20 of the best toys for 5 year olds

Our pick of the top toys for boys and girls aged 5 to 6

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best toys for 5 year olds

Your 5-year-old is a creative and enthusiastic problem solver, and usually up for a toy that requires some focus or offers some building, thinking or sustained imaginative-play challenge.

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Your child can also use their fingers much more flexibly to control writing, painting and crafting tools and tackle more complicated construction or technology toys.

Of course, they’ll also be enjoying some imaginative play, as well as anything that’s fun, sometimes loud or messy, and that makes them giggle.

They might also enjoy some easy games, though won’t necessarily be a good loser at this age. But find one that’s simple enough and the whole family can have a good time playing together.

Here is our pick of the best toys for  5-year-olds…

1. Scruff a Luvs Real Rescue, £39.99

Age: 3+

What it is: An interactive rescue pet that arrives as a trembly ball of fluff. Gradually, as you wash, dry and cuddle it, it calms and transforms into either a dog or cat or a bunny (you don’t know which until then). Has over 35 sounds (including hiccups and a heartbeat) and interactions. Comes with a feeding bottle, collar and name tag, and adoption certificate. Requires 2 AA batteries (included).

Why we love it: We have to say this toy melted our grown-up hearts for the lovely way it responds to being washed, groomed and cuddled. Our child testers liked hearing their pet sigh with relief in its warm-water bath  – but, most of all, adored the suspense and surprise of finding out what kind of pet they’d rescued. Won a special Editor’s Choice Award in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019.

Available from: Argos and Amazon

2. Geosmart Flipbot, £39.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A 30-piece racing-vehicle magnetic construction set, including 2 snap-in motors, wheels, connectors and a remote control. Comes with instructions. Requires 3AAA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: Our child testers loved the brightly coloured pieces and the idea that they could quickly build vehicles they could remotely control. They became super-absorbed in constructing different designs (1 tester was building for 45 minutes solid and nearly missed his tea).  Racing the finished vehicles is fun, too: they flip every time you shift from forwards to backwards. Won Gold in the Best Toy Vehicles category of our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019.

Available from: Amazon and BrightMinds

3. Playmobil City Life Tiny Paws Pet Hotel, £59.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A 76cm x 24cm x19cm 154-piece pet-hotel playset with a kitchen and an animal flap leading into the garden – which has a see saw, kennels and outdoor lights. Comes with 3 figures, 8 dogs, 2 parrots, bananas, carrots, dog food, chew toys and all sorts of other little accessories.

Why we love it: It’s a well-made and well-thought-through playset that won us – and our child testers – over with its plentiful, wonderful, detailed accessories: we particularly like the dog leads, the pet see saw and the string of sausages. Won a special Editor’s Choice Award in our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019.

Available from: Playmobil, Uber Kids and Smyths Toys

4. Barbie Dream Plane Playset, £69.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 58cm x 24cm x 27cm pink plane on (working) wheels, with reclining seats, opening overhead compartments and a steward’s snack trolley with removable trays. Comes with over 15 accessories, including a puppy, an eye mask, a suitcase, headphones and blankets (but you’d have to buy any pilot/passenger dolls separately).

Why we love it: It’s robust but light enough to carry (or wheel) about easily. And the accessories are fab! We particularly like the bone for the puppy, and the little suitcase that opens and closes.

 Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos, Amazon and The Entertainer

5. Orangutwang, £19.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A suspense game where you take it in turns to hang fruit and jungle animals on the swinging orangutang before he get overloaded and pings off the string, scattering everything everywhere. For 2 or more players.

Why we love it: It’s a lovely, exciting family game and our child testers were full of giggles as they waited for the orangutang to ‘twang’. Good for fine-finger control, too – we saw lots of tongues sticking out in concentration as our testers carefully placed the fruit on the wire. Won Silver in the Best Board Games category of our MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019.

Available from: John Lewis, Smyths Toys, Argos and Amazon

6. Cry Babies Kristal, £49.99

Age: 3+

What it is: The most recent incarnation of the award-winning Cry Babies, Kristal is a 34cm-high poorly doll who needs nursing. She cries ‘real’ (water) tears when you remove her dummy, coughs, runs a fever and even gets spots that need an injection to make them go away. Comes with 6 accessories, including a stethoscope, cough syrup and a thermometer. Requires 3 AA batteries (included).

Why we love it: This doll definitely isn’t every grown-up’s cup of tea: she’s not very soft and, blimey, does she cry! But our (boy and girl) testers adored looking after her and working out what’s wrong. They especially loved using the stethoscope: you can Kristal’s ‘heartbeat’ through it.

