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15 of the best toys for 5-year-olds in 2023

From board games to doll houses, here's our 2023 list of the best toys for five-year-olds, recommended by real parents and loved by children. 

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Jan 13, 2023

A picture of two children playing with a doll house.

By age five, your child will have began to settle into school life, learning new skills, making new friends and developing their independence. As such, your five-year-old will be looking for toys that challenge, entertain and are more grown up. This is the age at which they're interests are beginning to take shape, and become more focused.

Paying careful attention to toys they love and the topics they talk about is key when shopping for gifts. Maybe they mention someone's new scooter or talk about a craft they made at school? As small, whirlwinds of energy, maybe you spend most afternoons at the park or playing outdoors in the garden? There are toys that inspire creativity, build resilience when solving problems and develop new literacy and numeracy skills. From train sets to construction toys, from role play to STEM - we've got a toy to suit every child, recommended by real parents. We've carefully considered prices, too, as we know that buying a toy for your child that they love is just as important as keeping to your budget (hello, cost of living crisis!). 

If your child doesn’t have any obvious interests or you want to get them something a bit different, the vast selection of toys on the market can be overwhelming. To help you whittle them down, we’ve done the research for you, starting with recommendations from Mumsnet users on the toys that have become fast family favourites. With a long list of products, we then consulted expert review sites and verified customer reviews to ensure we were recommending toys that were good quality, great value for money and, of course, fun to play with. Our triple-vetting process was created as a safeguard, guaranteeing that all our articles are balanced, honest and informative. 

In need of further advice and toy recommendations, why not check out our guides to the best tablets and board games? We, also, have other age appropriate guides on the best toys for babies, infants 6-12 months, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds

Here's our guide to 15 of the best toys for five-year-olds. 

1. Best overall toy for 5-year-olds: Dobble

Dobble

Price on writing: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H5.36cm x W5.21cm x D3.07cm | Weight: 140g | Material: Cardboard and metal| Number of pieces: 1 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 6 - 18 years| Educational objectives: Cognitive, problem solving and communication skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Highly recommended by Mumsnetters
  • Great game for travel
  • Fun for all ages
  • Can be bought in different themes
  • Encourages observation skills

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some of the symbols aren’t easily recognisable, which can be a bit confusing 
  • There’s not a huge difference between the games

What Mumsnet users say 

“Dobble is a great game.” Sitckmansladylove

“Dobble is good because you can give more cards to more able players to even things up, so an adult can play against a five-year-old and still enjoy the game.” Stompythedinosaur 

Our verdict

Favourite features? Dobble is our best overall toy because it is a rarity in the world of board games as it won't just be a hit with your five-year-old; your whole family will also love playing it, too. Highly recommended by Mumsnetters, it is similar to Snap; this is a game of speed, observation and reflexes to see who can find the matching symbol between two cards. Sounds simple, right? But each card is different, and only one picture matches every other card, so it’s a race to see who can spot theirs first. While other card games may only have one or two choices of games to play, Dobble has five, so your child shouldn’t get bored easily, ensuring it is great value for money. 

Although the manufacturer recommends it for ages six and above, the game's rules are simple and easy to follow, so five-year-olds will have fun looking for their matching symbol and shouting it out. The compact tin makes this game perfect for travel, too. Dobble is popular with children because it comes in a wide range of themes that you can tailor to your child's interests, including Harry Potter and Marvel and Star Wars. Though some previous guests report that there isn't much difference between the themed versions and the original, one thing is for sure; it promises hours of screen-free fun. 

2. Best budget toy for 5-year-olds: Galt Bubble Lab

Galt Bubble Lab

Price on writing: £7.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H15.5cm x W5cm x D26.5cm | Weight: 0.33g | Material: Plastic and paper| Number of pieces: 46 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 5 years+ | Educational objectives: Cognitive, problem solving and communication skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Encourages STEM learning
  • 16-page booklet with seven experiments
  • Choice of other science kits in the range
  • Compatible with the National Curriculum 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Not enough bubble solution for the experiments
  • The bubble solution needs to be left for 24 hours 
  • Children will need adult assistance 

What Mumsnet users say 

“If [your child] likes science, some of the Galt Science sets are perfect for that age. My five-year-old loved the rainbow science set (largely colour mixing and crystals) and the bubble set.” Equimum

Our verdict

Favourite features? The current high cost of living means we're all thinking carefully about how we spend our money. We're looking for more bang for our buck, so we recommend Galt's Bubble Lab as a Mumsnetter-approved and affordable gift that children will love.

