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The best toys for five-year-olds are items that promote imaginative play and games that spark their creativity.
Five is a brilliant age. If you've got a five-year-old on your hands, they are probably full of personality with their own likes and dislikes, interests, character quirks and a seemingly neverending amount of energy. So the best toys for this age group are games that promote all of the above. It's worth keeping this in mind if you're thinking ahead and browsing for the top Christmas toys for your little one, too.
"Children benefit from outdoor and indoor physical play to help build motor skills, balance, and agility," Dr. Maria Shaheen, senior director of early childhood education at Primrose Schools says: "Younger children (ages 5 to 6) are working on continuing to build their coordination and balancing skills." So toys that support hopping, jumping, skipping, and balancing on one foot are a great addition. "Jumping through hula hoops, jump ropes, balance beams, and hopscotch are simple ways to accomplish these developmental goals," Dr. Shaheen explains.
At the age of five, most children have also just started school and are learning to read and write. So educational toys books that help build towards this stage or mud kitchens (see our mud kitchen ideas here if you're looking for inspiration) are a good choice. Plus, games that help teach kids the rules of sportsmanship are handy to have. "Large balls such as beach balls are a good way to begin to learn to catch and progressively moving to smaller balls as they become more skilled can help build their hand-eye coordination," Dr. Shaheen adds.
To find the best toys for five-year-olds, do keep scrolling. We enlisted the help of some testers to find the top toys for this age group. From a marble run to a Melissa and Doug set, there's something for everybody.
Best toys for 5-year-olds: our consumer editor's top picks
All the products in our roundup have been selected because they were a big hit with our panel of five-year-old testers. However, one standout was the Mega Marble Run from Galt Toys, which gives creative kids the chance to build everything from simple marble runs to complex, winding structures. Our tester said this was "one of my favourite toys", and added that it was "so much fun for adults too".
Another big hit was the Happy Cube Pro 6-Pack, which won points for not just being fun and challenging, but affordable too. Our tester said the cubes were a really purse-friendly buy and something she would buy for other children too.
If you're looking to buy imaginative games your child can play with other kids, then the word and picture rhyming game Orchard Toys Slimy Rhymes went down a treat with our testers. "This is an ideal way to have some fun as your children practice words and sentences while being a little bit silly, and my son loved it," our tester revealed. "It’s compact and easy to transport, so would make an ideal travel game.”
Best toys for 5 year olds - how we tested them
We enlisted a panel of five-year-old testers to put the toys in our roundup to the test, rating them on everything from how fun they were to use to whether they’d buy them again. All the toys we’ve included are designed to have your child returning to them again and again, with many becoming family favourites, not just with our testers, but with their parents too. In our quest to find the best toys for five-year-olds, we made sure to include toys across a range of budgets and types to appeal to even the fussiest of five-year-olds.
Good for: Role play and creative play | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: No
Does your little learner love to write? Then they'll adore this wooden toy post office play set. They can play independently or together with friends and siblings as they place stamps on the letters and postcards and post the mail through the letterbox. They can also weigh the parcels on the scales and pay for their post with their 'bank card'
Orchard Toys Slimy Rhymes - £9.74 | View at Amazon
Good for: Language skills and memory | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: No
Watch the smiles on your children’s faces as they get stuck into this fun word and picture rhyming game from Orchard Toys. Slimy Rhymes encourages imaginative and social play, as well as language development, by encouraging your kids to match rhyming pairs, and then feed them to the included 3D slime monster.
'Slimy Rhymes is an excellent way to incorporate fun into play time and my five-year-old jumped to the challenge,' said Helen, mum to Finn. 'This is a game of matching pairs with a difference. This is an ideal way to have some fun as your children practice words and sentences while being a little bit silly, and my son loved it. It’s compact and easy to transport, so would make an ideal travel game.'
Good for: Roleplay and portable play | Age suitability: 3 - 7 years | Batteries required: No
Animal lovers will adore this miniature, fully-stocked veterinary surgery from Hape, which comes kitted out with a dog house, a cat house and plenty of accessories to help look after the included mini creatures. It’s portable too, with the roof doubling as a carry handle.
