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Best toys for 9-year-olds in 2023

Here are the best toys for 9-year-olds in 2023, according to the UK's largest online network of parents.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Jan 10, 2024

It can be tricky to buy for 9-year-olds. They are developing independent thinking, expressing their character more and have increasing patience for complex activities, yet they still yearn for childish fun and silliness.

Flexing their problem-solving techniques and enjoying feeling challenged are essential parts of play for nine-year-olds - more challenging lego sets score highly, but so can tech-based gifts such as cameras and games consoles. Getting messy, having fun and finding comfort are vital elements of toys for this age too.

Family and friends often seek guidance from parents when shopping for gifts for a child. Of course, your youngster will have favourite activities such as crafts, books or sports, which should guide your choices and recommendations. However, with so many toys available and the uniqueness of each child, it’s hard to know the best toys for nine-year-olds to buy today.

So, to help you bring a delighted smile to your child’s face, here are our top picks.

Read next: Heading on holiday this summer? Discover the best travel games and top-ranking toys for four-year-olds to keep your youngsters entertained en-route.

The best toys for 9-year-olds: at a glance

Read next: Looking for a homework-friendly tablet for your kids this summer? Check out our review of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids and Kids Pro.

1. Best overall toy for a 9-year-old: Harry Potter Hogwarts LEGO

Price: £60 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Age suitability: Eight years plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“LEGO. And I expect more LEGO. And some LEGO. You get the drift!” (Suggested by Mumsnet user OakleyStreetisnotinChelsea)

Our verdict

The LEGO Hogwarts Castle set is our top pick because it is one of the best building toys for nine-year-olds. Once built, it is beautifully detailed and includes a library and Dumbledore’s office; you also get six Harry Potter mini-figures and lots of magical accessories.

Kids of this age love LEGO as it is absorbing and challenging and can be constructed with the help of parents, siblings or friends. This fantastic set is one of a series that can be placed together to make a complete castle, so that’s another birthday or Christmas present sorted.

Read next: Discover the best board games for hours of family fun.

2. Best budget toy for a 9-year-old: Original Edition Exploding Kittens Game

Kittens game

Price: £16 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Seven years plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“Exploding Kittens, a great game for the whole family, or siblings can just play. We got this for my children at Christmas (14 and nine). It was a big hit.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user IggyAce)

Our verdict

The Exploding Kittens Game is our best budget buy as it provides fun for all the family in the form of a portable card game at a great price. It’s award-winning and incredibly has sold more than ten million copies.

We loved that this drawing-based game is super-quick to learn, wacky and fun. Nine-year-olds can have a dark sense of humour, so they’ll enjoy the dramatic name and being covered in 'sad sauce' when they lose!

Related: Looking for some good tech-options for your kids? Read our guides to the best kids' tablets and best kids' headphones according to Mumsnetters.

3. Best toy for active 9-year-olds: Fitbit Ace 3 Activity Tracker For Kids


Price: £58 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: From seven years | Batteries: A rechargeable lithium battery is included

What Mumsnet users say

“A Fitbit for kids? (My nine-year-old loved hers).” (Recommended by Mumsnet user orangepeelsz)

Our verdict

If your child is active and enjoys sports and fitness, a Fitbit Ace 3 is a fab gift. It will keep them motivated, reward their efforts, and look like a grown-up sports watch while still being durable. The Fitbit Ace 3 tracks steps and sleep and is water resistant to 50 metres, so it’s perfect for keen swimmers.

This fantastic watch is one of the best-rated sports toys for 9-year-old boys and girls on Amazon, and one of the best kids' smartwatch options. It has an incredible eight days of battery life and cute animated clock faces which come to life as they reach each of their goals. If you have a Fitbit too, you can track your child’s activities and celebrate with them through Parent View.

Read next: Are you looking for tutoring options for your child which they can do from the comfort of their own home? Read our guide to the best online tutoring currently available.

4. Best STEM toy for 9-year-olds: KidsLabs Anti-Gravity Maglev

Kids lab

Price: £14.30 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Eight years plus | Batteries: N/A

Our verdict

Children are beginning to understand and be excited about more complex scientific processes at nine. The KidzLabs Anti-Gravity Maglev Kit taps into that new appetite for discovery in a fun way. We think it's one of the best science toys for a nine-year-old, as well as one of the overall best STEM toys for kids.

Once the durable and high-quality kit is assembled, a doable challenge for this age, they will see a rotating pencil and screw defy gravity by floating in the air and learn all about magnetic levitation technology.

Read next: Looking for gift options for younger children? Read our round ups of the best toys for 5-year-olds and toys for 6-year-olds.