Featuring a host of exciting STEM experiments and tools, Galt’s science kits have everything budding scientists need to make learning fun - and who doesn’t love bubbles?  The Bubble Lab has a 16-page book with instructions for seven experiments, including making big bubbles, 3D shapes, a bubble snake and water tricks. The set has all the instruments little scientists need to aid their experiments, such as a funnel, reusable straws and string. Your five-year-old will probably need some assistance with the experiments, and we'd recommend taking it outside if you can to avoid spills and limit cleanup. Some verified reviewers say there isn’t enough bubble solution inside the kit, so you may want extra on standby.

The Galt science sets encourage STEM learning and are compatible with the National Curriculum. Other popular kits include Slimy Lab and Space Lab.  

3. Best creative toy for 5-year-olds: Hama Beads

Hama Beads tub

Price on writing: £29.97 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H19cm x W11.5cm x D13cm | Weight: 790g | Material: Plastic| Number of pieces: 10,000 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 5 years+ | Educational objectives: Problem-solving, creative and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Set includes 10,000 beads 
  • Five pegboards for creating fun designs
  • Beads can be used for other craft play
  • Handy box for storing all the beads in 
  • Excellent for fine motor skill development 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some users found the pegboards were missing from the set
  • Lots of plastic
  • You’ll probably need to buy more pegboards 

What Mumsnet users say 

“DD is five and really likes Hama Beads.” Volcanoexplorer

Our verdict

Favourite features? Hama Beads provide hours of creative play; with 10,000 beads and five pegboards, children can express their creativity whilst covertly developing their fine motor skills. 

Recommended for ages five and over, children (and adults) can use the colourful beads to create whatever they like, whether stringing them or pressing them together. The five pegboards are shaped like a butterfly, car, flower, mouse and seahorse. Please keep in mind that some reviewers found these were missing from the box, so we recommend double-checking they're there on arrival. Children will need some help from adults, too. Once they’ve added the coloured beads to the pegboard, place the ironing page on the top of the design and iron for a few seconds, making sure to keep it moving. Once the board has cooled, peel off the paper, and the design is complete! While Aquabead sets may be more appealing as they use water to stick the beads together, some users have found they fall apart easily and become sticky. However, Hama Beads fuse and form a much stronger bond, even if it means you have to get the iron out. 

4. Best educational toy for 5-year-olds: Orchard Toys Magic Maths

Orchard Toys Magic Maths

Price on writing: £13.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H18.5cm x W8.5cm x D25cm | Weight: 419g | Material: Cardboard | Number of pieces: 64 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 5-7 years| Educational objectives: Numeracy, personal and social skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Trusted brand by Mumsnetters
  • Teaches maths skills
  • Aimed at children in KS1 
  • Designed in collaboration with teachers and professionals
  • Magic cards reveal the answers

Reasons to avoid 

  • Parents have found kids get bored once they know all the answers
  • The magic cards can be tricky to rub off 

What Mumsnet users say 

"Orchard [Toys] games are great and are educational too: Pop to the Shops, Magic Maths, Shopping List and Match and Spell.” BEE08 

“Magic Maths Orchard Toys game.” Silversun83

Our verdict

Favourite features? Orchard Toys have combined magic and numbers to make sums fun – even for the most maths-averse of children. While there are plenty of fun maths games on the market, Magic Maths has been designed by teachers specifically for KS1. It helps develop their numeracy and social skills whilst inspiring their imagination with magic.

Each player chooses a magic board with a fun wizard character on it. They take turns to answer a sum - a range of simple and challenging additions, subtractions and multiplications – on a magic card, turning it over to rub the back to see if the answer is correct. Players fill their boards with ingredients for a spell, such as worm-infested cupcakes and bogies, until they complete their potion. We wouldn't necessarily recommend it if your child is a maths whizz because this game can be boring as soon as it becomes too easy. However, it is an excellent confidence builder and is fun for everyone. If you already have this one, why not try other educational Orchard Games like Magic Spelling, Shape Aliens or Match and Spell

