Where has the time gone? Suddenly you go from browsing the best prams for newborns to getting toys for an 8-year-old, but what should you be buying at this stage?


According to Helen Brown, author of Parenting for Dummies: "Your 8-year-old now plays for extended periods of time, requiring much less help and direction from you." So, you're more likely to need toys that are fully engrossing and time-consuming.

"Your child's fine motor skills are also becoming more and more adept, which means they'll probably enjoy quite fiddly or complex art, craft or building projects," continues Helen. "And, as their reading, writing and counting abilities increase, they'll be ready for toys and games that make use of simple maths or involve puzzles and secret codes to work out."

Helen reckons that playsets and role playing will still be popular for your little one: "Especially if they can involve putting on a show or demonstrating something entertaining," she says, but it's also worth remembering "that your child may have started to develop quite a fixed idea of the kinds of activity they like or are 'good at', which can sometimes make play a little restricted."

With all that in mind, we've put together a guide of the best toys for 8 year olds. We've broken our list down into categories across a range of prices.

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Best toys for 8 year olds at a glance

Best action toys for 8 year olds

  • Great for dinosaur thrills: Jurassic Park Real FX Baby T. Rex, £30.63
  • Great for Transformers fans: Optimus Prime, £59.99

Best science toys for 8 year olds

  • Great for mini eco warriors: Popular Science Climate Science Kit, £15.99
  • Great for science lovers: The History of Life on Earth, £22.44
  • Great for star gazing: LeapFrog Magic Adventures™ Telescope, £109.99
  • Great for construction skills: Clementoni Science Museum Mechanics Junior Moving Animals, £22.88
  • Great for nature lovers: Apple to Pears Build a Bee Hotel Gift in a Tin, £16
  • Great for learning to code: Learning Resources® PYXEL™ A Coder's Best Friend, £150

Best Pokémon toys for 8 year olds

  • Great for Pokémon role play: Pokémon Flame & Flight Deluxe Charizard, £35
  • Great for fine motor skills: MEGA™ Pokémon™ Forest Pokémon Center, £79.99

Best board games for 8 year olds

  • Great memory game: The World by BrainBox, £13
  • Great all-action game: Exploding Kittens Good vs. Evil, £14.95
  • Great game for social skills: Game of Life, £14.79
  • Great family game: SUSSED Green, £10.99
  • Great for puzzles and challenges: Mindshot Nature + Now, £13 per 7-pack

Best construction toys for 8 year olds

  • Great for space-themed role play: LEGO Friends Olivia’s Space Academy, £59.99
  • Great for spatial skills: GraviTrax Obstacle Starter Set, £54.99
  • Great budget buy: Eugy, from £8.50
  • Great for eco-friendly construction: Build Your Own Paper Plane Launcher, £19.99

Best stationery for 8 year olds

  • Great for artists: Clementoni Pen Creator Studio, £22

Jump to:

What are the best toys for 8 year olds?

Additional writing and product selection by Gill Crawshaw and Emily Longman Wall

Best action toys for 8 year olds

1. Jurassic Park Real FX Baby T. Rex, £30.63

– Great for dinosaur thrills

Available at: Amazon

jurassic world baby t-rex

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: 57.5cm L x 26cm W x 31.5cm H | Batteries: 3 x AAA (not included) Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the release of Jurassic Park, the Jurassic Park Real FX Baby T. Rex is a roar-somely realistic animatronic dinosaur for any wannabe park rangers. Controlled by inserting your hand into the protective ranger’s handling glove and activating the hand-grip controller, the realistic, rubber baby T. Rex-shaped toy – that perches on your hand - will engage with those around it. The T. Rex features sound effects and actions including bite, roar, battle, and growl.

It looks so real and also has so many noises.
Our child tester Ellis, 8

2. Optimus Prime, £59.99

– Great for Transformers fans

Available at: Very and Amazon

Optimus transformer figure

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: 20.5cm x 37cm x 29cm | Batteries: 4 AA batteries required | Awards: Editors Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Transformers toys have come a long way from the old action figures you had to transform yourself. This interactive transforming toy has lights and sound effects, 360-degree spin and it cleverly changes between Truck and Optimus Prime autobot form using the remote control.

My son loved it and was so excited to play with it, he was squealing with delight when he saw it. My son and his brother have been playing on and off for hours with it. They’ve been laughing and having fun transforming it backwards and forwards and copying the voice.
Our parent tester Karla

Best science toys for 8 year olds

– Great for mini eco-warriors

Available at: Amazon

Popular Science Climate Science Kit with child tester Finley

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: Various | Batteries: None

This science kit contains supplies for conducting 13 different experiments on climate change, as well as a 32-page booklet full of climate facts and step-by-step instructions for each experiment. The experiments are fun – you can make snow, an ice cave and gooey glacier slime – and the climate-change facts are presented in an engaging way.

