Gift Guide to the Best Toys & Gifts for Kids, 5-Year-Olds to 9-Year-Olds

Jenga is a game that kids can play alone, with friends, or with the whole family.
Jenga is a game that kids can play alone, with friends, or with the whole family.
10/12/23 - By Shari Simpson

If you're looking for the perfect birthday or holiday gifts for kids from 5-year-olds to 9-year-olds, you've found the right place!

When it comes to choosing gifts for kids, particularly this marvelous, coming-into-their-own age range of 5 to 9-year-olds, the temptation is to start veering towards digital. While we’re not into screen-shaming at Mommy Poppins, this list is free of screens and leans heavily on hands-on toys, physical books, and wonderfully messy art supplies. These creative and tactile toys keep kids' brains as active as their hands and bodies.

The lack of screen inclusion among these toy recommendations isn't a case of virtue signaling; we've seen that these are the toys that get treasured and played with for years to come.

Looking for awesome gifts for other ages? Find our faves for first birthday gifts, the most beloved toddler gifts, and more in our Mommy Poppins Gift Guide for Birthdays and Holidays.


Shop the Best Gifts for Any Age in Our Gift Guide

What Toys Make the Best Gifts for 5 to 9-Year-Olds?

Being the thoughtful parents, relatives, and gift-giving friends that you all are, you’ve probably heard the term “open-ended play." This lovely phrase simply means play without limitations and no right or wrong answers, just a whole lot of imagination and an age-defying range of merriment. Also? Genderless, and foundational over flashy.

All of our suggestions land squarely in the “open-ended” category, so read on for free-range fun and play-ful presents. We've broken our recommendations for the best gifts and toys for 5 year olds to 9 year olds into categories that include toys, games, arts, crafts, and books.

This low-tech toy is more fun than a drone. Photo courtesy of the Stomp Rocket Store on Amazon 
This low-tech toy is more fun than a drone. Photo courtesy of the Stomp Rocket Store on Amazon

Best Toy Gifts for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

Stomp Rocket

Simple, yet mesmerizing, kids will play with these air-powered rockets until all the rockets are stuck in trees or on the roof. Maybe order extra rockets as part of the gift.

National Geographic Play Sand

While this toy sounds like it's geared to toddlers, kids get mesmerized by this magically sticky sand well into middle school.

EzyRoller Classic-X Ride On Toy

Parents may find themselves borrowing this ride on toy that's even easier to power and steer than a scooter. Since you can ride it hands-free, it's a great basis for a ton of games, but it's also really fun to simply swoop and swerve.

Kids Karaoke Microphone

Portable, with sound blasting through a Bluetooth speaker, you can bring the party anywhere. It's like mobile carpool karaoke that you can do in the car, at home, or at the park.

Photo of Alternate Snap Circuits Classic Electronics Exploration Kit via the Amazon Circuits Store
Photo of Alternate Snap Circuits Classic Electronics Exploration Kit via the Amazon Circuits Store

Snap Circuits Classic Electronics Exploration Kit

While it's technically for kids 8 & up, this snap circuit kit has everything you need—no tools required—to build radios, burglar alarms, doorbells, and even games you can play with friends. Kids will never realize they're actually learning the principles of basic engineering.

Hamourd Robot Toy

This remote control robot dances, sings, talks, and is fully rechargeable. Little kids will want to hug him, and bigger kids can design obstacle courses for it to get through or have it chase the family pet. It's a toy that will grow with your kids.

Photo of 3D Puzzle Maze via the Spin Master Games Store Amazon Store
Photo of 3D Puzzle Maze via the Spin Master Games Store Amazon Store

3D Puzzle Ball Maze

Maze balls were all the rage several years ago and we still love them. They're perfect for the car, but also for fidgety kids anywhere, anytime. Part puzzle, part game, part sensory toy, it's a highly addictive toy.

Best Building Toys for 5 to 9-Year-Olds


Did we recommend Legos on our preschooler's gift list? Yes, we did. Would we recommend them on an adult gift list? Yes, we would. The classic starter gift is this 270-Piece Lego Classic Bricks set. But browse the Lego store for Legos that match your child's interests for everything from animals to superheroes and more. Check out our list of 100+ Fun Things To Do with Legos to keep kids busy until they leave for college.

