Six-year-olds are a laugh a minute. As they move from kindergarten to first grade, the best toys and gifts for 6-year-olds capture their sense of humor and fair play and teach them the art of working together.
“Children at this age are typically very social and aware of rules and fairness. And they are curious about how things work,” said Marie Conti, 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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- Best gifts for 6-year-olds
- Best toys for 6-year-olds
- Best games for 6-year-olds
- Best puzzles for 6-year-olds
- Best crafts and art kits for 6-year-olds
- Best books for 6-year-olds
Best gifts for 6-year-olds
This drawing tablet is a reusable canvas with the high-tech look of an iPad. Kids can make art with the included gel markers, or remove the front and use the light-up background for tracing familiar characters or designs. Pens get tucked inside to keep the whole kit together.
Your 6-year-old can shred on this accessible, three-string guitar. Having a smaller instrument for their smaller hands helps them feel accomplished quickly as they learn, and the guitar comes with access to video lessons and the Loog app.
This build-your-own track combines the excitement of a race track with the creative engineering challenge of a marble run that lets them create their own course. It includes a launcher, swoops and a loop-de-loop.
What kid hasn't wanted a robot friend? This little robot can dance, tell a joke, play a game or lead a yoga session. It also has its own emotions and can use facial recognition and other tools to detect your child's moods. It can answer questions a child is curious about and help with schoolwork by teaching math, spelling and more. It also includes coding apps and premium content from partners like Disney.
Color reveal Barbies were a smash hit when they first hit the market in 2021. Now, Barbie comes in a plush costume and with a small animal friend. The costume reverses to become a fashionable accessory, and the head turns into a bed for the pet.
Plus-plus building toys are smaller than the familiar Lego brick and allow building in a new way. This set becomes a puzzle and artwork suitable for hanging on the wall.
Squishmallows are bound to be a hit with 6-year-olds, and there are more styles than ever to choose from.
Star Wars fans can hug their own Grogu (aka Baby Yoda). Squeeze him to watch him blink or raise his hand, and hear soft sounds inspired by the character. It's a perfect companion for your own Jedi in training.
This splatter paint art kit will let your 6-year-old experiment with different color combinations and designs without making a mess. Watching the spinning art come to life is half the fun!
Disney princesses get a castle of their own for kids to construct and explore with included minifigures. Each princess has an on-theme room, like a sea theme for Ariel of “The Little Mermaid” and a cooking area for Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog.”
This working microscope comes with double-sided “smart slides” that activate educational videos from the BBC and high quality photos on 17 different topics, including plants, animals and minerals. It also allows kids to prepare their own slides like a traditional microscope, or examine larger objects on a tray.
The budding astronaut can construct a model of the solar system that spins, plus launch a pair of orbiter space ships using pumps. They’ll also learn about the history of space exploration and fun facts about astronaut training.
This Lego City set includes a flywheel-powered bike that performs stunts — making this set as fun to play with as it is to build. It includes glow-in-the-dark elements as kids activate the bike and hit the suspended rods to "knock down" a prize.
This clay can be molded and glazed, then cracked in a “so satisfying” way that creates a new sensory experience. It's like play-doh mixed with ASMR.
These unusual, bendy building toys are fun for crafters and a great way for builders to think outside the bricks. The kit comes with 100 pieces that can be clicked together, allowing them to think creatively as they work on motor skills.
Best toys for 6-year-olds
This colorful piano rolls up for easy storage and includes a play-by-color songbook for easy learning. Six-year-olds can begin music lessons, or tinker around independently.
These walkie-talkies are perfect for the social play that 6-year-olds crave. The gizmos let them run around and scheme together at the same time.
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 silicone popping toys are all the rage at schools — and the good news is, they're also a great stress reliever and especially helpful for a fidgety 6-year-old.
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.
For the little musician, this wireless microphone syncs with whatever you're playing to let them sing along. A built-in phone holder can display lyrics as they go.
Best games for 6-year-olds
This clever game has two sets of questions — one for kids and one for parents — with fun challenges mixed in. Teams set their own stakes, such as an extra dessert if the kids win or a completed chore if Mom and Dad take the prize.
