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uying a gift for an eight year old can be quite the challenge.

By the time they’ve hit this stage of middle childhood, kids are beginning to show more independence from their parents, investing more time in building friendships, and becoming more discerning about what they play and interact with. So, it’s worth putting in the time to pick out the perfect present – whether you’re looking for a birthday party gift or a showstopper to hide under the Christmas tree.

Developmentally, children around this age have begun to hone their coordination skills – which puts bikes, scooters, and other physical-oriented gifts firmly on the agenda. This stage opens up a whole new world of games for the whole family, including board games and STEM-inspired puzzles. Especially if you’re looking for screen-free gifts, these are a great option.

Small-world play and role-play are still important developmental tools for eight year olds, so toys and gifts that encourage creativity and spark their imagination are ideal. If you’re buying a playset themed around a TV show or film they love, though, approach with caution. Word travels quickly on the primary school playground, and last week’s Big Thing can quickly become yesterday’s news.

Tech is another area that’s bound to please, and there are some seriously cool gifts – from AI-powered robots to sleek smart watches – that will be sure to put a smile on their face. And if you’re looking for tech-free options, craft kits, and books are always a winner with this age group.

Whatever you’re buying, always check the age recommendation on the box or packaging first. It’s not always an exact science, but it can be handy to gauge whether your gift will be deemed too babyish by its recipient. Trust us, it matters to an eight-year old.

Shop the best presents below

Bobbin Gingersnap bike 24″ Wheel

Bobbin

A bike is a great way to encourage an eight year old’s emerging sense of independence, and they don’t come much prettier than Bobbin’s Gingersnap.

The pastel painted frame, brown accents, and handmade wicker basket give this kids’ bike a timeless vintage feel. And thanks to the sprung, padded saddle, calliper brakes and seven gears – it rides like a dream, too.

We found the 24-inch wheel suited our eight year old tester, but the Gingersnap is available in a range of sizes. The Bobbin team recommend sizing up if your child is between frame sizes, which will give them more room to grow. And there are similar styles in the adults’ bikes too, because twinning is – obviously – winning.

Fire In The Hole game

Fire In The Hole

This super simple game is a nice one for all ages. The goal is to fire coloured cannonballs at the pirate ship’s centre. The winner is the one who scores four consecutive wins. The option to sabotage your fellow players’ progress is where things get complicated – and rowdy – and our testers loved pillaging cards, switching cannonballs around, and generally making as much pirate-themed noise as possible in the process.

The game is fun and easy to fold, and it’s not just fun. In fact, the whole thing is entirely plastic-free, biodegradable and carbon neutral – right down to the wool felt cannonballs and wooden dice. It really has a lot of things to love.

Sylvanian Families Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon

Sylvanian Families

Small-world play is still a key part of development at this age, and the beauty of Sylvanian Families sets is that they never go out of fashion. This Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon playset caught our tester’s attention because the little figure – Sally the Pony – has an impressive mane of long, silky hair. The two-storey salon has many hairdressing accessories, as well as lots of cute characters.

While these sets are never cheap, they do last from one generation to the next – which renders the price a lot more palatable. It’s easy to build up a collection, making them great gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

The Genius Square

The Genius Square

This clever game is a great way of building STEM skills without feeling like a school lesson. To play, you roll seven die to position seven ‘blockers’ in corresponding squares on a grid, then race to fill in all the gaps with nine coloured shapes. There are a possible 62,208 puzzles to complete, and there’s always a solution – it’s just a case of who finds it first.

This game is great for all ages. You can race against the clock or against another person using the second grid. If you’re looking for a fun Zoom game to play with distant relatives it works well when played remotely, too, as long as everyone has a grid. It’s ridiculously simple but surprisingly addictive, and nice and compact if you’re travelling.

Mini U Cloud Bath Bombs

Mini U

This boxed set of three bath bombs makes a lovely gift, and as each bath bomb is individually wrapped you can also split them out to pad out larger gifts or use as stocking fillers. Each cloud leaves a rainbow trail when it glides across the water surface. Ours was a hit with many adoring gasps.

There’s no overpowering scent or greasy film in the bath water, and we particularly like the fact that Mini U’s products are vegan, cruelty-free and free from gluten, soy, dairy, and artificial ingredients. Perfect for delicate eight year old skin.

Xplora XGO3 Smartwatch

Xplora

Xplora’s new XGO3 smart watch has a step counter, GPS to track your child’s location, and call and messaging functions that will only connect with selected contacts – so it’s a good option if you’re looking for a fitness tracker with some degree of connectivity, but your child isn’t ready for a phone.

You set everything up via the Xplora guardian app on your own smartphone, and you’ll need a nano-SIM card for the watch. Xplora’s Connect Saver plan is the cheapest option and equates to £6.79 a month if you pay upfront, with unlimited calls and data. The parent app can set it to school mode so that there are no distractions during lessons if your child is wearing it to school. It’s a nice alternative to a phone that enables two-way communication without putting social media and the internet at their fingertips.

