Lower Elementary kids or 6-9 year olds can feel tricky to shop for, likely they have amassed quite the collection of toys already and you may find they aren’t getting their toys out as much as they age… So what do you get the kid who has so much already and isn’t playing as much as they used to?! My Lower Elementary gift guide is the perfect place to start!
Lower elementary kids seem like they are already getting so big and starting to outgrow their toys and while it’s true they have aged out of some items they still have years of play left and the trick is figuring out what they love and helping that love to grow!
Some lower elementary kids might be all about arts and crafts, others might be more into small-world play, and some might be into tinkering. Lower elementary kids love to specialize and become very passionate about what they love!
Lower Elementary Gift Guide Basics
I have included some basic options on my Lower elementary gift guide, that the kiddo likely has some of already (think Legos or Barbies) This is the perfect age range to add to an existing collection with specialty sets that will add a new layer to playtime or that speaks to a special interest.
I wanted to include a little bit of everything when I curated my elementary gift guide. From open-ended building to small world play to learning and practical life tools and so much more! That way no matter what elementary kiddo is into you can find an idea here!
An Ever Growing and Changing Lower Elementary Gift Guide
This is my first year having a 6-year-old, so as the years pass and she spends more time as a lower elementary kid I will update and curate this list even more, and as my oldest ages out of this range, my middle will be on the younger end of it it so expect my lower elementary gift guide to grow and evolve!
Some of the items on my lower elementary gift guide are our must-have items that get constant play in our home and others are things we are considering adding to our own collections. I am in no way suggesting you NEED all of the items I list below, I am merely listing our favorites or our personal wish list items. Hopefully, this sparks some ideas for your own kiddo’s wish list!
More Gife Guides to Love
Gift-giving has become a bit of a love language for me, I have compiled a fair few different lists over the years. Check them out here!
Girl Gifts, Boy Gifts, or Gender Neutral Gifts….
My lower elementary gift guide may be slightly geared towards ‘traditionally’ girl items, (girl mom to three here) but many of the items are open-ended, loved by all toys, or at the very least come in other colors and patterns if unicorns and glitter aren’t your kid’s thing!
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Free Play Toys
So much of my elementary gift guide could be considered free play toys as I am a huge believer in child-led open-ended play and discovery…BUT some of the items that I have on my elementary gift guide just don’t fit into another category so here they sit!
- Barbie dolls- made to move dolls and a play set that relates to your child – Mine is looking for a kitchen set, and a Mermaid
- 18 in dolls and play sets, ways to spark deeper play with their dolls, doctor set, bike seat, or Spa set
- Schleich playsets – if you like us, you have already started a collection of these animals, so now is a great time to get a more detailed set that relates to a special interest. Horse Trailer Camper, Tractor and Trailer, or Wildlife Rescue Truck
- MakeDo tools – cardboard construction tools, seriously so cool
- Fort building kit – I would recommend a larger set or two sets to combine it will allow for bigger builds big enough to fit growing lower elementary kids
- Play Silks – seriously one of our most used toys. The large ones are great for forts and the standard we use for dress-up and small-world play
- Walkie-Talkies – what kid doesn’t like feeling like a super spy?!
- LCD Doodle Pad – I don’t know about you but we are going through TONS of paper right now. This at least saves us a little bit! I like the larger size of this one!
- Kids digital camera – my girls love taking videos of themselves and I love not having to purchase film. Win-win!
- Marble Run – we currently use the classic plastic one but I’m saving the Gravitrax one for when my girls get a bit older!
- Lego dots – we have the bag tag set currently but I’ve got an eye on the bracelet set
Role play takes on a whole new meaning to an elementary kid. It’s taken very literally and the smallest detail must be accounted for. So don’t pack away that dress-up and doctor’s kits yet. Lean into it with more real-world tools!
- Tea party set – get something that real tea can be used in
- Beauty Salon Set – You could go for some real makeup and I’m sure they would love it. I’ve yet to pull that trigger.
- Brio Tool set – gear towards the younger end here but great for a Tinkering kid who doesn’t have access to real tools and supplies
- Cash register – imaginative play gets really serious and detailed in this age, so if you don’t have one I would definitely consider it if your kiddo likes to play store. The more realistic the better
- Doctor or Vet Set see above
- Dress up jewelry and shoes – we do a lot of dress-up still and are all about the details and outfit curation these days. So we need just the right accessories tiaras, clip-on earrings, sparkly jewelry, and so on.
We have officially entered the age of the tinker and STEAM is here to stay and I love that for them. No elementary gift guide would be complete without some Lego
- Lego box of bricks – it never hurts to add more bricks to a collection they have also started releasing specific color sets pastel and neon are on our lists
- Themed Lego set – Lego Friends, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lego City, Minecraft, Disney…there are so many options!
- Magnetic Tiles – think of unique shapes or colors, as you likely already have a collection. We have this pastel set on our list
- Connetix Tiles building bases – another fun option for magnetic builders in your life
- GeoMag Sticks – we have a vintage set of these from my husband’s collection as a kid and my girls LOVE them
- Brain Flakes – I’ll be honest we haven’t tried these yet but I keep hearing about them all over the internet so it’s worth a look!
We are a board game family and I had to share a few that aren’t just Chutes and Ladders and Monopoly. There are so many fun board games and card games out there!
- Rapid Rumble
- Ticket to Ride First Journey – if you are board game family you likely already have introduced your kids to this game
- Guess who
- Catan Jr – some kids might be ready to jump into classic Catan, but if you never played I would start here
- I Saw It First!
PUZZLES AND BRAIN TEASERS
I LOVE a good logic puzzle, have for years, and I have been slowly introducing them to Bitty and Bean, I cannot say how excited I am that we are finally reaching the point where they are able to solve the problems on their own! So I had to include a few of our favorites on the elementary gift guide.
