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As my kids get older, the holidays get a bit more challenging. They're saving up their own money to buy things they want, they get small treats from my husband and I throughout the year and the fact that they're in the tween stage makes it hard to choose a gift they won't roll their eyes at.
My daughter is 9, and since my son is 11, I consider myself a pro at shopping for 9-year-olds. After all, I've had two in my home in recent years.
When we release our 2019 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But prices change frequently, so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
Best toys for 9-year-olds
Sure to be a hit with any 9-year-old this holiday season is Nintendo's newest gaming console, the Switch Lite. Similar to older Nintendo 3DS models, the Switch Lite is a modern update to a portable, hand-held game system. Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite cannot be played on a television screen and the remote controls (Joy-Cons) are not removable. My kids love the Switch Lite because of its portability and the crisp graphics. Plus, it comes in a variety of wild colors like turquoise and yellow.
Playmobil's recent line of space sets are a sure way to get kids' imaginations running wild as they build and learn about outer space. This Mars Space Station is challenging to build and will keep kids entertained. It's also something my kids have played and interacted with long after their building session was over, imagining space travel scenarios and playing together with the set.
This Barbie airplane will be a perfect addition to any 9-year-old's Barbie collection! In addition to a fabulous pink plane, the set has 15 accessories including a puppy travel companion and a flight attendant snack cart to push through the aisle.
Slime? Blind bags? Tiny toys? If these things sound like heaven to your 9-year-old, they'll love these Pop Pops Pets capsules. Each pod is filled with slime, but not every one contains a tiny figurine. Kids get to move through the set, popping each with a satisfying bubble-wrap-popping sound, and collect the tiny plastic toys that may be inside. And, if pink and purple isn't your kid's thing, there's also Pop Pops Snotz, green slime-filled capsules with tiny toys inside.
With the latest "Frozen" film headed to theaters, this Lego "Frozen 2" building set makes a perfect gift. The three-story castle comes with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff mini dolls and features a castle and village elements for imaginative Arendelle play.
Another excellent addition to any kid's Barbie collection is this cake decorating set. The bakery play set doubles as a fun way to play with real dough, as it comes with molds and "Barbie dough" for lots of cake making. There's also a cool display case for the cakes your 9-year-old creates and the set includes a baker Barbie doll.
Stuff We Love
If your 9-year-old is still enjoying playing with dolls, this Amazon exclusive Madame Alexander doll is the perfect gift. The 16-inch doll comes in three different skin tones and has a weighted body to make it feel like a real baby. The sweet doll also comes with accessories like a birth certificate, booties and a toy bottle.
This three-level building set inspired by the Hogwarts clocktower has scenes from "Harry Potter" movies like the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and Dumbledore's office. It also comes with eight iconic mini figures, ranging from Harry Potter himself to Albus Dumbledore and rarer characters like Madame Maxime and Viktor Krum. The set has nearly 1,000 pieces, making it a fun, challenging project for kids who are getting a bit older.
This Marvel game for the Nintendo Switch is a hit in my home because it's one of the few Nintendo Switch games that allows for two players at once. My husband and son spend lots of time working their way through the game together on my couch, giving them some father-son quality time. While it's rated for teens, we've found it appropriate for everyone in our family. And, since up to four players can jump in, we've had some family adventures with the game as well.
These interactive pets tell kids their mood with a color-changing horn and can be worn on their shoulders using magnetic "power pods." If your 9-year-old is into adorable, wearable, moving toy pets, Pixie Belles will be right up their alley!
My 9-year-old daughter thought she was over playing with L.O.L. Surprise! dolls until she received this camper filled with more than 55 surprises and an exclusive doll. The "glamper" unfolds into a full camping play set with bunk beds, a pool and a fashion runway, perfect for lining up all the L.O.L Surprise! dolls you own for a fashion show in the woods!
Best crafts for 9-year-olds
With this child-safe, heat-free 3D pen, kids can see their drawings come to life. The system comes with an app that gives kids stencils and step-by-step instructions but they can also create original 3D figures using their imagination. The kit includes plastic filament for drawing and additional refills can be ordered once your child runs out of materials.
This DIY cloud light set from GoldieBlox teaches kids about how a circuit functions and gives them a science lesson about what makes a cloud and how to tell the difference between cloud types. Plus, it looks cool hanging in their bedroom — a bonus any kid will love.
Vendees are interactive, surprise-dispensing sets that come in a variety of options, from this bath bomb kit to one that dispenses lip glosses. Once kids open a few surprise treats and stickers, the box also turns into a DIY project.
The '90s are back and this DIY scrunchie maker is a fun way for kids to wear their own creations. The kit comes with fabric, embellishments and a scrunchies-making tool — everything they need to create these popular hair ties.
Nine year olds are at the age where they enjoy spending time alone in their bedrooms, so gifting them with this DIY unicorn pillow from GoldieBlox is a great way to motivate them to spruce up their space. The DIY kit teaches kids about LED lights and gives them a chance to build their own soft, cuddly decoration.
Nine year olds who like to create will love this simple one-step tie-dye kit from Tulip. The kit comes with 12 bottles of dye and a step-by-step guide to create several tie-dye designs. All that needs to be added once you're ready to tie-dye is water. Pair this kit with some simple white T-shirts and kids will have a fun craft activity that may also keep them busy over winter break!
Best unique for 9-year-olds
All kids can use a bit of a reminder about the things in their lives they should be grateful for. This beautiful gratitude journal from Write To Me gives families 365 journal pages to list what they are thankful for and share the best parts of their day. My family uses this book at dinner each evening and it's a great way to get our kids talking about the highs and lows of their day.
This all-natural deodorant, designed specifically for teen and tween boys, makes a great stocking stuffer for 9-year-olds who are beginning to go through puberty. Prep U products are packed with essential oils and other natural ingredients you can feel good about letting kids put against their sensitive skin.
This unique take on the fairytale story of Cinderella is modern and sure to be enjoyed by tweens this holiday season. The main character is an aspiring songwriter with a vain stepmother and difficult stepsisters — and there's plenty of holiday adventure thrown into the mix as well.
Accio, cute purse! Mini backpacks are back and this winged key print version from JuJuBe is a perfect gift for any "Harry Potter" loving 9-year-old. This bag is a favorite of my daughter, who loves storing all of her 9-year-old-girl-things inside it.
Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. Try our interactive gift finder to sort gifts by price, person and interest. And no matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:
- Gifts for 1-year-olds
- Gifts for 2-year-olds
- Gifts for 3-year-olds
- Gifts for 4-year-olds
- Gifts for 5-year-olds
- Gifts for 6-year-olds
- Gifts for 7-year-olds
- Gifts for 8-year-olds