Ask Granny has been scouring the shops to find the perfect Christmas presents for boys aged 5-8. At this age range, boys have developed confidence and physicality – they love to run, to hide and to play with things that fly or roll. Buying Christmas gifts for them can be great fun.
There are gifts that’ll remind you of your own youth – paper aeroplane kits, for example; or fun science kits – and there are gifts based on the cartoon and TV characters popular with today’s children too. In Granny’s experience, your young grandson will love both.
Some of the best gifts for boys in this age range are the ones that let them get their hands dirty. If your grandson loves racing cars, don’t just buy him a toy racing car – buy him one he can build and paint before he plays with it! If he’d love a monster puppet, then a make-your-own kit is just the thing…
Wicked Uncle stocks a good range of do it yourself toys – as well as some fun water sprayers (fireman style) and walkie talkies.
You’ll find a wide selection of creative toys at Mini Makers as well. In the upper reaches of the 5-8 years’ range, they stock bubble science kits; grow your own seedling kits; and the pretty awesome Kitchen Science kit, which shows your grandson how to perform mind blowing experiments with everyday household objects (hint: don’t let him try it on his own!).
Boys in this age bracket also like sports, usually football (American or English depending on the location). If you’re thinking of getting your grandson a football for Christmas, be sure to choose the proper size for his age. A 5-8 year old boy in the UK can expect to play football with a size 3 ball. In the US, you’ll need a Pee Wee size ball for a child aged between 3 and 6; and a Junior for children aged between 7 and 9.
In both cases, it’s advisable to buy a football made from a non-leather material – sponge or rubberised sponge is ideal. The Pee Wee or youth club aged grandson doesn’t tend to think about family ornaments before he goes charging round the house scoring touchdowns and goals!
You can find a range of junior sports equipment from any decent store. In the UK, some of the best are actually the independent high street stores (now sadly almost extinct, but you will find them in smaller towns). If you can’t find one of those, try InterSport, which lists a range of independent online retailers under the InterSport brand. In the US, Sports Authority still takes first place.
Boys aged between 5 and 8 have also developed an interest in reading for themselves. While you might mourn the passing of the nightly bedtime story, reading for oneself is something that should be encouraged. Children given the opportunity to explore reading at a young age almost always do better in school.
Choosing books for 5-8 year olds can be a matter of luck – unless you can get to a bookstore and ask the opinion of the staff responsible for the kids’ section. Current releases to watch out for, though, include I Have the Right to be a Child (a family book by Alain Serres, Aurelia Fronty and Sarah Ardizzone); and Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. For more book ideas try The Guardian’s children’s books site.