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39 interactive gifts the 5-year-old in your life won’t want to put down

TODAY logo TODAY 12/14/2020 Lisa Tolin

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

Looking for a gift for a kindergartener? Five-year-olds start to become truly social at this age and love group play and games, so the best gifts for 5-year-olds include classic board games.

“They’re starting to grow out of their egocentrism, so they’re able to understand another’s perspective. They’re more understanding of taking turns and not winning all the time,” said Marie Conti, the head of The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and a board member of the American Montessori Society.

Once they've left age 4 and enter age 5, they start school with new challenges but also more focus, which helps them conquer fine motor tasks and complicated physical activities.

“They are testing out skills that have gotten stronger as they grow,” said Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive.”

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Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s 2020 Gift Guide to find the perfect present for everyone on your list!

Bestselling gifts from this article:

Best arts and crafts and creative gifts for 5-year-olds

1. Munchkin Bath Crayons

Munchkin Bath Crayons

a close up of a tower: Munchkin Bath Crayons Munchkin Bath Crayons

Munchkin Bath Crayons $4.99 at Target

Bring some fun to bath time with these crayons. Your little one can draw pictures and practice their letter on the side of the bathtub, then you can easily wash them off when they're done.

2. Lite Brite Ultimate Classic

Lite Brite Ultimate Classic

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table
  • Lite Brite Ultimate Classic $12.89 at Target
  • Lite Brite Ultimate Classic $12.82 at Walmart

This classic toy never goes out of style. They can create their own unique artwork or follow one of the fun designs.

3. Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Library Set

Arts and Crafts Library Set

Arts and Crafts Library Set (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Arts and Crafts Library Set (Amazon / Amazon)

Unlock your child's creativity with all the arts and crafts tools they could ever need!

4. Crayola Inspiration Art Case

Crayola Inspiration Art Case

a stack of flyers on a table: Crayola Inspiration Art Case (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Crayola Inspiration Art Case (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Crayola Inspiration Art Case $24.99 at Amazon
  • Crayola Inspiration Art Case $19.97 at Walmart

Five-year-olds are ready for more advanced art projects (and scissors).

5. My Cinema Lightbox

My Cinema Lightbox - The Mini Color-Changing LED Marquee

a close up of a clock: My Cinema Lightbox (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon My Cinema Lightbox (Amazon / Amazon)

My Cinema Lightbox - The Mini Color-Changing LED Marquee $24.99 at Amazon

Promote literacy with favorite quotes or phrases that kids can arrange themselves.

6. 3Doodler 3D Build & Play

3Doodler 3D Build & Play

a book on a table: 3Doodler 3D Build & Play (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon 3Doodler 3D Build & Play (Amazon / Amazon)
  • 3Doodler 3D Build & Play $23.99 at Amazon
  • 3Doodler 3D Build & Play $23.99 at Target

Let creativity come in three dimensions with this beginner's 3D pen that does not get hot to the touch.

7. Raddish Kids Cooking Club

Raddish Kids Cooking Club

a person preparing food in a kitchen
  • Raddish Kids Cooking Club $24.00 at Amazon
  • Raddish Kids Cooking Club $24.00 at Raddish

This subscription box for kids arrives with recipes and tools to help kids get active in the kitchen.

8. Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit

Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit

Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit (Amazon / Amazon)

Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit $21.99 at Amazon

Art projects and craft kits promote fine motor skills and creativity.

9. Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit

Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit

a hand holding a cell phone: Elmer'S Confetti Slime Kit | Slime Supplies Include Metallic Glue, Clear Glue, Confetti Magical Liquid Slime Activator, 4 Count (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Elmer'S Confetti Slime Kit | Slime Supplies Include Metallic Glue, Clear Glue, Confetti Magical Liquid Slime Activator, 4 Count (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit $8.47 at Amazon
  • Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit $12.47 at Walmart
  • Elmer's Confetti Slime Kit $9.97 at Michaels

Making slime with this simple kit from Elmer's is an easy rainy day activity for your little one.

10. Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book

Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book

calendar: Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book $4.99 at Amazon
  • Water Wow Coloring & Painting Book $4.99 at Target

Simply fill the pen with water and they can watch the colors come to life as they "paint" each picture.

Best games and toys for 5-year-olds

1. Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal

Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal

a close up of food: Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal
  • Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal $9.99 at Target
  • Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal $9.97 at Amazon
  • Cutetitos Pizzaitos Surprise Stuffed Animal $9.97 at Walmart

5-year-olds love stuffed animals, and they'll have a blast unwrapping these soft plush toys to discover which one they got. Each animal comes wrapped in a pizza blanket and includes a collector card that will tell them all about their new best friend.

2. Star Projector Night Light

Star Projector Night Light

Star Projector Night Light (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Star Projector Night Light (Amazon / Amazon)

Star Projector Night Light $35.99 at Amazon

This unique night light will project the moon and stars on your little one's bedroom walls. You can set the timer so it will turn off by the time they fall asleep.

