Your 5-year-old is a creative and enthusiastic problem solver, and usually up for a toy that requires some focus or offers a building or thinking or sustained imaginative-play challenge.
Your child can also use his or her fingers much more flexibly to control writing, painting and crafting tools and tackle more complicated construction or technology toys.
Here are the best toys to choose for your 5-year-old:
1. Dessineo ‘Painting by Stencils’ Animals, £9.99
What it is: A learn-to-paint kit that lets you paint an 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
What it is: A dinosaur version of the popular Fingerlings toys. They are interactive, moving their heads and making strange (and pretty spooky) dinosaurs noises.
Why we love it: Fingerlings have been popular for some time now, and we really like the fact they’ve gone for a less ‘cutesy’ version (which the monkeys definitely are).
These dinos look great, the noises they make are eery, and the way their eyes blink is pretty creepy too.
We discovered from our toy awards that these are the kind of toys children want to take to school or round their friends’ houses to show them off, meaning the Fingerlings popularity continues to grow and grow.
Available from Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys
What it is: A little nursery for baby Sylvanians which comes with a piano, swing, a slide that can be set alone or used from the second floor, and a table that turns into a seesaw.
Why we love it: Even though this piece is fairly small, you can make different layouts with it, so you can have a larger lounge and a garden.
When we saw it at Dreamtoys in 2018 we couldn’t get over how cute this looks in real life. If your child is a Sylvanian family fan this is a really nice add-on piece for their collection.
Available from: Argos
Age: 5 – 9 years
What it is: A quirky and colourful motorised robot that your child will build themselves, out of 130 pieces. 3 batteries are needed to get it working, and they’re not included.
Why we love it: Girls and boys with a wicked sense of humour and an aptitude for science stuff are sure to get a kick out of this build-it-yourself challenge.
We really like how putting the gears and pieces together into a successful toy helps encourage STEM and problem-solving skills, as well as giving little ones a real sense of accomplishment.
We also like that the building’s not the whole fun, too. The ‘wacky’ character chomps his teeth, flashes lights, has glow in the dark eyes and isn’t afraid to spring out at you.
Available at: Learning Resources
What it is: A 53-piece marble helter skelter, 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 (thought they may need some help the very first time) and it’s very robust.
Most 5-year-olds will be FASCINATED by the marbles running through the chutes and wheels. You may want to buy some more marbles to top up the fun quotient even more.
Available at: Galt Toys and Ocado
What it is: Another lovely, sturdy home for those cutest of creatures, the little Sylvanian family figures.
Why we love it: The lighthouse projects 3 different night skies onto the ceiling of your little one’s room and attaches to your other Sylvanian family furniture. One thing to note is that it doesn’t come with any figures – though if your child’s already a fan chances are you’ll have plenty around already t occupy the space.
Available at: Asda,Smyths Toys and Amazon
What it is: An 81-piece LEGO set that includes 4 mini-figures, a mailbox, trolleys, lights and a helicopter with spinning rotors and storage boxes.
Why we love it: This is lovely – and excellent-value – ‘starter’ kit for children who are ready to move on from chunkier LEGO Duplo to something a little more intricate.
That’s not to say you may not need to help out on the construction – but that’s all part of the fun!
Available at: Amazon
What it is: A twist on that much-loved classic board game, snakes and ladders, suitable for 2 to 4 players.
Why we love it: If your little one already knows the rules to snakes and ladders then getting the hang of this will be easy-peasy.
And while we know not all games have to be educational, it’s a bit of an added bonus that this one gets them practising their maths a bit.
Available at: John Lewis and Amazon
What it is: A set of 17 foam stickers and 5 glitter sheets, so you child can have tonnes of fun making glittery spaceships, creepy crawlies, dinosaurs and more.
Why we love it: A glitter activity that doesn’t leave you vacuuming up glitter from EVERYWHERE for weeks? Result! And this kit really is great value and easy to use: just peel away the white paper from the sticker shapes, then press them on one of the glitter sheets for instant sparkle.
