Kids who are between ages eight to ten years old are fun to buy for since you can get them some of the more interesting and advanced toys. There are a whole lot of very appealing toys, crafts, instruments, board games and books that will help them learn and make discoveries while having lots of fun doing it.
Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 8, 9 and 10 year old children.
Artistic or Creative
There is no shortage of arts and crafts kits for kids ages 8-10. Any kind of make your own craft kit is a safe bet, while design and sketching kits are also very popular. One kit that we came across and really like is the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set which lets kids draw really beautiful designs and pictures while encouraging fine motor skills, creativity and critical thinking.
If you are buying for a creative child who is into Star Wars you could get Star Wars® Thumb Doodles. This kit lets kids use their thumbprints to draw Star Wars characters by following step by step directions.
Another great kit for this age is the Master Kitz The Starry Night. This is such a neat set, it gives kids the supplies and instructions to recreate Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. If you are interested in this idea there are eight sets in this series of Master Kitz that show kids how to recreate famous paintings including Paul Klee’s Flower Myth, Wassily Kandinsky’s Black Lines, Monet’s Water Lilies, Sunflowers in the style of van Gogh, The Great Wave of Kanagwa, and Matisse’s Red Studio.
If you are lucky enough to have a child who is musically inclined child you could get him or her this beautiful MINI Strat Electric Guitar. This is a great starter electric guitar for kids for a pretty reasonable price. The interesting thing about this guitar is the size, it is 3/4 size which just means it is 3/4 of a full sized guitar which makes it easier for kids to hold and to play. I would get this guitar over something you might pick up at a toy store because it is from the reputable brand Squier, which is basically Fender’s budget brand. You can’t really go wrong with anything that is made by Squier and the quality is so much better than a toy store brand.
If you are looking for an instrument for a child who might not be very musical but you want to help get them interested in learning music I would consider getting a Ukulele. They are very easy to learn to play and are just generally a lot of fun. Ukuleles are great because you can get a professional quality instrument for under $50, they easier to learn than a guitar, partly because they only have 4 strings instead of 6 and their small size make them comfortable for children to hold and to play
I love all the new robotic toys that have come out in the last few years, as the technology improves some of the stuff that toy companies are coming out with are just awesome. This MiP Robot is really fun and entertaining for kids. It has a bunch of different modes and can responds to your hand movements, sound or you can control it using an app (make sure your device is compatible with the app- it doesn’t run on older devices). It can dance, do tricks, play games, move around and do lots things that will keep your kids busy for hours.
Simon Swipe Game is an update of the old Simon Game so it has a great retro feel to it. The difference in the update is that you are swiping the light patterns rather than pressing them.
These Zing Bows are a lot of fun. They come with the bow and 3 arrows (2 Zonic Whistling Arrows and 1 Suction-Cup Zartz Arrow). The whistling arrows make a fantasitc sound when you shoot them and are lots of fun to play with, kids can’t keep their hands off them.
If you are looking for a gift with a bit of a challenge to it you could get a Perplexus Maze Game. It’s a game where players must move a small marble around barriers inside a transparent sphere. It’s fun and infuriating and helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
If you are looking for a child who is into electronics or building things, an amazing gift would be Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit or any of the Snap Circuits kits. These kits are incredible, you build electronic devices using little pieces that snap together. Another good choice for kids who are into building things are any of the K’NEX Sets.
For kids who love being outdoors a great gift is a Ripstik Caster Board. You have probably seen kids riding around your neighbourhood on these things since they are super popular. They are kind of a skateboard snowboard hybrid and are good for ages 8 plus.
If you have a LEGO expert you can try a Lego Technic set. Technic sets are the more complicated sets for experienced LEGO builders – they can build advanced, real-life functions like gearboxes, working piston engines, steering systems, and working crane arms.
SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body is an excellent kit to help kids learn about the human body. It has removable squishy organs as well as representative skeletal, vascular and muscular systems. It lets kids explore the complex inner workings of the human body and literally see how it all works.
A safe gift choice for this age would be a science or a science themed kit. A science kit that we came across and really like is the 4M Crystal Mining Kit. This kit lets kids excavate their own crystals and learn fun facts about the 8 natural crystals that they are digging out of a plaster block.
Another very fun and educational gift for kids who are ages 10 + is the OWI Robotic Arm Edge. This set lets kids build their own robotic arm that they can then learn to control from a computer.
There is a bounty of great games for this age group. Our favourites are:
- Carcassonne is a simple, tile laying game that is easy to learn, and where you need to use lots of strategy.
- Catan: Junior is the kid’s version of the insanely popular Settlers of Catan.
