The Best Toys Under $50 of 2022

LEGOs, Magic Mixies, Star Wars droids, Bluey toys, and many more kid faves

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There’s nothing like the excitement of opening a new toy, whether that’s Christmas morning, during a birthday party, or just because. In addition to the joy they bring, toys are an essential part of kids’ development and learning process, even if they’re not aware of the valuable skills they acquire every time they pick up their favorite doll, truck, card game, ball, or stuffed animal. Of course, with new toys and cool trends emerging all the time, providing those toys and opportunities to explore can get quite expensive, which is why we’ve created this list of the best toys under $50 that are guaranteed to maximize the fun and the learning.

Reviewed & Approved

There’s one toy that the experts we spoke to unequivocally love for kids: classic LEGO sets. Virtually indestructible (but recyclable if you choose to), LEGO bricks encourage creativity and imaginative play, and they can be built into an infinite number of new toys. This year’s hottest toys list also includes a Magic Mixies Cauldron, an Exploding Kittens party pack, and the adorable Bluey bus loaded with all his favorite friends.

According to Christia Brown, psychology professor at the University of Kentucky, “All toys are educational because that’s how kids learn about skills, it’s how they’re learning about the world, about how they move their body, about how to think, that’s how they are practicing for the things they’re going to need in adulthood. Every toy teaches something.” While that’s clearly true of, say, a STEM kit designed to teach a science lesson, it’s also true of regular toys that help children understand what people look like, how to engage in imaginative play, and how to nurture. 

We spoke with child development experts and researched hundreds of popular options, including this year’s trending toys and games, to find the most fun, durable, and enriching toys for kids of all ages, from toddlers to tweens. We also considered price points and found many budget-friendly options that your little ones will love. 

These are this year’s best toys under $50.

LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box

4.8
LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box

Courtesy of Amazon

While you can take your pick of any of the hundreds of LEGO sets available, the classic 790-piece brick box is the perfect starter kit: It includes everything from bricks to windows, doors, and wheels so you and your child can construct pretty much anything you can dream up. This kit is also compatible with all other LEGO construction sets, so the building possibilities really are endless. This particular LEGO set is ideal for kids over 4 years old (but don’t worry, we have options for younger kids on the list, too!).

Although the manufacturer suggested retail price for this set is above $50, it is often available on sale and can be purchased for as low as $40-$50 with free shipping. 

Price at time of publication: $60

“LEGOs are great for fine motor skills but also for building and engineering and picturing how things go together. You can get the kits, and sometimes it’s fun for them to follow directions and build it, but if you have the open-ended LEGO kits, sometimes it’s just fun for kids to imagine what to make and draw a picture of a prototype of what to build.” — Emily Lyons, assistant professor of education at Springfield College

Bluey Bus + Mates, 2.5-3 inch Figures

Bluey Bus + Mates, 2.5-3 inch Figures

Amazon

As a mother of two, I firmly believe that there are just two kinds of people in the world: people who love Bluey and people who just haven’t seen Bluey yet. The Heeler family tends to excel at imaginative play on the Disney+ cartoon, and this bus, which comes with Bluey, Bingo, their teacher Calypso, and three more school friends, is the perfect way to pretend right along with them. Hooray! This Bluey Bus is ideal for kids ages 3 and up.

Price at time of publication: $40

Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike

4.5
Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike

Courtesy of Amazon

This best-selling tricycle is built to be tough thanks to its wide, durable wheels, sturdy construction, and convenient storage under the seat for toys—or acorns, rocks, or whatever your kids might pick up along their ride. It’s the perfect getaway vehicle for kids from ages 2 to 5.

Price at time of publication: $40

Exploding Kittens Card Game, Party Pack Edition

Exploding Kittens Card Game, Party Pack Edition

Amazon

This party-ready version of the traditional Exploding Kittens game comes with enough cards for up to 10 players ages 7 and up. The game is famously easy to learn—it’s said to take only two minutes to understand the rules. The goal is to avoid exploding, which happens when you draw the game’s namesake card. The remainder of the deck is composed of strategy cards to help you mitigate or avoid the explosion. 

