I say this basically for every age, but five might be my favorite. Their whole personalities start to shine. We’ve seen their personality traits at every stage until now, but 5-year-olds are fun because they are just so thoroughly them. You can have serious and silly conversations. You can have hard truths slung your way and knock-knock jokes that make no sense. And above all, they know what they want and they will tell you.

That said, it makes picking out the best Christmas gifts for 5-year-olds both harder and easier. Because they can also change their mind on a dime and the thing that was beloved before might not be anymore.

At five, you’ve likely got a kindergartner on your hands. They’re hard at work learning to read and write and developing all kinds of new social skills. There’s so much that they can continue to learn through play and so many fun tools out there to do just that. The best holiday gifts for 5-year-olds provide them plenty of opportunity to learn and explore–without even realizing it! From board games the entire family can enjoy to arts and crafts supplies that get their creativity flowing, we’ve curated a list of things every kid will be excited to open.

Our favorite Christmas gifts for 5-year-olds

Colorations Creative Creatures Dough Builders

Colorations

$29.99

1. Creative Creatures Dough Builders

If there’s one thing all 5-year-olds love, it’s play dough. But one can only roll out so many snakes before they start looking for other ways to play. One of our favorite gifts this year is this jam-packed bucket of colorful hands, feet, eyes, hats, mouths, antenna and mustaches that turn dough into an endless parade of silly creatures. We love how it sparks the imagination and keeps them coming back to create something new and different every time.

Follies Bauhaus Playset

Follies

$170

2. Bauhaus Playset

The endlessly creative playsets from Follies will crack their imagination wide open. Inside the box they’ll find 40 interlocking pieces that can be assembled into endless combinations–one day a castle, the next a puppet theater starring their most-beloved stuffies. The colorful Bauhaus-inspired designs make it a joy to have take over your living room, and because they don’t require an adult’s help to put together, consider the hours of quiet solo play time a gift to everyone in the house.

 

Britannica's First Big Book of Why

Britannica's

$25

3. First Big Book of Why

Who decided being a know-it-all is a bad thing? This colorful compendium offers answers to all your kindergartner’s burning questions like “why do elephants have trunks?” and “why are clouds different shapes?” so they can flex their knowledge at share time. The clear and digestible answers are verified by Brittanica experts and span a wide variety of topics.

dabble and dollop original bubble box

Dabble & Dollop

$47

4. The Original Bubble Box Bath Set

The luxe bath essentials from Dabble & Dollop merge bath time with play time. Each of their deliciously scented products are formulated to be mixed together to create a unique bath time experience that’s relaxing, fun and gets their creativity flowing. This set comes with a strawberry gel, tangerine gel, vanilla whip and mixing bowl along with recipe ideas to inspire their next concoction.

Gamewright Outfoxed!

Gamewright

$26

5. Outfoxed!

At five, you can start to phase out games of chance like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders (you’re welcome) in favor of games that start to work their strategic thinking. Outfoxed is a favorite among parents and kids alike for its engaging game play that tests their thinking skills without being overly difficult. If Clue and Guess Who had a baby, this is the game that would result. It’s even fun for adults to play!

creatibles diy window cling art kit

Ooly

$17.99

6. Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit

With all the artwork they’re creating these days, you’re bound to run out of fridge space sooner than later. Why not mix it up a bit with this fun window cling kit? It comes with everything they’ll need to create fun and colorful designs that add a pop of color to a surface that isn’t already covered in their self-expression.

Boogie Board Magic Sketch Reusable Kids’ Drawing Activity Kit

Boogie Board

$29.99

7. Magic Sketch Reusable Kids’ Drawing Activity Kit

The reusable LCD drawing boards from Boogie Board are a super fun way for your kindergartner to doodle and practice their writing skills. Three texture tools and 18 templates help them master writing their letters and numbers as well as create temporary masterpieces that disappear with the press of a button. It’s perfect for restaurants and travel, too!

Mudpuppy Outer Space Glow-in-the-Dark Puzzle, 100 Pieces,

Mudpuppy

$11.99

8. Outer Space Glow-in-the-Dark 100-Piece Puzzle

100-piece puzzles are great for 5-year-olds. Not so hard it’s discouraging but easy enough to complete without help. One of our top picks? The glow-in-the-dark designs from Mudpuppy which make the finished the product even more impressive!

Little Horse Veterinarian Kit

Little Medical School

$30

9. Little Horse Veterinarian Kit

Perfect for horse-loving veterinarians-in-training, this kit comes with a sweet plush pony and all the tools they need to keep him in tip-top shape including a working stethoscope, mane-to-tail assessment form, bandages and a curry brush for their daily care. There’s also a collection of activities to deepen their learning!

Squishy Bubble Bath Bombs for Kids

Two Sisters

$29.99

10. Squishy Bubble Bath Bombs for Kids

Handmade in Minnesota from from natural ingredients, the surprise Bubble Bombs from Two Sisters make bath time extra fun. Unlike regular bath bombs, these colorful, scented bombs fill the tub with bubbles as they dissolve. And the best part? Each one has a squishy treasure hidden inside!

