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Must-Have Toys of 2023 for Every Kid on Your List

Your holiday shopping guide made easy

Published on: October 25, 2023

mom holding out a gift toward the camera

With the holiday season upon us, it can be a joyous time of year, a time for upholding traditions and making new ones. But when it comes to gift shopping for kids, sometimes the season can become a little overwhelming. You want a gift they’ll love, and you want one that will stand the test of time — and some rough play. The great news? 2023 does not disappoint, with plenty of outstanding toys that are durable, adorable and encourage creativity.

We’ve gone through dozens upon dozens of toy catalogs, so you don’t have to, and the results are in: These are our top gifts of 2023 for kids, from babies to teens.

Best gifts for kids birth to 3 years old

My Woodland Friends squeaker set by Gund

"Soft toy set with acorn house and a fox, snail and squirrel"
My Woodland Friends squeaker set

A soft plush play set that evokes forest foraging and woodland romps, it comes with four soft sensory toys: an acorn rattle, a crinkling snail, and squirrel and fox squeakers. They all come in a 7.5-inch soft mushroom house. Baby can practice putting toys in the house and store the little animals inside. There’s even a small handle at the top to take the set on the go.

Ages: 0 and up
Cost: $24.95 

Bath-time slide set by Matchstick Monkey

A toy for the bath that helps develop hand-eye coordination while also being adorable? Yes, please! The little slide attaches to the bath rim or any smooth surface and can be angled in three different ways. Then drop the little animal rocks down the slide until they splash into the tub. Made from FDA-approved food-grade silicone and BPA-free PVC and PP materials.

Ages: 6 months and up
Cost: $24.95

Bee: A Peek-Through Board Book” by Britta Teckentrup

"Bee: A Peek-Through Board Book"
“Bee: A Peek-Through Board Book” by Britta Teckentrup

A die-cut board book that takes children through the busy day of this beloved pollinator. With brightly colored illustrations, even the tiniest readers will discover how vital bees are. Cutouts make the book a tactile experience as they travel from flower to hive.

Ages: 0–3
Cost: $9.76

The Block Set from Lovevery

"The Block Set, colorful blocks and a plain wooden box"
 The Block Set from Lovevery

A 70-piece collection of wood blocks in an array of colors, sizes and shapes, this set helps little ones build their spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills while having fun. A creative toy that allows children to explore stacking, sorting and creating, it’s built to last. Plus, it looks adorable on the shelf.

Ages: 18 months and up
Cost: $90

Magna-Tiles Downhill Duo

You can’t really go wrong with Magna-Tiles. This new 40-piece set won the Toy the Year Award for 2023, in part because of the creative way it boosts STEM skills for young kids. Kids can engineer elevated racing tracks and build vehicles to race on them.

Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $69.99

Color-sorting rainbow from Mirus Toys

"Color sorting rainbow toy"
Color-sorting rainbow from Mirus Toys

A Montessori toy that brings the colors of the rainbow to kids’ fingertips, the sorting rainbow improves fine motor skills, spatial understanding, concentration and counting skills. The rainbow is made of maple wood, and the little balls are felted wool. Although younger children may benefit from this toy, the size of the felted balls can present a choking hazard. For this reason, the toy is recommended for ages 3 and older. These toys are made to order, so we suggest ordering early to ensure delivery before the holidays.

Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $64.95

Connetix 92-piece ball run pack

For limitless play, this 92-piece set allows kids to make an epic ball run by stacking and connecting the magnetic pieces. The colorful set features 36 connecting squares and clear, fluted tubes so kids can watch one of the six rainbow wooden balls (included in the set) as they zoom down the slides. There are also S-bend tubes, a split tube and special-effect stair soundscape tubes.

Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $109

Yoto Mini

"Yoyo mini"
 Yoto Mini

The Yoto Mini is a portable, screen-free way to let kids listen to audiobooks, music, activities and educational audio. Kids use physical cards to play audio files. It even plays sleep sounds and white noise, and can be used as an “okay to wake” alarm. Use it as a Bluetooth speaker or connect to Bluetooth headphones. The audio cards are purchased separately.

Ages: 3–12
Cost: $69.99

Super Smalls Magic Power Potion necklace kit

This creative kit lets children mix up a potion and then turn it into a necklace. The set includes eight ingredients, a booklet with five different potion recipes, a funnel to make pouring easier, and four potion bottles, so they can make necklaces for their besties, too.

Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $45

Mattel Barbie Dream Boat play set

The Barbie craze continues, but if the Barbie Dream House is too big for your space or your budget, this adorable set has more than 20 pieces, including pool, slide and a dolphin.

Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $58.99

Woom Original bike

"Woom Original bike"
Woom Original bike

Designed with kids in mind, these bikes are ultralightweight and ergonomically adjusted for easy handling by kids. The tires have extra grip, and the handlebar brakes are made so that kids can apply them without excessive pressure. This year, Woom is debuting a range of limited-edition bike colors, including “atomic neon” and “cosmic blurple.” The bikes are made for children as young as 18 months and as old as age 14.

