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Best toys for eight-year-olds 2022: Fun and creative gifts they’re sure to love

Matt Reed
7 Dec 2021
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Discover our favourite toys suitable for 8-year-olds, starting from £10

If you’re struggling to find the best toy to suit your eight-year-old, you’ve come to the right place. At eight, your child is becoming quite the individual, growing both physically and mentally as they navigate primary school. They’re also learning a bit of emotional maturity – even if it might not feel like it. So, as their independence grows, their hobbies begin to crystallise and their baby teeth start falling out, it can be difficult to know what would be an appropriate present for them.

We’ve made a buying guide to help you find gifts that will nurture your eight-year-old’s emerging passions while keeping them entertained. Whether you’re after something for a science brainiac, a never-stops-moving ball of energy or an imaginative artist in the making, we’ve got you covered with a list of our favourite toys that will bring them joy on their birthday, holiday or any other day.

Before we get into our product roundup, we’ll answer some of the burning questions you may have on how to choose the right gift that today’s youngsters will love. But if you know them inside and out – or just want to get that perfect, last-minute gift as soon as possible – feel free to scroll down for our expert picks.

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How to choose the best toy for your eight-year-old

What does your eight-year-old like?

It might seem obvious but pick something they will enjoy. It can be an easy option to go after a toy that you liked at their age or that you want them to like so they can become the next child genius or international footballer. There’s no harm in introducing something new, just as long as they’re interested in using it themselves – you’ll have a happier child, all while avoiding a splurge on something they don’t want.

More generally, kids aged eight are likely to be settling on a chosen sport or hobby they enjoy, so it could be good to encourage that. They also have longer attention spans, so gifts that require patience and attention to detail – like model construction or crafts – can often be well received. Similarly, with technology increasingly a part of youngsters’ lives, many children will appreciate complex STEM-related toys, including robotics-related toys.

What about gender?

Try to avoid gendering toys. Kids at eight years old will begin to have more assurance of their identity, meaning they are likely to understand how they view themselves and their gender in relation to their peers, friends and family. However, most children don’t fully explore their gendered identity until they begin puberty, so don’t rule out buying toys for your eight-year-old because of traditional gender stereotypes – both girls and boys can have as much fun playing with Nerf guns and making beaded bracelets as each other. It’s also beneficial to the emotional and mental well-being of your child to let them explore different sides of themselves.

How much should I spend?

We’ve chosen toys at a range of prices between £10 and £300, but it really depends on the durability and longevity you think the toy could have for your eight-year-old. If it’s catering to a new hobby, perhaps start out with a cheaper option, but if the toy is part of a passion or skill that has been brewing in them for a while, it’s worth investing in a toy that will last much longer. Buying a durable, quality toy is usually the more environmentally friendly and cost-effective option in the long term.

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The best toys to buy an eight-year-old

1. Rubik’s Original Cube: The best classic toy

Price: £10 | Buy now from Argos

Ernő Rubik’s colourful little cube is the world’s best-selling toy, shifting more than 450 million units since its heyday in the 1980s. With over 43 quintillion moves possible, it remains a fascinating and absorbing puzzle, and worldwide competitions take place year after year as more and more young people get addicted. You can buy cheaper imitations, but they always seem to lack the smoothness and durability of the original.

Key details – Age range: 8+; Other colours/versions: No

Buy now from Argos


2. Anki Cozmo Robot: The best STEM toy

Price: £299 | Buy now from Amazon

It may be pricey, but this is a clear winner among STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) toys. Created by a team of roboticists, animators and developers, Cozmo is great fun – not just for kids but for adults, too. He’s like one of those pet robots you see in the movies, with a natural tendency to play, a personality that draws you in from the off, and seemingly endless capabilities. More than 25 new ways of playing have been added to his skillset since his launch last year. With facial recognition, Cozmo learns who he’s talking to (although he occasionally muddled up our children), and there’s no shortage of games he can play. Robust, portable, funny, adorable: Cozmo is a great addition to the family, so long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, which is required to make him work. Check out this year’s special limited edition colour.

Key details – Age range: 8+; Other colours/versions: No

Buy now from Amazon


3. 3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Printing Pen Set for Kids

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

For any young artist with big ideas, a 3D printing pen is surely a dream-come-true – and before you ask, no, it doesn’t get hot and doesn’t harm skin. Using non-toxic, biodegradable plastic, it lets kids draw any 3D shape they want. Honestly, it’s quite incredible to watch, and because there’s just one temperature, button and speed, it’s really simple for youngsters to use. We also like the fact that it comes with plenty of ideas to guide first-time users, covering themes like architecture and robotics. If you have a creative youngster to buy for, it really doesn’t get better than this.

Key details – Age range: 8+; Other colours/versions: No

Buy now from Amazon


4. LEGO HarryPotter Hogwarts Express Train Toy: The best Harry Potter toy

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Our testers couldn’t wait to get their mitts on this. They were concentrating so hard on building the train set, railway bridge and – of course – platform 9¾ that they barely stopped to eat. There’s plenty of attention to detail, including four seats on the carriage, which also has a removable side and roof, and a Trolley Witch with sweets trolley. There are accessories, too, including wands, chocolate frogs and newspapers. All the usual suspects are present in minifigure form, so even with the initial build complete there’s plenty of potential for imaginative play. Don’t miss the Hogwarts Whomping Willow Tree, too, which is aimed at the same age range. It has spinning branches, a flying Ford Anglia car model and Hogwarts castle, with masses of accessories.

Key details – Age range: 8+; Other colours/versions: No

Buy now from Amazon


5. Nerf N Strike Elite Rukkus ICS-8: The best blasting toy

Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

We’ve lost count of how many Nerf guns have been created over the years, yet these plastic guns with foam bullets still top children’s birthday and Christmas lists, even if they’ve got a collection of them already. We’ve even been to villages where they have organised Nerf wars for all the local kids. We like this one because, while you can get cheaper plastic guns, these knock the socks off them both in terms of quality and the distance the bullets will travel. It looks pretty menacing with its eight-shot cartridge, and while there still might be tears before bedtime, it won’t be because anyone gets hurt.

Key details – Age range: 8+; Other colours/versions: No

Buy now from Amazon


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