Inside: See the best toys for 5 year olds (and beyond) – open-ended toys to grow with kids.
Looking for the best toys for 5 year olds to 8 year olds+? Here’s the list for you.
We cannot afford to undervalue toys – especially as our kids age.
There’s this belief that as kids age, toys should be more technology focused (not true) – it’s kind of like the same rumor that hands-on activities are for little kids and worksheets are for big kids (again, not true).
Our big kids need play – hands-on, imaginary, they’re doing the work play. They need to still be in the driver’s seat of their play learning – please don’t set them in the back with video games just yet. They still need real play.
Big kids still need open-ended toys and here’s why.
RELATED: Read more about my thoughts on toys in this article.
What toys do 5-8+ year olds need?
In my humblest opinion, there are two toy categories: “One and Done Toys” and open-ended toys. We want to fill our homes with the good, open ended toys.
“One and Done Toys” usually have batteries, they might light up, or make noise – but the big red flag: these toys do the play work for the kids.
Why focus on open-ended toys?
By giving our kids open-ended toys, we are giving them the chance to learn by doing. And that’s the most powerful learning we can give them.
At this age – our five, six, seven, eight year olds can do some pretty amazing things with open-ended toys and you can see the learning right away. It’s not hidden.
- The blocks they build with are engineering
- The LEGOs are created with great imagination.
- The art they make is full of emotional expression.
The foundation for open-ended toys is laid out in my previous two toy lists.
EXAMPLE: Toddlers are the first age group to enjoy wooden blocks. Eight year olds still play with them.
A brief list of toys my kids (5, 6, 8) play with every single day:
- Wooden blocks
- LEGO bricks
- Magnetic tiles
- Dress-up outfits
- Small animal toys
Many of the toys on this big kid list promote skill building
As our kids age, they develop interests and skills through their play. This list is different from my other lists – it’s organized by “subject area.”
Some of these aren’t even toys – but they promote growth, learning, skills, and fun in our children.
We need to remember that even with big kids, we are still gatekeepers to the toys in our homes and we decide which toys get to stay (and which get the boot).
WE DO NOT NEED TO SHIFT TO ELECTRONICS AS OUR KIDS AGE. That needed to be said in all capitals. And bold.
Remember, toys don’t have a gender
This list is GENDER NEUTRAL (as all toys are). Everything on this list is fantastic for both BOYS and GIRLS, and equally loved and used by all – don’t miss a chance for amazing learning just because of your preconceived notions.
Our girls deserve the chance to engineer just as much as our boys need the chance to create. Please do not gender toys.
Here are the best toys for 5 year olds – 8 year olds:
The following list contains Amazon affiliate links. Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
I know you made these as a kid and what fun they were. Guess what? They still are (and the only thing I use my iron for). This set comes color sorted but does not have any pegboards so we got this pegboard set first.
Did you have a spirograph? This is math and art and creating at its finest – I’m so glad they never stopped making these.
Did you do this as a kid? My son (7) and daughter (5) love it so much. It’s complicated and challenging and so fun for kids to learn.
When I was a kid, my grandpa bought me a kit like this every year for Christmas and I looked forward to it like nothing else. There’s something special about these kits.
We are still deep into paper airplanes at our house, all thanks to this book. This gave step by step guides that my 5 and 7 year old could follow. Thanks to this book, we are all very paper plane fluent.
Sewing is such a lost art but it doesn’t have to be. ALL kids can benefit from learning this very real life skill.
Magnetic tiles are amazing for older children to build with – we have this Picasso brand (considerably cheaper and we haven’t noticed a difference).
This is the marble run we have – we love it. Marble runs are complicated to set up, but 5-7 year olds rock it.
This is like next level marble-run and it is very much for the 8+ crowd. Amazing. Challenging. Very very cool toy for the big kids.
This is NOT a train product. This is truly a building set. While it says 3+ on the box, that is NOT accurate. This is a minimum 5+ toy and it is AWESOME. This is significant building for kids – and expansion packs have motors to make their creations move or talk.
By age 5 years old, all kids should have a box of LEGO bricks for building and creating. Nothing invites invention and engineering quite like a LEGO.
