It’s a fact known throughout the land that’s truer than true, older kids are the most challenging humans to please when brainstorming gift ideas. But, don’t fret! If you have an almost-tweenager that resides on your holiday list, we’re making the seemingly impossible, possible. Scroll through our carefully curated guide of the best gifts for nine and 10-year-olds below, and triumph will be yours.
For the Fitness Driven: Fitbit Ace
With Fitbit Ace, fitness is not only fun, but it’s also interactive. It tracks activity including steps, active minutes and sleep, displays stats, sends celebration messages when goals are smashed, gives badges when milestones are reached and delivers encouragements to stay on the move. Kids can even go head-to-head in friendly step competitions with friends to win trophies. Activity and progress can be viewed using Fitbit’s new family account feature on their app.
Available at fitbit.com/ace, $79.95.
For Builders: LEGO's App-Controlled Batmobile
Raise your hand if you've ever bought your kid a LEGO set just so you could encourage her to scooch over so you could build it? Yes, us too. The scooch requests could turn savage when you lay your eyes on LEGO's App-Controlled Batmobile. Once you've done them the favor of building it, your kids can navigate Gotham City crime scenes with this sleek vehicle that features a functioning mini-figure cockpit, 4-wheel drive and two dual stud shooters for taking down perps. It also includes a new-in-2018 Batman minifigure, Bat weapons and elements to customize your build and minifigure.
Available at shop.lego.com, $99.99.
For Crafty Kids: Llama String Art Kit
Busy hands are happy hands. Add a llama to the mix and you have pure bliss on those happy hands. Ann Williams' Craft-tastic Llama String Art Kit has plenty of string and fluffy stuff to make two beautiful llama canvases. If you have a kid who loves the appeal of string art but isn't so much into the llama drama, be sure to shop the website for a peace sign, rocket, heart and more.
Available at annwilliamsgroup.com, $19.99.
For the Fashionista: UrbanHalo
Hair wraps, headbands, no matter what you call them, they're all the rage. Solid colors to bold wild designs, it all goes. UrbanHalo has loads of print options to accessorize your kid's unique style and personality and most importantly, a no headband-headache promise.
Available at urbanhalo.com, $15.
For the Future Startup Exec: littleBits Base Inventor Kit
littleBits is an education startup that invented electronic building blocks or Bits, that snap together to turn the ideas of our future changemakers into inventions. Regardless of gender, race, nationality or ability, they are working to empower all kids to solve the epic challenges ahead. The intro kit includes everything creative kids need to take action on their concepts with a range of Bits that move, light up and make noise.
Available at shop.littlebits.com, $99.99.
For Decorator Types: ArtSugar Prints
Once kids hit the double digits, they start yearning to shed the little kid vibe that may still be clinging to their rooms. Help them swank up their pad to fit their style by clicking through ArtSugar's gallery of cutting-edge, charity and Instagram-driven, affordable contemporary art. ArtSugar taps the most popular global artists on Instagram to help monetize their art efficiently so they can focus on their craft over logistics. As a feel-good bonus, they donate 5% of proceeds from every purchase to partners including City Harvest, ASPCA, Girls Who Code, and God’s Love We Deliver.
Available at artsugar.co, starting at $75.
For Builders: LEGO Hogwarts Great Hall
Super-fans of Harry Potter and LEGO will adore bringing Hogwarts Great Hall to life in glorious brick-building fashion. This detailed, four-level structure includes a fireplace, benches, tables and reversible house banners as well as the Grand Staircase tower with a spiral staircase, potions room, treasure room, sorting hat, Mirror of Erised and lots of magical artifact accessory elements. Best of all, the LEGO Hogwarts Great Hall set includes 10 minifigures, including Harry, Ron and Hermione, of course.
Available at shop.LEGO.com, $99.99.
For Extreme Sports Lovers: K2 Skates
You can't go wrong with the K2 brand of skates as their name is synonymous with comfort, and their style consistently offers a rather rad way to attach wheels to those little piggies looking to move faster and play harder. We recommend the K2 Marlee for girls and K2 Raider for boys.
Available at k2skates.com, $85.
