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The best gifts for 9-year-old boys and girls from our 2018 gift guide

"After living with two little people in the midst of these years, these are the gifts I'll put on my shopping list when 9-year-olds are involved."
Boy, aged 9, playing with a toy plane, watched by his family in a parkGetty Images stock
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By Terri Peters

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.

My kids, Bennet, 10, and Kennedy, 8-going-on-13. Terri Peters

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

TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

This conductive dough teaches kids about basic circuits and how electricity works.

Also available for $35 from Tech Will Save Us and for $30 at Target.

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

Also available for $11 at Amazon and Walmart for $11.

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.

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.

Editor's Note: You can get a similar washable flat from Sperry for only $38. The gold is on sale for $20.

  • 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 is also available at Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart.

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.

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

Also available at Walmart and Barnes & Noble.

This realistic horse and veterinarian playset from Schleich is another perfect toy for imaginative play.

Looking for more suggestions? Check out the gift guide for babies, 1-year-olds, 2-year olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds.

Or try our eight favorite toys from Walmart's top 40 holiday toys, Good Housekeeping’s 2017 ‘Best Toy Award’ winners, or Amazon's top 2017 toy list.