Best Gifts For 9-Year-Olds - Forbes Vetted

The best gifts for 9-year-olds appeal to kids who have one foot still planted in childhood while the other is racing into tween territory. Nine-year-olds appreciate gifts and toys that are entertaining and fun, yet sophisticated enough to spark their interest as they mature into tweens and teens.

Holistic pediatrician and mom to tweens, Dr. Elisa Song describes 9-year-olds as occupying a transitional stage. “[They’re] entering that terrific ‘tween’ stage where they may waffle between wanting to stay a ‘little kid’ cuddling up with their stuffies and snuggling on your lap for story time, or wanting to hurry on up and become an independent tween with the latest and greatest gadgets and devices,” she says. Skater Shirt

Best Gifts For 9-Year-Olds - Forbes Vetted

The best gifts for 9-year-olds capture their quest for independence and exploration.

Tweens tend to start veering away from toys to spend more time on apps and playing video games. Dr. Song advises to hold off if you can. “I recommend staying away from toys that involve screens with fast-action and instant reward video games,” she says. “Unless they involve more logical thinking and decision-making (remember Tetris?), video games can actually reduce our kids’ prefrontal cortex activity and have a negative impact on how this critical part of their brain develops. So when you can, focus on gifts that involve creative thinking, in-person interactions and old-fashioned fun.” Strategic card games, art supplies and Polaroid cameras speak to the maturing interests and taste of tweens while engaging them sans screen.

With this in mind, we curated this guide to feature the best gifts for 9-year-olds. We drew upon our own experience as parenting writers and current tween parents to select captivating toys and gifts for 9-year-old boys and 9-year-old girls.

The Make Clay Charms Kit has nine colors of clay that kids can fashion into over 35 variations of charms they can wear on the included charm bracelet, ensuring it appeals to creative kids. Dr. Song highly recommends clay kits, noting that the best toys for 9-year-olds: “Let creative thinking flow while honing in on rapidly improving fine motor skills. Think modeling clay kits to make any creature your child’s imagination can dream up.”

To aid in the creative process, the kit includes a clay shaping tool, a brush applicator to apply the glaze, a drying stand and jump rings and charm loops for the finished product. The 60-page instruction book guides kids with easy to follow directions for a fun experience.

We’ve got the ‘scoop’ on a toy 9-year-olds really love. This kit pairs two beloved elements of modern-day childhood: ice cream and slime. Kids use the 25-piece kit to concoct butter, cloud and foam slimes in an array of colors and scents including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Yes, there are even sprinkles and cherry charms to put on top, and cones that showcase the masterpieces to have everyone screaming for ice cream.

With so many STEM toys on the market, it can be hard to decide what will be both fun and educational. The 3Doodler pen is a great introduction to 3-D printing for older kids. The gun heats filaments that can be shaped into jewelry, toys and décor. This starter kit includes 72 strands of filament in a variety of rainbow colors as well as stencils to guide projects. While the 3Doodler does use heat to make creations, but the pen is cool to the touch so there is no risk of burns.

What’s old is new again, and Polaroid cameras and pictures are a huge hit among modern-day tweens. This Instax Mini 11 bundle has everything an eager photographer needs to start shooting and developing sweet snapshots, from the camera and 40 sheets of instant film to extra accessories including a matching camera case and a mini photo album. Although we’re pretty certain instead of being tucked away, those Polaroids will take center stage peppering their bedroom walls.

As if Squishmallows weren’t adorable and cuddly enough, this 12-inch FlipAMallow iteration gives you two cuties to squeeze for the price of one. Simply flip one version into the other to switch back and forth between the two characters, which by the way are available in several versions, including this dotted grey seal and sweet teal turtle pictured above. Any 9-year-old is sure to flip over this gift.

This new twist on the classic bean bag chair is the perfect lounge spot for big kids and adults alike. As 9-year-olds begin to grow out of the big toys that once littered their room, it is time to give their space a more mature glow up. This CertiPUR-US memory foam cozy nook is designed for reading, listening to music and even napping. There’s a pocket for a phone or book and handles to move the Plufl around easily. The Oeko-Tex certified plush ccover is removable and machine washable.

Many 9-year-olds still like to have a stuffed animal to cuddle, and this sloth really elevates the experience with some major inherent perks. In addition to being adorable, you can also place this sweet creature in the microwave to warm it up, so it becomes even more soothing to hold close. It’s filled with all-natural grain to retain warmth and calming French lavender that infuses it with a relaxing aroma. Its filling makes the sloth feel like a weighted stuffed animal, which provides even more comfort. Don’t blame us if your kid slows to a sloth’s pace once they start snuggling this toy.

