The best toys for 8 year olds and gifts you can buy them will not only reflect their interests but also the stage they are at in life.
Read on for advice from experts in child development on how an 8 year old’s physical, emotional and mental development might affect how they play, what they want to play and who they want to play with.
Or, scroll down for our pick of the best toys. From craft kits to play sets, to collaborative games and comic books. We’ve got all the best buys covered so you can pick the best toys out there.
Don’t forget to check out our other toy buying guides for kids of all ages, from sensory toys and games for 1-year-olds, toys for 2-year-olds, educational toys and toys suitable for 4 year olds and upwards.
What are the best toys for 8 year olds?
Catherine Lynch, senior manager at PlanBee and a qualified Play Therapist, explains that while 8 year olds seem much more grown up than kids aged 4, 5 or 6, the way they play doesn’t change as quickly as they grow:
“For children of all ages, play is learning. Children play to learn, to understand and to process. The way children play changes as they grow but not as much as you might think.”
As a result, some of the best toys for 8 year olds are those that are similar to tops they played with when they were 7, or even 6. Toys that encourage imaginative play, skill building and spark an interest in new hobbies:
“The same basic elements, including enjoyment, are present regardless of the child’s age. Children often access the unconscious while playing to explore something they are finding challenging, for example, trying something new is less threatening when done in a game where a new role or persona can be adopted. “
What games do 8 year olds play?
For 8 year olds, it’s not so much what games they play, but who they are playing with that’s important. If you’re a parent, don’t be surprised (or offended!) if your child wants to play games with their peers instead of you.
As Catherine explains, it’s not personal! It’s just where they’re at in their development: “8 year olds often don’t like missing out on things that are going on with their peers and will spend an increased time with friends. They are likely to spend a large amount of time playing games that develop skills to help them improve competency and can be very self-critical.
“Parents and caregivers of 8 year olds can support children by providing opportunities for social interaction with friends. Maybe one of the most important things is to listen when the child is being self-critical and support them. Do your best to help them feel heard, supported and encouraged.”
Research Psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer suggests that the best games and toys for 8 year olds will include:
- Detailed arts and crafts or music they can spend time perfecting
- Team and competitive sports
- Social games – whatever is popular amongst their friends – e.g. trading cards, collectables
We have included these and loads more suggestions in our handpicked list of toys and gifts below. Just scroll down to take a look.
Best toys for 8 year olds
Playmobil Furnished School Building with Digital Clock
Age Suitability: 5 – 12 years | Batteries required: 2 AAA batteries | Price: £107.98
Stereotypes such as ‘boys become doctors’ and ‘girls become nurses’ may start to creep in around the age of eight, so buying children toys that dispel these assumptions and help teach kids that these old-fashioned stereotypes are wrong as great toys for kids. Play sets that include a range of figures and reflect real life environments like schools, hospitals, vets, fire stations, or simply shops and services you’d find on the high street are all great for this and encouraging imaginative play.
Cool Maker GO GLAM Nail Stamper
Age Suitability: 8 – 14 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £40.69
If you wear nail varnish there’s a high chance your child will have asked if they can wear polish too by now. Nail play sets for children of this age tend to include specially formulated nail polishes that are safe and suitable for children, as well as fun stickers and stamps that they can play with to get creative with nail art.
LEGO Make Your Own Movie
Age Suitability: 8 – 12 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £11.99
Lights . . . camera . . . action! Kids at this age are fascinated with the way things work and how they are made – whether it’s wanting to see under the hood of a car or behind-the-scenes of their favourite movie. Foster this thirst for knowledge and give them the tools to do it themselves, with one of these ‘make your own movie’ sets. This beginner-friendly guide to stop-motion animation is perfect for teaching kids the basic and all they need is a phone or tablet.
CREATABLE WORLD GGG55 Deluxe Character Kit Customisable Doll
Age Suitability: 6 and up | Batteries required: None | Price: £16.48
At this age, many kids will have started to become aware of body image and changes in their appearance as they grow compared to their peers. For some, this means a dip in confidence. Making sure a child is aware and familiar with the fact that everyone is different, with different body types, hair colours, heights, builds and features is important. If your child has shown an interest in – or loves – playing with dolls, make sure they have a wide variety of different dolls in their collection that reflect the diversity found in real people in the real world.
Mini Pom-Pom Pets (Klutz)
Age Suitability: 8-12 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £11.59
Kids find satisfaction and enjoyment out of envisioning and creating their own projects at this age, whether it’s learning the basics of needlework for fabric crafts, painting pottery or making clay models from scratch.
VTech 8-in-1 Kidi Concert karaoke machine
Age Suitability: 5-10 years | Batteries required: 4 AA batteries (included) | Price: £37.02
Children who love performing, singing songs they’ve heard on the radio around the house or just getting silly and having some noisy fun will love a karaoke machine. They’ll love being able to sing along to their favourite tunes and it’s something they can play with along with the rest of the family.
Makey Makey – An Invention Kit for Everyone
Age Suitability: 8 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £40.72
Allow kids to be free to create how they want and follow steps to make something unique that they have built and designed themselves. There are so many kits like this out there to choose from – with options including building robots, cars, droids and more.
Ravensburger Scotland Yard Family Strategy Board Game
Age Suitability: 8 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £20.99
8-year-olds like playing in groups and are better at working together than when they were younger, so collaborative games that require a team effort to complete them are great. Whether it’s solving a mystery, building or creating something or overcoming a multi-layer challenge, all of these games will be great at engaging a child.
Banov The Ultimate Unicorn Slime Making Kit
Age Suitability: 8 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £18.61
Kids love them, parents dread them, but there’s no denying that making slime is one of the most popular toys of kids out there right now. Plus, kits that show kids how slime is create are great for introducing some of the basic principles of science and experimenting, meaning kids are actually learning while playing (and maybe making a bit of a mess!)
Age Suitability: 8 years | Batteries required: None | Price: £23.95
Eight is a good age to begin talking with children about saving and spending money wisely and teaching them the value of money. Many children of this age will now have pocket money, so giving them somewhere safe to store and save these coins, but also access them when they want to buy something, is a step on the way to understanding more about money.
Winning Moves 31615 Board Games, Roald Dahl
Age Suitability: 8 years and up | Batteries required: None | Price: £29.99
Not only do kids loving playing board games with both friends and family as they provide an opportunity for fun quality time together, but challenging games that require some strategic thinking are great for their development too. Plus, learning to lose and that you can’t always win at everything is an important skill at this age – and one that a board game can definitely teach.
RYZE Tello Drone
It may seem a little much for a child of this age, but 8-year-olds will be seriously impressed by this mega-cool piece of kit. Like any remote-controlled toy, kids will love figuring out the controls and learning to use the gadget to the best of their ability. With drones, there’s the added aspect of being able to take pictures or videos too.