5. Best themed toy for 5-year-olds: PLAYMOBIL Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine

PLAYMOBIL Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine

Price on writing: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H385mm x W125mm x D284mm | Weight: 860g | Material: Plastic | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: Yes (215 CR123A batteries) | Age: 5+| Educational objectives: Creative, social and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Features all the same van details as in the films and TV series
  • Includes three characters
  • 72-piece set for encouraging imagination

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some users found that Velma and Daphne’s skirts pop off when they sit down 
  • Doesn’t include Shaggy and Scooby
  • One battery required

What Mumsnet users say 

“My DS is nearly five and is really into Playmobil at the moment. I got him the Playmobil catalogue and he loves looking through it and asks for almost everything but I can see by his level of excitement which his favourites are.”  User64323

“PLAYMOBIL or LEGO is good as it can be added to other stuff and used in a different way. There are lots of small sets.” Inappropriateraspberry

Our verdict

Favourite features? Scooby-Doo fans can conduct their own investigations into supernatural mysteries with PLAYMOBIL’s Scooby-Doo Mystery Van

Just like the vehicle in the popular film and TV series, the colourful van is decorated with flower-power graffiti. It has rear and side doors that open and a light inside the van, too (just remember to buy batteries!). The roof and windshield are also removable for moving the characters in and out.   The set includes three figures - Fred, Daphne and Velma - so you’ll need to buy fan-favourites Scooby-Doo and Shaggy to complete the Mystery Inc. gang. But the 72-piece set features snacks and tools for hunting monsters and solving mysteries. PLAYMOBIL is a popular toy for encouraging pretend play. Whether you’re buying it for the first time or adding to your child’s growing collection, there’s a huge range of different themed sets for encouraging creativity, imagination and physical development.

6. Best stocking filler for five-year-olds: L.O.L Surprise! Glitter Colour Change Dolls

A picture of an L.O.L Surprise! Glitter Change Doll.

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H9.53cm x W9.53cm x D9.53cm | Weight: 91g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 1 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 4 years+ | Educational objectives: Encourages creative and imaginative play whilst developing communication and social skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Collectables 
  • Accessories included 
  • Water colour change feature

Reasons to avoid 

  • Can get duplicates 

What Mumsnet users say 

“My DD is into LOL and Barbie.” InTheCludgie

“Second LOL dolls. Also any of the other random doll types you can buy in toy shops or the toy aisle at a big supermarket! Sparkle etc.” SpaceOP

Our verdict

Favourite features? Launched in 2016, L.O.L Dolls are this generation's pocket-sized answer to Bratz and Barbie dolls. Think large heads, big eyes, cute outfits, plenty of sparkles and incredibly popular. They are the perfect size for a stocking filler, although some reviewers debate the cost versus value and will be an instant hit with a five-year-old. 

There are many options to choose from, so here we recommend the L.O.L Surprise! Glitter Colour Change Doll that arrives in a hard plastic ball for a collectable surprise. There are seven in the set. However, the selection is random, so duplicates are a risk. Inside you'll find stickers, a small bottle and some fashion accessories.  To trigger the colour change, you must fill up the little bottle with water and feed it to the doll, replacing the bubble stopper to avoid spillage. If you're feeling generous, there is a matching Lil Sis set, too, which can be bought together as a pair. Either way, there is a whole series of these dolls, making them easy gifts. Why not try their #hairvibes L.O.L collectables or pet collectables for water-free fun instead? 

7. Best STEM toy for 5-year-olds: K’NEX 40 Model Building Set

K'NEX Beginner Set

Price on writing: £20.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H30cm x W20cm x D9cm | Weight: 610g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 141 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 5 years+ | Educational objectives: STEM 

Reasons to buy 

  • 140 pieces
  • 40 building ideas
  • Inspires creativity and construction skills
  • Designed for young engineers 
  • Encourages STEM learning and aids development

Reasons to avoid 

  • Only one model can be built at a time
  • Some users found the colour of the pieces didn’t match the instructions

What Mumsnet users say 

“One of mine loved K’NEX at that age.” BackforGood

“K’NEX and Magformers (or any brand of the magnetic tile toy) are big favourites with our almost five-yearold.” LionMummyRoar

Our verdict

Favourite features? With 140 pieces and 40 building ideas, the K’NEX 40 Model Building Set would make a good starter box for beginners or a great add-on for a growing collection. 

