By the age of 9, your child is likely to be a pretty independent thinker, with emerging – and sometimes pretty passionate – opinions of their own.


Their attention span is much longer and their spatial intelligence is rapidly improving. Plus, they have much more refined fine-finger skills, meaning they're able to paint, construct, craft, sew and draw in much greater detail.

Their gross motor skills are now developed enough to bring more grace, purpose and fluidity to physical movements and sport.

With their longer attention span, your 9 year old will now enjoy more complex or more strategic games, and will have fun with construction toys and problem-solving puzzles that take a fair bit of time and patience to complete.

You may also find that your child is less interested in pretend play than they used to be and instead prefer toys that encourage them to do, make or create. There are lots of great multi-stage construction sets and more substantial science/STEM, craft and creative projects aimed at this age group.

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That's not to say, of course, that your child doesn't still love to have a laugh with some very silly stuff, too. So, with that in mind, here are the best toys to buy your 9 year old.

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Best toys for 9 year olds at a glance

  • Great for eco-friendly board game fun: Fire in the Hole!, £29.99
  • Great for indoor active play: Gamez Jam indoor basketball hoop, £26.95
  • Great for fine-finger skills: HEXBUG Battlebots Arena MAX, £88.99
  • Great for STEM learning: Science Museum Mecha Dragon Kit, £13.97
  • Great for silly board game fun: Ravensburger Upside Down Challenge Game, £19.99
  • Great for winter themed play: LEGO Friends Holiday Ski Slope, £74.99
  • Great for vehicle play: Laser Battle Hunters, £56.62
  • Great for outdoor active play: Stomp Rocket Original, £24.99
  • Great for budding film makers: Zu3D Animation Kit, £59.95
  • Great for competitive board game fun: Froggit, £26.99
  • Great for creative play: FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set, £20
  • Great budget buy: Build Your Own Mini Build Ladybird, £7.99
  • Great for immersive role play: Real FX Wizarding World Spell Master Wand, £29.91

What are the best toys for 9 year olds?

1. Fire in the Hole!, £29.99

– Great for eco-friendly board game fun

Available at: McMiller and Amazon

McMiller Fire In The Hole game with child tester William

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for: 9+ | Size: L63cm x W36cm x H24cm | Batteries: None
Awards: Editor's Choice, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022

This amazingly constructed pop-up board game is stunning to look at, hilarious to play and is made entirely of biodegradable materials. You draw cards that allow you – in various ways – to launch your 6 colourful felt cannonballs at the holes in the pirate ship's deck and the aim is to try to land them in a row of 4, vertically or horizontally.

We had a total blast playing this game as a family. We all loved how the board and ship cleverly folded out. The cannonballs did fly everywhere – which added to the fun.
Parent tester Elizabeth

2. Gamez Jam Mini Basketball Hoop, £26.95

– Great for indoor active play

Available at: Amazon

Gamez Jam Mini Basketball Hoop with child tester Amelia

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for: 9+ | Size: L45cm x H30cm (23.5cm diameter hoop) | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022

This is – by quite some way – the best indoor basketball hoop we've tested. The 1/4 scale, shatterproof polycarbonate backboard is 4mm-thick, making it much less bendy than others on the market and the hoop itself has a brilliant spring-action breakaway rim, so you can do some proper slamming. The hooks are designed to fit over any door up to 50mm thick and there's plenty of foam padding to prevent scratching and reduce noise, although we're not going to pretend this is ever going to be a completely silent toy.

I've improved my aim and scored lots of goals. It's good fun and quite hard and I know my friends would like it too.
Child tester Amelia, 9

3. HEXBUG BattleBots Arena MAX, £88.99

– Great for fine-finger skills

Available at: Amazon

HEXBUG BattleBots Arena MAX with child tester Charlie

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for: 8+ | Size: L71cm x H71cm | Batteries: 9 x AAA and 4 x LR44 (included)
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022

An upgrade on the original BattleBots Arena – the MAX is 50% bigger – this easy-to-build robot-duelling set is very robust and has hammers in 2 corners and, along 1 side, a spinning auger (like a spiralling drill bit) for some extra jeopardy. It's not cheap but, given the enthusiastic reaction of both our child testers – and rather too much robot-smashing in the MadeForMums office – we'd say this is a toy that definitely delivers on the excitement front.

This is such fun – and the screw bit is wicked! I love how the hammers smash the robots too.
Child tester Charlie, 9

4. Science Museum Mecha Dragon Kit, £13.97

– Great for STEM learning

Available at: Currys

science museum mecha dragon

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for: 9+ | Size: 45.1cm x 31.1cm x 7.0cm| Batteries: AA batteries x 4

This construction kit builds motorised mecha-dragon is great for children with an interest in technology, electronics and, of course, dragons. 3 motors help the wings and mouth move and there are also 12 different game modes available to expand the play potential.

Through the build, kids will engage with various principals of robotics making it both educational and entertaining. You can also download the app – where you'll find additional ways to interact with the model.

5. Ravensburger UpsideDown Challenge Game, £19.99

– Great for silly board game fun

Available at: Amazon and Argos

Ravensburger Upside Down Challenge Game with child tester Scarlett

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for: 9+ | Size: L20cm x W20cm x H10cm (box) | Batteries: None

The aim of this board game is to see if you can complete simple challenges, such as writing your name or high-fiving another player, while wearing plastic goggles that flip your vision upside down. It's a great, silly game to play with friends or older relatives – there are 2 difficulty levels for each challenge, so it works well across the age ranges.

Comes with 32 challenge cards, a timer and instructions. For 2 to 6 players. And it's worth noting that some of the challenges do involve props you need to find from around the house (such as empty toilet rolls).

