It seems like we've just managed to get Christmas behind us, but that might just mean it's the perfect time to start thinking about the best kids' toys of 2020.
I'm no advocate of blind consumerism, but thinking ahead for next year or for upcoming birthdays and occasions means that you might be ready with one of the best kids toys of 2020 when your little one starts putting together a wish list.
Even better, having a list of the best toys for kids in 2020 on hand means you'll be able to keep an eye out and hopefully snag a deal on one when you see it on Amazon or Walmart in the future. That's the real the benefit of keeping these top kids toys on your radar throughout the year.
Since springtime and outdoor play is still months away for most of us, one or two of the items on this list might make the dark winter days go by a little bit more quickly. If you have young kids in the house, toys that encourage imaginative play, like a toy kitchen or building blocks, can give you quite a lot of mileage and help occupy and entertain them.
One thing to keep in mind when you're shopping for great toys for kids? Sometimes, the toys inspired by classics really are the best. That's why you'll find a few classic toys reinvented on this list, because Lego just doesn't go out of style. And if you happen to have a child who doesn't have a play kitchen, you're going to want to get on that, stat.
No matter what child you're hoping to buy a great toy for this year, our best toys for kids in 2020 list is exactly where to start.
1. Best Building Toys
We may obsess over ensuring our babies work on their hand-eye coordination, but it's a skill children benefit from practicing as they get older as well. Building toys help kids learn about balancing objects and understanding space, but they are also great for encouraging imaginative play. If your household is lacking a set of blocks or magnet tiles for building, consider this permission to stock up on some of the best building toys of 2020.
Magna-tiles ($119.99 from Amazon) — Magna-tiles always land at the top of the list when it comes to kids toys. They're pricey, but they will last you through many kids and their friends. They'll probably even be around when your grandkids are looking for something to play with years from now.
Lego coding set ($158.97 from Walmart) — Lego just got a little more sophisticated, huh? This set, while not inexpensive, has over 800 pieces for your kids so they can work on building their own robots.
2. Best Art Supplies
Think all art supplies are created equal? Think again. Most kids have access to crayons and (hopefully washable) markers, but for kids to really get immersed in an art project, they might need a new art supply or two.
Chunkies ($13.09 from Amazon) — If there was one art supply I'd want with me stranded on a deserted island with kids, it would be Chunkies. For little kids, paint sticks are way more satisfying than crayons. They have highly saturated colors and they dry more quickly than paint, making them a little less of a mess.
Llama string art ($25.11 from Amazon) — Your kids probably haven't dominated the fine art of string art quite yet, and this kit will make it simple.
Spirograph design set ($17.99 from Amazon) — Spirographs are one of those classic toys I mentioned above that will never lose their appeal. Even I remember the feel of those little plastic stencils (and the spirograph has been around since 1965, so your kids' grandparents might even remember them!), and they will give your kids another outlet for their artistic energy.
3. Best Imagination Toys
If you have toddlers or early primary school kids, imagination toys are your lifeline — and it doesn't take all that much effort to get small kids going in the imagination department. Whether you've got a three-year-old on a play sink or all your kids are making you pretend dinner at a play kitchen, imagination toys are some of the best toys for kids in 2020.
Garden and Gourmet Kitchen ($199.99 from Wayfair) — Not all play kitchens are created equal. This one gets bonus points for its enjoyable colorway and cute recycling station, as well as a place to fill up sippy cups in the fridge.
Play sink ($14.97 from Walmart) — If you don't have the space for a whole kitchen, a play sink can offer you a mini version that little toddlers will love. This one has a leg up on a play kitchen — it uses real water, something that is weirdly satisfying to small children.
Play Workshop and Utility Bench ($119.99 from Walmart) — Girls and boys will love this play workshop and utility bench that comes with a ton of pieces for them to fix your furniture or build you something.
4. Best Action Toys
Kids these days seem to need more stimulation than ever, and these toys are perfect for kids who need a little more movement in their lives. They're especially good options if your child has any sensory needs. If you find your child crashing into the sofa at full tilt every afternoon, one of these sensory input toys could help your child regulate and keep them a little more calm throughout the cold winter or the hot summer.
Fat Brain Toys Teeter Popper ($36.85 from Amazon) — How cute is this teeter popper? It's the kind of toy I absolutely envision getting a trial run after an adult dinner party. It's just irresistible — especially those sticky little suction cups that help it balance on the ground so toddlers can practice balancing a little earlier.
Wood balance board ($20.99 from Target) — A wooden balance board is a slightly less colorful option than the Fat Brain Toys option, but it's a classic that will last until you have grandchildren. This is a great toy option if you're looking for something that will blend into your decor.
Pikler triangle (this set of three for $250 on Etsy) — If you've never heard of a Pikler triangle, you're not alone. It's a niche toy, but perfect for toddlers and young kid of all ages who like to climb and balance — without using your sofa as a playground every day.
5. Best Board Games
Oh, board games. They don't sound all that appealing, until you have kids that need to be entertained until bedtime every single night. Board games are an excellent way to do that without plugging them into the television or a bright screen for hours.
Outfoxed! ($19.99 from Amazon) — For ages five and up, this is a cooperative whodunnit game your whole family can play together. If those chickens with magnifying glasses aren't the cutest detectives, eh?
Bananagrams ($14.99 from Target) — If you don't have Bananagrams for your family already, you should. Consider this the time to stock up on a game that will help them with their vocabulary (heck, it'll help you with yours, too) and bring the whole family in on a game together.
Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game ($15.29 from Amazon) — I love the idea of playing board games as a family, but for younger kids, you have to start with board games that will really draw them in. This Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel game isn't just fun to play, it's downright fun to say as well.
6. Best STEM Toys
Crayola Chemistry set ($12.88 from Walmart) — This is a wonderful toy for a kid who loves mixing potions. It's a chemistry set that allows them to mix colors and test them out, blending science with art in the perfect way.
Fort-building kit ($49.99 from Amazon) — While I've always been a fan of using dining room chairs for fort-building, this kit takes fort-building to another level for kids who might just be budding architects.
Geo-Smart Flip Bot ($59.99 from Amazon) — For those kids who are definitely going to be able to re-wire your house when they grow up, the geo-smart flip bot will allow them to test out all of their building and wiring skills.
7. Best Tech Toys
Nintendo Switch ($324.99 from Amazon) — Look, sometimes you just have to get your kid the toy that every kid seems to want, and in 2020, that toy is the Nintendo Switch. For those of us who are completely illiterate when it comes to these devices (I do remember the original Gameboy, but it seems there have been improvements since then), the "switch" refers to the console's ability to play on a television and on the handheld device.
Obuby Walkie Talkies ($19.99 for a set of 3 from Amazon) — Here's the perfect tech gift for kids that doesn't even involve a screen. Whether you're sending those kids out into the neighborhood to play with their walkie talkies or just sending them upstairs to give you a little peace in the kitchen, it's a good toy option for active kids.
3D Maker ($39.99 from Target) — Can you believe we live in a day and age that you can gift your child a 3D printer for less than $40? How incredible. This is also one of those gifts that'll make you realize your children know more about technology than you do. But hopefully that's a good thing.