Price at time of publication: $30

PicassoTiles 100 Piece Set

PicassoTiles 100 Piece Set

Amazon

These magnetic building tiles provide limitless fun for kids who like to build and play with color and patterns. With 100 magnetic pieces, there are enough tiles to build giant towers, mosaics, and more with just this one set, but it’s compatible with other PicassoTile sets, too, so you can combine them to build even bigger structures. It's ideal for ages 3 and up.

For older kids, you might also want to consider the Magna-Tiles Glow in the Dark Set, a similar toy with tiles that can be charged under direct sunlight or with the included LED light to activate the glow. Note that this $30 set only includes 16 pieces, so it’s more of an expansion kit to use with other magnetic tile sets. 

Price at time of publication: $48

Basic Fun Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro and Vintage Toy

Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro and Vintage Toy

Amazon

Lite-Brite has been a popular toy for decades, and it’s back on the trending toys list thanks to an appearance in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Kids can follow the provided design templates or freestyle a design of their own. Without realizing it, they’ll be practicing fine motor skills by manipulating the colorful pegs, as well as reinforcing their imagination and creativity. The Lite Brite board requires three AA batteries, and it should be noted that since this comes with over 300 small pegs, it’s not suitable for kids under 4.

Price at time of publication: $20

Swurfer Kick Stand Up Surfing Tree Swing

Swurfer Kick Stand Up Surfing Tree Swing

Amazon

Full disclosure, our family has a Swurfer hanging in our backyard as we speak, and the worst thing about it is how much my kids fight over who gets to use it. Swurfer is a brand of tree swings that can be used seated, like a traditional swing, but the real fun happens when you stand on the skateboard-shaped seat and use your full body momentum to soar through the air even faster and in all different directions. While emphasizing balance and core strength, this swing is a great way to combine outdoor play with high-flying adventure. While there are larger Swurfers that are big enough for adults, note that this version is ideal for kids under 150 lbs. 

Although the manufacturer suggested retail price is $60, you can often find the Swurfer Stand Up Tree Swing on sale right below the $50 mark. 

Price at time of publication: $60

Star Wars L0-LA59 (Lola) Droid

Star Wars L0-LA59 (Lola) Droid Toy

Amazon

L0-LA59 (Lola) is the new droid featured in the latest Star Wars spinoff, the Disney+ miniseries “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Although this little guy can’t fly or rescue Princess Leia like on TV, it does feature moveable parts and interactive lights and sounds—and it’s just as adorable. Lola stands 5 inches tall, needs two AAA batteries to operate, and is recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

Price at time of publication: $39

National Geographic Break Open 10 Premium Geodes Kit

Break Open 10 Premium Geodes

National Geographic

What’s more fun than smashing things with a hammer? Smashing open amazing rocks! This geode kit comes with 10 geodes that are meant to break open to reveal beautiful crystals. Note that while a magnifying glass and safety goggles are included, a hammer is not. It's suitable for ages 8 and up.

Price at time of publication: $30

LEGO Duplo Classic 85-Piece Deluxe Brick Box

LEGO Duplo Classic 85-Piece Deluxe Brick Box

LEGO

Duplos are simply LEGO bricks for toddlers. Bigger and more manageable to smaller hands, Duplos encourage the same fine motor development and creativity as their smaller counterparts but are suitable for kids as young as 18 months. They arrive in a self-contained, stackable storage bin and feature an assortment of brick shapes, a car on wheels, and action figures to play with. These classic building blocks are great for fine motor skill development and practicing hand-eye coordination.

Price at time of publication: $50

Thames & Kosmos Kids First Automobile Engineer Kit

Kids First Automobile Engineer Building Kit

Amazon

This construction kit is designed for even the youngest engineers to build and play with. With full-color, illustrated instructions that kids as young as 3 years old can follow, your little one can build 10 different vehicles from the blocks provided while you read the accompanying story book. 

