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The Best Gifts for 9-Year-Olds

We found great stuff for your third grader.

When looking for the best gifts for 9 year olds, you want stuff that gets them off their devices and screens (good luck with that) while also pushing them to explore and develop their interests in music, art, and science. Standout 9-year-old gifts for both boys and girls encourage collaborative play, because by the time they enter third grade, they’ve formed strong and complex friendships.

If you have a 9-year-old, or know one, this isn’t news: Kids this age are capable of exhibiting shocking maturity, while also still having jaw-dropping meltdowns over travesties like splinters or lost Lego pieces. He or she is outspoken. Opinionated. Independent. And the best toys for 9-year-olds tap into all those strengths. Kids this age are dealing with greater academic challenges at school, becoming more self-reliant, and, have a stronger attention span, so more intricate board games or logic puzzles will hit the spot, as well as toys that let them get creative and express themselves. And don’t forget that gross things never lose their luster, so slime is a winner. Always.

Give your budding artist the ultimate 3D drawing experience with this pen. Kids can either use the app for inspiration, or freestyle to work on their creative, design, planning, building, and spatial understanding skills. In other words, make tons of cool art. It's easy to use: Plug it in, insert the plastic, wait for it to heat up, and you're ready to go.

If you want to bring science and biology to life, get your kid this wonderful microscope. It has two sets of optical glass lenses providing 20x and 50x magnification, and it lets kids view specimens on slides, or look at 3D objects in detail. The set comes with 10 prepared slides, and all the tools kids need to make their own slides so they can see what a drop of lotion or a fingernail looks like in intricate detail.

What a cool concept: Kids make their own stop-motion animation, using plasticine (which never dries out). The kit includes 73 punch-out movie props, scenes, and tools, as well as modeling clay. And there's even a phone stand for filming.

Young creators build a robot that walks on a tightrope, using a motorized gyroscope unit. In doing so, they learn about orientation and angular velocity, and the science behind gyroscopic forces. It sounds complex. But this set makes it accessible. And fun.

A plane kids can control from your phone! It connects to your phone, and has a range of up to 230 feet. Plus, the heavy duty carbon fiber body will survive serious turbulence, and the plane has a built-in launch assist and wind stabilizer.

Kids this age dig anything that's DIY, and this fully-loaded jewelry-making kit will keep them occupied for hours. They get eight thread skeins, 40 felt strips, 692 assortments of beads, 120 jump rings, two needles, and carrying case with handle to make friendship bracelets galore.

Self-expression at its finest: Scribes write and illustrate their own full-color, 20 page story, complete with an 'about the author' page.

The folks who gave us the Roomba are now tackling STEM toys. This coding robot responds to touch, avoids obstacles, and be programmed to drive, turn, draw, erase, light-up, play music, and vertically climb whiteboards. It works with the corresponding app and levels up, as your kid becomes more comfortable with coding.

These walkie talkies don't look like toys. Which is a win-win for this age group. The walkies have 22 channels, and up to 23 hours of battery life. There's a built-in flashlight and the sound clarity is fantastic. Kids can use them when they're hiking, biking, or during sleepovers. Roger that.

With its 54 full-sized keys, this looks and feels like a regular piano. It has two built-in speakers, and a sheet music stand for a tablet; kids download the instructional app and follow along to learn how to play.

Instead of a remote-controlled car, upgrade with this glorious bird. It has a 200 foot range, and an obstacle-avoiding module that uses infrared sensors to avoid running into things. It's a blast.

First, kids build the glorious unicorn bot, which is one helluva great STEM toy. Then, they program it using Blockly coding. Kids use the app to control the purple unicorn, and follow simple coding instructions.

Customize a room any way they want, with a phrase or quote of their choosing. This USB-powered LED lightbox can be used in classic white mode, RGB color-changing mode, or any single color. It comes with more than 100 words and symbols.

One of the standouts at this year's Toy Fair, this toy is fun. And honestly, sometimes that's good enough. It's an all-surface vehicle that flips, rips, and roam all over your home, using any surface available. it's battery-operated, comes with 22 tread pieces, and its track can be extended using boxes or whatever else you have handy.

Not only is this set stunning. Which it is. It's also 3D and modular. Kids use components that click and connect to create the cities of their dreams. They can build skyscrapers or schools, stores or cityscapes. The colored floor tiles represent grass, roads, water, or sidewalks. The creations can be modified endlessly.

