31 best gifts for 5-year-olds 2020

As they move to big-kid territory, the 5-year-olds you love will cherish these presents.
/ Source: TODAY
By Lisa Tolin

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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. 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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When we release our 2020 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But prices change frequently, so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.

Bestselling gifts for 5-year-olds

1. Hasbro Connect 4 Game

This classic game requires a bit of strategizing.

2. Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game

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

3. "Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts," by Mike Lowery

Five-year-olds should also read non-fiction, like this fact-packed book about dinosaurs.

4. Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit

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

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

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

Best games and toys for 5-year-olds

1. Monopoly Junior Board Game

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

2. Lego City People Pack

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.

3. American Girl Emerson Doll

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

4. Reversible Cape

Sometimes you feel like a knight; sometimes a dragon. This cape lets them have it both ways.

5. Lego Classic Red Creativity Box Building Kit

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

6. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball Size 5

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.

7. Plus Plus Construction Building Set

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

8. Disney Frozen Adventure Collection

Mini-figures and accessories encourage storytelling.

9. Schleich Riding Center with Accessories

These horses and figures foster creative play.

10. Brackitz Pulley Set

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

Best books for 5-year-olds

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

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

2. "Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao," by Kat Zhang and Charlene Chua

Amy Wu is struggling to live up to expectations and make the perfect bao. She'll find her own way to shine and might inspire your 5-year-old to cook.

3. "Hungry Jim," by Laurel Snyder and Chuck Groenink

Jim wakes up to discover he has a tail and a sudden hunger for humans. This Maurice Sendak-esque tale will shock and delight your 5-year-old.

4. "Why?" by Adam Rex and Claire Keane

Doctor X-Ray has come to inflict unmentionable harm in this funny picture book. His X-ray blaster is no match for a little girl with a simple question that sends him into a spiraling existential crisis.

5. "The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to Be," by Oliver Jeffers

This new volume includes four beloved picture books about Oliver Jeffers' boy ("How to Catch a Star," "Lost and Found," "The Way Back Home" and "Up and Down"), plus notes about his creative process. That peek behind the curtain may help a child starting to learn about narrative and creativity.

6. “The Good Egg,” by Jory John and Pete Oswald

The good egg tries to keep everyone in line, until he starts to crack under the pressure. This funny follow-up to “The Bad Seed” is an early lesson in self-care.

7. “The Great Indoors,” by Julie Falatko and Ruth Chan

When the humans leave home, the animals settle in for a vacation in the great indoors with all the comforts of refrigeration, electricity and a little too much coffee.

8. "Who Wet My Pants?" by Bob Shea and Zachariah OHora

Reuben the bear knows someone’s to blame for his wet pants. It’s a whodunit your potty-minded 5-year-old will love.

Best arts and crafts gifts for 5-year-olds

1. Janod Polka Dot Wood Guitar

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

2. My Cinema Lightbox

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

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. Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker

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

5. Crayola Inspiration Art Case

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

6. Design Your Own Slime Kit

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

7. Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit

Make slime as an easy rainy day activity with this simple kit from Elmer's.

8. Coloring Without Borders book

This coloring book goes beyond color-by-numbers to involve more imaginative play. Proceeds go to Families Belong Together.

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. Try our interactive gift finder to sort gifts by price, person and interest. And no matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:

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