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33 best toys and gifts for 6-year-olds in 2021

Make their day with these great presents!
Boy and girl (6-9) at table playing with building blocks, smiling
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/ Source: TODAY

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Six-year-olds are a laugh a minute. As they move from kindergarten to first grade, the best toys for 6-year-olds capture their senses of humor and fair play, and help them work together.

“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 from this article:

Bestselling gifts and toys for 6-year-olds

1. 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."

2. Walkie Talkies

These walkie talkies are perfect for the social play that 6-year-olds crave.

3. Guess Who? Game

Conti suggested this classic board game for 6-year-olds, who now understand rules and enjoy competition.

4. "Sweety," by Andrea Zuill

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.

5. Squigz Starter Set

This construction toy is another kid favorite.

Best toys and games for 6-year-olds 2019

1. 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.

2. Over-the-Door Basketball Hoop

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.

3. American Girl Ashlyn Doll

Conti recommended American Girls dolls. These smaller, more affordable versions are good for 6-year-olds.

4. Dynamo Dominoes

Classic dominoes let a child be the engineer for an epic chain reaction.

5. Playmobil Mars Rover

Action figures encourage pretend play and exploration.

6. Wham-O Original Hula Hoop

Know a 6-year-old with tons of energy? This great gift helps kids learn a new, active skill.

7. Hasbro Sorry!

This is another classic board game 6-year-olds love, Conti said.

8. Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone

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

1. Crazy Forts Fort Kit

Kids love making forts and this kit will help them make some impressive structures. Just add a blanket or sheet!

2. Kid Made Modern Over the Rainbow Kit

Arts and crafts are a perennial favorite, and this kit is full of possibilities.

3. Latchkits

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

4. Elmer's Crunchy Slime Kit

Slime gets a satisfying texture update in this easy kit that combines chemistry and fine motor skills.

5. Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Big Box

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.

7. Stikbot Animation Studio

Kids can make their own stop-motion videos with this simple green screen and poseable figures.

8. Action Plates

Remember fashion plates? Occupational therapists recommend them for helping with dexterity and pencil grip, and they come in more unisex versions like this.

9. Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes 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.

Best books for 6-year-olds

1. "I Talk Like a River," by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

A boy who stutters struggles to express himself in this beautiful book that will inspire empathy.

2. "Finding François," by Gus Gordon

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.

3. "Unlimited Squirrels: I Want to Sleep Under the Stars," by Mo Willems

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.

4. "Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away," by Meg Medina and Sonia Sanchez

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.

5. "Weird But True: Dinosaurs," by National Geographic Kids

A new addition to the fact-filled franchise is full of unusual nuggets about dinosaurs.

6. "Nothing in Common," by Kate Hoefler and Corinna Luyken

Two children have nothing in common, except for the ways they come together to help someone in need.

7. "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.

8. "Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family" by Annie Barrows

Annie Barrows returns to her bestselling series after a five-year break. The first 10 books are available in an Ivy + Bean boxed set.

9. "The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp," by Jonathan Auxier, Olga Demidova

In this new illustrated chapter book series, a boy named Auggie oversees a magical building full of mythical creatures.

10. "Eerie Elementary," by Max Brailler Boxed Set

These chapter books offer a gentle amount of spookiness for young readers moving up from "The Magic Treehouse."

11. "Where's Waldo Now?" by Martin Handford

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:

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This gift guide was originally published on Oct. 25, 2018 and has been updated with new products.