A child’s early years are critical to their development. By age 5, kids are starting school and are gaining all sorts of new knowledge and experience. It’s essential that the toys they play with are not only enjoyable but also strengthen their mental and motor skills.
There are four main areas to focus on when choosing a toy to help 5-year-old children learn:
Among all the educational toy options that fit into these categories, there are ten that we found that stand out as the most fun and effective. Let’s explore:
Educational Toys for 5 Year Olds
The idea of an educational toy may not sound that appealing initially, especially to a 5 year old who just wants to have a good time. Decades ago, educational toys were very basic, but with today’s technology and innovation, most toys labeled “educational” or “STEM” are much more exciting and entertaining.
Learning through play is powerful, and how kids make sense of the world around them.The toys in these four areas of a 5-year-old’s expected knowledge all have one thing in common: they may teach children new information, but the kids will not even realize they are learning because they are having such a good time!
Letters, Spelling, and Writing
Learning the alphabet is part of a 5-year-old’s education. They will be learning how to spell simple words, write their name, and match objects to the letters they begin with.
The Melissa and Doug Self-Correcting Alphabet Letters Puzzle is an excellent toy for children working on mastering the letters that different words start with. From A to Z, there is a puzzle piece with each letter on it and a corresponding puzzle piece with an object that begins with that letter. For example, the A piece matches up with an apple, the B piece matches with a butterfly, and so on.
The unique part of this puzzle is that each pair of pieces is slightly different, so the only piece that will fit with each letter is its matching object. Children will use their problem-solving skills to eliminate which parts do not belong by whether they fit together or not.
While the VTech Write and Learn Creative Center can be a fun tool for drawing pictures, this toy will be most beneficial to 5-year-olds by teaching them how to write.
Animated pictures will appear on the interactive activity board that children can trace to learn how to write letters correctly. Parents or caretakers can also customize the board with specific words, such as the child’s name, that they can practice tracing to commit them to memory.
The LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set is an updated version of the classic magnetic alphabet that can be stuck to the refrigerator. When learning the basics of the alphabet, the magnetic letters can be attached to the tile reader, which will say each letter and sound it out.
For 5-year-olds who are past this beginning stage, the tile reader also has a function that will use each letter in a word and a sentence. Kids can then practice spelling out simple words with the magnets on the fridge itself.
Numbers, Money, and Time
In addition to letters, 5-year-olds will also be focusing on numbers. They will be practicing basic addition and subtraction, counting, and understanding the numbers on a clock.
The Learning Resources Pretend and Play Calculator Cash Register is a great way to introduce children to counting money and making change with pretend coins, cash, and credit cards.
While it can be used just for fun and imaginative playing, it also comes programmed with four interactive games that will help kids learn basic math and how to identify the different coins and dollar amounts.
Our kids love to help out in the kitchen, and the Learning Resources Mix and Measure Activity Set disguises fraction and measurement learning as cooking and creating! It comes with several different-sized measuring cups and spoons, so little ones can work alongside their parent or caretaker in the kitchen.
If kids want to make something a little more exciting than whatever mom and dad are cooking, this is the toy for them. In addition to the utensils, it also comes with cards for making goo, puffy paint, slime, and other messy (but fun) recipes.
Rather than just using a regular clock to learn how to tell time, the Ravensburger My First Clock Learning Game makes the process enjoyable. It comes with three different games that teach five-year-olds about hours, half hours, and minutes.
We love Ravensburger puzzles and games, and My First Clock is a well thought out set. The clock faces are different, including digital, numbers, and roman numerals so kids will be exposed to various types they may encounter.
Shapes and Colors
While children will have a fundamental understanding of shapes and colors by age five, these toys will help hone those skills.
Puzzles are a great way to increase spatial awareness, geometry, and memory skills! Tangram puzzles are pictures (such as a cute bunny or a dog) created from geometric shapes. Tangram puzzles are a great way to introduce math to your six-year-old in a fun and straightforward way.
The Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards make practicing shapes and colors into an art project. The set comes with several boards decorated with pictures, and kids will work to fill in the images with the corresponding shape pieces.
The goal is to make sure no extra parts are hanging off of the pattern, and kids can explore color matching shapes with this activity as well.
So, get your five-year-old pumped about geometry before school even begins with a Tangram puzzle board!
Q-BA-MAZE sets combine shapes and colors with architecture and agility. The set comes with colorful cubes that can be stacked into an array of ways, with the goal of creating a marble run.
The cubes can be transformed into just about any shape, and trying new configurations to see how fast or far the marble travels will teach kids to use their imaginations and building skills.
Related Post: Check out how to make your own DIY Marble run out of cardboard tubes in this article.
Science and Weather
Lastly, children at age five will be discovering the endless possibilities of science and how the weather is created.
Our kids love the Magic School Bus show (okay, they prefer The Magic School Bus Rides Again.) We don’t mind letting them binge a bit because each show teaches a lesson. We know they’re getting some learning snuck in with their screen time (even if they don’t realize it.)
The Magic School Bus Weather Lab is a great hands-on learning experience. Kids can dive head-first into all kinds of science experiments that teach them about the different types of natural disasters, how weather patterns form, and the tools used for weather tracking.
In addition to all of these projects, the Magic School Bus itself can be turned into a storm watch vehicle, complete with thermometers, wind vanes, and rain gauges.
The Talking Telescope from Geosafari Jr is a great way to introduce kids to space, planets, stars and astronomy.
While it’s more of a viewer for images of planets and the solar system from NASA, the toy telescope includes images and facts for each planet. Kids can learn about space and planets through a fact or quiz mode.
If you’re looking for more of a real telescope than a toy, Geosafari Jr offers the GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope for only a few dollars more than the talking telescope.
Creating a Love of Educational Toys
Providing 5 year olds with toys that allow them to experience new activities and work toward goals will not only give them ample learning opportunities but will keep them entertained. If the right toys are chosen, they will not even realize they are being educated while they are having fun.
Final Thoughts – Educational Toys for 5 Year Olds
While this list is geared towards 5 year olds, each child will develop differently (and some toys are so cool kids can’t wait to play with them or want to keep playing with them long past their “suggested” age.) You may have a 4 or 6 year old that will enjoy these same toys just as much. Check out our picks for each age group here: