Remember the days when birthday parties were just balloons, a piñata, and some outdoor games? Maybe a couple magic tricks or an appearance from a clown?
Now thanks to the social influence of Instagram and Pinterest, I swear every single party for a 5 year old boy I’ve been to with my son has the most cloyingly adorable touches, from the Comatose Unicorn Cake to the immaculate Jurassic World/Hot Wheels combo extravaganza.
I just can’t. They’re too perfect.
Such perfect birthday parties call for equally perfect gifts. Thoughtful gifts. Unique gifts. Gifts that match a boy’s personality. And most importantly, a gift that the child will cherish and actually ENJOY.
Look, I’m not saying your toy selection should revolve around how to best impress other parents. In addition to being a mom, I’m also a Kindergarten teacher. I know that the toys you put in front of child help shape their brains for life.
Any parent can tell you that 5 year old boys need lots of physical activity to enhance their gross motor skills, learn best through active exploration (blocks, sand, clay, etc.),andcrave social activity.
There is no one-size-fits-all gift for young boys. Instead, I present to you a list of the best gifts for 5 year old boys, organized by personality type. From the outdoorsy explorers to the computer nerds, you can guarantee to find an age appropriate toy that your unique, one-of-a-kind boy will love.
Table of Contents
- #1. BESPIN Binoculars for Kids (for the Nature-lover)
- #2. Magformers (for the Engineer-in-Training)
- #3. Crazy Forts (for the Visionary Architect)
- #4. Handstand Kitchen 17-piece Introduction to Real Baking Set (for the Little Chef)
- #5. Rich Texts (for the Book Worm)
- #6. Botzee Coding Robot (for the Computer Nerd)
- #7. OOLY Rainy Dayz Gel Crayons (for the Artist)
- #8. Dan&Darci Dig a Dozen Dino Eggs (for the Amateur Paleontologist)
- #9. Wonder Crew Superhero Buddy (for the Whole Boy)
- #10. TP Toys Muddy Maker Mud Kitchen (for the Boy Who Is Not Afraid to Get Messy)
- #11. Champion Scooter Board (for the Athlete)
- #12. Obuby Walkie Talkies (for the Chatterbox)
- #13. Kinetic Sand Set (for the Boy who Loves the Beach)
- #14. Kapla Box (for the Boy Who Has Everything)
#1. BESPIN Binoculars for Kids (for the Nature-lover)
Nature-loving 5-year-old boys don’t need many toys; additional gadgets and activity kits only distract them from experiencing the beauty that is around them.
But a gift of binoculars invites a kid outdoors with wide, open eyes! They embrace a 5 year old boys’ natural curiosity and invite them to be still as they examine the world around them a bit more closely.
BESPIN Binoculars for Kids are actually real binoculars, none of the plastic toys with training wheels they had when I was growing up.
They are sturdy, waterproof, and magnify objects eight times (that’s what the 8×21 number tells you). They are fully adjustable for growing boys’ quickly growing bodies, and they are designed for children ages 3-12. These binos come with a strap and a carrying case for long bird-watching treks in the woods.
The Good: Listen, I’ve seen enough broken crayons and paint spills in my classroom to tell you that hand eye coordination of Kindergarteners is…lacking. It takes time to develop and I personally would not put delicate equipment in my son’s hands and send him off into the forest to frolic without anticipating a mess.
Fortunately, BESPIN Binoculars for Kids are extremely durable for a toy. They’re literally shock proof and covered in heavenly water-proof rubber that could sustain any dramatic drops into muddy puddles.
The Not-So-Good: While 8-times magnification sounds great, it can be hard for such novice hands to hold the binoculars steady enough to view a still image when its fully zoomed in. It just takes practice, though. With time and deep breaths to ward off frustration, the budding explorers will get the hang of it.
Who it’s for: These binos are great for any boy who likes to be outside. And perhaps, even more so for those who refuse to get off the couch! Sometimes our kiddos need to look at our world through a different lens to truly appreciate what’s around them.