'This vet set has been a massive hit with my five-year-old. He’s never shown much interest in animals before but he does love small-world play so this was something new for him to play with at home - which he declared was the best thing ever!' Cora, mum to Teddy, told us. 'He is happy to play for an hour or so with this - leaving me in peace - which usually only happens when the TV is on. The true test of how much he enjoyed this was when I woke up early to find he’d already gone down and had been merrily playing with it for who knows how long. It’s a lovely, well-built set.'
Aquabeads Deluxe Carry Case - £31.95 | Amazon
Good for: Creative play | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: No
Crafty kids will love getting stuck into the water-activated fuse bead craft activity Aquabeads, and this mega deluxe carry case includes everything your child could want in order to make their very own bead creations. There are over 1,400 solid, jewel and star beads in 48 colours, a flip tray, a wearable bracelet base, and much more, plus, the fact it’s designed as a carry case is great for portability and storage. All it takes is spraying with water in order to fuse the beads together.
'Milo loved the bright blue colour of the carry case and the novelty of having a toy he could carry around,' said Nilufer, mum to Milo. 'He has a smaller Aquabeads beginner’s case already, but much preferred this one as it comes with 1,400 beads and 24 colours along with lots of designs you can follow. There is also a nifty little bead dispenser with compartments so you can put different beads in each and combine the colours. Milo simply had to turn the wheel to dispense the various beads and he liked having the choice to change colours instantaneously. The beads did occasionally roll away from the dispenser, making application a little tricky at times, but Milo was so focused on the end product, he didn’t grow bored.
'He made a rainbow first, copying the bead design underneath to follow the bead colour pattern, then spraying with water to ‘mould’ the beads together, before putting the drying tray on top. The rainbow design came away easily and intact and looked like a pretty jewelled ornament. Milo liked it so much, he put a thin ribbon through it and wore it around his neck.'
Melissa & Doug Super Smile Dentist Kit Play Set - £28 | Amazon
Good for: Eductional play | Age suitability: 3+ years | Batteries required: No
If your five-year-old wants to be a dentist one day, encourage their training early on with this realistic pretend play dentist kit. It includes 25 pieces, including an oversized set of toy teeth to help your little one get to grips with cleanings, cavities and even fitting retainers and braces.
'My son absolutely loves playing with this dentist toy set,' Ilana, mum to Jonah and Millie, told us. 'Coming from a dental background myself, the pieces included are really life-like from a vibrating drill to the hand mouth mirror. I have my teeth checked by my son a few times a day, as has everyone else in our family. It’s a really great educational and interactive way to learn about teeth and the dentist - I would highly recommend this product.'
Janod WWF Educational Puzzle - £32.50 | Amazon
Good for: Learning about the world | Age suitability: 5 + | Batteries required: No
For a game that’s both educational and fun, opt for this mega, 350-piece WWF puzzle from Janod. The puzzle has 44 cardboard animals for kids to put together, which are then placed on the board to complete the puzzle. Kids will learn about the most endangered animals on each continent, and the set comes with a poster to help kids complete the puzzle, as well as a booklet which explains the work of WWF. Plus, with each sale, Janod will donate a percentage to WWF’s charitable activities.
'Perhaps not surprisingly this sustainably produced jigsaw from the World Wildlife Fund comes in recycled packaging with not a trace of plastic in sight,' Rhiane, mum to Harriet and Elliot, said. 'The 350 cardboard pieces are high quality, sturdy, and fit together easily, and the 3D animals which sit on top of the completed puzzle add an extra dimension and were a big hit with my children. The booklet which comes with the jigsaw explains clearly and in age-appropriate language why each of these species is under threat. If you’re looking for an educational puzzle which will stand the test of time, then this ticks all the boxes.'
Fisher-Price Preschool Pretend Play Medical Kit - £17.98 | Amazon
Good for: Role play and imaginative play | Age suitability: 3 + | Batteries required: No
An adorable and educational game for budding doctors, the Fisher-Price Preschool Pretend Play Medical Kit comes with everything your child will need to check up on the health of their family, friends and even their pets. You’ll find bandages, a thermometer, a stethoscope and more. This game encourages imagination and could even help your little one feel more confident going to the doctor themselves.