Price at time of publication: $50

‎PickleballCentral Kanga Kids Pickleball Paddle Set

Kanga Kids Pickleball Paddle Set

Amazon

Pickleball is basically the word of 2022. If you don’t have any gear yet, this beginner set with two wooden paddles and four balls is a great way to ease yourself and your kids into the sport that’s taking over the nation. A newer sport that combines elements of ping pong, badminton, and tennis, pickleball is great for the whole family to play together. 

Price at time of publication: $25

Tamagotchi Original 25th Anniversary

Tamagotchi Original 25th Anniversary

Amazon

Original Tamagotchi virtual reality pets first came out in 1997, but they have experienced a revival thanks to Disney’s “Turning Red.” Robaire Jr., as the movie’s main character named her precious Tamagotchi, introduced a whole new generation of kids to the famous toy, which was re-released as a 25th-anniversary special edition. Just like in the old days, you can feed it, play with it, and check its health every day on the 8-bit screen. Tamagotchis are recommended for ages 8 and up.

Price at time of publication: $25

Barbie Daisy Doll With Accessories

Barbie Daisy Doll With Accessories

Amazon

Barbie has been one of the best-selling toys for generations, and the way that Barbie and her friends look has evolved in that time. Old-school Barbie dolls reflected certain ideals that have been challenged in more recent years; new ones, like Daisy, who has a more realistic body shape, plays guitar, and comes with plenty of other great accessories, are a great way to introduce dolls to your kids without worrying about unrealistic stereotypes and appearances. Because Daisy comes with so many small accessories, she’s recommended for ages 3 and up.

Price at time of publication: $15

Let Loose Moose Hover Soccer Ball

Let Loose Moose Hover Soccer Ball

Amazon

One of the year’s most popular toys, this hover soccer ball is wrapped in a foam bumper that makes indoor play a little less threatening to your breakables. This battery-operated pair of, well, more discs than balls, hover on a jet of air and glide over hard flooring, bouncing off walls to hilarious and unpredictable results. Four AA batteries are required. 

Price at time of publication: $46

Playz Edible Unicorn Poop STEM Kit

Playz Edible Unicorn Poop STEM Kit

Amazon

A toy that promises kids they can make and then eat unicorn poop? Childhood dreams do come true! This toy may sound a little out there, but it’s actually a STEM kit that teaches kids things like how to properly measure and how sugar dissolves and can be molded into lollipops, marshmallows, and, yes, rainbow-colored “unicorn poop.” This toy is designed for kids ages 8 and up and contains sugar. 

Price at time of publication: $35

Meland Kids Camping Set

Meland Kids Camping Set

Amazon

This camping set is a great way to encourage imaginative play and have some indoor fun when it’s cold and yucky out. The set features working tools like a compass, binoculars, a flickering campfire, a functioning lantern that runs on three AA batteries (not included), and dozens of other accessories to bring the campsite indoors. Best for ages 3 and up.

Price at time of publication: $35

Razor A Kick Scooter

Razor® A Scooter

Courtesy of Target

Razor was the first big name in scooting, and its classic Razor A Kick scooter is the perfect entry point for kids who want to get around outside on two wheels. Foldable for easy storage, this model has a rear brake and is available in a variety of colors. It is suitable for kids under 143 pounds and should always be used with appropriate protective gear.

Price at time of publication: $40

Selieve Walkie Talkies for Kids

Selieve Walkie Talkies for Kids

Courtesy of Amazon

These walkie-talkies have a 3-mile range, which means they’re a great toy for kids who might not be ready for cell phones but want to chat with neighborhood friends or head out exploring. (An added benefit—you can keep one at home and communicate with your kids if you need to reach them if they’re out playing.) Sturdy and simple to use, they’re great for children ages 3 and up. The set comes with two walkie-talkies, and each one requires four AAA batteries.