When The Sky Glows

When The Sky Glows

This beautifully illustrated book is proof that non-fiction needn’t be boring. Written by Nell Cross Beckerman, it uncovers the science behind natural wonders like volcanoes, meteors, rainbows and auroras – and anything else that makes the sky glow.

The writing is both factual and poetic, and it is well-suited for this age group. But it’s David Litchfield’s otherworldly illustrations – from dazzling lightning storms to moonlit cityscapes – that will make them want to linger on every spread. This is a picture book they’ll go back to again and again, and one that you won’t mind reading with them.

FunLockets Secret Journal Glitter Edition

FunLockets

While this looks like a fairly standard journal from the outside, it’s a lot more fun once you open it up. There are loads of little compartments to store the various bits and bobs inside – from stickers and charms to secret notes scribbled on the notepad.

Our tester loved the fact it’s lockable, so the contents are safe from the prying eyes of older siblings. It’s a cute twist on a classic journal that encourages mindfulness, while adding an element of play – and the price-point makes it a nice birthday party present.

Miko 3 Smart Robot

Miko

If you’ve managed to keep your eight year old away from tech so far, they’re likely to love the Miko 3. The smart robot acts like a child-like version of Alexa. It can answer basic questions about the world and interact with your child.

As with all these sorts of toys, Miko’s full capacity is only really unlocked once you add on the Miko Max subscription, which costs an extra £6.58 per month if you buy the annual sub, or more if you pay monthly. Once you’ve got access to the premium content they can watch factual kids’ TV shows and animated Disney stories, and play all sorts of games and quizzes.

There’s a real focus on educational content – our testers liked the Lingokids language videos and the basic coding exercises. This might not work well if your kids aren’t used to asking Alexa for everything or using a tablet. It was only able answer very basic questions. This is a great gift for kids who are just starting to get into tech, and also has an educational aspect.

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise

Little Live Pets

If you’re being hounded to get a pet but can’t quite bear to take the plunge, the Little Live Pets Mama Surprise might just be the answer to your prayers. The interactive guinea pig Mama arrives with a hutch and some straw, and with enough love and attention – that’s plenty of stroking, brushing her hair, and feeding her with the little mini celery stick – her heart starts to glow. After she has settled back in her hutch, close her door and wait, a baby Guinea Pig will appear.

The baby guinea pigs appear from a tiny compartment at the top. This compartment allows you to reload them and rebirth them as many times you want. Our tester loved this toy just as much as before. Stock up on AAA batteries and thank your lucky stars you won’t need to clean out the hutch.

Sprite Classic LED Micro Scooter

Micro

By eight, many kids are beginning to find their balance and may well be ready to graduate from a three-wheeled scooter to a two-wheeler. The Sprite Classic Micro Scooter is ideal for that transition – and not just because of the all-important light-up LED wheels. This model has a lightweight aluminium frame, a streamlined footplate and handy kickstand, and 360-degree steering – just like a bike. The handlebars can be adjusted to fit your child’s height, and the scooter folds down so it can be stored in the boot. It looks and feels decidedly more grown-up than other models, and the light-up wheels – which are powered by the movement of the scooter, not batteries – are the icing on the cake.

Treasure X Mega Treasure Bot

Treasure

This fierce looking bot ticks a whole lot of boxes – from sound effects and slime, to kinetic sand and even real gold-dipped treasure. He is in dire need for repair. This is all part and parcel of the fun. It’s all very hands-on and there’s lots of sensory fun involved.

Once you’ve located the treasure – the bot’s power core – he really comes to life, and our tester still enjoyed playing with this once the initial set-up was over and done with. It was an exciting experience to find and de-rust the gold.

Barbie Sewing Machine with doll

Barbie

This dinky little sewing machine comes with a Barbie doll plus everything your eight year old needs to fashion her a new wardrobe. While the hot pink design makes it look like a toy sewing machine, it’s actually the real deal – so they’ll need a little supervision when using the needle.

We like the fact there are two speeds, so you can go a bit slower while you’re getting to grips with using the pedal, and the patterns are a nice addition. This machine is great for encouraging creativity and teaching sewing to children who find a full-sized machine intimidating.

Aqua Gelz Colossal Activity Set

Aquagelz

This weird and wonderful craft set was a huge hit with our testers, who hadn’t seen anything like it before. You basically create a flat design using paint-like liquids. Then, you place the mold into a special solution. The liquid design will bubble up and pop out of the mold to create a 3D creature that is squishy and soft. This takes less than five minutes.

They’ll harden up if you take them out, so we left our submerged and now have a whole faux fish tank filled with cute underwater creatures. There are smaller starter kits available, but we chose this one due to its 14 colours and 20 characters.

Verdict

Bobbin’s Gingersnap bike was met with adoring glances from our eight year old tester and certainly has the wow factor when it comes to gifting. It’s top quality, timeless, and will grow with your child as they explore the world on two wheels.

At the other end of the price range, Fire In The Hole is as much fun as it looks and we love the game’s sustainable credentials, and When The Sky Glows is our top pick when it comes to books.

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