21 of the best toys for 8-year-olds, with advice from a school psychologist

two adults and two children playing with rubik's cube gocube edge - one of best toys for 8-year-olds
The GoCube adds an interactive level of fun and challenge to the classic Rubik's cube.

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  • We rounded up 21 best toys for 8-year-olds with advice from a school psychologist.
  • When shopping for gifts for 8-year-olds, embrace their full range of interests, from games to books. 
  • Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested.

We all want the gifts we give to show our loved ones that we have been paying attention to their interests. With kids, the trick is finding a gift that is not only relevant to their interests, but also stimulates their rapidly developing brains. 

To find the best toys for 8-year-olds, we spoke with Roseann Capanna-Hodge, a school psychologist and pediatric mental health expert. One of the main things Capanna-Hodge noted about 8-year-olds is that "the toys they choose often reflect a desire for structured independence." For this reason, we chose toys and activities that kids can interact with on their own.

Recently, there's been concern about the effects of social isolation on kids. "Any game that teaches children about waiting their turn, switching gears, communication, or teamwork works toward social skill development," said Capanna-Hodge. We kept this in mind as we scoured the toy universe for the very gift ideas for 8-year-olds. 

Here are 21 of the best toys for 8-year-olds:

A building kit to spark musical imagination

two children playing with a wooden xylophone toy that is a cool STEM gift for 8-year-old boys

Smartivity Music Machine, available at Amazon, $33.97

For 8-year-olds who love STEM and music, this building kit will give them the chance to indulge both interests. They'll begin with 237 parts and step-by-step instructions to build a working xylophone. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

An updated version of a classic game to teach important lessons

Hand placing block on top of Jenga Ocean set

Jenga Ocean, available at Bureo, $49.95

The classic tumbling tower game raises the stakes with special rules. The blocks made from recycled fishing nets feature marine animal designs, and players are given a mission to save the animals. According to Capanna-Hodge, 8-year-olds have a strong sense of fairness and prefer games with clear rules. Jenga's simple combination of dexterity and luck encourages fair play.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A crafting set to inspire giving

box of beads in many colors and safety pins for making friendship pins for 8-year-old gift idea

Bottleblond Jewels DIY Friendship Pin Gift Kit, available at Nordstrom and Uncommon Goods, from $25

Art-based toys give kids a creative opportunity to practice fine motor skills and repetitive actions that can build self-regulation skills, according to Capanna-Hodge. This kit comes with more than 70 safety pins and a variety of seed beads and alphabet beads to make one-of-a-kind friendship pins. Mini envelopes are included so kids can gift their creations to friends and family.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A puzzle to delight nature lovers

rainforest puzzle in shape of tiger with pieces making up smaller illustrations of animals and plants

Mudpuppy Rainforest 300-Piece Puzzle, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $16.99

Kids will love piecing together this vivid rainforest illustration transposed on a tiger silhouette. They can sharpen their fine motor and problem-solving skills to figure out how different shapes connect.

Recommended ages: 7 years and up

A book that highlights inclusiveness and uniqueness

A Kids Book About Being Inclusive
A Kids Company About

A Kids Book About Being Inclusive, available at A Kids Book About, $19.95

Teaching children to not only accept differences but also to embrace them creates a better world for everyone. This book introduces concepts like acceptance, belonging, and uniqueness and talks about gender and LGBTQ+ friends. Plus, it gives kids real-life ideas for creating a more inclusive world in their daily life.

Recommended ages: 5 years and up

A build-your-own marble run

Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set

Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set, available at Amazon and Fat Brain Toys, from $56.95

Marble runs have never been this cool thanks to a buildable track that uses magnetics, gravity, and creativity to keep marbles on a roll. There are 24 fun challenges for guided play that requires spatial reasoning and planning. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

An educational slime and putty kit

Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set

National Geographic Mega Slime Kit, available at Amazon, $29.99

Kids can use their hands to explore and learn with eight slimes and putties, each with unique qualities, like glow-in-the-dark slime and magnetic putty. The learning guide full of fun facts makes this kit as informative as it is fun.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A Hot Wheels tower for epic races

Hot Wheels Sky Crash Tower Track Set

Hot Wheels Sky Crash Tower Track Set, available at Amazon, $54.99

Launch cars into mid-air stunts and crashes with this 3-foot-tall tower track. The tower can store 20 Hot Wheels cars for easy access to the looping track when kids want to add more vehicles and create more awesome stunts. 

