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The best birthday gifts of 2016: happy sixth birthday!

Approaching their sixth birthday, kids are tremendously creative, and have no problem deftly merging fantasy and reality with inventive results. At GreatSchools.org, in an article on child development at age 6, a girl named Jenny explains her theory about how a frog got into a small backyard pond:

The frog, desperate for water, asked Mr. Jack Rabbit, who is a really fast runner, “Please take me to a place with water.”
Being a good friend, Mr. Jack Rabbit said, “Of course. Just jump on my back, and I’ll take you to this nice pond.”
So the frog jumped onto the rabbit’s back, and the rabbit brought him to our pond.
“He really likes it here, and he’ll be Jack Rabbit’s friend forever,” said Jenny.”

Jenny and her playmates are probably aware that rabbits and frogs don’t really talk to each other, but at this age, kids are constantly exploring imaginative possibilities, as well as expanding their knowledge of the real world. There are no shortage of toys that will help them do one, the other, or both, so I divided up today’s birthday gift guide by personality types, with a range of price points. Happy shopping!

 

Inventive

Goldieblox Invention Mansion, $69.99
With over 350 pieces and a full-color booklet of idea starters, the Invention Mansion gives your budding builder the tools to get started while encouraging open-ended, exploratory play. Young engineers will dive in to discover a trap door, zipline, balconies, bridges, and secret spots. With thousands of configurations, the construction and role play possibilities are endless!

Crazy Forts Construction Kit, $49.99
Kids are never short on creativity — especially when it involves making a fun mess out of the living room with lots of blankets and pillows. Take the construction to the next level with Crazy Forts. This innovative set lets kids build and play ceaselessly, thanks to a collection of ball and rod pieces.

Meeperbot 2.0, $49.99
What’s better than a remote control car? How about a remote control car that you imagine and invent and build, and then can reimagine and reinvent and rebuild as often as you want?

 

Crafty

Fashion Plates Deluxe Design Set, $27.99
Mix and match fashion plates to create a unique and elegant look! The tablet keeps the paper steady so kids can get good results.

The Original Spirograph Cyclex, $19.99
Make room on your fridge, Mom and Dad, because there are going to be a lot of pretty patterns coming out of this birthday gift! The Cyclex simplifies the process of making Spirograph art so that smaller kids can get super-cool results. There are no small parts to lose and no frustrating slippage – just the pure meditative joy of Spirographing.

Creativity for Kids – Grow n’ Glow Terrarium, $14.99
Grow n’ Glow Terrarium is built in a plastic mason-style jar, which comes with everything kids will need to grow the included plants and set up their own little sylvan scene, which also includes cute animal and mushroom figurines.

Craft-Tastic Pom Stuffed Animals Kit, $19.99
These three are so adorable it’s ridiculous. They’re also ridiculously easy to make. Just take the pre-sewn shape and place the poms on it to create an adorable owl, penguin and fox, and then iron the back side to secure the special adhesive. Next, stuff it and pull the drawstring to close it up. It’s cuteness gone wild!

 

Rough-and-Tumble

birthday gift light up soccer discCan You Imagine Air Power Light-Up Soccer Floor Disk, $19.99
Let’s kick it! The appeal of this toy is hardly limited to the sporty kid, since there is NO child who won’t love playing with a disk that moves around everywhere like the puck on an air-hockey table (on its own self-produced air cushion). It’s nicely padded on the edges so it won’t die a premature death upon colliding with concrete, and it won’t wreck your furniture. Basically: any birthday girl or birthday boy is going to be into it.

Kid Galaxy Remote Control Space Bumper Cars, $52.99
Get ready for some 2 player crash & bash remote control action! Bumper cars perform 360 degree spins when hit. Bump your opponent’s vehicle and watch lights flash and hear cool sounds! Classic amusement park themed colorful cars and great graphics make this even more fun!

OYO NHL Bruins Gametime Hockey Rink, $159.99
A very special treat for the local superfan: build your own incredibly detailed rink, complete with authentic logos, and populate it with OYO minifigures.

 

Sparkly

q-ba-maze spectrum set marble maze birthday giftSticky Mosaics Heart Box $14.99
Your crafty child will love this new heart shaped box. The Orb Factory, maker of our favorite Sticky Mosaics sets, is located in Nova Scotia, Canada. We love the company’s dedication to creating high-quality toys that are both endlessly entertaining and educational.

Alex Toys Bling a Piggy Bank, $22.99
Make the most glamorous ceramic piggy around with 650 gems! Save coins and dollars in a piggy bank you decorated with sparkling hearts, gems and sequins.

Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Spectrum Marble Run, $69.99
The inclusion of this toy in this category isn’t necessarily intuitive until you look at it: the interlocking cubes that form this marble run are REALLY PRETTY. The set comes with 9 colors of cubes that let kids build lovely stained-glass-looking structures – then, drop a handful of marbles down and see what happens!

buying guide - toys ages and stages

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