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Amazon dropped its picks for best toys and games of 2022 — 34 to shop under $50

A guide for what to get those hard-to-shop-for kids.
Two girls with an American Girl Doll
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

If you're a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent or someone used to shopping for kids, you know it's never too early to start holiday shopping for little ones. You've seen the most popular toys fly off the shelves and trendy STEM games sell out in minutes. Most of all, you know exactly how hard it is to find the perfect gift for anyone who is between those toddler to preteen years.

Luckily for you, Amazon just dropped its annual "Toys We Love" list, revealing its picks for some of the hottest and most giftable toys for kids this year. In the 2022 picks, you'll find plenty of inspiration for all those hard-to-shop-for people on your lists, including more than 100 new products from well-known brands like Crayola, Fisher-Price, Disney and more.

“In 2022, we’re seeing enthusiasm for fresh toys and games from small business brands, as well as learning toys that allow kids to learn with games or arts and crafts projects,” said Amazon’s director of toys and games, Anne Carrihill, in a press release. “Additionally, action characters from Marvel, Pokémon, and Star Wars are as popular as ever, for both kids and collectors. We can’t wait to see which of our favorites become the hottest gifts of the 2022 holiday season.”

There's a lot to sort through, but you can narrow it down by age and category while you browse. To make it even easier, we're highlighting some of the top picks from Amazon's list, below. From toys that will teach kids valuable skills to games that make family nights more fun, here are some of the hottest gifts to shop this year. The best part? They're all under $50.

Toys for toddlers

Play-Doh Modeling Compound Case of Colors (Pack of 24)

Your toddler will be able to shape and create anything their little minds think of with this enormous assortment of Play-Doh. It comes with 24 colors, all of which are nontoxic, according to the brand.

Sesame Street Plush Bundle

Your toddler will want to bring these Sesame Street plush toys with them everywhere they go. The bundle features classic characters including the love-able Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover.

Squishmallows Official Kellytoy Plush Mystery Box

Help your little tot grow their "Squishmallow Squad" with this three-pack of cute plush toys. Each are made with high-quality (and machine-washable) materials to keep them extra soft, according to the brand. You won't know which characters you'll receive until opening the mystery box!

Mega Bloks Green Town Grow & Protect Farm Building Set

They can roll a tractor, build a beehive and spin a windmill with one block set. Designed for ages 1 and up, this toy is not only fun but is also said to help them improve their motor skills and learn more about "green behaviors" and the water cycle.

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

Want to develop those motor skills even more? This hedgehog toy comes with 12 colorful quills, and your little one will work to fit each one into the holes designed in the shell. This gift is ideal for boosting those counting and sorting skills as well.

Green Toys Submarine Bath Toy

Toddlers will actually get excited for bath time when they have this water toy to play with. They can sink the submarine all the way to the bottom of the tub and scoop up and pour water through the open windows. By the time they finish their aquatic quest, you'll have finished shampooing and washing!

Fisher-Price Little People Collector Ted Lasso

A kid's toy the parents can get in on? Sign us up! Based on the hilarious award-winning show, this No. 1 Amazon New Release toy includes mini figures of your favorite characters, all placed inside the AFC Richmond locker room. While Mom and Dad reminisce on their favorite jokes, the kids will have a great time playing pretend soccer with their new friends.

CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Deluxe Feature Plush

If you're a CoComelon household, Amazon just released a new toy that allows kids to hang out with JJ in real life! Give your little one the opportunity to help their favorite character get better soon with their own check-up medical bag, complete with a thermometer, stethoscope and syringe. JJ will light up in places that "hurt" and even sing a song when his tummy is pressed.

Toys for 3- to 5-year-olds

Baby Alive Bunny Sleepover Doll

Make it a sleepover every night with this adorable baby doll set. The doll comes dressed in bunny-themed pajamas and comes with a comb for hair brushing. Plus, it even drinks out of a bottle then wets, so your child can practice diaper changes!

Marvel Spidey and His Amazing Friends Hero Figures (Set of 3)

Spidey fans will be delighted with this action hero figurine set that includes Spiderman, Ghost-Spider and Miles Morales. According to the brand, the arms and legs are moveable, so your child can place them in their favorite poses — plus, the toys come with attachable webs.

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

They shoot, they score! Kids will love shooting hoops together with this adjustable basketball set. According to the brand, it comes with three small basketballs and can be adjusted up to four feet tall, so it can grow with them as they get older (and taller!).

Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tricycle

They'll feel like the coolest kid in town on this trike, which is complete with Harley-Davidson graphics, a secret under-seat storage compartment and easy-grip handlebars.

Tara Toys Disney Princess Necklace Activity Set

Bring the magic of Disney World right to your living room with this princess-inspired jewelry kit. They can capture the magic of their favorite royal character with a collection of sparkling charms and beads and create a necklace they'll never want to take off.

MEandMine Aha! Muscle Body Science Kit

You can't go wrong with this award-winning STEAM Play Kit. Through hands-on activity, your child can learn more about the ins and outs of muscles and energy as well as get the opportunity to enhance their social-emotional development and use their imagination.

