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Whether they’re crafty or competitive, your 9-year-old will enjoy unwrapping one of these gifts

These finds are must-haves for the preteen in your life.
Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

It can be difficult to pick gifts for kids who are not quite teenagers but also not “little kids” anymore.

One Shop TODAY contributor who has tweens says she's paid close attention to what ends up in the donation bin three months after significant holidays and what her tweens actually want to hold onto throughout the year. In her house, it seems to be all about creativity, family game nights, expressing their individuality and, of course, video games. Always video games.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best gift ideas for 9-year-olds. Whether your preteen is into decorating their bedroom or building with Legos, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to make their gifts as unique as they are. Plus, we even found a few educational gifts for the parent that wants them to keep learning.

Best games | Best toys | Building and crafts sets | Unique gifts | Books

Shop TODAY Snapshot

Bestselling gifts for 9-year-olds

Best games for 9-year-olds

Uno All Wild!

Because the best part of playing Uno is the chaos that comes with wild cards, this edition is filled with nothing *but* wild cards! The fast-paced game may drive every member of the family crazy, but it's sure to deliver hilarious memories that everyone will look back fondly on, as well.

Guess Who? The Original Guessing Game

Whether you want to relive some old memories or improve your 9-year-olds deduction skills, you should add Guess Who? to your kiddo's gift list. At just above $15, the game is an affordable investment in years of fun.

Kingdomino Strategy Board Game

An interesting take on the original concept, Kingdomino is an award-winning strategy game perfect for game night with your 9-year-old. Each player chooses tiles that show different terrains and align to create a kingdom grid. The rules are simple, but the need for quick decision making makes the game challenging and fun.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart is a video game classic that keeps getting better. This deluxe version is compatible with a Nintendo Switch, which means your tween can battle friends on the console itself, or connect to the TV for added visibility.

If they want to switch from go-karting to battling through worlds, Super Mario Brothers Wonder was featured on Toy Insider's Hot 20 List last year as an exciting, fast-paced video game for kids over the age of 8.

Best toys for 9-year-olds

Disney Doorables Multi-Peek Technicolor Takeover

They'll be excited to peek behind several doors to find out which mini figurines are waiting for them. This set comes with 5-7 surprises!

Disguise Enchanted Purple Minecraft Sword

Fans of the popular video game Minecraft will love to play around with this replica of a glowing purple sword. The sword is a special enchantment within the game, and this toy version is sure to delight fans as much as the virtual one whether they play with it in the backyard or display it in their bedroom.

Pixie Belles Interactive Pet

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!

Tamagotchi Pix

The Tamagotchi Pix features a color screen and camera to interact with your virtual pet. It also has 17 games to keep your character happy, and you can connect with friends to go on play dates, exchange gifts and explore.

Another version of this toy, the Tamagotchi Uni, was also featured on the Toy Insider Hot 20 List last year as a popular gift for children ages 8+.

VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam

VTech’s creator cam is catching customers’ eyes for its picture quality, value for money and durability. The HD video camera for your kiddos boasts more than 20 animated backgrounds, a tripod, selfie stick and more.

Adora Be Bright Doll

These 14-inch dolls from Adora are a less pricey alternative to some popular 18-inch dolls. Each doll has vibrant hair that changes color in the sunlight and comes with a backstory designed to inspire young girls to believe that anything is possible.

Powerup 4.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane

It’s official: Your 9-year-old has graduated from making paper airplanes to flying remote-controlled ones. Using Bluetooth Smart technology, your little one can control their plane’s movements with their smartphone through the toy’s app.

Pyxel: A Coder's Best Friend

Help your favorite 9-year-old build critical skills with this STEM toy that teaches them about programming through their new coding best friend. Using a Wi-Fi-enabled device and two coding languages, kids can program their e-pup to master commands, perform tricks, express adorable emotions and much more.

Best building and craft gifts for 9-year-olds

Paint by Sticker: Dogs

With a near-perfect average from over 5,100 verified Amazon shoppers, this engaging activity book is perfect for the little crafter in your life. Plus, it’ll save you from a deep clean that may come from a traditional paint-by-numbers kit!