Kids this age are still all about comfort, making The Comfy Jr. the ultimate hoodie. This oversized sherpa-lined shirt feels like a hug and is available in tons of colors, patterns and beloved characters like Spider-Man and Yoda. A big pocket is perfect for keeping their hands warm or stashing their phone. Some taller kids might enjoy the adult-sized Comfy. These blankets aren’t just for home use—kids in my coauthor’s town are wearing them to school!

It’s no secret kids love stuffed animals. With Earth Rangers, adults can gift a stuffy that has a true impact on the planet. Each “adoption” kit includes an adorable plush endangered animal, an adoption certificate and poster. In the Earth Ranger’s app, kids can also use the animal they’ve adopted in the virtual word as they learn about conservation and wildlife. Proceeds from purchases through Earth Rangers are invested in raising the next generation to be conservationists and good stewards of the Earth.

An adorable, plush-slice-of-smiling watermelon that doubles as a crossbody bag? Sign us up. This fun-loving tote is packed with personality. It has a zippered top to keep a few precious items secure, and it’s the perfect accessory for kids to wear on the go. Most kids have at least one Jellycat stuffed animal in their collection, as the brand is renowned for making the sweetest, softest stuffies. This bag combines fun and function, making it fashionable for older kids to carry while out and about.

How can we support a 9-year-old’s development? Dr. Song says, “As parents, it’s an important time to teach kids how to responsibly and safely earn more independence as they venture out into the world and a little less under our constant watchful eyes.”

Give tweens a taste of freedom via an exciting scooter. In addition to being a fun ride, they can use Razor’s A3 Kick scooter to practice tricks at the local skatepark. The scooter is foldable and lightweight, making it an ideal mode of transport for kids who are starting to venture out to their friends’ houses using their own wheels. It comes in a variety of colors and has thousands of five-star ratings on Amazon—as well as rave reviews from kids and parents alike. It’s one of our favorite scooters for kids over age 8.

The only thing better than a swing is a giant swing that holds you and several of your friends simultaneously. The SkyCurve platform swing can support up to 400 pounds, and happy riders can sit, stand or lie on the swing to get those butterflies in their stomach. This creation takes the concept of a tree swing to new heights—all you’ll need is a sturdy branch to hang it from for endless outdoor fun.

While some 9-year-olds are starting to lose interest in traditional playgrounds, they’re still the perfect age for physical challenges and high adventure. Slackers Ninjaline products are perfect for this age group. Not only can they be set up between two posts or trees at any location, they are also customizable. Buy your favorite kiddo this base kit and add attachments for future holidays and birthdays. It’s perfect for backyards, parks, and camping.

This T-Rex dinosaur pool toy makes the perfect sidekick for pool season—and surely makes a bigger splash than any cannonball. The hyper realistic details on Rexy are compliments of PoolCandy’s high-resolution RealPrint technology. Jaws may have to make way for a new villain in the water.

The EzyRoller is a fun ride-on toy with a unique spin. Riders operate this sit-down, no pedal scooter by moving their legs back and forth on the foot bar to propel themselves forward. The handbrakes ensure quick stops, or they can be used to result in giggle-inducing drifting while you roll along. It’s suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, and kids can get creative by using it to race, glide on ramps or play seated basketball with a low hoop. The adjustable length and included extensions allow this toy to grow with a child and last into their teen years—and this updated Drifter-X version is just right for older kids, because those back wheels let them zoom and then float or drift around tight corners with speed.

This rock tumbler kit has over 20,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, so it’s pretty clear it, well, rocks. The all-inclusive kit comes with everything kids need to enter that Zen state of mind that arises from transforming rugged rocks into pristinely polished gems. A full-color learning guide gives kids details about each gemstone. Jewelry fastenings are also included, so kids can proudly wear their creations—making this kit both scientific and fashion forward.

This clever science kit lets kids create their own snow-like material. It contains everything they need, including materials, measuring tools and instructions to whip up snow day fun, including making their own snowballs, colored snow cones and more. They’ll pick up some basics on chemistry and the properties of water as they mix, stir and freeze.

