The best toys of 2022 are interactive, creative, educational, silly and everything in between. If you're looking for the best toys for teens, the best toys for toddlers or the best toys for that one kid of indeterminate age who really likes cuddlies, we've got you covered for their next birthday and Christmas presents.
We've not just gone for top-of-the-list main presents, either. There's a wide selection in here which covers all price brackets, and we've considered the best STEM toys too: hiding learning behind fun is just about the greatest psychological tool there is!
Depending on the time of year you're looking to buy one of these toys, a large number of them are likely to be in short supply, especially around Christmas. If you want to make sure they're getting an amazing present, you need to act fast to get the best prices – and to ensure you can get your hands on them altogether.
The best toys 2022: the list
The character formerly known as the Child (and before that, Baby Yoda) gets a new animatronic spin, paying tribute to his insatiable appetite in season 2 of The Mandalorian. With 4 interactive accessories that can be placed in his hand, Grogu reacts to snacks both delicious and disgusting, beckons for a hug and, yes, uses the Force when you pat its head 3 times. We're not sure how many kids have actually seen The Mandalorian, but we know this: they seem to bloody love Grogu, and this will sell like hot bone broth.
If your young kids are glued to YouTube or Netflix - as today's youngsters tend to be - then you've probably been subjected to more than your fair share of CoComelon. It's absolutely huge. This cuddly JJ isn't going to help stop the songs rolling around your head, given that it plays 'Yes Yes Bedtime' with a squish of the tummy, but it'll certainly delight those for whom CoComelon is a way of life. And that's really the point, isn't it?
One for the older kids or perhaps particularly digitally advanced youngsters, Lego's epic 2064-piece set stashes away microfig-scale dioramas of iconic scenes from Super Mario 64, including Bob-omb Battlefield, Peach's Castle and Cool, Cool Mountain. Scale be damned, it's also compatible with the interactive Lego Mario and new Lego Luigi figures for a little extra play potential. Lego is such a big part of many kids and adults childhoods so this toy is also great to bond over and play with together.
MGA's super-deformed surprise toys continue to be a huge hit, and this four-floored wooden Dreamhouse-baiter is sure to be topping a whole lot of birthday or Christmas lists. It's compatible both with smaller L.O.L. dolls and their larger O.M.G. counterparts, includes transforming furniture, spinning rooms and a whole bunch of furniture - though unlike last year's O.M.G. House there's no doll included.
While there's definitely part of us which prefers the slightly more sensible Barbie You Can Be Anything Range, there's no denying that a Barbie completely overdoing it in ludicrous outfits and an accessorisable pet just feels right. Mattel says this range has a 'more is more' attitude, which sounds about right with the glitter, emojis and stand-out hair. Each doll has a fun unique look and style so we're sure your kids will want to collect them all.
There is no kids' show more wholesome and lovely than Bluey, to the point that it has become actively encouraged viewing in many kid-packed households - not something that can be said for every screeching headache of a franchise. These are uncomplicated articulated action figures of Bluey, Bandit, Bingo and Chilli, but they're perfect for little imagined adventures.
The Ultra line hasn't had the easiest of starts, but Nerf's latest Ultra Select looks to have got things much more on target. It's a twin-magazine motorised blaster which includes a bunch of standard black Ultra darts (built for distance but tending to fly a little wayward) and the new silver variety, which use a flat end and vastly improve accuracy. The magazine-switching gimmick is pretty cool, too.
This new generation of Optimus Prime switches quicker than ever, transforming from vehicle to robot mode with a push. This 2-in-1 toy is super eye catching with 10 button-activated sound effects and multiple accessories. You will need to take into account that transforming the robot back to the vehicle is a 10-12 step process (which as the parent, you'll probably be made to do when they get bored) but there's still a good bit of fiddly fun remaining.
Pre-Insta kids are going to go mental for VTech's instant snapper. Yes, you'll be on the hook for thermal paper, but it's far cheaper than Polaroid at about a penny per picture, there's SD storage for photos and videos, the sensor flips up for selfies - everything kids want. They won't even worry too much about the resolution, which VTech is keeping quiet about (but which we suspect is pretty low).