Photo courtesy of Magna Tiles 
We recommend these for kids from ages 3-13, at least! Photo courtesy of Magna Tiles


Magna-Tiles also made our list of the best gifts for younger kids, and we're keeping them on the list for this age. Because if a child in your life doesn't have a set, they need them. While younger kids can play simple matching games, these tiles grow with kids and they can graduate to marble runs and even Rube Goldberg machines. For more ideas, we've got 50 Magna-Tiles Games and Building Ideas for Kids that take Magna-Tiles to middle school and beyond.

Suspend Family photo courtesy of the Melissa & Doug Toy Company 
Suspend Family photo courtesy of the Melissa & Doug Toy Company

Suspend Family

We’re big fans of all things Melissa & Doug, but our particular fave for this age group is Suspend Family, a tricky and hilarious game piece balance set that can be played with the whole family or alone.


You can never, ever miss with a classic Jenga set, and oh, mercy! the variations! Everything from a cardboard set that builds up to eight feet (lift the little tykes up) to a set made of recycled fishing nets for your burgeoning environmentalists.

Best Games for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

It’s like the Wild West out there with the number and range of games, and you can always fall back on the classics like Sorry!, Clue, Connect 4, and Trouble (oh, how we love popping the dice bubble in Trouble), but we also have a few faves that are a little more off the beaten (game) track.

Spot It! photo courtesy of the Zygomatic Store on Amazon 
Spot It! photo courtesy of the Zygomatic Store on Amazon

Spot It!

Our family’s we’ll-play-it-anytime-anywhere-and-laugh-the-whole-time is Spot It! Super easy to learn and completely addictive, Spot It! is a speed and observation game with a simple stack of cards that challenges you to match a picture as quickly as you can. Spot It! always appears on lists of games that promote cognitive development, but you’d never know you were learning anything, just having an absolute blast.

Throw Throw Burrito photo courtesy of the Exploding Kittens LLC Store on Amazon 
Throw Throw Burrito photo courtesy of the Exploding Kittens LLC Store on Amazon

Throw Throw Burrito

A recent fave is Throw Throw Burrito by the marvelously demented minds that came up with Exploding Kittens. Billed as “the world’s first dodgeball card game”, Throw Throw Burrito combines the simple concept of creating a set of cards (like three of a kind) with a chaotic free-for-all pelting of one another with soft, squishy cloth burritos. Sound crazy? It is. And so, so fun.

Dixit Board game photo courtesy of the Libellud Amazon Store


If you have dreamy, story-loving kids, try Dixit, which has won multiple awards with its gorgeous cards full of evocative artwork. Yes, the supposed age range is 8+, but it works for kids as young as 6 who love to hear and tell stories.

Photo courtesy of the MindWare Store on Amazon 
Photo courtesy of the MindWare Store on Amazon


Speaking of the younger set, Skippity by MindWare is a Checkers-like game, if Checkers were every color of the rainbow and you had four people squealing with joy while they jump and capture each other’s pieces. Simple to learn and with varying elements of eye-candy strategy, Skippity will become a quick classic in your home.

Games are a fantastic gift for kids of all ages, and we've rounded up an exhaustive list of the 100 Best Board Games for Kids and Family Game Night; you're sure to find the perfect game for everyone in the family!

Crayola Inspiration Art Case via the Vivid Imaginations Amazon Store 
Crayola Inspiration Art Case via the Vivid Imaginations Amazon Store

Best Art Supplies for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

Inspiration Art Case

If you want classic and reliable art supplies, you can’t go wrong with Crayola. For the littles, try the Inspiration Art Case, and for the slightly older littles, the Deluxe Wooden Art Set has over 75 pieces in a nice wooden case.


Newer to the art set scene, we absolutely love the Budding Artist line of products from Art101, with special beginner components like crayons and markers made for smaller hands, and the very clever pop-up easel right in the art set box.  

