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Best toys for six-year-olds 2022: Our favourite educational and entertaining toys for less than £50

From puzzles and crafts to robots and instruments, these are the best toys to maximise your six-year-old’s growth and their fun

If you’re a parent searching for the best toys for your six-year-old, we imagine it’s been a bit of a challenge. After all, your child is in something of a transitional state – the oldest infant school kid, but soon to be the youngest in their junior school – and as such, it can be difficult to work out what toys are age-appropriate. Toys that will continue their growth into fully functioning preteens but also maximise their enjoyment – after all, that’s what childhood is all about.

To make matters worse, new trends are coming along all the time, sweeping up almost every child aged around six in its excitement – as we’re sure you already know. Do you give in to the latest craze sweeping the playground or nurture them through this crucial stage of their childhood via well-established playthings instead?

As luck would have it, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve got a brief guide to get some ideas going, as well as a whole host of age-appropriate gifts that are well worth shelling out for further down.

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How to choose the best toy for your six-year-old

What toys best suit six-year-olds?

In general, structured activities such as kits or builds where there is an end goal can provide great focused learning and enjoyment for kids at six as their attention spans have grown a little longer. Likewise, more interactive toys that involve others are often useful for teaching kids about socialising, sharing and cooperation. While the occasional loss may cause a tantrum, it’s worth it for their emotional development.

They may also begin to have particular interests in collectable items or more practical activities such as crafting, basic science and technology or art. Whatever their preference, it’s always good to encourage something they’re passionate about.

In fact, as much as we want to help, the true answer to what toy best suits your six-year-old will come from them – explicitly or implicitly. Keep an eye out for their emerging hobbies and interests, or equally ask them directly about what toys and pastimes have caught their attention.

Try to avoid viewing toys through a traditional gendered lens when doing so. Girls don’t only enjoy playing with dolls or pink playthings, and boys don’t just love blue trucks. In fact, it’s beneficial to your child’s mental health to try out gender-nonconforming activities. So, let them follow whatever perks their interest or even introduce something unfamiliar! They might just like it.

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The best toys to buy a six-year-old

1. L.O.L. Surprise Under Wraps: The best collectable toy

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

L.O.L. Surprise is back this year with the Eye Spy Series Under Wraps dolls – 15 in total, which are promoted as collectables. The dolls come encased in a plastic “disguise” that doubles as several different fashion accessories; they also come with a few items of clothing, plus a spyglass that you can use to find “clues” hidden on the carry case and elsewhere. Be warned: they’re addictive, so expect to be hassled to buy more of them.

Alternatively, you could get the Bigger Surprise, which has exclusive dolls and even more accessories – this one recently made headlines when Asda slashed prices in-store to make it more affordable. A good job, too, as many customers say the full price of £85 is too expensive given what you get inside, a view with which we sympathise.

Key details – Age range: 6+

2. Geomags: The best construction toy

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Construction combines two things: problem solving and imagination. With Geomag’s 146-piece mechanics set, your six-year-old can keep building over and over again to provide hours of fun and improve these skills. Each rod has magnets positioned at the end of them meaning, whatever comes to their mind can be built. This creative, “free play” aspect of Geomags encourages children to think independently and solve problems if a structure isn’t sitting as it should. There’s also additional fun with this set, as the mechanical elements mean parts of the structures are able to rotate depending on what is built.

To rubber stamp their benefit, Geomags also qualify as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) toy, so this may even set your child on the way to a budding career (no pressure).

Key details – Age range: 5-10

3. The Genius Square: The best puzzle toy

Price: £17 | Buy now from Argos

For any kids fascinated by puzzles, their next challenge could come from the Happy Puzzle Company and its Genius Square. To play, you simply roll the dice and block out the spaces on your board that the dice show. From there, you work to fill in the rest of the board using the supplied shapes. What’s brilliant is that in all the 62,208 combinations the dice can turn out, there’s always a solution.

To develop your child’s competitive edge, and double the fun, the Genius Square is also a two-player race to see who can complete their square first.

Key details – Age range: 6+

Buy now from Argos

4. Scratch Art: The best crafty toy

Price: £7 | Buy now from The Works

Scratchboard engraving has been around for a long time, often being used by illustrators back in the 19th century, but that doesn’t mean it can’t provide hours of fun to children today. In this Scratch Art set, there are ten pages of colourful scratch paper to fill up by either following the 24-page book of ideas, using the supplied stencils or letting your child follow their imagination. What’s ideal is that it’s mess-free. No more cleaning up paint, glue or glitter. It’s also fairly cheap, so getting your child engaged with their artistic side in a controlled and mess-free environment was never easier.

The Works even have a two for £10 offer right now, meaning you could also get an extra unicorn, dinosaur or mandela set for just £3 more.

Key details – Age range: 5+

Buy now from The Works

5. Boxer: The best cheap interactive toy

Price: £55 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s no shortage of interactive AI robot buddies on the market, but this one stands out. Initially, we were surprised by how small Boxer is, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.

You don’t have to do anything except switch him on. By default, he’ll roll around making sounds when things get in the way, but he also responds to gestures, sounds and touch controls; does tricks on command; and comes equipped with accessories (such as a small ball) so you can play games with him. Make sure you download the app so you don’t miss out on any of his capabilities.

If we were amazed by his powers and tickled by his humour, then our little testers were blown away, shrieking with delight. It’s just a shame there’s no volume control (for the robot, that is).

Key details – Age range: 6+

6. Plugo Tunes piano learning kit by PlayShifu: The best musical toy

Price: £43 | Buy now from Amazon

If your six-year-old has shown an interest in music, or you think trying it out would be good for their development like many other parents, then this piano learning kit for PlayShifu is an excellent option. Plugo Tunes is an Augmented Reality (AR) powered piano that works to make learning songs interactive, friendly and fun. Once you unfold the gamepad, place your phone or tablet into the holster and put the piano in the magnetic play area, the free Plugo app will use the front camera of your device to detect the keys your child hits.

With over 50 songs on the app, there are a lot of tunes to set them on their way to becoming a budding musician all while improving their memory and motor skills.

Key details – Age range: 4-10

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