7 Educational Toys Your 9-Year-Old Boys Will Love to Play With
Before we dive into this list of exciting educational toys, let's clear something up—these picks are just as awesome for girls on their quest for fun learning adventures. In fact, they can engage the whole family, including adults, in thrilling educational playtime.
With that said, let's see why, how, and with what educational toys you can inspire a love for learning in your nine-year-olds.
Why should you use educational toys to teach kids STEM?
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are the fields that shape our world. Unfortunately, many kids find them too tricky or tedious to learn, and that's where STEM toys come in handy.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which has reviewed recent research, kids are natural explorers who love to learn through play and immersive activities. In the exact words of NAEYC,
"Children become more knowledgeable about STEM topics when they are immersed in them."
Therefore, parents who want to find a fun way for their nine-year-olds to dive into the world of STEM should think beyond math worksheets. There are plenty of educational games and creative ways to provide hours of learning fun disguised as play.
And math isn't just a subject we've mentioned randomly. It's the subject that one third of Americans wish they'd paid more attention to in school, finds YouGov.
Image source: YouGov
So, if you want to ensure that your now nine year olds don't regret their educational opportunities in ten or fifteen years, it's your task to find age-appropriate and fun ways to nurture their interest in STEM, and educational toys and DIY STEM projects are your secret weapon.
How do educational toys impact your 9-year-old boy’s development?
For starters, entertaining educational toys present kids with fun challenges, boosting their motivation, which is essential for learning. Once a kid is more motivated and starts gladly playing with educational toys, parents will likely notice the following developmental benefits:
Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
While 9 year olds are not so little anymore, they're still developing and honing their physical abilities. Stacking, threading, and building are just some of the intricate manipulations your child needs to play with educational toys, helping them refine these essential skills for tasks like writing, drawing, and other daily activities.
Problem-solving skills and logical thinking
Kids love purely creative activities, and you should definitely encourage those. However, STEM toys also help kids learn how to identify problems, come up with solutions, test hypotheses, and evaluate results. Whether it's assembling puzzle pieces or figuring out strategies in board games, they'll sharpen their problem-solving and logical thinking abilities.
If your little one is late for school most mornings, with you standing by the door and telling them they only have two more minutes to put on their shoes, educational toys may be just what they need to improve their planning skills.
These toys often require kids to plan and organize their actions, helping them develop planning abilities and learn how to tackle tasks methodically—a valuable skill in school and life.
Open-ended games and toys lend themselves perfectly to imaginative play, allowing kids to explore their creativity and invent stories and scenarios. One second a DIY robot toy, the next, it becomes a spaceship with a mission to explore distant galaxies.
Such imaginative play does not only make for a fun playtime; it's also a valuable tool for cognitive development.
7 best toys for your 9-year-old boy
When you hear the phrase educational toy or a learning toy, you might initially think of toys designed for toddlers or younger kids, like those from Fat Brain Toys or similar brands.
While it's true that kids can't be too young for exploring and learning, 9 year olds don't want to play with Fat Brain Toys and the like.
Instead, they're ready to reap educational benefits and explore scientific concepts with more advanced STEM toys. Here are our seven top picks that help kids learn essential STEM skills to use in school and beyond.
Toy #1: National Geographic microscope
This compact microscope is the perfect gift for any nature lover who's curious about the world.
Image source: National Geographic Kids
Your kid finds identifying plants interesting? Well, exploring the hidden structures of leaves with a microscope is even more fascinating.
As there are several versions of the NG microscope on the market, your little nature lover can also conduct science experiments, observing minerals, plant cells, or chemical reactions in the specimen dish.
Pros and cons
Unlike a simple magnifying glass, this microscope has three levels of magnification and lights, ensuring a great view in every experiment. Also, the kit includes a pipette, slides, tweezers, and everything else you need to start playing and learning immediately.
Image source: Amazon
Moreover, exploring the world through a microscope can help kids develop focus because it requires attention to detail and patience to analyse tiny specimens.
Note that several reviewers have complained about the poor quality of the components, which are mostly made out of plastic. So, if you're looking for a sturdy, indestructible toy, you might want to keep looking. But if you're buying a gift for patient 9-year-olds with developed fine motor skills, this microscope is a great toy to choose.
Toy #2: Infento Pioneer Kit
There are many engineering activities, educational games, and toys out there that require kids to truly work their brains. Still, at the end of the day, these are just... toys.
Well, what if kids could learn about engineering principles, hone their problem-solving skills, and actually use their creations in real life?
With the Infento Pioneer Kit, they can.
Image source: Avial Bikes
What you see in the image above might seem like an ordinary bike, perhaps a bit quirky-looking. However, that ride is just one of many possible design ideas that kids can bring to life with Infento.
The kit includes hundreds of modular parts that you can assemble any way you like. That way, kids can design and ride various versions of bicycles, scooters, rideable wheelbarrows, and more.
Image source: Infento
Of course, safety is paramount, so kids should build these rides under adult supervision. That's also a nice opportunity for the whole family to bond over a shared project. Adults like STEM kits, too!
Pros and cons
The most significant advantage of this kit is that it lets kids apply their engineering and problem solving skills in a practical context. And imagine how confidence-boosting it must be for a kid to build a toy and then ride it to school! Having a cool ride can also motivate 9 year olds to spend more time on outdoor activities.
However, the price of the Infento Pioneer kit is the factor that might make this kit inaccessible to some parents. With the price of €329.00 for a whole set with no add-ons, it falls into the higher price range for educational toys.
Toy #3: Snap Circuits Green Energy
Looking for an electronic toy that appeals to budding engineers or environmentalists interested in alternative energy? If so, you should check out the Snap Circuits Green Energy kit designed by Elenco.
