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Stumped on what to gift your 6-year-old? These gifts fit the bill for the creative, curious and competitive kids

Make their day with these great presents.
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/ Source: TODAY

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.

What do 6-year-olds like to do?

They’re 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.

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 | Meet the experts

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Best gifts for 6-year-olds

Cra-Z-Art Crackle Clay Kit

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.

Grow 'n' Glow Terrarium

Science kits like this are a great option for 6-year-olds, said child development specialist Tovah Klein, the author of "How Toddlers Thrive."

Paper Airplane Kit

This fun kit teaches paper airplane folding with the colorful paper included, and you can use the instructions with your child's own designs.

Squishmallows Squishy Animal Tito the Toucan

Plush toys are bound to be a hit with 6-year-olds, and there are more varieties than ever to choose from.

Crayola Ultimate Light Board Drawing Tablet

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.

KiwiCo Astronaut Starter Kit

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.

LeapFrog Magic Adventures Microscope

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.

Tamagotchi Uni

If you thought you knew Tamagotchi, think again! For starters, the newest version of the beloved tech toy is able to be strapped around their little wrist and interact with other UniTamas across the globe.


What kid hasn't wanted a robot friend? This little e-dog (a recent inclusion on The Toy Insider's Hot 20 list) is the epitome of one of a kind thanks to its "minting" process to determine its quirks, habits and personality. It can not only communicate and send messages through its light-up tail, but you can also train and feed it through the accompanying app!

Loog Pro Acoustic Guitar

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.

Best toys for 6-year-olds

Fidget Pop Toys

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.

Lego Creative Suitcase

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.

Retevis Walkie-Talkies

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.

Barbie Pop Reveal Doll

Color reveal Barbies were a smash hit when they first hit the market in 2021. Now, Barbie comes with tons of fun, fruity accessories that smell great and a small, squishy animal friend. She'll magically reveal a cool new 'do and makeup when you apply cold water, too.

Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone

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.

VTech Marble Rush Raceway Set

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.

Rock and Roll It Piano

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.

Lego Ultimate Adventure Castle

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.”

Best games for 6-year-olds

Hasbro Sorry!

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.

Spoons Classic Card Game

Does your 6-year-old already have a competitive side? Spoons will surely bring it out, if so. With five spoons, and a regular deck of cards, you'll have everything you need for a little healthy competition during family game night.

Beat the Parents Game

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.

Over-the-Door Basketball Hoop

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.

Storytime Chess

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.

Hape Dynamo Dominoes Set

Classic dominoes let a child be the engineer for an epic chain reaction. Setting up their own designs can be hours of fun.

Best puzzles for 6-year-olds

Highlights Best Hidden Pictures Puzzles Ever

These classic seek-and-find puzzles have been a hit with grade-school children for generations.

Chuckle & Roar Jigsaw Kids Puzzles

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.

Mudpuppy Space Illuminated Glow-in-the-Dark Jigsaw Puzzle

For the adventurer curious about what else is out there, this challenging glow-in-the-dark jigsaw serves as an enticing sneak peek into all kinds of space wonders.

Magical Moving Unicorn Puzzle

This puzzle is also an optical illusion. Once you piece it together, view it from another angle to see the flapping wings.

Hape Solar System Puzzle

Best crafts and art kits for 6-year-olds

Sweetheart Smencils

Colorful pens and pencils are always a great gift for creative minds and budding artists. This pencil set is extra sweet, thanks to their scents inspired by popular treats. From marshmallows to donuts, they make doing homework and drawing in notepads a lot more fun.

Yummy Yummy Scented Glitter Gel Pen

If your 6-year-old prefers writing and doodling with ink instead of pencils, these glitter gel pens will be a great addition to their collection. Sold in a pack of 12, each is individually fruit-scented for extra delicious drawings.

Elmer's Butter Slime Kit

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.

Latchkits Craft Kit

Parents (or grandparents) may remember these classic mini hook-rug kits, now making a nostalgia-fueled comeback.

Crayola Wixels Animals Activity Kit

Crayola's Wixels set combines budding creativity with a technology-inspired twist. While this kit features color maps to craft ferocious (or cuddly) animals, they're also welcome to pixelate their own masterpiece.

Dan&Darci Marbling Paint Art Kit

This Amazon Choice art kit will keep the 6-year-old in your life mesmerized for hours. With 4,500+ verified five-star ratings, it comes with a design tray, five different paint colors, 10 art sheets and more.

Groovy Glowing Candy Lab

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.

Open the Joy Clay Kit

Keep your 6-year-old occupied with a clay set that includes sculpting tools as well as 15 different colors to create and experiment with. This no-mess, easy-to-clean up kit helps them practice patience, as they wait up to three days for their sculptures to dry.

This set encourages them to build "emotional" figures, helping them talk through and become more comfortable with expressing their feelings.

Creative Kids Spin and Paint Art Kit

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!

Plus-Plus Color by Numbers

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.

Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Supply Library

If they're still trying to figure out which crafts they most gravitate towards, they can use this "limitless" 1,000-piece library to guide them in the right direction while further teaching them the concept of open-ended play.

Best books for 6-year-olds

"Junie. B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly Bus," by Barbara Park

For the 6-year-old who has taken an interest in reading and wants to venture into their first chapter books, Junie B. Jones has been captivating audiences since 1992.

“Big and Small and In Between,” by Carter Higgins and Daniel Miyares

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.

“Gibberish,” by Young Vo

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.

“The Most Magnificent Idea,” by Ashley Spires

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.

"Magic Tree House" Graphic Novels Boxed Set

The uber-popular chapter book series by Mary Pope Osborn is now in graphic novel form, perfect for helping emerging readers gain confidence.

"A Friend for Dragon," by Dav Pilkey

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.

“The Greatest in the World!” by Ben Clanton

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.

“Every Dog in the Neighborhood,” by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell

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.

“I Am Me: A Book of Authenticity,” By Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

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.

“A Gift for Nana,” by Lane Smith

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.

“Courage Hats,” by Kate Hoefler and Jessixa Bagley

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.

Meet the experts

  • Marie Conti is Director of Regional Community Relations for American Montessori Society. She was the former head of The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Conti is based in Greater Philadelphia.
  • Nina Lindsay is the president of the Association for Library Service to Children.

​​Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s other gift guides to find the perfect present for every kid on your list including babies, 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds and 10-year-olds.