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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, 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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- Best arts and crafts and creative gifts for 5-year-olds
- Best games and toys for 5-year-olds
- Best books for 5-year-olds
Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s 2021 Gift Guide to find the perfect present for everyone on your list!
Best arts and crafts and creative gifts for 5-year-olds
This easy sewing project is a craft kit and a stuffed animal all in one.
Learn to doodle some favorite characters from "Elephant and Piggie," "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and more, with fun creative prompts.
These neat little sticks give the look of paint without the mess and are perfect for 5-year-old hands.
Unlock your child's creativity with all the arts and crafts tools they could ever need! Five-year-olds are ready for more advanced art projects (and scissors).
Promote literacy with favorite quotes or phrases that kids can arrange themselves.
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. And you can easily wash them off when they're done.
This classic toy never goes out of style. They can create their own unique artwork or follow one of the fun designs.
Let creativity come in three dimensions with this beginner's 3D pen that does not get hot to the touch.
This subscription box for kids arrives with recipes and tools to help kids get active in the kitchen.
Art projects and craft kits promote fine motor skills and creativity.
Making slime with this simple kit from Elmer's is an easy rainy day activity for your little one.
This less-messy alternative to slime still provides a satisfying mixing experience and a playful putty that will last long after.
Simply fill the pen with water and watch your child's face light up as they watch the colors come to life as they "paint" each picture.
Best games and toys for 5-year-olds
This marble run doubles as fun wall decor and is perfect for anyone short on floor space. (Or with a floor cluttered with Legos. We're not judging.)
Magna-tiles can provide hours of fun to your 5-year-old — and this glowing set gets an extra kick when you turn out the lights.
This flexible building set uses bendy pieces to allow your 5-year-old create helicopters, crowns or whatever they like.
Klein and Conti both recommended sports equipment and other toys that promote physical activity, as kids at this stage seem to have way more physical energy.
This audio storytelling device uses collectible figures called "Tonies" to unlock stories, songs and more. Place a Tonie on top to start the fun; removing it turns it off. Figures include Disney and Sesame Street characters, and even LeVar Burton, and kids can keep adding to their collection. Great for bedtime stories and screen-free imagination building.
This 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.
This balloon dog is interactive and voice-responsive to commands, like a well-trained dog without the mess.
For Lego lovers, this set takes building to a different dimension.
Your little builder can create elaborate marble runs with these pieces that combine in any direction they can imagine.
This classic game requires a bit of strategizing during playtime.
This Monopoly game is downsized from the old-fashioned favorite.
Put those Legos away stylishly with containers from Ikea that allow kids to build on top of the box, too.
Conti likes American Girl dolls for this age. These smaller versions are good for 5-year-olds.
Mini-figures and accessories encourage storytelling during playtime.
Conti loved construction sets for 5-year-olds. This one from Brackitz allows children to create zip-lines, cranes or elevators.
Sure, you could make a fort with a blanket and chair. But this is next-level building that requires design thinking and problem-solving.
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.
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 2-minute sand timer and a stand.
More complicated puzzles and building with smaller toys are appealing now, according to Klein.
Action figures are perfect for helping 5-year-olds engage in imaginative play, and dinosaurs help them let out ferocious energy.
Best books for 5-year-olds
Norman's best friend is a tree, but when he notices a sapling moving in on his friendship, he hilariously takes things into his own hands. “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.
A boy asks the age-old question, what is love? His grandmother can't answer, so he ventures out and gets surprising answers from the people he meets along his journey in this thoughtful story reminiscent of classic fables.
What's the problem for a cat who spends all day lounging? This one can name quite a few, in this funny follow-up to "Penguin Problems" and "Giraffe Problems."
This sweet story also takes a cats eye view of the world, with a sunnier outlook on the rectangle a boy and his man gather to read from. When the rectangles start to shrink and the boy reads alone, the cat will need to reclaim his spot.
A child travels with her mother and grandmother to India, where three oceans meet, and celebrate new discoveries, history, and the family that brings them together.
Clovis is a bull in a china shop, so you can imagine his challenge. But he draws on wisdom from his granny to stay surprisingly Zen as he learns how to handle bullies and manage a temper at the same time.
This meditative picture book encourages listening past all the noise of life to a child's own internal engine, an important message about mindfulness.
When the planets spot something new in the galaxy, they start a letter-writing exchange that gets a little heated (for a planet) over just who gets to be called what and why. This funny fiction also teaches about planets, exo and otherwise.
Five-year-olds should also read nonfiction, like these fact-packed biographies now packaged as a gift set.
The Dracula family visits the zoo and visits the Penguin House, where a young vampire and a penguin trade places for the day. The family doesn't notice the switcheroo — but kid readers will, and giggle at this delightfully fun tale.
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 2021 Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:
- Learning doesn’t have to be a chore with these 19 fun tech gifts for kids
- 21 STEM toys to sharpen your child's critical thinking skills
- 22 Lego gifts that are perfect for the Brickmaster in your life
- 37 gifts for the 7-year-old who’s ready to take on the world
- 40 Christmas Advent calendars for some extra holiday joy
This gift guide was originally published on Nov. 22, 2017 and has been updated with new products!