Learning is at the center of a 5-year-old’s life. But that doesn’t mean kids this age need so-called educational toys. They automatically get an educational benefit from any number of well-designed, engaging toys, said John Tenuto, a sociology instructor at the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois, who has studied toys and collectibles. (Tenuto is also an expert featured on the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us.)
You could look for gifts that complement a child’s natural curiosities, whether they love to create art, grow stuff, play sports, make music, or get up close and personal with insects. Books to build their library are wonderful choices, and board games are also great, especially cooperative ones that require working together as a group.
We relied on advice from Tenuto and other experts—as well as from parents and caregivers on our staff—to identify memorable and engaging gifts for 5-year-olds. If you’re looking for more gift ideas for kids, check out our guides to the best gifts for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, and 10-year-olds, as well as thoughtful stocking stuffers for kids. We also have guides to gifts for tweens and teens. (Just keep in mind that kids develop at different rates, so all age recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt.) And please share your own best ideas in the comments below.