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The Strategist Toy Store

Our absolute favorite toys, from blind-box collectibles to balance bikes.

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers, Don Farrall (Getty Images)
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers, Don Farrall (Getty Images)
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers, Don Farrall (Getty Images)

After years of writing about toys and talking with dozens of experts about the best stuffed animals for toddlers, the instant camera every tween is dying to bring to camp, and the outdoor toys most likely to keep kids away from screens, we felt it was time to create our own Strategist Toy Store. Everything you’ll see in the meticulously curated aisles below has been selected from our archive of expertly vetted toy recommendations, built with the help of hundreds of cool parents, child-development experts, trend forecasters, and real-life kids. Many of the toys have also been rigorously tested by the children of our writers and editors to make sure nothing on this list will gather dust in your playroom. And because no two kids (or parents) are the same, we’ve included a diverse mix of the Strategist’s greatest hits, from minimalist wooden toys that double as art objects to the sometimes garish and gross toys that drive children wild. (Like a classic toy store, we’ve organized these toys by category, but if you’d prefer to see a breakdown by age, click here.)

Pretend-play toys

Dolls and stuffed animals

Outdoor toys

STEM and building toys

Experiential and sensory toys

Tech toys