If you’re looking to buy a gift for a 9-year-old child, then this can be a pretty challenging shopping expedition! By 9, most children are pretty independent thinkers, with strong likes, dislikes, and distinct characters. This is not an age where one toy fits all.
9-year olds are looking for more grown-up toys than younger children but aren’t yet at the adolescent stage of requiring complex problem-solving toys and games.
This isn’t to say that children of this age can’t still be silly and enjoy playing with loud, plastic toys, nor does it mean that gadgets and technology are off the table. But, age-appropriate toy buying for this age isn’t easy.
Here’s where my guide to the best toys for 9-year-olds should help!
I have bought countless gifts for family members of this age. While this doesn’t make me an expert in finding the best gifts for 9-year olds, it does mean I have some experience that may help you.
My Bottom Line up Front: Whether buying for your child, or someone else’s, you can avoid disappointment by sticking to traditional toys and games. A board game, such as the classic Monopoly, may not wow the crowd, but it won’t upset anyone either!
Things to Look for in Toys for 9-Year Olds
Kids of this age have their own interests, and they can be highly diverse. So the best way to make sure that your toy is well received is to learn what the child is into. You could also ask the child to draw up a wish list of toys they would like, which is a sure way to get it right.
Some 9-year olds are still hugely into toys aimed at much younger children, while others are starting to experiment with things geared towards adolescents.
The child’s personality and cognitive abilities may not always meet their biological age, so ensure that your toy is suited to the child more than the manufacturer’s recommended age.
At school, 9-year olds are starting to work cooperatively in groups, learn the ability to research and report, and have a Math and English curriculum that is beginning to get pretty serious. All of the gifts suited to this age group should help to finely tune the age-appropriate skills.
I promise you that your presence will always matter so much more than your presents! If you can’t afford a grand gift for your 9-year old, it will create truly magical memories to sit together and do a jigsaw puzzle or play a board game – these will be the moments that will be remembered.
Best Budget Toys for 9-Year Olds
Toys don’t have to cost a lot to be well-received. How often do you spend hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts to find your kids playing with the box?
While I’m not suggesting some cardboard would make a suitable gift, my point is that the monetary value is often much less important than the thought behind the toy.
I have found 4 of the best budget gifts for 9-year olds that I believe to be perfect stocking fillers or excellent products to have stored away for when your child receives a party invite. Most of these gifts are pretty generic, and all offer good value for money.
#1 Guess Who by Hasbro Gaming
Suitable Ages: 5+
For under $10, Guess Who is a perfect budget gift for 9-year olds. Kids of this age have the necessary patience for a turn-taking game, and it can be a gateway into the world of strategic play and forward-thinking.
Guess Who requires kids to determine who their opponent’s chosen character is by process of elimination and deductive reasoning. The game provides a platform to engage children in social interaction verbal communications and helps them to form relevant questions.
#2 Ripleys Believe it or Not Annual
Suitable Ages: 8 – 12
I am a massive fan of the Ripleys Believe it or Not annuals, and buy them every Christmas as stocking fillers for my kids. Similar to the more traditional Guinness Book of Records, these books are much more child-friendly and bursting with gory, shocking, fascinating, and alarming facts from around the world.
If you want to get kids off screens and fully emerge in learning (without them realizing this is an English, History, Geography, and Diversity lesson!) I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
#3 Paint by Stickers – Under the Sea
Suitable Ages: 5 – 9
Under the Sea Paint by Stickers is a budget gift perfect for when children need a solo project or some quiet time. This paint by stickers book will also appeal to parents as a less-messy alternative to the more popular paint-by-number books.
There’s simple satisfaction for kids while working on hand-to-eye coordination, number recognition, and fine motor skills, and the results are pretty awesome. I found that the pages are sturdy, and each one is perforated so that tearing out to hang or save isn’t an issue.
If under the sea isn’t appealing, there are various themes, including animals, unicorns, dinosaurs, and space.
#4 Bracelet Making Kit
Suitable Ages: 8+
This bracelet-making kit is perfect for the fashion-conscious 9-year old. Kids can make ten different charm bracelets for themselves or friends and experiment with fashion design and jewelry making by using the tassels, charms, and beads included.
My favorite thing about this is in the storage box to keep all the items tidy when not in use. The box isn’t of the most superb quality, but for under $10, it feels more durable than you may expect.
Best Learning and Discovery Toys for 9-Year Olds
Most activity toys have a considerable learning aspect and provide vital contributions to a child’s development. Educational toys are a fantastic way for children to learn new skills while having great fun along the way. They can enhance social skills, problem-solving, cognitive abilities and boost a child’s self-esteem.
Moreover, learning and discovery toys can truly strengthen a bond between parent and child and create a sense of unity that can be difficult to achieve with children of this age. Below you will find my chosen best educational toys.