Elmer’s Squishies Kids’ Activity Kit

Inspire their imagination with this glow-in-the-dark-themed activity kit. To make collectible creatures, your 9-year-old will combine secret solutions and pour the concoction in a mystery mold. In just 60 minutes, their creation will be ready for play!

Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

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’ll keep them busy and inspired.

Snap Circuits FM Radio Kit

Snap Circuits creates toys that combine learning with play, especially in the STEM field. With circuit and coding kits galore to experiment with, this particular kit above allows children to build their own radio and listen to it afterwards.

My Friendship Bracelet Maker

Kids are still tapping into their inner creativity to make vibrant friendship bracelets, and this top-rated jewelry kit can help them make the perfect accessory for their BFFs.

KiwiCo Doodle Crate

Doodle Crate is a monthly subscription box that allows your 9-year-old to express themselves creatively through fun and unique art projects. Some of the projects include making your own felt succulent garden, a faux leather portfolio and even handmade soap. If you don’t want to opt into monthly deliveries, you can choose to get a box every three, six, or 12 months.

KiwiCo Light-Up Wire Art

Perfect for the budding scientist in your life, this wire art kit gives them a hands-on (and unique!) lesson when it comes to LED circuits.

"This crate allowed for so much open-ended creativity," one thrilled shopper said about this KiwiCo crate. "I loved the design of the crate and how educational the content was."

K’Nex Thrill Rides 3-in-1 Classic Amusement Park Building Set

They can build their own amusement park with this set from K’NEX! It comes with a battery-powered motor so they can bring their creations to life and make their Ferris wheel, boom ride or swing ride move and swing.

Faber-Castell Pottery Studio

This gift for your 9-year-old will keep on giving because of the pottery creations your pre-teen will make at home. The pottery kit includes three pounds of natural clay, a pottery wheel, sculpting tools and so much more. With illustrated instructions within the kit, your kiddo will go from an amateur ceramic artist to an expert in no time.

Lego Dots Designer Toolkit

Little crafters are sure to be excited about this Lego Dots arts and crafts kit with 10 different canvases to make a photo frame, message tag, note tray and more. The 1,096-piece set may seem like a challenge, but they’ll appreciate honing their technique and attention to detail.

Playmobil “Back to the Future” DeLorean

Plan a “Back to the Future” movie night with your family and build Playmobil’s DeLorean together for a special memory. This nostalgic set includes the iconic car along with Marty McFly, Dr. Emmett Brown, Einstein the dog, the flux capacitor and more.

Lego "Star Wars: The Mandalorian" Razor Crest

If your family binge-watched “The Mandalorian," this Lego set inspired by the series will make the kids in your house very happy. And yes, it comes with a miniature Baby Yoda.

Best unique gifts for 9-year-olds

Hyseas Chocolate Donut Throw Pillow

Add some pizazz to their bedroom setup with this delicious decorative pillow that's garnered 2,900+ verified five-star ratings.

Illuminated Apparel Interactive Glow-in-the-Dark T-Shirt

This unique glow-in-the-dark shirt is sure to make a great gift for any preteen! Your 9-year-old can be as creative as they want and draw with the included glow pen. Their design will last up to 10 minutes, after which they can start over again with something new.

Lickable Bubbles Flavor Bursts

Made of edible ingredients such as water and natural flavoring, these "lickable" bubbles are made to be consumed! The set comes with tasty flavors such as Juicy Watermelon Splash and Glazed Cinnamon Roll, so your 9-year-old can have fun in the sun and on their tongue.

Fortune Cookie Kit

This DIY fortune cookie kit from Global Grub teaches kids exactly how to make and fold the classic Chinese treat. The kit comes with 60 pre-written fortune messages to choose from, plus blank slips and an edible food marker for creative kids who want to pen their own words of good luck.

Baketivity Cake Pops Baking Kit

It's never a bad time for a sweet treat. With pre-measured recipes and clear recipe guidance, they'll have several cake pops in their possession in no time!