#2. Magformers (for the Engineer-in-Training)
An alternative to legos or building blocks, Magformers are fun magnetic construction tiles that come in a variety of shapes. Educational insights and studies have shown that open constructive play (with simple toys, not electric toys) motivates logical and creative thinking and fine motor skills–exactly what you need to set your little boy on the path to become an engineer if they’re interested.
Blocks also help children grow in their self-reliance and resilience as they try and try again to build a structure just right. Magformers come with one activity guide that has ideas on what to build.
These are a great toy to just dump out in front of a boy and let him freely play for hours at the whim of his one and only imagination, without an adult’s intervention who may unintentionally stunt his creative process.
The Good: They’re a durable, easy-to-clean toy (a nice soap and water soak does the trick), and unlike legos, will not cause you to screech in pain when you accidentally step on them! I’ve found that my students are absolutely dazzled by their fun magnetic capability, too.
The Not-So-Good: Like so many other basic yet invaluable manipulative toys, the Magformers Basic Set only comes with 30 tiles and is priced at $39.99. That’s more than $1 per tile!! A little expensive in my opinion. The set does last a very long time, so at least you’re investing in longevity.
Who it’s for: All boys. Especially those who love to build, but really, I’ve never met a 5 year old who doesn’t!
#3. Crazy Forts (for the Visionary Architect)
Here’s another amazingly simple and fun construction toy, that will allow your little boy to imagine and build their perfect cozy places.
Remember hijacking all of the furniture and building forts in the living room with tons of sheets and pillows? Kids love creating places to call their own, especially as their penchant for dramatic role play builds.
Crazy Forts is a toy that let kids do just that without all of the furniture! The set comes with child-safe poles and toggles (69 pieces in all) that allow kids to connect together anything from forts to castles to stunt planes to all sorts of fun zones!
The Good: Why didn’t they think of this earlier? This is such a fun, simple toy that allows a boy’s imagination to bloom into creation.
In addition to the fine and gross motor skills development, Crazy Forts is also a toy set that prompts an antsy 5 year old boy to practice persistence. One creation may take several days to build, but boy will they be glad they put in the hard work! It’s a fun toy to use with friends, too.
The Not-So-Good: Some reviewers have pointed out that you do need to follow the directions to make sure the poles go into the toggles in the right direction. Failure to help out your little builder at first might cause some frustration and more than one set of unsteady structures.
Once you get the hang of it, they’re very easy to manipulate and durable, and will help build hand eye coordination.
Who it’s for: All of the dreamers, the boys who spend hours looking out the window, imagining up all sorts of new creations. It can also help the kids who need a little boost to get outside and build, too.
#4. Handstand Kitchen 17-piece Introduction to Real Baking Set (for the Little Chef)
Who needs an easy bake oven when you can equip your child to bake in the real kitchen with you?
This fun 17-piece set comes with 1 spatula, 1 pastry brush, 1 mixing spoon, 1 silicone loaf pan, 6 silicone baking cups, 1 rolling pin, 1 whisk, and 5 recipe cards.
Everything you need to bake muffins, cupcakes, quiche, chocolate ganache cake, Ginger Layer Cake with Wine Poached Pears and Cream Cheese Frosting…ok maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. All parts are BPA free and age appropriate for little hands to safely use.
Please note: this kitchen set is for 5 year old boys to use UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION! Do not let a 5 year old cook or bake in the kitchen alone. This set should not be treated like a toy, rather an important yet fun tool.
The Good: 5 year old boys love and need to role play so that they can practice adaptive skills for the real world. Your child’s own baking set will help him mimic your technique in the kitchen so that he can develop his own cooking technique.
This is so much more than a toy. Kitchen sets foster mathematical understanding, too. Every time your kiddo measures out a cup of flour or doubles a recipe to make leftovers, they are engaging and growing their math skills.
The Not-So-Good: Some parents have reported that the tools are not sturdy enough to withstand the hard movements of rolling dough and beating eggs. Others have said that they are just fine, though.
Who it’s for: The boys who love to help Dad and Mom in the kitchen! Is anybody else scheming to grow a Michelin Star chef who can cook a couple meals a week once they’re like 12 years old?