Classic dominoes let a child be the engineer for an epic chain reaction. Setting up their own designs can be hours of fun.
Sporting equipment is great for motor skills and a 6-year-old's love of competition. This over-the-door basketball hoop brings the game down to size so they can make a shot, if not quite dunk.
Learn to play chess with this set that weaves strategy with storytelling. Each chess piece has its own story to help teach the concepts of chess.
Conti suggested this classic board game for 6-year-olds, who now understand rules and enjoy competition. Using a series of questions, players guess who's on the opponent's secret card.
This is another classic board game 6-year-olds love, Conti said — plus it's fun for the whole family. Make your way across the board with lots of jumping and bumping to keep it lively.
Best puzzles for 6-year-olds
This glow-in-the-dark puzzle has over 100 pieces, a nice challenge for a 6-year-old. They'll get a feeling of satisfaction when they turn out the lights to see the finished product glow!
If your not-so-little one has a love of puzzles, why get them only one this year? This pack of puzzles comes with four pictures with various different scenes — from outer space to under the sea.
These classic seek-and-find puzzles have been a hit with grade-school children for generations.
This puzzle is also an optical illusion. Once you piece it together, view it from another angle to see the flapping wings.
Best crafts and art kits for 6-year-olds
This Amazon Choice art kit will keep the 6-year-old in your life mesmerized for hours. With 3,900+ verified five-star ratings, it comes with a design tray, five different paint colors, 10 art sheets and more.
Who knew science and dessert could make the ultimate combination? Give your kids a sweet treat (and have them learn a thing or two) with this ice cream-making kit, complete with all of the tools you'll need for your yummy creation.
This fun kit teaches paper airplane folding with the colorful paper included, and you can use the instructions with your child's own designs.
Parents (or grandparents) may remember these classic mini hook-rug kits, now making a nostalgia-fueled comeback.
These glitter gel pens are fruit-scented for extra delicious drawings.
Kids can use this kit of 800 beads to express themselves by creating bracelets, necklaces and charms. Talk about epic friendship bracelets!
Make your own gummy candies with this science experiment that turns into a yummy snack, with fruit punch and tropical pineapple flavors. Kids learn about luminescence and create candies that glow in the dark under an included black light.
Arts and crafts are a perennial favorite, and this kit is full of possibilities. It includes more than 300 pieces of crafting supplies, including fuzzy sticks, paper straws, googly eyes and pompoms.
Slime gets a satisfying texture update in this easy kit that combines chemistry with fine motor skills. This slime includes mix-ins that make it buttery smooth and satisfying in a new way.
This guided kit with instructions for making a little fairy world is fun for crafters. The kit includes enough material for eight projects so they can make fairy doors, a "fairy dust" necklace and, of course, fairies.
Best books for 6-year-olds
This jewel box of a book is a lyrical list of things that are big, small, and in between — like the caterpillar that once was an egg but will soon fly. Its small details create a big picture of the world for the curious 6-year-old.
This picture book shows in a child-friendly way what it’s like to move to a new place where you don’t understand what people are saying — and how to break past that barrier to friendship. It will inspire empathy for any 6-year-old.
In this follow-up to “The Most Magnificent Thing,” a girl who loves making things runs out of ideas. Her journey to come up with something new will promote growth mindset when your little maker feels stuck.
The uber-popular chapter book series by Mary Pope Osborn is now in graphic novel form, perfect for helping emerging readers gain confidence.
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.
From the creator of the beloved “Narwhal and Jelly” series comes a new graphic novel chapter book series about a mutant potato with an outsized sense of confidence, his grumpy brother and small-potato sister.
When Louis’ grandma says there are enough dogs in the neighborhood, he begins his own doggy census to prove her wrong. It celebrates the love of dogs and grandparents alike.
There’s no one in the world exactly like you, and what a wonderful thing to celebrate. This is a book of affirmations, with a helpful author’s note on “I am” meditations.
Rabbit wants to find a gift for his Nana and starts a quest to find something extra-special. He’ll consult the moon and a volcano on the way to finding just the right thing.
How do we find courage? A paper bag over the head might not seem like the best approach, but it helps one little girl (and one little bear) find a way to overcome their fears in this sweet book that might encourage young readers to do the same.