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17 of the best toys for 6 year olds

Our pick of the top tried-and-tested toys for boys and girls aged 6 and over

best toys for 6 year olds

Your 6-year-old has a longer attention span now, so they are able to play with an engaging toy for quite a while without getting bored or distracted. They also enjoy problem-solving toys, such as puzzles, more complex colouring and construction sets.

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They still really like structured activities, so kits and builds where you produce something at the end are nearly always a good choice. And toys that can involve friends, such as board games, are also a winner – although they may not always be able to handle losing with total grace.

They still enjoy imaginative play (often for extended periods of time) but may also be becoming more interested in doing ‘real’ things, such as taking real photographs with a (child-sized) camera instead of role-playing to take pictures with a pretend camera.

How to choose toys safely

  • Look for the CE symbol as this is used by manufacturers to show the toy meets all the relevant regulatory requirements
  • Also keep an eye out for the British Toy and Hobby Association’s (BTHA) ‘Lion Mark’ – although this is voluntary it means that the toy has to meet safety requirements to be a member 
  • Pay attention to the age suitability of the toy
  • Avoid toys with loose fabric, hair that sheds easily or small parts that detach easily as these can be a choking hazard
  • Check toys over time for sharp points or edges. If they have become dangerously worn considering getting rid of them or having them repaired if possible

Here’s our pick of the best toys for 6 year olds, as tested by children and rated by their parents…

1. Little Tikes Tobi 2 Director’s Camera, £69.99

– Great for creative fun

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: 1 LiPo rechargeable (included, with USB cable)
Awards: Editor’s Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 27cm-high high-definition camera with which you can take selfies, play games, shoot video, edit footage and add effects. Features a tripod/selfie stick, green screen with 40 animated backgrounds, flip-out lens and microSD slot for more storage space.

Why we love it: As soon as it was charged, our child testers were off playing with it and making little films and vlogs like the kids they watch on YouTube. “It’s a great toy and makes me feel like a big girl!” said Isabella, 6. We – and our child testers’ parents – were impressed by the range of features and the picture quality. “It’s fun and easy to use,” said Gemma, mum of Jordan, 6. “I definitely think it’s worth the money as it encourages children to take a look at the world around them as well as have those silly selfie moments. Any child would love this.”

Available at: Little Tikes and Amazon

2. DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll, £35

– Great for nurturing skills and hair-change fun

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 46cm-high doll with long white hair which changes to pink and orange when exposed to sunlight. Comes with 2 outfits – human and mermaid – and a charm bracelet for her new owner. Arrives packaged in tissue paper in a boutique-style cardboard gift box.

Why we love it: She’s a nice big, huggable doll and her outfits are lovely – especially the mermaid’s tail and the very sparkly silver trainers – but her big attraction is that amazing colour-changing hair. “It’s magical hair!” said our child tester Matilda, 5, who takes her doll to bed with her every night. “I love her pretty clothes and the bracelet that she gave to me. I want to play with her all the time.”

Available at: Argos

3. Orchard Toys First Times Tables Games, £8.50

– Great for numeracy skills

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A teacher-tested educational board game with a pancake theme that’s designed to support your child with their 2, 5 and 10 times tables. You spin the spinner, solve the sum on the pancake before using the spatula to flip it over and find out the answer. Comes with 30 pancake cards, 4 place setting boards, 1 card spatula, a spinner and 3 number line boards. For 2 to 4 players.

Why we love it: It’s a great-value, easy-to-grasp game and does a good job of making multiplication fun. Charlotte, mum of Matilda, 6, found it helped boost her daughter’s confidence with her 2 and 5 times tables.”And she has learnt her 10 times tables whilst playing the game,” she said. “She can’t wait to show her teacher and friends what she has learnt. Both my girls played this game nicely together and helped each other and laughed.”

Available at: Orchard Toys, Amazon and Early Learning Centre

4. Geomag Supercolor 78 pcs, £45

– Great for problem-solving and construction skills

Age suitability: 5+| Best for age: 5+ |  Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What is it: A 78-piece set of magnetic rods, balls and shapes that you can ‘stick’ together to make different shapes, patterns and objects. The rods and shapes are made of recycled plastic, Comes with an instruction booklet featuring 7 suggested designs.

Why we love it: The suggested designs are fun to build but we also like how this toy lends itself to open-ended construction, too. Our child tester Brooke, 7,  said, “This is so cool! It was really fun building all the things. I want to play with it all the time!” Her mum Sarah-Jane – and our other child testers’ parents – was impressed by the clear, step-by-step instructions and by the little containers included in the box for storing the sticks and balls so they don’t get lost. “It is a little expensive,” she said, “but it’s very well made and you can instantly see the quality. It’s a toy that would continue to appeal to your child when they’re older, and you know it would last for years.”

