19 of the best toys for 8 year olds

Our pick of the top toys for boys and girls aged 8 to 9

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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.

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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…

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

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1. GraviTrax Starter Set, £39.99

Age: 8+

 What is it: 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, £23.50

Age: 8 years +

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.

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!

Available at: Amazon and Debenhams

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3. Anki Cozmo, £99.99

Age: 6+

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

Why we love it: Cozmo has SO much personality. 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 at: John Lewis and Smyths Toys

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4. Nickelodeon Experimake Sludge and Slime, £10

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 at: The Entertainer and Amazon

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5. Out There Sew Your Own Unicorn, £5

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.

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 two!

Available at: The Entertainer and Amazon

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6. Penguins On Ice, £18.25

Age: 6 years +

What it is: A brainteaser game that requires you to pack the ice pieces together and make sure all the penguins end up in the right place. Comes with a booklet full of challenges that range from easy to hard. Dimensions: 6cm x 24cm x 24cm.

Why we love it: It’s a strategy game that requires patience and a good deal of thinking, but it’s designed to look cool and fun. We particularly like how the challenges get harder and harder as you progress through the booklet (evil parent grin)…

Available at: Amazon and Dotty Hippo

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7. Rainbow Colours Giant Piano Mat, £29.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A huge floor keyboard, you operate the notes with your feet. It has 8 preset demo sounds and 10 built-in demo tunes. Coloured keys with easy to learn song sheets included. 3 AA batteries required (not included). Dimensions: 182cm x 100cm x 5cm.

Why we love it: These floor keyboards always make us think of the movie ‘Big’! Our child toy testers loved the size of this and the fact it’s so colourful. If your 8-year-old has a younger sibling, they will also be able to join in the fun with this toy, too.

Available from: Amazon 

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8. Melissa & Doug Suspend Game, £14.18

Age: 8 years +

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 you can take the challenge to 4 different levels of game play.

Available at: Amazon

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9. New Mastermind, £14.98

Age: 8 years +

What it is: A redesigned version of the classic code-cracking game, where you have to try to guess the colour sequence your opponent has chosen. Dimensions: 10cm x 14cm x 30cm.

Why we love it: It’s now a multi-player game, so up to 5 people can play at once on the rotating game unit. But, however you play it, it’s still a great brain workout for all involved.

Available at: Amazon

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10. LEGO Minecraft – The Polar Igloo, £39.99

Age: 8years +

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, but some parental help might be needed if focus is flagging a bit. Use your pickaxe to mine for valuable resources. Woo hoo!

Available at:  Lego

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11. Game of Life, £25.99

Age: 8 years +

What it is: The classic Game of Life – will you have a career, go to university? Once everyone reaches the end of the game – retirement -everyone pays their debts and adds up their wealth. The player with the most money wins the game. 2 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.

Available at: Amazon

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12. Tobar Bungee Bouncer, £14.49

Age: 5 years +

What it is: A beginner pogo stick, made of foam with a bungee-like cord rope. It can be used to bounce around, pogo-like, indoors and outdoors. It is easier to use than a traditional pogo stick. Dimensions: 48cm.

Why we love it: It’s so easy to get the hang of – and it’s really very bouncy. Nice and robust, while the foam base is kind to floors when there’s indoor bouncing going on.

Available at: The Gift and Gadget Store

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13. John Adams Boom Bang Fizzes, £22

Age: 8 years +

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, and you’ll have to trawl the house for them before you let your little scientist loose.

Available at: Amazon and  Crafty Arts

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14. Graffix Pottery Wheel, £9.99

Age: 6 years +

What it is: A home pottery wheel that comes with 450g modelling clay and 6 tubs of paint, modelling tools, a paintbrush, cutting string, a sponge and instructions. Dimensions: 36cm x 28cm x 9.4cm.

Why we love it: It’s dead-good value for money for what it is. OK, so it’s not a professional potter’s wheel and it’s best to split the clay in half before you start but, if you keep the right pressure on the foot pedal, you can make some really impressive stuff. A nice rainy-day project.

Available at: The Range

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

Age: 8 years +

What it is: 5 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! Seriously cool.

Available at: Amazon

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16. Brain Box English Memory Game, £10.98

Age: 8 years +

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 a fun thing to learn!

Available at: Word United

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17. 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. Two LR44 batteries are required to get it off the ground but you do get some to start you off. 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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18. ENGINO Jurassic Earth, £45

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

Age: 8 to 14

What it is: A 123-piece construction set from which you can build 5 moving, motorised dinosaurs. There’s a fact book too. It comes with 2 AAA batteries. 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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19. Learning Resources Artie 3000, £63.54

Age: 7 to 11

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

Why we love it: Firstly, we’ve heard that this little guy is both lots of fun, but great at teaching kids to code. It is easy to set up, and good for all ages within its range.

Available from: Amazon

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