Price at time of publication: $36

Fireside Games Castle Panic

Fireside Games Castle Panic

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’ve ever let your child win a board game, you’ll know that the first time they lose, your whole neighborhood might hear them melt down. That’s what makes cooperative games so great: There’s no winning or losing—every player is working toward the same goal. Castle Panic, which is geared toward kids ages 10 and up, has players assume the roles of knights and archers and work together to build a wall around the central castle to protect it from invading monsters. 

Price at time of publication: $35

Born Toys Premium Costume Set

Born Toys Premium Costume Set

Amazon

Imaginative play and role-playing are essential for little kids, and this set of three costumes—a chef, a construction worker, and a gardener—also comes with tools of the trades, like baking utensils, a hard hat, and gardening tools. The set is one size that’s suitable for ages 3 to 7 and is fully washable, too. Originally priced at $55, frequent sales, discounts, and coupons bring this toy below the $50 mark.

Price at time of publication: $55

Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Play Set

Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Play Set

Amazon

Is it your dream to one day have your kids prepare their own meals so you can finally sit down for five minutes? (Just me?) This Melissa & Doug play food set geared toward kids from 3 to 8 years old is ingeniously designed with Velcro pieces that hold slices of veggies and bread together. When you slice through them with the accompanying wooden knife, not only does it make a satisfying chopping sound, it teaches your child valuable kitchen techniques safely.

Price at time of publication: $28

Snuggle Stuffs Basket of Buddies 8" Plush Diversity Dolls - Set of 5

Snuggle Stuffs Basket of Buddies 8" Plush Diversity Dolls - Set of 5

Amazon

Baby dolls are a classic toy for young ones, and this set features dolls with an array of skin colors that are representative of racial and ethnic diversity. According to Professor Brown, “representation is really important in terms of gender diversity, ethnic diversity, and ability and body functioning… The more we can help kids be comfortable with diversity through play and the images they see, [the better] long-term implications and comfort with a diverse world.” 

These soft, plush dolls come in a set of five. Though they don’t have any small pieces or parts, the manufacturer states that the recommended age is 3 and up. 

Price at time of publication: $37

BigShu 48-Piece Wooden Sorting and Stacking Rocks

BigShu 48-Piece Wooden Sorting and Stacking Rocks

Amazon

Unlike most typical play blocks, this set of stacking stones consists of multi-faceted, wooden “rocks” that can be stacked in countless ways on all sides. There’s a reason that the term “building blocks” is a metaphor for the most essential things we need: They provide a necessary foundation to build upon. This toy helps with motor skills, coordination, reasoning, and logic, something that kids of all ages can benefit from. 

Price at time of publication: $30

Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron With Interactive 8-Inch Blue Plush Toy

 Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron with Interactive 8 inch Blue Plush Toy and 50+ Sounds and Reactions, Multicolor

Magic Mixies

If your kids want to go full "Hocus Pocus," this magic cauldron is just the thing. Great for ages 5 and up, your little witch or wizard simply has to mix the enclosed ingredients together, recite the spell, and—poof!—through a cloud of magical mist, a new toy will be revealed in the cauldron.

The Magical Misting Cauldron comes with three LR44 batteries, and refill misting packs are also available. Regularly priced at $75, this trendy toy can be found on sale for under $50. If the newest toy is what you’re after, Magic Mixies recently released its Misting Crystal Ball with interactive 8-inch plush toy, which is priced at $85.

Price at time of publication: $75

How We Selected the Best Toys Under $50

As parents and caregivers, we are constantly inundated with requests for new toys, but it’s hard to know what kinds of toys are worth it and can be enriching for kids. For this roundup, the main criteria we considered were value, durability, popularity, and what kind of enrichment they offer to kids. We also talked to former toy designer Annie Sklaver Orenstein and two child development experts, psychology professor Christia Brown and professor of education Emily Lyons, to better understand what toys provide the best learning experience.

