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16 of the best toys for 9 year olds

Our pick of the toys that make great gifts for boys and girls aged 9 to 10 – from stunt scooters and video-creation kits to building sets, bracelet kits, board games and battling trucks

best toys for 9 year olds

By the age of 9, your child is likely to be a pretty independent thinker and character. They have a longer attention span and can now enjoy some really quite complex problem-solving games and toys that take a fair bit of time and patience to complete.

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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.

You'll probably 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. Some will undoubtedly stretch your child (and they may need a bit of help) but if they stick to the task and complete the build/game/creation, the "look what I've made!" pay-off at the end is always absolutely worth it.

To save money on toys check out our best toy deals page to keep updated on the best toy sales.

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
  • Avoid toys with loose fabric, hair that sheds easily or small parts that detach easily as these can be a choking hazard
  • 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

Best toys for 9 year olds at a glance

  • Great toy for laugh-out-loud fun: Ravensburger #UpsideDownChallenge Game, £24.99
  • Great toy for video projects: Studio Creator, £24.99
  • Great toy for outdoor play: Invert FS2 Stunt Scooter, £139.99
  • Great toy for fun and concentration: UpRoar!, £9.99
  • Great toy for fun and dexterity: Laser Battle Hunters, £49.99
  • Great toy for jumpy outdoor science action: Stomp Rocket Original, £15.99
  • Great toy for dexterity and creativity: Cool Maker Kumi Kreator, £24.22
  • Great toy for stop-motion film creations: Zu3D Animation Kit, £59.95
  • Great toy for strategic thinking and family fun: Froggit, £24.99
  • Great toy for dexterity and wizard play: LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Clock Tower, £89.99
  • Great toy for problem-solving and creativity: FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set, £20
  • Great toy for memory skills and showmanship: Marvin's Magic 130 Magic Made Easy Tricks, £12
  • Great toy for scientific understanding: Kidz Labs Anti Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit, £18.99
  • Great toy for quick thinking and dexterity: Splash!, £12.99
  • Great toy for imaginative play: Playmobil Knights Novelmore Fortress, £79.99
  • Great toy for construction skills: Build Your Own Mini Build Ladybird, £9.99

Here's our pick of the best toys for 9-year-olds, as tested by kids and recommended by parents…

1. Ravensburger #UpsideDownChallenge Game, £24.99

– Great for laugh-out-loud fun

Ravensburger #UpsideDownChallenge Game

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for: 9+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A board game in which players aim to complete simple challenges, such as writing their name or high-fiving one another, while wearing a pair of plastic goggles that flips your vision upside down. Comes with 1 pair of upside-down glasses, 32 challenge cards, 36 tokens, a symbol explanation card, a timer and instructions. For 2 to 6 players.

Why we love it: This is such 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). Our child tester Scarlett, 9, found it hilarious watching her mum and her dad struggling to do some of the tasks. "I thought it was really fun," she said, "and it made us all laugh when we played it. I liked doing the water challenges the best because the water went everywhere!" 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).

Available from: Amazon and Argos

2. Studio Creator, £24.99

– Great for video projects

Studio Creator

Age suitability: 9+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None (USB charging cable included)

What it is: A video-making set including an adjustable tripod with integrated mobile-phone holder, a light unit with 3 different brightness settings, a green-screen drape and an instruction guide.

Why we love it: The light is good and the tripod is great. Our child tester Lola said, "My friends are going to love this! It’s awesome, I like the different backgrounds you can put in and the idea of a green screen is really cool." We especially like that there's a guide (in the easy-to-follow) instructions about staying safe on social media. A good, value-for-money buy.

Available at: Very, Amazon and Argos

3. Invert FS2 Stunt Scooter, £139.99

– Great for outdoor play

Invert FS2 Stunt Scooter

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

What it is: A scooter with 11cm x 49cm aluminium deck and a 'jet-fuel finish'. Featuring a high-tensile steel T-bar, 25mm grind rails, 11cm-diameter wheels with high-rebound tyres and a rear flex brake. Requires some self-assembly.

Why we love it: It looks 'sick' according to our child tester Andy, 8 – and it's true, the brilliant oil-effect colours look great, especially in the sunlight. It also feels super-sturdy but light, and is easy to assemble. The ride is smooth, quiet and fast and Andy was thrilled to be able to try some 'bunny hops'. We especially like the long, wide deck.