Mandala Dotting Tools Painting Kit

Want something a little different for a patient and precise junior artist? Try a Mandala kit (a geometric design of dotting paint) like the Insnug Mandala Dotting Tools Painting Kit.

Craft Kids Library with Craft Box organizer via the Olly Kids Amazon Store 
Craft Kids Library with Craft Box organizer via the Olly Kids Amazon Store

Best Crafts Supplies for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

Olly Kids Crafts Kit Library

For kids who just can’t stop crafting and their parents who want all those pesky pipe cleaners and stickers in one neat container, we have two faves, Olly Kids Crafts Kit Library (OMG, the little dividers to keep everything neat make us verklempt!) and Craft-tastic’s Inventor’s Box—not only is it packed with every kind of paper, twine, rubber bands, metal brads, and googly eyes imaginable, the box is refreshingly gender-neutral.

Hide and Seek Rock Painting Kit photo courtesy of the Creativity for Kids Store on Amazon 
Hide and Seek Rock Painting Kit photo courtesy of the Creativity for Kids Store on Amazon

Rock Painting Kit by Creativity for Kids

This is one of those activities that never grows old. Also check out the fun options like Dot-a-Rock, Hydro-Dip, and Glow in the Dark

Pottery Wheel via the National Geographic Store on Amazon 
Pottery Wheel via the National Geographic Store on Amazon

National Geographic’s Pottery Wheel

Beyond the open-ended craft boxes and unisex stones, we love specific and select projects like National Geographic’s Pottery Wheel. It's relaxing, creative, and lots of fun.

Friendship Bracelet Making Kit

This Friendship Bracelet Making Kit is the cornerstone of any Taylor Swift concert experience (or Taylor Swift Party!).

Cooking Essentials photo courtesy of the Masterchef Junior Store on Amazon 
Cooking Essentials photo courtesy of the Masterchef Junior Store on Amazon

MasterChef Junior Cooking Essentials Set

Cooking is an art, a craft, and possibly the only skill that stands to benefit the parents in any real way! If you’re looking for an all-around set of kid-safe basics, the MasterChef Junior Cooking Essentials Set comes with sturdy tools that kids can use for years, as well as easy recipe cards.

Kids International Cooking Experience-In-A-Box

Learn about cooking and cuisine from other countries with eat2explore Kids International Cooking Experience-In-A-Box, where you can choose to explore the cuisine of Japan, Kenya, Brazil, and more.

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan, photo courtesy of Amazon 
The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan, photo courtesy of Amazon

Best Book Gifts for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

What in the whole wide world is better than books? Nothing.

While the perfect book will vary depending on a child's reading level, age, and interests, there are several books for kids in this age range that are fun to read aloud, alone, or have as the cornerstone of a classic kid library. These books are the ones we give the most often as gifts, and kids love them.

If none of those look like they'll be perfect for the reader in your life (or if they've read them all), we've got two more suggestions. One is to peruse our list of 100 Kids' Books Every Child Should Read Before They Grow Up. The other is to pull from a list of books that have won the Caldecott Medal. It's given to the best picture books and early chapter books every year, so here's a list of the winners from 1938 to the present.

Photo courtesy of Little Global Citizens 
Eat the world! Photo courtesy of Little Global Citizens

Best Subscription Boxes for 5 to 9-Year-Olds

Give the gift that keeps on giving (for a couple of months or a year) with various types of subscriptions, such as Art and Science boxesmagazine subscriptions, and more. Our favorites for this age group are:

  • Green Kid Crafts has monthly STEM and STEAM projects.
  • The multi-award-winning Little Global Citizens brings a new country to your child every month with a guide, crafts, activities, recipes, books, and more.
  • Little Passports offers eight different “journeys” like Craft Discovery, Space Quest, World Edition, and Kitchen Adventures.
  • I'm The Chef, Too combines food, STEM, and the arts into activities like making galactic donuts, engineering and erupting volcano cakes, and investigating the properties of rocks and gems through baking cupcake geodes.
  • Cratejoy gives you choices from all the top subscription services, including book clubs, escape room games, and fidget toys.

Lead photo by Joe Shlabotnik, courtesy of Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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