Available from: Very, Smyths Toys, Amazon and Argos

7. Dessineo ‘Painting by Stencils’ Animals, £9.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A learn-to-paint kit that lets you paint an 19cm x 21cm octopus, elephant, crab and whale, using stencils in an easy-to-follow 3-step process. The kit includes: 5 stencils, 5 paints, 4 sheets with coloured border, a roller, a brush, a palette.

Why we love it: There’s a nice contrast here between the way the roller covers big areas and how the brush can be used for smaller details. According to parents, our child toy testers were kept amused by this kit for a long time, partly because there’s so much variety with that you can do. An added bonus is it’s easy to clean which we think is a big positive for busy mums and dads when choosing art kits like this.

Available from: Amazon and Gifts for Little Hands

8. Fingerlings Untamed Dinos, £14.99 each

Age: 5+

What it is: A dinosaur or dragon version of the popular Fingerlings monkey toys. These 12cm interactive mini-monsters sit on your finger and can move their heads and make strange (and pretty spooky) noises. Requires 4 LR44 batteries (included).

Why we love it: Fingerlings have been popular for some time now these dragons and dinos still look and sound great, and the way their eyes blink is ‘awesome’, according to our child testers.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys

9. Sylvanian Families Baby Castle Nursery, £30

Age: 3+

What it is: A pastel-coloured 25cm x 29cm x 18cm mini castle that comes with a piano, flags, a swing, a slide that can stand alone or used from the 2nd floor, and a table that turns into a seesaw. No baby Sylvanian figures included; you’ll have to buy those separately.

Why we love it: It’s ever so cute and dinky – and impressively versatile: lots of the accessories can be used in 2 different ways (like the table that’s also a seesaw) and you can turn the castle around to create a larger floorspace. As our child testers’ parents reported, there’s plenty of scope for imaginative play with this little playset.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys

10. KidKraft Everyday Heroes Wooden Play Set, £133

Age: 3+

What it is: A huge (97cm x 27cm x 20cm) fold-up wooden playset with 3 levels and 12 themed rooms, a helipad and a roof-to-floor fire pole. Comes with a police motorcycle, helicopter, fire truck, 2 bendable firefighters, 2 dogs and lots of other accessories. including furniture. Self-assembly required.

Why we love it: It’s pricey but very sturdy and you do get amazing furniture and 3 vehicles (which often aren’t include in other playsets). Assembling it out of the box is quite a job (definitely do it before you give it to your child!) but KidKraft do provide some excellent downloadable instructions.

Available from: Amazon and Kidkraft

11. Galt Toys Super Marble Run, £23.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A 60-piece marble helter-skelter construction set, including 9 chutes, 9 curves, 24 tubes, 6 bases, a snake pass, a rotary drop, a paddle wheel, a roundabout and 8 marbles.

Why we love it: It’s easy for a child to slot together (though they may need some help the very first time) and it’s very robust. Our testers were fascinated by the watching the marbles run and drop to the bottom – and especially liked racing their marbles with each other. With this in mind, you may want to buy some more marbles to top up the fun quotient even more.

Available from: Galt Toys, Amazon and Ocado

10. Sylvanian Families Starry Point Lighthouse Set, £59.99

Age: 5+

What it is: This 38cm x 39cm x 20cm playset with a light-up tower that projects 3 different night skies onto the ceiling of your child’s room. Comes with a kitchen unit, a sofa, a table, a hanging bed with bedding, a balloon swing, a rope ladder and a story book. No Sylvanian figures included; you’ll have to buy those separately. Requires 2 AA batteries (included).

Why we love it: The light-up tower is, of course, the thing that made our child testers gasp – and they are very pretty. Some of the details on the accessories are sweet, too: we like the whale-shaped table, in particular.

Available at: Asda, Smyths Toys and Amazon

11. LEGO City 60214 Burger Bar Rescue, £24.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A 327-piece LEGO set that builds into a burger bar (6cm x 12cm x 17cm) with a sign, service window and a toppling fire. Comes with a fire truck (15cm x 6cm x 8cm) with a rotating back end that stores a directional pump with a ‘water jet’ function. Accessories include a motorbike, 2 fire-fighters, a grill chef, a fire axe, fire extinguisher and oxygen tank.

Why we love it: No prizes for guessing it’s the pop-up flames and the ‘water’ jet that stand out for us. The best LEGO sets are always the ones that are good to build and great to play with afterwards – and this one ticks both boxes nicely.

Available at: LEGO and Smyths Toys

12. SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood, £19.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A brain-teasing 24cm x 29cm x 6cm puzzle based around the story of Little Red Riding Hood. As well as the board, it comes with 5 road puzzle pieces, 3 trees, a little red riding hood, a wolf, Granny’s house, a booklet of 48 challenges and a little picture book of the Red Riding Hood tale.

