Top Ten Toys for 5-8 Year Olds, Boys or Girls

I look back on growing up with my four brothers, and sister, and remember all the fun we had building forts and treehouses, playing ‘Wagontrain’ with our bikes and wagons, hide and seek in the tall cat- ‘o- nine tails, building tents with chaise lounges and mom’s sheets and clothespins, and making creepy crawlers, among other things. I will always have fond memories of my childhood. Now, in my mid-forties, and the grandmother to a 7-year old girl, I look forward to spending time with her, mostly outdoors. We go fishing, swimming, boating, have built chicken coops, and hatched chickens together.

That said, here is my top ten for encouraging creativity, individualism, teamwork, and imagination. These also allow you to spend quality time with your child, and spend more time outdoors than in front of the TV.

1) Small, or child’s fishing pole – my granddaughter has a Spongebob one, but children’s fishing poles are available in a variety of themes. Pack a picnic lunch and take off to the lake or pond for an afternoon of fishing. Teaches patience and gives the opportunity for quality time – outdoors.

2) Incubator – there are small incubators for 4-5 eggs available for schools. These are perfect starters, and fairly inexpensive. Check E-Bay; usually available there. Get some fertile eggs (can also be purchased online, try McMurray Hatchery, but there are also many more companies, if you cannot obtain locally), and allow your child to hatch, and watch the miracle of birth. You could also do reptiles, if more preferred. Once they are mature enough, move to a terrarium or cage and have your child feed, water, and care for the critters. Teaches responsibility, and is a great experience to watch when something you cared for turns into a live critter.

3) Bicycle – go for weekends rides with your child in the park or on a trail. This is great exercise, and the time spent together will be remembered. Again, you can pack a lunch and make it a picnic outing.

4) Leapfrog Learning Systems – for those rainy or snowy days, this is great educational fun for the indoors. There are many different cassettes available for reading, math, science, geography, etc. Very entertaining, while the child still learns (unlike Playstation).

5) Microscope – What is cooler than examining a piece of hair, skin, bugs, lake water, leaves, pollen spores, insects, etc.? Helps answer the curiosity questions that children tend to ask. Learning science can be fun after-all. Expand the imagination with science.

6) Rock Tumbler – allows learning of different types of semi-precious stones, rocks, minerals, etc. Answers the, “how did they get so smooth and shiny?”. Once rocks are tumbled, children can learn to make their own jewelry for themselves, friends, and family. Encourages creativity while learning some geology, and is a hobby you can share with your child.

7) Weaving Looms – these can teach history, as well as being fun. Also, teaches creativity, expands imagination, and aids coordination. Looms are available in different fashions, not like the simple ones for making pot holders only. Children can make beaded, Native American style belts and bracelets, or yarn purses, headbands, and the old pot holder for mom or grandma. You can explain that this was how clothes and such were made in the old days, with looms.

8) Scrapbooking Kit – this could be a good project both indoors and outdoors. Go on photo excursions with your child when the weather is good. Share special times and make a scrapbook that will be remembered for many years. Use stickers, cut-outs, markers, photos, etc. Great family project.

9) A football, soccor ball, basketball, volleyball, etc. – whatever sport that interests your child. Become involved and encourage sport participation. Is great exercise and promotes teamwork. Teach children that it is all about fun, not whether you win or lose. Also helps teach coordination and social skills. Make a family outing of games.

10) Telescope – look for the planets, chart stars or galaxies, watch for comets or meteor showers, etc. You could also make a mobile of the planets for your child’s room. Look for the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and the former planet Pluto. Show your astronomer that there is more beyond the earth.

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