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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Lisa Tolin

Five-year-olds are becoming truly social and love group play and games, so the best gifts for 5-year-olds include classic board games.

“They’re starting to grow out of their egocentrism, so they’re able to understand another’s perspective. So, they’re more understanding of taking turns and not winning all the time,” said Marie Conti, the head of the The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and a board member of the American Montessori Society.

Once they've left age 4 and enter age 5, they start school with new challenges, but also more focus, which helps them conquer fine motor tasks and complicated physical activities.

“They are testing out skills that have gotten stronger as they grow,” said Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive.”

When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.

Best toys, books and games for 5-year-olds

TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

Who among us wouldn’t want to wear a magical unicorn cape?

  • 2. "Dreamers" by Yuyi Morales, $13 (originally $19), Amazon

“Continuing with storybooks is important, because enjoying the story is a really big part of learning to read,” said Nina Lindsay, president of the Association for Library Service to Children. This picture book by Yuyi Morales tells her story of immigration, and it's a love letter to libraries.

  • 3. HABA Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game, $21, Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

More complicated puzzles and building with smaller toys are appealing now, Klein said.

  • 4. Monopoly Junior Board Game, $15, Walmart

Also available for $15 at Amazon.

This Monopoly is downsized from the old-fashioned favorite.

  • 5. Crayola Inspiration Art Case, $17 (originally $25), Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Five-year-olds are ready for more advanced art projects (and scissors).

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  • 6. "We Don't Eat Our Classmates" by Ryan T. Higgins, $15 (originally $18), Amazon

Your kindergartner's school jitters are nothing compared to Penelope's, a T. rex who can't stop nibbling classmates in the best-seller from Ryan T. Higgins, whose "Santa Bruce" is also out for the holidays.

  • 7. Playmobil Hidden Temple with T-Rex, $65, Amazon

Mini-figures and accessories encourage storytelling.

  • 8. Lego City People Pack, $32 (originally $40), Amazon

Little builders may crave LEGO kits with Batman, police helicopters or a treehouse. Conti said it's important that kids have LEGOs outside of kits, too, for open-ended play.

  • 9. Lego Classic Red Creativity Box Building Kit, $5, Walmart

Also available at Amazon.

These classic Legos make great stocking stuffers in red and green.

  • 10. "Lucy Fell Down the Mountain" by Kevin Cornell, $13 (originally $18), Amazon

Kevin Cornell's story about a girl who falls and learns to roll with it will crack up 5-year-olds and their parents.

  • 11. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball Size 5, $8 (usually $30), Amazon

Also available in a pack of two for $30 at Walmart.

Klein and Conti both recommended sports equipment and other toys that promote physical activity, especially for boys, who Conti said “seem to have way more physical energy” at this stage.

  • 12. Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit, $17 (usually $22), Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Art projects and craft kits promote fine motor skills and creativity.

All the creativity and fun of slime, with less mess.

  • 14. "Square" by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, $10 (originally $16), Amazon

Circle thinks Square is a genius, but can Square live up to expectations in this second book in the shape trilogy by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen?

  • 15. Tech Will Save Us Bright Creatures Kit, $29 (originally $50), Amazon

This true STEM activity combines art and science as sculptures come alive with dough that conducts electricity.

  • 16. Hasbro Connect 4 Game, $9 (originally $13), Amazon

Also available at Target.

This classic game requires a bit of strategizing.

  • 17. Janod Polka Dot Wood Guitar, $46, Nordstrom

Also available for $41 at Amazon.

“Around kindergarten age, if kids get interested in an instrument, it’s a nice time to try starting that,” Conti said.

  • 18. "Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies" by Chistian Trimmer and Jessie Sima, $15 (originally $18), Amazon

Snow White gets a makeover — as a pony — in this hilarious picture book by Christian Trimmer and Jessie Sima.

  • 19. Brackitz Pulley Set, $39, Amazon

Conti loves construction sets for 5-year-olds. This one from Brackitz allows children to create zip-lines, cranes or elevators.

  • 20. Plus-Plus 600-Piece Set, $36, Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

For Lego lovers, this set takes building to a different dimension.

  • 21. My Cinema Lightbox, $30, Amazon

Similar available for $22 at Walmart.

Promote literacy with favorite quotes or phrases that kids can arrange themselves.

  • 22. Wonderhood Pet Place Creative Building Set, $29, Amazon

This building set lets kids be the architect.

  • 23. Playmobil Magical Fairy Forest, $51 (originally $55), Amazon

Figures of fairies and unicorns help fantasies come to life.

  • 24. “Runny Babbit Returns” by Shel Silverstein, $12 (usually $20), Amazon

Also available for $16 at Walmart and for $18 at Barnes & Noble.

This collection of poems by Shel Silverstein is fun to read aloud and grows with emerging readers.

  • 25. "Her Right Foot" by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris, $14 (usually $20), Amazon

Also available for $15 at Walmart.

Five-year-olds should also read non-fiction, like this true story of the Statue of Liberty.

  • 26. "Princesses Save the World" by Savannah G. and Allison O., $18, NBC Store

This adorable picture book is perfect for showing kids that women and girls are strong and powerful through these diverse female characters!

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:

This article was originally published on November 15, 2017 and updated in 2018.