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The best toys for six-year-olds will help encourage interaction with family members and friends, put their cognitive functioning to the test, and help them further develop the skills they have already.
Whether you're looking for one of the top Christmas toys, or are just after a treat for your youngster, at the age of six, the best toys are those that help boys and girls develop bonds and nurture their friendships. So any toys that encourage interaction and sharing with other children are a good bet.
Your little one might be six going on 16, but they are still very young. So baby dolls and pretend play sets are toys that are still super popular with this age group. Children at the age of six also love problem-solving and really like to have structured games or tasks, like Lego, they can get stuck into, as parenting expert, Amanda Jenner, tells us. ‘Lego is a really good toy following visuals on how to overcome the task of building wants in the picture. Dolls become popular as role play skills will set it and they love to become a mummy or daddy in their imagination.’ Also screen-only toys can be a winner, like the popular audio boxes Yoto or Tonie.
A good board game will help encourage interaction with their friends and family members, along with encouraging a healthy dose of friendly competition. ‘Jigsaw puzzles are great as they tend to have a longer attention span at six and love a challenge and this is really good for their cognitive skills and helps them to play independently,’ Amanda adds.
With all this in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of the best toys for six-year-olds after recruiting little testers to really know if these products tick all the boxes. Despite many of these products coming in a stereotypical blue and pink colorway, all the toys we've included in this guide are, in fact, unisex. From arts and crafts to card games and sensory toys to role-play sets, these are the toys that are worth their weight in gold.
Best toys for six year old boys and girls
Buy it if: Your child loves building. This set contains a step-by-step instruction booklet for building the Research Tower which our tester was able to follow, having practised on lots of LEGO sets previously. Once built, the real playing can begin.
Don't buy it if: Your six-year-old isn't into educational toys that have to be built. The set contains what feels like a huge number of animal creatures, plant life, and bits of modern technology - the drone was a favourite with our tester.
Buy it if: Your child is a Barbiemaniac. The recent blockbuster movie has reignited Barbiemania for adults and introduced younger children to the iconic toy. You want your child's joy to go next level, stick the movie's soundtrack on as they play. It'll build on your child's social skills and get their imaginations running wild.
Don't buy it if: Your child needs more mental stimulation. While their imagination and creativity might get a workout with Barbie, their problem-solving won't really get a look in.
Buy it if: Your six-year-old enjoys playing noughts and crosses. This is a superb upgrade for anywhere-play, which you'll enjoy playing as much (if not more!) than your little one. It's a well-made and brilliantly executed toy for two-four players.
Don't buy it if: Your child likes lots of interactivity in a game. The simplicity of this game is its genius but it might not hold every child's attention. You place the coloured tiles on the playing surface until one of the players has five tiles in a row.
Buy it if: You've got a budding explorer on your hands. Building this Moana-based LEGO set will get your child using their problem solving skills and when complete, they'll get a boost of self confidence and have loads of fun imagining how far they'll go.
Don't buy it if: Your child hasn't seen Moana - the excitement of exploring beyond the lagoon will be lost on children unfamiliar with the movie.
Buy it if: You want to improve your child's logic and problem-solving skills, while helping them learn how to play by themselves. Jigsaw puzzles provide a great challenge, and Frozen fans will love seeing the picture coming together.
Don't buy it if: Your child struggles to sit still for long. A jigsaw puzzle is a longer game so might not be the best option for children who like to move on to the next thing quickly.
Buy it if: Your child loves LEGO and dinosaurs. While your child might not have watched Jurassic Park yet, they can still get in on the action with this LEGO set which recreates the dilophosaurus ambush scene from the movie. With 211 pieces, it'll help improve their problem solving skills.
Don't buy it if: Your youngster is spooked by dinosaurs - the dilophosaurus in this set isn't as cute as Barney.
Buy it if: Your youngster loves creative play and getting stuck into water. The set contains everything needed (except the water for rinsing) to have fun colouring, designing, and washing these little dinosaur characters over and over again.
Don't buy it if: Your child isn't keen on messy play. The velvety dinos are easy to hold but our tester most enjoyed using the little brush to wash the dinosaurs clean after they'd enjoyed adding colourful patterns to their bodies. So satisfying.
