We all know that Black Friday is great for scoring deals on big-ticket practical items like a new Dyson stick vacuum or a fancy mattress. But personally, once I’ve crossed those need-to-buy items off my list, I think it’s a lot more fun to scroll the digital aisles of every online toy store in search of discounted Lego sets, baby books, giant stuffed animals, and sparkly dress-up costumes. As someone who spends much of her workday talking to toy-trend experts and child-development professionals — and as someone with a baby on the way — I love spotting the best deals on classic “grow with your kid” toys as well as the ones I know parents will be frantically searching for when they inevitably sell out. Since I realize not everyone enjoys the hunt the way I and my fellow Strategist writers and editors do, I’ve pulled together a list of all the best Black Friday toy deals based on years of expert recommendations from parents, professionals, and actual kids. Then I organized them by age, from babies and toddlers all the way up to tweens, to help you find something delightful and affordable for all of the children in your life.
Like with fashion, beauty, and kitchen and home stuff, this year we saw a lot of excellent early Black Friday deals, all of which got us fired up for some of the lowest prices we’ve seen in a long time. Whether you’re buying holiday gifts for nieces and nephews, working through your own kid’s wish list, or treating your grandchild to a cuddly teddy bear just because, you’re sure to find something cute, affordable, and really hard not to buy. Use the table of contents to skip ahead to the age group you’re interested in, or read on to get a sense of everything worth buying that’s currently on sale.
[Editor’s note: We’re done updating this article for the day so some of the below products might sell out and the prices may change. But we’ll back on Cyber Monday to let you know about even more great toy deals.]
Babies and toddlers
For high-energy toddlers who aren’t quite ready for a balance bike, this classic ride-on toy will make a big splash. The four-wheeler has handlebar tassels and a working bell and is just $32 today.
Dr. Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, an assistant research professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research, says that even bath toys can be educational. This set of bath pipes she recommended in our gift guide for 1-year-olds is 29 percent off and lets kids fill each tube with water and observe what happens next. It helps teach cause and effect, a concept she says is important in the development of cognitive skills.
Strategist editor and reader-favorite brand Green Toys makes a whole line of recycled and BPA-free plastic trucks, tea sets, wagons, and garden tools that are safe, durable, and adorable. This tool box includes everything a tinkering toddler might need — and it’s a great deal at nearly 50 percent off.
This crawl tunnel was also mentioned in our gift guide for 1-year-olds, both for its giggle-inducing qualities and how it teaches toddlers about object permanence — perfect for an advanced game of peek-a-boo. And at more than 50 percent off, it’s a no-brainer.
Toniebox, a storytelling smart speaker, is popular with parents because it keeps kids off of screens, and is popular with kids because it incorporates some of their favorite characters like Peppa Pig, the Paw Patrol gang, and Elsa from Frozen. Vulture features writer Kathryn VanArendonk, whose kids are now 5 and 8 years old, says it was a life-changing toy in her family. Though we recommend it in our gift guide for 3-year-olds, the Toniebox can be programmed to play podcasts, music, and other audio content for older children. So buying one now when it’s 30 percent off is an extra good investment.
4- and 5-year-olds
Whether you take advantage of this 30 percent discount to grow your kids’ existing Magna-Tiles collection or to start a new one, the fact of the matter is it’s the kind of good deal we don’t see very often.
It may seem strange to adults without kids, but Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio says her 4-year-old daughter would adore this Barbie doll that comes with a furry bear costume. In addition to the unboxing element — each doll comes with blind-boxed surprise accessories — each of the dolls in the series reveals a different animal face paint when dipped in cold water.
With the release of Wakanda Forever, Black Panther toys are sure to be on kids’ Christmas lists this year. This Black Panther action figure has motion sensors that make it light up and glow. Plus it talks with the push of a button.
VTech digital cameras for kids tend to sell out year after year thanks to their high quality and ease of use. This camera, featured in our list of the best toys for 5-year-olds, has a built-in microphone and records videos that kids can upload to a computer via the included USB cable. It also comes with 20-plus animated backgrounds and special effects. And at 30 percent off, you can get it for under $50.
Melissa & Doug toys are famously well made and long-lasting. This set, which includes maracas, a triangle, cymbals, and a tambourine, would make a particularly great gift for a musically inclined 4-year-old.
6- and 7-year-olds
LOL Surprise dolls are still driving elementary-school children wild, in part because the brand keeps upping the ante with new products and, this year, a full-length animated movie on Netflix. This fashion doll, named Missy Frost, has a starring role in that movie and comes with a mix-and-match wardrobe full of pieces that transform in color, size, and shape.
A slime kit like this will come in handy during your kid’s long and boring winter break. And at more than half off, you could get a few sets for a birthday party or mega playdate.
Super Smalls is the costume-jewelry brand I wish had existed when I was a kid. They make maximalist bedazzled necklaces, rings, swimming goggles, and other sparkly accessories for kids — all of which are on sale through November 29. I gifted this necklace to the daughter of a friend who officiated my wedding this summer and later heard that “she went nuts over it.” Right now, the brand is taking up to 30 percent off everything on the site with code BFCM22.
Fans of Hot Wheels and Mario Kart will love this racetrack inspired by the ever-popular video game. Just load the included Mario Kart vehicle into the starting gate and press the toadstool button to launch it into action. The automatic pass-through counter tracks how many laps the vehicle completes.
In our guide to the best gifts for 6-year-olds, author and dad Joshua David Stein recommended this gargantuan T-Rex stuffed toy from Melissa & Doug — both for its bright colors that add to the look of a room, and for its capacity to function as a toy or a piece of furniture.
8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds
This game made our list of the best gifts for Pokémon fans, according to Pokémon fans. According to Pokémon influencer and YouTuber RealBreakingNate, the two-player board game is a great introduction for fans who find the trading cards intimidating or confusing.
Looking for something to keep kids busy over winter break? Get them a National Geographic science kit, like this one that comes with 45 activities including rocket launches and volcano eruptions.
These miniature mystery-box toys were hugely popular last year, selling out several times before the holidays. Each one from this new series contains a different mini-toy like tiny Care Bears, a miniscule Rubik’s Cube, or a pinky-size Nerf gun. You also get a collector’s case to store all your teensy new treasures.
This deeply discounted video game is a great gift for kids who already own a Nintendo Switch. Not only is it very affordable, our friends over at Polygon say it’s the best in the Mario Party series so far.
While Squishmallows are mega-popular with kids of all ages, the extra-large ones are especially popular with the tween set. They’re cute, cuddly, and collectible, and can double as a pillow to lean against when doing homework or reading in bed.
Speaking of popular toys, this giant remote-controlled T-Rex is on our 2022 list of the holiday toys we think will sell out. Deeply discounted at 30 percent off, the six-foot Jurassic World dinosaur inflates in seconds and features multiple sound effects from the movie, including the signature stomp and roars.
When we polled tween boys to find out about the gifts they really want, half of them said they want a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro. While it may seem like a splurge for something that is so easy to lose, this second-generation pair of AirPods are currently 23 percent off at Best Buy.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.