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40 best kids toys and gifts for 9-year-olds in 2021

These gifts are perfect for every kind of 9-year-old.
Illustration of Adora Be Bright Doll, Vans Customs Kids Macaron shoes, Polaroid Now Instant Camera -- Star Wars The Mandalorian Edition, 3Doodler Start 3D Pen for Kids and Geek Out! Family Edition
TODAY Illustration / Vans / Adora / Polaroid / Amazon
/ Source: TODAY

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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 said she's paid close attention to what ends up in the donation bin three months after the 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-old girls and boys this year. Whether your tween 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.

To quickly jump to the category you're looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all 40.

Bestselling gifts for 9-year-olds

Best toys and games for 9-year-olds

Chuckle & Roar Pop It! XL

Chances are, your 9-year-old is obsessed with the Pop It trend, so they'll love this super-sized version. The toy, which made the Target Bullseye's Top Toys list this year, will encourage them to develop fine motor skills, sensory learning, and calm.

Blue Orange Games Kingdomino Strategy Board Game

An interesting take on the original dominoes, 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.

Tamagotchi Pix

Part of the Toy Insider's Hot 20 list, the new 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.

National Geographic Play Sand

Using sand that is kinetic, meaning it sticks only to itself, this kit is generally mess free and beyond fun. The sand is the perfect texture to mold into any shape, so kids can build castles or pyramids easily.

Infrared Laser Tag Blaster & Vest Set for Kids & Adults

Parents and kids alike can have fun for hours with this laser tag set. Simply strap the vest to your chest, turn the products on and start the battle.

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.

Geek Out! Family Edition

This fast-paced family trivia game is a huge hit not only because of the fun questions, but also because on each turn, everyone gets the opportunity to answer. The game features categories ranging from literature to pop culture and players try to outbid one another and name as many items in their assigned category as possible. Who doesn’t love a good night of family competition?

Disney Sketchy Tales Board Game

Dumbo blowing bubbles? Mickey Mouse in space? In this family drawing and guessing game, fans of Disney films can create a silly storyline using their own drawings of crazy character scenarios. Similar to the playground game telephone, players try to guess what others have drawn, making for a pretty funny gameplay experience.

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 “spirit animal” and a backstory designed to inspire young girls to believe that anything is possible.

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.

Tiny Headed Kingdom "Honeythunder" Plush Unicorn

Animals in the Tiny Headed Kingdom are unique in their minuscule head size...or is it their oversized bodies that makes them so lovable? Tiny Headed Kingdom’s unicorn named Honeythunder is 15 inches tall, super soft and fantastically pink. Kids who love collecting stuffed animals will get a kick out of this unique style of plush toy.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch

This fighting game for the Nintendo Switch came out in 2018, but it continues to be a hit. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features characters from all over the Nintendo universe, from Mario to Kirby and beyond. New stages and fighters open up as kids move along through the battles and, with multi-player options available, it can be a fun game for family game night.

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!

Best building sets for 9-year-olds

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.

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.

Make A Real Mosaic Panda

Your child can make a professional grade mosaic with this unique kit. All of the stones are cut by real mosaic artists from Tunisia, you just have to fit them together like a puzzle. Afterwards, fill the dish with glue and display your majestic panda! The kit is also available with other animals such as koalas and tigers.

ThinkFun Code Master Programming Logic Game

Help your favorite 9-year-old build critical skills with this popular STEM toy that teaches them about programming through their avatar. It contains ten maps with 60 challenges to solve, as well as 12 guide scrolls, 12 action tokens, eight conditional tokens, and an instruction booklet.

Lego Star Wars: The Mandalorian's Razor Crest

If your family binge-watched “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, 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.

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 DeLorean along with Marty McFly, Dr. Emmett Brown, Einstein the dog, the flux capacitor and more.

Lego Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah

DC Comics fans are sure to be excited for this Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah Lego set. The two-sided set includes tons of great details — including a high-tech bunker and revolving transmitter tower — and sets Wonder Woman up to battle her nemesis, Cheetah.

Lego Harry Potter Forbidden Forest: Umbridge's Encounter

Harry Potter fans are familiar with the Forbidden Forest and the magical creatures who live there and interact with the lovable groundskeeper, Hagrid. In this Lego set, Hagrid’s giant brother, Grawp, comes to life along with Harry, Hermione and other characters from the franchise.

Lego Super Mario

Kids who love video games and LEGO will love this mash-up of LEGO and Nintendo’s popular Super Mario franchise. The sets feature iconic characters from the video games and let kids build their own Super Mario levels in the ultimate show of creativity.

Best unique gifts for 9-year-olds

Make It Real Color Fusion Nail Polish Maker

Create over 200 custom colors with this nail polish maker that's sure to keep your 9-year-old busy for hours. They can mix polishes in shimmery or glossy finishes and download a color fusion app for free to see all of the color possibilities.

KiwiCo Light-Up Speaker

If you have a child in your life who's interested in building things, let them explore the science of sound with this personal speaker kit. They can build and customize their speaker with a glowing LED light, while also learning through the included instruction set.

Illuminated Apparel Interactive Glow in The Dark T-Shirt

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

Bluetooth Karaoke System with LED Disco Lights

Your 9-year-old and all of their friends can sing their hearts out while using this light-up karaoke machine. It has both a CD option and bluetooth connectivity as well as two microphones for duets.

Polaroid Now Instant Camera — Star Wars The Mandalorian Edition

This instant camera uses iconic Polaroid instant film and has an auto-focus feature to help young photographers get the best shot possible. And, the camera comes in a variety of colors, making it an easy gift to personalize.

Vans Customs Kids Macaron Authentic

Get your favorite 9-year-old a customized pair of Vans this holiday season. They can be personalized to their liking with exclusive patterns provided by the brand or with art or photos that you upload from your computer or smartphone.

Grandparent Pen Pal Set

It's been tough for families to get together recently, so help your child keep in touch with their grandparents with this adorable gift. It includes thoughtful prompts, lists and other fun activities to inspire letter writing so each generation can stay up-to-date on each other's lives.

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.

Classic Tie-Dye Crocs

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

GPX All-In-One Vlogging Kit

Got a little YouTuber or TikTok maven on your hands? This vlogging kit from GPX will let kids be the star of their own show, whether they’re posting to social media or just pretending to have their own YouTube channel. The unit balances and mounts any phone and keeps the shot well-lit with super-bright LED lights.

My BKB "Big Kids Bed" Nest Bedding

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 10-year-old daughter said she loves "how soft it is and how well she sleeps on it."

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.

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 may also keep them busy throughout the winter!

3Doodler Start 3D Pen for Kids

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.

Best books for 9-year-olds

"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.

"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.

"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.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Be sure to check out Shop TODAY’s 2021 Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:

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This article was originally published on Sept. 12, 2018.