The box includes step-by-step instructions for making various models, including a car, a skyscraper, an aeroplane and a rowboat. While there are a lot of great construction toys on the market, we like that K’NEX has designed this range with young engineers in mind, so they can easily build two flat shapes and then connect them to create a 3D model. When children feel more confident, they can explore their imagination and make whatever they like using the colourful and easy-to-connect parts. K’NEX encourages STEM learning and helps to develop fine motor and dexterity skills, as well as problem-solving. If your child wants to get even more creative, you can add more sets from the range, too!

8. Best portable toy for 5-year-olds: Polly Pocket Unicorn Party Playset

Polly Pocket Unicorn Party Set

Price on writing: £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H10.1cm x W36cm x D30.8cm | Weight: 500g | Material: Plastic | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 4 years+ | Educational objectives: Encourages creative and imaginative play and develops communication and fine motor skills. 

Reasons to buy 

  • Over 25 surprises 
  • Set includes two dolls
  • Encourages imaginative play
  • Handy case for travel
  • Collectables

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some users have found the case doesn’t close properly
  • Confetti inside can cause a mess
  • Pricey for what it is

What Mumsnet users say 

“Polly Pocket is very popular with my GD.” Redshoeblueshoe

Our verdict

Favourite features? Packed with over 25 surprises, Polly Pocket fans will be squealing with excitement when they open this Unicorn Party Playset. The playset includes two micro dolls (Polly and Lila), two unicorns, a dragon and a carriage, as well as some clothes and jewellery for dressing the dolls. The princess castle has a throne and a bedroom, and there’s a seesaw, bouncy house, rainbow cloud and much more to encourage children to use their imagination. The unicorn case that houses it all has sparkly wings that open and a handle for fun on the go. Some reviewers have said the case is hard to close though. 

These tiny dolls have been around for years, and a huge range of different themed sets are now available, all with fun accessories and moving parts so children can lose themselves in pretend play. Polly Pocket is a sparkly, space-saving alternative compared to other doll houses, such as the famous Barbie Dream House.

9. Best LEGO toy for 5-year-olds: LEGO 60293 City Stuntz Stunt Park Show Set

LEGO Stuntz Show Park

Price on writing: £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H26.2cm x W28.2cm x D5.9cm | Weight: 460g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 170 | Assembly required: Yes | Batteries required: No | Age: 5 years+| Educational objectives: Cognitive, problem-solving and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Highly-trusted brand
  • Popular recommendation by Mumsnet users
  • Fun to build and play with
  • Comes with a fly-wheel stunt bike 
  • Launch ramps and obstacles for trying stunts

Reasons to avoid 

  • Stunts aren’t easy to do
  • Some children may find the build a bit too easy

What Mumsnet users say 

“LEGO was always my go-to present for that age (and most ages). Loads of choice at different prices.” Parker231

“My five-year-old DD is getting some Stuntz LEGO.”  BareBelliedSneetch

Our verdict

Favourite features? LEGO is a well-loved classic that is a favourite addition to any child's toy collection. It inspires creativity and encourages fine motor skills across the board. However, this range offers something a little bit different.

As far as Mumsnetters are concerned, you can’t go far wrong with a LEGO set for a five-year-old, and the Stunt Park Show is fun to build and play with. The set is part of the City Stuntz range, released in 2021. It features two launch ramps, a flywheel-powered stunt bike, two mini-figures and obstacles. Children can push the bike to activate the wheels, launch it off the ramp to send it flying through the air and try stunts and battle obstacles like a giant spider.  The set is suitable for five-year-olds to build and can be reconfigured to try different stunts - although children may need some practice doing the tricks.

However, if this won't excite your child and you're looking for alternatives, we have a guide dedicated to the best LEGO sets. There is a vast range of LEGO with a set to match every child's interest.

10. Best tech toy for 5-year-olds: Learning Resources Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot Activity Set

Botley Robot

Price on writing: £86 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H7cm x W13cm x D8.5cm | Weight: 1.43kg | Material: Plastic| Assembly required: Yes | Batteries required: Yes - 5x AAA | Age: 5 years+ | Educational objectives: Encourages exploration of STEM, builds numeracy skills and develops their creativity and imagination  

Reasons to buy 

  • Encourages STEM learning
  • Botley can do a sequence of up to 150 steps
  • Children can personalise their robot
  • Botley’s eyes light up in the dark

Reasons to avoid 

  • Not suitable for use on carpet
  • Some reviewers found fault with the wheels
  • Users also had issues with coding 

What Mumsnet users say 

“Botley Coding Robot.”  Ricekrispie22

Our verdict

Favourite features? Coding in today's tech-savvy world is an incredibly handy skill. Nurturing an interest in programming could be the key to a bright future, which is why we're recommending Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set as a high-quality STEM toy and a fun way for children to learn how to code.

