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The Best Gifts for 8-Year-Olds, According to Child Development Experts

Get your slime on.

The best toys for 8-year-olds are ones that encourage them to use their imaginations and engage in collaborative play. Plenty of activities let your kid just zone out, but toys that require kids to dream up a backstory do much more in the way of learning through play. Interactive toys are winning gifts for 8-year-old boys and girls, because they are more educational, not to mention versatile, which means they have a much longer shelf life and lower boredom factor.

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There are some milestones to keep in mind while shopping for holiday toys for 8-year-olds. According to Stanford Children’s Health, 8-year-old boys and girls are still young enough to jump, skip, and chase each other around. They dress and groom themselves (sort of, but parents know better than to leave them totally unsupervised). Many 8-year-olds are able to use tools, can count backward, read to themselves and enjoy it, grasp the concept of space, draw and paint, and collect things. They tell detailed stories and can engage in team sports. Toys for 8-year-olds should reflect that.

By age 8, kids are learning how to relate to peers, adjust to social rules, and evolve from free play to more intricately structured interactions with their friends. Most 8-year-old kids are able to engage in elaborate fantasy role-playing games where they work towards a shared goal. They want to be increasingly independent, even if they can’t handle it, and they’re able to play for longer lengths of time, due to their heightened concentration skills. Great gifts for 8-year-olds, like simple board games, science kits, and sports equipment, will tap into their interests and encourage the use of these new skills.

The Best Toys for 8-Year-Old Boys and Girls 

Whether you're looking for ways to make your young cyclist more visible or just bring a bit of fun to nighttime riding, these LED lights are a ton of fun. They're waterproof, easy to install, available in a ton of fun colors, and have replaceable batteries for longterm use.

Kids never outgrow the magic of a fort. And this 69-piece set really takes fort-building to a whole different level. As they attach sticks and balls into different configurations, they also learn about problem-solving and working together to build the igloo of their dreams.

Following simple instructions, kids build a battery-operated a scuttling mechanical crab that's easy to assemble but heavy on the fun.

Sherlock Holmes. Miss Marple. And now, your kid. This standout kit teaches young detectives to gather evidence, and solve crimes, using 26 different experiments. It's a perfect blend of role play and STEM learning, and includes a magnifying glass, an invisible ink pen, fingerprint powder, crime scene tape, and even plaster powder for casting footprints.

Part vision board, part Pinterest come to life, this 3D wall art kit puts your kid's individual style on display. The kit includes enough materials to make a collage measuring 5.5' wide x 3.5' high, and comes with 251 pieces, including cardstock prints, sticker sheets, foam spacers, and wall-safe tape. Plus, there's plenty of room to add individual accents, like photos and personalized stickers.

Think of this as a marble run to end all marble runs. Builders get 153 pieces to put together tile towers, balconies, walls and high-speed tracks to make the absolutely unique and insanely fast marble runs. The set is fully modular and levels up with your kids. As they become more experienced, they create ever more challenging runs and stunts. A wonderful screen-free STEM outing.

If you're ready to give your kid more freedom but aren't ready to spring for a phone, this watch is the answer. You can text and call your child and get real-time location and geo-fencing to know where the kiddo is at all times. It's a smart watch with all the features you need, and nothing extraneous. And best of all, he can only contact the folks on his approved list.

Sure, crystal growing kits are a dime a dozen. But this one ups the ante. Instead of mere crystals, kids grow crystal-covered trees. What's more: They choose the colors, and watch each one sprouts in just about sdix hours. And there are genuine geodes in each one.

Unleash your 8 year old's creative side with this easy to use DIY tie dye kit, which comes with four pastel tie dye colors, plastic gloves, and everything else kids need to create unique ensembles.

Armed with 270 cut-out props, and plasticine modeling clay that never dries out, kids may very well create the next Wallace and Gromit.

Kids use a hammer to break open rocks to reveal credible, stunning crystals inside. And yes, these are real, actual geodes. The set includes 10 different geodes, plus safety goggles. The hammer is all you.

So your kid is into space travel? Of course she is. This 240-piece building kit lets your budding astronaut build a four-level Mars rocket, complete with a flight deck and engine room. The finished product is a whopping 2.5 feet tall.

A guitar is cool. A guitar that looks like something an actual musician would use is even cooler. This is that guitar. It has ideal intonation, low string action and classical nylon strings, so it's great for beginners. Kids download the app, follow along, and learn to shred.

Kids use this digital handheld microscope to capture magical close-ups of anything they spot outdoors, in 1080p resolution on the 4.3-inch, tilt-adjustable LCD screen with a built-in camera. They then save the images on a USB card, and upload them to a laptop, where they can zoom in and really see that leaf in glorious detail. The set includes 10 prepared biological slides, 10 blank slides, 10 slide covers and labels, a mini geode to examine, a 23-slide storage container, and a metal lab stand.

Brilliantly simple and simply brilliant: Kids make their own paper by recycling used paper. And then, they use said paper to make glow planet mobiles, glow dinosaur fossils, or a table- top volcano. It even comes with glow paint because of course it does.

