14 of the best toys for 8 year olds

There are some great toys out for 8-year-olds - from robots to building toys and coding toys, take a look at some of our favourites...

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Your 8-year-old now plays for extended periods of time, requiring much less help and direction from you, and is usually quite happy to spend time working out and completing builds, games and other challenges.

Your child may have started to develop an idea of the kinds of activity he or she likes or is ‘good at’ and may need a little coaxing to try something new.

He or she enjoys games she can play with others her own age, and is (finally) learning how to lose – and win – with grace (sometimes).

Board games to play with the family, experiments (they still love messy stuff like slime of course!) and robots are definitely popular with this age group.

Occasionally they’ll certainly still want help from a grown-up, too, so do be on hand to help if you can for when they might get a bit frustrated with the more complex products out there.

Here is our pick of  the best toys to choose for your 8-year-old:

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1. GraviTrax Starter Set, £39.99

Age: 8+

 What it is: A construction set with 120 pieces. You can build multi-layered tracks and watch ‘gravity spheres’ roll through your creations, and it is suitable for 1 or more players. Dimensions: 34.3cm x 34.3cm x 11.4cm.

Why we love it: Gravitrax has taken the old marble run game and brought it right into the here and now. Our toy awards child testers loved how you could make so many different kinds of tracks – and you can start small and not too complicated at first. There’s an end piece, too, so once you let the balls go they won’t be flying all around the house never to be seen again – phew!

Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

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2. Hot Wheels RC Bladez Drone Racerz Drone & Vehicle Set, £34.99

Age: 8+

What it is: This lightweight radio-controlled drone  has LED lights that you clip onto a Hot Wheels car (included) to make it drive, flip, jump and fly. Dimensions: 7.5cm x 4.4cm x 7cm. One lithium polymer battery (required).

Why we love it: It’s small enough to fly and flip indoors as well as out, and it’s great to see a drone that’s designed for pre-teen kids. The spare chassis and rotor blades are great for avoiding tears when kids (or adults) get a bit over exuberant with the stunts – though be warned: it gets pretty high! And make sure you’re don’t fly him in a no-drone area.

Available from: Amazon and Debenhams

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3. Anki Cozmo, £99.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A robot with forklift arms and amazingly expressive eyes.  Comes with charger and 3 interactive power cubes that he – and you – can incorporate into his games. Dimensions: 12cm x 19cm x 25cm. Comes with a non-replaceable battery (battery and charger included).

Why we love it: Cozmo has SO much personality. Once connected to the free Cozmo app (iPhone and Android compatible), he’ll recognise your face, say your name, and ask to play games. Over time, he gradually unlock more abilities and allow some simple coding. He’s pleased to see you when he ‘wakes’, snores as he powers down and celebrates when he wins a game – or throw a tantrum if you beat him too often! Our child testers particularly loved how he recognises faces – even the family pet.

Available from: John Lewis and Smyths Toys

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4. Nickelodeon Experimake Sludge and Slime, £20

Age: 8+

What it is: A super-slimey experiment kit. Comes with protective googles and gloves, plus the tools, ingredients and step-by-step instructions to make an invisible monster, slimy snakes, sludgy goo and slime balls.

Why we love it: It’s messy play spliced with science and maths! In our toy awards, our child testers really enjoyed cooking up their potions and their parents were impressed that the kit has been development by proper scientists. You can do additional experiments using the kit and easy-to-find extras such as milk and washing up liquid, too.

Available from: The Entertainer and Amazon

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5. Out There Sew Your Own Unicorn, £10

Age: 8+

What it is: A gorgeous unicorn toy that involves a pair of stripey socks, some stuffing and a pink mane. Once finished, you’ll get a 25cm unicorn to play with. Dimensions: 25cm long.

Why we love it: This is perfect for crafty kids who enjoy a challenge. And they will end up with a really cute toy at the end of it to keep and be proud of. We’ve also heard that there is enough stuffing left over to make an extra unicorn, so all they need is another pair of socks and they could make 2!

Available from: The Entertainer and Amazon

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6. Melissa & Doug Suspend Game, £16.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A game that comes with 24 coloured game rods, rods and connectors, and a coloured die. Once you’ve constructed the sculpture, you take it in turn to try to add a rod without making the whole thing tumble over. Dimensions: 31.8cm x 7.1cm x 7.1cm.

Why we love it: This is SUCH a great family game – and it’s fiendishly fierce on the hand-eye coordination. You can play on your own or with up to 3 others, and we really like that you can take the challenge to 4 different levels of game play.