'This is a really beautiful-looking toy that any child (or parent) would love for their little one,' Lynsey, mum to Jacob, Olive and Ivy, told us.
'It's well-made and my daughter Olive, five, adored it. When I asked if she liked it, she said she loved it. As a parent, I'd love to gift this to any child.'
Clementoni Science and Play Kit – Apprentice Explorers - £15.21 | View at Amazon
Good for: Outdoor learning | Age suitability: 5 - 10 years | Batteries required: No
It’s always a struggle to drag kids away from screens and into nature, but this Apprentice Explorers kit from Clementoni should help. It comes with all the accessories you’ll need for introducing children to nature-watching, including a pair of birdwatching binoculars, a special bug viewer and plaster cast for taking animal footprints, and cards full of useful information about nature.
'This is the perfect toy to take when going to the park or even if you have some plants in the house,' said Amancay, mum to Alba. 'The play kit keeps my child not only entertained but curious to learn more about insects, plants, birds, and mother nature. She loves observing the birds and bumblebees that come near our plants with the birdwatching binoculars included in the kit.
'As for the special bug viewer, she was fascinated observing ladybirds. The toy comes with cards so you can read to your child about nature. I can tell that this is a kit she will use for years to come and hopefully get her interested more and more in nature-watching. She played with a friend and both were equally interested in little things happening around our balcony plants.'
Galt Mega Marble Run - £33.49 | Amazon
Good for: Problem-solving | Age suitability: 4 + | Batteries required: No
The imaginative possibilities are endless with this fabulous Mega Marble Run from Galt. The game comes with 100 pieces, including 20 marbles, three paddle wheels, a wiggly bell chute, a staircase, a two-way chute and more. You can use the pieces to create everything from simple marble runs to complex, winding structures, thanks to its plastic pieces, which are easy to slot together.
'My son really loves puzzles and thinking games, but being five years old, he also loves playing,” Helen, mum to Finn, said. “The Mega Marble Run was perfect for him as he got to construct his own course and then play with it, which was exactly what I was looking for. The Mega Marble Run comes with 100 pieces and a guidebook to give the children ideas of how to put them together. Then, of course, they can use take the run apart and rebuild using their own creativity.
'There are some really fun components, such as a bell, a spinning mill and a step piece, which made the marbles rattle and Finn loved those the most. It’s very easily assembled and taken apart, so ideal for smaller homes with less storage capacity. Using your imagination, you can create games using the Marble Run. We built two separate runs using the pieces and then raced our marbles to the bottom. So much fun for adults too - it’s one of my favourite toys to play with Finn.'
Waboba Backnine - £17.12 | Amazon
Good for: Hand/eye coordination | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: No
Billed as a “nomadic disc golf game”, Waboba Backnine features a flying target ring and four silicon Wingman discs. All you need to do is throw the flying target ring to set the course challenge, then throw your Wingman disc to land on or inside the ring with the fewest amount of throws you can. You can even make up more rules as you go. Fun for both kids and adults, this is a game for the whole family to get stuck into, and it’s versatile too: you can play it on sand, snow, grass and more.
“This frisbee game is perfect for all ages and a must-have addition to any toy collection,” Rhiane, mum to Harriet and Elliot, said. “It’s high-quality and portable and a great way to get the whole family moving outdoors. That said, it also works really well with just one player. The flying ring and discs are bright, light and very easy to throw, perfect for use on any surface – even the beach.
Marvin’s Magic Treasured Tricks – Wooden Set - £29.99 | Amazon
Good for: Creative thinking | Age suitability: 6 + | Batteries required: No
Which child isn’t impressed by magic tricks? Your little one can learn the secret behind some seriously impressive tricks with this wooden set from Marvin’s Magic. Beautifully presented in a durable wooden box, the set includes plenty of tricks, including the incredible escaping coloured blocks, the vanishing rabbit illusion, the amazing rising cards and more. It comes with an illustrated booklet for a step-by-step guide to pulling off the various magic tricks, or there’s an app where you can watch and learn from magic videos.
