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39 best gifts for 5-year-olds in 2021

As they move to big-kid territory, the 5-year-olds you love will cherish these presents.
Vasily Pindyurin / Getty Images/fStop
/ Source: TODAY

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Looking for a gift for a kindergartener? Five-year-olds start to become truly social at this age 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. They’re more understanding of taking turns and not winning all the time,” said Marie Conti, the head of 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.”

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Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s Gift Guide to find the perfect present for everyone on your list!

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Best arts and crafts and creative gifts for 5-year-olds

1. Munchkin Bath Crayons

Bring some fun to bath time with these crayons. Your little one can draw pictures and practice their letters on the side of the bathtub, then you can easily wash them off when they're done.

2. Lite Brite Ultimate Classic

This classic toy never goes out of style. They can create their own unique artwork or follow one of the fun designs.

3. Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Library Set

Unlock your child's creativity with all the arts and crafts tools they could ever need!

4. Crayola Inspiration Art Case

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

5. My Cinema Lightbox

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

6. 3Doodler 3D Build & Play

Let creativity come in three dimensions with this beginner's 3D pen that does not get hot to the touch.

7. Raddish Kids Cooking Club

This subscription box for kids arrives with recipes and tools to help kids get active in the kitchen.

8. Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit

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

9. Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit

Making slime with this simple kit from Elmer's is an easy rainy day activity for your little one.

10. Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book

Simply fill the pen with water and they can watch the colors come to life as they "paint" each picture.

Best games and toys for 5-year-olds

1. Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal

Five-year-olds love stuffed animals, and they'll have a blast unwrapping these soft plush toys to discover which one they got. Each animal comes wrapped in a pizza blanket and includes a collector card that will tell them all about their new best friend.

2. Star Projector Night Light

This unique night light will project the moon and stars on your little one's bedroom walls. You can set the timer so it will turn off by the time they fall asleep.

3. Squeakee the Balloon Dog

This balloon dog is interactive and voice-responsive to commands, like a well-trained dog without the mess.

4. Plus Plus Construction Building Set

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

5. Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run

Your little builder can create elaborate marble runs with these pieces that combine in any direction they can imagine.

6. Hasbro Connect 4 Game

This classic game requires a bit of strategizing during playtime.

7. Monopoly Junior Board Game

This Monopoly game is downsized from the old-fashioned favorite.

8. Lego Classic Creative Fun

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. Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection

Put those Legos away stylishly with containers from Ikea that allow kids to build on top of the box, too.

10. American Girl Emerson Doll

Conti likes American Girl dolls for this age. These smaller versions are good for 5-year-olds.

11. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball

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. Disney Frozen Adventure Collection

Mini-figures and accessories encourage storytelling during playtime.

13. Brackitz Pulley Set

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

14. Crazy Forts! Construction Kit

Sure, you could make a fort with a blanket and chair. But this is next-level building that requires design thinking and problem-solving.

15. Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle

This 64-piece puzzle is just the right size for a 5-year-old, and lets little ones search for hidden objects once it's assembled.

16. Brusheez Kids Electronic Toothbrush Set

While this isn't exactly a toy, it is a gift that'll make a normally mundane activity much more fun (and ultimately create healthier habits!). This animal-themed set includes a motorized toothbrush, a two minute sand timer, and a stand.

17. Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game

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

Best books for 5-year-olds

1. "Unstoppable," by Adam Rex and Laura Park

What would happen if a crow that could fly got together with a crab that could pinch noses? Well, they'd be unstoppable. This hilarious take on teamwork will keep 5-year-olds and their parents giggling.

“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.

2. “The Couch Potato,” by Jory John and Pete Oswald

The couch potato loves his life of leisure, until he's forced outside. This funny follow-up to “The Bad Seed” and "The Good Egg" is a timely lesson in self-care.

3. "My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki

Two little girls are new friends, and maybe best friends, in this lyrical celebration of a childlike discovery of the magic of friendship.

4. "The Bear and the Moon," by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien

A red balloon comes to bear from the sky. When his claws get the better of it, he thinks he's a bad bear but takes comfort from the moon and his memories.

5. "Frog and Toad Are Friends," by Arnold Lobel

Emerging readers can celebrate 50 years of Frog and Toad with this commemorative edition of a classic.

6. "Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas

This early reader uses a graphic novel format, which helps beginning readers follow along and stay engaged in the story.

7. "Sharko and Hippo," by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi

Hippo just can't get Sharko's commands right in this book of silly wordplay.

8. "When I Draw a Panda," by Amy June Bates

A girl who draws not-quite-perfect circles makes them into a panda, and makes that panda her own in this celebration of the creative spirit.

9. "The Scarecrow," by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers

This rhyming story of a scarecrow with an unexpected attachment to a baby crow will resonate with children and their parents.

10. "My Book with No Pictures," by B.J. Novak

Kids familiar with the hilarious "The Book With No Pictures" can create their own version.

11. "Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery

Five-year-olds should also read non-fiction, like this fact-packed book about sharks, a follow-up to the best-seller "Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts."

12. Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker

Emerging readers can create their own stories with these ready-made building blocks.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Be sure to check out Shop TODAY’s Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:

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This gift guide was originally published on Nov. 22, 2017.