Come on, I know it’s not just me.
This set is also for any parent who wants to encourage their young boys to learn to cook so that they can whip up fabulous meals years from now.
#5. Rich Texts (for the Book Worm)
Ask any Kindergarten teacher what they read to their students and they will not say books. Nope, no books in school anymore.
We only read rich texts.
Rich texts incorporate content that challenges the reader. That exposes them to relevant topics and pushes them to THINK. They use age appropriate vocabulary that extends the reader’s language and skip all of the fluff you might find in, say, one of those free books you get with a movie or at restaurants.
I’m not about to tell you which books are the best for your child. Books need to be relevant and interesting to your individual kid. What one boy may find captivating and relatable, another might find totally boring.
Instead, I encourage you to check out the Anti-Defamation League’s list of children’s books. You can filter the list according to issue, from bullying to racism to different kinds of families. Each book lists the age range that is most appropriate for it, too. A discussion guide for parents and teachers is paired with all of the featured books on the list.
The Good: Kids need to read books about people who are different than they are. It builds empathy and mutual understanding.
Likewise, every child deserves to read a book that features a character who is just like them. Too often do children’s books feature white, able-bodied children with traditional family structures, who do not represent a large chunk of their readers.
You might think these books are too “serious,” but they cover topics that matter that I promise children start to wonder about at a very early age.
Introduce hard issues early and be open to talk about them so that they begin to develop their own opinions. (Teacher alert…I could keep writing about this!!)
The Not-So-Good: Nada. All rights reserved, you’ll never find a teacher who can identify one single downside to gifting books. Nope!
Who it’s for: EVERYBODY. Everybody, everybody, everybody!
5 year old boys LOVE to read. They do!! Now is the time to nourish that love of reading in order to build strong literacy habits! Give them books at an early age and I promise they will have fun!!
#6. Botzee Coding Robot (for the Computer Nerd)
Designed for early childhood age children, a Botzee is an adorable and fun programable bot that kids can build and program using augmented reality (AR).
First, kids build the robot, either on their own or using six different pre-designed Botzees. Then, they can play and have fun with their Botzee with the included 30 interactive augmented reality puzzles that teach basic coding concepts like looping and sequencing in an engaging way.
There are 150 child-safe pieces in the set, along with two motors so the robot can spin and roll. Parts are made of food-grade plastic and non-toxic silicone.
To be honest, I know gifting a Kindergartener a programable robot sounds…overwhelming. Or maybe it’s just me?When I was in school, I would have never ever imagined I’d be able to build and program my own robot! But I am always surprised at how easy and FUN it is to code these little toys. Like, why didn’t someone tell me coding was so fun??
The hope is that budding scientists will see how accessible coding can be to them and feel no hesitation in pursuing it further if it appeals to them.
The Good: What a great way to expose 5 year old boys to the crème de la STEM: robotics.
You don’t even need training wheels for this coding robot. It is designed to be completely child-driven and feels like one of the best toys. Most reviewers say that the Paibotz app is easy to use and offers helpful, visual instructions for kiddos who are not quite literate.
The Not-So-Good: You need an iPhone 6s or later, an iPad Pro or an Android 8.0 or later in order to use the app that connects with a Botzee. If you or your gift-receiver does not have one of these devices, the robot will not work. But this is nothing a little sleuthing can’t uncover before you make the purchase!
Who it’s for: Boys who show a growing interest in computers and anything you can program. Also, perhaps boys who need a little confidence boost. What better way to show kids what they are capable of than letting them build and program their own fun little robot!! (I’m still in disbelief that it is even possible.)
#7. OOLY Rainy Dayz Gel Crayons (for the Artist)
When paper and markers are just a little too blaisé for your young Picasso, there’s OOLY Rainy Dayz Gel Crayons.
They are designed for imaginative kids to draw on windows, glass, car windows, glass cutting boards, tables, plastic bottles…all sorts of smooth surfaces! Don’t worry Mom and Dads: this set of gel crayons are water soluble, making them easy to wipe off clean.
