Toys Your 9-Year Old Will Like According to Experts

Toys Your 9-Year Old Will Like According to Experts

Since 9-year-olds are breaking out of that in-between stage — they’re basically considered tweens now — they probably want to play with all kinds of toys and games that might actually be meant for kids outside of their age group. But don’t worry: We’ve got recommendations for age-appropriate, exciting toys and gifts for 9-year-old boys that they’d love to play with, from laser-chasing race cars to robots that can transform into something entirely different to drones that can actually be controlled by a 9-year-old.

In order to find the very best gifts for kids, the Good Housekeeping Institute regularly evaluates toys to make sure they’re well-constructed, easy to assemble and safe to play with. Each summer, we bring kid testers to our «Little Lab» to help us decide which toys are the best overall (and which ones we should skip altogether) — that’s how you know you can trust all of our recommendations below. (The best of the best are included in our 2020 Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards.) You can also check out Good Housekeeping‘s other gift guides for kids of all ages, from toys for 2-year-olds to gifts for teens.

These are the best toys and gifts for 9-year-old boys in 2020:

FYI: Certain items may be shipped later this year due to the pandemic. You can check here for all shipping deadlines to ensure your item arrives in time for the holidays.

2020 Good Housekeeping Toy Award Winner

Professor Maxwell’s VR Science Lab

Professor Maxwell’s


The classic science kit moves to the 21st century with this STEM set, which has augmented reality capabilities. Step-by-step instructional videos and on-page pictures come to life when you use it in conjunction with a phone or tablet; the kit comes with enough material to make 25 projects (though some household items are required). Ages 8+

Zero Gravity Laser Race Car

Air Hogs


This laser-controlled race car literally defies gravity — it can climb up walls and move across ceilings! Just point the LED controller on a smooth surface, and the car will chase after it. While the car itself charges via USB, the remote control requires three AAA batteries that aren’t included. Ages 8+ 

Cooperative Family Board Game

Funko Last Defense! Board Game

This board game is perfect for family bonding, because it requires players to work together, so you work as a team. In it, various sci-fi threats are descending on a small town, and it’s up to the players to collect objects and rescue scientists to save the planet before it’s too late. The best thing is, the game is a race against the clock, so each round is designed to take 20 minutes or less. Ages 8+

STEM Toy for Tween Boys

Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplanes Conversion Kit



Regular paper airplanes might be fun to make, but kids can take it to the next level with this kit that makes paper planes fly by using an app-controlled device. It’s easy for kids to build and connect via bluetooth. It’ll help promote STEAM learning by teaching your 9-year-old the basics of flight, lift and aerodynamics. Ages 8+

Fun Subscription Box for Kids

R&T Crew Club

Road and Track

Even though he can’t drive himself around yet, he’s probably still curious about cars and how they work. This subscription sends two things every other month: a special magazine for kids and box of car-themed activities and accessories that will teach him STEM skills. PS: When you sign up, you’ll be able to download and print a driver’s license template that you can customize for him. Ages 6+

RELATED: 20+ Subscription Boxes for Kids That Deliver Fun to Your Door

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#AA108 Camera Drone

Altair Aerial


Chances are that your kids are fascinated with drones, so you might as well give them an age-appropriate one to play with. It’s super easy for beginners to use, but there are three different levels so they can continue to fly it as they advance their skills. There’s even an option to map out the drone’s route on a phone. It can fly for 10 minutes straight before the battery needs to be charged, and it also includes a backup battery. Ages 9+

Crayola Marker Maker



This kit blends art and science, since it gives kids enough materials to blend their own colors and fill their own makers. They can even design their own labels! There’s enough included to make 16 markers. Ages 8+

Fun STEM Toy for Tweens

Mini App-Enabled Programmable Robot Ball

With this robot the size of a ping pong ball, kids can play games, learn to code, and drive around your house. He can also use the Sphero app and the included cones and bowling pins to build an obstacle course for his robot. There’s also the option to purchase the Sphero Mini Activity Kit, which comes with a 28-piece construction set in addition to the robot. They come in a variety of different colors, but the shells are all interchangeable so you can purchase new shell colors separately. Ages 8+

RELATED: The Best STEM Toys for Kids

Single-Player Board Game

Dog Crimes

Think Fun


Kids become the detectives in this game, using clues included on challenge cards to deduce a culprit from a list of canine suspects. (There’s also Cat Crimes too.) The game is meant to be single-player, although kids can always work together as a detective team. Ages 8+

iPod Touch (32GB)

Even though it’s more of a splurge gift, your 9-year-old can use this iPod Touch kind of like a first phone in the sense that there’s the capability to send messages and use apps with WiFi rather than cellular service. They can even play games on certain apps without requiring an internet connection. For added safety, adults can use parental controls to restrict certain content and set screen-time limits on the device. Ages not specified

Cool Drones for Kids

Air Hogs Supernova

Air Hogs

This mini drone doesn’t require a remote control — you can control it with your hands, since it has sensors that respond to motion and light. Once kids get the hang of it, kid can try mastering 30 moves and nine tricks. Ages 8+ 

Coding Toy for Tweens


This robot is about to be your kid’s new best friend. Cozmo will encourage your 9-year-old to play fun (but still& educational) games with him, like memory and coding activities. What really impressed our kid testers the most was that it can even learn how to pronounce your child’s name. You’ll need a phone or tablet in order to play, but the drag-and-drop system makes it easy get started right away. Ages 8+

