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

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By the age of 9, your child is likely to be a pretty independent thinker and character. He or she now enjoys some really quite complex problem-solving games and toys, and is probably up for science, nature and craft projects 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.

Here is our pick of some of the best toys for 9-year-olds…

1. Hexbug Robot Wars Arena, £59.99

hexbug robot wars arena

Age: 8+

What is it: A thrill-packed alliance of bestselling mini-robot Hexbugs and the hugely popular TV show Robot Wars: your infra-red remote-controlled armoured and weaponised Hexbugs do battle, RW-style, in a(moulded plastic) arena. Our money is on Royal Pain, with his ‘havoc hammer’…

Why we loved it: We could talk about how you can customise your Hexbug with stickers or fix on one of the interchangeable pitchfork, wedge, shovel, spikes and battering ram weapons – but basically it’s all just about brilliant, silly, laugh-out-loud fun.

“I love this and particularly love the hammer on the robot, and enjoy trying to destroy the other robot,” says one of our child testers, 8-year-old Hal.

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

2. LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall, £89.99

lego harry potter hogwarts great hall

Age: 9 to 14 (but older Harry fans will love it, too)

What it is: An 878-piece LEGO set that comes together to make the main castle building of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Great Hall! Also makes a 4-level tower, and comes with 10 minifigures: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid and Draco, as well as Susan Bones, Professor McGonagall, Professor Quirrell, Dumbledore and everyone’s fave ghost, Nearly Headless Nick.

Your child can also build Basilisk and Fawkes creatures, and you’ll get a little Hedwig and Scabbers, to complete your scene, too.

Why we love it: It’s kind of the dream LEGO set, especially if your child loves a satisfying LEGO build or is obsessed with the Harry Potter movies.

We think this set is very well-designed, as realistic as LEGO can be, and also it’s a good length of time and difficulty for a build. It’s not too easy, not too hard, and will take long enough to make the price worth it, but won’t stretch on forever.

There are a few surprisingly nice touches fans will enjoy. One parent notes that the Quirrell figure comes with Voldemort’s face on the other side, a fun little reference to the story, and there’s some great accessories like a boat with a lantern and ‘floating’ candles.

Available from: LEGO

3. K’NEX Thrill Rides Web Weaver Roller Coaster, £69.99

knex

Age: 9+

What it is: A large (76cm) 429-piece rod-and-connector rollercoaster building set with glow-in-the-dark track and a little air-powered car (charged using an USB, included). Can be built in 2 different ways and, once built, the track can be flipped from vertical and horizontal as the car’s zooming round. Comes with instruction manual.

Why we love it: This is a great build – and what a result when you’re done! The rollercoaster itself thrilled our child testers in the year’s Toy Awards, as did the little car that whizzes round the track really fast. And did we mention that it glows in the dark?

Available from: John Lewis

4. LEGO Friends 41324 Snow Resort Ski Lift, £43.99

lego friends snow resort ski lift

Age: 8 to 12

What it is: A LEGO set of 585 pieces, which transforms into a brightly-coloured ski lift, cafe and ski stand. Comes with 2 minifigure characters called Mia and Olivia, as well as an additional bear figure.

Why we love it: Sometimes, we just want something a little bit different to your standard Star Wars LEGO set. We think this LEGO Friends Ski Lift fits the bill – it’s technically challenging for experienced LEGO fans, but it’s also not to be made just to sit on a shelf. Kids can create a whole ski-themed adventure thanks to the minifigures and movable lift.

Available at: LEGO and John Lewis (for £29.99)

5. Clementoni RoboMaker, £67

clementoni robomaker

Age: 10+ (but we reckon it’s good for 9-year-olds, too).

What it is: A 250-component kit to build 5 increasingly complex interactive robots that you can programme manually or via the (free) app. Comes with ‘cybernetic brain’, 3 electric motors, 2 IR sensors, a touch sensor, a speaker and step-by-step guide. Requires 4AA batteries.

Why we love it: Construction and coding and robots – and not only 1 robot but 5 different ones. Wow! The dancing robot is a particularly big hit with kids, as were the 360 degree and 3D views you get on the app while building the tricky parts. 

Our parent testers say it’s really engaging, and has hours of play potential, as well as obviously teaching a ton of techy skills.

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

6. Cool Maker KumiKreator, £29.99


cool maker kumi creator

Age: 8+

What it is: Inspired by Japanese friendship bracelets, called ‘Kumi’, this good-sized (35.6 x 27.9 x 8.1cm), colourful machine comes with 88 spools of string, and allows your to child to weave 10 bracelets. Comes with instructions, but it’s also got a video tutorial, too.

Why we love it: It looks a little complicated, but we reckon this is SUCH a productive and creative toy for children to get involved with. It’s positive – making friendship bracelets – as well as arty and a bit different from other crafty toys.

