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15 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

15 of the best toys for 9 year olds

By the age of 9, your child is likely to be a pretty independent thinker and character. They 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.

There are lots of 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.

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

1. Studio Creator, £24.99

Age: 9+

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. Requires USB charging cable (included).

Why we love it: 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 like that there’s a guide (in the easy-to-follow) instructions about staying safe on social media. A good, value-for-money buy that easily made our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available at: Smyths ToysBargain Max and Very

2. Invert FS2 Stunt Scooter, £139.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A scooter with 110mm x 495mm aluminium deck and a ‘jet-fuel finish’. Featuring a high-tensile steel T-bar, 25mm grind rails, 110mm-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 – 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. Our tester says the ride is smooth, quiet and fast and he was thrilled to be able to try some ‘bunny hops’. We especially like the long, wide deck.

Available at: Halfords and Cycleking

3. Laser Battle Hunters, £59.99

Age: 8+

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. Requires 14 AA batteries (not included). 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! A fun addition to our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available at: ArgosSmyths ToysVery and Amazon

4. Cool Maker Kumi Kreator, £20

Age: 8+

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). No batteries required.

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 and Smyths Toys

5. Monopoly For Sore Losers, £22.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A topsy-turvy new version of the classic Monopoly game, where going to jail or landing on someone else’s property earns you Sore Loser coins which (once you’ve got enough of them) you can cash in for the right to collect money from other players. Comes with a money pack and a game guide. For 2 to 6 players

Why we love it: The Sore Loser twist is genius: our child tester went from being almost bankrupt to winning the whole game – much to her delight! And the overall verdict from her family was that it’s more fun and more exciting than the original game – though, we should warn you, it’s not necessarily any shorter!

Available at: Smyths ToysAmazon and Argos

6. Fortnite Battle Royale Collection Battle Bus Deluxe Edition, £49.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A 34cm-high Fortnite-themed playset bus with opening rear door and sides, and seats inside and on the roof. Comes with 10 exclusive figures with swappable weapons and 20 accessories.

Why we love it: Our child tester wasn’t allowed to play Fortnite online (you’re officially supposed to be 12) but he knew all about it and was “psyched” to be playing with a Battle Bus toy. We like the swappable weapons and the peg roof seats for the figures. You’re definitely paying extra for the Fortnite association but this is still a toy with lots of play value.

Available from:  Smyths Toys

7. Zu3D Animation Kit, £77.94

Age: 8+

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 at: Amazon and Zu3D

8. Froggit, £24.99

Age: 7+

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. We chose this for our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available at: SmartGames and Amazon

9. LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Clock Tower, £84.99

Age: 9+

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.

Available at: LEGOAmazon and Smyths

10. FunLockets Secret Journal Diary Set, £20

Age: 6+

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. We selected this for our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available at: Amazon and Smyths Toys

11. Marvin’s Magic 130 Magic Made Easy Tricks, £12

Age: 6+

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 at: Argos

12. ThinkFun Chocolate Fix Game, £19.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A set of 9 (fake) coloured chocolates that you have to organise in their tray in the correct sequence. Comes with a booklet of 40 (harder and harder) challenges (and solutions).

Why we love it: It’s kind of like Sudoku with chocolate. It looks cute but is actually quite hard – and the more advance challenges are frankly devilish. Our child testers enjoyed working the puzzles out, though – and liked the idea of a quiet, brain-teasing game they could play on their own. It’s plastic but good quality, and small enough to take in the car/on trips as a travel puzzle.

Available at: Amazon and Games Crusade

13. Kidz Labs Anti Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit, £16.99

Age: 8+

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 at: Bright Minds and  Amazon

14. Splash!, £12.99

Age: 6+

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 at: Amazon and  Wayland Games

15. Playmobil Knights Novelmore Fortress, £79.99

Age: 5+

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. 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 at: Amazon, Playmobil and Argos

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