

Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron

Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron
Peter Ardito

Kids play sorcerer with Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, combining potion ingredients (think bath bombs) to create real mist and make a creature appear (via a trap door). Kids can then invent new potions, buy refills of the misting balls, perfect their wand skills, and master their tricks.

Ages 5 to 8

14 of 17

Science4you: Green Science Kit

Science4you Green Science Kit
Peter Ardito

The Science4you: Green Science Kit earns the "fun indoor activity" stamp of approval for rainy or snowy days. It includes more than 15 cool projects such as building a solar oven and growing a plant from seed. "I love that this reinforces education on renewable energies, which my kids learn in science class," exclaimed a parent with three school-age kids.

Ages 6+

15 of 17

Ravensburger GraviTrax PRO Vertical Starter Set

Ravensburger GraviTrax PRO Vertical Starter Set
Peter Ardito

Whether they follow the designs in the Ravensburger GraviTrax PRO Vertical Starter Set manual or go rogue, engineers-in-training can build intricate paths for traditional marbles with this. One dad loved that it demonstrates physics and said, "My girls don't want to stop until they figure out how to get a marble through."

Ages 8+

16 of 17

Schleich Big Horse Show With Dressing Tent

Schleich Big Horse Show With Dressing Tent
Peter Ardito

Perfect for two kids to play with together, the Schleich Big Horse Show With Dressing Tent has pairs of figurines, horses, and stations to bring the sport to life. "Small details like the scoring cards, makeup station, and hose occupied my girls for hours," a mom reported.

Ages 5+

17 of 17

Jumanji Deluxe

Jumanji Deluxe Game
Peter Ardito

Jumanji Deluxe takes two to four players on a jungle trek. To stay alive, you must work together to solve riddles, survive danger, and complete challenges. Press the dome to hear drums beating. "The kids' faces during this game are awesome," said a parent. "There's also some theatrical screaming." After all, if any one player loses all life tokens, everyone loses!

Ages 8+

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