The Rubik's cube remains ever-popular, but it's something that you used to only be able to play on your own. Not anymore. With this app-enabled Rubik’s cube, kids solve it, solve it some more, level up, keep solving it, and connect with an entire community of fellow gamers. It has 60 hours of play time on a single charge.

Encourage self-expression with this endlessly creative journal kit. Kids customize a 70-sheet spiral journal with stickers, frames, and gems, and use they use the blank pages inside to record their ideas, thoughts, and solutions to global problems.

One of the most inventive yet simple toys we've come across: A kit that turns kids into actual builders. Each set includes a small trowel, mixing bowl, and plenty of nontoxic Teifoc mortar to build cottages or houses or schools or whatever else kids dream up. And when they're done, they soak the structure, let the bricks dry, and start again.

In a perfect blend of STEM and creativity, this set includes 85 translucent, colorful 3D shapes, enabling kids to build cars and houses and dogs and horses and dragons. The pieces click together, enabling younger kids to build the towers of their dreams.

Searching for hidden treasure (or money) never gets old. This kid-sized metal detector has adjustable sensitivity to help avoid false positives and has a detecting depth of up to 6 inches. It flashes an LED light when it detects metal.

This expandable charging controller fits most phones. It charges them while your kid plays Minecraft or Roblox or Animal Crossing. And because it charges any Qi wireless enabled phone, you won’t have to worry about cable and connections. Because let's face it: Just about every kid this age would rather be gaming.

A starter guitar that looks Clapton-worthy, this one is engineered so kids can crank out tunes from day one. It's made of sustainably sourced basswood and maple plywood, looks dope as hell, and features steel strings that are easy for kid hands to work.

It's a dodgeball card game. Of course it is. The goal here is to collect matching sets of cards faster than your opponents while also not getting hit by airborne burritos. Honestly, this thing is a blast.

Swatch watches are about as classic as you can get. But they're also cool. And they teach kids how to tell time, and help them with transitions. They're Swiss-made, shock-resistant, and machine-washable.

These next-level building blocks let kids construct the cities of their dreams. Using blocks created by designer James Paulius, kids build towers, cities and dwellings, complete with terraces and pavilions.

This handy slime kit includes three containers of washable Elmer's glue, plus three activators: Metallic, glow in the dark, and confetti.

The fantastic thing about Lego's Dots line is that kids have a finished, working product when they're done building. In this case, a box for jewelry, pencils, crafts, or anything else they want to keep away from prying eyes.

If you really, really don't want to get a dog, get this balloon dog instead. It's a a hell of a good time, with no cleanup. Kids can pop him and inflate him back up. When he's fed, he pees and farts. When he's tickled, he rolls around and asks for more.

Kids this age don't like to shower. So make cleanliness more appealing by installing a waterproof speaker. This one comes in a slew of colors, has Bluetooth streaming and five hours of playtime.

It's a genius concept: Kids use interlocking colorful cubes to form the most complex marble maze they can dream up. And they can do so in the form of buildings, animals, cubes, what have you. The steel balls can travel in any direction because each cube is two-sided.

While making bath bombs, soaps, and lip balms, kids learn about chemical reactions. The step by step instructions are easy to follow, and the set makes chemistry fun.

An essential kit for drawing, painting, coloring, or sketching, this one includes 24 colored pencils, 8 watercolor pencils, 18 oil pastels, 12 washable DuoTip markers, a sharpener, paint brush, and artist paper of course.

This wonderful science kit lets kids make eight of own bath bombs. They learn about chemistry and color-mixing, and the set includes everything they need, from beakers to measuring spoons.

Unlike previous models, this new Kindle doesn't have that tiny momentary glitch when you switch pages, making for a much smoother reading experience. It has a 7-inch 300 ppi flush-front Paperwhite display and an adjustable warm light to that switches from white to amber.

With this monthly subscription service, kids get crafting sets that teach them about imaging, embroidery, and woodworking. For example, one month they can create an entire intricate garden out of felt.

This logic game, designed by a Danish architect, teaches kids to think strategically and solve problems under pressure. Four players all go simultaneously, with the goals of stacking the spheres however each card dictates. Each player gets 15 spheres, pulls a card, and plays against the timer to complete the task. The person who gets it right, and thus gets the most points, wins.

Players have a singular challenge here: To match the abstract tiles to images they see on 1 of 60 cards. The shapes are similar to Tangram pieces and help kids with spatial relationships and critical thinking. The game gets increasingly harder, so it levels up with the players.

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