'This comes in a lovely wooden box and looks appealing for any budding young magician,' said Lynsey, mum to Jacob, Olive and Ivy. 'What I loved most is that it is all wooden with no tacky plastic in sight and if you’re giving it as a gift, I think most children would be very happy with this. Most of the tools are quite easy for little hands to handle. My kids' favourite tricks were the Amazing Vanishing Rabbit and the Mind Reading Dice.'
VTech KidiZoom PrintCam - £49.99 | Amazon
Good for: Observation and concentration | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: Built-in Rechargeable Li-ion Polymer (included)
If your child is constantly grabbing at your phone to take pictures, get them their very own camera in the form of the VTech KidiZoom PrintCam Blue. It’s full of features they’ll appreciate, such as special photo effects, stamps and borders, games, panoramic prints and a comic strip maker. It can function either as a normal digital camera with video function or, thanks to its built-in thermal printer, can take photos and print them instantly.
'My son absolutely loves playing with the Polaroid camera,' said Ilana, mum to Jonah and Millie. 'He has learnt to navigate his way through all the different features the camera has to offer. It has a flip-up lens for taking selfies which is a really fun feature. He loves to print off the pictures, which print instantly. We have stuck them all over the fridge. I would highly recommend this product and will be taking it on holiday with us!'.
Good for: Fine motor skills and pretend play | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
If your child loves all things hairdressing, give them a treat with the Sylvanian Families’ Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon. Kids can try out their best hairdressing skills on Sally the Pony Girl, with a styling book offering helpful tips on different hairstyles. The set includes plenty of miniature hair accessories, such as a curling iron, extensions, clips and a hairdryer, while the intricate two-storey salon has a shampoo station, hair and makeup station and even a reception desk.
'My daughter tested out the pony stylist set and loved it,' said Gabrielle, mum to Evie. 'She found all the individual pieces, like comb, clips and pretend hairspray super fun and exciting to play with. She created a little game with her other Sylvanian families where they came to the hairdressers each to have their hair done, and it kept her entertained for ages. What I enjoyed was her having to use quite small movements, great for fine motor skills, to utilise all the individual pieces and to comb the pony's hair!'
Good for: Problem-solving | Age suitability: 8+ | Batteries required: No
For an affordable buy that kids will be obsessed with, opt for the Happy Cube Pro 6-Pack. The foam cube kits come with six coloured puzzles which are flat-packed, so your child’s first challenge is to make the six cubes, and once they’ve conquered that, to fit them all back into their flat packs. You can also make a variety of shapes out of each cube - and don’t be surprised if you’re just as intrigued by the challenge as your kids.
'The bright colours of these foam cubes were a big hit with Teddy,' said Cora, mum to Teddy, one of our testers. “He loved the rainbow colours and spent a long time making rainbow patterns with them. Teddy spent a good hour using the foam jigsaw pieces to make lots of different shapes - at first flat shapes, but then with some guidance from big sister he had a go at making 3D shapes. Overall these are a really purse-friendly buy, something that Teddy has returned to, and something I would buy for other children too. I think this is a toy that will grow with Teddy too.
'I think this is the beauty of this toy for someone around the age of five - they're free to do their own thing, and take on trickier challenges as they get older. They're a great introduction to 3D puzzles for younger children. Plus for children who love to take their toys to bed with them - as my son does! - they're lovely and soft when he rolls over.'
Good for: Sounds and listening | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: 4 x C and 3 x AAA
An ideal gift for animal lovers, Tiki and Toko are an adorable interactive mother and baby gorilla duo which do everything from talk and sing to cuddle together and eat. The pair will even notice when they’ve been separated and with over 100 sound and movement sequences, including giggling, snoring and burping, your child will be entertained for hours on end.
'My daughter loves playing with mum and baby gorilla duo Tiki and Toko,' says Amancay, mum to Alba. 'They have achieved what I could not, as since she welcomed them into the house, she is no longer asking me daily to get her a puppy! Pretend play comes naturally when you have a mum that can feed her baby with a bottle and a baby gorilla toy that burps. The sound effects they make are her favourite thing. Their giggles and snores make my daughter crack up with laughter. She also enjoys feeding Tiki her banana. We are going on holiday soon and she already told me which toys she is taking with her. Yep… Tiki and Toko.'