Recommended ages: 5 to 10 years

A solar system mobile

4M Solar System Model Making Kit

4M Solar System Model Making Kit, available at Amazon, Macy's, and JCPenney, from $20.99

Skip the Styrofoam balls with this solar system model that uses snap-together planets and glow-in-the-dark paint. Display the model side by side with the informational poster to complete the combination of craft and education. A solar system mobile is a striking and stimulating addition to any kid's bedroom. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A Lego Super Mario boss battle

Lego Super Mario Bowser's Castle Boss Battle

Lego Super Mario Bowser's Castle Boss Battle, available at Amazon and Target, from $98.99

With 8-year-olds' increased fine motor skills and desire for independent success, guided building toys like Lego sets are ideal for this age, Capanna-Hodge said. Though technically an expansion pack to the Super Mario Starter Set, Bowser's Castle is exciting enough to stand on its own. Over 1,000 pieces combine to create the epic boss battle, including Bowser, Dry Bones, Boo, and Lava Bubble minifigures. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up 

A multilevel version of 'Rush Hour'


Thinkfun Domino Maze Logic Game, available at Amazon, $30.80

Inspired by the classic Rush Hour puzzle game, Domino Maze is a step up with two levels of playing grids. There are 60 challenge cards from beginner to expert level, prompting players to dodge blockers and navigate staircases. This logic and problem-solving game rewards the puzzle-solver with a successful domino run.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A magical craft kit

Craft-astic I Love Unicorns Craft Kit
Pottery Barn

Craft-astic I Love Unicorns Craft Kit, available at Amazon and Target, from $18.89

There are six crafts in this box set, including a headband and key chain for kids to show off their enchanting new skills. Incorporating different craft techniques in one set allows kids to explore their artistic abilities and may spark a new interest. Unicorns have never been more popular, so a unicorn gift like this is sure to be a hit. 

Recommended ages: 7 years and up

A Harry Potter mystery game

Clue Harry Potter Wizarding World Edition

Clue Harry Potter Wizarding World Edition, available at Amazon, $36.99

In this magical version of Clue, players can move through the halls of Hogwarts to find out who has vanished and what spell was used. The board moves to reveal hidden staircases or the Dark Mark because, as any Harry Potter fan knows, Hogwarts can change at a moment's notice. The variable nature of board games challenges the structured thinking of 8-year-olds to be more flexible, according to Capanna-Hodge.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A remote control flyer

Zing Go Go Bird

Zing Go Go Bird, available Amazon and Target, from $34.99

With flapping wings and obstacle avoidance technology, this bird is a fun and easy introduction remote-controlled flight. The Go Go Bird can fly up to 200 feet away and is made of flexible material to minimize damage from falls, perfect for a young flyer. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A make-your-own surprise craft

Craft-tastic Make Your Own Surprise Balls

Craft-tastic Make Your Own Surprise Balls, available at AmazonFat Brain Toys, Target, and Barnes & Noble, from $14.99

Encourage creating and giving with a DIY surprise ball kit that includes materials and instructions for five crafts. The kit comes with charms to hide in the surprise balls, but kids can use their own materials for extra creativity. Siblings or close friends can do this project together and exchange their surprises afterwards. 

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A DIY soda can robot

two purple and blue robots outdoors in grass

4M Tin Can Edge Detector Robot, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Macy's, from $10.51

Put recycling into action with a toy that turns a soda can into a moving robot. Except for the soda can, one AAA battery, and a small Phillips head screwdriver, this kit contains all parts needed for kids to build their own motorized toy. This gift can sneak meaningful discussions about recycling and engineering into a fun and creative activity. Capanna-Hodge said, "Look for toys that challenge your child to learn something new"

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A mini waffle maker

Dash Mini Waffle Maker

Dash Mini Waffle Maker, various patterns, available at Amazon, from $17.99

Dash Mini Waffle Maker, various colors, available at Target, from $12.99

This mini waffle maker comes in different patterns and shapes for a unique breakfast experience. Kids will love having their very own kitchen appliance, plus the pineapple-shaped waffles it produces. Baking tools for kids help them engage in the tangible and educational joy of the kitchen. 

A scientific DIY bouquet

Crayola STEAM Paper Flower Science Kit

Crayola STEAM Paper Flower Science Kit, available at Amazon and Michael's, from $14.98

According to Capanna-Hodge, 8-year-olds love to explore new activities. This Crayola STEAM kit uses new art and science techniques to produce displayable crafts kids can be proud of. With materials to create 12 paper flowers, this kit offers hours of independent crafting. The color mixing guide can stimulate even more experimenting as kids go from these flowers to other paint palettes. 

Recommended ages: 7 years and up

A sports mug that's sure to score points

Max Playful Sports Mug
Uncommon Goods

Max Playful Sports Mug, available at Uncommon Goods, from $25

Any sports-loving kid is always throwing and catching things in the house. Give them a mug that harnesses their active energy into a manageable size. Available in soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, and football designs, young athletes will dunk a marshmallow or score a cereal goal without making a mess. 

A competitive electronic Rubik's Cube

GoCube Edge Full Pack

GoCube Edge Full Pack, available at Amazon, $74.98

The Rubik's Cube just got upgraded with GoCube and its free companion app. Players connect to the GoCube app via Bluetooth to track progress, compete with other players, and attempt challenges. This is an endless brainteaser that makes screentime more active.

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

A juggling set for beginners

Juggling for the Complete Klutz

Juggling for the Complete Klutz, available at Amazon and Kohl's, $14.99

Test a kid's hand-eye coordination with an instructional juggling set. The three velour balls come with a traveling case and manual for beginners, but the talent and focus is up to the lucky recipient. 

Recommended ages: 8 years and up

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