Buy it if: Buttons, levers, lights, and sounds are your six-year-old's dream. Your little space ranger can pop Buzz Lightyear in his spaceship and use the buttons and lever on the Star Command tower to launch him into space - hours of fun.
Don't buy it if: Your six-year-old hasn't yet discovered the joys of the Toy Story movies. This is a superbly interactive toy that most kids will have plenty of fun with - but what our tester really enjoyed was recreating scenes from the Lightyear movie.
Buy it if: Your child loves creative play. Initially, this reminded our testers' mum of a plastic hamster tunnel, but she and her son were soon raving about it. It needs a little adult interaction to get started, but the time investment soon pays off.
Don't buy it if: Your child isn't inclined to enjoy creating their own routes for the wooden balls to glide down the plastic tubes. The joy of this toy is in the fun you can have by thinking up new layouts and trying out different ideas.
Buy it if: Your child loves Bluey and enjoys playing with character figures. The house consists of the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, styled exactly how it is in the show with moveable furniture and a Bluey character too.
Don't buy it if: Bluey isn't a hit in your house. If you haven't seen Bluey, you are missing out. But with this playset, you don't need to any longer - it's well worth watching an episode or two so you can perfect some of 'Mum' and 'Dad's witty lines!
Buy it if: Your six-year-old is not yet a confident solo LEGO builder - this is a fantastic set to enhance their skills! As well as the usual paper instruction manual, it's compatible with the Lego app that helps youngsters understand what to do next.
Don't buy it if: Your youngster isn't Minion-mad - this will be wasted on them since it's all about letting the Minions loose in Gru's lab, whizzing down the slide. There are loads of other Lego sets to choose from that they'll appreciate more.
Buy it if: You have a creative little person in your life - this set will keep them endlessly occupied with 15 colours of clay and two modelling tools. The clay can be used over and over again and then played with as a self-created toy after 24 hours.
Don't buy it if: If you're running short on ideas of what to make, or have a little perfectionist in your life, this might be a frustrating item - but there is an app that takes you through the creation of each animal in step-by-step video instructions.
Buy it if: You want to help a six-year-old learn addition, subtraction, and multiplication while disguising it in game form. Tested by teachers, this is one of Orchard Toys' best-selling toys for six-year-olds. No wonder - kids will love it.
Don't buy it if: Your child is already a maths whizz - kids have to rub the cards to 'magically' reveal the answer so while it's a great game for a six-year-old, it's also a good shout for slightly younger kids too. It's maths with a spellbinding twist
Buy it if: Your child loves toys with an element of surprise. Cute, cuddly, and collectible - three things that really appeal to children of this age. Great for encouraging role play, too.
Don't buy it if: Collecting isn't your child's thing. It's surprising how much joy a simple surprise egg can bring. 'My kids love Hatchimals and I'm always surprised at how well they look after them and each piece,' says Susie, mum of two girls.
Buy it if: To make the slime, kids just need to add water so the mess can be kept to a minimum. Inside there are also four deco bags, four charms, six accessories, and stickers to make the most creative and colourful ice cream sundaes.
Don't buy it if: You groan at the thought of slime. A slightly reassuring fact is that the six bags of slime are designed to be used within the ice cream factory, so they should hopefully stay contained instead of ending up on the upholstery.
Buy it if: You have a Polly Pocket enthusiast. It's not pocket-sized, but it really is a party offering limitless play. There's a treasure chest with treasure, a surfable wave, a flamingo ride. plus a climbable tree, a spinning dance floor, and more.
Don't buy it if: You have younger children in the house who might get hold of the tiny 4+ play pieces. That said, everything packs neatly back into the Flamingo Party case, ready to party all over again, when play time is over.
Buy it if: There's something really exciting about discovering what is going on under your own skin - even as an adult - and this kit is a great way for your six-year-old to get started with learning all about their own amazing body in a fun way.
Don't buy it if: Your child isn't interested in STEM learning or curious about the human body. With a 36-page booklet to instruct and inspire, there are multiple experiments to have a go at - including building a full skeleton.