The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

13 best gifts for nine-year-olds, from Harry Potter puzzles to scooters

Our definitive guide to the best toys and activities for girls and boys

Katie Gregory
Monday 07 March 2022 12:23
<p>We looked for value, durability, and fun – with the emphasis most definitely on the latter</p>

We looked for value, durability, and fun – with the emphasis most definitely on the latter

If you’re wondering what gift to buy for a nine-year-old, you’re not alone. Nine can be a tricky age to buy for – do you go for toys or tech? Cute or cool? And how do you know they’re actually going to like it?

The good news is: the average nine-year-old is into everything. They’re not too old to play with toys, by any stretch, and will still get stuck in to small-world play and role play.

But they’re also on the cusp of the pre-teen years and they’re making leaps and bounds developmentally. That puts things like tech and more complex STEM and construction toys firmly on the agenda too.

So, to help you decide which direction to go in, we’ve rounded up a list of gifts for nine-year-olds that they’ll really love. We’ve included gifts nine-year-olds can enjoy independently – whether that’s a construction toy they’ll be proud to build by themselves, or a journal where they can share their thoughts privately – as well as items like books and baking accessories, which facilitate family time.

How we tested

Our nine-year-old testers worked their way through a list of gift ideas and tested a variety of age-appropriate items, either independently or with parental supervision. We looked for products right across the spectrum of price points, from pocket money toys to investment items. We also awarded points for value, durability, and serious fun factor – with the emphasis most definitely on the latter.

The best gifts for 9-year-olds for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Sprite classic LED micro scooter: £109.95, Micro-scooters.co.uk
  • Best for mindfulness – HappySelf junior journal: £22.40, Happyselfjournal.com 
  • Best for crafty fun – Aquabeads beginner’s carry case: £18, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for wannabe vloggers – GorillaPod mobile vlogging kit: £179.95, Joby.com
  • Best for postal gifting – Don’t Buy Her Flowers create your own kids’ package: £5.50, Dontbuyherflowers.com
  • Best big ticket gift – Raleigh 24-inch pop bike: £350, Raleigh.co.uk
  • Best for birthday party gifting – Hobbycraft design and wear hair fashion set: £10, Hobbycraft.co.uk
  • Best for scaring your siblings – Hexbug Scarab: £9.98, Hexbug.com
  • Best for budding bakers – KitchenAid artisan mini 3.3 litre stand mixer: £399, Lakeland.co.uk
  • Best for physical fun – The Original stomp rocket: £13, Hamleys.com
  • Best for construction skills – University Games Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle 3D puzzle: £20.97, Whsmith.co.uk
  • Best for bookworms – His Dark Materials Folio Society illustrated hardback edition: £155, Foliosociety.com
  • Best for STEM-inspired fun – Build Your Own binoculars: £19.99, Buildyourownkits.com

Micro Scooters sprite classic LED

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Of all the gift ideas we tested, the sprite classic LED micro scooter was, without doubt, the best. While there are lots of scooters on the market, we’ve never found a brand that comes close to Micro Scooters in terms of quality and durability, and this particular model ticked lots of extra boxes, too.

With a lightweight aluminium frame and adjustable handlebar, the sprite classic suits kids up to around 152cm tall, and fit our nine-year-old tester well. It’s foldable, which is great for car journeys and storage, and it has a handy kickstand to keep it upright when it’s not in use. The LED wheels light up when they turn, so there’s no faffing with replacement batteries. And it really comes into its own in winter, as our tester could be clearly seen whizzing by on dark evenings.

One important thing to note is that this model is a two-wheeler, which requires a degree of balance and means the scooter steers like a bike with 360-degree steering. If your child is less confident on a scooter it’s worth considering a three-wheel model instead, which offers more stability and steers as you lean. Either way you can be confident that it’s built to last, with replaceable parts that’ll see them scooting happily for years to come.

HappySelf junior journal

Best: For mindfulness

Rating: 9/10

This daily journal for kids aged six to 12 went down very well with our tester. It’s full of gentle prompts to encourage mindfulness, reflection, and gratitude, but there’s also lots of scope to doodle and draw so it doesn’t feel anything like homework.

Nine can be a real turning point for emotional development and our tester used the journal as a starting point for some really interesting – and illuminating – questions. She liked the fact it’s not dated, so you can pick up where you left off, and loved all the little characters that pop up throughout the journal. There’s a version for younger kids, teens, and adults, too. Perfect if you need a reminder to look for the positives.