They are non-toxic and each marker is approximately 5.5 inches long and .5 inch wide–the ideal thickness for little 5 year old grips.
The Good: I like these gel crayons because there are always different ways you can use them, which I find is important for 5 year old boys with short attention spans.
In effect, they are just markers (shhh don’t tell the kids).
But when you introduce a fun new surface as their canvas, they become a brand, new exciting activity! One day it’s markers on the table, the next it’s markers on the window! Getting bored? Let’s try markers on the car! You feel my drift?
There’s so much room for creativity and exploration. You can even paint over the drawing with a wetted paintbrush for a pretty watercolor effect.
The Not-So-Good: I haven’t seen it happen, but I could see kiddos accidentally (or not accidentally…) using these gel crayons on the walls. Again, I haven’t seen it in my experience! It is just important to set clear boundaries on how to use them since I’m not sure they will wipe totally clean on anything but a smooth surface.
Who it’s for: Boys who love to draw, paint, write, mold clay, and have fun doing anything art-related! Seize the opportunity to nourish an artistic spirit! Of course, all Kindergarteners would love this set of crayons.
#8. Dan&Darci Dig a Dozen Dino Eggs (for the Amateur Paleontologist)
How cool is this Dig Kit?? The set comes with twelve “dino eggs” that each contain a little dinosaur model. Kids chip away the egg with the provided tools to uncover the creature that was “fossilized” inside!
The kit also comes with information cards about each dino so that your little Paleontologist boy can learn all about what they found.
In addition to being a fun toy, I personally think these would make a cool birthday party activity. Like a Jurassic World Easter egg hunt! It’s a great toy to play with individually or with a group of friends.
The Good: This is one of those toys for 5 year old boys that will hold their attention for at least 20 minutes, maybe longer! It takes time to break away the egg, but progress is noticeable so I find that the kiddos don’t get frustrated.
The Not-So-Good: It’s a little messy when the kids are chipping away the egg. Just take the project outside or lay down a big tarp. Also, don’t expect much from the figurines. They are tiny, plastic dinos. But this toy is more about the experience than the product itself.
Who it’s for: Boys who need something to satisfy their t rex fix!
#9. Wonder Crew Superhero Buddy (for the Whole Boy)
Yes, I’m listing a doll on the list of the best toys for 5 year old boys. Why? Because I swear if you put a doll in front of a little boy, he will play with it.
He will care for it, love it, have fun with it, and will BENEFIT from it.
Research shows that when boys play with dolls, they improve their emotional literacy by practicing social interactions that may be tricky in real life, like how to resolve a conflict with a friend. It allows them to shrink and make sense of the big, loud world down to a manageable size through the eyes of the dolls, learning empathy, problem-solving, and communication along the way.
So as one of my toy gift ideas, I highly recommend the Wonder Crew Superhero Buddy.
Billed as a combination of “the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of the favorite stuffed animal,” Buddies encourage social and emotional learning while also embracing boy culture.
They are 15-inches tall and come dressed like superheros, complete with a fun cape and a mask, and even a child-size superhero set, too! There are four different Buddies that sport their own different skin shades: Will, James, Erik, and Marco. There are also add-on firefighter, construction worker, and adventurer outfit sets for purchase.
The Good: These dolls are body-positive, meaning they look like the boys who love them, not like unrealistic supermodels. Designed to empower boys to picture themselves as strong AND caring people, they push against stereotypes and address the developmental needs of the whole boy.
The Not-So-Good: Though the four different Superheros each have different shade of skin, there are unfortunately not dolls in this set who represent all races and abilities. Check out this website that lists a wider range of dolls for boys, including a doll with down syndrome. All children deserve to have a toy with whom they can bond.
Who it’s for: All boys! Especially for kiddos who might be struggled to make and keep friends, and/or for those who are going through a tough time and need well-deserved snuggle buddy.
#10. TP Toys Muddy Maker Mud Kitchen (for the Boy Who Is Not Afraid to Get Messy)
Never heard of a mud kitchen? It is exactly what is sounds like. A child-size kitchen where kids can cook up fun, slimy potions and mud pies with everything they find outside!
