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24 best gifts for 5-year-olds that will delight little ones

Children can learn through play with these physically and intellectually stimulating toys

Zoe Griffin
Thursday 04 April 2024 12:56 BST
From games and toys to instant cameras, these gifts are sure to pique little ones’ interest
From games and toys to instant cameras, these gifts are sure to pique little ones’ interest (The Independent)
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By the age of five, children are starting to make more sense of the world around them. At school, they’ll be learning the basics of phonics and arithmetic, which means simple shape-sorting gifts and picture books just won’t cut it any more,

It’s time to challenge their physical and intellectual ability – toys and games for five-year-olds should help them learn through play. You might also find it useful to look for gifts that encourage them to run around, so they can burn up all the excess energy they have after a day of sitting still at school.

Amanda Frolich, founder of award-winning children’s activity class Amanda’s Action Club, is a children’s physical movement development specialist and a toy expert. She advises: “Physical activity is essential for a child’s growth, development and overall health. Weight-bearing activities such as running and jumping are important for building strong bones and muscles in children, and regular physical activity will improve cardiovascular health and improve heart and lung function.

“Look for toys that promote physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Toys that encourage movement and exercise, hand-eye coordination and social interaction are especially beneficial.”

However, it can be useful for adults, as well as children, to enjoy some quiet time now and then. With that in mind, we have included a couple of tech toys that will push a child’s problem-solving capabilities and encourage creativity, therefore earning their place in this round-up of the best gifts for five-year-olds.

How we tested the best gifts for 5-year-olds

Several of the gifts we tested for this review (Zoe Griffin)

To fully test a gift’s popularity with five-year-old girls and boys, we organised a series of play dates to try out each one in a home environment. We assessed the toys, games and STEM sets for how well they held a child’s attention and how easy they were to operate without adult supervision, as well as how physically or mentally stimulating they were. We tested toys across a wide range of price points, from less than £10 to more than £100, to find the best of the best for all budgets.

We also tested the toys for long-term appeal – there’s nothing worse than a toy that gets played with twice and then ends up cluttering up the toy box. We witnessed children’s repeated interaction with the following picks, which made us confident they will withstand the test of time.

The best gifts for 5-year-olds 2024 are:

  • Best gift for five-year-olds overall – Maped creativ lumi board: £50.91,
  • Best budget gift for five-year-olds – Orchard Toys doggy doggy woof woof: £9.50,
  • Best cuddly toy for five-year-olds – Squishmallow little plush Triston chick: £11.99,
  • Best audio gift for five-year-olds – Yoto player 3rd generation: £89.99,

Maped creativ lumi board

best gifts for five year olds 2024 review indybest Maped creativ lumi board
  • Best: Gift for five-year-olds overall
  • Develops: Pincer grip, fine motor skills, drawing
  • Why we love it
    • Great for independent play
    • Provides hours of fun
  • Take note
    • Children don’t like waiting their turn to play with it

If you know a child who likes drawing and colouring, this light box from Maped will appeal to their creative side and develop their artistic skills in a fun way. Even better is that children can use it completely independently, with our mini testers able to choose a template, slide it into the holder, activate the light and trace over it all by themselves.

Tracing over the drawing helps to develop their fine motor skills and their pincer grip, which five-year-olds need to strengthen, to write letters and words. The box comes with 250 different templates and 12 felt tip pens, which kept our testers quiet and occupied for at least half an hour each time they played with it.

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Orchard Toys Doggy Doggy Woof Woof

best gifts for five-year-olds 2024 review indybest Orchard Toys doggy doggy woof woof
  • Best: Budget gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Memory skills, social interaction
  • Why we love it
    • Laugh-out-loud fun
    • Easy to learn the rules
  • Take note
    • Can get repetitive

Laugh-out-loud moments are the ones you’ll remember forever, and this game provides plenty. Players take it in turns to complete three dogs on their kennel board, by matching dog heads to bodies, shouting “Doggy doggy woof woof” after each successful match. Keep your eyes peeled for the waggy tail card – when you find it, it’s time to stand up, shake your bum to wag your imaginary tail, and shout “Waggy waggy woof woof”, before play passes to the next player. It’s pure silliness but it also challenges memory skills, as players need to remember where the matching heads are on the table.