Aquabeads beginner’s carry case

Best: For crafty fun

Rating: 8/10

These tiny, water-activated beads tick a lot of boxes – from encouraging creativity, to developing fine motor skills and sensory play. Our tester loved the fact this starter kit comes with everything you need to get going – there’s a little pen that picks up the tiny individual beads, a spray water bottle, and 900 beads including some special star-shaped ones. Plus, the box itself doubles up as both a creation station and carry case.

Open it up and there are compartments for beads as well as a tray to create your designs on. You can follow the little patterns provided, which slide underneath the tray, or freestyle and create whatever you fancy. Our tester’s school bag is now adorned with various Aquabead keyrings, and we particularly liked the fact there’s no need to set the designs with heat – like ironing or baking – so they can crack on unsupervised. When they run out of beads, you can top them up with a mega bead trunk (£25, Argos.co.uk) which comes packed with a whopping 3,000.

GorillaPod mobile vlogging kit

Best: For wannabe vloggers

Rating: 9/10

Know a nine-year-old obsessed with making YouTube style videos? They’ll love this mobile vlogging kit from Joby. It combines the GorillaPod mobile rig, Beamo mini LED, and Wavo Mobile microphone in one handheld bit of kit. Just pop a parents’ phone in the rig and hit record, and they’re well on their way to internet stardom.

Our tester particularly liked the fact he could take the phone mount off and use a normal camera with the GorillaPod stand, which is handy for kids who don’t have their own phone (or a parent willing to relinquish theirs). The clever adjustable stand allows you to record hands-free when you want to, and even wraps onto things while you’re out and about. As the price suggests, it’s a quality bit of kit that will last them years and see them all the way through homespun videos into more serious vlogging.

Don’t Buy Her Flowers create your own kids’ package

Best: For postal gifting

Rating: 8/10

If you can’t see your recipient on their birthday and need to post their gift straight to them, this create your own kids’ package from Don’t Buy Her Flowers is a great idea. Your box includes a personal message and has the option of gift-wrapping and next-day delivery, so all the bases are covered.

The package price starts at £5.50, then you add items like books, bath bombs, pyjamas and edible treats. We went for a bit of a foodie theme and chose six different items for our recipient including a Smartie cookie mix in a jar, a baking book, popcorn and milk chocolate buttons. Items range in age suitability from babies all the way up to teenagers, with lots of lovely self-care products that would work well for older kids. The ordering process was nice and easy and our tester was absolutely delighted with their package – we’ll definitely be ordering gifts from here again.

Raleigh 24in pop bike

Best: Big-ticket gift

Rating: 9/10

If it’s time for a bike upgrade, take a look at Raleigh’s pop 24. Designed to fit kids aged roughly eight-11 (or 129cm-132cm), this 24in bike has a brilliantly retro vibe with an aluminium frame, chunky wheels, and a choice of classic colours.

Our nine-year-old tester, who is at the smaller end of the spectrum, could just reach his feet to the floor so there’s plenty of room for growth. They also loved the fact this bike is lightweight, which is an important consideration for this age group – especially if they’re still relatively new to cycling. The brakes have been designed for smaller hands, the pedals are non-slip, and the whole thing feels seriously robust.

As parents we particularly loved the fact the bike came almost fully assembled, so all we needed to do was straighten the wheel and add the pedals before he could zoom straight off on two wheels. This is a quality bike with a timeless design that will be passed on from one generation to the next.

Hobbycraft design & wear hair fashion set

Best: For birthday party gifting

Rating: 7/10

It’s always handy to find a decent birthday party present that comes in around the £10 mark, and this hair fashion kit is exactly that. It comes with five plastic headbands ready to decorate, plus loads of colourful pom poms. We ended up using a hot glue gun to stick ours on, which worked much better than the glue provided.

It also contains a length of elastic and loads of fabric tubes to make scrunchies, plus a couple of squares of tulle to create a fancy fascinator. All in all it’s a cheap and cheerful kit that doesn’t require any sewing skills and kept our tester busy on a rainy afternoon.

Hexbug scarab

Best: For scaring your siblings

Rating: 8/10

This speedy robotic bug scuttles around the floor like a real-life creepy crawly and garnered squeals of delight when it was let loose by our tester, who deemed it perfect for scaring his little sister with. With six spindly legs it scurried around at lightning speed and successfully freaked out the wider family, too.

There are several colours available and various other bugs at the same pocket money price-point too, including a scorpion and a beetle. The scarab was by far the fastest and our tester loved the fact it could flip itself over from its back. A whole lot of fun for less than a tenner – just be warned, they’re decidedly delicate and easily trodden on.

