Best Toys of 2022 for Preschoolers

Once kids reach age 3, imagination and play take off in wild new directions! The two dozen toys here reflect a diversity of interests: art toys, surprise toys, vehicles, games, and playsets with characters ripe for made-up storylines.

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An image of a girl jumping inside a huge cardboard box.
Photo: Getty Images.
01 of 25

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02 of 25

Crayola Light-Up Activity Board

Crayola Light-Up Activity Board
Peter Ardito

The battery-powered Crayola Light-Up Activity Board illuminates with lights so kids can learn color mixing and matching with the included clings. Use the washable markers with the drawing sheets to add scenes or more shapes. Supplies store in the back for easy travel.

Ages 3+

03 of 25

Crayola Scribble Scrubbie Ocean Pets Lagoon Playset

Crayola Scribble Scrubbie Ocean Pets Lagoon Playset
Peter Ardito

The 2021 edition of this popular color-the-creature series, the Crayola Scribble Scrubbie Ocean Pets Lagoon Playset provides washable markers for customizing the shark, octopus, whale, and clown fish. Kids can use the lagoon shower to clean the figures and start fresh anytime. "My twins love drawing on the animals, and it doesn't require a lot of water to erase them," noted a mom.

Ages 3+

04 of 25

Super Mario Blow Up! Shaky Tower

Super Mario Blow Up! Shaky Tower
Peter Ardito

Kids can monkey around with this suspenseful game by themselves or play with up to four people. It ends, Jenga-style, when someone accidentally knocks all seven figures off the ledges of the Super Mario Blow Up! Shaky Tower. "My daughter loves the anticipation," a dad said.

Ages 4+

05 of 25

Numberblocks MathLink Cubes

Numberblocks MathLink Cubes
Peter Ardito

With bright, familiar faces from the hit cartoon on Netflix, the Numberblocks MathLink Cubes entertain while helping kids hone number sense. (Look how short one is compared with ten!) "It puts the show's lessons into three-dimensional concepts," one parent said.

Ages 3+

06 of 25

Haba Little Friends Dollhouse Town Villa

Haba Little Friends Dollhouse Town Villa
Peter Ardito

Unlike most playhouses, the wooden Haba Little Friends Dollhouse Town Villa has a modern, airy design that makes it easy for small hands to access it from all sides. (If you want resident figures from the brand, you can buy them separately.) Cutouts at the top function as handles for moving the house around, and assembly is a breeze.

Ages 3+

07 of 25

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Playset

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Playset
Peter Ardito

A pretend Bake-Off begins with the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Playset—toy oven, mixing bowl, and five cans of the squishy clay included. "My son loves making the timer ding," a parent said. "And I got into using the cake-decorating tools with him."

Ages 3+

08 of 25

iPlay, iLearn Dinosaur Train Adventure Set

iPlay iLearn Dinosaur Train Adventure Set
Peter Ardito

A mash-up of choo-choos and dinos, iPlay, iLearn Dinosaur Train Adventure Set hits all the right preschool notes. Said one mom: "My kid likes manipulating the levers and knobs. It's suited to his motor skills and the doing-the-same-thing-over-and-over thing that 3-year-olds love."

Ages 3+

09 of 25

Ryan's World Chef Ryan's Fridge Surprise

Ryan’s World Chef Ryan’s Fridge Surprise
Peter Ardito

My son is obsessed with every item inside," gushed a mom of the 16-inch Ryan's World Chef Ryan's Fridge Surprise. It offers up fake food (tiny eggs!) and things to squish (a slime cupcake) for a total of 15 gifts to unwrap. Then there's the fridge itself, with a real dry-erase board.

Ages 3+

10 of 25

Kid Trax USPS Mail Delivery Truck

Kid Trax USPS Mail Delivery Truck
Peter Ardito

One preschool tester was the "hit of the neighborhood" as he drove the Kid Trax USPS Mail Delivery Truck on the sidewalk. It comes with a pretend mailbox and envelopes, has working headlights and a horn, and offers an auxiliary input for playing favorite tunes through a portable music player. Kids go forward or in reverse with a foot pedal, like in a real car, but (don't fear) there's a max speed of 2.5 mph.

Ages 3 to 5

11 of 25

Treasures Await! Adventure Ship

Treasures Await Adventure Ship
Peter Ardito

Treasures Await! Adventure Ship sails (rolls, really) on the floor and comes with a rowboat, a captain, a first mate, and requisite treasure chest. "I hear my kids seeking gold, attempting a rescue, or just having characters fish off the boat," a mom told us. (P.S. The anchor makes cranking sounds.)

Ages 3 to 8

12 of 25

Coding Critters MagiCoders

Coding Critters MagiCoders
Peter Ardito

Kids program a dragon or a unicorn to move using the Coding Critters MagiCoders wand and spell book. In essence, kids string together a code that tells the character what to do. Observed a mom, "Given how important coding has become, I'm glad this exposes it to my son in a playful way."