Fairy Sparkle Mosaics - £11.98 | Amazon
Good for: Creativity and manual dexterity | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: No
To encourage creativity and perseverance in your child, gift them a mosaic kit. With over six designs on offer, including three fairies, their toadstool house and an owl, each kit comes with sparkly mosaics with self-adhesive glitter and foil foam tiles. So there's no glue required.
The design means there’s no need for cutting and no risky sharp edges. They make a great activity for crafty kids, or can be used in bulk to make a fun party activity too. Once completed, the designs will look great hung up in the bedroom as a decoration.
Good for: Encouraging screen-free play | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: None
The aim of this game is to see who can eat the most balls. Similar to Hungry Hippos, each person has to control a colorful frog and scoop up all the balls to win. It’s simple to follow and a lot of fun for up to four players. A simple game with not a screen in sight, it will keep kids suitably entertained and adults will have fun playing it too.
‘A toy like this is easy for little kids to follow the rules and play,’ says Emily, mum to Bethany and William. ‘It is surprisingly fun for such a simple game too. Under £10, I think it’s great value and makes for a good birthday gift for a 5 year old.’
Good for: Musicality and listening | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: Yes
This electric keyboard comes with 8 different instrument sounds. The 49 keys are able to play the Piano, Organ, Trumpet, E. Piano, Bass Guitar, Xylophone, Music Box and E. Guitar. This means kids can switch between traditional piano and more adventurous sounds.
‘I like the way kids can hold the sides of this keyboard to move it around the house easily,’ says Gemma, mum to Oliver and Sienna. ‘It makes it much more space-saving than designs you can buy with legs.’
Good for: Reasoning and educational play | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: Yes
This Leapfrog Magic Adventures Globe is a great way to help kids understand their place in the world and discover other countries. The 10-inch interactive globe includes a 2.7” integrated video screen on the base. Kids can use this to navigate the controls and on-board offering. Animations and action videos on the screen will keep kids engaged as the globe asks questions, offers information and sets challenges,
The on-board games include Around the World, Quiz Show and Where in the World. The latter game sees kids having to find certain countries and placed on the map – pinpointing them with the on-board stylus. 'This interactive toy is very engaging and my kids and any children we have over for playdates we have seem to gravitate towards it,' says Gemma, mum to Oliver and Sienna. 'It has definitely taught my kids some useful facts about the world too.'
Good for: Creative and imaginative play | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
Every kid will love to be a superhero at one point or another and this Super Hero Cape lets them design their own cape. It comes with a mix of retro superhero and comic strip icons, and there are seven fabric pens in the kit, so kids can get creative and colorful designing their own cape. A practise sheet comes included too so they can have a go at working out how they want to color their cape before they actually do.
If you want to create an even more unique gift for a 5 year old, you can opt for the personalised option and have their name printed on the cape. The great thing about this cape is that the colors won’t fade and lose their vibrancy either.
Good for: Hand-eye coordination and physical play | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
Coming with a total of 6 detachable toy hoops for easy storage and transport, this easy-to-install hula hoop is bound to keep them busy and on the move for hours.
You can adjust the size from 6 to 5 sections depending on your little one's size and it also comes with a skipping rope to really help practice their hand-eye coordination.
Swingball - £23 | Argos
Good for: Physical play and coordination | Age suitability: Any age | Batteries required: No
Hundreds of these bestselling tennis toys are sold every week as parents and children alike continue to enjoy this fun outdoor game. Coming with an adjustable pole to make it suitable for all ages, this well-loved outdoor favourite is ideal for kids, adults and competitive families alike.
The great thing about this set is that it’s so durable it can be left out in the garden for most of the year. Its base can be filled with earth or sand so it stays secure enough to the ground too. ‘This is a great way to get kids used to the idea of hitting a ball with a bat,’ says Emily, mum to Bethany and William. ‘My kids enjoy playing with it and practising their skills, and as the ball is tied to a string there is no need for us to run over to the neighbours to retrieve any rogue balls.’
Good for: Critical thinking | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: No
This quick-action game gets everyone up, active and laughing. Easy to learn and play, this is a confidence building game that asks children to use their imaginations and act out scenes based on who, what and how.