This is the first, but not the last time slime makes an appearance on this list, because it’s just that fun. This National Geographic expanded kit elevates slime play to a scientific learning experience by enabling kids to experiment with eight amazing slime and putty variations that teach them about viscosity, phosphorescence and magnetism. A learning guide and a DIY glow-in-the-dark slime lab round out this surefire hit of a kit.

Your 9-year-old doesn’t have to be pre-med to be fascinated by this cool and engaging 14-inch, 3D-puzzle of the human body. The 60-piece anatomy kit features a fully posable figure, as well as removable organs, bones and muscles. It’s like a very souped-up version of the game Operation. The included illustrated instruction cards provide enlightening facts about the body and its various functions. A cool toy that may result in a doctor that makes house calls? Get one, stat.

Dr. Song appreciates this game in her own family, as well as other toys that turn on kids’ strategic thinking. “Toys that foster social interactions, strategic thinking, and fair play [are ideal]” she says. “One of our family favorites is Sleeping Queens.”

Invented by 6-year-old Miranda Evarts one night when she couldn’t fall asleep, the object of Sleeping Queens is to wake the napping nobles. The player who awakens the most queens wins. In addition to queens, whimsical card characters include dragons, knights and kings, as well as cards featuring sleeping potions and magic wands. Bonus: Playing a round of Sleeping Queens encourages problem-solving and develops math skills.

Nine-year-olds are sure to find this card game invented by a 7-year-old kid funny and entertaining. Taco vs. Burrito challenges players to build crazy creations of each culinary delight using a range of bizarre ingredients like hot yogurt and gummy bears. Each card is worth a certain number of points, and the player who creates the taco or burrito with the most points wins—unless a point-reducing ‘tummy ache’ card gets thrown into the mix or someone gets a ‘hot sauce boss’ card, which doubles the total value of the meal. Other fun cards that spice up the game include a health inspector card, a food fight card and an order envy card. Over 17,000 happy customers have given this award-winning game a five-star review on Amazon, proving it’s supreme.

This game looks so simple, but that’s the beauty of it. Pindaloo is a game that can be played alone or with friends. The object is to launch the ball out of one end of the tube and catch it in the other—it’s harder than it looks. Pindaloo builds hand-eye coordination and can also be calming for kids with sensory needs. With one tube, kids can play solo or take turns keeping track of their catches. With two or more tubes, games of catch become more exciting and interactive.

If your kid likes air hockey and foosball, this tabletop game is destined to become their new favorite. Klask originated as a popular pub game in Denmark that has become a hit in the states. The ultimate test of dexterity and hand-eye coordination, players operate their magnetic game piece from beneath the board to maneuver the ball into their opponent’s goal. But watch out for obstacles, like biscuits sticking to your striker! This game is sure to result in many rousing rounds of family fun.

These classics from yesteryear by author Ann M. Martin have been adapted into the enticing graphic novel format tweens love by author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier. The essence of the original series and the entertaining characters remain. Nine-year-olds will love joining Baby-Sitters Club members Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey and Dawn in their antics and adventures that are strewn across colorful pages with captivating illustrations. Grab a set of these graphic novel, so readers can join the Baby-Sitters Club journey from the beginning.

Are you even a parent if your kid hasn’t asked you an array of funny “Would you rather” questions? This book extends the popular question among kids into a game that rewards the most clever and creative answers to questions like, “Would you rather ride through the forest on a unicorn or spend a day hanging out with Bigfoot?”

“Books make great toys, too,” points out Dr. Song says. “Choose books that let kids practice their emerging sense of humor and wit, like the Would You Rather book series by Lindsey Daly.”

This set of the first dozen of Jeff Kinney’s hilarious Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is sure to please your budding reader. The cartoon style drawings are a great entry point for new readers or for any fan of graphic novels. Kids follow the daily exploits of the hapless middle school protagonist Greg Heffley as he interacts with friends, frenemies and his family and brothers. Our senior kids and baby gear editor Rose Gordon Sala says her tweens have devoured this series, starting around age 8. “Honestly, the whole family loves reading it together at bedtime,” says Sala. “But my older kids really howl with laughter at poor Greg and his cast of underdog buddies. They’ve flown through the books on their own too and just finished the newly released book No. 18.”

This versatile and inviting indoor hammock swing is the ideal indoor playroom addition that’s sure to be well-loved and used daily by any kid. How they use it is up to them: It’s a restful haven to gently sway back and forth while reading a good book; a secluded spot to tuck in and study; and a fun place to bounce, swing and even spin around in upside down. Handmade with cotton fabric and available in several colors, once you hang this hammock swing from your ceiling, it may become a tween’s favorite spot to hang out.

