Nine year olds often surprise us with their evolving maturity and logic, but they’re still kids at heart who both love and need to play. As they continue to tackle new challenges, they look to us to provide opportunities to have fun, try new things, and meet their social needs. It’s a great age for making friends, building active habits and taking on new responsibilities. Looking for awesome gift picks for your special nine year old boy? Take a look at our favorites.

The Winners

#1

Atom Drop Through Longboard

Best Overall

Skateboards are cool, but longboards are faster – and they’re gaining a lot of popularity among kids who like skating. They’re also one of the specialties of Atom, the Colorado-based manufacturer who designed the Drop Through Longboard. This maple and bamboo hybrid longboard has natural wood coloring and a glossy laminate finish, featuring a trendy black abstract tribal-style graphic and the Atom logo. The shiny black wheels have lubricated bearings, offering riders extra speed. The speed, length and extra-stable wide foot board make it the perfect pick for downhill riding, but it’s also ideal for cruising around the neighborhood.

Developmental & Play Insights Atom Drop Through Longboard

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#2

Piper Computer Kit

Upgrade Choice

Building a computer is a big cognitive challenge, but the Piper Computer Kit ​​strives to make it easy and fun for kids. They’ll build their very own Raspberry Pi 3 computer from scratch, featuring cool LED lights, sounds, buttons, sensors and switches for installation. All the necessary cables are included, as is an 8 GB SD card which can be used to hold game saves and protect their data. The 50+ piece set fits together like a puzzle, and features easy to follow full scale blueprint instructions. They can put it together on their own or work as a team, and the finished product runs the Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft World.

Developmental & Play Insights Piper Computer Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#3

Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit

Best Budget Buy

Who doesn’t love a good game of laser tag? Your wallet. It’s a super cool way to stay active, but repeated sessions aren’t cheap. Playing at home is a great way to save a few bucks, and this Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit is the only one available to feature 100% sync between vests and guns. The gear designs are super realistic, and the effects are top notch. Water vapor that looks like smoke is emitted to create a battle-like atmosphere. They can retreat into stealth mode, finding a vantage point and making best use of their gun’s 225 foot range. The LED Heads Up display lets them view their stats, including health, ammo and connectivity, as long as how long their stealth will last. All the lasers here are totally safe for eye health, there’s next to no cleanup, and the entry fee is nonexistent – everybody wins!

Developmental & Play Insights Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#4

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

LEGO sets are an evergreen favorite with kids that offer opportunities for critical thinking and creativity. It’s no secret that robotics and coding are a huge part of our technological present and future, and they’re also an exciting and engaging way to get kids interested in STEM fields. When robotics and LEGO combine, watch out – they won’t put this one down. This 847 piece LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox set can be built into five unique multi-functional models that feature tilt, color and distance sensors. The models include dancing Vernie the Robot, sweet foster pet Frankie the Cat, the fun Autobuilder mech, musical pal Guitar 4000 and the exploration vehicle M.T.R.4. The robots are controlled via app on an Android, iOS, Kindle or Windows 10 device, which is not included.

Developmental & Play Insights LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#5

Realon Kids Wet Suit

Serious swimmers need real protection, and this waterproof, UV-protected wet suit from Realon is a great pick for their deep dives and underwater escapades. The Realon Kids Wet Suit is the perfect choice for kids who struggle to stay warm in the pool, offering full body coverage they won’t outgrow quickly. The UV protection on this suit is impressive at 50+ SPF, so their skin will stay safe even in harsh conditions. It’s great for sea swimming, as it protects from jellyfish, crabs and other unwanted friends. The premium neoprene suit is breathable and dries quickly, keeping their skin comfortable in and out of water.

Developmental & Play Insights Realon Kids Wet Suit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#6

Top Race 15 Channel RC Excavator

Exploring the great outdoors is even more fun when a sturdy RC vehicle is along for the ride. Highly detailed and powerful, this replica model of an excavator features 15 channel motion and can dig in any direction. The Top Race 15 Channel RC Excavator handles rocky terrain with ease, carrying dirt or sand from one location to another or loading it onto a dump truck. It makes imaginative play tons of fun, and it’s a unique addition to their RC arsenal. The impressive 100 foot control distance lets them roam while keeping the job site hard at work. It’s a big, heavy duty pick that’s made of durable material, so it holds up well to the frequent use it will no doubt receive.

Developmental & Play Insights Top Race 15 Channel RC Excavator

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#7

Discovery Kids Solar Robot Creation

Solar power and robotics come together to teach kids timely science concepts in this Discovery Kids Stem Solar Robot Creation Kit. They’ll get a glimpse at the power of alternative energy sources as they construct twelve different robots from the enclosed pieces. The blueprints are simple to read, and they’ll marvel at the way the solar engine powers their creations. The 190 piece set can also be used to create their own unique designs, and robots can be rebuilt again and again for endless fun. It’s a good pick for collaborative educational play, encouraging critical thinking and brainstorming in conjunction with teamwork.