Players need to take turns drawing the who and what card, and then spin for the how. It’s easy and quick for a 5 year old to pick up and lots of fun. eeBoo has a number of other board games you may also like to try including the eBoo Spottington Looking Game.
Good for: STEM-based play | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
This toy is great for sparking curiosity and introducing children to scientific concepts such as common science vocabulary, observation, cause-and-effect and basic science lab safety. Get hands-on with the wonders of chemistry and science using real science laboratory equipment made especially for kids.
'My boy loves anything to do with experiments and messy play,' says Lindsay, mum to Arlo. 'This set is the perfect way to get him interested in science as it comes with 10 activity cards to follow and all the kit you need to conduct an experiment.'
Good for: Manual dexterity and fine motor skills | Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries required: No
For any child that loves horses, this Playmobil set is sure to be a hit. It includes a host of figures and characters for imaginary play including 3 figures, 3 horses, 2 lockable stables and a flexible fence. The set includes a stable to build along with accessories to make the set come to life including a ladder, a pond, ponies and horses. There are in fact 194-pieces in the set, which also comes with instructions on how to put the set together.
My Living World Bug Explorer Activity Kit - £13.99 | John Lewis
Good for: Outdoor exploration | Age suitability: 5+ | Batteries required: No
This bestselling kit is great for kids who love to spend time in the garden hunting for critters and children who are fascinated by bugs! This kit will help children capture and study bugs to help their interest in the natural world grow. Learning about the garden and how to care for all the insects, animals, flora and fauna you may come across outside is great for their well-being too. The box contains a host of insect hunting tools and a fact-filled guide too, which is why we've included it in our round-up of best toys for 5 year olds.
Good for: Sensory Exploration and space play | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
No kid's room is complete without a bunch of glow stars adding interest and magic to their ceiling. We love these Brainstorm Toys Glow Stars and Dinosaurs, which is a themed take on classic stick-on stars. The company also sells other themes such as Fairies, Planets, Mermaids and Unicorns, which we think would all go down well as a great gift for a 5 year old.
'These stickers are really easy to peel off and stick and won't lose their stickiness,' says Jenny, mum to Logan and Becky. 'My kids enjoyed helping me put them on the walls and ceiling of their bedroom and turning off the lights to see the stickers glow in the dark.'
Squishville Rainbow Dream Squad - £17.90 | Amazon
Good for: Social skills and emotional development | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No
Little kids love to squeeze and play with sensory toys - be it a squishy cuddly or a pot of slime – which is why we think a Squishville makes for a fail-safe fun toy for a 5 year old. Squishville by Squishmallow is a plush toy world of playsets, vehicles and characters to collect. There are four characters in the ‘Wildlife Squad’, each with their unique design. Not only do they look cute, but they are very squishable and fun to play with. The Rainbow Dream Squad is a 4-pack of mini 5cm 'squishmallows' to collect, which is currently particularly popular with 5 year olds.
What are the best toys for 5 year olds to promote creativity?
According to Dr. Shaheen children of all ages will benefit from toys and materials that promote creativity. ‘Having a plethora of art materials, such as paint brushes, scissors with textured edges, different types of coloring and drawing tools, colored pencils, crayons, markers, a variety of paints, and paper in a wide range of colors, available at all times will help your child learn how to represent their ideas visually,' Dr. Shaheen explains. ‘Young children often use the arts as a way to express their ideas and work through challenging problems, so taking time to explore how each type of art material works can help build your child’s creative repertoire.'
While closed-ended art materials, like coloring books and craft kits can also help expand and spark creativity. ‘Coloring is a relaxing activity and mimics a meditative state,’ Dr. Shaheen adds. ‘This type of activity can help increase creativity and innovation (this is precisely why you see so many adult coloring books out there now!) Craft kits typically have one way to put materials together; however, the simple act of creating a wide range of structures can help increase ideas for later use in open-ended art activities or design challenges.’
While you're looking for the best toys for five-year-olds, you might also be interested in the best toys for four-years-olds, the best toys for six-year-olds. Plus, we've also got a guide on easy crafts for kids to help keep them entertained after school and on the weekends.
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