5. Best coding toy for a 9-year-old: Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit


Price: £144 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Six years plus | Batteries: Four LR44 batteries required and are included

Our verdict

Most kids we know are better with computers than the average adult, and the Harry Potter Coding Kit will tap into that skill, knowledge and enthusiasm. They will make their own magic wand and then code it to cast fascinating spells and see the effects on the screen of their tablet or PC.

The best coding toys for nine-year-olds will challenge the child, and this innovative kit allows them to work their way through over 70 step-by-step tasks, from making feathers fly and fire erupt to growing magical pumpkins and multiplying goblets.

Read next: Discover the best fidget toys and the top-ranking laptops for kids if you're looking for more gifts of all shapes and sizes.

6. Best outdoor toy for 9-year-olds: Xootz Quad Skates


Price: £27.35 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: Five plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“Have you thought of roller skates? These were a massive hit with my daughter.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user NightOwl19)

Our verdict

Roller skates are a childhood classic and a fun way for your child to exercise. These Xootz four-wheeled quad skates are extra safe thanks to the stabilising extra wheels, robust PVC stopper and cushioned ankle support. They are perfect for beginners.

The 608z bearings in the wheels will provide a smooth ride over pavements, in the garden, and indoors and the easy-to-adjust fit is suitable for 9 - 12 in the small boots and 13 - 3 in the medium, so there’s plenty of growing room.

Related: Looking for kid-friendly tech presents? Discover our guide to the best phone for kids and the best nintendo switch games for kids according to Mumsnetters.

7. Best fidget toy for 9-year-olds: EOS Pop It Fidget Toy

pop it

Price: £1.20 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: Three years and over | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“My nine-year-old and her friends like the Pop It toys, I hadn't realised they were used as an adding game though - it's relaxing for them popping it but it can also be a racing to finish game where they allocate half to each person and see who can pop their half first with one hand or one finger.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Name12341)

Our verdict

Fidget toys like the EOS Pop It make brilliant add-on gifts. They are affordable, colourful, portable and curiously soothing to play with; even adults love them as anti-stress devices. Moreover, the Pop It is super straightforward; press the bubbles firmly to feel and hear the satisfying pop.

If your child is frequently anxious or has habits you want to encourage them to break, such as nail biting, fidget toys are the perfect gift as they distract and relax. As Mumsnet reviewer suggests, they can also be used to play counting, colour recognition and speed games.

Best of all, they're a universal crowd-pleaser, which also makes them one of the best toys for 7-year-olds, a great options for 8-year-olds and even 10-year-olds, too!

8. Best creative toy for 9-year-olds: Instax Mini Instant Film Camera

Price: From £77 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: From eight years | Batteries: Two AA batteries required and included

What Mumsnet users say

“At nine we got my daughter an Instax camera and accessories kit which she loved, along with those little peg string lights to hang some photos in her room.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user WhatsMyNameGonnaBeNow)

Our verdict

The Instax Instant Camera is the ideal gift for creative children and budding young photographers. It produces full-colour credit card-sized photos in a flash and is the perfect size for small hands. It also has a selfie lens and automatic exposure to create pictures to treasure every time.

This camera, combined with a pack of Instax film, is a relatively expensive gift. However, your child will still be using it at sleepovers and parties well into their teenage years. It has a hand strap to prevent accidental drops and a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand user manual.

Read next: Is your child car-mad? Discover the best toy cars according to Mumsnet parents.

9. Best educational toys for 9-year-olds: Rummikub Strategy Game

Price: £21 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Seven years plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“He got Rummikub the year before and it's very good, we get it out most weekends.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user elQuintoConyo)

Our verdict

The Rummikub Game is one of the best learning toys for nine-year-olds who love numbers and trying to outwit their parents. Rummikub is excellent value, as it’s suitable for kids over seven, and two to four people can play it, so that’s siblings and friends or the whole family.

It’s a wonderfully old-fashioned strategy game that will bring your family together and teach your child how to make a plan and execute it. It’s lightweight, excellent for taking on holiday and made from high-quality, long-lasting materials.

Related: Speaking of mixing fun with educational benefits, check out our guide to the best online learning resource here.

10. Best imaginative play toy for 9-year-olds: Zu3D Complete Stop Motion Animation Kit


Price £60 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: Eight years plus | Batteries: N/A

Our verdict

The Zu3D Stop-Motion Animation Kit would make an awesome gift for a nine-year-old who loves movies, as they’ll be able to direct their own short animation. The plasticine modelling needed to create the characters will also appeal to arty kids.

This great value kit includes an impressive quality webcam, innovative software with sound effects, music and artwork, a green screen and modelling clay. However, you can use small toys, LEGO figures and Sylvanian families instead.

Related: Discover the best robot toys for kids according to the largest online network of parents.