Hydroflask 24-Ounce Water Bottle

Hydroflask just released three new colors, including this faint baby pink which is perfect for spring. This 24-ounce bottle features double-wall insulation that keeps contents cold for up to 24 hours and includes a flex straw lid for easy sipping.

Gummygoods Squeezable Gummy Bear Night Light

While they may say they're too old for a cuddle buddy, it'll be hard to resist this squishy light-up gummy bear. It emits a soft, ambient glow when you hug its belly for up to 60 minutes, which should help your 9-year-old fall asleep faster.

3Doodler Start+ Essentials

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.

Crocs Classic Pokemon Clog

These colorful Pokemon Crocs will look adorable on all little feet. The Crocs come in varying colors and are available in kids and juniors sizes.

New Wave Toys USB Charge Machine

The ‘80s style is back in a big way, and this USB charging machine from New Wave Toys perfectly nails the look of arcade bill changers. Kids can charge up to six devices at one time with this totally tubular charging system, and the on and off button is a cute “temporarily out of service” LED indicator. The unit even comes with mini golden tokens for a true nostalgic feel.

Nest Bedding The Puffin Memory Foam Kids Bed

Nest Bedding developed the first kid's mattress in the online market, made specifically for young children and available in twin, twin XL and full sizes. It's easy to set up and one Shop TODAY contributor who bought it for her daughter said she loves "how soft it is and how well she sleeps on it."

Best books for 9-year-olds

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," by J. K. Rowling

If you're eager to introduce your "muggle" children to the Wizarding World, what better way than with the book that started it all. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" has been capturing a sense of adventure and taking readers on a magical ride since the late '90s.

"Smile," by Raina Telgemeier

Encourage reading by offering a book that might relate to their own life experiences. The "Smile" novel details a young girl's journey with braces, headgear, retainers and more, making it the perfect read for a 9-year-old.

"Dork Diaries," by Rachel Renee Russell

If your pre-teen is not a huge reader, they will love this graphic novel that centers around Nikki Maxwell, a middle school student who humorously shares her emotions with her diary. The graphic novel is one in a series of 15, so if your 9-year-old loves it, you can supply them with more.

"My 9 year old daughter loves these books. She's already on the 3rd one," one reviewer wrote. "This seller shipped out the book quickly and packaged it securely so that it wouldn't be damaged."

“Tristan Strong Keeps Punching,” by Kwame Mbalia

In this finale of Kwame Mbalia’s trilogy, Tristan Strong faces off with his archenemy, King Cotton, once and for all. But it’s going to take many Alkean friends, including the gods themselves, the black flames of the afokena gloves, and all of Tristan’s inner strength to finally deliver justice.

"Sammy Spat and the Big Rescue," by Kahren Dowcett

Discover how Sammy came to be the one-in-a-million legendary superhero oyster he is today. While learning about the sea, inclusion, friendship and courage, this teaching tale helps kids understand how to become the superhero of their own life.

"Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!" by Sophie Escabasse

Effie just wants to have fun being a witch, but her life in Brooklyn is about to get weird(er). The second in the "Witches of Brooklyn" series, this middle-grade graphic novel teaches kids about family, friendship and learning to embrace who you are.

"Frankie & Bug," by Gayle Forman

It's the summer of 1987, and all 10-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip's nephew, Frankie. As the summer unfolds, these new friends learn some important lessons about family, friendship and finding their way in a complicated world.

Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus

Nine-year-olds are still expanding their vocabulary list, so an expansive (and visually enticing!) thesaurus could be useful as they build on their confidence with choosing the right words.

"Canterwood Crest" Series Box Set

Whether your 9-year-old loves horses or reading, this box set will bring them to the world of Sasha Siler, a boarding school student who has a horse named Charm. With four books included in the set, your tween won’t need to wait for the next installment.

Choose Your Own Adventure 6-Book Boxed Set

“A nostalgic pick we remember from our own childhoods but really still a classic choice to get kids reading,” said one editor of this six-book set. From under sea adventures to run-ins with the abominable snowman, they’ll love the thrill that comes with turning every page.