Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, parents can answer their kid‘s random demands for stuff with a dismissive, “Maybe you’ll get it for your birthday.” While the smart parents jot it all down and roll into the birthday well armed with potential gift ideas, the majority of us (the roughly 70 percent just kind of winging it) are left flipping through an increasingly confounding assortment of products on Amazon desperately trying to remember what those birthday gift for 9-year-olds and figure out if they’re available with two-day shipping.
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The good news: Kids never remember half the stuff they wanted while walking through the store. The even better news: Put something awesome in front of a kid and they’ll roll with it. Here are totally awesome gifts ⏤ from LEGOs, to STEM toys, to outdoorsy gear for fishing and hiking ⏤ that will make a ninth birthday memorable.
Part of Nerf‘s post-apocalyptic series, the Judge blaster is a manual slide-action shotgun with a massive 30-dart barrel drum that looks like something a character in Halo would shoot. Cooler still, the darts fire in sets of threes. Which means 10 shots and a much higher chance of actually hitting dad, even if your 9-year-old kid’s not using Nerf’s more precise Accustrike darts.
Turing Tumble looks and acts like a Plinko board from The Price is Right ⏤ colored marbles drop from the top and bounce their way to the bottom. Technically, though, it’s a mechanical computer that can count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide, among other functions. It comes with 105 parts and the premise is simple: Successfully complete logic puzzles by arranging the pieces ⏤ be they ramps, gears, or bits ⏤ on the board to steer the marbles. In doing so, it teaches kids computer skills without using electronics.
We all think our progeny are, as the L.L. Cool J song goes, “something like a phenomenon.” And by going with TaylorMade, the idea is that your 9-year-old birthday boy or girl could be something like a Sergio Garcia or Paula Creamer. Graduating to an eight-weapon bag should help develop tee-to-green proficiency and distance gapping all while fueling their passion for the game. Along with providing good feel, there’s also a feel good element to the purchase: TaylorMade donates $20 from every set bought to the PGA Junior League program.
Based on the Heavy Assault Walker from Episode VIII (but also featured in The Last Jedi), this 1,376-piece AT-AT stands over a foot tall and features poseable head and legs, as well as a rapid-fire stud shooter.
Created “to inspire girls to design, build, and dream,” Wonderhood’s lineup of open-ended, STEAM-friendly kits for kids come with illustrated two-sided plastic building panels/connectors, figurines, and an activity journal. They started with a Corner Shop and a Grand Hotel (which may or may not be located in Budapest) but the neighborhood is growing: this year they added a Town House (for budding architects who want to focus on high-end residential, naturally) and a 35-piece Pet Place complete with animals and a hamster wheel. They make the perfect birthday gift.
The most feature-rich backpack for your little 9-year-old adventurer, the Jet 18 is a true backpacking pack in daypack size (it weighs 1 lb, 4 oz). The padded foam backpanel, contoured shoulder straps, and broad mesh hip belt are light, but carry loads comfortably. Osprey puts a mesh stash pocket on the shoulder strap where it’s easy to reach, while side pockets hold treasure, water, and extra crackers. An oversized bucket-style main compartment is easy to access, and there’s a water reservoir that can be removed or reloaded without having to take the pack off; it sits in a sleeve between the pack body and the backpanel. It makes a great birthday gift.
A new plastic version of Paper Shooters popular DIY cardboard blaster kit, this powerful gun fires good old-fashioned spitballs at targets up to 65 feet away. It comes fully assembled (with or without a scope) and includes a 16-shot flip magazine, ejecting shell cases, 500 rounds of biodegradable pellets, and a mold to make up to 50 rounds of ammo at a time from ordinary tissue paper.
Kamigami are scurrying six-legged robots that mimic the motion of actual bugs ⏤ except they also wrestle, race, and dance. They’re built by folding and snapping together flat sheets of plastic, include a bevy of sensors (three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, etc.) and are programmed using a tablet or smartphone ⏤ so kids get those highly touted STEM skills.
Introduce your kid to fishing and/or transition them from a kid’s pole to adult rod without breaking the bank, with this all-in-one combo from Zebco. The easy cast reel has all-metal gears and comes pre-spooled with 10-pound line while the two-piece, z-glass rod stands 5’6″ tall and has a built-in hook keeper.
Razor Turbo Jetts Skates
If you ever thought, Yeah, Heelys are cool, but I really wish they had motors, this is for you. Powered by a 12-volt battery, the 9-year-old birthday kid straps these on, starts rolling and continues to roll at up to 10 mph. They fit shoe sizes from kids 12 to adult 12 and carry a recommended weight of 176 pounds.
Play Impossible Ball
Sure, a regular old ball can be a boring gift. But not this one. Download the smartphone app, and it takes you through seven games you can play with or without friends. It tells you what to do with the ball or gives you different challenges to beat. Think Bop-It, but without all the weird sound effects.
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