11. Best craft toy for 9-year-olds: Cool Maker KumiKreator Friendship Bracelet and Necklace Maker

Craft toy

Price: £20| Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: 8-10 years | Batteries: N/A

Our verdict

The KumiKreator Friendship Bracelet and Necklace Maker is a classic for any child who loves jewellery, fashion and arts and crafts. Generations of kids have made friendship bracelets for their school friends, and this clever machine allows them to create more intricate designs; from their own imagination or those in the glossy ideas booklet.

The ‘Kreator’ is made from tough plastic, and the coordinating colours of purple, pink, blue and silver will look gorgeous, whatever the combination. The threads are soft and silky and won’t break easily. Watch the video the instruction booklet recommends; it will make the slightly fiddly setup much more straightforward!

Related: Little one more into dinos than crafts? Discover the best dinosaur toys with our handy guide.

12. Best sensory toy for a 9-year-old: Bop It! Electronic Game

bop it

Price: £13.50 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability: 8 years plus | Batteries: ‎2 AAA batteries required and included

Our verdict

Bop It! is a classic toy that will provide hours of absorbing fun; adults will love it too, as following the ‘patterns’ is very relaxing. To ‘win,’ your child must pull, bop or twist as fast as they can when instructed by the cheerful voice of the toy. It can be played alone or by passing it quickly to friends.

The Bop It! is an excellent toy for developing three senses: hearing, touch and sight. It also promotes hand-eye coordination and concentration and gets the heart beating, especially when playing in a group.

Related: The best remote control cars for kids, as recommended by Mumsnetters

13. Best soft toy for 9-year-olds: Squishmallows

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Six months plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“Squishmallow soft toy, my daughter loves hers for leaning on or snuggling on the sofa.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user nocutsnobuttsnococonuts)

Our verdicts

Part soft toy, part cushion, Squishmallows are stuffed with bouncy fabric and are gorgeous to cuddle - and the variety of super cute designs, from this gorgeous Purple Beetle to a Maui Pineapple, should ensure there's something every nine-year-old will love.

They are suitable for everyone from six months and are machine washable at low temperatures. Just be aware - once you buy one, you may end up with a bedroom full of them!

Read next: Don't miss our guide to the best unicorn toys according to Mumsnetters.

14. Best toy for 9-year-old boys: Stomp Rocket Duelling Stomp Rocket

Price: £25 | Buy now from John Lewis and Partners

Key specs

Age suitability: Eight years plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“Stomp rockets are cheap and fun.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user howtodojustaboutanything)

Our verdict

The Dueling Stomp Rocket is a competitive twist on a classic outdoor game. Place the rocket on the launch pad, stand back and JUMP, then watch it soar into the sky. The game is to see who can make their rocket fly the highest.

Stomp Rockets can reach an impressive 200 feet, a sight that will delight any child. You can also buy single Stomp Rockets that will fly even higher. Each component is sturdy and will stand up to consistent, enthusiastic play.

15. Best toy for a 9-year-old girl: Fashion Sketchbook With Figure Templates

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: From seven years | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

“I bought her a fashion design book with ideas and stickers but also outlines of mannequins so she can draw her own outfits. She really liked that too.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Onelittlepiglet)

Our verdict

The Fashion Sketchbook is one of the best toys in the world for nine-year-olds who adore fashion and drawing. It comes with figure templates made from high-quality, thick paper, so your youngster can design flamboyant, futuristic or glamourous outfits.

The lovely art book allows your future fashion designer to annotate their creations, and the figures feature a range of body shapes, which sets this apart from traditional fashion design books.

16. Best electronic toy for 9-year-olds: Nintendo Switch


Price: £253 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Age suitability:  From five years | Batteries: One rechargeable lithium polymer battery required and included

What Mumsnet users say

"This year, my nine-year-old really wants a Switch.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user ITSSSSCHRISTMASSS)

Our verdict

The Nintendo Switch is an excellent first games console. It’s lightweight, portable and just the right size for smaller hands. Of course, they are expensive, but they are durable, and the features and games will be enjoyed for many years.

We were impressed by the easy-to-use, intuitive controls and simple set-up. The TV Game mode is excellent too; it allows the entire family to participate in fun physical challenges such as dance-offs and Olympic events.

17. Best toy for 9-year-old with ADHD: Kinetic Sand 6LB Bucket

Price: From £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Three years plus | Batteries: N/A

What Mumsnet users say

"It is really fun and lasts longer than play doh." (Recommended by Mumsnetter badg3r)

Our verdict

Kinetic Sand is a brilliant sensory toy that encourages children to use their imagination by creating sculptures and mixing colours. This clever sand sticks to itself, so it’s easy to mould and never dries out. It can also be squeezed through small fingers and pulled into weird shapes, which feels very satisfying!

The tactile nature of kinetic sand is ideal for children with ADHD or anxiety as it has a soothing, calming effect. It also allows them to become absorbed in their own world for a little while, and that’s an excellent stress reliever. In addition, kinetic sand is easy to clean up.

