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At 9-years old, children are at a perfect age to fully appreciate educational toys without the toys feeling like work – or a learning experience. I’m going to cheat and say that the best STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toy for your child is a subscription to a KiwiCo Tinker Crate! This gives your child a new STEM box every month, making it ideal for any STEM/STEAM interest your child may have. If your child really loves it, you have the flexibility to keep progressing through the different types of kits, right through their teenage years!
So without furder ado, here are some of the best educational toys for 9-year-olds, in no particular order.
- Best for STEM Learning: KiwiCo Tinker Crate
- Best for Learning Logic & Programming: ThinkFun Code Master Game
- Best for Learning Technology and Programming: Piper Computer Kit
- Best for Learning Logic & Deduction: Scientific Explorer Crime Catchers Spy Kit
- Best for Learning Architecture and Geography: National Geographic Play Sand
- What to Consider When Buying an Educational Toy for a 9-Year-Old
- Frequently Asked Questions
Related post: Ultimate Guide to the Best STEM Toys
Getting your 9-year-old a Tinker Crate subscription from KiwiCo, gives them a new STEAM project every month. This gives children exposure to all four STEM fields + Art (ie. STEAM), which could result in developing an interest in a field that they have never been exposed to before. From robotics and mechanics to crystals and safe chemical experiments, this subscription can make any field fun and exciting.
We think the best thing about this is that it keeps your child engaged in STEM. When they tire of one area, they can check out another field. Over time, their room will become like a mini scientific laboratory and architectural design area.
You never know if you will like something unless you try it, and these STEM kits offer more than just a passing exposure to some of the best in traditional and new STEM areas.
Check out our detailed comparison article to find the best STEM Subscription box for your child!
For your child interested in coding, the ThinkFun Code Master Game is a great option. Before diving into coding, this game helps your child learn to think like a programmer.
It is a board game with a finite number of levels. With 60 levels, it might take a while to get through all of them. It isn’t as hands-on as other toys, but learning the logic behind coding is just as important as the actual coding itself. Since it is a board game, there is no learning curve, so your child can dive right into it.
After learning programming logic, your child can move on to robots and start to see results much faster than if they start with robots.
The Piper Computer Kit is an amazing STEM kit that literally lets your child build a computer. This teaches them about everything inside a computer so that they can do basic computer maintenance and know what components they need to upgrade – instead of buying a new computer every couple of years.
Beyond computer basics, this learning kit helps them learn about basic wiring and engineering. Made of wood, it is safe so that they don’t get hurt. Once the computer is built, your child will be able to play Minecraft.
Apart from playing Minecraft, the computer cannot be used as a computer. There is no keyboard, though there is a mouse. You may also consider getting a Raspberry Pi Projects Workbook with this kit so that you can keep your child engaged. This is how your child would learn how easy it is to code and to see how most coding works.
This computer is pricey, making it a bad choice if you aren’t sure that your child enjoys building computers from scratch and learning to code at the same time. If this is the case, the Kano Computer Kit may be a better starting point and is designed for ages 6 and up.
For children interested in mysteries, the Scientific Explorer Crime Catchers Spy Kit lets them learn how real detectives solve crimes. From matching fingerprints and DNA sequences to decoding messages and running tests, this STEM kit runs the gamut for challenging the brain.
It includes all of the chemicals and tools needed which are safe for a 9-year-old. This kit can expose your child to so many different scientific fields that might help them find a new STEM area to be enthusiastic about.
The only real drawback is that there are only two mysteries to solve and there are no expansion packs. Once both mysteries are solved, your child may not have much left to do with the kit. For the price though, it is a very good value. Also, your child may come away from being interested in learning more about a particular science or field.
The National Geographic Play Sand is a toy that nearly every child can use that can also be shared with friends. It’s both creative and educational. As a National Geographic toy, it includes molds so that your child can recreate famous buildings and structures from around the world.
As a parent, you’ll benefit from the fact that the sand doesn’t make much mess compared to clays. It only sticks to itself, making it incredibly easy for kids to put away the play sand when they are done. It’s also a kind of toy that most kids come back to repeatedly. The more mentally engaged children will probably start to wonder how the sand is made, taking them much further into the “How It’s Works” science side of the sand.
The only reason it doesn’t get a full five stars is that there is no specific lesson. It is a more sophisticated type of clean clay, but it has the potential to teach children a lot if they want to know how it works or decide to start designing their own structures.
What to Consider When Buying an Educational Toy for a 9-Year-Old
Every 9-year-old has his/her own interests and hobbies. You need to find something that will be interesting to your child. Buying a kit to make a robot if your child is not interested in either coding or robotics will not help. There are so many different STEM fields that there is bound to be at least a few STEM sets or learning toys that could catch your child’s interest.
Some STEM toys do require more room than others, with engineering and architecture being the most notable for requiring space. Avoid getting toys that require a lot of space or that will require weeks to months of work to complete if you don’t have enough room to house them.
We’ve presented some of the best in new toys and offerings, but there are still many older toys that could be just as satisfying. If your child loves the stars, a telescope is probably better than anything on this list. If your child loves music, an instrument could be far more enjoyable than anything listed here. You don’t have to go for the newest offerings – there is a good reason why traditional toys are still around.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these toys only for 9-year-olds?
All of the toys on this list are for a certain age range so you don’t have to worry about your child “outgrowing” any of the toys within a year. If you have a child who is a little younger or older than 9-years-old, they may enjoy these toys. Most of these toys are too advanced and potentially dangerous for younger children. Pay attention to their interests before making a purchase.
Are Legos considered to be STEM toys?
Yes, they fit into both engineering and technology, depending on what kind of kit you get. Since they are an obvious choice, I avoided adding them here, but they are a very good choice if your child loves to build.
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Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API