Magna-Tiles Glow In The Dark Set

This set will give their toy collection the ultimate glow-up. It allows kids to use the power of magnetics to shape and build an entire tile-scape. Make sure to leave the tiles under the sun or charge with the included LED light to watch them light up in the dark.

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House Set

Finally, a kid's toy you don't have to clean up! In fact, it's the exact opposite. You can set your little one up with the pretend task of mopping, dusting or sweeping and watch as they try to help Mom and Dad tidy up around the house.

Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers (Set of 4)

Whether they're just looking to play or need fun tools to help improve their verbal skills, these customizable buzzers are a great gift. Record up to seven seconds of your own sounds, then have them replayed or replaced with the touch of a button. They are great for auditory learning and are even speech pathologist-approved, according to the brand.

Mattel Marvel Black Panther Plush Figure

This plush toy brings lets them play with their favorite superhero at home. Not only does the figure look the part — dressed in a sleek black and silver vibranium suit — but it also lights up and says Black Panther's famous phrase, "Wakanda forever!" when you press on its chest.

Toys for 6- to 8-year-olds

Breyer Horses Unicorn Magic Wooden Stable

This isn't just your ordinary horse play stable — it's filled with unicorns! The set comes with six colorful unicorns and features a handle, so your child can bring it with them where ever they please.

Mermaze Mermaidz Color Change Doll

This color-changing mermaid was made for rock-n-roll. Featuring a band-inspired T-shirt, moto jacket and electric guitar, your child will love submerging this undersea doll in water and watching her tail change to metallic and iridescent colors.

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Kids Microscope

This educational microscope gives your child an up-close look at nature and outer-space. The device comes with 20 slides to explore, but the best part is that it talks! Listen up as it gives you fascinating tidbits on animals and plants, which is voiced by Wildlife Warrior Bindi Irwin.

Crayola Ultimate Light Board Drawing Tablet

This toy looks so fun, parents might want to join in on the action. You can give kids the chance to flex those artistic muscles with this drawing tablet. It comes with six gel markers, a removable back to allow for tracing and a light-up background to help illuminate their masterpieces.

Funko Disney Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Game

Welcome to the Wild West! They'll run their own mining operation, search for gold, and follow the railroads — but beware of what lies beneath the mountain. Amazon reviewers say this game is exciting, fun and easy to learn.

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Kids Microscope

Introduce your kindergartener to the world of science and discovery. This kid's microscope comes with 60 images of plants and animals for your little one to observe and even offers fun facts and quiz questions to boost their learning. And if you're wondering whose voice you're hearing, it's none other than wildlife expert, Bindi Irwin!

Barbie Doll Cutie Reveal

Who doesn't love unboxing surprises? Gift your little one a Barbie, disguised in a polar bear outfit, and let them discover which doll is inside along with the 10 mystery accessories it comes with.

Osmo Super Studio Disney Mickey Mouse & Friends

Connect your child's iPad to this Super Studio to create a magical experience. The device gives step-by-step instructions for drawing and lessons for improving their craft, and allows them to play games with beloved Disney characters.

Toys for 9- to 11-year-olds

Nerf Minecraft Stormlander Dart-Blasting Hammer

Get ready for action with this Minecraft-themed Nerf blaster. The toy hammer comes with three foam darts that kids will love launching around, and reviewers even say they can travel pretty far.

PlayMonster Magical World of Disney Trivia Board Game

Who's the biggest Disney fan in the family? Find out with this trivia board game. Together, you can test your knowledge on a wide range of Disney topics, from classics to newer films. The game features question cards for all skill levels, a playing board and character playing pieces.

L.O.L. Surprise! Clubhouse Playset

This playhouse expands to three feet wide and features seven hangout areas for the popular L.O.L. dolls, including a game room, skateboard park, hammock, movie room and more.

Funko Pop! Star Wars: Mandalorian

Chances are, if you're a Star Wars fan, you've passed down the fandom to your kid. Gift them with a toy that will not only help them grow their Funko Pop bobblehead collection, but also get them that much closer to accessing "The Force."

Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition

Don't worry, you won't have to cover your kid's eyes or ears while playing this Card Against Humanity game. The brand created an age-appropriate version, designed to be played with children and their parents for laugh-out-loud fun. According to the brand, it's approved by moms and dads: "No swear words, pinky promise."

National Geographic Break Open 10 Premium Geodes

Talk about a hands-on activity — this STEM toy is designed to be broken! Break open each geode to reveal the crystals inside, then have them peruse the included guide to learn more about what they found as well as other fun geological facts.

Cool Maker Stitch ‘N Style Fashion Studio

Arts and crafts just got an upgrade — let them sew their own scrunchies, bags, sunglass cases and more, using this pre-thread sewing machine. The smart-stitch sensors and pre-printed fabric make it easy for your pre-teen to create their own accessories and show off their unique styles.

K'NEX 3-in-1 Classic Amusement Park Building Set

Why ride a carousel when you can build one yourself? Gift your kid hours of play and improved building skills with this K'NEX set, which includes over 700 color-coded pieces. The finished product stands 32-inches tall and comes with a powered motor that will put your model in motion.