If you'd rather go the more traditional route, this microscope is a winner. 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 blank slides and 35 prepared slides (including algae, muscle cells, and plant cells). Plus, they get a petri dish, an eye dropper, a mini geode, brine shrimp eggs and a hatchery station.

Kids learn all about electricity by using the snap circuits kit. They can create a close circuit, make Sparky the robot light up, and learn about Morse code through 19 experiments. The kit includes Sparky, four snap wires, one battery holder, one base grid, two lamps, one color LED, a motor, and a glow-in-the-dark fan blade, plus other stuff they need to make things light up.

Crafty kids will dig this set, which has them making some pretty whimsical or weird creatures. They mix the plaster, create their molds, wait for the plaster to set, and then paint the animals they dreamed up. The set includes molds of a dog, cat, horse, parrot, fish, and rabbit.

Ahhhh, a fantastic mash-up of squishies and human organs. With this set, kids cast organs in different colors and arrange them in a transparent plastic torso. This means they mix up slime, pour said slime into the molds, and wind up with a heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, and liver. Next thing you know, you'll have a med student on your hands.

Kids use play dough to learn the basics of electrical circuits in a hands-on way. This great set teaches electrical circuits with conductive and insulating dough, letting kids squish, mold, and sculpt the dough while learning about engineering and tech.

Keep even homebound kids active with this over-the-door basketball hoop, which has an 18 inch x 12 inch clear polycarbonate shatterproof backboard.

Speaking of active kids, these cool-looking skates are size-adjustable for growing feet and have 54mm urethane wheels with ABEC 1 sealed bearings for both indoor and outdoor use.

Lego's creator series is a standout because it's three sets in one. This particular one has kids building a mech toy, cargo carrier and space robot toy. As usual, it's all about the level of detail: The mech, for example, comes with a buzz saw, a jetpack and a face that can change expressions.

Kids this age love to express themselves in all manner of creative ways. And this USB-operated thought cloud message board lights up and illuminates what's written on it, whether it's a quote, a brilliant idea, or just whatever comes to mind.

If your kid has been begging for a tablet, get him or her one that takes a beating, and is loaded with kids' programming as well as best in class parental controls. The new Fire HD 8 Kids Pro tablet gives kids access to content from National Geographic, Rabbids Coding, and LEGO, among many others. Best of all, kids get access to the digital store but with parental controls, so they can request apps, while parents approve purchases and downloads. This time, the browser comes with built-in controls as well. It has 12 hours of battery life.

As with Legos, kids can create endless robotic objects with this one single kit. They build robots with 10 challenge cards, wood, electric motors, and hardware.

Yes, this is a real camera and no, your kid won't be able to break it unless he or she really, really, really tries their best. This thing is hardy, and it has a 2. 4 inch color LCD screen. Kids can shoot photos and videos using either the front or rear camera, which is perfect for selfies.

Because trying to get a bean bag through a wood hole never, ever gets old. The more players, the merrier.

Having trouble getting your elementary schooler to shower? Eliminate bath time battles with this Bluetooth speaker, which is waterproof (obviously) and can be immersed in water up to three feet. Plus, it delivers 10 hours' of battery life, which is plenty for a 10-minute shower.

Use this microphone's Bluetooth functionality to stream audio from any music or karaoke app, and then kids can belt their hearts out; the battery lasts six hours and is rechargeable.

In this card game version of a food fight, players compete to create the weirdest, craziest meal.

Just when you think screens are unavoidable, your kid will surprise you with his or her love of drawing.This art kit has everything your kid needs to draw superheroes, ninjas, animals, soccer players, or fantastical creatures. You'll be pleasantly shocked by how much time they'll devote to getting the details just right.

It's the ultimate coding robot that's actually a tank-style all-terrain vehicle.This programmable tank on wheels is drivable right out of the box, packed with sensors, and built for customization. Kids use the app to make the vehicle do whatever they want. It has enough torque to go fast, make that very fast, and it dodges obstacles with finesse.

No, your furniture is not safe. Yes, slime is hella fun. And this set has everything your kids need to make a mountain of it. This jumbo slime-making kid includes all the laundry detergent, glue, mixin bowls and measuring cups you need to make slime, plus instructions, food coloring, beads, and glow in the dark powder, for something we can only dub slime-a-palooza.

The Toilet Paper Blaster is an exciting toy for 8 year olds. The concept is simple. A blaster that shoots toilet paper. Boom.This magical, or magically evil, blaster transforms regular toilet paper into high-powered spitballs that shoot up to 50 feet.

This game capitalizes on what all of us know to be true: That the Disney villains are way more complicated and interesting than the heroes. Captain Hook, Maleficent, Jafar, Ursula, Queen of Hearts, and Prince John all star in this family-friendly board game. The object? Help your villain carry out his or her plotted scheme, but be careful not to get thwarted by cards in the fate deck.

Most Harry Potter Lego sets are complex enough to require a week's worth commitment. Not this one. And we particularly like it because it represents where everything started for the boy wizard: The Dursley family's home in Privet Drive. It's where Harry overcame bullying and discovered his magical powers. Something all kids can relate to. The 797-piece set includes Harry, Ron Weasley, Dudley Dursley, and Hedwig the owl, plus the iconic flying Ford Anglia and and Harry’s cupboard under the stairs.

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