3. Squeakee the Balloon Dog

Squeakee The Balloon Dog

a close up of a toy: Squeakee The Balloon Dog - Feed Him, Teach Him Tricks, Pop Him, and Watch Him Deflate! Squeakee The Balloon Dog - Feed Him, Teach Him Tricks, Pop Him, and Watch Him Deflate!

Squeakee The Balloon Dog $44.99 at Target

This balloon dog is interactive and voice-responsive to commands, like a well-trained dog without the mess.

4. Plus Plus Construction Building Set

Plus Plus Construction Building Toy Set

a little girl sitting at a table

Plus Plus Construction Building Toy Set $33.99 at Amazon

For Lego lovers, this set takes building to a different dimension.

5. Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run

Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run

Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run $24.95 at Amazon
  • Mindware Q-BA Maze Marble Run $45.99 at BuyBuyBaby

Your little builder can create elaborate marble runs with these pieces that combine in any direction they can imagine.

6. Hasbro Connect 4 Game

Hasbro Connect 4 Game

Hasbro Connect 4 Game Hasbro Connect 4 Game
  • Hasbro Connect 4 Game $7.88 at Amazon
  • Hasbro Connect 4 Game $7.88 at Target

This classic game requires a bit of strategizing during playtime.

7. Monopoly Junior Board Game

Monopoly Junior Game

calendar: Monopoly Junior Game (Walmart / Walmart) © Walmart Monopoly Junior Game (Walmart / Walmart)
  • Monopoly Junior Game $29.90 at Amazon
  • Monopoly Junior Game $10.79 at Target
  • Monopoly Junior Game $14.88 at Walmart

This Monopoly game is downsized from the old-fashioned favorite.

8. Lego City People Pack

Lego City People Pack

a little boy sitting at a table: LEGO City People Pack - Outdoors Adventures 60202 Building Kit (164 Piece) (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon LEGO City People Pack - Outdoors Adventures 60202 Building Kit (164 Piece) (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Lego City People Pack $71.99 at Amazon
  • Lego City People Pack $84.99 at Walmart

Little builders may crave Lego kits with Batman, police helicopters or a treehouse. Conti said it's important that kids have Legos outside of kits, too, for open-ended play.

9. Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection

Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection

a living room filled with furniture and a book shelf: Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection

Ikea Bygglek Lego Collection $9.99 at Ikea

Put those Legos away stylishly with containers from Ikea that allow kids to build on top of the box, too.

10. American Girl Emerson Doll

American Girl Emerson Doll

a little girl in a pink dress

Conti likes American Girl dolls for this age. These smaller versions are good for 5-year-olds.

11. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball

Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball

logo: Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball $18.99 at Amazon
  • Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball $9.97 at Walmart

Klein and Conti both recommended sports equipment and other toys that promote physical activity, especially for boys, who Conti said “seem to have way more physical energy” at this stage.

12. Disney Frozen Adventure Collection

Disney Frozen Adventure Collection

a group of people in costumes: Disney Frozen Adventure Collection Disney Frozen Adventure Collection

Disney Frozen Adventure Collection $17.89 at Target

Mini-figures and accessories encourage storytelling during playtime.

13. Brackitz Pulley Set

Brackitz Pulley Set for Kids

a small child is sitting in front of a toy: Brackitz Pulley Set for Kids (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Brackitz Pulley Set for Kids (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Brackitz Pulley Set for Kids $39.99 at Amazon
  • Brackitz Pulley Set for Kids $35.99 at Walmart

Conti loved construction sets for 5-year-olds. This one from Brackitz allows children to create zip-lines, cranes or elevators.

14. Fun Forts Fort Building Kit

Fun Forts Kids Tent for Kids

Fun Forts Kids Tent for Kids (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Fun Forts Kids Tent for Kids (Amazon / Amazon)

Fun Forts Kids Tent for Kids $39.95 at Amazon

Sure, you could make a fort with a blanket and chair. But this is next-level building that requires design thinking and problem-solving.

15. Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle

Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle

a close up of a box: Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle (Amazon / Amazon)

Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle $16.99 at Amazon

This 64-piece puzzle is just the right size for a 5-year-old, and lets little ones search for hidden objects once it's assembled.

16. Firefly Baby Shark Limited Edition Smile Value Pack

Firefly Baby Shark Limited Edition Smile Value Pack

graphical user interface, application, calendar: Firefly Baby Shark Limited Edition Smile Value Pack (Walmart / Walmart) © Walmart Firefly Baby Shark Limited Edition Smile Value Pack (Walmart / Walmart)

Firefly Baby Shark Limited Edition Smile Value Pack $9.88 at Walmart

While this isn't exactly a toy, it is a gift that'll make a normally mundane activity much more fun (and ultimately create healthier habits!). The set includes an anti-cavity fluoride toothpaste, a motorized toothbrush, a travel kit with toothbrush and flossers, and a mystery prize.

17. Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game

Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game

calendar, map: Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game $24.99 at Amazon
  • Haba Animal Upon Animal Stacking Game $24.99 at Walmart

More complicated puzzles and building with smaller toys are appealing now, according to Klein.