Image source: Elenco
In addition to components required for building devices such as a solar light clock or a multi-power windmill, the kit includes an educational manual that teaches kids about environmentally friendly energy and lists educational fun facts.
Pros and cons
With 45 quality parts, kids can create over 125 projects and learn about electronics and circuitry in an approachable and fun way. Besides having fun building functional electrical projects, kids can also get a head start in understanding green energy concepts.
Still, note that the name of the product includes the phrase snap circuits. That means that all electrical components are encased in plastic cases, making this learning toy kid-friendly, but maybe also not challenging enough for 9 year olds who are ready for bigger science challenges.
Toy #4: DIY Batmobile
A great way to step up the way 9 year olds play with educational toys is by adding robotics in the mix. And it's even better when you can combine robotics with pop culture. That's where the DIY Batmobile comes into play.
This exciting kit is among the best educational toys out there because it allows kids to build an AI-powered smart robot car.
Be warned: this is far from a classic toy that works on the plug-and-play principle. To make the Batmobile track objects or dance, you first have to assemble the car piece by piece, just like Bruce Wayne did.
But unlike Bruce Wayne, your little engineer will have the advantage of detailed instructions covered in guides about the Batmobile's anatomy, build, usage, and coding that come with the kit.
Pros and cons
Kids love superheroes, and the Batmobile kit taps into their fascination with an iconic hero. This alone can help motivate kids to take on a challenging project.
By building and playing with the car, kids learn about the fundamentals of robotics, understanding how mechanical components come together to create a smart functional vehicle. Also, the assembly process helps kids develop fine motor skills, making the DIY Batmobile a well-rounded toy.
It's worth noting that the assembly process may delight some 9 year olds while potentially frustrating others. Patience and a willingness to embrace the challenge can greatly impact your kid's experience.
Toy #5: NASA Mars Rover kit
Who among us hasn't dreamed about being an astronaut when we were kids?
That's a phenomenon that transcends generations and is still alive and well. If you're little one shares the dream, as many 9 year olds do, you can bring them one step closer to reaching outer space with the NASA Perseverance Rover kit.
The kit includes the components needed for putting together a replica of the famous Perseverance Mars rover. And this is not just a static model—we're talking about a functional vehicle with four motors that you get to navigate with a Wi-Fi controller.
Pros and cons
As expected, the kit will provide hours of playing and entertainment. But more importantly, aspiring astronauts have to excel in math, science, and engineering, and this toy helps them with the mission.
Assembling the vehicle, coding it, and operating its robotic arm serve as hands-on lessons in STEM.
There are also tons of opportunities to exercise creativity as kids invent missions and find ways to replicate the Martian conditions here on Earth. Whether you conduct experiments on your desk or opt for outdoor activities, your kids are bound to have fun controlling the rover.
Note that your child will have to stay patient for a bit more, as the rover is yet to be launched on Kickstarter.
The launch (how very fitting!) is happening soon, and you can be among the first ones to know about it by entering your email address here.
Toy #6: Jimu Robot FireBot kit
Dragons hold a ubiquitous presence in the world of 9 year olds—they're in video games, movies, clothing, and, naturally, toys. So, it only makes sense that tech-curious 9 year olds will love playing with dragon-themed educational toys as well.
If your little one is into these mythical creatures, consider getting them the Jimu Robot FireBot kit.
Image source: Amazon
Building this educational toy that looks like something from Harry Potter is more than a simple game.
To play with the dragon, kids first have to assemble the dragon using its 606 parts. Nope, this wasn't a typo, there really are over 600 snap-together parts, meaning that parents or other family members are likely to get involved in the assembly over time.
After the dragon is assembled, the real challenge begins: coding the dragon. Sorry, Harry Potter; magic is cool, but STEM is cooler.
Pros and cons
With the kit, kids can use block-based coding to program their dragon to perform various tasks, bringing their creation to life in a fun and interactive way. This nurtures their tech skills while also sparking their creativity as they explore the possibilities of coding.
Image source: Best Buy
However, you should note a potential drawback of this kit: you can only access the assembly and coding instructions on the official app. Some Amazon reviewers have reported challenges with app availability.
So, it would be wise to look up whether the app is available in your region and compatible with your device before purchasing the toy.
Toy #7: LEGO Education SPIKE set
For those 9 year olds who love creating brick constructions, the LEGO Education SPIKE set is the way to go.
Designed specifically for educational purposes, this LEGO set contains LEGO bricks and hardware components for learning STEM that include two small motors, a light matrix, and a color recognition sensor.
Image source: LEGO
If your kids love playing with the classic LEGO sets, imagine how thrilled they would be to play with the set with programmable, moving parts.
Pros and cons
Buying the SPIKE set doesn't only get you a new toy for kids; there are also five different curriculum units, each containing eight 45-minute lessons. In a way, this kit tailors the educational journey instead of parents or teachers.
However, the set is quite online-dependent, as you have to download courses and have an internet connection to fully engage with it. Depending on your educational or screen-time goals, you could be better off with a more analog toy.
Which educational toys for kids are the best picks?
9 year olds have the most diverse interests, ranging from robotics to creative arts, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
That said, if you want to give your little one a head start in STEM education, you'll be able to help them develop their problem-solving skills by choosing toys that encourage both hardware and software exploration.
In addition to educational games and toys, you shouldn't forget that the best toys also take care of the entertainment aspect, too. So, robots and automated vehicles (like the Batmobile we've seen above) that can bust out silly dance moves are always a perfect gift.
Lastly, if you pick a more complex toy, you'll get the added benefit of quality family time spent together while learning and playing. Board games aren't the only way to have fun as a family!
P.S. If a kids subscription box is something that would work better for your little ones, here's a list of the 10 best DIY subscription boxes for kids!