Have a big kid into LEGO bricks? Take it to the next level with this kit. All the pieces to make all the contraptions come with – it takes LEGO and systems and STEM to a huge level.
Have a kiddo who loves building forts? This is the kit and way better than any other kits like it. Trust me, I’ve tried others and this one is “The Ultimate” for a reason.
We got this for my now 8-year-old last Christmas. What an amazing product! It is definitely an 8+ gift.
Not ready for a full blown microscope (or don’t have the space)? I get it. We LOVE this pocket version (and so does my 5 year old) – it comes to the park with us a lot. We get so much use out of it.
Let your child build circuits and systems with this amazing hands-on learning toy. Easy to follow directions let your child learn so much about electricity. This is a standard 6-8 year old birthday gift from me (regardless of gender).
Yes, these are real tools specially sized for kids. You can decide if your child is ready for this, but there’s no substitute for learning to working with real tools. Tools are for all genders – all kids can build. All kids can create.
This pairs well with some wood and nails from the hardware store.
This became my go-to 8 year old gift in 2020. I couldn’t find many colors of this online – but I see them at all the local toy stores (which is where I buy them). This 14.5 inch size is PERFECT for growing big kids.
A good pair of binoculars is everything for bird watching to jungle hunts to spy missions. They come in 6 different colors so you’ll find the right style for your child.
If your child has been to a classroom, they’ve played with pattern blocks before. Having them at home is the best – anyone else remember making giant flowers with these as a kid?
- Colorful plastic links (top 5 most played with toy here: used for leashes, traps, handcuffs, barriers)
- Geoboards (do you remember the designs you’d make with rubber bands? I had to buy a set for my house!)
- This game is fun.
- The little beaded pieces are imaginary play heaven – this was the most played with game by my kindergarten and first graders.
This is SUCH a great gift to give – especially for an older child who likes to or often needs to play solo. It’s a great puzzles/brain teaser.
A true “big kid” game – it’s 8+ and that’s exactly right. It takes a little to learn how to play (for adults and kids), but once you learn…it’s the bestest.
An absolute riot – especially once kids have some basic reading skills. 2700+ reviews on Amazon – it’s a winner.
The skills needed to play Bop It! and the thrill of it all makes this such an addicting game – trust me, I’m as hooked as the kids are. This can be solo or with a partner.
I loved Simon as a kid but Mini Simon is even more fun. It’s a great extra gift or stocking stuffer. It says 8+, but it was a gift for my 4 year old last winter who loved it as much as the bigger kids.
There’s no more beloved toy in my backyard than this stomp rocket – from ages 2 to age 11 – shooting a rocket into the air is fun for everyone.
These are sweetest, coolest – just a great little space for growing big kids. They can relax, grab a book, unwind, etc… all in the comfort of their own pod. Lots of different colors available.
This is a GREAT way to help kids learn to catch and throw in a fun and successful way. I highly suggest foxtails. Here’s a link to another set that’s a 6-pack if you need more than 1: Lakeshore’s Soft and Safe Comet Balls.
These become REALLY fun for kids around age 5 years old – and also around age 37. The distance on these is at least a mile (and so cool that it’s a 3 pack). These are obviously indoor or outdoor, but I see them outside with my kids most often.
FIRST: This is going to sell out from this link, if it isn’t already. Consider this a suggestion to find elsewhere. We got this for Christmas last year. Between the Olympics (for my son) and the fact that my daughter is just plain awesome, this has been massive fun.
A GREAT way to introduce paddle sports to kids – they can be really, really successful with this set up.
- Velcro ball and catch (did you have one as a kid?!)
- Scoop and catch (the kids – and the parents – played with this all summer)
This is a funny gift to give a 5-8 year old, but I give it out a lot. There’s a lot of imagination that takes over with caution tape – you’d be surprised the possibilities kids see with this “non” toy.
Which of the Best Toys for 5 Year Olds – 8 Year Olds looks most fun?
Helping our kids grow into thinkers and doers starts with having great toys.
These hands-on, kid led toys are exactly what our kindergartners and big kids need.