Suitable for ages: From 5 years
Available from: Cara Pharmacy
What it is: A touchscreen ‘smart watch’ that takes photos, records videos, adds fun photo effects, frames and filters, records your voice – and, oh yes, tells the time. Available in 6 different colours, and comes with a micro USB cable for recharging and file transfer..
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.
We suspect loads of 5-year-olds will love the voice recorder best – with its funny voice-changing effects. The watch has 128 MB of built-in memory, allowing for storage of around 900 photos or 15 minutes of video. No surprise is was an award winner in our 2017 toy awards.
Suitable for ages: 5 years and up.
Available at: Smyths Toys and Amazon
What it is: A jewellery-making craft kit that contains beautiful sparkling beads, stretch cords, clasps, fittings and instructions.
Why we love it: Gorgeous crafty fun, with a little bit of unicorn magic thrown in. And at the end of it you’ll have some super-sparkly bling to wear!
Suitable for ages: 4 years and up.
Available from: Very
What it is: Wooden blocks and magnetic wheels that can be put together to make all sorts of different vehicles. Comes with an ‘inspiration manual’.
Why we love it: The quality is stunning and, with so many construction and play options, it’s a brilliant way to support some open-ended, creative play.
Suitable for ages: 3 +
Available at: Amazon and Crafts 4 Kids
What it is: A stable and paddock set, where you can groom healthy horses and patch up the ones who are poorly. Comes with stable, 2 people figures, 2 horses, a duck and 2 ducklings, vet accessories and assembly instructions.
Why we love it: It’s pretty easy to construct (super-easy for a Playmobil set), and it has lots of lovely detail in the accessories. We really like the combination of horsey-play and looking-after-animals play.
Suitable for ages: 4 years and up.
Available at: Smyths Toys
What it is: A Hama-beads set that comes with 2,500 beads, 2 pegboards and instructions. Your child’s creations, once ironed, can be strung up into a space-themed mobile (mobile ring and string included).
Why we love it: Most 5-year-olds love Hama beads and can literally spend hours concentrating on choosing the bead and making the patterns. We love this set because it not overtly either girly or boysie – and the idea of making the finished creations into a mobile is genius!
Available at: Fun Learning and CraftMerrily
What it is: A bestselling board game for 2 to 4 players, 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 everyone else.
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 and good fun, too, and doesn’t take forever to play.
Suitable for ages: 5 years and up.
Available at: Amazon and Orchard Toys
Age: 4 to 7 years
What it is: A 121-piece play kit with a UV torch, a rotating laser gun with LED light and a plant with closed leaves which opens to reveal a hidden mushroom.
There are also Crystals, jungle plant and a test tube made with UV-active plastic which can be lit up in the dark with the torch. There’s also the Explorers team and a T-Rex with movable arms.
Why we love it: There’s lots you can do with this kit and we’ve heard many times that parents reckon it’s good value – not only for what you get, but for the good amount of play time children seem to get from it.
Available from: Argos and John Lewis
What it is: A butterfly version of the Live Pets range (you might have seen the birds and the puppies). Don’t forget batteries – this one takes 2xAAs and they’re not included.
Why we love it: If you have a child who’s already familiar with the Little Live Pets and loves them, we think this is a really pretty one to add to their collection. Your butterfly flaps her glitterly wings and gets energy from the flower base.
Another nice thing about these is that there are 6 to collect, with cute names including Love Art, Confetti and Flutter Heart.
Available from: Amazon
18. Foxy Pants Game, £18.99
What it is: This game is for 2 or more players and includes 1x fox, 21x chickens, 4x chicken coops, 1x sticker sheet and instructions.
Why we love it: The fox steals chickens but if he puts too many in his pockets his pants will fall down! You need to try and rescue the chickens and get them into their coop.
This is a nice quality game and really fun – your child can add the stickers to jolly it up and the rules are nice and simple so younger children can enjoy it too.