Best Gifts for Kids: Ages 5-8

What are the best gifts for kids? Even though Transformers and Little Ponies are on the top of our 5- and 7-year-olds’ wish lists, we want to give them gifts that spark their imagination. 

Keep ‘Em Moving

Inside or out, it’s great to give toys that keep kids physically active.

Zipfy Sled

The Zipfy sled looks super fun for kids and parents. It comes in a bunch of cool colors (but view each color when shopping, I noticed the red costs less).

Orange Unicycle 16 inch

A unicycle, really? YES, really! After hearing that Seattle Public Schools teach unicycle riding in PE and schools even have unicycle teams, I’m convinced. Not only does it build strength and balance but it’s fun! It also builds confidence and encourages kids to be unique as they cruise around (wearing a helmet, of course). An instruction guide is a good idea as well.

Tested and approved by two of our favorite friends (rambunctious brothers, no less), this Playmobil glider is surprisingly sturdy and the throwing and chasing keeps them busy for quite a while.

Stomp Rocket

We’ve gone through more Stomp Rockets than I care to count. On one hand that doesn’t sound like much of an endorsement (the rockets do get lost and pretty beaten up) but on the other hand, the reason we’ve gone through them is that they are hugely popular with my kids and every kid who comes to our house.

Inspiring movement and imagination, Silky Bird Wings come in wonderful, colorful styles. The ones made from fabric only are especially nice because there are no wire frames that will get bent.

Keep ‘Em Creating

Whether it’s arts and crafts, building, or beating a drum, keeping their minds engaged and thinking creatively is priceless.

Fort Building Kit

Give them a structural frame for their next Fort Building Adventure. Endless possibilities for building and open-ended play.

Pulley and Lever Set should help kids grasp this concept so they can start building pulley systems inside and out before we know it! Not only will this keep them busy and teach them physics, I also think it could encourage cooperation between siblings (hope, hope) so they work together to make things move they way they want.

Keep ‘Em Learning

Rock Tumbler

Kids love rocks. A Rock Tumbler transforms ordinary looking rocks into shiny treasures. Combine it with a Loupe for magnification and a guide like Geology Rocks for even more hands-on fun.

A whole lot of learning is packed into this Kids Science Set. From growing various crystals and breaking open a geode to studying fossils and minerals, any budding scientist will love this set.

Travel across the world from the comfort of your home with this talking Intelliglobe. A wireless reader delivers facts about the various continents, countries, bodies of water, landforms, and more. (An added benefit is that this globe can be plugged in so your batteries won’t constantly need to be replaced.)

Having a kid-friendly World Atlas on the coffee table is another easy way to encourage curiosity about the world. Just as you’d expect from National Geographic, this one has wonderful illustrations and photographs.

Whether your child would like a lit-up solar system model, the moon, the earth, or a real rainbow in their room, the Uncle Milton brand of toys has endless interesting educational offerings.

On a smaller scale, this Earth Moon Mars to scale Marble Set is a good stocking stuffer. Convenient little rings are included to hold each planet.

It won’t be long before this generation is working on new technologies to save the planet. Get them thinking about alternative energy early with toys like Snap Circuits Green Alternative Energy.


This super cool snap-together Transforming Solar Vehicle can be made into five different models.

Keep ‘Em Curious

Gifts that encourage kids to be curious and pay attention to the natural world and all things big and small will be appreciated for years to come.

Complete with 19 different explorer’s tools including a compass, magnifying glass, bug containers and binoculars, this Outdoor Explorer’s Pack is a great find.

Young explorers will appreciate a  Combination telescope/microscope for up-close viewing of bugs, birds, rocks, leaves and other treasures.

Keep it Real

For the sake of price and/or durability it sometimes makes sense to buy a kid-version of a gadget. However, if the quality is compromised then it makes no sense at all. Here is a mix of affordable “real” gear and some worthwhile kid-versions of grown-up “toys.”

If you’re holding off on a smart phone but want your kids to be able to take pictures, I highly recommend the Canon PowerShot Digital Camera. Even after the paint rubbed off the edges and I dropped it more times than I care to admit, it still took decent photos and video. It’s an excellent kid’s first camera. From experience, I can tell you that toy cameras just aren’t worth it.

These affordable binoculars have a shock-proof coating and would make any kid feel like you’re trusting them with an important piece of equipment. Pair it with a Field Guide and they’ll be set for adventure.

Keep a Gift Coming All Year

Getting surprises in the mail is always exciting. We like these magazines:

Little Passports is a subscription service but instead of just a magazine, your child receives postcards, travel updates, maps, photographs, and crafts from fictional Sam and Sofia on their exciting adventures around the USA and/or the world.  It’s a fantastic way for your child to learn about geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.

If your children love arts and crafts but you don’t always share their enthusiasm (or simply don’t have time to organize activities) then a subscription like Kiwi Crate might be perfect for your family. An extra nice touch for those of us with two kids, for a small additional fee per month they’ll add enough materials for a sibling to share the crate.

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