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Connetix tiles vehicle pack

best gift for five year olds review 2024 indybest Connetix tiles vehicle pack
  • Best: Toy for five-year-olds
  • Develops: STEM skills, creativity, logic
  • Why we love it
    • Develops STEM skills
    • Encourages kids to use their imagination
  • Take note
    • Packs are quite expensive

Want to kick start a love of mechanics and construction? Enter: Connetix, which makes building fun. What we love about these magnetic tiles is there are no limits to what can be made. If your child can dream up the shape, they can make it. The bright colours add to the appeal for both children and parents, making the finished result pretty enough to have on display instead of taken apart and stored in the toy box between uses.

You can buy packs that contain different shaped tiles to make rockets or castles, opt for ball runs or choose special themed packs. The vehicle-themed set massively appealed to our five-year-old testers, and they focused on their builds better than we could have ever predicted. Building trucks and cars also taught them about motion and force, which are complicated concepts but less so when they are learnt through play.

As kids get older and less interested in vehicles, you can combine this set with other Connetix packs to create ball runs or a fort for action figures to live in.

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Squishmallow little plush Triston chick

best gifts for five-year-olds 2024 review indybest Squishmallow little plush Triston chick
  • Best: Cuddly toy for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Sharing, mood regulation
  • Why we love it
    • Soft
    • Snuggly and calming
  • Take note
    • On the small side

Squishmallows are much loved cuddle buddies for kids – from toddlers to teens. These soft toys are so popular, the British Toy & Hobby Association declared the Squishmallows plush 8in assortment as the top-selling toy of 2023.

Our testers jumped up and down in excitement when they saw this cute chick, elbowing each other out of the way to be the first to hug it. After they’d finally put it down, we gave it a go and were genuinely amazed by how soft and satisfyingly squishy it felt. Squishmallow says its plush toys can be used to calm anxiety in children, as well as help them sleep better by providing a comforting sensory experience that helps the hugger relax and switch off.

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My Fairy Garden unicorn garden

best gifts for five year olds 2024 review indybest My Fairy Garden unicorn garden
  • Best: Gift for five-year-old girls
  • Develops: Gardening skills, scientific knowledge of plants, imagination
  • Why we love it
    • Very exciting to watch the garden grow
  • Take note
    • It doesn’t encourage movement or physical activity

This gift is magical for anyone enthralled by fairies. It also teaches the basics of biology and ecology, as you grow your own enchanting garden using two different types of seed. Our testers made a habit of checking in on it every morning, to see if it had grown overnight.

Once the garden had sprouted, it was time to decorate. The box contains unicorns and bunting, so you can create a warm and welcoming environment for any fairies that chose to visit. We also added our own fairy glitter to it one morning for an extra touch of magic, convincing our mini testers there had been magical visitors overnight. For less than £15, it’s something kids check in with each day and it looks pretty on the shelf.

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Flyte luna the unicorn scooter suitcase

best gifts for five-year-olds 2024 review Flyte luna the unicorn scooter suitcase
  • Best: Gift for travelling five-year-olds
  • Develops: Gross motor skills, coordination, balance
  • Why we love it
    • Fun designs
    • Useful for travel
    • Spacious rucksack
  • Take note
    • Bulky
    • Hard to store

This one’s a gift for parents just as much as it is for kids. Although the scooter has a carry-on sized suitcase on the front, it’s fast, responsive and easy to manoeuvre, and can be used as your child’s day-to-day scooter. The suitcase comes in various different designs, so it’s easy to find one to suit a child’s interests or favourite animal, from flamingos to sharks. Our girl testers swooned over the unicorn design, calling it “super cute” and “dreamy”.

Whatever design you chose, you’re making future holidays and road trips easier for parents by giving them one less bag and child to carry. They can scoot off with their own clothes and toys, leaving parents with more freedom to carry other suitcases and younger siblings.

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Janod dinosaurs magnetibook

best gifts for five-year-olds 2024 review Janod dinosaurs magnetibook
  • Best: For taking to the grandparents
  • Develops: Creativity, matching skills, spatial awareness
  • Why we love it
    • Travel-friendly
    • Compact storage box
  • Take note
    • Small
    • Fiddly pieces

Dinosaurs are always likely to be a hit with five-year-olds, and this great value toy combines prehistoric beasts with creativity and mental challenges, all in a travel-sized package.

Open up the box and you’ll find 40 magnetic pieces and 10 cards. One way to play is to put the pieces together in a way that replicates what’s on the card. Or kids can go off-piste and use the magnetic pieces to have hours of fun coming up with beasts even bigger and scarier than the real dinosaurs. We think it’s a great toy for car journeys or to keep kids entertained when eating out.

