Nine year olds are a weird bunch. They’re still kids, but they’re close enough to pre-teen territory that finding them the perfect Christmas gift can be seriously tricky. So allow us. No matter what your child — or niece or nephew, or grandchild, or godchild — is into right now, we’ve found something to suit. Speed racers, book-lovers, mess-makers and game-players of all kinds; budding scientists, beginner magicians and curious minds are all catered to, so read on for inspiration, and find the gift that’s sure to score you points with your favourite nine year old.
1. Holy Stone Offroad RC Car 1:16 Scale High Speed Remote Control Truck
A sturdy and shock-proof remote-control car for hours and hours of enjoyment
Best for: Outdoor play | Type: RC car | Educational: No | Power type: 3 x 1.5V AA batteries
This beast of a remote-control car takes our top spot with its ruggedness, readiness and sporty looks. With suspension and shock-absorption to rival those of a real car, it stands up to even rough racing, and it’s all ready to run as soon as it’s out of the box, no set-up needed. While fast, it’s very easy to control no matter what direction you’re sending it in, so everyone can have a go, even less confident drivers. A high-quality buy that’s sure to delight.
2. Harry Potter Box Set: the Complete Collection
An investment set for book-lovers still awaiting their Hogwarts letter
Best for: Bookworms | Type: Book set | Educational: Yes | Power type: None
Inspire a new generation of Potterheads with this beautifully presented gift set of all seven books in the series. Featuring wonderful new-edition illustrated covers from Jonny Duddle, the very sight of them is sure to inspire a sense of magic, and they’ll look fabulous on their bookshelf too. No matter whether you adore the wizarding world, or can’t tell your bowtruckle from your blast-ended skrewt, these books are a wonderful journey for kids and parents to embark on together.
3. 6 Grammar & Sentences Board games
An immersive way to learn word types, punctuation and more
Best for: Learning through play | Type: Board game | Educational: Yes | Power type: None
These grammar-challenging board games make learning the intricacies of the English language fun — trust us, it is possible! — by teaching and testing clauses, connectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives, and apostrophes across six games. Kids are far more likely to respond to the interactivity of spotting sentence changes and seeing what differences they make than to learning by rote, and let’s face it: it’s way more fun for parents too! A great educational gift that’ll inspire them towards thoughtful and creative writing.
4. Tobar "TIME SHOCK" Brainteaser Game
Sure to make you jump, this beat-the-clock puzzle game is great, frantic fun
Best for: Quick responses | Type: Board game | Educational: No | Power type: None
Simple, but enormously fun, the time-honoured tradition of beating the buzzer is still going strong in the slightly anxiety-inducing Time Shock. Look for the individual pieces to fit the cutouts, and put them all into their correct place before the timer runs out and sends them flying all over the place. It comes with a handy storage tray to keep all those little pieces in check, and best of all? No batteries.
5. Brainstorm 2-in-1 Earth and Constellations Globe
Indulge their wonder and curiosity with this terrific transforming globe
Best for: Astronomers | Type: Globe Earth and constellations | Educational: Yes | Power type: 4 x C batteries
For curious kids, this immensely giftable globe is sure to be a hit. By day, it’s an Earth globe showing country boundaries, natural features such as lakes and rivers, and capital cities. By night, its clever light sensor automatically darkens the globe and reveals a glow-in-the-dark map of the night sky with labelled constellations. A beautiful and useful gift for budding geographers and astronomers.
6. John Lewis Chess & Draughts Game
A solidly made version of two timeless board games to keep in the family
Best for: Head-to-heads | Type: Board game | Educational: Yes | Power type: None
While people all over the globe dedicate their lives to learning every move in the chess Grandmaster’s handbook, you might be surprised that it hardly takes any time at all to learn the basics, meaning you’ll be set up and ready to play in a flash. With pieces for playing chess or draughts, this attractive wooden set will provide hours of competitive fun, and a great bonding exercise for you and your future Kasparov.
7. Magic Tricks with Coins, Cards and Everyday Objects
Encourage your little Houdini without making your money disappear
Best for: Entertaining | Type: Book | Educational: No | Power type: None
Getting into the art of magic can be a little on the pricey side, so this helpful book, which teaches a huge range of magic tricks using just everyday objects, is an excellent way in without spending a fortune. Your child can learn everything from mind-reading to making things disappear, and even tricks for confident performing, all with stuff you have lying around the house. Gives them everything they need to impress at the next family do for a very reasonable price.
8. Nickelodeon Experimake Sludge and Slime
Slimy, sludgy, sciencey fun is on the horizon thanks to this Nickelodeon set
Best for: Mini scientists | Type: Science set | Educational: Yes | Power type: None
We’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like making a mess, or one who doesn’t like experiments, for that matter. Indulge their mad scientist tendencies, and your own, with this Experimake kit from famous purveyors of slime Nickelodeon. They can make slimy snakes, goo, multiplying slime balls and even snot — gross, but very good fun, with a good few immersive science lessons packed in along the way.
Check out our guide to the best Christmas gifts for 8 year olds here.