Available at: Halfords

4. UpRoar!, £9.99

– Great for fun and concentration

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

Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A card game where you pick up 2 cards, try to spot the only matching pair of words, and be the first to sound out the answer. For 2 or more players.

Why we love it: It’s dead simple but fiendishly difficult to be fast enough – and it's very funny hearing everyone trying to work out how to make a noise like a bicycle or an angry cow or a lonely puppy. The way the words are placed on the card, you have to read some of them upside down, so it’s a game that encourages concentration as well as speed. Our child tester Stanley, 9, said that it's "brilliant and funny", adding. "It's like it's easy and hard at the same time, as I knew the words but not the sound, so I wasn't always quick enough." Good to see that the packaging and cards are 100% compostable, biodegradable and plastic-free.

Available at: Amazon and McMiller

5. Laser Battle Hunters, £49.99

– Great for fun and dexterity

Laser Battle Hunters

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

What it is: A pair of radio-controlled 19cm-high 4-wheel drive combat vehicles with all-terrain tyres, sound effects and built-in infra-red cannons that fire laser beams. Running time for each car: 30 minutes.

Why we love it: These vehicles 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. Our child tester Theo enjoyed playing by himself (you can turn 1 vehicle into a moving target) but absolutely loved playing 'battle mode' with his dad. Great sound effects and very cool recoil action when the lasers fire!

Available at: Amazon and Hamleys

6. Stomp Rocket Original, £15.99

– Great for jumpy outdoor science action

stomp rocket

Age suitability: 9+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A rocket launcher toy that you power purely by stomping or jumping on it. It can send rockets up to 400ft in the air. Comes with 3 'high-performance' rockets.

Why we love it: This classic toy has been relaunched for new generations of rocket-launching fans and it's as much fun now as we remember way back when. "The whole family ranging from 8 to 80 enjoyed playing with this," said Lacy, mum of our child tester Oscar, who's nearly 9. "None of us could believe how high the rockets went!" We also like how portable it is: you can take it with you to play with at other people's houses, the park, or on a picnic (just be careful not to blast your rocket into someone else's sandwich…)

Available at: Halfords

7. Cool Maker Kumi Kreator, £24.22

– Great for dexterity and creativity

Cool Maker Kumi Kreator

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: none

What it is: A good-sized (35cm x 30cm) friendship-bracelet-making machine that comes with 60 pre-loaded spools of string. Makes up to 5, 8 or 12-strand bracelets and 2 necklaces. Comes with clasps, tassel charms, stickers, measuring guide and instructions (there's also a video tutorial online).

Why we love it: It's a bit fiddly to set up (do watch the video – it's really helpful) but once our child testers got started, we couldn't stop them! The finished bracelets were a good quality and looked bright and lovely. You can buy refill spools (they do run out quickly) or refill them with thread of a similar thickness yourself – the manufacturers don't recommend this but it seemed to work well for us.

Available from: Amazon

8. Zu3D Animation Kit, £59.95

– Great for stop-motion film creations

Zu3D Animation Kit

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

What it is: A kit for creating stop-motion animations, featuring 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. Comes with 8 strips of modelling clay, a mini set, a 'green screen' cloth and a handbook.

Why we love it: 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. Our child tester wasn't super-keen on making modelling-clay figures, so used LEGO figures instead – and had enormous fun. The 'green screen' cloth is great but works better if you iron it first.

Available from: Amazon and Zu3D

9. Froggit, £24.99

– Great for strategic thinking and family fun

Froggit

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A board game where 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. Can be played at Junior or Expert levels. For 2 to 6 players.

Why we love it: Archie, our child tester, had great fun playing this with the rest of his family. "This is a really cool game," he said. "I like trying to beat my brother by moving the big fish." We’re impressed by how easy the game’s rules are to pick up and how well you can play it at 2 levels: 1 fast and furious, and the other more strategic.

Available from: Amazon and Hamleys

10. LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Clock Tower, £89.99

– Great for dexterity and wizard play

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Clock Tower

Age suitability: 9+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 922-piece set that builds into a 35cm-high 3-level Goblet of Fire-themed Clock Tower that features Dumbledore's office, the prefects' bathroom, the hospital wing, a Yule Ball scene and a Defence against the Dark Arts classroom. Comes with 8 mini figures including Harry, Ron, Hermione, and all manner of accessories.

