Last Updated: Jun 7, 2023 @ 1:40 pm.

What's the perfect dinosaur toy? We tested 23 different dino toys with actual kids to find the best dinosaur toy—whether you are looking for plastic dinosaurs, an electronic dino toy, activity mat, science kit or just a stuffed dinosaur. Here's what we thought were the best of the best!

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Best Plastic Dinosaur Toys: Pretex 7″ Dinosaurs, Pack of 12

Pretex’s Realistic Looking 7″ Dinosaurs  with 12 different dinosaurs scored high on our list for playability and quality—plastic dinosaurs let kids use their imaginations for play. Parents of our kid testers also like the included booklet that had short descriptions of each dinosaur:

best dinosaur toys pretex plastic dinosaurs book

What we liked:

• Sturdy plastic, bright colors. These seven-inch dinos felt substantial and well made.

• Parent-directed learning. The included booklet lets parents explain basic facts about each dinosaur.

• No batteries, no sound. 

What could be improved

• Some don’t stand. While most of these dinosaurs stand up on their own, a few did not in our testing batch. That is a disappointment.

Smelly when opened. A few parents complained about the plastic smell when the package is opened. You might want to let these guys air out before gifting it to a child.

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Best Plastic Dinosaur Toys

Age 2 Years and Up
Our testers loved these large (7") dinosaurs (12 in all, sturdy plastic) and included booklet with brief descriptions of each dino.

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Best Walking Dinosaur Toy/Electronic Pet: Windy City Novelties LED Light Up and Walking Realistic Dinosaur with Sound

When this toy promises realistic dinosaur sound, they weren’t kidding! Windy City’s Walking Dino was a hit with our kid testers, who loved the walking/talking/light up mojo here. But the loud sound has its detractors. Here are the pros and cons:

What we liked

Walks on carpet and hardwood. We liked how this toy worked well on various surfaces.

• Bright LEDS! Cool feature for night time play, said our kid testers.

What could be improved

Volume control, please! This dinosaur is LOUD! So loud that some parents scheme to give this toy to friend’s kiddos as a revenge scheme for some misdeed their friend did. Unfortunately, there is no volume control . . . and there is no silent mode. Hence, if this toy is on, the lights, movement and sounds are all on at the same time! Hint: some folks use a small bandaid to cover the speaker in the tail to muffle the sound.

Scary for younger babies. Follow this toy’s recommendation: age 3 and up. The sound, lights and movement are probably too much for a younger child.

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Best Walking Dinosaur Toy / Electronic Pet

Age 3 Years and Up
Kids loved how it walks, sounds and lights up. The realistic roar, however, may not be the best choice for younger babies!

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Best Dinosaur Activity Playset: TEMI Dinosaur Toys Figures with Activity Play Mat

We picked the TEMI Dinosaur Activity Playmat as the best activity playmat gift for dino fans—it hit all the right notes for our testers.

What we liked:

• Nine dinosaurs, felt play mat plus trees and rocks. The dinos are about 6″ tall and the playmat is a generous 27″ by 31″.

• Good quality and sturdy toys. Other dino playsets we tested have flimsier action figures or smaller playmats.

What could use improvement

• A few parts of this playlet don’t stand up on their own. In our testing, one of the dinosaurs didn’t stand up on its own. And a tree or two also failed the standing test.

• Some photos make it seem larger than reality. A few parents complained that the online pictures of this activity mat/dinosaurs make it look larger than what it actually is. Here are some photos to help you make up your mind on this:

Here’s a manufacturer photo of the TEMI Dinosaur Activity Playmat:

best dinosaur toy playset TEMI photo1

And here’s what it looks like in reality:

TEMI Dinosaur Toy Figure w: Activity Play Mat photo 2

Our thoughts: the manufacturer photo is clearly photoshopped—note the writing on the pillow is upside down. And we see the point about size perspective. However, the actual mat and realistic dinosaurs provide excellent play, in our opinion and testing.

Best Dinosaur Activity Playset

Ages 3 Years and up
Includes NINE dinosaurs about 6" tall/long, plus playmat, rocks and trees. Our kid testers loved the dinos and parents appreciated the carrying case.

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Best Dinosaur Science Kit: National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit

Got a future paleontologist in the house? We tested several educational science dinosaur kits before picking this one as the best of the bunch: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dino Fossil Dig Kit – Excavate 3 real fossils including Dinosaur Bones & Mosasaur Teeth. Here are the results from our testing.

What we liked:

• Yes, there are actual dinosaur bones in this kit. The goal for kids is to dig these items out of a rock—the kit includes tools, a magnifying glass and a booklet that explains more about paleontology. FYI: The fossils are quite small.

• Our testers just loved this kit—it provided both fun and learning, which is the point of science kits!

best dinosaur toy science kit

What could use improvement:

• Some kits do not contain all the promised fossils. While the kit we purchased did contain all the items, we see complaints from other parents that the kit was missing fossils. National Geographic could do a better job at quality control here.

• Messy. There is quite a bit of dirt and debris here—this might be a good project for outside on a nice day.

• Plastic tools hard to use. One of our testers said the plastic tools included with the kit were too flimsy to dig out the fossils. We also see a few reports that entire rocks that contained embedded fossils fell apart when removed from the box. Again, quality control here is frustrating.

• Best for older kids. Any kid over age three can use this, but the maker says kids 8 and up might get more out of the science/STEM learning aspect of this science kit. And we see that point: it can take an hour or more to dig out the fossils—so older kiddos with more patience will probably be happier with this fossil dig kit.

Best Dinosaur Science Kit

Age 3 Years and Up; Best for Older Kiddos with Patience!
Yes, this kit has REAL dinosaur bones and a mosasaur tooth—plus tools to dig it all out from a rock. Older kiddos raved about this one in our tests.

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Best Dinosaur Stuffed Animal: Wild Republic

If you are looking for a simple dinosaur stuffed animal, our top recommendation here is the Wild Republic Triceratops Plush, Dinosaur Stuffed Animal. We had our kid testers evaluate a half dozen different stuffed dinosaurs before settling on this one. Here is an overview:

best dinosaur toys stuffed animal

What we liked:

• Weighted bottom so it sits upright. Other dinosaur plush animals we tested lacked this feature.

• The right balance of soft versus cuddly. At 12″, this toys just the right size—not too small, nor too big, judged our testers.

What could use improvement:

• Surface clean only. Yes, some stuffed animals can be machine washed—but not this one. Just keep in mind.

• Easy to bend the crown. This dinosaur’s top frill easily bends—and oddly is hard to straighten back out.

Bottom line: affordable price, cute and cuddly—we recommend this dinosaur plush toy.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including activity toys, since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

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