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Yoto player 3rd generation

best gifts for five year olds 2024 review indybest Yoto Player (3rd Generation)
  • Best: Audio gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Vocabulary, imagination and general knowledge
  • Why we love it
    • Night light and alarm clock functions included

This small cube simplifies a parent’s life in many ways, and it’s educational. Struggle with getting your child out of bed and ready for school? This has an alarm clock function. If your little one is afraid of the dark, you’ll appreciate the night-light function that emits a soft, calming glow.

But we think its best feature is that it makes learning fun. It comes with cards that contain audiobooks, and a child can select from hundreds of bestselling fiction titles as well as non-fiction books about space, dinosaurs, vehicles and other favourite subjects.

When we synced it to the Yoto app on our phone, we could record our own stories, giving our children access to our voice at bedtime, even if we were running late. Yoto daily radio and a daily bite-size blast of facts mean this is a gift that keeps on giving. Once charged up, you can play it anywhere. Garden disco, anyone?

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Hot Wheels monster trucks unstoppable tiger shark

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Outdoor toy for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Fine motor skills, physical fitness
  • Why we love it
    • Great for getting little ones outside
    • Can be controlled over long distances

This crazy, rolling, tumbling truck is a gift that’s best enjoyed outside, therefore encouraging little ones to get outdoors and be more active. It’s a beast of a toy that will cause children to squeal with delight and amazement as they witness its terrain stomp technology that enables it to “stomp” over grass, rocks, pavement and even other Hot Wheels cars! It has a range of 100 feet, so children can control it over long distances in the park and then run off to find it.

While they’re in charge of the remote, kids are also working on developing their fine motor skills, but we’re never entirely sure if a child is in the driving command control centre or whether it has a mind of its own. That’s part of the fun, which can go on for 25 minutes non-stop, thanks to the included batteries that recharge via a USB cable.

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Orchard Toys Dinosaur Dig

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Game for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Turn-taking, problem solving, numeracy
  • Why we love it
    • Fun for the whole family

Combining the eternal appeal of dinosaurs with a treasure hunt and building a 3D structure out of bones, this game fascinates children on multiple levels. Players race to be the first to find all their bones, using the fossil-finding pack to locate them in the board. Just be careful of finding a T-Rex card, as that will mean putting back one of the bones.

You can smell the anticipation of little ones when they’re playing this. They’re wriggling around in their seats as they can’t wait for their turn. Then they’re constantly counting how many bones they have compared with the number that other players possess, which boosts their numeracy skills without them even realising. Parents and kids will both get a lot of enjoyment out of this game, especially on rainy days, making it an excellent value per play.

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Aquabeads Disney princess nail studio set

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Gift for a five-year-olds who are experimenting with beauty
  • Develops: Emotional and social skills, Creativity
  • Why we love it
    • False nails can be reused

Little girls love experimenting with fashion and beauty, often to the annoyance of parents, who have to clean up the inevitable mess. But the Aquabeads Disney princess nail studio set brings a compromise, allowing kids to experiment with nail art without spillages or mess. Instead of nail varnish, little ones use a water applicator to create a sticky base for the false nails and then stick and hold for three minutes. Children can choose their favourite Disney look with options such as Cinderella, Jasmine, Aurora, Rapunzel, Belle, and Ariel.

We loved how this gift encouraged our kids to get creative with design. It’s also a very sociable gift, as one child can make over another. The set comes with nails and decorations for more than 40 designs; a work table; plastic tweezers; and a water applicator with a brush that can be used over and over again.

To remove the nails, gently push them up from the side. They can be reused, too.

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X Shot skins Sonic darts blaster

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Gift for a five-year-old boy
  • Develops: Gross motor skills, cardiovascular fitness
  • Why we love it
    • Darts are made from soft foam
  • Take note
    • Darts can be tricky to find once they’ve been fired

Our testers used up a lot of energy running around outside, firing the darts at each other. Occasionally, they jumped on the trampoline to see how high they could fire them and, as the darts are made from foam, they do have the potential to travel far. According to the packet, they can travel 27m (90ft). This means you, or your children, do need to pay close attention to where the darts land, if you don’t want to lose any. Making sure to find all 12 darts before coming inside ends up being a bit of a treasure hunt, which continues the entertainment for longer.