#1 Ravensburger Children’s World Globe 3D Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable Ages: 7 – 12
The Ravensburger Children’s World Globe 3D Jigsaw Puzzle features 180 easy-fit pieces that, when completed, result in an eye-catching 3D globe, displaying every country and some native animals and landmarks. There are so many conversation starters here and foundations for further learning,
The pieces are numbered, so you know exactly what is supposed to go where and I found them simple to slot together with a handy click to let you know the piece is secured.
Due to the hard plastic base, it is easy to carry the finished jigsaw without risking any damage before displaying it.
#2 GP TOYS 2 in 1 Build and Paint Solar System
Suitable Ages: 8+
Voted as one of the top 10 educational toys, the GP TOYS 2 in 1 Build and Paint Solar System is a small box with a lot going on! Combining art, science, astronomy, and additional skills such as fine motor skills, hand-to-eye coordination, and great concentration, this solar system kit is a prime example of educational fun.
An easy-to-follow construction guide explains how to set the planets out, and it comes with the correct paints and brushes needed. I love how it glows in the dark, and although this isn’t phenomenally bright, it is clear.
#3 Snap Circuits 203 Electronics Exploration Kit
Suitable Ages: 8+
The award-winning Snap Circuits 203 Electronics Exploration Kit offers a gateway into the world of electronics, with plenty of room for developing analytical and problem-solving skills.
There are 203 projects to complete, with each working electrical circuit requiring much thought and planning to complete. Some are pretty simple, but others are real head-scratchers!
Everything snaps into place with ease, there’s no need for tools, smoldering, or glue, and once children get the nack of this, there can be many hours of fun to be had. The included instruction manual is a good read for the budding electrician and contains the basics do’s and don’ts of the trade.
#4 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Microscope for Kids
Suitable Age: 6+
Microscopes make for great learning for kids, but often when they’re designated for children, their quality is questionable.
Here is where a branded product such as the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Microscope for Kids shines. Although made of plastic, it feels sturdy and robust, which is perfect for those excitable hands!
This kit comes with pre-prepared plant slides, blank slides, and six rocks and minerals to inspect. The large focus knob is simple to use, and the soft-touch eyepiece provides a good comfort level. There are tweezers, a specimen dish, and a pipette with easy-to-follow instructions inside the box.
#5 Zu3D Complete Stop Motion Animation Software Kit For Kids
Suitable Age: 8+
The Zu3D Complete Stop Motion Animation Software Kit For Kids is used in thousands of schools, and it’s easy to see why. The backgrounds are hugely creative, the editing and sounds are simple yet fun, and the camera is easy to focus and very robust.
This kit is a great starting point for budding animators and comes with licensed software (for PC, Mac, and iPad) and a USB webcam with manual focus. I found it to be a great group activity, as well as excellent solo fun for older children who are in awe of today’s YouTube stars!
Best Art and Creativity Toys for 9-Year Olds
Arts and craft activities help install a sense of pride and achievement in children, which will really help boost their confidence. Toys in this category nurture a child’s creativity and allow for self-expression, which can contribute greatly to a child’s mental wellbeing.
Problem-solving and basic Math are at play here, too. But, mostly, I believe arts and crafts to be a calming way for a child to regulate their feelings and achieve things they’re genuinely proud of. Here are 4 of the best art and creativity toys for 9-year olds.
#1 SunnyGlade Art Set
Suitable Ages: 6 – 12
The SunnyGlade Art Set has everything your young artist needs to begin their creative journey. They can experiment with a range of items such as oil pastels, watercolor, sketch pencils, and traditional paints to try their hand at various skills.
There is a double-sided pop-up easel to keep your home surfaces clean, and everything has its place in the convenient carry case.
The paints are not of the brightest quality, but with so many items included (185!), your child will be able to discover what they prefer to use creatively, and you could then invest in a better quality of that.
You can choose between a black, blue, or pink carry case.
#2 Creative Light Up Board for Kids
Suitable Ages: 4 – 10
I found the Creative Light Up Board for Kids to be excellent for my 9-year old son, who has Autism, as it helped with tuning those fine-motor skills and concentration. Kids will focus on their project, which can be whatever their imagination conjures up.
There are some excellent guides online that provide ideas, but inside the box, you will find some templates to start you off.
Many parents will have had something similar to this growing up, but the brand has a new take on this retro-themed toy – it lights up! Your kids’ creations can be showcased due to the LED background (batteries not included).
#3 KraFun Sewing Kit for Kids
Suitable Ages: 7 – 12
The skills of yesteryear are quickly disappearing in the US, but you can ensure that your 9-year old has basic sewing knowledge with this super-fun and super-cute KraFun Sewing Kit for Kids. Kids can make three cuddly plushies; a teddy bear, owl, and raccoon, which turn out to be a lot bigger than you may first expect.
