While it may seem that the toddler years were here just a minute ago, your now-5-year-old is headed off to school. That means a whole variety of new skills to sharpen, new friends to make and play with and new interests to explore — something to keep in mind when shopping for gifts for kids starting their elementary school journeys.
"At this age, they should be able to maintain a longer play sequence with multiple steps and multiple partners," says Gayle Kligman, M.Ed, the executive chairman of Family of Kidz. "They can negotiate among themselves who will have specific roles. They are more verbal with each other and are able to do more symbolic play."
The best toys and gifts for kids in this age group will stimulate movement in space, challenge their cognition, help to develop balance and coordination, encourage pretend play and help them practice those early reading skills, says Magdalena Oledzka, PT. It's why they'll enjoy toys like sports equipment and outdoor toys, building blocks, activity books, art supplies, role-play items that encourage imaginative games and beginner board games.
With those growing brains and bodies in mind, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute regularly tests and evaluate toys in all areas of interest. First, the Parenting Lab experts check the toys to make sure they're safe and well-constructed, then hand them off to kids who make sure they're fun to play with. Here's our picks for the best toys and unusual gifts for 5-year-old boys in 2022.
Creative Building Toy for 5-Year-Old BoysCrazy Forts Crazy Forts Read More
Good Housekeeping Kids' Book Award WinnerKnight Owl Christy Ottaviano Books Read More
Best Outdoor Toy for 5-Year-Old BoysStunt Planes Set Stomp Rocket Read More
Unusual Gift for 5-Year-Old BoysDoodleJamz JellyPics Sky Castle Read More
Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award WinnerExpress Your Feelings Sensory Bottles hand2mind Read More
Many of these picks have earned top marks at the Good Housekeeping Institute's tests, and many are even past Good Housekeeping Toy Award winners. We've also added in a few editor's picks, bestsellers and hot toys of 2022 to keep the list as up-to-date as possible for the lucky kindergarteners out there. Add them to your carts before Black Friday, and you'll be at a huge advantage in your holiday shopping.
Before including our favorite picks in an article, the Good Housekeeping Institute does rigorous toy testing to ensure we're recommending only the best. Many of our choices come from our yearly Toy Awards, where we test each item based on the following criteria:
✔️Safety: Our engineers and analysts make sure that each toy reaches all safety standards. They also assess things like pinch points and make sure toys won’t shatter into small pieces to pose a potential choking hazard.
✔️Ease of Use: We look at each toy to evaluate how simple it is to assemble, how well it’s constructed and how durable it is during play.
✔️Kid Approval: Aside from testing each toy for skill-building attributes, like how well it develops social-emotional skills, all our final decisions come from more than 100 children, ages 1 to 15, who assess the fun factor!
Much of the toy testing for this article was overseen by Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's chief technologist and director of engineering, with the help of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's senior parenting and relationships editor. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Plus, as a mom to three kids under 5, she has plenty of first-hand experience.
Marisa has covered all aspects of the world of parenting, from the postpartum years through the empty nests, since 2015, and she's pitched in with Good Housekeeping's toy coverage since 2018. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, who are both avid toy collectors.
Looking for more great gifts for kids? Let the experts do all the hard work for you! The Good Housekeeping Institute's Parenting Lab has expert-tested, kid-approved picks for the best toys and gifts for kids of every age, including:
- Best Gifts for 1-Year-Olds
- Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds
- Best Gifts for Toddlers
- Best Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
- Best Gifts for 3-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 3-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 4-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 4-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 5-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 6-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 6-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 7-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 7-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 8-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 8-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 9-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 9-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 10-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 10-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 11-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 11-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for Tween Girls
- Best Gifts for Boys
- Best Gifts for 12-Year-Olds
- Best Gifts for 13-Year-Old Boys
- Best Gifts for 13-Year-Old Girls
- Best Gifts for 14-Year-Olds
- Best Gifts for Teen Girls
- Best Gifts for Teen Boys
- Best Stocking Stuffers for Teens