Available from: Amazon

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7. LEGO Minecraft – The Polar Igloo, £39.99

Age: 8+

What it is: This buildable igloo in a snow-covered biome comes with a polar bear and a baby polar bear and an Alex Minecraft minifigure. It includes over 275 pieces. Dimensions: 11cm x 16cm x 24cm.

Why we love it: LEGO and Minecraft is a winning combo in our book. The instructions are great and it’s not too big a set, though note that some parental help might be needed if focus is flagging a bit. Use your pickaxe to mine for valuable resources once it’s made.

Available from: Lego

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8. Game of Life, £25.99

Age: 8+

What it is: The classic Game of Life – will you have a career, go to university? Once all players shave reached the end of the game – retirement – everyone pays their debts and adds up their wealth. The player with the most money wins the game. Two to 4 player game. Dimensions: 6.4cm x 40cm x 26.7cm.

Why we love it: Well, for a start, it’s been around since we were little so there’s a nostalgia factor here. It has been updated and is a little more modern, and it is still lots of fun. It’s a good family game and doesn’t go on for too long. Some buyers have remarked that the counters are a little on the small side so be careful not to lose them when you;re packing it up.

Available from: Amazon

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9. John Adams Boom Bang Fizzes, £24.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A science kit for creating 12 loud, fun, messy, bubbly, explosive experiments. Includes materials needed to launch a film-canister rocket, fire a jet engine balloon, pump up a cola bottle spaceship, and lots more. Dimensions: 36cm x 27.2cm x 8.2cm.

Why we love it: It makes science SUPER fun: you can make rock salt depth charge, among a lot of other experiments. Awesome! Be warned, though, that there a quite a few ‘ingredients’ (such as bicarbonate of soda and food colouring) that are not included, so you’ll have to find them in the cupboard or buy them as well before you let your little scientist loose.

Available from: Amazon and  Crafty Arts

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10. Crazy Aaron’s Made By Me Thinking Putty Kit, £21

Age: 8+

What it is: Five tins of clear putty, 3 concentrated colour putties, 3 special-effect putties, and an instructional mat. Dimensions: 21cm x 17.1cm x 5.7cm.

Why we love it: This is what we’d call ‘grown-up’ putty: you can create your own colours and add shimmer and shine – plus, it bounces and glows in the dark! Do be careful of getting this stuff on bedsheets an carpet though or you might find you have glowing patches all over the house.

Available from: Amazon

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11. Brain Box English Memory Game, £10.98

Age: 8+

What it is: It comes with 70 cards, 1 rules card, 1 sand timer and 1 dice. Packed in a sturdy cool magnetic cube box. The object of the game is to answer a question based on the roll of a dice testing your grammar, punctuation or spelling skills. Dimensions: 12.2cm x 12.2cm x 12.2cm.

Why we love it: A fun way to make English grammar and spelling enjoyable to learn. The cards are nice and sturdy and if there are enough of you it’s a good game to play in teams rather than as individuals, too.

Available from: Word United

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12. WOW! Stuff Collection Harry Potter Mystery Flying Snitch, £14.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A Mystery Flying Snitch as seen in the Harry Potter movies that seems to fly magically around your body. Requires 2 LR44 batteries (included). Dimensions: 19cm x 3.8cm x 3.8cm.

Why we love it: It’s super-fun addition to the many Harry Potter collector’s pieces around. You get some nice bits with it too, like a poster and display cabinet. We’ve heard a mix of reactions to the Aramid threads – some say they broke easily, others say they are quite strong. We would say – you might want to go gently with them. And the wings have an actual fluttering motion which is pretty cool when you see them in action.

Available from: Amazon

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13. ENGINO Jurassic Earth, £45

BRONZE winner, Best Construction/Building Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 8+

What it is: A 123-piece construction set from which you can build 5 moving, motorised dinosaurs. There’s a fact book too. Requires 2 AAA batteries (included). Dimensions: 41.2cm x 28.2cm x 6cm.

Why we love it: First off, once the dinosaurs are made they look great. But of course, the making of them is super fun, too. Our toy awards child testers really enjoyed reading the facts and found the instructions were really helpful to work through so they weren’t too frustrating to build, and there were several you could make = added bonus.

Available from: Engino Toys

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14. Learning Resources Artie 3000, £63.54

Age: 7+

What it is: Artie is designed to help children learn programming and maths, while creating colourful designs. He can be used on a Mac or PC or tablet. Includes 4 modes of play – shapes, games, art and freeform coding. Requires 4 AA batteries (not included). Dimensions: 17.8cm x 12.7cm x 20.3cm.

Why we love it: Firstly,  this little guy is both lots of fun, but great at teaching kids to code, too. Artie is simple to set up but can do some pretty powerful commands, too. A really nice combo of coding and arts/creativity which we haven’t seen in many other toys.

Available from: Amazon

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