Marble runs are still big business, though Ravensburger's system doesn't use the 'M' word. These are gravity spheres. That terminology isn't surprising considering its STEM roots, and the Gravitrax system is hugely extendable. The Pro line is entirely compatible with the basic Gravitrax range meaning you'll be able to create more and more complex runs while your kids watch and beg for a turn.
We see this set as a teaching aid more than anything: give this flux capacitor-packing, gull-wing-doored DMC-12 to a Playmobil-obsessed youngling and they'll soon learn just how cool Marty and Doc's adventures were. It also includes a nifty little Einstein dog figure and is, as far as we're aware, the first Playmobil set to come complete with a hazardous flight case filled with plutonium rods.
The sequel to 2020's smash hit sand-plopper the Gotta Go Flamingo, the Turdle mixes up the poo-based fun by... actually, what does it do different? We're not entirely sure. Not that it matters. The fun of feeding it, watching it poo some hydrophobic magic sand into a transparent toilet, and then refeeding it those droppings is disgusting enough to keep kids entertained, and it'll repeat what they say in a silly voice, too.
Super-collectible toys released along with an accompanying cartoon, the way toys used to be, Akedo Ultimate Arcade Warriors takes the old Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots concept and dials it up a notch and down a size. Put a little dude on each plinth, and smack them together until one is so battered it literally splits in half down the middle. If that doesn't sound like fun, you need your priorities realigned.
Last year's must-have fashion doll is still a hot ticket. The Original Six from Rainbow High has been reimagined for Winter Break with outfits inspired by the likes of Supreme, Gucci and Dior. Easy to pose, dress, stand and play with, any fashion obsessed kid is sure to love these dolls and want to collect them all.
The recent movie has heated Paw Patrol right back up again, as if it ever truly cooled off - and 2021's best Paw Patrol toy packs in everything younger kids love. It's motorised, it shoots stuff, there's an exclusive Chase figure, and it also includes a dinosaur for, we're sure, an entirely plausible reason. Given that we're dealing with a mysteriously-funded pack of somehow-talking dogs that can also drive, perhaps they don't exactly need a reason.
Another sequel, of sorts, following up last Christmas' wildly popular Squeakee balloon dog. This time there's more interactivity, with chomping, roaring and breakdancing functions joining the balloon-related gimmicks of the previous generation. This could be the robot of the year - it's certainly a whole lot of silly fun. Make sure you pick up some rechargeable batteries to go with it.
You can blame lucrative YouTube pack unwrapping for the recent resurgence in the Pokémon TCG's popularity - and there's no better way for kids to get into the game than through the Battle Academy pack. You get three custom decks, built around Charizard, Pikachu and Mewtwo, as well as a game board which neatly explains the various zones of play. Add on a couple of V Battle deck packs, and you've got yourself a meta.
We're always going to suggest Lottie dolls: they're super-cute, brilliantly poseable, and backed by a very solid philosophy. If the glitz and glamour of Rainbow High or Barbie is too much for you, the Lottie Young Inventor (or the Fossil Hunter, or Kid Activist, or ESA-approved Star Gazer) might help convince your kids that there's a lot more to life, and that modest and well made clothes are pretty cool, too.
Jellycat makes beautiful soft toys. While there are a host of very wacky designs available - think clementines, pieces of toast, octopuses and the like - the delightfully cuddlable Bashful Bunny line is probably its most iconic product. It's a proven hit with youngsters of all ages, and this new sparkle-eared variety (which also comes in a small version) is an absolute delight.
Fisher-Price's Linkimals are pretty neat: they'll play music and jiggle about (both toddler mainstay features) but they'll also join up with other Linkimals so you can build an interactive network of creatures. Parents might wish to think twice about whether they'll actually want a noisy toy like this around; aunties and uncles, though, should absolutely inflict one of these on their siblings.