- HedBanz Game is a silly fun game where kids have to figure out the cartoon on their head that they cannot see by asking yes or no questions.
- Ticket To Ride is another great strategy game that is easy to learn and super fun.
- Forbidden Island has teams working together to find 4 treasures before the island sinks. It’s a fun and affordable board game.
Best Books for Kids Ages 8, 9 and 10
In this age range a lot of kids become deeply interested in reading, luckily there is an abundance of wonderful books for kids.
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hall Iggulden
- Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- The Ramona Series by Beverley Cleary
- Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
- Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- TIME For Kids Big Book of How
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Skottie
- Goosebumps (series)
- Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
- Smile or the follow up Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 and 7, 11 and 12.
Buying a gift for a child who falls into the 5 to 7 range is generally not too hard. Kids of this age have definite interests and opinions on what they like and don’t like. This is also the age that they are most interested in toys. The biggest problem when shopping for this age range is that there is SO much selection that it is difficult to choose just one thing.
Here are our top picks for all the best holiday toy and gift ideas for 5, 6 and 7 year old children:
Kids ages 5 to 7 are getting more control over their fine motor skills so the types of crafts they can do can get a bit more interesting.
For the last few years Minecraft has probably been the biggest thing for kids to come along in a while. This year the Minecraft merchandise has really gotten rolling and has started to catch up with the demand for anything Minecraft related. This Minecraft Papercraft Overworld Deluxe Set is sort of neat it you know a child who just can’t get enough Minecraft but maybe you don’t want them spending so much time in front of a screen. It is basically paper blocks made out of card stock- stay with me here, I know it doesn’t sound that great- but your kids will spend hours assembling it and playing with it. It is really fun for this age.
The DohVinci Style & Store Vanity Design Kit is made by the Play Doh people (Doh Vinci get it?). It a vanity that you child can personalize to suit their own style. It uses a 3-D styling compound that let kids make cool designs on it and if they mess up they can just wipe it off and start again because it doesn’t dry right away.
Kinetic Sand – Sandbox & Molds Activity Set the sand art kits are kind of a big thing with kids over the last few years. They can be a bit messy so don’t buy this for a child who has clean freak parents or they won’t be too happy with you. Otherwise kids really like this stuff, it 98% sand, 2% Polymers and those Polymers really make this stuff great and fun to play with.
A wonderful gift for a 5-7 year old child is a musical instrument. There are lots of beginner instruments available at toy stores that are made for kids that aren’t very good quality, they don’t sound or look that good and will break or fall apart easily. For a bit more money you can get some really well-made Junior Drum Sets ,Mini Guitars or Mini Keyboards that are basically small versions of the real thing. These are so much better than what you buy in a toy store and will last much longer and will hopeful spark a lifelong interest in music for the lucky kids who get them as presents.
WowWee Tipster Toy would make a great first robot for any kid. It has 5 play modes (stacking, balancing, building, free play, or tricks) and a remote and a guide for the interactive activities that your kids can do with Tipster. You can stack things on Tipster before the music stops or you can watch it do tricks. It is pretty impressive for the price.
Zoomer Dino is an interactive dinosaur that moves like a real dinosaur, and can tell when you’re interacting with him. He will react to being stroked and touched. It’s a pretty cool toy because it can get angry, spin around, chomp and roar at you. It also performs tricks and will follow you around.
LEGO is an easy choice as a gift for most kids, the hard part is trying to figure out what set to get. For Lego Friends I like the LEGO Friends Jungle Tree Sanctuary. If you want more of a holiday theme to your gift you can try out the LEGO Advent Calendars. These are pretty cool, the most popular one is the LEGO City Advent Calendar but you can also get a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar or even a LEGO Friends calendar. The idea is that you countdown to Christmas by opening up the advent calendar each day of the month of December and you will find different LEGO mini figures, assorted accessories and mini builds.
Kids who love outdoor play will love the Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit that lets kids stomp on a rocket launcher to shoot a rocket into the sky.
If the child you are buying for loves butterflies or insects there is a super cool butterfly kit called Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden that gives kids the opportunity to observe butterflies through every stage of their lifecycle. Children ages four and up can observe five real caterpillars eat and grow to form their chrysalis and then emerge as Painted Lady butterflies. Children will love feeding the butterflies in their included observation habitat and then releasing them into the wild.
If you are looking for an educational and fun to play game that will help with addition and subtraction you could try the board game Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game. This game gives a great introduction to addition and subtraction in a fun way.
For kids who are starting to get into science you can’t go wrong with a science kit. A kit that we have tried and really like is the POOF-Slinky 0SA221 Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit. This kit helps kids to explore and learn the basics of science from chemical reactions to the use of basic science tools.