As is often the case with these kits, you do have supply some 'ingredients' yourself – most of them easy to find around the house – but do note that both we and Emma, mum of our child tester Finley, 7 (pictured above), were a bit thrown to have to find some glycerine.

I really enjoyed playing with it. Making the ice cave and snow were some of my favourite experiments. The set is also serious and important as it teaches you about climate change.
Out child tester, Marcus

4. The History of Life on Earth, £22.24

– Great for science lovers

Available at: Amazon

history of life on earth science kit

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L45.1 x W7 x H31.1 | Batteries: Not Required | Awards: Editors Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

The kit includes a range of experiments including a volcano, complete with the relevant tools to make it erupt, a buried dinosaur skeleton you can assemble and a VR visor that allows you to step into the past via an immersive phone app. Each experiment includes cards that explain the process, bringing science to life and helping children to understand our planet in a new and exciting way.

The play options are endless, right from unboxing to putting together the skeletons to using the virtual reality device, it provides endless fun and excitement. Both my husband and Son were playing for hours. It makes learning so much more fun and helped my son to retain what he learnt.
Our parent tester Nadia

5. LeapFrog Magic Adventures Telescope, £109.99

– Great for star gazing

Available at: John Lewis and Amazon

leapfrog telescope with tester image

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 8 | Size: ‎58.2cm x 63.9cm x 85.3cm | Batteries: ‎4 AA batteries required. (included)| Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

This is a working digital telescope that allows budding astronomers to explore the night sky and world around them. Although it’s designed for kids, the telescope has a solid technical spec with a 2.4” screen and 110x magnification that lets you zoom in on the sky at night or nature during the day. Keen astronomers can also capture and save what they see on the screen, which can be used to play NASA videos – 100+ are included – as well as display images.

You can also use the telescope to play games, including an interactive adventure game where you assist Mission Control in fixing planets. Included with the telescope are 20 cosmic cards for finding out facts about the universe.

The telescope is full of fun, with many features such as facts, videos, quizzes, camera function and telescope function. Due to the wide range of features it means it can be used day or night and will last a child several years.
Our parent tester Laura

6. Clementoni Science Museum Mechanics Junior Moving Animals, £22.88

– Great for construction skills

Available at: Amazon

Clementoni Science Museum Mechanics Junior Moving Animals with child tester Summaya

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: Various | Batteries: 3 x AAA (not included)

This construction kit, which includes a motor unit, contains 120 pieces that can be assembled into 5 different animals – gorilla, lion, seal, shark, insect – all of which will move and walk. The build for each animal is a good challenge: long enough to keep a child absorbed but not so long they'd get frustrated. The real excitement, though comes when the build is finished and you can make your animal move.

Wow! It's flapping its wings as it moves! I really love the bright colours. I definitely want to make a different one now!
Our child tester Summaya, 8

7. Apples to Pears Build a Bee Hotel Gift in a Tin, £13

– Great for engaging with nature

Available at: Amazon and Bright Minds

Apples to Pears Build a Bee Hotel Gift in a Tin with child tester Charles

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L9.5cm x W11cm x H9cm (once built) | Batteries: None

Inside this 14cm x 10cm tin you'll find all you need to make a diddy wooden house for bees and other insects, including all parts, glue and instructions. This is a great-value gift for a nature-loving child, especially you also get tips on attracting bees to your garden and loads of info about solitary bees and how your bee hotel can help one. The instructions – with colour pictures – are great and clear enough for a child to (mainly) get on with the build themselves, making this a doable crafty afternoon project.

I really like the design, I didn't need much help to make the bee house but my dad helped with the putting the roof on as it was tricky seeing where the holes went. We put the house in the garden on our shed. I think this should be recommended a lot as it is easy to make and keeps you busy.
Our child tester Carly, 9

8. Learning Resources PYXEL A Coder's Best Friend, £150

- Great for learning to code

Available at: Amazon and Learning Resources

pyxel coding pet toy tester image

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8-10 | Size: 30.4cm x 20.3cm x 20.3cm | Batteries: 2 x AAA (not included) | Awards: Editors Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Coding is becoming more of an essential skill for children in the modern world, with more and more toys engaging with programming and development in new an unique. This interactive robot pet is a great way to learn the fundamentals of coding without forgetting the fun factor. You can teach to walk, bark, change colour, express emotions and more using real coding languages, developing transferrable skills in a really fun way.

