The market of toys is spectacularly vast. For a child, it may appear to be a wonderland of possibilities, but for a parent it can look like a minefield of blunders. The niche of toys that can fully satisfy your child’s requirements may get particularly narrow if you are purchasing for an 8-year-old boy. This age is a sensitive period of development which you can define, in many ways, as transitive. Their cognitive development becomes a biological imperative just before they hit puberty, so it is quite typical that a boy gets overly inquisitive and adventurous once they hit this age. While your kid will certainly have a thing or two to say about his specific toy-cravings, you should definitely take his psychological makeup into consideration and try to choose the best of all worlds.
Still, if you find the toy market to be somewhat overwhelming, it certainly won’t hurt to take a look at this list of toys and gifts for 8-year-old boys.
Totally Gross: The Game of Science
The Dangerous Book for Boys
|An easy read|
National Geographic Kids Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
|Teaches problem solving|
LEGO Technic WHACK! 42072 Building Kit
Boy Craft Catapult Wars
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game
|Requires creative thinking|
Spalding Over The Door Unit
|Easy to fit indoors|
RIMABLE Complete 22" Skateboard
|A creative gift|
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy
Official Nerf Tactical Vest N-Strike Elite Series
|Cool looking design|
Marky Sparky Blast Pad Rocket Launcher
4M Doodling Robot
4M Solar Rover Kit
Between the ages of 7 and 12, both boys and girls tend to excel within their intellectual capacity and a range of talents and social skills are likely to emerge. The psychologists call it the ‘learning phase’ for a good reason.
Thankfully, you can easily find a gift type that will encourage the development of your child in both fields – social and intellectual – and this takes the shape of a good old-fashioned board game. In fact, Totally Gross: The Game of Science can also help your child develop a passion for scientific discipline. It is fast paces, which makes it perfect for restless trouble-makers, and offers diverse content as a board game, a (safe) experimentation kit and a quiz card game with a dash of Gross-Out slime added to the mix. 2 to 4 players can have a blast and learn interesting trivia along the way.
There is something enticing about danger and rule breaking, especially for 8 year old boys. The fact that a gift in question has an adjective ‘dangerous’ in its title is one hell of a hook, but anyone who has ever peeked between the covers of this wonderful book knows it is so much more than that. Perfectly suited for boys over the age of 8 – which means that it is a perfect time for your child’s ‘inauguration’ into the hazardous world of this volume – The Dangerous Book for Boys is a captivating collection of tips, tricks and instructions that can easily define the most beautiful moments of their childhood, if put into practice.
From astronomy to tree-house building, from slingshot making to girl-related topics, the ground this book covers is absolutely staggering and it will give your boy elbow-space to choose his own field of interest.
While we are covering the topic of nifty books, the wonderful hardcover edition of National Geographic Kids Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything may be the better option to impart as a gift to that wide-eyed wonder-boy who seems to be living for asking questions and getting prompt answers. The elegant beauty of this book and its concept is signaled in its very title – if the child has a question, there are (over) 1,111 answers that may satiate his hunger for understanding.
It manages to cover a staggering number of topics from all important aspects of life – or at least those aspects that are deemed crucial by 8-year-olds – and they are all appropriately categorized to render browsing less time-consuming and tiring.
Boys that have reached the age of 8 usually find chain reactions captivating. It can be especially mesmerizing to bear witness to every little ‘cog’ in the machine, to have all tiny mechanics laid out for eyes to see and synapses to process.
The natural curiosity and bewilderment that comes with the territory has led to the proliferation of Rube Goldberg toy sets. It originated as a concept of the machine which was deliberately designed to perform a simple task through an overly complicated mechanism, with outlandish and downright surreal elements.
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions is built with that sentiment in mind, and while it dials back on surreal, it is a wonderfully creative craft kit that enables you to build (at least) 10 amazing machines which can be somewhat useful or just plain awesome.
The timeless charm of LEGO products is their unabashed flexibility. From tool sets that count hundreds of building blocks which can be turned into anything your imagination can conjure up, to whimsical toys that perform a very specific function but which still manage to be a blast to put together, LEGO’s toy roster is the epitome of versatility.
Of all 8 year old boy gifts, this LEGO building kit could just be the one that takes the cake, especially if you have noticed that he is partial to sleek four-wheelers. He will get a chance to build a snazzy race car with an exceptionally powerful pull-back motor, and cover it in stickers and extra features. It comes in multiple color choices and the building set is compatible with LEGO construction sets if your boy’s got the flair for unique design. In fact, this is a good cornerstone present that can be ‘built upon’ with newer gifts in form of said construction sets.
Sometimes, traditional games that have been known since times immemorial are the best, and modern toys that encourage kids to partake in such games can be a wonderful gift if the child is an avid outdoorsman.
Djubi Classic offers a whimsical twist on an archetypal game of catch due to its inventive design. The eponymous Djubi is a name for unique ball made of foam that comes with an attached latex loop which can be slipped over the hook on the racket’s rim.
Then you just launch it to another player across the field that is expected to catch the Djubi into their racket, rinse and repeat. Trust us – it is far more intuitive than it sounds, and it promises hours of fun for 8-year-old boys.
By and large, boys tend to revel in competitive sports. However, the same-old formula can wear off when the mind is imaginative, and this is where Boy Craft Catapult Wars come in: the tool kits that offer you to craft a miniature catapult model which you can use to hurl (safe) mini-boulders in shape of miniscule bean bags at your friend who, alternatively, uses the same tactic.