Parents say kids find the machine easy to use after watching the video tutorial, and feel a sense of pride after figuring it out and then wearing their pretty bracelets. That said, you’ll need to make sure you can get more string, as some parents say other types of string (not included) can get a bit stuck in the machine.

Available from: Argos

7. Zu3D Animation Kit, £49.96

zu 3d animation

Age: 8+

What it is: A kit for creating animations, including software (with music and sound effects), webcam and adjustable stand, plasticine, modelling tools and a mini animation set.

Why we love it: It’s a superb starter kit (it’s used in over 1000 UK schools) for any wannabe Wallace & Gromit-stylee stop-motion filmmaker. The software even includes titles and credits. Ace!

Available at: Zu3D

8. Perplexus Epic Rotating Maze, £31.99

perplex maze

Age: 8+

What it is: A 20cm spherical puzzle, where you have to navigate the metal ball along the tracks, and through 125 barriers of varying difficulty.

Why we love it: It’s easy to play but blinkin’ hard to complete: a real challenge of spatial awareness and hand-eye co-ordination. Everyone in the family will want a try but who will have the patience, and steady enough hands, to go all the way?

Available at: VidaXL and Amazon

9. Science4You Sweet Factory, £19.99

science4you sweet factory

Age: 8+

What it is: Award-winning kit that includes 40 sweetie makes and experiments (plus 28-page instruction booklet).

Why we love it: What’s not to love about making your own lollipops, soft drinks and marshmallow teacakes? We particularly like the jelly sweets in worm shapes!

Available at: Amazon

10. Engino STEM Heroes Greenhouse, £79.99

greenhouse

Age: 8+

What it is: A snap-fit construction kit that includes everything you need to build a mini greenhouse (6cm x 69cm x 37cm) with an opening door and, thrillingly, a gear-controlled natural ventilation system in the roof. Comes with 12 plants pots and tray, a watering syringe and a booklet packed with plant facts, activities and challenges.

Why we love it: The gear-controlled roof mechanism is very impressive – and we really like how this toy combines construction with plant-growing, making it so much more than just a cool build.

BRONZE winner, Best STEM Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

  • ‘This is expensive but it’s so much more than just a toy, making it excellent value. Assembling the greenhouse is really great – Poppy loved doing that – but then there are weeks of enjoyment, tending the seeds and watching them grow. The extra resources are really interesting too. We’re really excited to see how everything grows!’ Katie Rose, mum to Poppy, 8

Available from: Engino Toys

11. Clementoni Evolution Robot, £38.30

clementoni robot

Age: 8+

What it is: A kit to construct a 53cm x 36cm x 9cm self-learning robot with moving arms, caterpillar tracks, 5 different facial expressions, sounds and music. Can be controlled manually but also connects to a (free) app (compatible with newer Android and iPhone devices). Has 8 interactive play modes, including a programming one, which (among other things) you can use to get your robot to pick up stuff and blow raspberries! Needs 8 AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: This is a good build (not too many little pieces) and a fun robot with more groove to him than you’d think at first glance. We particularly liked the programming mode – one of the best coding toys we’ve seen in this age range.

Available at: Amazon

12. Magic Monkey Speaker, £24.99

monkey

Age: 9 (suitable for 3+)

What it is: A cuddly-looking monkey toy that’s really a speaker for your mp3, iPod or iPhone, used to play music. 

Why we love it: Girls and boys will definitely impress their friends with this tech-savvy monkey. Not only is he a high-quality speaker, he’s also one hell of a dancer. He’ll grove along to your child’s fave tunes. A fun addition to any bedroom.

Available at: Menkind

13. Syma X5C-1 2.4G HD Camera RC Quadcopter, £35.60

syma helicopter

Age: 9 or 10+ (with adult supervision)

What it is: Bestselling drone ‘copter, with remote control, that hovers high (80m or so) and also has a camera and filming option. Gives about 10 minutes’ flying time (5, if you’re filming).

Why we love it: A good-sized drone for the price and the picture quality is pretty decent, too. With some grown-up help, your child should be able to fly it within a few minutes. Do be considerate to your neighbours, though – it’s for fun, not snooping!

Available at: Amazon

14. Chocolate Fix Game, £19

chocolate fix

Age: 8+

What it is: A set of (fake) coloured chocs 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. Great for logic and reasoning skills – and can be really engrossing for a puzzle-loving 9-year-old.

Available at: Amazon

15. Kidz Labs Anti Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit, £20.50

kids labz

Age: 8+

What it is: A science kit that includes all you need for half a dozen experiments with magnets.

Why we love it: There are some seriously cool things to do in this kit, including building a spinning pencil, and a levitating screw that rotates in mid-air. Teaches loads of sciencey stuff about magnetism and gravity in a properly fun way.

Available at: Great Gizmos

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