Being 5 is such a fun age. As their world begins to open up, 5-year-olds are making strides physically and emotionally. They can write their own name and are learning to read, and they’re more physical than ever. (As anyone who has ever tried to chase a 5-year-old is well aware of.) As they grow and develop, they need the best toys for 5-year-olds that can challenge them and help them blossom. Of course, that includes plenty of STEM toys to get their little brains going, but there’s plenty for future archeologists, coders, engineers and artists, too.
The best toys for 5-year-olds boost their cognitive skills while entertaining them. These top toys made the cut by being safe, well-made, educational and fun.
1. Dan&Darci Dig a Dozen Dino Eggs Dig Kit
Aspiring paleontologists will have a blast from the past digging up 12 dinosaur eggs to discover a dino inside each one. They’ll unearth a T-rex, Dilophosaurus and Ankylosaurus, to name a few. Each dinosaur has an accompanying full-colored learning card, describing each dino’s history. The kit also comes with 12 chisels/brushes and 12 instruction guides, tucked inside a display box. Best of all, the Dig a Dozen Dino Eggs Dig Kit is an official STEM toy that’s great for groups or individual play.
2. Toyk Water Doodle Mat
Forget coloring books! This coloring mat will make all their coloring creations life-sized. Fill the pen with water, draw on the mat and after three to 10 minutes their drawings magically disappear, giving them a fresh canvas over and over again. That also means parents don’t have to worry about messes. Spanning 40 x 28 inches, the mat can be folded up into a compact, portable size, so it’s great for indoors and outdoors. The mat comes with six pens, eight drawing molds, four drawing templates, a drawing booklet, a jigsaw and a storage bag. Fun and functional, it helps kids develop hand-eye coordination, color perception and creative skills.
3. Tiny Land Creative Forts
Talk about an upgrade from a fort made out of a bedsheet! This Creative Forts kit comes with 44 child-safe joint balls and 86 rods that connect to give kids endless fort-building options. From a castle to a mansion, rocket, bunker, igloo and pyramid, they’ll never run out of options. Ideal for two or more kids to play with, this STEM toy builds their imagination, problem-solving and critical thinking. It comes with a carry bag, making it easy to store.
4. Dan&Darci Light-up Terrarium Kit
Next time your kids ask how plants grow, get them this Light-up Terrarium Kit. It will teach them about nature around the clock, thanks to the LED light under the lid that lets it glow at night. An official STEM toy, the miniature garden lets kids layer the rocks, sand, soil and stickers however they’d like, encouraging them to get creative with their design. The kit includes a terrarium jar, light-up jar lid, Micro-USB charging cable, clear and easy step-by-step instruction booklet, vermiculite soil, blue sand, river rocks, wheatgrass and chia seeds, small bunny and mushroom miniatures, removable stickers for decoration, spray bottle and a wooden stick to plant the seeds.
5. iPlay, iLearn Construction Site Vehicles Toy Set
Your little one can be in charge of their very own construction site! The 52-piece set — including a crane, cement truck, excavator, steamroller, dump trump and tractor — encourages creative play for kids. There are even tools, safety barriers, safety cones and safety signs for kids to create an entire construction scene.
6. Shifu Orboot Augmented Reality Interactive Globe
Even though international travel is still off-limits, you can take your child on a trip around the world with one of the best toys for 5-year-olds. Download the free Orboot app to teach kids about over 1,000 world facts and explore over 400 highlights across six categories: cultures, monuments, inventions, animals, maps and weather. They’ll learn about geography, history, environmental science and much more. The box comes with a 10-inch globe, passport, stamps, country flag stickers and a help guide.
7. Skillmatics I Can Write
Incredibly educational, this game ticks off an amazing number of boxes. It flexes children’s problem solving, creative thinking, reading and comprehension, focus and attention and writing while teaching them about patterns, the alphabet, numbers, writing words, colors and shapes, body parts, calendar planning and creating sentences. They’ll learn through 14 fun activities. The game includes six double-sided activity mats, two Skilly Billy Dry Erase Markers, a duster cloth and a Skilly Billy Achievement Certificate.
8. Best Learning My First Piano Book
You’ll have a mini Mozart in the family in no time with this award-winning toy that teaches piano. The piano book includes an illustrated songbook with a color-coded key chart with 10 songs and six musical instruments. Learning to tickle the ivories has never been so easy! Kids can even record themselves playing and listen to their performances. Aside from learning about music, they’ll also get a boost with concentration, logical thinking, creativity and imagination.
9. ThinkFun Zingo Sight Words
Proof that reading can be fun, Zingo is a lot like Bingo. As popular with teachers in the classroom as it is with parents at home, Zingo was developed by educators to boost reading skills for kids in pre-K to second grade. Up to six people can play, making it a great pick for family game night. After a few rounds, you’ll see why it has racked up so many awards.
10. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope
Kids will be ready for a close up with this microscope, instilling a love for science, making this one of the best toys for 5-year-olds. Designed just for children, the microscope has two supersized eyepieces and an easy-to-grab focusing knob. The fully functional microscope will magnify anything up to eight times, from rocks to their lunch. It even has an LED light for clear viewing, non-skid feet and a sample tray. Winner of several awards, including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal, Parents’ Choice Silver Award and Toy of the Year Finalist, it will keep kids learning outside of the classroom. Three AA batteries are required, which are sold separately.
11. Atopdream Toptoy Matching Letter Game for Kids
A spelling bee championship might be in their future if they play with the Atopdream Toptoy Matching Letter Game for Kids. This matching letter game does it all — it helps kids develop memory skills, strategic thinking, sociability, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary. The game comes with a tray, eight letter cubes and 30 picture cards, for a total of 60 words with three- and four-letter words.
12. Best Learning i-Poster My USA Interactive Map
There’s no better way to teach your kids about the USA than with this incredibly popular interactive, touch-activated talking map. A winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Medal and Tillywig Brain Child Award Winner in 2018, it’s one of the best toys for 5-year-olds. There are more than 500 facts about all of the 50 states, including climate and fun facts, teaching kids concentration, earth science, memory, problem-solving and geography.
13. Thames & Kosmos Kids First Robot Safari
Kids will build a variety of animal robots — including a unicorn, sea otter, fox, bear, baby llama, crab, cat and narwhal — and then watch them come to life with movement. That’s what makes this one of the best toys for 5-year-olds, as it’s a great intro to STEM. The 32-page, full-color, step-by-step manual is like a storybook, making it easy for kids to do most of the work all on their own. Along the way, they’ll boost fine motor skills while learning about engineering and robotics.
14. Little Experimenter Telescope for Kids
There’s a whole universe out there for kids to explore, so start with this telescope made just for them. It projects the constellations in the night sky and space-themed pictures on their bedroom wall, including images of spaceships and 24 planets. With 2x magnification and a foldable tripod, children can see the solar system in all its 3D glory. It can be swiveled in nearly any direction or locked in place. The accompanying educational activity book shares facts about the solar system.
15. Gamewright Outfoxed!
Fun for the whole family, with two to four players, this cooperative whodunit game is a cinch for kids to follow along. Building teamwork, you work together to discover clues and find the guilty fox through the process of elimination. As everyone teams up to find the fox, kids boost their critical thinking and planning skills. It’s a game they’ll want to play over and over again since it has tremendous replay value and remains just as fun.
16. Hape Eggspressions Wooden Learning Toy with Illustrative Book
Expressing their emotions can be tough for 5-year-olds, but this toy will help them learn to identify their feelings and develop emotional maturity. Each of the six stackable, wooden eggs has a unique expression and it comes with a storybook. When they can’t use their words, kids can use an egg to show their mood instead, boosting their communication skills, too.
17. Thames & Kosmos Kids First Intro to Engineering Kit
Aspiring engineers will love the 25 experiments and building projects in this kit. They’ll build a helicopter, pinwheel, parachute, glider, balloon rocket and air-powered carousel, to name a few, all while learning how to apply scientific and technical knowledge to make their creations. Kids will also get to experiment with engineering in water as they build a diving bell, sailboat and paddle boat.
18. MAD MATTR Quantum Pods by Relevant Play
There’s no need to panic if kids decide to take a bite out of this moldable dough since it’s safe and wheat-, casein- and gluten-free. Plus, its texture means it’s less messy and won’t dry out, so consider it an upgrade to Play-Doh, which is why it’s one of the best toys for 5-year-olds. Ideal for imaginative play, it’ll help their fine motor skills and dexterity as they mold their creations.
19. Whizbuilders Marble Run Sets Kids Activities
You don’t want your kids to literally lose their marbles with this fun marble run game. The set comes with 50 glass and five glow in the dark marbles, as well as 80 building blocks that can be put together four different ways. Since the blocks are translucent, kids can watch their marbles take every twist and turn as they race. As they assemble each variety, they’ll learn creative problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, imagination, motor skills, engineering, technology and patience, all while instilling a love of science. The set comes with a 12-page user guide and four difficulty levels for construction, so you can choose whatever suits your kid best.
20. Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
Kids have so much fun playing this game that they don’t even realize they’re learning, which explains why it’s a top seller and one of the best toys for 5-year-olds. As children help their forest friends find acorns, they learn about colors and turn-taking, while developing matching skills, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.