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“Children this age are typically very social and aware of rules and fairness. And they are curious about how things work,” said Marie Conti, the head of The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and a board member of the American Montessori Society.
They’re also beginning to unleash an exciting superpower: reading. Emerging readers will appreciate building their skills with a mix of picture books, funny graphic novels, easy readers and longer chapter books that parents can read at night.
“When they’re beginning to learn to read, we really want all reading to be affirming for them,” said Nina Lindsay, president of the Association for Library Service to Children. That means the best books for 6-year-olds let them follow their interests, whether they’re drawn to picture books or comics.
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- Bestselling gifts and toys for 6-year-olds
- Best toys for 6-year-olds
- Best craft and kit gifts for 6-year-olds
- Best book gifts for 6-year-olds
Bestselling gifts from this article:
- Amazon Grow 'N Glow Terrarium Science Kit, $12.95
- Amazon Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes Kit, $9.95
- Amazon Guess Who? Board Game, $9.84
- Amazon Squigz Starter Set, $25.99
- UncommonGoods Fairy Kit, $25.00
Bestselling gifts and toys for 6-year-olds
Science kits like this are a great option for 6-year-olds, said child development specialist Tovah Klein, the author of "How Toddlers Thrive."
These walkie talkies are perfect for the social play that 6-year-olds crave.
Conti suggested this classic board game for 6-year-olds, who now understand rules and enjoy competition.
A naked mole-rat with a love of interpretive dance comes to terms with being different in this touching and funny story about staying true to yourself.
This construction toy is another kid favorite.
Best toys and games for 6-year-olds 2019
Serious Lego fans may be eager to try a Minecraft kit, Star Wars collection, Harry Potter set or the friendship box. But Conti suggested leaving construction as open-ended as possible with a basic creative kit.
Sporting equipment is great for motor skills and a 6-year-old's love of competition. There's a similar version at Urban Outfitters for $35.
Conti recommended American Girls dolls. These smaller, more affordable versions are good for 6-year-olds.
Classic dominoes let a child be the engineer for an epic chain reaction.
Action figures encourage pretend play and exploration.
Know a 6-year-old with tons of energy? This great gift helps kids learn a new, active skill.
This is another classic board game 6-year-olds love, Conti said.
For the little musician, this wireless microphone syncs with whatever you're playing to let them sing along.
Best crafts and kit gifts for 6-year-olds
Kids love making forts and this kit will help them make some impressive structures. Just add a blanket or sheet!
Arts and crafts are a perennial favorite, and this kit is full of possibilities.
Parents (or grandparents) may remember these classic mini rug hook kits, now making a nostalgia-fueled comeback.
Slime gets a satisfying texture update in this easy kit that combines chemistry and fine motor skills.
This kit creates a marble run in countless configurations, building construction and STEM skills.
6. Fairy Kit
This guided kit with instructions for making a little fairy world is fun for mini crafters, too.
Kids can make their own stop-motion videos with this simple green screen and poseable figures.
Remember fashion plates? Occupational therapists recommend them for helping with dexterity and pencil grip, and they come in more unisex versions like this.
This fun kit teaches paper airplane folding with the colorful paper included, and you can use the instructions with your child's own designs.
Best books for 6-year-olds
A boy who stutters struggles to express himself in this beautiful book that will inspire empathy.
Alice Bonnet longs for a friend and sends a message in a bottle to find François in this sweet story about the healing power of friendship.
In this easy reader from the "Elephant and Piggie" creator, Zoom squirrel wants to sleep under the stars and his friends are there to cheer him on. Too bad cheering and sleeping aren’t the best bedfellows.
It's a sad goodbye to a mejor amiga and neighbor, but some friends don't need to be beside you to still feel close.
A new addition to the fact-filled franchise is full of unusual nuggets about dinosaurs.
Two children have nothing in common, except for the ways they come together to help someone in need.
Re-issued as part of Scholastic's Acorn line for emerging readers, this tale from "Captain Underpants" and "Dog Man" creator Dav Pilkey could ignite years of fandom. There are more dragon books in the series and the whole Acorn line is worth discovering.
Annie Barrows returns to her bestselling series after a five-year break. The first 10 books are available in an Ivy + Bean boxed set.
In this new illustrated chapter book series, a boy named Auggie oversees a magical building full of mythical creatures.
These chapter books offer a gentle amount of spookiness for young readers moving up from "The Magic Treehouse."
While your kids may not be able to play hide-and-seek with their friends for a while, they'll love searching for Waldo in the pages of this book.
Still looking for the perfect gift? Be sure to check out Shop TODAY’s Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:
- 47 toys that toddlers will be thrilled to unwrap
- Unique stocking stuffers that'll be better than what's under the tree
- The best gifts for 2-year-olds, according to experts
- Interactive gifts the 5-year-old in your life won’t want to put down
- From creative kits to active toys, these are the gifts 4-year-olds will love
This gift guide was originally published on Oct. 25, 2018 and has been updated with new products.