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Bunch O Balloons water slide wipeout

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Activity gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Water confidence, cardiovascular fitness, social interaction
  • Why we love it
    • Includes 100 water bomb balloons
  • Take note
    • Seasonal use only
    • Lots of clearing up after use

There’s something truly special about having water fights and splashing around outdoors when it’s sunny, and this gift brings all the thrill of a water park into your garden. During testing, the sun wasn’t that strong but this full-on, laughter-inducing water slide was a huge hit. Children could play on this for hours and the only reason they stopped playing was because it got too chilly.

Measuring 15.75ft, there’s a decent amount of slide space to work up some speed, while the sides feature mini sprinklers, to soak kids as they slide past. Meanwhile, the inflatable bucket at the end of the slide can be used to store water bombs to throw at each other or to use as a final burst of water at the end of their ride down the garden. The activity set comes with 100 balloons and buying replacements is very affordable at a few pounds per multipack.

Even better, this game doesn’t take long to set up. The included 100 balloons can be filled with water in 60 seconds, thanks to a clever garden hose attachment. Throw them at a target and they burst on impact, and the squeals of joy that result will engulf the garden.

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The Happy Puzzle Company the amazing clock kit

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Educational gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Fine motor skills, mathematical and engineering skills
  • Why we love it
    • Parts are large enough for small hands to grip with ease

You don’t have to spend a fortune to encourage little engineers and scientists of the future. This make-your-own clock set is just £15 but will enrich their brain on multiple levels. Firstly, it will help little ones tell the time, which is an essential skill they’ll be covering in their maths lessons at school. Secondly, it’s developing their fine motor skills as they connect the parts to build the clock. Parents will appreciate that the parts are big enough for little hands to grip comfortably and are nowhere near as fiddly as Lego.

Finally, as both sides of the wind-up clock are transparent, the workings of the clock are completely visible. This will give children an understanding of how a clock actually works, as they see the different cogs and springs rotate, and how these cause the pendulum to swing, turn the hands of the clock and make the bell chime, too.

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Fuji instax mini 12

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Gift for families to enjoy
  • Develops: Creativity and social interaction
  • Why we love it
    • Instant gratification
    • Easy to use

If you’ve ever given a phone to a child and seen your camera roll fill up with silly-face selfies, you’ll know how much little kids love to pose. With a Fuji instax, they can do that to their heart’s content, without taking up all your device’s memory space.

This camera is so easy to operate, a child will not need any help at all. All they have to do is turn the wheel to power on then look through the viewfinder for a traditional posed shot, or turn the camera round and look in the mirror for selfie mode. The pictures print out immediately from the side, ready for you to display them on the fridge.

We really enjoyed taking this on outings to the park and to soft play, capturing small moments of joy in the day that we can look back on. The end results are surprisingly clear, too. By calculating the brightness of your environment, and automatically adjusting the shutter speed accordingly, the subjects of the photo will be beautifully brought to life in their surroundings.

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Cuddledry personalised penguin hooded bath towel

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Personalised gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Emotional bonding
  • Why we love it
    • Generous size

Cosy, cute and very cuddly, this is the perfect gift to make bath time more enjoyable for parents and children. Even those who could play in the tub for hours on end won’t complain about getting out when they have this adorable towel to jump into and snuggle up in. The fact it can be personalised with their name makes it even more special.

Made with Cuddledry’s signature blend of incredibly soft bamboo and cotton towelling, this is a beautiful towel to touch. It’s also easy on the eye with soft flippers at the side and a super-cute penguin-beak hood.

We loved the generous size, which means it’s a gift that will give cuddles and warmth for years to come. We’re also awarding it extra points for its eco-friendly credentials, as it’s ethically made with sustainable bamboo and comes in a biodegradable bag, to cut down on packaging waste.

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Nintendo Switch OLED with ‘Mario Kart 8 deluxe' pack

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Investment gift they’ll still enjoy as they get older
  • Develops: Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and logic
  • Why we love it
    • Fun for all the family
  • Take note
    • Expensive

A Nintendo Switch can be enjoyed by children aged five as well as teenagers and even adults. The new OLED screen offers high-quality graphics that will mesmerise little ones and even impress hard-to-please teens.

Our tiny testers loved playing games on the go, as the device’s handheld size makes it perfect for car journeys or while waiting for siblings to finish sports clubs. However, it has a stand to use in tabletop mode and can be connected to the TV, for a more traditional gaming experience.