This is seriously one of the best toys to let a boy’s imagination run free as they explore nature.
Mud is also scientifically proven to be good for your body! It has anti-inflammatory properties and is relaxing. No need to pay big bucks for a mud bath at the spa, just get your kid to dig you a hole and make one for you!
The TP Toys Muddy Maker Mud Kitchen has a simple design, which is important so as to let the emphasis of the play be the mud and natural elements, not the kitchen itself. There is a painted on stove top, a lower cabinet with a door, and a deep plastic “sink” that can hold seven liters of water. It also comes with a few pots and pans. The main structure is constructed of FSC certified pressure treated European timber wood.
The Good: The high quality wood withstands wear and tear from the weather.Also, all of the squishing and slurping of the mud is great for fine motor skills.
The Not-So-Good: It comes disassembled and requires your own set of fix-it knowledge to put it together. Some reviewers have reported that it is a little confusing to properly assemble. In fact, you need to pre-drill some of the holes yourself. This would be a very good toy for someone with a handy-person parent!
Who it’s for: Boys who love to imagine and be outside AND boys who might need a bit of practice letting loose and getting messy!
#11. Champion Scooter Board (for the Athlete)
Throw back to gym class! Remember these super fun scooter boards?!
So many 5 year olds already have stand-up scooters and bikes. Instead, one of the best toys for 5 year olds is a simple scooter board. The Champion Scooter Board is made of plastic and can be used for riding in a kneeling, sitting, or prone position.
Think of it as a toy for someone who loves to do the crab walk!
It measures out to be 12 inches x 12 inches and comes in a range of colors.
The Good: These hot wheels are so versatile. You don’t need an organized game to have fun with them and you can play with them inside thanks to the non-marring plastic swivel casters for floor protection.
Parent bonus: though they require a lot of energy to scoot around, I’ve found that kids can’t get too far when they ride them. It’s a great alternative to the stand-up scooter, which whenever my son rides, encourages him to zip away out of sight.
The Not-So-Good: You really have to be careful that your fingers don’t get squished and scraped between the handles and the ground. Ouch! But did you know that you’re not actually supposed to hold the handle, rather you are supposed to hold the board with the handle surrounding your hand? The “handle” protects your hand from the ground!
Who it’s for: Boys who still have a ton of energy at the end of the day and need a toy to help wear them out. (Wait, isn’t that ALL 5 year olds??) Scooter boards are also great gifts to help the kiddos who need to get moving but still struggle with the balance and motor skills to bike.
#12. Obuby Walkie Talkies (for the Chatterbox)
Does your little boy talk and talk and talk and talk and…you get the picture. It can be tempting to just tell a child to be quiet and put a flashy toy in front of them to occupy them, especially when you’re working or making dinner or doing really anything.
But when your child is chatting, they’re also making sense of the world. They’re growing! Let them talk, just give them a nice medium with which they can channel their linguistic energy.
Obuby Walking Talkies are a super fun 2-way radio set with 12 different channels. They come in three different colors (pink, yellow, and green) to match your child’s preferences. There are a lot of bells and whistles that come along with them, too. Each set has a built-in flashlight (which is super important for night adventures), 10 call tones, a key pad lock, and privacy codes.
The Good: To reduce white noise and interference, these walkie-talkies feature a high anti-interference function that makes the sound much more clear. Plus, they work with a 3 km range in an open field, and a 0.5-1 km range in a residential area.
I can’t imagine being half a mile away while my child is playing by himself but boy, it’s amazing that you can communicate over such a far distance! Much better than the tin cans connected by a string set I used when I was a kid!
The Not-So-Good: Each unit requires 4 AAA batteries, which is kind of a lot for a toy in my opinion. It might be worth it to look into rechargeable batteries because you know the kids are going to keep these suckers running non-stop once you have them.
Who it’s for: Little explorers looking to go on a grand independent adventure, and who also need to maintain contact with folks back home.
#13. Kinetic Sand Set (for the Boy who Loves the Beach)
May I just draw attention to the fact that Kinetic Sand’s slogan is, “Sandisfying.”
