5-Year-Old Birthday Gift Ideas

More Birthday Gift Ideas for a 5-Year-Old

Creating and Crafting

Kindergartners have confidence and flair. They're conscious of what they produce and they take a lot of pride in their work. Craft activities for this age tend to fall into two categories: process-oriented and product-oriented. A process-oriented craft has no specific outcome; it's about seeing what your kid can do with the materials. You can buy an assortment of art supplies, like crayons, markers, tempera paints, watercolors, and paper, or look for big jars of collage supplies, like feathers, googly eyes, Popsicle sticks, and stickers. A product-oriented craft begins with an objective and teaches kids to follow instructions and understand how steps work in sequence with one another.

Sometimes, there may be room for interpretation along the way (a kit can include several colors and materials). You can find kits for making jewelry or jewelry boxes, or ones that focus on sewing sock puppets and painting birdhouses and piggy banks. Save the leftovers and use them to create something entirely new. "When children don't know what the end result is supposed to look like, they can engage their creativity and problem-solving skills," says Diane Quiroga, a board certified and registered art therapist and mental health consultant in Livingston, New Jersey.

Playacting and Expressing

Your child's imagination has grown by leaps and bounds; she's creating elaborate scenarios, distributing roles, and making rules. Kids love to perform, and drama activities aren't just for children who are outgoing. "Drama is great for any kid," says Ryan Bailey, founder and director of Stage Soup, a drama program for children in Brookline, MA. "Often, the shyest children get the most benefit because performing builds their confidence and brings out another side of them." A puppet theater will provide hours of entertainment for kids (and parents). Act out fairy tales or nursery rhymes or make up stories and assign parts. Give kids the materials to make their own props and costumes. The company Seedling has a kit for kids to design their own superhero capes, and there are kits to decorate fairy wings, make masks, and decorate T-shirts. Face painting kits are perfect for kids with a flair for drama, and abstract props like wooden blocks and silk scarves can push children's creativity.

Winning and Losing

One of the more challenging social skills that children this age need to learn is winning and losing gracefully. Children are naturally competitive, so they tend to celebrate when they win and pout when they lose. When adults play with children, it's fine to be flexible with the rules and help with strategic thinking and provide feedback. Choose classic board games or those that don't require reading but involve some strategy or skill. There are newer family games, like Qwirkle and Spot-It, that are challenging for all ages. When children play with other children, it's a more level playing field and they need to be prepared for any outcome. Shorter games are better because kids will probably play several rounds, and each one will likely get a chance to win and lose. Balancing games, where children try to stack pieces without letting them fall, can be played together. These games tend to move quickly, and it's a blast when the whole stack comes down. If you have a very competitive child who gets stressed out when he's losing, consider cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom Press that require players to work together toward a common goal.

Engaging and Collaborating

Children are now able to engage in some of the same activities their parents enjoy. A gift for your child that will give you an opportunity to spend some quality time together -- for instance, a kid-friendly digital camera or a baking kit from Sassafras for making cookies -- is a win-win. Get a soccer ball or tennis racket, or some canvas and paints, to plays sports or to create art together. There are also kits that will introduce knitting and sewing. It's important to follow your child's lead when you're playing together, even if you're doing something you love. Children spend their whole lives following instructions from adults, so playtime should give them a break and allow them to be in control of something for a change.

How to Invest in the Best Gifts

It's fun to shop for a 5-year-old. Now that your kindergartner's special interests are more refined, they might start collecting one type of toy, like Bruder trucks, Schleich animals, wooden trains, or Playmobil sets. Encourage their hobbies, as large collections often lead to elaborate and creative play. When choosing gifts based on special interests, push the edge of the envelope a bit and help children to broaden their horizons. Even if the first reaction is lukewarm, it's likely that a child will take a second look. When shopping, think about value in addition to price. Many toys for this age are not made to last. Avoid things that have a million tiny pieces, as those will be gone within the first few hours of play. Remember to invest in toys that are high-quality and that will capture your child's attention over and over again.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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