Another educational toy that is pretty cool for this age is Roominate, which is a DIY wired dollhouse building kit for kids ages 6 and up. This kit lets kids wire up circuits to make parts of a room or a dollhouse move and light up. Roominate is part of the neat trend that includes Goldie Blox and littleBits that are products created by young female engineers who are trying to get girls interested in science, technology and engineering.
This is an age where you can start getting into board games that are a little more complex and that are fun for adults to play as well. Qwirkle is a super popular gift that anyone ages 6+ can play. It has one lots of awards and is great for helping kids develop strategy and critical thinking skills. Another classic game that is good to help kids develop problem solving and critical thinking skills is for this age is ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr.
If you are looking for something a little different try ThinkFun Zingo this game teaches image and vocabulary recognition, matching, memory, concentration, and social interaction.
Another game that is fun, quick and easy for kids this age to play is the strategy-building game Sequence for Kids.
Good Books for Kids Ages 5, 6, and 7
- Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown and Macky Pamintuan
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Ivy and Bean Series Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 2, 3 and 4, 8, 9 and 10,
Preschoolers are so much fun to shop for. Since they aren’t super picky, you can’t really go wrong with almost anything that you choose. Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 2, 3 and 4 year old children.
At this age it is very easy to get a great gift for a creative child. Most kids are happy with some paper, crayons and their imagination, but if you are looking for something more to help inspire creativity you can get a good quality Art Easel that can grow with them for a few years. There is a huge range of easels that are great for kids, ones that have attachable trays to hold art supplies are especially handy. Another great idea for a creative child is an Art Desk. An art desk lets kids keep all their art supplies within easy reach and they have lots of storage for their art projects.
Play Visions Sands Alive! is indoor play sand that isn’t what you expect sand to be, it’s sort of hard to describe but what it reminds me of a is little bit like cookie dough. In the last year or so this stuff has gotten pretty big and it will keep your kids busy for a very long time. It’s hard to go near this stuff without wanting to touch it or play with it, it is kind of odd that way.
Since kids this age love to make noise, a couple of loud sturdy musical toys are a safe bet. Hohner Kids / Glockenspiel (Xylophone) with Songbook is a classic xylophone that doesn’t look too babyish so kids will be able to use it for years. They are fun to bang on even for adults. Another good choice would be a B. Parum Pum Pum Drum, this a cute set with a big drum, drumsticks, jingle bell, a maraca and clacker so there are lots of fun noise making items with that kids will really enjoy.
With the upcoming release of apple’s smart watch next year, you can expect lots of hype about smartwatches. Kids can get in on the hype with a smartwatch of their very own,Vtech has put out a really cool watch called the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch. This watch does so much it’s crazy. It can take pictures and record video, and then add effects, frames and filters to the photos. It can also help teach kids how to tell the time with 50 clock face designs. This smartwatch has four learning games, and comes with a micro USB cable, which can be used to upload photos and videos as well as recharge the battery.
An easy and not very expensive gift for preschooler is a durable kids camera. Most children are fascinated with the process of taking pictures so it’s nice for them to have a camera that they can do what they want with. A good kid’s camera to have a look at is the VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera. This camera is a real 1.3 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom that has a 1.8″ color screen and easy-to-use viewfinder. You can also record video and voice, and it lets kids edit and add effects to photos. This camera is pretty cheap, very durable and kids love them.
Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway – This play set is over 3 feet tall so your kids will be able to stand up and send cars zooming down the ramp. This set will keep your kids busy for long time. It does take a bit of assembly, but it is worth it because your kids will really enjoying playing with it. This is on a number of ‘Hot Toy Lists for Christmas 2014″.
Almost any of the Fisher Price Imaginext sets are a fantastic choice that are great for creative play. This year I really like the Imaginext 2-in-1 Supernova Battle Rover. If you are looking for a big WOW toy this is one to check out. It’s not cheap, but you are getting quite a lot of toy for the price. I wouldn’t get this for a 2 or 3 year old but it would be quite a gift for a 4 year old.
You could also try Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 32 Piece Set , it is a building set with tiles that your kids can use to make cubes, pyramids and different geometric shapes that is great for preschoolers. They are a bit expensive but children will get years of use out of them.
Another toy I like for this age group is the Radio Flyer Ziggle. Kids make it move by twisting the handle bars while also applying pressure with their feet on the cross bar in the front, there are no peddles so your kids don’t need to know how to peddle a bike, very easy to use. It is super fun and your kids will love it
Children this age are beginning to learn their shapes and how to share, so a really good toy that can help with this is the LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket. This is a very popular toy that helps kids learn shapes, colors, and manners.