For DIY Types: Animals Soap Kit
Count yourself among the lucky few if your home hasn't turned into a factory pumping out several tons of homemade slime a week. The fad has made one thing clear: kids can't get enough DIY. Use this knowledge to encourage them to make something a bit more functional and a lot less furniture-ruining with Bramble Berry's Cute Animals Soap Kit. The kit comes with a soap base, a reusable mold and printed instructions. Kids will have a blast creating their own soaps with color and scent combos that speak to their uniqueness.
Available at brambleberry.com $34.99.
For Merging Sports & Tech: Dribble Up
Club sports can be intense and practice time required to keep up can be ugh-worthy. Dribble Up is reminding kids that soccer and basketball shouldn't feel like a chore with balls that have the feel of regulation equipment, but track your progress and give guided training based on identified weaknesses. Ball control, juggling, dribbling and shooting are all recorded and can be viewed from the app, along with interactive workouts and 30-day programs with clear video instructions.
Available at buy.dribbleup.com, $79.99 basketball & $89.99 soccer ball.
For Goal Setters: "This Will Be My Year" Planner
Remember the days when we used to jot things down on paper with some sort of writing utensil? Bring back the glory days of paper organizers with the This Will Be My Year planner that covers 2019 with year, month and week views. Besides laying out the full year ahead, it features cool artwork, stickers, weekend to-dos and loads more.
Available at bando.com, $32.
For the Artists: Stabilo Markers
Oh, the excitement that comes from opening a brand new pack of markers! It's downright exhilarating for the artsy folk. The Stabilo 20-pack of fine-line pens from Paper Source gives all the colors needed for creative endeavors in a convenient plastic case that can be folded to stand up. The pens feature a non-smudging, water-based ink formulated to withstand long cap-off time—because you know the leaving the cap off thing will happen.
Available at papersource.com, $29.95.
For STEAM-ers: Yellow Scope's Paper Chromatography
Two scientist moms with a shared passion for science, education and closing the gender gap in STEM-related fields founded Yellow Scope to inspire girls to explore their world and its infinite possibilities. Their newest kit, Paper Chromatography: The Art and Science of Color, uncovers the hidden colors in plants, art supplies and candies. Any kid, boy or girl, will have hours of fun using the high-quality lab supplies to dig into hundreds of color-changing experiments using a beyond-cool scientific technique called paper chromatography.
Available at yellow-scope.com, $39.99.
For Wizarding Fans: S'ip by Swell Harry Potter Water Bottle
These S'ip bottles are made by Swell and are perfect for little hands. The 15oz. stainless steel bottle come in four prints inspired by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, will keep water cold for up to 12 hours and have a leak-proof cap that means your kid can toss her bottle in her backpack and go.
Available at sipbyswell.com, $19.99.
For the Slime-Obsessed: Kinetic Slime & Sand Kit
Give your slime-obsessed kid another way to play with the gooey stuff. This all-in-one kit from Spin Master comes with colors and sand so your mad scientist can customize his slime in all kinds of ways. Add a drop of color, throw in some kinetic sand for grit or even add stuff from around the house like glitter or googly eyes.
Available at walmart.com, $9.97.
For Bookworms: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown
Wimpy Kid fans are in luck! The latest story in this series was released on Oct. 30. When middle school is closed for a snow day, the neighborhood quickly transforms into a winter battlefield. Snow forts are built and snowball fights ensue, and in the middle, is Greg and Rowley. But will their friendship survive the snow meltdown?
Available at amazon.com, $9.90.
For Kids Who Need to Move: Ogo Disk Grip
Throw. Catch. Bounce. A mix between badminton, paddle ball and a mini trampoline for balls, the new Ogo Grip Disk set is a perfect way to hone hand/eye coordination, inside or out! Kids can use it alone, or with friends.
Available at ogosport.com, $30.
For Bike Riders: Light Racer Kit
Your big kid is old enough to start riding his bike out and about with friends, and what better way to combine his love of STEM with outdoor fun? The Light Racer Kit comes with everything he'll need to create bike lights that flash as he rides. He'll learn how wireless electricity works, and also be the flashiest kid on the block.
Available at techwillsaveus.com, $24.99.
— Maria Chambers