The Mario Kart 8 deluxe game comes included, and our testers enjoyed feeling in control of the vehicles and experienced a real sense of pride at each overtake. The game can be played in single player mode, racing against AI, or children can join up to three other players virtually or in local mode.

When five-year-olds eventually tire of Mario, there are a whole host of mentally stimulating games to choose from, making your Switch a valuable investment for years to come.

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Spirograph mandala maker

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Creative gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Art skills and creativity
  • Why we love it
    • Doesn’t require parental supervision

This easy-to-use tool is great for building confidence when it comes to art – no illustration skills necessary. To make beautiful patterns, kids can simply lock paper into the frame and start spinning to create unique designs. It’s an activity that requires zero parental supervision – which is always a win, in our book – and it comes with pens and a pad of paper, so kids can open the box and find all they need to make a pattern they’ll be proud of. There’s also an instruction booklet to offer some ideas about what to create, and kids can follow that until they start to come up with ideas of their own. Once they feel like they know what they’re doing, you could put a canvas underneath and create artwork for their bedroom.

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Disney Minnie Mouse glam up and glow

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Disney toy for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Creativity and imagination
  • Why we love it
    • Great for fashionistas

If you’re looking for a gift that gets played with time and time again, this Minnie Mouse fashion box is a winner. It starts off as a pink suitcase, which looks impressively grown up, but the real joy comes when it’s opened up to uncover the ultimate walk-in wardrobe featuring a golden chandelier, clothing rod hanger, and two dress-up stations. You can pull up the light-up bow on top of the case to reveal a secret vanity mirror, too.

A 6in Minnie Mouse doll is included in the set, along with 10 different outfits and jewellery accessories that kids can put on Minnie or wear themselves. You’ll probably find Minnie doesn’t get a look-in when it comes to the necklace and clip-on earrings but little ones will spend a long time experimenting with the outfits for her.

To maintain the fun, the playset includes sounds and Minnie Mouse phrases to inspire different looks. When playtime is over, everything can be put back inside the case to ensure nothing gets lost.

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Sylvanian Families floating cloud rainbow train

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Role-play gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Fine motor skills and imagination
  • Why we love it
    • Will be played with again and again

Sylvanian Families have been entertaining children in the UK since 1987 and just keep getting cuter and cuter. Essentially, they’re all mini families of different animals, such as mice, squirrels and rabbits – all fully clothed. You can buy houses for them, playgrounds and fairgrounds as well as this beautifully coloured pastel train that impressed boys as well as girls during testing.

It’s fantastic for enriching children’s imaginations, as little ones loved making up stories and situations for their Sylvanian Families toys to act out. When watching our five-year-olds interact with this train, we were amazed by how creative they got and by how they acted out different scenes. Each time they played with the toy, a different storyline was explored, too, making it a gift that keeps on giving.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 kids tablet

best kids toys 5 year old boys girls
  • Best: Tablet for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Literacy and numeracy skills, logic, independence
  • Why we love it
    • Durable
    • Two-year guarantee included
    • Year’s free subscription to Amazon Kids+ included

This durable tablet gives five-year-olds a device on which they can read, watch videos, play games and listen to music – all at a quarter of the cost of an iPad. It comes with a durable, drop-proof and shatter-resistant case, plus a two-year guarantee, for extra peace of mind.

Perfect for entertaining kids during long journeys, the 8in HD screen gives a beautifully crisp resolution, so it’s gentle on little ones’ eyes, too. The other specs are also impressive. The tablet itself comes with 32GB storage, but you can expand that up to 1TB with a microSD card and download content for journeys where there’s no access to wifi. On both, the front and rear is a 2MP camera, so kids can use it to record their trip, and the battery life can run up to 13 hours on a single charge.

We were impressed by Amazon Kids+, an app that comes installed on the tablet, with a year’s free subscription. This gives children unlimited access to more than 10,000 kid-friendly movies, TV shows and books tailored for children aged around three up to 12-years-old.

They can learn Spanish and explore different languages through kids’ shows or ignite their passion for reading with thousands of children’s books, audiobooks and series. You can pinch and zoom to enlarge the book’s font, too, making it easier for kids to read.

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Fingerlings monkey

Blank 2048 x 1536 (64).png
  • Best: Pet alternative
  • Develops: Emotional IQ, social skills
  • Why we love it
    • Comes in a range of colours

Meet Harmony, a diva baby monkey who loves to sing, with 70+ sounds and reactions. Our mini testers thought she was adorable, and that was before she melted their hearts fully when they put her on their finger. As soon as she is placed on a digit, her little heart beats and she says “hello”. Stroke her and she purrs. Feed her and she’s grateful. It’s like she’s a real being that gives a child love and attention. You can also shake and flip her upside down for more reactions.