Slap Ninja Game

JAKKS Pacific


Even though it’s not your typical board game, this toy still performed well in our at-home board game testing. It requires two players, so one person plays a ninja master who tries to protect a coin and the other plays as the student who tries to touch the coin. He can improve his reaction time and reflexes while playing, too! Ages 8+

Technic Chevrolet Corvette

Perfect for older kids who love playing with LEGOs, this car building kit is very detailed, since it includes four tailpipes and low-profile tires. Once he’s done playing with it, he can use the same pieces to build a replica of a Hot Rod. Ages 9+

Stomp Rocket


These Stomp Rockets work exactly like you’d think. Your older kids — with a running start, of course! — jump up and stomp down on the launcher to watch the rocket soar up to 400(!) feet high. Kids can compete to see who can make their rockets go higher — and let’s face it: parents will want to try too! It comes with six rockets in case any go missing. Ages 9+

Electro Dough Kit

Tech Will Save Us


With this STEM toy for kids, your 9-year-old can mold this conductive dough into all sorts of shapes and designs. They’ll learn all the basics of circuits and how electricity works by playing with the buzzers and LEDs. The options are endless, so they can even turn the dough into a homemade operation game! Ages 4+

STEM Toy for Tweens


This remote-controlled spider is small enough to fit right in your child’s hand. Its see-through body allows kids to see the inner workings of a robot to help promote STEM skills and interest. During past toy testing, kids definitely preferred playing with multiple Hexbug Spiders at the same time, since they can be controlled with the same remote. There’s also a Scorpion version available that has similar functions. Ages 5+

Cool STEM Building Set

K’NEX STEM Explorations: Swing Ride Building Set

With this building set, your kids can use gears, connectors, and rods of all different shapes and sizes to experiment with building three different amusement park rides. There are step-by-step instructions on how to build a swing, ferris wheel and boom ride. It even comes with a battery-powered motor to make the rides move. Ages 8+

N-Strike Elite Trilogy DS-15 Toy Blaster

Since it can blast up to three darts at the same time, this Walmart-exclusive Nerf toy is an awesome gift idea for any 9-year-old boy. It comes with five shells and 15 Nerf Elite darts to fill them up. Parents won’t need to worry about buying batteries, either, since it’s operated entirely by your child. Ages 8+

Spark Kick Scooter

Outdoor playtime will instantly be much more fun when your 9-year-old can ride this scooter. The special cartridges leave a trail of sparks behind as he pushes down on it while riding. In addition, it conveniently folds in half for easy storage and transportation. Ages 8+

Millennium Falcon Bluetooth Speaker

Star Wars


This unique speaker is great for kids and Star Wars fans who want to just hang out at home listening to music. They can connect their device wirelessly via bluetooth and it works from up to 30 feet away. There’s even a button that allows the speaker to light up while music’s playing for fun visual effects. There’s even an option to connect your device with the aux input, but you’ll just need a cable for that. All ages

RELATED: The Coolest Star Wars Gifts for Kids and Adults

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Hot Wheels TechMods Accelo Gt

Hot Wheels


With this Hot Wheels toy, your 9-year-old can build his own car and then use the TechMods app to control it. There are two different ways to play: freestyle mode or treasure-hunt mode. Within the app, kids are able to play games and unlock different challenges while driving the car. Just note that the app is only available on Apple or Android devices. Ages 8+

STEM Toy for Tweens

Base Inventor Kit



While previous versions of littleBits have won Good Housekeeping Toy Awards in the past, this kit is all your 9-year-old needs to explore his interest in STEM. He can customize the robotic arm to make it feel more personalized, and control his functions on a device with the free app. There are 12 different activities to complete, which transform the robot into other cool inventions (like an intruder alarm). Ages 8+

Subscription Box for Kids

Doodle Crate

Creativity is just as important for kids’ growth as STEM skills are, so this subscription box focuses on art and design. In each box, he’ll get detailed instructions and all the materials needed to complete the project. Ages 9+ 

Fun Family Board Game

Monopoly Voice Banking

What makes this electronic version different from the classic game of Monopoly is the fact that all the banking is done via voice recognition — meaning there’s no physical cash involved! Play with anywhere between two and four players, and you’ll notice that the game goes by faster than Monopoly usually does. Ages 8+

RELATED: The Best Board Games for the Whole Family

Traditional Soccer Ball

Sports fans and aspiring soccer players would love to have a soccer ball of their own so they can practice their skills right at home. Make sure to get «size 4» for kids in the 8 – 12 age group — it’s a bit smaller than the standard adult soccer ball. And at just $15, it’s an affordable and easy way to encourage your 9-year-old to get some outdoor play in. Ages 8+

Spin & Spiral Art Station



Hidden Side Newbury Haunted High School

All of LEGO’s new Hidden Side building kits incorporate a new element of play into the mix: augmented reality. The new feature helps make building even more interactive when used with the app. With this specific kit, kids can build a haunted school from the ground up (it’s loaded with a ton of details), then go on ghost-hunting adventures with the eight figures (including a ghost dog). There are also smaller, less expensive Hidden Side sets that that still have the AR capability. Ages 9+

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet

PlayStation Store Gift Card

If you need a good last-minute gift idea, you can get a digital gift card to use in the PlayStation store. Choose any increment between $10 and $100, and with it he can download games, movies, music and more to his PlayStation gaming system. One thing to note: since it’s a digital gift card, you’ll only receive a code to redeem on the console rather than a physical card. Ages not specified

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