I thought it was really fun and it made us all laugh when we played it. I liked doing the water challenges the best because the water went everywhere!
Child tester Scarlett, 9

6. LEGO Friends Holiday Ski Slope, £74.99

– Great for winter themed play

Available at: LEGO and Amazon

lego friends ski slope

Age suitability: 8+| Best for: 9+ | Size when built: 54cm x 28.2cm x 7.85cm | Batteries: None | Awards: Gold Award at the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

This 980-piece LEGO Friends set has a lovely inclusive, wintery theme: you build a snow covered ski slope, and a cafe complete with local wildlife and holiday makers. The accessories are fun – we love the log cabin design – and we really rate how the 4 mini figures come with extra heads, so you can have them changing expression.

It looks really good and I like that I can display it in my bedroom. It's fun to slide the sledge and skiers down the slope and I love the vending machine and hot chocolates.
Child tester Annabelle, 9

7. Laser Battle Hunters, £56.52

– Great for vehicle play

Available at: Amazon and Hamleys

laser battle hunters with child tester Theo

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: H19cm | Batteries: 14 x AA (not included)

These 2 radio-controlled, 4-wheel drive combat vehicles have all-terrain tyres, sound effects and built-in infra-red cannons that fire laser beams. They can zoom forwards and backwards, and drift sideways, at a top speed of 4.3km/hr, which is pretty speedy! But they do eat batteries (and you need a lot of them), with a running time of approx 30 minutes per car.

8. Stomp Rocket Original, £24.99

– Great for outdoor active play

Available at: John Lewis

stomp rocket

Age suitability: 9+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: L15cm x W10cm x H25cm | Batteries: None

This classic toy has been relaunched for new generations of rocket-loving fans and it's as much fun now as we remember way back when. The premise is dead simple: you set up your rocket on the yellow frame and then supply power by stomping or jumping on the red 'launcher'.

The whole family, ranging from 8 to 80 years, enjoyed playing with this. None of us could believe how high the rockets went!
Lacy, mum of our child tester Oscar

9. Zu3D Animation Kit, £59.95

– Great for budding film makers

Available at: Amazon and Zu3D

Zu3D Animation Kit

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: Various | Batteries: None

This kit contains all you need to create your own stop-motion animations à la Wallace and Gromit. It features a USB webcam with adjustable stand and manual focus and 2 licences for software (for Mac, PC or iPad) that includes sound effects, music, titles and artwork. It also comes with 8 strips of modelling clay, a mini set, a 'green screen' cloth and a handbook. This kit is used in over 1,000 UK schools and we can see why: the camera is robust and easy to focus, and editing and adding sounds, backgrounds and credits is very intuitive.

10. Froggit, £26.99

– Great for competitive board game fun

Available at: Amazon

Froggit game with child tester Archie

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: 45cm diameter (unboxed) | Batteries: None

In this board game, you vie to be first to get your frog family across the lilypads to the other side of the pond – without getting blocked by another player or scared back to the start by the big fish. We're impressed by how easy the game's rules are to pick up and how adaptable it is to the age and mood of the people you're playing with: you can opt for the Junior Level (fast and furious) or the Expert Level (more strategic).

For 2 to 6 players.

This is a really cool game. I like trying to beat my brother by moving the big fish. And I really want to try playing it with 5 friends at a time – I think that's going to be epic!
Child tester Archie, 9

11. FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set, £20

– Great for creative play

Available at: Argos

Fun Lockets Secret Journal with child tester Kaiya

Age suitability 6+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: L16cm x H19cm | Batteries: None

Loaded with secret compartments and hidden keys, this solid-sided diary set comes with over 30 accessories, including a notepad, glittery pencil, unicorn charm keyring, sticker sheets, bookmark, stencil shapes, stationery items and 2 secret messages.

It's really cute and fun and it has lots to do. My favourite part is opening all the sections and seeing what is behind each door.
Child tester Kaiya

12. Build Your Own Mini Build Ladybird, £7.99

– Great budget buy

Available at: Build Your Own

Build your own Ladybird kit with child tester Lilly

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9+ | Size: L19cm | Batteries: None

This cardboard construction set has 27 parts that slot together to make a 3-D ladybird, complete with wings that rotate to mimic the spotty bug's real life movement. It also comes with a press out fact stand for displaying your finished creation.

The clever, mess-free construction doesn't need any additional materials like glue or scissors and the instructions are really clear and easy to follow – it's about a 20-minute build in total.

It came came out brilliant! It's a good size to keep and it's really sturdy. We have similar building kits made out of wood that have easily broken just putting it together but this is very well made – even with the moving wings it stays very stable. The information booklet that came with it was very informative, too.
Parent tester Jennifer

13. Real FX Wizarding World Spell Master Wand (Harry or Hermione), RRP £29.99

– Great for immersive role play

Available at: Amazon and Argos

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Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9 | Size: 4cm x 41cm x 4cm| Batteries: 3 x batteries required (included)| Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2023

Harry Potter fans old and young can cast a spell with Real FX Spell Master Wands, replica wands that look like they’ve flown off the shelf at Ollivander’s Wand Shop. There are 14 different spells to learn from the wand, and if you swish or flick your wrist when holding it, the ‘Spell Master’ feature on the wand will come to life to help you master them. Each wand is voice activated to coach kids through casting the spells, and the wand will keep guiding you until they are mastered.

There are three different modes of play - learn, defend, and free play. Once you’ve learned the spells you can duel with other wand owners. The free play mode then allows the user to create their own combination of spells. A spells and charms booklet is also included as a guide to help transport fans firmly into the Wizarding World.

The wand is available in both Harry and Hermione versions.

For any Harry Potter fan this is so much fun. This is a good choice for a child growing out if toys as it feels more grown up but still has them playing.
Parent tester Lizzy

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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Helen Brown
Helen BrownHead of Content Delivery

Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.