Related: Find and buy the best deals for parents online including sales on toys, new baby essentials, gifts and more on TODAY.com.

Best books for 5-year-olds

1. "Unstoppable," by Adam Rex and Laura Park

"Unstoppable," by Adam Rex and Laura Park

© Amazon
  • "Unstoppable," by Adam Rex and Laura Park $13.89 at Amazon
  • "Unstoppable," by Adam Rex and Laura Park $16.99 at Barnes and Noble

What would happen if a crow that could fly got together with a crab that could pinch noses? Well, they'd be unstoppable. This hilarious take on teamwork will keep 5-year-olds and their parents giggling.

“Continuing with storybooks is important, because enjoying the story is a really big part of learning to read,” said Nina Lindsay, president of the Association for Library Service to Children.

2. “The Couch Potato,” by Jory John and Pete Oswald

"The Couch Potato" by Jory John

shape: The Couch Potato (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon The Couch Potato (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "The Couch Potato" by Jory John $16.99 at Amazon
  • "The Couch Potato" by Jory John $18.99 at Barnes and Noble
  • "The Couch Potato" by Jory John $18.99 at Target

The couch potato loves his life of leisure, until he's forced outside. This funny follow-up to “The Bad Seed” and "The Good Egg" is a timely lesson in self-care.

3. "My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki

"My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki

a close up of a flower © Amazon
  • "My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki $10.65 at Amazon
  • "My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki $10.79 at Target
  • "My Best Friend," by Julie Fogliano and Jillian Tamaki $15.99 at Barnes and Noble

Two little girls are new friends, and maybe best friends, in this lyrical celebration of a childlike discovery of the magic of friendship.

4. "The Bear and the Moon," by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien

"The Bear and the Moon," by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien

a close up of a book © Amazon
  • "The Bear and the Moon," by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien $14.99 at Amazon
  • "The Bear and the Moon," by Matthew Burgess and Catia Chien $18.99 at Barnes and Noble

A red balloon comes to bear from the sky. When his claws get the better of it, he thinks he's a bad bear but takes comfort from the moon and his memories.

5. "Frog and Toad Are Friends," by Arnold Lobel

"Frog and Toad Are Friends," by Arnold Lobel

text, calendar © Amazon
  • "Frog and Toad Are Friends," by Arnold Lobel $16.99 at Amazon
  • "Frog and Toad Are Friends," by Arnold Lobel $7.00 at Barnes and Noble

Emerging readers can celebrate 50 years of Frog and Toad with this commemorative edition of a classic.

6. "Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas

"Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas

a close up of a logo © Amazon
  • "Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas $12.99 at Amazon
  • "Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas $11.08 at Walmart
  • "Fox & Rabbit Make Believe," by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas $12.99 at Target

This early reader uses a graphic novel format, which helps beginning readers follow along and stay engaged in the story.

7. "Sharko and Hippo," by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi

"Sharko and Hippo," by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi

text © Amazon
  • "Sharko and Hippo," by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi $17.99 at Amazon
  • "Sharko and Hippo," by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi $17.99 at Barnes and Noble

Hippo just can't get Sharko's commands right in this book of silly wordplay.

8. "When I Draw a Panda," by Amy June Bates

"When I Draw a Panda," by Amy June Bates

© Amazon
  • "When I Draw a Panda," by Amy June Bates $14.84 at Amazon
  • "When I Draw a Panda," by Amy June Bates $17.99 at Target

A girl who draws not-quite-perfect circles makes them into a panda, and makes that panda her own in this celebration of the creative spirit.

9. "The Scarecrow," by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers

"The Scarecrow," by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers

© Amazon
  • "The Scarecrow," by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers $9.49 at Amazon
  • "The Scarecrow," by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers $16.99 at Barnes and Noble

This rhyming story of a scarecrow with an unexpected attachment to a baby crow will resonate with children and their parents.

10. "My Book with No Pictures," by B.J. Novak

"My Book with No Pictures," by B.J. Novak

text: My Book with No Pictures (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon My Book with No Pictures (Amazon / Amazon)
  • "My Book with No Pictures," by B.J. Novak $8.69 at Amazon
  • "My Book with No Pictures," by B.J. Novak $9.99 at Barnes and Noble

Kids familiar with the hilarious "The Book With No Pictures" can create their own version.

11. "Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery

"Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery

text © Amazon
  • "Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery $14.99 at Amazon
  • "Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery $14.99 at Barnes and Noble
  • "Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures," by Mike Lowery $14.99 at Walmart

Five-year-olds should also read non-fiction, like this fact-packed book about sharks, a follow-up to the best-seller "Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts."

12. Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker

Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker Kit

Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker Kit (Amazon / Amazon) © Amazon Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker Kit (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker Kit $18.95 at Amazon
  • Magnetic Poetry Kids Story Maker Kit $17.95 at Fat Brain Toys

Emerging readers can create their own stories with these ready-made building blocks.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Be sure to check out Shop TODAY’s 2020 Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:

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This gift guide was originally published on Nov. 22, 2017.

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