Ages 4 to 8

13 of 25

Noodle Knockout Fine Motor Game

Noodle Knockout Fine Motor Game
Peter Ardito

Teaching dexterity, counting, pattern recognition, and friendly competitiveness, Noodle Knockout Fine Motor Game has a side benefit of letting kids practice with chopsticks. Play alone or with up to four players. "My daughter enjoys pretending to eat her completed bowl of ramen," a parent reported.

Ages 4 to 8

14 of 25

Magformers Cube House Penguin Set

Magformers Cube House Penguin Set
Peter Ardito

Add Magformers Cube House Penguin Set to your preschooler's collection of magnetic builders, or make it a great first set. It's got 20 stick-together pieces plus a trike, a table, and a character who wears either a penguin or bear hood.

Ages 3+

15 of 25

L.O.L. Surprise! OMG House of Surprises

L.O.L. Surprise OMG House of Surprises
Peter Ardito

Dazzling for any fan of the brand, the L.O.L. Surprise! OMG House of Surprises measures 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide, with ten rooms, a light-up fireplace, transforming furniture, and (yes) a spiral slide. Dolls aren't included, but as a dad of three testers pointed out, "My kids already have a ton, and now they have a place to play with them."

Ages 4+

16 of 25

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Tabletop Art Center

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Tabletop Art Center
Peter Ardito

Entice little ones to get creative at the wooden Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Tabletop Art Center with a paper roll, a chalkboard, and a magnetic dry-erase board. Yes, Chase and the gang are there as magnets to hold activity sheets on the easel. Cups store the chalk and dry-erase marker. "My son loves this thing," said a dad. "He uses it daily to draw."

Ages 3+

17 of 25

Colorforms 70th Anniversary Edition

Colorforms
Peter Ardito

Throwback! Colorforms 70th Anniversary Edition engages kids and encourages storytelling with 500 modern design pieces that stick like magic to the board, then peel off to make way for new scenes. One mom appreciated how "it gives kids a chance to make striking art projects with no mess."

Ages 3+

18 of 25

My Fuzzy Friends

My Fuzzy Friends
Peter Ardito

My Fuzzy Friends are wearable, animatronic kittens and koalas with extra-long arms for nuzzling. They react with some 50 sounds when kids do things like rub their nose or serve them their snack. "My son checks on 'Koaly' throughout the day to see if he's hungry or tired," a mom noted.

Ages 4+

19 of 25

Slumberkins Yak Kin

Slumberkins Yak Kin plus board book
Peter Ardito

The softest of loveys, Slumberkins Yak Kin gets kudos for the accompanying affirmation card and board book that follows a yak overcoming a perfectionist streak. Kids are encouraged to repeat, "I know I am enough."

Ages 3 to 8

20 of 25

PAW Patrol: The Movie Chase Transforming City Cruiser

PAW Patrol Chase Transforming City Cruise
Peter Ardito

Kids can launch the top dog aboard his motorcycle right out of the PAW Patrol: The Movie Chase Transforming City Cruiser. It can send three discs flying through the air too. "Great for role play," noted one mom of a preschooler.

Ages 3+

21 of 25

Mermaid High

Mermaid High Dolls
Peter Ardito

The posable friends of Mermaid High have a secret—they're really mermaids who can slip off their tail to reveal human legs (with cool shoes). "The hair is beautiful and fun to comb. Accessories, like a clamshell laptop, are a cute touch," reported a mom of a 6-year-old.

Ages 4+

22 of 25

Batman Bat-Tech Transforming Batcave Playset

Batman Bat-Tech Transforming Batcave Playset
Peter Ardito

A nearly 3-foot-tall imposing Batman figure opens up to a ten-room lair for a small version of the superhero. The Batman Bat-Tech Transforming Batcave Playset has "so cool" details like an elevator, an escape hatch, and a jail for supervillains.

Ages 4+

23 of 25

Story Time Chess

Story Time Chess
Peter Ardito

We were skeptical, but testing proved that Story Time Chess can teach the basics to preschoolers, using cute characters and mini games. "It's a way to bring chess to young kids," a parent said. "They must have put a lot of thought into deconstructing and translating the game." Another remarked, "The stories are silly from an adult perspective, but they taught my 4-year-old chess."

Ages 3+

24 of 25

VTech Marble Rush Ultimate Set

VTech Marble Rush Ultimate Set
Peter Ardito

This 145-piece, battery-operated VTech Marble Rush Ultimate Set has a spinning Ferris wheel, a light-up cone drop, and ball launchers that impress, plus ten large marbles. "Both of my kids giggle ecstatically as the run grows taller," said a parent whose sons kept returning to it to try new things.

Ages 4+

25 of 25

Zuru Rainbocorn Fairycorn Surprise

Zuru Rainbocorn Fairycorn Surprise
Peter Ardito

Ten wrapped surprises are nestled inside each Zuru Rainbocorn Fairycorn Surprise egg, which has a set of wearable fairy wings on the back. The main attraction is the glittery friend (shown).

Ages 3+

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