Developmental & Play Insights Discovery Kids Stem Solar Robot Creation

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#8

Razor Jetts Heel Wheels

Heelies, heel wheels – whatever you call them, they make getting around just a little bit more fun. The folks at Razor know a little something about getting around on a few wheels, and the Razor Jetts Heel Wheels are a sturdy pick that straps on easily. They’re a lot more convenient than roller skates, since kids can strap them off and throw them in their knapsack when they’re done playing. Even cooler? They have spark pads, which create awesome (and safe) sparks in their wake as they ride. They’re a one size fits all gear choice, and they’re usable up to adult shoe size 12, so they won’t be outgrowing these bad boys any time soon and they can be adjusted for sharing easily. The spark pads do wear out eventually, but they can be removed and replaced, so they’ll be illuminated again in no time.

Developmental & Play Insights Razor Jetts Heel Wheels

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#9

ROKR Mechanical 3D Wooden Puzzle Kit

Some models are truly a sight to behold, and this detailed puzzle makes a built structure that’s a standout. The ROKR Mechanical 3D Wooden Puzzle Kit is a three-dimensional roller coaster model with twists and turns, made of real laser-cut wooden boards which pop together with ease to form the beautiful creation. The instructions are easy to follow but have all the details they’ll need to get their coaster model up and running. It’s a wonderful family project that will have all hands on deck, and the finished product is one you’ll be proud to enjoy and display for years to come.

Developmental & Play Insights Wham-O Hamper Hoops

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#10

4M Magnet Science Kit

Magnetism is a great scientific concept for early exploration. It’s relatively safe in controlled situations and it’s rarely messy. They’ll be drawn to this fun, easy to master 4M Magnet Science Kit that features a super-powered horseshoe magnet and a magnetic wand that picks up metal pieces like magic. The wand can also be used in a basic fishing game that will help them safely master this new concept. The super magnet racer is a blast to construct, and the yacht compass is a fascinating experiment in understanding poles and magnetism. The kit cleans up and stores easily, and experiments are quick and simple to execute.

Developmental & Play Insights 4M Magnet Science Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#11

Kids Fitness/Activity Tracker

Lots of kids express curiosity when they see their parents or other adults using fitness trackers. It’s not hard to see why, because they’re a lot of fun in practice. With the Kids Fitness Activity Tracker, they will be excited to see how many steps they’ve taken, miles they’ve walked, how fast they’ve traveled and what activities they’ve completed. It also has a behavior and chore tracking app that can be handy for both kids and parents. They’ll enjoy adventures and games on the go that will keep them learning and moving. The device has a companion app for parents that’s compatible with iOS and Android 4.4 and above. Conveniently, it never needs to be charged. It has a battery life of about one year.

Developmental & Play Insights Kids Fitness Activity Tracker

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#12

Envy Series 7 Prodigy

When they’re tired of riding their bike, a scooter is one way they can tear up the pavement and stay outside and active. The Envy Series 7 Prodigy has a sleek, durable design with soft and sturdy hand grips, an extruded aluminum deck and hollow core wheels for exceptional form and function. It’s great for riders who are looking to evolve their skills, because it’s slim and super fast, making it great for trick riding. It also stores easily when not in use, and it travels well, so it’s a good pick for bringing along on Summer vacations and road trips.

Developmental & Play Insights Envy Series 7 Prodigy

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#13

Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit

Who doesn’t love a good game of laser tag? Your wallet. It’s a super cool way to stay active, but repeated sessions aren’t cheap. Playing at home is a great way to save a few bucks, and this Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit is the only one available to feature 100% sync between vests and guns. The gear designs are super realistic, and the effects are top notch. Water vapor that looks like smoke is emitted to create a battle-like atmosphere. They can retreat into stealth mode, finding a vantage point and making best use of their gun’s 225 foot range. The LED Heads Up display lets them view their stats, including health, ammo and connectivity, as long as how long their stealth will last. All the lasers here are totally safe for eye health, there’s next to no cleanup, and the entry fee is nonexistent – everybody wins!

Developmental & Play Insights Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#14

Geospace Walkaroo Steel Balance Stilts

Nine year old boys are full-grown daredevils in the bodies of kids. They’re always ready for the next bold stunt, and the Geospace Walkaroo Steel Balance Stilts are a challenge they’ll love to master. Stilts may sound extreme, but this kid-friendly set adjusts at both the bottom and the top so that kids can practice safely and increase height as they gain confidence. The large rubber feet at the base of each stilt offer excellent stability as they master midair motion, and they’re non-marking, so the stilts can be used inside or outside. They’ll stay comfortable as they play, too, thanks to ergonomically designed poles which sit behind the shoulders.