Ages: 18 months–14 years
Cost: starting at $249

Best gifts for kids 4–8 years old

Casa Azul set from Follies

"Casa Azul set from Follies"
Casa Azul set from Follies

A buildable playhouse inspired by Frida Kahlo’s iconic home, this set includes 25 pieces. Mix and match, and build to create a variety of pieces, including a little kitchen, an artist’s easel and a tiny house. The pieces are made of nontoxic, BPA-free, phthalates-free, lightweight recyclable expanded plastic, which rinses clean.

Ages: 4 and up
Cost: $179

LeapFrog Magic Adventures telescope

"LeapFrog Magic Adventures telescope"
LeapFrog Magic Adventures telescope

With its 110x magnification, kids can use this digital telescope to zoom in on the night sky or the world around them. There’s also a little 2.4-inch screen to view more than 100 NASA videos and play a variety of space-inspired games.

Ages: 5 and up
Cost: $99

Taco vs Burrito card game

"Taco vs Burrito card game"
Taco vs Burrito card game

Invented by a 7-year-old, this card game is equal parts entertainment and strategy as you compete with other players to stack your taco (or burrito) with a variety of ingredients, from gross to delicious. Players can steal ingredients, instigate food fights and stop plays. It takes only 15 minutes to play, so it’s the perfect response to “Will you play with me?”

Ages: 6 and up
Cost: $19.99

Tech Deck 25th Anniversary 8-Pack

Yes, Tech Deck has been around for 25 years (feeling old yet?), and this eight-board set includes graphics from some of the biggest skate brands. Use the sticker packs to customize each fingerboard. It also includes a limited-edition silver Tech Deck Dude.

Ages: 6 and up
Cost: $24.99

Gund Rainbow Round Pusheen Squisheen

An ombre pastel plushy that is utterly huggable, this 11-inch-round plush toy is made of pillow-soft fabric and looks like a plump little cat, complete with smile, paws and tail. Your kids won’t be able to stop squeezing it (and neither will you).

Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $35

Time Jumpers from SimplyFun

Just launched in October, this riveting new board game takes you back in time to witness some of the greatest moments of the 20th century. Players move around the category portal collecting cards from different categories, all while learning about inventions, achievements and events. Now you really can party like it’s 1999.

Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $38

Mudpuppy Pizzasaurus Shaped Scratch & Sniff Puzzle

"Mudpuppy Pizzasaurus Shaped Scratch & Sniff Puzzle"
Mudpuppy Pizzasaurus Shaped Scratch & Sniff Puzzle

A 48-piece mini puzzle features a pizzasaurus: a creature with a dinosaur head and a pizza body. The body even has the scratch-and-sniff scent of cheesy pizza. It’s just weird enough that your kids will love it.

Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $8.99

Virtual Reality Oceans! gift set from Abacus Brands

Kids can immerse themselves in the aquatic world with this set, which includes virtual-reality goggles, a 96-page interactive book and scratch-art supplies to make their own ocean animal art. Explore the ocean on a submarine dive and watch as jellyfish, whales, dolphins and other creatures swim along.

Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $59.99

Mudpuppy Andy Warhol Soup Can crayons and sharpener

"Mudpuppy Andy Warhol Soup Can crayons and sharpener"
Mudpuppy Andy Warhol Soup Can crayons and sharpener

You’re never too old for crayons, and this sophisticated kit looks great in any study space. The can includes 18 extra-thick crayons with Warhol-inspired names and a small crayon sharpener that fits inside.

Ages: 8 and up
Cost: $19.99

Best gifts for kids age 9 and older

DreamController game controller designs

Customize controllers for Xbox One, Xbox Elite, Nintendo Switch and Oculus Quest 2 with designs that include popular gaming characters, patterns and an array of options, such as rainbows, honeycomb, plants and flowers.

Ages: 9 and up
Cost: prices vary

Thames & Kosmos Hydraulic Boxing Bots

Build two boxing robots, then challenge a friend to a hydraulic-robot battle. This clever kit helps kids build engineering skills and learn about the physics, design and components of hydraulic mechanisms. Includes a scoreboard.

Ages: 10 and up
Cost: $49.94

Galison “Foraged” 1,000-piece puzzle

Fungi are all the rage, and this complex puzzle will bring your teens hours of enjoyment, or build it together as a family. The puzzle imagery was created by photographer Sherrie Sanville, aka Shroom Mama. When complete, the puzzle measures 27 by 20 inches.

Ages: 10 and up
Cost: $17.99

Lego Insect Collection

"Lego Insect Collection"
Lego Insect Collection

Older kids can still get a lot out of playing with Lego bricks. This amazing new set includes 1,111 pieces to make three different insects: a blue morpho butterfly, with adjustable wings and a buildable flower, complete with a honey bee; a Hercules beetle, with attachable wings and horns; and a fully posable Chinese mantis with a seven-spotted ladybug. Lego recommends 18 years and older for these kits, but tweens and teens will enjoy building these with you (or maybe without you). The increased challenge will keep their attention, and the cool display aspect will look great in their room.

Ages: 12 and up
Cost: $79.99

Editor’s note: Prices were current at the time of publication and are subject to change.

More gift giving ideas

10 Thoughtful Gifts for Faraway Friends and Family

Coolest Toys and Gifts for Grown-Ups

Give the Gift of Experience: 25 Activity-Packed Present Ideas

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