Designed for children aged five and over, Botley can be programmed to do a sequence of up to 150 steps in six directions, with codes to transform him into a train, police car, ghost and more. He can even perform tricks, but only on a hardwood floor. Botley’s eyes light up in the dark with a choice of colours – turn off the lights, and he dances to music.  Your child can personalise him, too, with included stickers and faceplates. The set helps children learn STEM skills and consists of a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, six double-sided tiles, 27 obstacle-building pieces and a starter guide with coding challenges. As children become more confident with their coding skills, they'll unlock hidden gameplay for years of exciting gameplay. 

11. Best remote control toy for 5-year-olds: Monster Jam Megalodon STORM Truck

Monster Jam Megalodon STORM Truck

Price on writing: £54.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H38.1cm x W525.4cm x D27.94cm | Weight: 960g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 1 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: Yes - 3 x AAA | Age: 4 - 14 years| Educational objectives: Creative play and fine motor skills

Reasons to buy 

  • All-terrain truck
  • Helps to improve dexterity and spatial awareness
  • Large, lightweight tyres for racing through the water
  • Rechargeable 
  • Range of up to 100ft

Reasons to avoid 

  • Users found the wheels damage easily on rough ground
  • Charge only lasts around 20 minutes
  • Some people had issues synching the remote control and car
  • Expensive

What Mumsnet users say 

“My kids started getting into remote control cars at that age. They're always good fun.” Underthestairsbears

Our verdict

Favourite features? If your five-year-old is totally car mad, a remote control car is well worth the investment. If you can't decide, we recommend the Monster Jam Megalodon STORM Truck as an exciting and all-terrain vehicle. It can race through water and drive over any terrain, including snow, mud, rocks and grass.  

The monster truck is an official replica of Megalodon from the Monster Jam motorsports events. Features include authentic graphics, lightweight, oversized tyres and a water-resistant body, making it a top choice for driving through water. The car is rechargeable, so you only need batteries for the remote control, but some users say the car’s charge lasts only around 20 minutes. With a range of up to 100ft, you can send your truck off on an adventure, and it will alert you when it’s going out of range. This powerful truck can turn and reverse just like the real thing.

12. Best dinosaur toy for 5-year-olds: Jurassic World Animation Control ‘N Conquer Carnotaurus Toro

Jurassic World Carnatorous Toro

Price on writing: £22.99 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs 

Dimensions: H38.1cm x W11.71cm x D20.47cm | Weight: 500g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 1 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: Yes (Included 3 x LR44 Batteries) | Age: 4 years+| Educational objectives: Encourages imaginative and creative play

Reasons to buy 

  • Move the tail to control the head
  • Roars and chomps its jaws
  • Realistic detail on the body
  • Lots of fun extras
  • Encourages children’s imagination and helps develop motor skills 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Noisy
  • Some reviewers found the sound eventually stopped working (which may not be bad for parents!) 

What Mumsnet users say 

"My son has a good few jurassic World toys, we bought them from smyths just after Christmas. He plays with them regularly and they are really good quality. He is 5 next month." bookishtartlet 

"I suspect, Jurassic World and the new Buzz Lightyear will be popular." ITSSSSCHRISTMASSS

Our verdict

Favourite features? Inspired by the Jurassic World series, Camp Cretaceous, the Carnotaurus Toro is a large figure which roars and chomps its jaws when it’s time to attack. Even if your child hasn’t seen the series, dinosaur fans will have a lot of fun with this toy. Children can tilt the tail up to move the head and twist it sideways to chomp down on figurines and other toys in its path. The dinosaur lets out a roar (be warned, it’s very loud) when you lift the tail or push the button on the back of the figure. 

The body has realistic textures and moveable joints and comes with a booklet, a map and reusable stickers. You can also download the Jurassic World Facts app, where children can scan their dinosaur and watch it come to life to learn more about these fascinating prehistoric animals. There are many dinosaur figures around, but this one is high quality and jam-packed with features that will fire up any dino fan’s imagination. However, if it is too pricey check out our guide to the best dinosaur toys for kids of all ages for a budget-friendlier option.