And listen, they can seriously get away with such a corny phrase.
Kinetic Sand is such a “sandisfying” toy. It’s like a magic set of relaxing sand that never gets dirty. It’s just sand that is coated in silicone oil, which makes the grains of sand stick to each other, but not to other surfaces.
It’s not sticky, rather it feels silky. You can mold it like clay yet it runs through your fingers like water. It’s absolutely one of the most enchanting toys. Kids of all ages, from 5 to 90 year olds alike find themselves transfixed by the silky feeling of Kinetic Sand.
This “sandisfying” set comes with two pounds of red and blue kinetic sand and 10 tools and molds. Use it just like you would with real sand–to build sand castles, towers, all sorts of fun designs. You can use it indoors with little mess.
I use it all the time in my Kindergarten classroom as an “exploration” station. As young kids develop their hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, they will be craving an opportunity to build and create with such a different texture.
The Good: Kinetic Sand lasts a very long time. Since they are just little grains of coated sand, they can’t “dry out” like play doh or slime. And if it gets wet, you can just spread it out on a surface and let it dry. Easy peasy!
The Not-So-Good: Though it is non-toxic, this toy can be tempting to eat for little explorers, which is a huge no-no. While kids can eat a little dirt or sand every so often with little effect, kinetic sand is completely synthetic and not at all designed to be consumed. With proper instruction, kiddos should not be snacking on the sand anyway. But I would not leave 2-5 year olds to play with kinetic sand by themselves without supervision.
Who it’s for: Kids who like to get their hands messy, but not too messy! It’s also great for kinetic learners who learn by manipulating toys with their hands.
#14. Kapla Box (for the Boy Who Has Everything)
Remember those Instagram-perfect birthday parties I was talking about, complete with a cake straight out of the Great British Bake-Off and overly generous party favors that might as well contain iPads? Those parties are typically for kids who already have everything.
All toys. Hot wheels, stunt planes, STEM-focused building blocks, an old school magic set, the latest artistic set…everything. So what in the world do you buy as a gift for 5 year old boy who has everything??
When I lived in Germany, everybody seemed to have Kapla Blocks. What are Kapla Blocks? They are little wooden planks.
That’s it. Little wooden planks. A whole box of them.
And they are sooo much fun! Originally designed in the Netherlands, Kapla Blocks come in sets of 100, 200, 280, and 1000 and also come with an activity guide full of ideas on what to build.
Their simplicity is what leaves room for kids to be creative. Without the lights and sounds of other toys to distract a child from creating something new from their own imagination, Kapla Blocks “promote playful motor skills and concentration ability.”
All I’m saying is that sometimes the boy who has everything just needs to return to the basics with little pieces of wood. Their international origin earns you sophistication points, too! Not that we’re counting…
The Good: Kapla Blocks are made of 100% natural and untreated French pine wood, which is grown in 100% sustainable forests in the South of France. You can rest assured that manufacturers are conscious of their ecological impact on the world, which we all need a little more of these days. They are also extremely high quality. Every plank is EXACTLY the same size.
The Not-So-Good: Because there are so many little pieces, be ready to find Kapla Blocks everywhere, long after your boy has finished cleaning up. Under the sofa, behind the bookshelf–it’s like a treasure hunt every time I vacuum in my household.
All the more incentive to establish a good toy clean-up routine with your kids.
Who it’s for: On the one hand, kids who love the build and play for hours independently would love this toy. On the other hand, it might be helpful for kids who also can’t seem to peel their eyes off of the television. They will be surprised at how much fun they can have with such
There you have it. A solid list of holiday and birthday gift ideas for 5 year old boy that is one-of-a-kind. I know it feels overwhelming and like people define you based on the toy you bring to a birthday party.
To that, I say screw it.
Find toys for 5 year old boys that are made for the whole child, not the most flashy toy on the shelf.
Find the toy that appeals to a Kindergarten boy’s need for lots of physical activity, active exploration, and abundant social activity.
Find the toy that lets the boy can let their imagination be their guide. The more they activate their minds, the more they grow!