Opinel Le Petit Chef Complete 3 Piece Kitchen Set

Opinel

$49.95

11. Le Petit Chef Complete 3 Piece Kitchen Set

If your 5-year-old has expressed an interest in getting involved in food prep, why not let them? Cutting, chopping and prepping fruits and veggies is a great way to get little ones involved in cooking (with supervision of course). This set from the iconic French brand Opinel offers the real thing with safety measures that keep it age-appropriate.

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Skillmatics

$14.99

12. Found It! Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Keep them busy while also sharpening their observational skills with this low-lift (on your part!) scavenger hunt game. Each of the 50 cards contains a two-part prompt that sends them on a mission to find things like “a picture of an animal” or “something that smells good.” It’s quick and easy to play with just a parent and kiddo or a whole crew.

iridescent scooter muffs

7am Enfant

$28

13. Kids Unicorn Scooter Warmmuffs

Scooter riding is all fun and games until someone’s hands get too cold. Keep them gliding whine-free with the coolest winter accessory we’ve ever seen. The toasty warm, water-repellent scooter muffs from the always stylish 7am Enfant stay fixed to the handle bars to they can cruise no matter what the weather may bring. And you? You’ll never have to hunt down a lost mitten again.

cardboard cash register toy set

Sago Mini

$15

14. Sago Mini Box

Engaging screen-free playtime that doesn’t add to the plastic clutter? YES PLEASE. The clever paper-based play kits from the adorable Sago Mini provide hours of open-ended fun that tucks neatly back inside the box when they’re done. The subscription-based boxes center around a monthly theme like “forest,” “fairy tale,” or “planes,” along with make + play activities to keep them engaged in a variety of ways.

Kid Pik

$56

15. Holiday Gift Box

If you’ve got a budding fashionista on your hands, they’re guaranteed to love the rad selections from Kidpik. Choose from a variety of fabulously curated boxes that contain everything they need to look fresh from head-to-toe. What’s easier and more fashionable than that?

Prices start at $56.

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Tupelo

$75

16. Ready-to-Roll Kickball Set

This is meant to be an outdoor toy, but for those cold winter months, I can see savvy parents setting this up in a basement or bonus room. I was not a sporty kid but kickball was one of those games I thoroughly enjoyed playing and I bet your 5-year-old will too. This set comes with everything you need in a handy bucket that’s great for both storage and portability.

clixo-STEM-set

Clixo

$59.99

17. Rainbow Pack

What is Clixo? Well, a better question might be what isn’t it? A flexible, magnetic and modern-twist on building toys, Clixo sets invite kids to create any 2D or 3D structures they can dream up. The pieces, which are made from a durable and eco-friendly material they can bend and twist, feature secure magnets at the ends that click together with an impressive hold. From robots and jewelry to purses and rocket ships, the sky’s the limit on what they create!

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LeapFrog

$51

18. LeapReader

Learning to read can be exciting, but also totally overwhelming. LeapFrog has tons of toys to help make the process fun, but this is one of our favorites. When paired with LeapFrog’s library of great books, the LeapReader stylus can help when they get stuck, reading any word they tap with it and also uncover hidden sounds and facts throughout the pages. This particular set gets them started with 10 fresh titles they’ll want to read again and again.

Crayola Scribble Scrubbie Safari Treehouse Playset

Crayola

$17.99

19. Scribble Scrubbies Safari Treehouse

There’s something about coloring on things that aren’t paper that’s oh-so-appealing to kids. Give them an opportunity to do just that with Crayola’s Scribble Scrubbies. The creatures can be colored, washed and colored again to keep the fun going. This set is a stand out not only because of that adorable baby leopard, but because the treehouse itself doubles as the most convenient carrying case.

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Lego

$24.97

20. Disney Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana's Storybook Adventures

Perfect for LEGO play on-the-go, this 130-piece building set features all their favorite Disney Princesses and a two-sided castle that folds up inside.

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LEGO

$23.99

21. Classic Medium Creative Brick Box

Let the imagination flow with this LEGO set! Your kiddo can come up with endless possibilities thanks to this 484-piece box of blocks. It’s sure to keep them (and you, don’t lie) busy for hours.

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eeBoo

$31.99

22. Playing Cards Library

This is a classic set of card games that every child need during their childhood. They’re great for the whole family, including older and younger siblings!

ThinkFun Rush Hour Junior

ThinkFun

$22.80

23. Rush Hour Junior

This is a board game and puzzle in one. The set comes with a collection of colorful cars and 40 different challenge cards that will help your kiddo think about space planning and problem-solving all in one.

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GeoSmart

$59.99

24. Flip Bot

This one is for all our STEM kiddos out there. They can take this toy and build multiple types of vehicles from the parts and then watch as their creation races around the house. If you buy two, they can be used to race against each other!

The Company Store Company Kids™ Plush Character Throw

The Company Store Company Kids

$69

25. Plush Character Throw

I love a good multi-tasker and this wearable blanket is such fun because it’s a costume and a cozy blanket at the same time. The adorable styles from The Company Store include a variety of animals and can even be personalized with your kiddo’s name. And when the fun is over, they can wrap themselves up in their costume and take a quick snooze.

ooly Switch-Eroo Color Changing Markers

ooly

$24.99

26. Switch-Eroo Color Changing Markers

What’s more fun that a brand new set of markers? A brand new set of color changing markers. Each color has a secret alter-ego that’s revealed when they doodle over top with the other end!

A version of this story was published November 10, 2021. It has been updated.