Enjoy buying eight-year-olds a present – it’s not long until they’d probably prefer to receive a voucher or cold hard cash to choose their own gift.
But for now you can still blow their minds with a gift that they’ve wanted for ages or seen on a cooler kid, or that gives them new skills or knowledge, or one that opens the door to whole new worlds.
1. Brainstorm 2-in-1 Earth and Constellations Globe: £25.99, John Lewis
This is lovely – by day it’s a big standard globe, albeit a nice one. But it comes into its own by night when a sensor switches on the LED lights inside to illuminate the key stars, each with their Latin and common names. It’s magical the first time, and the hundredth time, and is surely the first step in being an astronomer or physicist. Needs batteries or a power cable, both sold separately.
2. Big Sticky Note Pad: £7.99, The Present Finder
This pad of 50 yellow pages, each 30cm by 30cm, is ideal for leaving notes (“My room, keep out”) or drawing pictures that will easily stick to the wall. Perfect for anyone of any age, but a sure hit for an eight-year-old.
3. Mighty Animal Speakers: £19.99, Firebox
Just because they are small doesn’t mean they’re not loud. These animal speakers easily fit in a small bag or bedside drawer, even in your pocket, but pack enough of a punch for an instant disco when you connect it to a phone or computer via Bluetooth. There are seven animal designs – we like the dog and the unicorn – and they can also act as a microphone and selfie-remote.
4. Tatty Devine Personalised Necklace: from £27.50, Tatty Devine
Initially conceived as a name necklace, there’s no reason not to design an inspirational message necklace instead. You choose the text, font, colour, charm, chain and length, so the possibilities are many, but we like the idea of reminding an eight-year-old to seize the day.
5. The Foolish King by Mark Price and Martin Brown: £10.99, David Fickling Books
This is a very clever book – a magical story with dragons and magic and kings that also introduces children to the rules of chess, including puzzles for them to solve as they work their way through the story. Rusty parents should sneak a read when the kids are in bed too before taking up their challenge of a game. There’s an app (£3.99 on iTunes) with tutorials and games for young players.
6. Chess & Draughts Game: £15, John Lewis
If you buy the above book, you may well want to combine it with a chess set too. This wooden one includes draughts pieces and is rather beautiful in its simple elegance and classic pieces.
7. United Oddsocks – Hop Skip & Funk: £10, Amazon
Here we have six odd, but complementary, colourful socks in a cute box, meaning you can create 15 different pairings. This heart- and stripe-based set fits size 12 to 5.5, but there are other designs in other sizes available too.
8. Learn The Ropes Kit: £12, National Maritime Museum Shop
Sold as a key skill for sailors (well, it is from the Maritime Museum shop), learning to tie knots is a brilliant skill on dry land too, ideal for den-building, kite-making and tying up siblings among other things. The kit contains three ropes and a spool of cotton, and a booklet giving step-by-step instructions.
9. DreamWorks Trolls Grumpy Branch: £21, Build-A-Bear
For kids who are into the current Trolls craze, Build-A-Bear has several characters available. You can buy them online but go to a store and you get to stuff your own, giving it a heart and choosing quite how stuffed you want it to feel. For kids wanting a more traditional type teddy, there are plenty of them on offer in-store too, as well as an array of stuffed toy clothing and accessories (for a price).
10. Harry Potter Box Set: the Complete Collection: £39.99, Bloomsbury
Eight is a great age to start reading Harry Potter, if they’ve not already started. The early books are the least scary, and least long, so kids can ease themselves into the series and grow up with the characters. This is a lovely box set of paperbacks and well worth the investment.
The Verdict: Gifts for 8-year-olds
The Tatty Devine necklaces are brilliant – we want a name one, a passive aggressive one, an aggressive aggressive one and a poetic one, and that’s just for starters, so get the right words and you’ll get a very appreciative eight-year-old. But our Best Buy is the Brainstorm 2-in-1 Earth and Constellations Globe – it’s truly lovely when lit up at night in a darkened bedroom.
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