Available at: Amazon

5. Dodo Observation Puzzle World of Animals, £7.99

– Great for logical thinking and learning about the world

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: An 80-piece jigsaw that fits together to make a 31cm x 45cm map of the world with different animals on it in the geographical region they come from. More animals run round the border of the finished puzzle.

Why we love it: The jigsaw’s a good challenge for a 6-year-old and the finished picture is bright and appealing. We like the border, which you could use as a spotting game, matching the animals there to the ones on the map. Our child tester Elijah, 7, said: “The jigsaw was a bit tricky at first but I finished it in the end and it made me happy that I had done it by myself. I liked looking for the animals on the map – some of them were in more than one place!”

Available at: Amazon and Halilit

6. Playmobil Family Fun Large Zoo, £59.99

– Great for extended imaginative play

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 68cm x 30cm x 16cm plastic zoo playset, featuring a visitors’ observation platform and souvenir shop. Comes with 6 figures, 6 penguins, 2 giraffes, a pelican, a butterfly, a mole, a mouse, rocks for the penguins, a tree with giraffe feeder, and smaller accessories including a camera, doughnuts and zoo maps.

Why we love it: This easy-to-set-up zoo is packed with brilliant little details: there are balloons to buy at the souvenir shop and a slide for the penguins, along with a bucket of fish to feed them with. Sarah, mum to our child tester Samuel, 5, said, “You can buy tickets and get a map at the entrance, feed the giraffe and penguins, and look through the telescope. There’s even a pile of giraffe poo to clean up, which Samuel found very funny!”

Available at: Smyths Toys, Hamleys, John Lewis and Amazon

7. Hexbug Nano Flash Nanoplex, £40

– Great for building and logical thinking

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: 6 x LR44 (included)

What it is: A (roughly) 30cm x 30cm 40-piece playset that you build into a ‘playground’ for electronically scuttling ‘nano’ bugs. As well as track pieces, it includes jelly walls, ramps and merry-go-rounds. Comes with 4 nanos, 2 of which flash.

Why we love it: Watching the nanos race and scuttle around is great fun and the flashing nanos are the business, according to our child tester Ted, 7: “I like the way it flashes – exciting!” We like how freeform this playset is – there are loads of different ways to put the pieces together (although it has to be said that the instructions aren’t fantastically helpful).

Available at: Hexbug and Amazon

8. Q-BA-Maze Big Box, £34.99

– Great for problem-solving and creative construction

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A set of 72 colourful cubes that interlock to build a marble-run maze. Comes with 20 steel marbles and an instruction booklet.

Why we love it: Our child testers were mesmerised by this. Not only can you build your own marble-run but the cubes have different ‘exit’ channels in them, so the marbles can often get sent a way you don’t expect! A good logical-thinking construction set. There are also instructions for building sculptures – we quite like the fish one, though it is a bit tricky.

Available at: Amazon

9. Carddies, £8.99 per pack

– Great for creativity and fine finger skills 

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A set of 12 double-sided card characters to colour in and then fix in their little plastic stand. Colouring pencils included. Choose from 16 different sets on themes including sports, families, weddings, knights and fairies.

Why we love it: The hand-drawn illustrations are lovely and the card is nice and strong. We like that each figure has a front and a back to colour in. Our child tester Anny spent ages colouring her pirate-themed figures (extra marks for the girl pirates in the pack!) and then had great fun, with her younger brother, moving them around in a very ‘ooh-arr-me-hearty’ ship-raiding scene.

A really nice crafty gift with loads of scope for imaginative play.

Available at: Amazon and Mama Brown

10. Pokemon Carry Case Play Set, £39.99

– Great for role play

Age: 5+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 28cm x 18cm hard-plastic backpack that opens up to reveal a little Pokemon playground, complete with boulder trap, battle arena, launchers, secret doors, treetop platform and spinning whirpool. Comes with 1 Pikachu figure (others sold separately).

Why we love it: We really like how it all folds away into its pack and our child tester was very taken by the idea of carrying it around on his back. The playset itself is quite a nice size and the play features are fun – we like the battle launchers best – but it’s a shame there’s only 1 play figure included. It’s pretty pricey– you’re paying a bit more for the Pokemon tie-in – and it is very plasticky but, if you’ve a little Pikachu fan in the house, it’ll keep ’em busy for a happily good while.

Available at: Smyths Toys and Amazon

11. Barbie Fresh and Fun Food Truck, £49.99

– Great for imaginative play

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 46cm-long vehicle with Barbie (sticker) ‘paintwork’ that can open up a side hatch to become a food truck or open up completely to become a food-serving station. Comes with over 30 accessories, including pots and pans, serving trays, drinks, seating and food. Barbie doll not included.