KitchenAid artisan mini 3.3 litre stand mixer

Best: For budding bakers

Rating: 9/10

If you want to treat a budding baker to the kind of gift that will last a lifetime, it’s got to be a stand mixer. A feature of every TV baker’s kitchen, it’s become a cult classic in the culinary world. And considering the minimum entry age for the Junior Bake Off is nine-years-old, now is the time to invest if your not-so little one is keen to take their baking to the next level.

We tested the KitchenAid artisan mini 3.3L stand mixer, which is 20 per cent smaller and 25 per cent lighter than the full-size model. It works brilliantly for small, supervised hands, without losing any of the power – we rustled up a mean Victoria sponge worthy of Paul and Pru themselves, without feeling like we were scrimping on size.

As with all KitchenAid stand mixers, there’s a raft of accessories you can buy to go with it, and this will see your nine-year-old all the way into their teenage years and beyond. The bonus of course is that parents can get loads of use out of it too, which certainly helps to justify the price.

The Original stomp rocket

Best: For physical fun

Rating: 7/10

This kid-powered rocket makes a great birthday gift – it’s quick and easy to assemble, doesn’t require batteries, and our tester has gone back to play with it again and again. The premise is simple – the harder you stomp or jump, the higher the rocket flies off the launching pole. We were impressed at quite how high that is, particularly when parents get involved.

This toy is a great way to encourage outdoor play, although we tend to use ours in the park to avoid our rockets constantly landing in the neighbours’ garden. Tweaking the set-up encourages discussion around trajectory and aerodynamics, and there’s an accompanying science book if you want to explore more in the way of STEM-inspired play.

University Games Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle 3D puzzle

Best: For construction skills

Rating: 8/10

University Games have created a whole range of 3D puzzles aimed at those over eight-years-old, our favourite of which is the Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle. Our tester refused any help and disappeared to his room, then proudly revealed the finished results several hours later. We love the fact the pieces pop out and slot together without glue – although he did request some sticky tape to hold the larger parts in place.

As well as the complete Harry Potter series there are Game of Thrones, Marvel Studios and Disney Frozen versions too, plus 3D models of several Premier League football stadiums including Wembley and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. Plus, Star Wars and Mandalorian model kits are due to be added soon, so there really will be something for all film and TV fans.

The Folio Society ‘His Dark Materials' illustrated hardback edition

Best: For bookworms

Rating: 9/10

If you’re buying for an avid reader but want something with real wow-factor, take a look at the Folio Society’s special edition books. Our nine-year-old tester’s jaw nearly fell out of his head when he opened this hardback set of Philip Pullman’s trilogy, an exquisite black-and-gold boxed set that stands head and shoulders above all the other dog-eared books on his shelf.

The pages are gorgeously thick, the adventures of 12-year-old Lyra are nail-bitingly good, and the colour illustrations kept our little reader/listener engaged. It’s at the older end of the spectrum in terms of reading age and content, but we chose this set as it’s an enjoyable one for parents to read along with kids – especially if you’ve seen the TV series.

There are also plenty of options if you’re buying for a younger reading age, or for a child to read independently, including some lovely Roald Dahl collections that work equally well as keepsakes for younger children.

Build Your Own binoculars

Best: For STEM-inspired fun

Rating: 7/10

Build Your Own’s range of innovative kits are all made from sustainable cardboard and designed for kids aged eight upwards, so they’re great for this age bracket. We tried the binocular kit and were impressed that everything – including 67 press-out parts and four lenses – flat-packed so neatly into a small, eco-friendly box.

It took our tester about an hour and a half to build with a fair bit of parental supervision, and although the kit says no equipment is needed, we did need to use plenty of glue as the tripod just wouldn’t stay together without it. That said, we had lots of fun in the process and our tester was hugely impressed at how well the binoculars worked when they were done – even if they are a little bit too delicate for outdoor pursuits.

The verdict: Gifts for 9-year-olds

While it’s hard to pick a winner from such a varied range of gifts, the Sprite classic LED micro scooter came out on top overall for durability and sheer wow-factor. It also makes walking to the shops a lot faster. Hexbug’s scarab was our winner at the budget end of the price spectrum, and KitchenAid’s Mini 3.3l stand mixer was our best blow-out purchase that could be enjoyed by the whole family.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on presents, try the links below:

Shopping for someone a bit younger? We have rounds up of the best gifts for five-year-old’s as well as presents for new parents too

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in