Developmental & Play Insights Geospace Walkaroo Steel Balance Stilts

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#15

Oculus Rift PC-Powered Gaming Headset

When we were kids, video games were just coming into the cultural lexicon. Our 8 and 16 bit favorites have a special place in our heart, but the Oculus Rift S PC-Powered Gaming Headset make them look like kid stuff. It’s a gaming “console” that’s really a virtual reality headset. Players wear their Oculus Rift and use an external controller, called an Oculus Touch, as well as physical motion to engage with and play games. There are hundreds of games available, including some that are exclusive to the platform, and the library is expanding constantly. It’s a unique, immersive video game experience, and it features games the whole family can enjoy.

Developmental & Play Insights Oculus Rift PC-Powered Gaming Headset

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

How to Pick the Perfect Gift for An-Nine-year-old Boy

Consider Their Developmental Stage

If you’re seeking great gifts for 9 year old boys, your best bet is to focus on their developmental abilities and the things they enjoy. Making sure to choose picks intended for their abilities and age range is one way to make sure they’ll stay safe and have fun with their new toy.

Nine year olds are focused on making friends and having fun. They’re beginning to process more advanced concepts in school, and they’re feeling more confident taking on different kinds of social interactions without parental assistance. This makes nine a great age for gifting sports toys and games that get a group together for some important peer bonding time.

They’re better readers and writers than ever, and many kids may be showing interest in both reading chapter books and writing their own stories. Providing lots of kid friendly lit and opportunities for creative expression is an awesome way to encourage nine year olds to share their skills and broaden their horizons.

Entertainment vs. Education

By age nine, schoolwork is beginning to be a bit more intense for kids. They may have to actively work to understand certain concepts, which may be a change of pace for those who breezed through the first few years of school without a challenge. Downtime is important and healthy at this stage. Having educational toys and games on hand is great, but letting them disconnect and have a little down time, even if it seems mindless, is okay. Their minds are expanding rapidly, and they’re often processing more than we realize.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Physical play is important for people of any age, but it’s especially crucial in the preteen years, as it establishes healthy habits and interests that can last into adulthood. Providing opportunities to play athletic games by gifting sporting gear and toys is a good way to encourage nine year old boys to stay fit. They’ll be especially likely to want to associate with other boys at this age, so sports teams and leagues are great activity picks.

Nine year olds are getting a lot of cognitive stimulation scholastically. Their math, science and language curriculum are all becoming more advanced. Having toys and games on hand that help make understanding age appropriate concepts fun is always a good idea, but don’t push too hard. They’re likely starting to have real homework, which can be a taxing adjustment for kids.

An active social life is especially important to nine year old boys, who crave the acceptance and validation of their peers over that of their parents. It’s a good time to provide them with opportunities for healthy social interaction that’s safely supervised from a distance. Getting them into clubs and leagues is a great way to keep them safe while giving them the socialization they need for normal identity development.

Digital vs. Manual

At age nine, both gross and fine motor skills are essentially done developing. Manual toys are less developmentally important now, but they do offer a cognitive boost. This is especially true for building kits, science sets and those that encourage creative expression, critical thinking and problem solving.

While over-relying on screens is never a good idea, nine is a good age to begin introducing responsible time limits on screened devices. It’s an age where kids may receive their first simple cell phones for practical reasons, and in our digital world, it’s hard to keep them from their desire to explore. Choose apps and games that are fun, educational, kid appropriate and avoid micro-transactions.

Wrapping Up

Nine year olds have ever expanding horizons, and the wise way in which they’re beginning to see the world can often surprise us. They’re being introduced to a lot of new things, and they’re growing fast – both of these things can be challenging, but they’re up to the task. The best toys for 9 year old boys are chosen based both on their abilities and their ever-developing personalities. With a little inspiration and your know-how, you’re sure to pick a present he’ll always remember.

Quick Decision

Atom Drop Through Longboard​ – Best Overall
This hybrid longboard has natural wood coloring and a glossy laminate finish, featuring a trendy black abstract tribal-style graphic and the Atom logo.

Piper Computer Kit – Upgrade Choice
Computer building that’s easy and fun for kids, featuring cool LED lights, sounds, buttons, sensors and switches for installation.

Ranger 1 Laser Tag Reality Gaming Kit – Best Budget Buy
This pick is a super cool way to stay active. Designs are super realistic, and the effects are top notch. 

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Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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