The fabrics come with pre-punched holes, which make it really easy to begin, and no sharp needles are needed, so it is very safe. Children can do this unsupervised, but the results may be a little better with some adult supervision!
I love the included labels for kids to sew in their names or the names of their creations to personalize the plush even more.
#4 Klutz Make Your Own Bath Bombs Activity Kit
Suitable Ages: 6 – 15
How often could you get your child in the bath before the massive trend of bath bombs? If you’re like me, it was often a battle!
But, thanks to sets like the Klutz Make Your Own Bath Bombs Activity Kit, bath time is now a much-anticipated experience! For fairness, I must point out that I have boys, and parents of girls may not appreciate the importance of bath bombs!
In this set, your 9-year old can create 12 different projects out of the five molds, including an ice cream cone, penguin, dolphin, YAY cloud, and basic round. The ingredients can stain clothing, so it’s wise to use a table protector and apron when getting creative.
I found this set to be well priced, and the smell of the kiwi oil has gone down well with many consumers!
Best Games and Puzzles for 9-Year Olds
Games and puzzles have provided entertainment for kids and entire families for generations. We all have our favorite, but which are the best for 9-year olds? In this section, I have rounded up what I believe to be the most appropriate games and puzzles for kids in this age bracket.
Games can be the basis for so many special moments in a family and be vital in developing a range of skills. These toys also make a solid choice for gift ideas; although they won’t have the wow factor, they’re sure to be well received!
#1 Gonuts for Donuts
Suitable Ages: 8+
Gonuts for Donuts is an award-winning card game that has just a sprinkle of strategy involved. It is best to play this game with 3-4 players and a fun way to kill 20-minutes (providing you’re not too hungry as the cards look delicious!)
Some cards will hinder your strategy, such as the ‘pass one card to the left’ or ‘take three cards from the discard pile,’ but ultimately, this is an easy-to-learn, fast-paced card game suitable for children 8 and over.
#2 Minecraft Uno
Suitable Ages: 7 – 11
The rules for Minecraft Uno are the same as for classic Uno, but there are some additional special cards. The Creeper card means that all other players must pick up an additional 3 cards.
Uno is so popular globally because there aren’t any gimmicks or complicated rules, and the Minecraft characters make this deck even more appealing to children.
One thing I found to be even greater with this deck than the standard is that they’re slightly smaller, which makes them easier to shuffle in smaller hands. The price is also fantastic!
Suitable Ages: 8+
Santorini is similar to risk, the perfect balance between challenging enough for adults but simple enough to pick up for children. The recommended age is eight and over, and the game is an excellent example of strategy board games with great visuals.
I found the rules of Santorini easy to understand, and the setup takes mere seconds. The game is fast-paced and can be over in minutes. However, there is hidden potential for in-depth strategic gameplay.
I feel it would be too advanced for young children and possibly not that entertaining for teenagers, so 9 is a pretty good age for introducing this board game.
#4 Ravensburger – Solar System – 300 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids
Suitable Ages: 9+
Kids of 9-years should be able to solve puzzles with pieces between 250 and 500, depending on their cognitive abilities and development. This makes the 300 piece Ravensburger – Solar System Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids a happy medium and one with stunning visuals to boot.
The quality of the pieces is outstanding, although this is not a simple puzzle to finish. Once you complete the planets, pretty much every other piece looks the same, which tests anyone’s patience! However, the finished puzzle looks terrific.
Suitable Ages: 8+
Note that Monopoly needs explaining, but its appropriateness for 9-year olds may do. I have come up with some indisputable reasons why this is the perfect board game for any 9-year old:
It teaches about finances and the basic concept of cash, which is vital for kids approaching a little independence. Monopoly forces children to do Math, teaches them about property ownership, loans and explains the basis of taxation. It is also a great game for developing negotiation skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I Decide on the Best Toy for my Child?
Answer: The simplest way to ensure you get it right is simply to ask. Get your child to draw up a wish list of toys they’d like, and you can’t go far wrong.
Question: What Skills Can Toys Help my 9-Year Old With?
Answer: At school, 9-year olds are starting to work cooperatively in groups, learn the ability to research and report, and have a Math and English curriculum that is beginning to get pretty serious. All of the gifts suited to this age group should help to finely tune the age-appropriate skills.
Question: What if I Can’t Afford the Toy They Want?
Answer: I promise you that your presence will always matter so much more than your presents! If you can’t afford a grand gift for your 9-year old, it will create truly magical memories to sit together and do a jigsaw puzzle or play a board game – these will be the moments that will be remembered.