Best toys of 2022: from the fun to the educational

Need to find the best toys this year? These are hottest toys for kids, from the creative and educational to pure silly

Best toys 2022, image shows Galactic Snackin Grogu toy being played with by a boy
(Image credit: Hasbro)

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.

For more specific guides, check out the best Lego sets, best Nerf guns and best remote-control cars for more gift-giving inspiration.

The best toys 2022: the list

Best toys 2022: Galactic Snackin' Grogu

(Image credit: Hasbro)

1. Galactic Snackin' Grogu

Who doesn't love Baby Yoda?

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of interactivity
+
Super-cute reactions
+
Neat accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a little repetitive

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.

Best toys 2022: Cocomelon

(Image credit: Jazwares)

2. Cocomelon Bedtime JJ Doll

It's cuddly and it sings!

Reasons to buy

+
Massively popular
+
Cuddly body
+
Plays music

Reasons to avoid

-
Isn't as interactive as Grogu

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?

Best toys 2022: Lego Question Mark Block

(Image credit: Lego Group)

3. Lego Super Mario 64 Question Mark Block

Lego and Super Mario... need we say more?!

Reasons to buy

+
Super-cute microfig Mario
+
Hidden stars to find
+
Plenty to play with - or just look at

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey

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.

Best toys 2022: LOL Surprise OMG House of Surprises

(Image credit: MGA Entertainment)

4. L.O.L. Surprise O.M.G. House of Surprises

Perfect for O.M.G fans

Reasons to buy

+
Neat rotating rooms
+
Compatible with both doll sizes
+
Sturdy construction

Reasons to avoid

-
A little expensive

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. 

Best toys 2022: Barbie Extra

(Image credit: Mattel)

5. Barbie Extra with Pink Fluffy Jacket

Classic Barbie with OTT clothes, accessories and attitude

Reasons to buy

+
Fun outfits and accessories
+
Comes with a pet
+
Curvier build

Reasons to avoid

-
Make sure you don't lose the small accessories

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.

Best toys 2022: Bluey & Family

(Image credit: Moose Toys)

6. Bluey & Family 4-Pack

Wholesome figures from the popular kids show

Reasons to buy

+
Poseable construction
+
Encourages creative play
+
It's Bluey - honestly that's enough

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't do very much!

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. 

Best toys 2022: Nerf Ultra Select

(Image credit: Hasbro)

7. Nerf Ultra Select

A battle-ready blaster that's set to hit the mark

Reasons to buy

+
New straighter-flying darts
+
Neat quick-switch magazines
+
Motorised firing

Reasons to avoid

-
Bullets can jam easily due to the powerful gun

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.

Best toys 2022: Transformers Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Dinobots Unite Roll N’ Change Optimus Prime

(Image credit: Hasbro)

8. Transformers Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Dinobots Unite Roll N’ Change Optimus Prime

Autobots, get ready to engage in an epic battle

Reasons to buy

+
Highly reconfigurable
+
Kids genuinely love it
+
Plenty of add-on packs available

Reasons to avoid

-
Fiddly and time consuming to revert back to vehicle form

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.

Best toys 2022: VTech KidiZoom PrintCam

(Image credit: VTech)

9. VTech KidiZoom PrintCam

Like a Polaroid for a new (and younger) audience

Reasons to buy

+
Prints are cheap
+
Versatile camera
+
Easy for kids to grip

Reasons to avoid

-
Have to pay for replacement paper

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).

Best toys 2022: Gravitrax Pro Vertical Starter Set

(Image credit: Ravensburger)

10. Gravitrax Pro Vertical Starter Set

Give your kids a rolling start in engineering life

Reasons to buy

+
Virtually unlimited ways to lay out track
+
Expandable with extra sets
+
Secretly very educational

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of pieces to assemble

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.

Best toys 2022: Playmobil Back to the Future DeLorean

(Image credit: Playmobil)

11. Playmobil Back to the Future DeLorean

Pure nostalgia and good Playmobil fun

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with Doc, Marty and Einstein
+
Awesome detail
+
Packs Playmobil plutonium

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not appeal to kids who don't know what Back to the Future is...

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.

Best toys 2022: Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turdle

(Image credit: Moose Toys)

12. Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turdle

Kids love toys which poop

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic punny name
+
Reusable food
+
Amusing sounds and tunes

Reasons to avoid

-
Little repetitive for kids who get bored easy

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.

Best toys 2022: Akedo Ultimate Arcade Warriors Battle Arena

(Image credit: Moose Toys)

13. Akedo Ultimate Arcade Warriors Battle Arena

Who knew that splitting someone down the middle could be so much fun?

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to play, but deep too
+
Collectible element
+
Great sound effects

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be fiddly and hard to get to grips with for younger players

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.

Best toys 2022: Rainbow High Winter Break

(Image credit: MGA Entertainment)

14. Rainbow High Winter Break

High quality fashion dolls in a rainbow of colours

Reasons to buy

+
Nifty fashions
+
Fancy hairstyles
+
Good range of options

Reasons to avoid

-
Clothes can fit a little odd

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.

Best toys 2022: Paw Patrol Dino Rescue Dino Patroller

(Image credit: Spin Master)

15. Paw Patrol Dino Rescue Dino Patroller

Great toy for Paw Patrol fans

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to operate motorisation
+
Fits up to six pups
+
Lots of functions to test out and play with

Reasons to avoid

-
Can jam a little easily

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.

Best toys 2022: Squeakee The Interactive Balloon Dino

(Image credit: Moose Toys)

16. Squeakee The Interactive Balloon Dino

A balloon dino that's not a total let down

Reasons to buy

+
A long list of functions
+
Plenty of personality
+
Cute in its own unique way

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs out of charge quickly

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.

Best toys 2022: Pokémon TCG: Battle Academy

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

17. Pokémon TCG: Battle Academy

Gotta catch 'em all

Reasons to buy

+
Great selection of cards
+
Helps newcomers
+
Expandable later on

Reasons to avoid

-
Numbers on cards are a bit tiny

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.

Best toys 2022: Lottie Doll Young Inventor

(Image credit: Arklu)

18. Lottie Doll Young Inventor

A doll that encourages good things

Reasons to buy

+
Great outfits
+
Totally non-brash
+
Inspired by real kids

Reasons to avoid

-
Not an interactive doll and doesn't bend

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.

Best toys 2022: Jellycat Bashful Sparklet Bunny

(Image credit: Jellycat)

19. Jellycat Bashful Sparklet Bunny

Cuddly, cute, and supremely soft

Reasons to buy

+
Really soft
+
Really, really cute
+
Really, really, really cuddly

Reasons to avoid

-
More of a cuddle toy – only an issue if you want something interactive

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.

Best toys 2022: Fisher-Price Linkimals Cool Beats Penguin

(Image credit: Fisher-Price)

20. Fisher-Price Linkimals Cool Beats Penguin

Smart toys for toddlers

Reasons to buy

+
Movement and sound
+
Pretty indestructible
+
Links with other creatures

Reasons to avoid

-
Very noisy!

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.

T3 magazine's own Gadget Guru is a 25-year veteran of the tech writing wars, and has the scars to prove it. He's written for the UK's biggest technology publications, and knows everything from smart doorbell voltage needs to how to bend Windows to his every whim.

With contributions from