Why we love it: It’s big and bright and Barbie-tastic. We really like the stove and grill – there’s a little knob on the rotating grill to turn the food round. And the accessories are great, too – our child tester loved the smoothie blender best. If you have a Barbie doll, you’ll find some of the accessories will clip on to her hands, so she can carry the food, and so on. Do be warned that, although the truck comes assembled, you do need to place (quite a few) stickers on it before it’s ready to play with.

Available at: Amazon and Argos

12. Melissa & Doug Get Well Doctor Activity Centre, £214.99

– Great for extended role play

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Batteries: None

What is it: A 90cm x 94cm x 53cm wooden doctor’s surgery/waiting room. On one side is the examination couch with blood pressure monitor, phone and X-ray viewer; on the other is a seat, a clock and interchangeable health posters, And at the end is a sink and a credit-card machine (this is healthcare, US-style!). Requires some self-assembly.

Why we love it: “I like it because it has a pretend sink and soap and a clock to play with,” says Claudia, our child tester, 6. “I love it! It makes me want to be a doctor.” It is very pricey – and it doesn’t come with any doctor’s-tools accessories (as you might think, looking at some of the pictures) – but it’s incredibly sturdy and well made. And it’s more than big enough for 2 or 3 children to play with it at the same time.

Available at:  John Lewis and Uber Kids

13. So Bomb DIY Bath Bomb Factory, £19.99

– Great for craft-based fun

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A kit that lets you make 6 bath bombs, with some little charms you can pop inside them as a ‘surprise’. It comes with 3 storage tubes, a moulding shape, pipette and measuring spoon, 12 bags of brightly coloured powder, 2 bags of decorations, and 4 surprise figurines.

Why we like it: It actually makes super fizzing bombs! Our child testers were delighted are how incredibly well they implode in the bath – and how nice they smell. We’d advise squishing the powder before putting it in the mixer (to remove any lumps) and leaving the bombs to set for longer than the 30 minutes it says on the box – as otherwise they can crumble quite easily.

Available at: Amazon

14. Solar System Scratch Art, £5.95 for a 10-pack

– Great for all levels of creativity

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A pack of 10 pre-cut space shapes and a scratch tool which you use to scrape off the specially coated black surface to reveal lovely rainbow colours. Comes with hanging ribbons.

Why we love it: Our child testers (some of them quite arty; some of them not so much) all enjoyed getting creative with these scratch-art shapes. Some of them just scratched off all the coating, others left a few bits black or even scratched their own patterns into the coating to reveal a rainbow design of their own. We like that this kit comes with ribbons for hanging up your space artwork afterwards.

Available at: Baker Ross and Amazon

15. Imaginext DC Super Friends Gotham City Jail, £29.99

– Great for superhero imaginative play

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: 3 x LR44 (included)

What is it:  A 26cm-high jail set with 5 cells, a Batman figure and a Bane figure. Turn a disc to make Bane ‘power up’ and break out of jail, and then rotate the Bat signal to call Batman for help.

Why we love it: It’s not huge and it doesn’t ‘do’ masses but what it does, it does well. Our child tester Finley, 6, really loved how Bane glows when he powers up and how Batman, of course, controls all the cell doors. We wish it came with more baddies (there are 3 other cells to fill!) but it’s a nice little toy to spark off lots of hero/villain imaginative play.

Available from: Smyths ToysThe Entertainer and Amazon

16. Aquabeads Beginners Studio, £15

– Great for dexterity and creativity

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 5+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A craft kit containing 840 beads in 16 colours, a table tray, a palette, a bead peeler, 2 double-sided template sheets, a bead pen and sprayer.

Why we love it: This kit’s has been a deserved bestseller for a while now, with our child testers rating it for the cute little animals you can make and how they can set the beads themselves with water spray, rather than giving them to an adult set with a hot iron, like you have to for some other bead kits. We particularly like the design of the tray, with its inset ‘work area’, and the way the different storage areas can keep different coloured beads separate.

Available from: Amazon and Hobbycraft

17. GeoSafari Jr Kidnoculars Extreme, £21.99

– Great for nature lovers and outdoor explorations

Age suitability  5+ | Best for age: 6+ | Batteries: 2 x AAA (not included)

What it is: A pair of 19cm x 18cm x 9cm child-friendly binoculars with 3 x no-focus magnification and a built-in audio amplifier. Comes with a safety strap.

Why we love it: They’re lightweight, durable and have a touch of scuba-mask cool about them. Our child tester Jamir thought they were “super fun” and his mum Lauren was very impressed by their quality and by the sound enhancement feature. “I thought this toy was amazing,” she says. “Jamir loved the fact that it had headphones connected to it. It kept him occupied for a good long time, and he’s been bringing them with him on the way to school to see what he can see!”

Available from: Amazon and Bright Minds

Images: Product websites

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About the author Helen Brown

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she’s also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

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