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My son recently turned 10, and my daughter is smack in the middle of all things 8. I have watched my 9-year-old son abandon the beloved toys of his younger years, and already, I see my daughter attempting to propel herself into tween-hood.
Being 9 means moving away from toys — except for the really special ones — to binge-watching "Girl Meets World" on Netflix. Being 9 means "Fortnite" and FaceTiming with friends after school instead of asking Mom to play "secret agent" with you in the yard.
It's bittersweet, and it's a challenge these days to know what to buy for them and their friends for birthdays and holidays.
But, after living with two little people who are in the midst of these years, these are the gifts I'll put on my shopping list when 9-year-olds are involved.
1. Tech Will Save Us Electro Dough Kit, $20, Amazon
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This conductive dough teaches kids about basic circuits and how electricity works.
2. Little Passports World Edition Subscription, $15-$155, Little Passports
Children can travel the world with Little Passports from their own homes. A new country is featured each month by the subscription box company, and gift-givers can gift 1-month, 6-month or 12-month subscriptions.
3. Snap't emoji headband and necklace set, $40, Amazon
This gold headband and necklace set comes with three interchangeable emoji charms, allowing kids to style their accessories however they want.
4. Captain Floaty Giant Unicorn Floaty, $40, Amazon
This enchanting unicorn float is soft, durable and sure to be any 9-year-old's favorite pool toy.
5. Disney Doorables Multi Peek Pack, $11, Target
The latest collectible craze from Disney is Disney Doorables, tiny versions of your kid's beloved Disney characters that come in surprise packs.
6. Strictly Briks AlphaBriks and MathBriks set, $25, Amazon
These letter and number bricks from Strictly Briks make learning fun. Kids can practice math facts or turn vocabulary words into sentences while engaging in creative play.
7. Girls loafers, $65, Rothy's
Rothy's, the maker of popular women's flats, now makes girls' sizes. These sweet loafers are the perfect gift for a girl who likes to match with her mom.
8. Geomag World magnetic building set, $30, Amazon
Also available for $33 at Walmart.
This unique set of building materials uses magnetic rods and non-magnetic balls that let kids build everything from an architecturally sound bridge to an interconnected sphere.
9. Modarri Delux Street Trackset, $70, Amazon
This track set from Modarri takes toy cars to the next level with a customizable track and a race car kids can build and design themselves.
10. Color Smash game, $8, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
Color Smash is a fast-paced fun family game that, priced at $8 on Amazon, makes a very affordable gift.
11. Elmer's Glue Frosty Slime Kit, $10, Walmart
Also available for $11 at Amazon.
Like it or not, kids love making slime. A great way to keep slime-making chaos contained is to gift kids with slime kits, which condense all necessary materials into one box.
12. Pop Fizz Make-Your-Own Bath Bomb Kit, $15, Amazon
This crafty kit lets kids make their own bath bomb, complete with surprise inside.
13. Creative Roots Mermaid Terrarium Garden, $13, Amazon
A fairy version of this is available at Target.
This terrarium kit includes a mermaid and starfish figurine, rocks and glitter. Kids add sand and plants to create a magical terrarium.
14. "Mason Jar Science" book, $10, Amazon
This book by Jonathan Adolph contains 40 experiments kids can perform in a mason jar, from creating miniature tornadoes to growing stalactites.
15. Rescue Runts Husky, $20, Amazon
These adoptable stuffed pets come with a grooming kit that lets kids clean up their rescue pup by removing fleas, bandaging wounds and cleaning dirty paws.
16. Fin Fun girls' swimsuit coverup, $25, Amazon
These pretty swimsuit coverups have a delicate mermaid design in one corner, and are made of a soft, stretchy material that dries quickly.
17. Squoosh-O's Galaxy D.I.Y. Stress Ball Kit, $5, Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
Kids will love making their own squishy stress balls with this craft kit.
18. Adora Zig Zag Twin Jogger Stroller, $50, Buy Buy Baby
If your 9-year-old still plays with dolls, this double jogging stroller from Adora makes for a creative new way to pretend.
19. Schleich Horse Club Mobile Vet Playset, $37, Amazon
This realistic horse and veterinarian playset from Schleich is another perfect toy for imaginative play.