What to Look for in Toys Under $50

Age Appropriateness

While bells and whistles usually have positive connotations, when it comes to little kids’ toys, more isn’t always better. According to Professor Lyons, “When you’re thinking of promoting STEM and promoting [younger kids’] understanding of things like engineering and how things work, having a battery-operated toy with lots of complex flashing lights [is not ideal because] they’re not going to be able to figure out on their own what’s making this light go on, or this thing move around. But if you have a simple mechanical toy or a tool set or something with levers, they can reason about that on their own, think about how it’s working, and use that [knowledge] to make sense of the world a little bit.” 

For older kids, it’s important to remember that toys help kids figure out the world around them. When considering what toy to buy, Professor Brown recommends that you ask yourself, “What is it teaching? Everything is teaching something. What’s the toy reinforcing, and is it a good skill, or is it a skill I don’t want to reinforce?”

Entertainment Value

One of the most important things about any toy is whether or not it’s fun. Of course, fun is subjective, so we’ve made sure to include toys that appeal to nature lovers, sporty kids, children who prefer arts and crafts, and kids of all ages. As our experts have pointed out, all kinds of toys can be both entertaining and educational, and we’ve picked an assortment of items that are guaranteed to make your kid smile and provide hours of entertainment.

Skill Development

You know the old trope about kids having more fun with the box their toys came in? It’s not entirely untrue. Kids often like imaginary play and creating things on their own. The most important thing to remember is to let kids, especially younger ones, develop their interests and discover what they like without forcing it. “Let them take the lead and pursue their interests,” Professor Lyons recommends.

If it’s educational toys you’re seeking, Lyons stresses that even toys that don’t brand themselves as educational are valuable learning tools. The toddler and preschool stage is “their chance to develop interests and a love for what they’re doing,” she says. “If your child isn’t showing interest in things that we're perceiving as STEM or math or reading, keep the opportunity out there with toys, drawing materials, and nature play, things you may not even think of as toys. If your child is playing in the sandbox and with water, you may not think that’s STEM or science, but it is. They’re figuring out the way things work, and that some pieces are bigger than others, there are different colors, and why does sand get darker when it’s deeper down? A lot of these things that we think are not ‘educational’ in many ways are perhaps more educational than a specific science kit or math enrichment activity that we had in mind.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the number one best-selling toy of all time?

    Certain toys, like Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchi, and Tickle Me Elmo, often make headlines for the frenzy and fights they cause, but their popularity wanes over time. “Hot toys can be a flash in the pan compared to the legacy of Barbie or LEGO, but they’re kind of a distinct achievement in their own right,” researcher and former toy designer Annie Sklaver Orenstein says. “They give kids street cred and social cachet.” As Orenstein mentions, though, Barbie and LEGO have consistently been two of the most popular toys of all time, and LEGO is currently the largest toy company in the world.

  • Do kids need educational toys?

    With many popular toys, like LEGO sets and Lite-Brite boards, it’s easy to see what value they bring: This type of toy encourages imaginative play, fosters creativity, and develops fine motor skills. But do you need to seek out STEM kits or toys that make educational claims for them to seem worthwhile? Not at all, says Professor Brown, who says that even things like stuffed animals reinforce positive behaviors. “Stuffed animals can teach caretaking and that nurturance which is a really good skill and trait to foster.” 

    Brown adds that encouraging kids to find toys that are not centered on some kind of screen is also something to consider, given how much time kids have spent in front of screens over the past few years. “I think the reality of kids’ lives now is very screen-based, especially coming out of COVID,” she says. “I’m not anti-screen, but we know we have to counter that with other types of play, so the types of play that are the exact opposite of that, the types of play that are very immediate, like arts and crafts, where you have to make something from scratch, are really useful and let kids use their imagination and even involve a level of mess. We always say that if a kid is dirty, it means they had a good day playing.”

Why Trust Verywell Family

Elizabeth Kocan is a mother of two boys who love Bluey, Pickleball, and LEGO sets. (They’ve clearly got their fingers on the pulse of 2022.) As a writer and parent, she spends much of her time trying to keep her kids occupied while she works and has used several of the items on this list to do just that. You haven’t lived until everyone in the family has taken a hammer to a geode on the driveway.