13. Best outdoor toy for 5-year-olds: Micro Scooters Micro Maxi Deluxe Scooter

Micro Maxi Scooter

Price on writing: £144.95 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: L58.4cm x W14cm x H86.4cm | Weight: 2.5kg | Material: Metal, plastic, rubber | Assembly required: Yes| Batteries required: No | Age: 5 years+ | Educational objectives: Physical skills

Reasons to buy 

  • Good age range for longevity
  • Performs well on bumpy ground
  • Good quality scooter
  • Good resale value
  • Foldable

Reasons to avoid 

  • Expensive

What Mumsnet users say 

“We’ve bought three different types of scooter from Micro Scooter over the years and every single one has been brilliant. Robust, long-lasting and doesn’t rattle (like lots of cheaper brands).” MeanMrMustardSeed

“Micro Scooter here. We had the Mini Micro and now the Micro [Maxi] Scooter and it’s been used daily for last two years and still working well with no signs of diminishing.” MooKnee

Our verdict

Favourite features? For primary-aged children, a scooter can be an excellent, well-loved investment for riding to the park, to school and whizzing around the garden. So, if you’re due to buy your child a more age-appropriate scooter or if you’re looking to buy them their first set of wheels, then you can’t go far wrong with Micro Scooters Micro Maxi Deluxe Scooter. Though there are similar scooters on the market with a more attractive price tag, Micro Scooters are particularly popular with Mumsnet parents. The Maxi Deluxe scored exceptionally well when we conducted our in-depth testing. Check out our guide to the best scooters to see the results for yourself. 

This micro scooter has three wheels and is tall and stable, yet light and speedy. The modern design looks great, too, especially the LED light-up wheels, which we’re sure kids will love. It’s built to last years - from the age of five up to 12 - with high-end materials and mechanisms that go some way to justifying the hefty price tag. Micro scooters also have a good resale value. 

14. Best wooden toy for 5-year-olds: JoJo Maman Bébé Picnic Basket

JoJo Maman Bebe Picnic Basket

Price on writing: £39.95 | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

Key specs 

Dimensions: L26cm x W20cm x H12cm | Material: Wood (FSC Certified) | Number of pieces: 20 | Assembly required: No | Batteries required: No | Age: 3 years+| Educational objectives: Imaginative and creative play, language and communication skills

Reasons to buy 

  • Charming wicker basket
  • Gorgeous wooden picnic set
  • More wooden food sets and toys available
  • Encourages pretend play

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some users found that some parts broke off the basket and accessories
  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say 

“My 5.5-year-old still plays with that picnic set and loves it!” Powerof4

Our verdict

Favourite features? Imaginative play offers rich opportunities to develop communication and social skills. Children particularly love role-play, which is why we're recommending this gorgeous picnic set by JoJo Maman Bébé. 

Children can sit on the gingham picnic blanket and set up a feast for two with its wooden flask, cups and plates and serve sandwiches, fruit and cake for you both to enjoy. At five years old, children still get so much out of pretend play - they can use their new reading and writing skills to write a menu, add prices to the food or set up a teddy bear’s picnic. There are other wooden food sets similar to this from the likes of Melissa & Doug or John Lewis, but we think this one from JoJo Maman Bébé is really charming – in fact, we’d like one just like it! JoJo sells other wooden food and toys you can add to this set, or you can add any you already own. 

15. Best Barbie toy for 5-year-old: Barbie Day to Night Dreamhouse

Barbie Day to Night Dreamhouse

Price on writing: £329.99| Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H109cm x W104cm x D21.6cm | Weight: 13.5kg | Material: Plastic | Assembly required: Yes | Batteries required: Yes 3 x AA | Age: 3 years+| Educational objectives: Imaginative and creative play and communication and social skills 

Reasons to buy 

  • Ten living areas a pool and a slide
  • Children can choose their own configurations
  • A host of fun accessories  
  • Encourages imaginative play

Reasons to avoid 

  • Takes 60 minutes to assemble
  • Doesn’t come with a doll
  • Very big
  • Expensive 

What Mumsnet users say 

“Barbie Dream House. I resisted, but she loves it!” SweepTheHalls

“DD was five today [...] We already have the Dream House from Christmas which has been so worth the investment.”  Chocolategirl19791

Our verdict

Favourite features? The Barbie Day to Night Dreamhouse is the ultimate in doll houses. Standing 43 inches tall and 41 inches wide, it has three floors, ten living areas, a pool, and a slide. Even the puppies have their own play area and pool!