18. Best game for a 9-year-old: Hexbugs Bugs In The Kitchen Board Game

Price: £23| Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitability: Six years plus | Batteries: One LR44 battery required and included

What Mumsnet users say

“Hexbugs kitchen would be a perfect game for their ages. Play together, or with family.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user Morgantowers)

Our verdict

Hexbugs Bugs In The Kitchen Game is fantastic fun for all the family. The tiny robot creatures scuttle around the 3D game board and need catching in the trap. It’s a simple yet exciting game that takes around 30 minutes, just the right length of time for a nine-year-olds attention span. The Hexbug is fun to play with on its own too.

All the components are great quality, as you would expect from a Ravensburger game, and the instructions are easy-to-understand, so your children can play happily without the help of adults. The whole thing also fits neatly back into the box, so missing pieces shouldn’t be an issue.

What toys should a 9-year-old play with?

The best toys and games for nine-year-olds will feed their interests, utilise their energy and encourage their imaginations. At nine, your child is at that awkward pre-teen age, where they are beginning to feel more grown-up but still love playing with toys. But, of course, every child is different, so you have to pay attention to the activities that light them up, be it arts and crafts, STEM subjects or the natural world. If in doubt, buy them gifts that will challenge their developing minds and bodies, such as Harry Potter themed coding games or roller skates.

What to look for in toys for 9-year-olds

Delighting a child with the perfect gift is a beautiful feeling, so how can you make sure you get it right every time? Here’s a list of things to think about as you shop.

The child’s interests: Choose a toy that will ignite your child’s interests. Don’t only buy what you would have enjoyed when you were their age. For example, some kids love electronic games; others would prefer a game to play with their siblings. Always take your gift-giving cues from the child.

Ease of use: Choose toys that have comprehensive, easy-to-follow instructions, are easy to assemble and are suitable for the child's age so they don’t get frustrated by it.

Budget: Don’t spend more than you can afford; children don’t need everything on their Christmas list, and hopefully, you have friends and family who will be thrilled to tick a few things off. Always remember that having a fantastic Christmas on a budget is entirely possible.

Batteries and accessories: If your child loves a gift, they will want to start playing with it as soon as possible. So make sure you have the required batteries, chargers and accessories available.

What skills are 9-year-olds learning?

Children of nine will learn new skills rapidly; it’s an exciting time!

  • They will face more challenging subjects at school and feel more confident as a result.

  • Your youngster’s need for independence will be increasing.

  • Their skills of empathy and understanding will be developing.

  • At nine, a child’s attention span and patience are growing - allowing them to use lots of new skills and develop hobbies.

  • Writing abilities will blossom so they can express their imagination through the written word.

  • Their increased reading skills will allow them to follow written instructions and enjoy more complex books.

Which gift is best for a 9-year-old girl?

Depending on what she is into, we think any of the above options would make for a great gift for a nine year old girl. Similarly, there are several great options for a 9-year-old boy too. Here is a round-up of some good gift ideas for 9-year-olds to suit a variety of needs and budgets:

How to choose toys safely

The RoSPA website is a great place to get home safety advice. Our advice on how to ensure a toy is safe?

  • Look for the CE or UKCA marks; both guarantee high-quality manufacture and materials.

  • The Lion Mark is also a good indication of the safety of a toy. It's a sign of membership to a voluntary organisation that manufacturers can only join if your product reaches strict standards.

  • Check the age suitability - for example, small children shouldn't play with toys with small, detachable parts.

  • If you buy second-hand, take extra care by checking for sharp edges and points.

How we chose our recommendations

We’ve thoroughly researched the best toys for a nine-year-old you can buy in 2022. We’ve included tried and tested toys, games and electronics from a wide range of reliable and trusted sources. Here's how we carefully selected our choices.

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

Mumsnet community members are determined to make their children happy and support their development; buying gifts they will love is a big part of that. So, we have weighed up our Mumsnetters' recommendations on the toys and games they have purchased for their nine-year-olds and were well received.

Expert opinions

Toys can be expensive, so we were determined that the gift options we recommended are durable, safe and will delight the child. In addition, we investigated the opinions of toy safety and child development experts, plus respected toy retailers.

Authentic customer reviews

Finally, we evaluated the lists of best-selling toys for 9-year-olds and scrutinised authentic reviews from various trusted retailers to see which products were the most highly rated by consumers. Then, we weighed the pros and cons of each of the products on our list to determine which were best suited to discerning children with a variety of interests.

Why you should trust us

As the mother of two children, Jasmine and Liam, and a lover of finding the perfect gift, our writer Gemma was determined to provide honest and independent advice on the toys and games your nine-year-old will enjoy playing with.

Our writers always spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents will love.

Transparency is vital to us, and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their friends and family.