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Whether they're crafty or curious, these 51 gifts are perfect for any 9-year-old

These finds are must-haves for the preteen in your life.
Kara Birnbaum/ TODAY
/ 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 said 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-old kiddos. 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.

To quickly jump to the category you're looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all 51:

Bestselling gifts for 9-year-olds

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!

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.

Tamagotchi Pix

Part of 2021's Toy Insider's Hot 20 list, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Best games for 9-year-olds

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 $10, the game is an affordable investment in years of fun.

"Purchased this for my niece and it’s now her favorite game and we play it for hours," one verified customer wrote. "We’ve played soo much we need new characters lol."

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.

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.

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 10 maps with 60 challenges to solve, as well as 12 guide scrolls, 12 action tokens, eight conditional tokens and an instruction booklet.

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?

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.

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.

Best toys for 9-year-olds

Syma RC Boat

Forget remote-controlled cars! This larger boat can propel itself through water for up to 40 minutes at a time. The brand says it can only work while it is in water, so it can be used at the lake, beach, pond or pool.

Chuckle & Roar Pop It! XL

Chances are, your 9-year-old is obsessed with the "popit" fidget toy trend, so they'll love this super-sized version. The toy might even keep them calm during stressful moments.

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.

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.

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.

Best building and crafts sets for 9-year-olds

Creativity for Kids Make Your Own Snow Globes Kit

Snow globes don't have to only be a winter toy thanks to Creativity for Kids' themed DIY snow globe kits. Available in themes such as "Sweet Treats" and "Under the Sea," the kit has enough materials for your 9-year-old to craft three unique snow globes.

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 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."

Lego Adidas Originals Superstar Building Kit

Little sneakerheads are sure to be excited about this Lego x Adidas collaboration. The 731-piece set may seem like a challenge, but they'll appreciate honing their building skills thanks to the realistic details.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Best unique gifts for 9-year-olds

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.

Paint by Sticker: Dogs

With a near-perfect average from over 4,700 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!

Hyseas Chocolate Donut Throw Pillow

Add some pizazz to their bedroom setup with this delicious decorative pillow with 2,700+ verified five-star ratings.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Grandparent Pen Pal Set

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.

Classic Tie-Dye Crocs

These fruity colored tie-dye Crocs will look adorable on all little feet. The Crocs come in varying colors and are available in kids and juniors sizes.

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.

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

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.

Dork Diaries Graphic Novel

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."

Canterwood Crest Stable of Stories 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.

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.

"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.

Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s other gift guides to find the perfect present for every kid in your life including babies, 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds and 10-year-olds.