Take your tween’s love for this video game beyond the small screen with this explorer kit that enables them to build a Minecraft–inspired fort, complete with mazes and tunnels. Once they assemble the panels with pixelated grass and dirt graphics, they can use the fort to inspire active play. The structure can become anything a kid can dream up, from a fortress for Nerf gun battles to a home base for tag.

While big kids might not want to admit they still need a night light, the subtle glow of this 3-D printed moonscape is a great option to keep those nagging nighttime fears at bay. Not only is it an accurate map of the surface of the moon, it’s also fully customizable with a variety of colors and light patterns that are set with the included remote. This lamp can be used while plugged in, but it’s also rechargable if kids prefer to keep it in bed with them.

If you know a 9-year-old who loves to bake, up the ante on their culinary skills with this Tiny Baking set, which is sure to hone their dexterity and present a fresh challenge in the kitchen. All 17 components of this set are indeed tiny and can be employed to make 20 recipes, ranging from deep dish pizza to vanilla cupcakes. The recipe book adds a scientific element to the baking endeavors by explaining the food chemistry that’s involved to bring each recipe to fruition. It’s a tiny gift that’s sure to result in big fun.

Don’t let bad outdoor weather put a damper on shooting hoops. This indoor basketball arcade game lets kids go head-to-head with an opponent to see how many shots they can make. The LED scoreboard ensures the accurate tracking of points, and players can choose between 16 game variations and six audio selections that include music, an announcer, noises from a crowd and swish basket sounds. The set folds for easy storage and can be rolled away on its wheels, but we’re guessing kids will want to shoot for two for the foreseeable future.

Given its more than 13,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s clear National Geographic’s Mega Fossil Dig Kit is a winner. Kids excavate fossils from a dig brick using the included tools: a chisel, brush and magnifying glass that affords them a closer view of each specimen. The 16-page learning guide provides details on each fossil and how it was formed, giving young paleontologists more appreciation for the 15 prehistoric fossils they’ll find. From dinosaur and shark fossils to brachiopods and ammonites, these genuine treasures are millions of years old, and the lucky recipient of this kit gets to unearth them and bring them to light.

The Echo Show is the video-equipped version of Amazon’s smart home products, which are powered by “Alexa.” This AI-powered device can tell jokes, offer homework help, as well as video call a grandparent or friend via an approved contact lists. It’s got the controls parents need for peace of mind including a Parent Dashboard, explicit language filters, adjustable age restrictions and bedtime limits. The Echo Show Kids also comes with one free year of Amazon Kids+, which gives kids access to thousands of audiobooks, games, videos and more.

While most parents worry about screen usage, it is no secret that tech is here to stay. From school-issued devices to gaming with friends, technology is a large part of how today’s kids interact with their world. The DigiRoo is a tablet case—available for iPads only at this time—designed by a mom with screen health in mind. The adjustable height means kids can view their school work or games with reduced stress to their neck and spine, and the sturdy legs pass the “poke test” when kids are playing—it won’t fall over.

Tweens are still kids, but are beginning to mature in many ways. These headphones from Altec Lansing are the perfect combination of kid-friendly features and grown-up style. Available in a variety of bold colors, these over-ear headphones are not only waterproof, they are sound-canceling and have built-in volume limits to protect tiny ears. Worried about kids remembering to charge wireless headphones? The best feature of this pair is that they can be used both ways—wirelessly or as standard headphones with the included aux cord. See more of our favorite headphones for kids.

As a parenting writer and mom, I’m always researching and learning about the best “it” toys and kids’ gifts of the moment, and I’m well-versed on tried and true classic toys and books. I researched best toy lists for this age group from multiple sources and used my own wealth of experience and intel of what gifts my kids loved the most when they were 9 years old. My coauthor also has four children, including twin 10-year-olds, and my editor has three kids, including a current 9-year-old and 10-year-old, so we’re well placed to understand the latest trends and desires of this age group.

Best Gifts For 9-Year-Olds - Forbes Vetted

Skating Shirts I also interviewed Dr. Elisa Song to learn more in-depth details about the developmental stage of 9-year-olds and what toys and gifts would best suit them. I then selected gifts and toys that best matched up to Dr. Song’s and our parental suggestions. I also examined customer reviews closely before finalizing this list.