- Pattern play
- Search and find floor puzzles – great to prolong the play with a puzzle
- Coogam wooden brain teasers – tetris style and hexagon are our favorites
- Rush Hour jr and then when they have beat it, classic Rush Hour
- Kanoodle Jr or if they have mastered that classic Kanoodle
- Smart farmer
LEARNING TOOLS and TOYS
As homeschoolers, I couldn’t make an elementary gift guide and not include some more learning-focused items that we love or are looking to add to our collection
- Coding robots Coding Critters (unicorn, dinosaur, cat) or Botley2.0
- GeoStix or Geomakers
- Pattern blocks – classic set, 21st-century set, or transparent set
- STEAM activities – Pendulonium, Crashapult, Domino Action, & City Engineering (also have treehouse, playground, and castle sets)
- Snap circuits junior or classic and if you are looking for additional sets the light and arcade sets are fun
- Science experiments – other options that look fun are the magic science or the super gross
My elementary kiddo is still always on the move and looking for ways to move her body so it was only natural that I include some gross motor options on my elementary gift guide!
- 2-wheel scooter – we’ve been riding the three-wheel version for a few years now and I think it is time to upgrade her
- Floor scooter – a fun more indoor option for smaller areas of movement but still getting her wiggles out
- Sensory swing– we have had one of these for a little over a year now and it gets used ‘every single day’ by both of my big kids. I cannot recommend it enough
- Indoor basketball hoop – My kids are not ball inclined but I am sure there are some out there! this could be a fun intro
- Ninja course
It’s no secret that I am a crafty artsy person, so you KNOW I had to include some of our favorite art supplies in my elementary gift guide. One fun thing about this age of kids is that they are likely ready to move on to more advanced materials, which makes for fun new creations!
- Ooly art tools– they have so many novelty options, I don’t think you can go wrong! – color change markers, watercolor gel crayons, and metallic brush markers just to name a few
- Sketchbooks – we go through so many pads of paper I think the more you can have the better. Grab some stickers and let them customize these
- Watercolor supplies – a paint set with more than the basic colors, Artists Loft 36 color set is what we have been using, but I’ve got my eye on this 48-color set, preloaded watercolor brush pens could be fun and you definitely want to try refillable water brushes if you haven’t yet
- Sharpies– don’t ask me what it is but there is something about allowing kids access to permanent markers they also have skin tone set and pastels
- Alcohol Markers– great for coloring without streaks and for blending colors together for more ambitious art.
In addition to elementary-aged kids being ready for nicer supplies, they are also ready for all the fun craft kits. They can understand and follow directions and they can have a vision of what they want it to look like at the end!
- Spirograph – fun shapes, scratch paper, LCD travel board, and a set of good colorful pens
- Weaving loom – potholder weaving or large standing frame
- Perler beads – I LOVED these as a kid. Definitely start with the divided tray of beads, you can always get specialty colors too. Then you are going to need pegboards mixed shapes are a must and the large squares for bigger designs. A fun add-on would be a book of designs
- Fashion Plates for the fashionista or Fashion Faces for little makeup artists
- Rainbow Loom
- Nondry Clay – my girls LOVE this stuff, they carry it around like stress balls and I love that it’s not crumbly or sticky
Fidget and Sensory play
We LIVE for fidget and sensory play here and the exciting thing is now we are getting into more puzzley and logic-type fidgets, don’t get me wrong though we definitely still use are putty and stress balls on the daily so I could leave them off my elementary gift guide
- Aarons Putty – the only type of slime/putty I will buy it’s not too sticky it doesn’t dry out fast. there are TONS of pretty colors. The minis make great travel tins and the larger tins have a great amount of putty in them
- Rotate and Slide puzzle
- Popit game
- Magic Rainbow Puzzle Ball
- Pop Tubes – I seriously don’t know what it really is about these things but they are always getting pulled out and played with
- StressBalls – Globbles, Impresa Unbreakable, NeeDoh
I feel like once kids reach elementary they have most of what they ‘need’ but it’s probably time to start updating it to more “big kid” options. New bedding, nicer tools in the kitchen, and items for more independence, that’s the kind of stuff I included on my elementary gift guide
- Weighted Blanket
- Big Kid Bedding update
- Novelty light
- Sleeping Bag for backyard or livingroom campouts
- Treasure Box – this age LOVES to keep all of their things. Give them a spot for all their treasures A Caboodle or an actual chest would be great
- Beanbag/cozy reading spot
- Kids’ safe kitchen knife
- Yoto speaker – TONS of great book and music options for them to listen to and even customizable cards
- Real tool kit
This is such a fun time for lower elementary kids! They are getting to discover a love of reading for themselves and find new things that interest them or dive even deeper into their special interests! So as such recommending books on my elementary gift guide gets tricky as these kids are all over the place with reading skills. I will try my best, but take your kid’s interests and level in mind and when in doubt picture books are definitely still a good idea!
- Zoey and Sassafras I have yet to hear of a new reader who dislikes this series. We are reading it as a read-aloud, not an independent reader book, it’s a great early chapter book that my 6-year-old LOVES
- The Magical Yet – such a great picture book about persevering to learn a new skill(specifically bike riding but lots of other skills are mentioned)
- Stella’s Stellar Hair – a top 10 book in our house with beautiful art, diverse representation, and a space theme to make it a home run.
- Julias House for Lost Creatures another amazing picture book about finding your home and standing up for yourself
- Lego Amazing Earth – part Lego building inspiration part earth science book. Seriously cool
- The Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Creatures mythology and origins of mythical creatures from around the world and stunning art