Harmony’s stretchy tail means she could hang from a school bag or sit on a shelf. If your child’s not a fan of pink, you can also buy Fingerlings in purple or blue.

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Janod 50-piece brico’kids construction set

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  • Best: STEM gift for five-year-olds
  • Develops: Logic, fine motor skills
  • Why we love it
    • Clear instructions that kids can follow
    • Storage barrel included

Do you know a five-year-old who is crazy about vehicles? If so, they’ll love this 50-piece wooden toy set that will let them design and make their own vehicle or follow the instructions to make one of five set pieces.

Designed to be used by children from the age of three, the instructions are super clear, and our testers were able to follow them, so they could play independently. Little ones can choose to make a plane, a motorbike, a dog, a boat and a scooter to build up their confidence before creating their own inventions. We liked that all the pieces come in a storage barrel to keep them safe and reduce the chances of losing a vital part.

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My first book of drum and bass

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  • Best: Gift for mini ravers
  • Develops: Musical knowledge
  • Why we love it
    • Parents will enjoy it too

Authors Charlie Wright and Gary Miller have created a book that will keep drum and bass alive for a new generation. Marketed at ravers and misbehavers big and small, it’s an A to Z of the drum and bass scene. Reading it with our young testers brought back memories of raves and festivals when we were young and carefree, and it prompted conversations with the children about what mummy and daddy used to do before they became parents. We also found the book really inspiring for young minds, as it features plenty of female acts, including Riya, Harriet Jaxxon and Jenna G, giving girls positive role models in the music industry.

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Gifts for 5-year-olds FAQs

With more than 30 years of experience in running classes to entertain children, and entertaining at birthday parties, Amanda Frolich has decades of experience in making children and parents happy through play. Becoming a Children’s First Champion in parliament in 2020, she advises government ministers how to put children first when developing policies. We asked her for her top tips when it comes to choosing a gift for little ones.

What should you look for when choosing a gift for a five-year-old?

“When choosing a toy for their child, parents should consider a variety of factors, to ensure the toy is safe, appropriate, and beneficial for their child’s development.” Here are some things parents should look for when choosing a toy, according to Frolich:

  1. Age-appropriateness: Make sure the toy is suitable for your child’s age, interests, and abilities. Check the age-range recommended on the packaging.
  2. Safety: Look for toys that are safe, sturdy, and durable. Avoid toys with sharp edges or small parts that can be choking hazards.
  3. Educational value: Choose toys that promote learning, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Look for toys that encourage exploration, experimentation, and imaginative play.
  4. Durability: Choose toys that can withstand rough play and that are made from safe and durable materials.
  5. Developmental benefits: Look for toys that promote physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Toys that encourage movement and exercise, hand-eye coordination, and social interaction are especially beneficial.
  6. Personal preference: Finally, consider your child’s interests and preferences. Choose toys that your child will enjoy playing with and that will keep them engaged and entertained.

Why do children need to move more?

“Children need to move more because physical activity is essential for their growth, development, and overall health.” Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Bone and muscle development: Physical activity, including weight-bearing activities such as running, jumping, and climbing, is important for building strong bones and muscles in children.
  2. Improved cardiovascular health: Regular physical activity can help improve heart and lung function, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease later in life.
  3. Weight management: Physical activity helps children maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity.
  4. Improved cognitive function: Research has shown that physical activity can improve cognitive function, including attention, memory, and academic performance.
  5. Socialisation: Physical activity can also provide opportunities for children to interact with others and develop important social skills.

“Overall, children need to move more to support their physical, mental, and social development. Encouraging children to engage in regular physical activity can set them on a path toward a healthy and active lifestyle that can benefit them for years to come.”

The verdict: Gifts for 5-year-olds

Both our boy and girl testers loved sitting at the table drawing with the Maped creativ lumi board. It kept them busy for ages without screens, which was nice to see. We were also pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find great value gifts – Orchard Toys’ Doggy Doggy Woof Woof game and the Squishmallow chick made the children smile and laugh out loud, and both products cost less than £12.

Looking for more gift inspiration? Read our round-up of the best gifts for six-year-olds that parents will love too

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