The fully furnished house has a working lift, a party room with a DJ booth, a balcony and a hammock swing, making it the perfect setting for all kinds of Barbie adventures. Children can use their creative skills and decide where they want the grass, pool and slide to go from a choice of configurations. Realistic sound effects, songs and ambient lights complete the package, and there’s a host of accessories to play with, including beds, chairs, crockery and food. All of this does come with a hefty price tag, and other doll houses are much more affordable, but its size (you’ll need to make sure you have space for it!) and range of features ensures that it is value for money. The Day to Night Dreamhouse has been designed with Barbie fans in mind, allowing children to be part of her world.

How do I choose the best toy for a 5-year-old?

Milestones 

At age five, many changes are happening, but there are some key milestones to look out for. Children become more confident at dressing themselves, using buttons and zips, and learning to hop, skip, run and jump. Their balance and coordination has improved, and they’ll know how to use knives and forks.

They enjoy playing with friends, wanting to share with them and make them happy. They’ll learn to count to 10, develop their language and learn to read and write. You may also notice your five-year-old enjoys singing, acting and dancing.

It’s worth bearing these developments in mind when choosing the right toy to find one that encourages new skills and social interaction, aiding their learning at school. 

Interests

This is the most crucial factor. Think about what your child likes doing and what interests they have. Do they like being creative? Maybe they love building things? Or do they love dolls? Choose a toy that caters to their interests but will provide plenty of entertainment. Avoid buying fad toys as children can grow bored of these quickly.

It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s age guidelines to ensure your chosen toy is not too young or old for them and is suitable for their development. This means the toy is more likely to be played with independently; hopefully, your child won’t grow out of it too quickly. 

Safety

Check the materials – which tend to be plastic or wood - are sturdy and won’t break or splinter easily. Make sure any batteries are safely hidden away, and there are no loose parts that could cause a choking hazard.

Check the age suitability of the toy to make sure they can use it safely, and look out for the CE symbol, which shows that the toy meets all the relevant regulatory requirements. 

How many toys should a 5-year-old have? 

There’s no set amount. While it’s great for a child to have a variety of toys that cater to different interests and skills, that doesn’t mean you have to fill your house with every toy going. It’s thought that children who have too many toys get overwhelmed and easily distracted and can be far more creative when they have fewer toys to play with.

Instead, try to focus on buying toys that appeal to their interests and have longevity. Think about the amount of use they'll get, whether it is multi-use, can be passed on to a sibling or helps them learn various skills. If you have an extensive toy collection, try having a regular clear-out of any toys that are no longer played with or store some away to play with on rotation

What alternative gifts can I give a five-year-old that aren't toys? 

We've all faced the conundrum of buying a gift for a child who already has everything. So, here are a few alternative ideas to spark some inspiration: 

  • Tickets to a show/event/day out 
  • Children's magazine subscription 
  • Gift card
  • Money for their savings account
  • Annual pass to an attraction

What is the best toy for 5-year-olds?

Dobble is the best overall toy for five-year-olds. Challenge your family and battle it out to see who is the first to spot the matching symbol on two cards. There are five games to play, and the small tin is perfect for travel. We also like that there’s a variety of themed games.

How we chose our recommendations

We've used our triple-check vetting system to put our list of the top 15 toys for five-year-olds through its paces to ensure all of our recommendations are honest, informative and relevant. 

 Mumsnetter recommendations 

Our research began on the Mumsnet Forums, where we studied threads looking for which toys were most-recommended and highly-rated by parents.

Expert opinion

We then vetted this list using expert opinion gleaned from magazines, like Good House Keeping, NY Times and Mother and Baby,  and retailers such as Argos, Amazon and Smyths. 

Verified customer reviews

Finally, we cross-referenced our short list using customer reviews to ensure that each toy met our high standards for performance. 

Celebrated toys 

This left us with our list of the top 15 toys for five year olds. All of which are recommended by parents, loved by children, approved by experts and highly-rated by previous customers. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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