Another good educational toy is the Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register. This toy is a talking cash register that teaches kids about coin identification, addition, subtraction and place value as they play 4 featured games that increase in difficulty as players advance. The cash register is also good for imaginative play and learning basic calculator skills.
If you are looking for something that is fun and also educational you could try Gears! Gears! Gears!® Beginner’s Building Set, kids love these and they are a fun way to help kids learn about simple mechanics.
Everyone knows about the board game Candyland for this age range but there are a lot of other great options available. Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is a fun game that is also helpful for kids to develop their matching, sorting, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and pre-handwriting skills.
If you are looking for a simple board game for a child who is into superheroes you could try Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad
Another great game for this age range is Richard Scarry Busy Town, this game is a good co-operative game for kids who might not be so great at losing. If you already have the basic Busy Town game there is a follow up game called Richard Scarry Airport Game.
Good Books for Kids Ages 2, 3, and 4
- The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky is a great book for kids 2 years and younger.
- Press Here by Herve Tullet is a simple, fun, interactive book that kids love.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond is a very popular and classic book for this age range.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is another classic that is very sad but sweet.
- Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis is a nicely illustrated book that would be a good gift for kids who are into the Fancy Nancy series.
- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
- The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
- Steam Train, Dream Train Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 5-7, 8-10, 11 and 12.
Kids love magic tricks – doing the tricks themselves or watching them being done and trying to figure them out can keep a child entertained for hours. You might not know that learning about magic tricks is not only super fun, but it can also be really good for kids as well. Learning magic is said to improve a child’s self-confidence, public speaking, critical thinking skills, work ethic and even their school grades. With that in mind, here are some of the best magic sets, online videos, DVDs, books, apps and simple magic tricks to help your kids learn a little bit of magic.
Where to Start
If you happen to live in or near a big city, check to see if you have a magic shop that you can visit. Magic shops are fun and inspiring places to take a kid who is just getting into magic. The cool thing about going to an actual magic shop is that the people working there will demonstrate the tricks and show your kids exactly how the tricks work. They will also be able to recommend something that the child will be capable of doing without frustration. You might pay a little bit more than you would if you bought a magic kit at Toys R Us or Walmart, but having someone show your kids how a trick works will go a long way in helping keep your child interested magic.
The Best Kits for Kids
If you don’t live near a magic shop there are some very highly recommended magic kits for kids around, (there are also a lot of really bad kits, so take your time in picking the right kit). Here are some of the top rated and best reviewed sets that we could find:
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe Magic Set (for ages 8 and up) is a great choice if you are looking for some simple magic tricks for children to learn. Most of the tricks in this kit are made of wood and there is a nice Egyptian theme to it. The instructions are also very cool for kids with a sort of aged, burned parchment effect to the paper, and they are clear enough for kids to be able to follow. Most reviewers of this kit agreed that it was a really highly quality product for a very good price. The kit has 10 magic tricks including: Disappearing Ball, Magic Coin Box, Secret Silks, Great Escape, Magic Number Prediction, Money Maker, Egyptian Prediction, Vanishing Zone, Cylinder Squeeze and Vanishing Coin.
- Melissa & Doug Discovery Magic Set is different from the Melissa and Doug Deluxe set in that it is for a slightly younger crowd (a lot of people recommend it for 4-5 year olds) The tricks are very simple and easy for very young children to perform. The kit itself is wooden and very well made. The set includes the following 4 tricks: “Sword in the stone” trick where the child uses a secret ring to get the sword out of the stone, a trick where the child can change the color of a string from white to red by pulling it through a wooden box/gadget, an illusion box where items “disappear” when they are dropped inside, a trick with a box and a dice where the child can guess the side/color of the dice that an audience member has chosen.
- POOF-Slinky 0C4769 Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase with Instructional DVD (for ages 7-12) is a bit different than the Melissa and Doug sets in that it has 100 magic tricks and props so there is a lot going on with this set. The quality won’t be as good as the Melissa and Doug sets, but if you are looking for quantity at a good price, this is the set for you. This set includes a magic hat, a suitcase that doubles as a magician’s table, the “Secrets of 100 Magic Tricks” book and an instructional DVD starring magician Ryan Oakes.
Individual Magic Tricks for Kids
If you aren’t quite ready to buy a whole set for a child, have a look at these simple tricks that are suitable for kids.