I was surprised how much there is to do on it and my son spent ages with it today getting the robot to do all sorts of funny things and different combinations. It’s very good quality and I love how much my son is learning from it.
Lindsey, mum of our child tester Thomas, 10

Best Pokémon toys for 8 year olds

9. Pokémon Flame & Flight Deluxe Charizard, £35

– Great for Pokémon-themed role play

Available at: Selfridges

Pokémon Flame and Flight Deluxe Charizard, with child tester Zac

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: H15cm (Charizard) and H5cm (Pikachu) | Batteries: 3 x AAA (included)

Take this articulated Charizard dragon figure, awarded silver at the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022, for a flight through the air and he'll respond with different lights, sounds and movements, depending on whether he's swooping up or down, right or left or spinning around. You can also load a missile in his mouth (3 are included) and then press a button on his back to fire it out. He comes with a little Pikachu figure and a spring-loaded launcher that fires Pikachu into the air to do battle with Charizard.

I love shooting the fire bolts at my sisters and trying to scare them with its sounds! I like how Charizard lights up and make sounds as I move him and it's also fun launching Pikachu and seeing how far he will fly.
Our child tester Zac, 7

1o. MEGA™ Pokémon™ Forest Pokémon Center, £79.99

– Best for fine motor skills

Available at: Very and Amazon

Pokémon training centre mega blocks with tester image

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ years | Size: 25.4cm x 25.4cm x 15.24cm | Batteries: N/A | Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Though this set might be on the pricier side, the exciting range of features and impressive detail make it a must-have for any Pokémon fan. Bringing to life on the Pokémon Centres from the game, the set features 4 Pokémon including fan favourites like Pikachu and Eevee.

I like how you have to build the centre in two different parts and attach them together. I think it's really cool they have added that you can move the Pokémon trailer. I keep playing with it because I like it so much.
Our child tester Connor, 9

Best board games for 8 year olds

11. Brainbox – The World, £13

– Great memory game

Available at: Argos

BrainBox The World game with child tester Lachlan

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L12cm x W12cm x H12cm | Batteries: None

This quick-fire country-themed memory and observation game has a nice, simple format: pick 1 of the 55 country cards, study the picture and word 'answers' about it for 10 seconds, then roll the dice to find out which question you're going to get asked. Get the answer right and you keep the card, and the player with the most cards at the end is the winner.

It's good value for money, especially as the cards as so sturdy and nicely printed, and we think the questions and answers are well pitched for this age range – lively and interesting without being too primly 'educational'. We also like that the box is small enough to throw in a bag and take to a friend's house or on holiday.

It's fun to play and easy to get the hang of.
Our child tester Lachlan

12. Exploding Kittens Good vs. Evil, £21.99

– Great all-action game

Available at: Amazon and Argos

exploding kittens

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 8 | Size: ‎3.91cm x 16.21cm x 11.2 cm| Batteries: N/A | Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Are your family fans of fast-paced, frantic games, and everything feline? If so, Exploding Kittens Good vs Evil could be right up your alley. The game is a child-friendly version of Russian Roulette played with cards. Based on the Netflix animated series Exploding Kittens, players draw cards until somebody draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode and are out of the game. To avoid exploding, they can defuse the kitten with a laser pointer or catnip sandwich or use an action card to move or avoid the Exploding Kitten. The last player left alive wins.

She found them really funny and was laughing at a lot of the pictures. She loved playing it and was very happy to get the Godcat and Devilcat and be able to try to explode mum!
Margaret, mum of our child tester Jessica, 10

13. Game of Life, £17.99

– Great game for social skills

Available at: Amazon and Argos

Game of Life

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L28cm x W40cm x H4cm (when boxed) | Batteries: None

This game has been around since we were little so there's a warm nostalgia factor here. It has been updated and is a little more modern but still lots of fun (though the pieces are a bit fiddlier to handle). Our child testers quickly picked up the rules and particularly enjoyed adopting pets and winning the paper money. Takes about an hour to play.

Comes with cards, tokens, spinner, play money and instructions. For 2 to 4 players.

14. SUSSED Green, RRP £9.99

– Great family game

Available at: Amazon

sussed green boardgame with tester image

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: 2.1cm x 9.1cm x 13.1cm | Batteries: None | Awards: Shortlisted, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Do parents know if their child would rather hike up a mountain with a storyteller or a talking bear? Do children know if their parent would rather pet a friendly vulture or a slimy stingray? When playing the game of SUSSED Green, players guess each other’s answers and say why they made that choice. It’s a simple idea that is an opportunity to start a conversation and discover something new about other players.