Why we love it: Our child testers has proper fun working out how to get Little Red Riding Hood safely to Granny’s House. Great for helping children develop logical thinking and spatial awareness – and we like how the challenges get more difficult as you work though the booklet.

Available at: SmartToys and Amazon

13. VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, £39.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A 22cm touchscreen ‘smart watch’ that takes photos, records videos, adds fun photo effects, frames and filters, records your voice and tells the time. Available in 6 different colours, and comes with a micro USB cable for recharging and file transfer. Has 128 MB of built-in memory, allowing for storage of around 900 photos or 15 minutes of video.

Why we love it: It’s pretty cool to wear and is packed with stuff to do: as well as the photo-taking and video-making options, there are 3 built-in games, and over 50 watch-face designs to choose from. From what we’ve seen with our child testers, the voice recorder is the best bit – with its funny voice-changing effects.

Available at: Amazon

14. Craft Box Unicorn Charm Jewellery, £12.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A craft kit that contains enough sparkling beads, stretch cords, clasps and fittings to make 10 pieces of unicorn-themed jewellery. Come with instructions.

Why we love it: Nice simple crafty fun, with a little bit of unicorn magic thrown in. The charms are a good quality for the (excellent) price.

Available from: Very

15. Schleich Rider Cafe, £39.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 11cm x 29cm x 23cm horsey cafe playset with a food counter and kitchen that comes with 2 figures, a stallion, and accessories the include halter and saddle, horse trough, cafe tables and chairs, coffee machine, and loads of pies and cakes. Requires some assembly.

Why we love it: Wow, there’s so much attention to detail in this playset – from the opening oven and little cups (note the some of the pieces are very small), right down to the rose trellis growing up the side of the cafe. Our testers liked that the 2 figures have posable limbs (though oddly the girl’s legs don’t move, so she’s stuck in a seated position, while the man’s can stand and sit).

Available at: Schleich and Amazon

16. Hama Beads Space Set, £10.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A space-themed Hama-beads set that’s also a kit for making a mobile. Comes with 2,500 5mm-diameter midi beads of various colours, 1 square pegboard, 1 round pegboard, 1 mobile display ring, ironing paper, thread, instructions and a pattern guide.

Why we love it: It’s a really good little project for a 5-year-old: our testers spent ages concentrating on making up the various designs, spurred on by the thought of stringing them all together to make a mobile. Great for fine-finger-control skills and properly rewarding at the end.

Available at: Fun Learning and Amazon

17. Orchard Toys Pop To the Shops, £10

Age: 5+

What it is: A (bestselling) board game, where you have a set of items to buy, and you throw the dice to move from shop to shop, using your plastic money to buy your shopping before someone else fills their basket first. For 2 to 4 players.

Why we love it: It’s a great way to do lots of counting, and learn about giving money and getting change. It’s well-thought out, good fun and doesn’t take forever to play.

Available at: Amazon and Orchard Toys

18. Playmobil T-Rex with Base Camp game, £49.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A 121-piece prehistoric-themed playset (24cm x 23cm x 34cm) featuring a team of scientists, a hidden temple, secret treasure, a heat-sensitive treasure map, a laser gun, a pulley, a UV torch and light-up-in-the-dark accessories, a magic plant and a T-rex with moveable arms.  1 AAA battery required (included).

Why we love it: There’s masses to have fun with in this playset (definitely the kind of toy that gets you lost in hours of imaginative play) and the UV torch is very cool. Nice to see some girl scientists in the explorer team, too. Be warned, though, that the hidden temple does take a little while to put together.

Available from: Playmobil and Amazon

19. Little Live Pets Flutter Wings Butterflies, £12.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A large (22cm x 18cm x 5cm) interactive butterfly that flaps in the palms of your hands. Comes with a flower charging base, a suction cup and an instruction manual. Choose from 6 different designs, including Love Art (pictured). Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: These butterfly pets have been around for a couple of years now but show no sign of losing popularity – and deservedly so. They’re pretty sturdy – and their wing action is impressively realistic: they doesn’t just flap but vibrate and flutter, too (although they don’t actually fly, to one of our child testers’ disappointment!)

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

20. Foxy Pants Game, £22.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A suspense game when you take it in turns to stuff chickens down the fox’s pants – until his pants fall down and you race to rescue the most chickens and put them in your coop. Comes with a fox, 21 chickens, 4 chicken coops, 1 sticker sheet and instructions. For 2 to 4 players.

Why we love it: Oh, the looks on our child testers’ faces when they realised they would be stuffing a fox’s pants with chickens – and, at some point, the pants would suddenly fall down! Just great, giggly fun.

Available from: Amazon, Argos and Very

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