Gifts For a 5 Year Old Boy

Watching a 5 year old open their presents on their birthday, Christmas morning, or for any special occasion is a joyful experience. When it comes to gifts, most everything will bring happiness to them, although some presents may receive a very special reaction. When a 5 year old boy is given a toy catalog and asked to circle toys they like, generally the catalog will come back with multiple circles on every page. From classic toys to the newest gadgets, they want a little of everything.

After raising two boys this age and having a third son who is quickly approaching his 5th birthday, creating this list was a little challenging in limiting the number of suggestions. My goal for selecting a toy is to find the right blend of present opening excitement, long-term interest, and child development potential. This list is in no particular ranking order.


Dinosaurs are still near the top of most 5 year old boys' wish lists. There is a reason that many museums, kids movies and theme parks have dinosaur characters or themes. Boys love them! They are drawn to their size, mystery, diversity, and power. Boys interest in dinosaurs is also demonstrated by the amount of dinosaur-related toy choices available.

Hot Wheels Cars and Sets

Hot wheels and Matchbox cars were popular when I was a kid. Now they seem as popular as ever. Good old fashion toys in my opinion are always a "must-buy" if the kids are interested. They still have many of the sets they did when I was a kid, but now have many more choices. The set my kids really enjoy is the 4 lane racer. This set is like having a pinewood derby track for hot wheels cars.

Army Men

I believe army men were invented for boys between 5-8 years old. Boys this age for some reason love to create and act out battles. The little green plastic army men do just the trick for an impromptu battle. There are some great army men sets that have a carrying case, tanks, aircraft, trees, rocks, and sometimes a fort. The Pixar Toy Story movies also helped to interest boys in the green army men. "Sarge" and the other green toy men in the movies are funny and boys think they having their own army men is important.

Two-Wheel Scooter

A two wheel scooter is a good toy for a five year old boy. Scooters are a fun toy that gives kids something they desparately need these days, exercise. Generally, two-wheel scooters are easier for kids to learn to ride than a bicycle without training wheels. Scooters are best rode on smooth sidewalks or paving such as a bike path or park path. The small wheel size does not let them travel over stone paths or through grass. They are good for helping kids to learn balance and coordination. The most popular 2 wheel scooter is the Razor Kick Scooter. Razor makes very lightweight scooters which fold up for carrying or storage in a trunk or the back of the mini-van. Just like a bicycle, it is highly recommended to have kids wear a helmet when riding a two-wheel scooter. Razor makes a good helmet for this purpose. When kids are just learning, it is also recommended to have them wear elbow and knee pads.

Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS games are very popular with 5 year olds right now. Nintendo continues to expand and support their mobile gaming system, the DS. DS games play on all DS Lite, DSXL, and DS3D portable units. Nintendo has also built a franchise which appeals to younger kids around many of the characters they have created since the 1980's. Nintendo continues to reinvent games around appealing characters like Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Pokemon. They also encourage creation of games appealing to younger players from 3rd party game developers.

So what makes a Nintendo DS game good for 5 year old boys? It should be a game that keeps their attention, has appropriate subject matter (no blood), opens up their imagination, and as a bonus, provides educational opportunities. Games that meet these requirements include the new Super Mario Bros., LEGO Star Wars, Drawn to Life, Scribblenauts, Sonic & Mario Olympics, Donkey Kong Miniland Mayhem, and Pokemon (Pokemon Heart Gold, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White or Pokemon Platinum).

It should be noted that while the Nintendo DS Lite and DSi portable units are very good for 5 year olds, the new Nintendo DS3D player is not recommended. Nintendo missed its mark on this gaming unit. It is touted as 3D graphics without glasses, but players may need glasses after using viewing the gaming screen for long periods of time. Stick with the DS Lite or DSi players, if purchasing a new gaming unit, otherwise the game cartridges that are labeled DS can be played on all the units.

LEGO and Mega Blocks

Building block toys like LEGO sets provide a great outlet for kid's creativity. Some age-appropriate Lego sets for a 5 year old boy are the LEGO City Corner (7641) and Lego City Fire Truck (7239). The Lego City sets let kids build their own mini-version of real life scenes. The Fire Truck set is a very good starter set for this series. The City Corner set is a little more detailed. It has a street scene with a restaurant, bus with bus stop, and 5 mini-figures. LEGO also makes a nice Castle series that many boys love. Many of the Castle sets are designed for kids 6 and older, but there are a few sets that are great for 5 year-olds called the LEGO Castle Building Set (6193).