I like SUSSED a lot! It was fun to play with my family. I liked reading the cards and deciding what I would choose, then seeing what everyone thought I would say!
Our child tester Kasper, 8

15. Mindshot Nature + Now, £13 per pack of 7

– Great for puzzles and challenges

Available at: Digital Detox Kids

Mindshot Nature + Now with child tester Cadhla

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: W10cm x H13cm | Batteries: None

Inside this set of 7 pocket-sized paper packs, you'll discover cards detailing different info and activities, all of them centred on the natural world, and including games, challenges, puzzles, fact files, stickers and temporary tattoos.

This is such a fantastic way to get the kids away from screens. The tasks and activities are very well thought out and they got our whole family involved. We love them!
Seaneen, mum of our child tester Cadhla, 8

Best construction toys for 8 year olds

16. LEGO Friends Olivia's Space Academy, £59.99

– Great for a space-themed role play

Available at: Amazon

LEGO Friends Olivia’s Space Academy with child tester Claudia

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L10cm x W21cm x H26cm (main academy building) | Batteries: None

This 757-piece space exploration set, winner of an editors choice at the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022, makes for a good, long build (6 hours at least) which our child tester, Claudia, aged 10 (pictured above), couldn't wait to get started on. The finished set has lots of authentic NASA features including the robotic arm that extends from the shuttle. Even the equations on the classroom whiteboard are proper spaceflight equations!

It’s a very calming activity especially if I’m feeling cross and need some quiet time. It’s a nice thing to do and it’s fun to do it with my family because we can all work together to do it quicker. Then when it’s all done it’s really fun to play it with my sister.
Our child tester Claudia

17. GraviTrax Obstacle, £59.65

– Great for spatial skills

Available at: Amazon and John Lewis

GraviTrax Obstacle Starter Set with child tester Amelie

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: Various | Batteries: None

This newer spin on the bestselling GraviTrax starter set also builds into a multi-level marble run, using a cardboard hexagon-holed base, magnetic balls and, this time, 140-odd plastic and metal pieces that slot together to create bridges, junctions, tracks, trampolines, a spiral, a zipline and even a magnetic cannon. It's pricey but it's supercool – and there are so many tracks to build and stunts to devise.

It's really exciting to play with! I enjoyed building the obstacles and it kept me and my brother and sister busy for hours.
Our child tester Amelie, 8

18. Eugy, from £8.50 each

– Great budget buy

Available at: Amazon and Hobbycraft


Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: H11cm but sizes vary | Batteries: None

Each of these cute little craft kits has all you need to make a 6cm-high 3D model of an animal by slotting and glueing together card pieces in numerical sequence – non-toxic glue included. Take your pick from 21 animal designs, including a dragon, whale, meerkat (all pictured above), tiger, unicorn, narwhal and sloth.

19. Build Your Own Paper Plane Launcher, £19.99

– Great for eco-friendly construction

Available at: Amazon and Build Your Own

Build Your Own Paper Plane Launcher with child tester

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Size: L36cm x W5cm x H25cm | Batteries: None

With this ingenious, eco-friendly 47-piece construction kit you can build you an impressive-looking, elastic-band-powered cardboard paper-plane launcher and 10 different fold-and-fly planes to launch from it. There's no cutting out or glueing involved; you simply press out the pieces and slot them together, following the picture-based instructions. It takes about 1 hour to assemble the launcher – which, thrillingly, has power-indicator settings and can, if you get your aerodynamics right, propel paper planes up to 20 metres away.

The best bit's seeing how far the planes go. My friends should get one too and then we could all have a big flying contest!
Our child tester George, 8

Best stationary for 8 year olds

20. Clementoni Pen Creator Studio, £29.99

– Great for artists

Available at: Argos

pen creator studio from clementoni

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 8| Size: H31.1cm x W45.1cm x D7cm | Batteries: N/A | Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

The Studio allows you to make 10 different pens using the pen creation station. 50+ accessories are included for you to create and personalise each different design. There are different choices of ink colour and nib, and each pen housing is a clear transparent tube that can be filled with glitter, pompoms, or beads. There are also a variety of different child-friendly pen toppers to choose from, including a smiley avocado, cactus, unicorn, and cat.

The amount of magic you can create inside a pen is so cool. All my friends will love their pens, I can make them all different and add the colours that they like.
Our child tester Tiya, 8

Images: Product websites and MadeForMums child testers


How to choose toys safely

  • Look for the CE symbol as this is used by manufacturers to show the toy meets all the relevant regulatory requirements
  • Also keep an eye out for the British Toy and Hobby Association's (BTHA) 'Lion Mark' – although this is voluntary it means that the toy has to meet safety requirements to be a member 
  • Pay attention to the age suitability of the toy
  • Check toys over time for sharp points or edges. If they have become dangerously worn considering getting rid of them or having them repaired if possible

About the author

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

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