Why we love it: It's a good long build but not a marathon one – it took our child tester about 3 hours in total. And the level of detail is just brilliant – from the stained glass window and running taps in the prefects' bathroom to the dance floor that moves to waltz the figures round. There's excellent post-build play value in this set.

If you want to see more LEGO, take a look at best LEGO sets for kids.

Available from: LEGO, Amazon and John Lewis

11. FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set, £20

– Great for problem-solving and creativity

FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set

Age suitability 6+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 16cm x 19cm lockable case with secret compartments inside and hidden keys to unlock the. Comes with over 30 accessories, including a notepad, glittery pencil, unicorn charm keyring, sticker sheets, bookmark, stencil shapes, stationery items and 2 secret messages.

Why we love it: It's very pink, it's very plastic but those hidden keys and secret compartments thrilled our child tester Kaiya. "It's really cute and fun," she said, "and it has lots to do. My favourite part is opening all the sections and seeing what is behind each door." We like how you can personalise it with stickers and the unicorn keyring is very cute.

Available from: Argos and Smyths Toys

12. Marvin's Magic 130 Magic Made Easy Tricks, £12

– Great for memory skills and showmanship

Marvin's Magic 130 Magic Made Easy Tricks

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A box of props to help you perform magic tricks, including a cup and balls, spiked coin playing cards, magician's wand, and 'multiplying' rabbits. Comes with instruction booklet.

Why we love it: The booklet is really clearly illustrated and our child tester found it easy to learn the tricks, and didn't need any grown-up help. She's since spent ages perfecting her magician skills and has already put on quite a few magic shows at home! The props are cheap and cheerful but do the (magic) business perfectly well. A great-value buy.

Available from: Argos

13. Kidz Labs Anti Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit, £18.99

– Great for scientific understanding

4M Kidz Labs Anti Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit

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

What it is: A science kit that includes all you need for 6 experiments with magnets that include an anti-gravity sculpture, a levitating cyclist and a floating pencil.

Why we love it: The instructions are good and the experiments are very cool (and educational) but, according to our child tester's mum, do require a bit of fiddling and a fair bit of patience. Fascinating stuff for a science-mad kid: we love the crazy UFO that randomly moves around the planet Earth.

Available from: Amazon and Bright Minds

14. Splash!, £12.99

– Great for quick thinking and dexterity

Splash!

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A fast-paced dexterity game, where you have to place wooden pieces on a wobbly tower, matching either the shape or the colour of the previous piece. You get a raindrop splash if the person whose go is after yours makes the tower topple – and the first to collect 3 splashes wins the game. For 2 to 6 players.

Why we love it: It's Jenga with a strategic-thinking twist – because your opponent(s) get to choose which (awkwardly shaped) wooden piece you have to place on the tower. And, for our child tester’s family, this all turned into 30 minutes of nail-biting family competitiveness! We like that all the pieces are quite small and pack away neatly into a little tin – makes for great, take-anywhere entertainment.

Available from: Amazon

15. Playmobil Knights Novelmore Fortress, £79.99

– Great for imaginative play

Playmobil Knights Novelmore Fortress

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 39cm x 52cm castle playset with secret passages, fold-out stairs, a catapult and 3 places to launch rocks from. Comes with 4 Playmobil figures, a horse, a wolf and loads of other accessories, including 'water' cannon, ladders, arrows, flag, and firepit. Requires some self-assembly.

Why we love it: It's a good size, with plenty of little details that our child tester loved, particularly the little inkwell and quill and, of course, the working catapult and cannon. (Don't be put off by the 5+ age suggestion on the box; this is definitely a toy for a much older child.) We'd have liked to see a female minifigure in the set, though. Do note that it does take a little while to put the fortress together.

Available from: Amazon and Bargain Max

16. Build Your Own Mini Build Ladybird, £9.99

– Great for construction skills

Build Your Own Mini Build Ladybird

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

What it is: A cardboard construction set with 27 parts that slot together to make a 19cm-long ladybird, with wings that rotate to mimic the real life movement of the bug. Also comes with a press out fact stand, which teaches kids about how ladybirds are used in agriculture.

Why we love it: This mess-free construction doesn't need any additional materials like glue or scissors, plus it's simple for your child to get to grips with thanks to the pieces that slot together. We love the extra details such as the rotating wings and that it's a decent size once built, perfect to play with as well as display in your child's bedroom.

Available from: Build Your Own

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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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