The best toys of 2022

OThe best toys of 2022 offer different ways to play. Kids can stay active with the Vital Hero Digimon Wearable Play Strap. Craft-Tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt Potions allow them to be creative outdoors. And the Vex Robotics Art Start mixes art with engineering. TIME for Kids editors share their picks for the best toys of the year.

Take a building

Kids can get mechanical with these buildable toys. The Candy vending machine, by Thames & Kosmos, combines tinkering with treats. How sweet is that? Kids build the machine themselves, load it with small toys and treats, then send coins down custom tracks to unlock the contents while enjoying a hands-on physics, engineering and math experience. (Ages 8+)

Buy now: Candy vending machine

If you’re looking for something more creative, check out Hexbug’s Vex Robotics Art Start. This STEM-based drawing machine that kids assemble allows young artists to design detailed geometric patterns. Its adjustable beams and gears allow users to create different designs every time. (Ages 8+)

Buy now: Vex Robotics Art Start

Kids can build their own Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with I’m Groot building set from Lego Marvel. Joints and hinges allow the little tree alien to move and pose. He can even be positioned to appear to be dancing along to tunes from the set’s cassette player. (Ages 10+)

Buy now: I’m Groot

Get active

Popping bubbles is done with electricity Let it go! Professional, the light-up fidget game from Buffalo Games & Puzzles. Kids pop the glowing bubbles as fast as they appear, getting through each level before time runs out. The multiplayer mode will keep your family busy for hours. (5+ years)

Buy now: Let it go! Professional

Get the kids moving with vital character, by Bandai Namco. This gaming wearable strap takes them through a series of activity-based missions including running, crouching and shadowing to raise and train Digimon on the device. With each successful mission, the character evolves. Kids can fight solo battles with other creatures or transfer their character to a friend’s device and duke it out. (Ages 8+)

Buy now: A living hero

Be creative

The Swirl N’ Surprise Kinetic Sand, by Spin Master, promises colorful, hands-on fun. The set comes with two kilos of red, purple, green and yellow sand that kids add to the spinning machine so they can make dazzling designs. Plus, there are tools for scooping, cutting and shaping these sand creations. The sand is soft, like modeling clay, for a satisfying sensory experience and easy cleaning. Want to get the kids outdoors? (Ages 3+)

Buy now: Swirl N’ Surprise Kinetic Sand

The Craft-Tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt potions set, from Play Monster, encourages active exploration by asking children to gather natural ingredients to make seven “magical” potions. The kit includes a magnifying glass, tweezers, reusable bottles and a guide that tells kids what to look for. (Ages 4+)

Buy now: Craft-Tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt potions

Young people eager to learn more about different cultures will enjoy it Eat2explore kids global cooking boxes. Each of the 23 kits explores the cuisine of a particular country or region and contains key ingredients, plus a shopping list and recipes. A country tour guide and foodie passport add to the experience. Continent packages are also available. (Ages 4+)

Buy now: Eat2explore

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