Good Graduation Gift for a Fifth Grader 2023

Graduating from elementary school is a significant milestone for a fifth grader. From their perspective, it marks the end of a chapter in their academic journey and a transition to a new phase of their education. You may be looking for a good gift for a fifth grader who is about to graduate elementary school.

Here are a few reasons why graduating from elementary school is significant for fifth graders:

  • Moving on to middle school

    Moving on to middle school is a big deal because they will be starting a new school, meeting new teachers and friends, and experiencing a different learning environment. For many students, that means some big things (more advanced classes, more work), but one shouldn't underestimate the smaller things too (getting a locker for the first time, switching classes for each subject instead of being with one teacher for multiple subjects).

  • Increased independence

    Fifth graders are at an age where they are starting to become more independent. Graduating from elementary school symbolizes the beginning of a new phase where they will be expected to take more responsibility for their academic work and their personal growth.

  • Sense of accomplishment

    Graduating from fifth grade is an accomplishment that signifies that the student has successfully completed their elementary education. This can boost their self-esteem and give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. When they started elementary school, there were all these higher grades and older kids, and now they are the oldest (until the next school year, at least!).

  • Growing up

    As students leave elementary school, they are also leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of their early childhood years. This can be an emotional time for some students as they come to terms with growing up and taking on more responsibility. Also, some of their friends may not end up attending the same middle schools.

While the above things are important...

...these things aren't quite yet on the kid's mind. While school is still in, fifth graders are thinking about the current fifth grade environment. They might be thinking of what they have to wear the next day, or passing that last math test. More than likely, they are thinking about their friends and having fun.

So while a well-intentioned gift idea might be new school supplies, a padlock for a locker, or some apparel for the middle school they'll attend next year, those are events still a bit too far in the future, and would perhaps go over better in the days leading up to their return to school next year.

While many kids may get a yearbook, one gift idea is a photo of the child with two or three of their closest friends in a picture frame that they can look at over the summer. Unless you're their parent, you may not have access to this.

My recommendation for a fifth grader graduation gift

Gifts that land the nearer-future might be more suitable. School is about to be out and summer is about to begin. Consider a small hand-curated gift basket that consists some of the following items:

  • Silly activity book to enjoy either by themselves or in the company of others, like on a road trip or an upcoming sleepover
  • Candy or snacks
  • A book to read over the summer that has an age-appropriate 'growing up'-style positive message.

Fun books for activities

Here are some potential fun activity books for a summer road trip, or for a sleepover with friends:

Image of Would You Rather?
Would You Rather?
Activity for One or More
Shop Now (for Would You Rather?)
Image of Mad Libs
Mad Libs
Activity for One or More
Shop Now (for Mad Libs)
Image of Awesome Games for Smart Kids
Awesome Games for Smart Kids
Activity for One
Shop Now (for Awesome Games for Smart Kids)

Snack ideas

Here are some potential snacks and candies to also include in a gift basket for fifth grader.

Age-appropriate reading books

Here are some book ideas for reading over the summer that are fun, and are about growing up:

Books with Boy Protagonist

Image of Restart
by Gordon Korman
Shop Now (for Restart)
Image of Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
Shop Now (for Wonder)
Image of New Kid
New Kid
by Jerry Craft
Graphic Novel
Shop Now (for New Kid)

Books with Girl Protagonist

Image of Smile
by Raina Telgemeier
Graphic Novel
Shop Now (for Smile)
Image of Falling Over Sideways
Falling Over Sideways
by Jordan Sonnenblick
Shop Now (for Falling Over Sideways)
Image of Each Tiny Spark
Each Tiny Spark
by Pablo Cartaya
Shop Now (for Each Tiny Spark)

Pick one item from each category above and insert in a gift bag. Include a handwritten card that acknowledges their hard work and dedication over the years at school. Maybe include a $10 bill to encourage them to exercise some independence in choosing their own reward. Altother, that'd be a good gift for a kid about to graduate the fifth grade.

Remember, it's not about the value of the gift, but the thought behind it. Choose something that reflects the graduate's interests and personality and celebrates their accomplishment!

Got other ideas?

Let me know on Twitter or Mastodon or via email at, if you've tried these items and how they went over, or of you have other suggestions.

Good Gifts for Kids showcases cool gift ideas that parents, friends, and family members can get for kids, babies, and teens. Updated about once a week — visit early and often, or subscribe below!