- Pen Thru Dollar Magic Trick is simple trick that, with a bit of practice, is a good starting one for kids. The point of this trick is a pen is put through a spectator’s dollar bill, without wrecking the bill. Kids can ask the audience for a bill and then stick the pen straight through the middle of it with no damage done. The trick has instructions included, and is easy enough for a kid who is just getting into magic.
- Magic Makers Disappearing Dime and Penny Illusion Magic Trick is another easy to learn trick that is a good one for kids (although kids may need some help from an adult who knows a bit about coin tricks). This trick includes step-by-step instructions and bang ring. It’s is a very highly rated trick for a decent price.
Tricks for Kids Videos and Websites
There are lots of resources to help kids learn magic tricks online. The best are the online videos that break down the tricks in an easy and straight forward way.
- Neo K12 has a great list of magic tricks videos that are suitable for kids.
- Activity Village also has a really good list of online magic trick videos for kids.
- Kid Zone has a very good list of magic tricks for kids with instructions. It also has some helpful tips for kids to improve their magic skills.
- Easy magic coin trick is a video tutorial of the setup and execution of a simple coin trick that is appropriate for kids.
- Magic Tricks for Kids has some fun videos for kid’s magic tricks. Also check out their main site.
- Magic in Minutes are very well done online video tutorials on magic tricks that are suitable for kids.
- The Society of Young Magicians is a part of the Society of American Magicians that offers a membership to youth between the ages of 7 and 17, it includes a subscription to The Magic SYMbol online magazine. If children join they have to take the Membership Pledge where they agree to not to tell any of the secrets of magic to anyone (among other things), which would probably be cool for a kid.
We couldn’t find many apps with magic tricks that are specifically designed for kids. There are a few available but the reviews for them aren’t great. However, there is a pretty big selection of magic trick apps that are designed for beginners that are good for kids as well (with a lot of practice and a bit of patience).
- Magic Lesson is good for beginner performers with step-by-step guides that include photos and video instructions. It also has tips for improving performance.
- Magic – Eye is a simple card trick kids can do on a phone. There is review of this app by a kid who explains how the app works and actually reveals the trick here.
- Invisible Deck is another easy(ish) trick that you can do on an iPhone that is okay for kids to try.
- Magic 101 has tricks for beginner and intermediate levels, you can start small and advance to more complex prestidigitations, with the option to purchase more tricks through in app purchases. Each trick includes a step by step instruction and a performance by Angelo Oddo – professional magician, and a close up video tutorial where Angelo will teach you the steps to perform each trick.
- Magic Trick is a free simple card trick app.
- Learn Magic with Lyn: 11 Tricks for Kids (ages 6-12) don’t be put off by the sort of cheesy cover, because there are some really good reviews for this DVD. Professional magician Lyn Dillies teaches kids illusions that can be achieved with a little bit of practice and minimal setup. This DVD has eleven easy tricks children can learn within minutes using ordinary, everyday household items. This DVD includes instructions for the illusions: Newspaper Ball, Magic Ribbon, Mindreading Crayons, Napkin Production, Dime Go, Ice Water, Tricky Lollipops, Cups and Balls, Eye on the Coin, Wonder Wand, and Ropes Thru Body.
- Magic Tricks R4 Kids, Vol. 1 professional Las Vegas magicians Will Roya & Joan DuKore go through step by step 15 tricks that kids can do at home. You can see a preview of this DVD here.
- Kids’ Magic Secrets: Simple Magic Tricks & Why They Work by Loris Bree and Marlin Breefor ages 9-12 (although you could probably go as young as 6) Using everyday items found in most homes, kids can improve their magic skills with this guide to performing magic tricks. In the activities detailed, items disappear, water refuses to leave a container, and magicians make partners disappear (and reappear). Each activity includes step-by-step directions and illustrations followed by an explanation of how the trick works.
- Easy-to-Do Magic Tricks for Children by Karl Fuvles (for ages 9-12) is an easy-to-follow guide that gives step-by-step instructions for performing 18 simple feats of prestidigitation.
- Magic: The Complete Course by Joshua Jay isn’t written for kids but it could be useful for older kids who are looking for a good resource to help them improve their skills. It combines expertise, photographs, and step-by-step directions showing how to perform 100 tricks. Each trick is broken down into the Effect, the Secret, the Set-up, and the Performance, with lessons on what to say, how to direct the audience’s attention, where to keep your hands, and so on.
- Kids Guide to Magic Tricks has instructions for kids on how to do: The Magic Shoelace, Cut and Restored Rope, Sticking a pencil through George Washington’s eye, Cut and restored newspaper and a fantastic 4 number prediction.
photo credit: donnaidh_sidhe via photopin cc
photo credit: ian boyd via photopin cc