Help me find a fun and educational gift for a 5-year-old boy

My boyfriend’s son’s 5th birthday is coming up and I want to get him a fun yet educational gift. Preferably something that helps with reading, but could be anything of general educational value. But also important to be fun. Price is not an issue.

Any ideas??


I don’t know about ‘reading toys’, but I liked science toys when I was a kid. Have you checked The Discovery Channel Store?

Perhaps he would enjoy a Leap Pad. My younger cousins all really loved these things. They sell books for pre-K and kindergarten, I believe, and the beauty of it is that you can keep getting him age-suitable books that will work with the pad as he progresses.

Sorry, that link was to one for really young kids; this is the one you’d be looking at.

I have given the GyroMagz Mini Magnetic Construction Set with great results. You might want to give more than one set, as the more pieces one has, the more fun. I’ve found a similar product at the Dollar Store (obviously much cheaper), but the quality was bad.

The Geomag 46-Piece Magnetic Panel Construction Set looks like a lot of fun, as does the Discovery Mindboggling Magnet Kit.

I love the magnet toys, and the kids seem to enjoy them as well.

I want Geomags.

DangerGirl is getting this game for her birthday tomorrow. If this kid likes games, he might like this one.

Only my most favorite book ever, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, by Lewin and Cronin. (I am not kidding. I freaking love this book. I don’t care if I’m twenty years older than its intended readership.)

laina_f has beaten me to it, but I came into this thread specifically to state one word: MAGNETS. Little boys love them.

But do their moms love them? Honestly, any box that brags about the number of pieces is a parent’s nightmare.

As mom to a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old boy, who, mind you, make everybody say “Wow, they’re really BOYS” let me suggest

tea set
doll house

both simple, chunky, w/ not too many pieces.

And for “encourages reading” can’t beat books

Some of our current favorites


Teddy Bears Stay Indoors

The Sneetches

How about a magazine subscription? Possible choices: National Geographic Kids, Kids Discover, or Your Big Backyard.

My son is 5. He likes the magnets. They’re pretty pricey though.

My kid’s have gotten a ton of those magnets as gifts. They are never played with. The leappad also never gets played with.

The like the game Balloon Lagoon from Cranium. Its vaguely educational. And computer games. They like the Putt-Putt series.

If he likes trains you could try the Geotrax line of toys. Not very educational but pretty fun, and you can add on to it with more sets as he gets older. My 5 year old nephew likes them.

The only pieces that tend to go missing are the non-magnetic ones. The magnetic pieces, oddly enough :wink: , tend to stay together.

Captain Underpants books.

The kids definitely love the Captain Underpants books. However, the books contain a lot of intentionally misspelled words (like “there” for “they’re”). I guess it’s supposed to look like a kid wrote the book, but I think it’s a rotten thing to do to children who are learning to read and learn spelling from what they read.
Just my 2 cents worth.

I second the magazine subscription idea - I loved Cricket as a child, although it’s supposed to be ages 9-14 - Ladybug is their magazine for your age group. They’re excellent; themed literature magazines.

Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne. Chapter books about Jack and Annie and the places back in history they travel to in their Magic Tree House. ( This is probably more for a 6+.)

Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. Learn how things work with the Amazing Ms. Frizzle and her class going on a rickety bus that has magic powers that your school bus never had. You learn about dinosaurs, how the city water system works, traveling in outerspace, how yeast in a cake work, and a metric buttload of other titles. This is a wonderfully great series.

I would like to second Magz as a gift. Loads of fun.

Another gift that is expensive but it is one of those that brings kids together and is not commercialized or hyped in anyway and I just adore it/them Kapla Blocks I cannot recommend these enough and every kid that comes over to our house sits and plays with these for hours. ( No lie.) I bought the $94 set, but it has payed off in the six months since santa brought it. It also goes extremely, extremely well with Toobs! (My favorite are the Knights!) or it can be done with Papo figures, but those are costly at $5 a peice. Toobs are about $7 a toob.

Right now is when most toy stores, The Big Ones That Hate You And Just Want Your Money and the Independant Toy Stores that CARE and Stuggle to Survive 10 months of the year, have their Summer Clearance sales. July is a great time to get Xmas shopping done.

The smaller stores don’t carry the commercialized crapola. I like that. You should too. :smiley:
Chinaberry Mostly books for infants up to teens, with a smattering for adults. Games and things. I highly recommend Jim Weiss Audio cds. Classic Stories for kids and adults. I have a handful of them and the kids (5 & 7, one of each, respectively.) love Galileo and the Stargazers band name! because they learn not about the men who were geniuses in their day and helped make astronomy what it is today by their observations, but because Tycho Brahe had his nose cut off in a sword fight. They think that is a riot. You can get them out of your library system. They are very popular with homeschoolers and libraries. You won’t find him much anywhere else. I luffs Chinaberry…they changed everything I am about parenting. Y’know: Turn off the TV and Get Involved. Stuff that I probably woulda figured out on my own but…hey, I get a catalog 4-5 times a year, so YAY!

Magic Cabin Has alot of great stuff, though it does seem to be more girlish, but I love them and their catalog. ( The artwork in the catalog is sooo cute that I cute it all up and use the pictures for artwork for the kids to glue onto construction paper. )

Live and Learn has some great stuff, but I find their site hard to navigate. I have never ordered from them.
Toy Knights is the place to go if you need to indulge your inner Medieval warlord or Viking Dude, Blood Thirsty Pirate, Robin Hood or the Musketeers. Whatever is your kiddie fantasy, they’ll have something for it. Out farking standing selection. I’ve talked to them ( (I think it is family owned) many a times and extremely personable service.

Spilsbury Has some great stuff, great site and very good selection.
Don’t underestimate the power of art supplies Dick Blick is a great resource for good stuff at reasonable prices! I use the regular paint tubes ( watercolor or acrlyic) for my kids stuff because it works better than the cheapie ones ($2 and under) available at all stores. A basic starter set is about $10 for either water or acrylic. (One of dads old dress shirts or one picked up at the Salvation Army is the perfect smock.)
If he likes trains ( Thomas the Tank Engine Rocks!) this site has good prices: Thomas is one the best toys for boys ( and girls.IMHO. Though at 5, he is on the cusp of Pokemon and Yugioh, evil, evil things that cannot be avoided, like puberty. My son goes both ways: he likes pokemon and thomas :slight_smile: and he’s 7.

A dress up box and some puppets are always something fun.

The doper Macaroni & Schmeese owns a toy store, you might want to email her to get some thoughts.
Also, I beleive, YMMV, that it is imperative to KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Kids will always gravitate toward empty boxes, crayons, slinkies, blocks and the like. Stuff like that inspires creativity.

I could write all day about stuff like this, but I have to go beat my children now into the bathtub and pack for camping tomorrow! [size=1] and it’s spose to be humid as all hell and rain Oh.Joy!)

I loved Highlights magazine when I was that age.

Tangrams are also really cool. They’re this wooden/plastic/whatever square that’s made up of seven pieces and there are books of patterns to arrainge them in, like animals and flowers and such. I thought they were really cool when I was younger.