The fun thing with gifts for 8 and 9 year olds and “tweens” is using their interests as cues to get gifts or toys that support those interests – or you can introduce that 12 year old to something new and they may discover a lifelong love.
I chose these toys and gifts as they are some of the best gifts for bringing lasting enjoyment to our home. They’re the kinds of toys that are fun when they’re opened, and then continue to be played and explored with for years.
Gifts for Ages 8-12
I’ve broken these down by a few different categories by interest. I’ve included Amazon affiliate links – should you purchase through them you support the work of Creative with Kids at no extra cost to yourself.
Gifts for the Amateur Scientist
Investigate Nature with this kit:
Kids can take this portable microscope on hikes or the backyard, try out an activity from Nature in a Nutshell and record observations in a Field Notebook. For days when heading outdoors isn’t an option, these 36 specimen slides provide interesting close-ups of nature.
Personalized Creativity Kit
One of my favorite gifts ever was when I was about 10 years old and my mom gave me a tool box with my name on it filled with art supplies. It felt awesome to have my own stash of creative goodies, and I still have the tool box to this day!
Here’s how I’d make a personalized art kit now: Take an Artbin with lots of neat compartments, fill it with the gorgeous craft supplies in Artterro’s Creativity Kit then personalize it with colorful alphabet stickers.
Beginner’s Knitting Kit
Kids Knitting is a great book for teaching kids (or grown ups) to knit. The pictures and instructions are very clear and it includes fun projects for boys or girls; 8-12 year olds should have no problem following the directions. Add knitting needles and some soft chunky yarn for a Beginning Knit Kit.
Gifts For the Kid Who has a Zillion LEGOs
LEGO Inventions Kit
I love adding things to my kids’ LEGO collection in a way that gets them thinking in new directions rather than being yet one more kit. (Don’t get me wrong, the kits are awesome, but really, most 8-12 year olds have a ton of LEGOs already…) Klutz has a new book that comes with legos called Chain Reactions that should inspire some interesting machines. Other great add-ons include LEGO Plates for building on, the LEGO Crazy Contraptions Kit – (a book and neat collection of gears and LEGO beams) and the LEGO Awesome Ideas book (may suit your 8 or 9 year old best according to reviews).
Percy Jackson (or Greek Mythology) Fans
We have big Percy Jackson fan here, who’s reading all the books, and discovering a love of Greek Mythology in the process. We checked out the National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology at the library – the pictures are stunning and my 9 year old not only likes reading the stories, he also likes that there is a picture index of the gods in the back. I’ll be getting one of these to keep, as it’s a book you can refer back to over and over.
Mail Order Mystery – For kids who love spies and sleuthing, this subscription is very fun, and it’s a gift that can be given to siblings to do together. The company came out with the Spies Lies and Serious Bad Guys edition in 2016, and they also have themes about pirates and an enchanted fairy tale. These mysteries come in the mail over a period of months and all build towards a complete story. Younger kids 8, 9 or 10 year olds will love the excitement of getting things in the mail and the realistic feel of the story (ours even had a phone number to call where we got a piece of information for our mystery!) Eleven or twelve year olds will enjoy the challenge of the puzzles and trying to figure out the answer to the mystery.
Settlers Of Catan (or Strategy Games) Fans
We’ve made many a good memory around a game board. Settler’s of Catan is a favorite of the grown ups in our family (brother, sister, mom, husband…) and at Thanksgiving we loved that our 9 year old was able to join us this year. If you already have Settlers, the Seafarers Expansion is a fun and interesting addition, and the six slot card holder will come in handy to keep your resources from getting scattered.
A Few More Favorites:
The Quadrilla sets are expensive, but certainly a long lasting toy – one you could keep for your grand kids. Their design encourages thought and experimentation as the kids try to put together a successful run.
We got ours three years ago when our oldest kids were 4 and 6, and I feel like they’ve gotten more enjoyment out of them this year now that they’re 7 and 9 (steadier hands) and will continue to enjoy them for a few more years.
We’re considering asking Santa for the “Music Motion” addition this year.
If you have a child who likes music, a tin whistle might be a fun folk instrument to explore.
My son and I have been enjoying the free lessons on the Online Academy of Irish Music this fall, and both of us have learned a couple pretty Irish tunes. Now we’re practicing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Stockmar Modeling Beeswax
Modeling beeswax smells like honey, doesn’t make a mess, doesn’t crumble or dry out and the colors stay bright.
This modeling material will last will last as long as you’d like, meaning figures can be set out as decorations (we often have a few on our dinner table) or added into pretend play. Later that wax can be reused in a new figure.
The wax becomes pliable after being warmed in your hands, and it’s a little easier for kids with stronger hands to get it soft and able to be worked. The beeswax then hardens and keeps its shape after forming.
This is an art material that I enjoy playing with the the kids.
These are some of our favorite gift ideas for tweens and 8 and 9 year olds that have lasting value. What toys does your 9-12 year old love that you’d include?
Also, let me know if you have questions on any of the recommendations – I have used and loved nearly all of them, and if I haven’t, I have a friend who has.
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