If this doesn’t sound like a gift that keeps on giving, hardly anything will. Of course, small parts that are packed in the original box will give the battle-thirsty warmongers some leeway to craft and customize their catapult until it is more robust and effective than the opponent’s. It’s all about chasing that extra edge. The kit includes 22 wooden pieces, 2 rubber bands and braider ropes, as well as 8 cushiony bags as ‘boulders’, glue tube and a sticker sheet.
Is the 8-year-old showing proclivity for design and logic? Much akin to LEGO craft kits, ThinkFun Gravity Maze will feed into the child’s thirst for modularity. This gravity maze consists of color-coded building blocks which can be rearranged and reattached on a 4×4 grid. These building blocks are essentially ‘towers’ with unique arrangement of ridges within individual cubelets, so they have to be rotated appropriately until you have ‘solved’ the maze in such a way that the marble ends up on the designated ‘square’ of the baseline grid.
It is a mind-stretching toy for 8-year-olds that can also easily grab the attention of adults. The challenges for tower stacking take the form of blueprints on cards which range in difficulty from easy to advanced, so the ‘replay’ value with the gravity maze is fairly high.
It’s one of the oldest toy sets on this list, a tried and true gift for every boy that has at least superficial athletic aspirations. There are many ‘interior’ hoops with the accompanying mini-basketball, but if you decide on Spalding Over the Door Unit, you will not be skimping on quality craftsmanship. Padded polycarbonate board is reliably durable and it can withstand the incessant dunking of an 8-year-old.
However, you should point out to the child that the hoop is not meant for hanging by any means. It is really easy to install on the bedroom door and it does not require elaborate setups and extensive use of tools. You don’t have to drill holes and screws will not be necessary, so the door will stay unscathed (for the most part, some of it depends on your child’s passion for dunking).
In athletic terms, has your child shown exceptional agility and outstanding muscle control? How about rock-solid balancing skills? While some parents are weary of skateboards, it is fairly common to introduce a second-grader to their first (or even second) model so they can refine their agility and balance further. It is a fun way of covering distances in a sunny neighborhood that does not see a lot of traffic, to say the least.
Skateboarding is generally a ‘gateway’ to many disciplines – surfing comes to mind – and the boy’s meager cruising can turn into a hobby that aids his socialization in significant ways. Feeling of belonging to a specific subculture can be a wonderful thing. Thick Aluminum truck (3 inches) and robust deck with PU wheels will make any rookie skater’s first dashes as smooth as they can possibly be.
Alternatively, a scooter is a good option for boys that have a hard time finding balance on a skateboard. It will reinforce their sense of security while still prompting them to improve their coordination and balance, plus, the fact that it is an absolute blast to scooter around and dart along the sidewalks practically goes without saying.
Razor A3 Scooter Clear is light – circa 7 pounds of aircraft-grade aluminum – wheels with shock-absorbing system, foam grips and adjustable handlebars for a range of heights are only some of the notable highlights. It is a perfectly suitable gift for all kids over the age of 5, but it should work as a wonderful surprise for an 8-year-old boy. It is easy to carry it around should the necessity arise, and it can become a fast and convenient vehicle for getting around. The kids won’t be able to imagine their life without it.
Run & gun play can be fun as long as nobody gets hurt. In fact, it can be a good way to develop one’s reflexes, problem solving and strategy crafting. This is where Nerf guns come in, as well as all the accompanying equipment that mimics the design and function of real tactical gear. It is not at all surprising that all the items which belong to this field are the best gifts for 8 year old boy one can concoct.
Nerf Tactical Vest, especially the N-Strike Elite Series variant, boasts some superb inventory options for extra firepower. There is a storage pocket for an extra blaster gun, as well as numerous pockets for clips and Official Nerf Darts. Of course, the vest also has dart storage loops should the boy decide to partake in ‘all out war’ with the neighboring kids.
8 year olds should steer clear of pyrotechnics, but violent sparks are not the only way to launch a rocket. Introducing a blast pad as a solution for the lack of fire power sounds like a concept anyone could have thought of, and therein lies the genius of Marky Sparky Blast Pad Rocket Launcher. This contraction which is a breeze to set up is purely ‘kid powered’.
In other words, the child jumps on the pad – a sort of a pedal connected to the plastic missile – and uses sheer power of the blunt force to launch the rocket into the sky. It is an amazing gift for an 8-year-old boy and his friends if you find it prudent to keep their activities confined to the backyard. Let the competition of who can launch the rocket as high as possible commence!
While you may feel that there is something admittedly gimmicky about this potential gift, pretty much everyone agrees that 4M doodling robot is nonetheless the coolest thing a kid can have in their toy chest.
This little contraption requires one durable AA battery, though it should be noted that it is not included in the original packaging, in order to start vibrating and spinning in order to generate abstract works of art. While it seems at the first glance that there is not much more to it – the child’s involvement comes in the form of small adjustments such as color of the pens and their angle. The resulting twirls of colors and texture can be really inventive and watching the process itself is positively mesmerizing. It will captivate the imagination of an 8 year old without a shadow of a doubt!
Robotics is a fascinating subject that has become quite ubiquitous in our brave modern times, and children honestly find the very concept alluring and mystifying at the same time. If your 8-year-old boy shows a healthy interest for this field, it may be a good idea to introduce him to the fundamentals of robotics as well as some neat eco-friendly ideas through the awesomeness of 4M Solar Rover Kit.
This toy-robot actually has all the basic parts of a functional Rover and it marries the concepts of science and solar energy into a singular item. Much like Totally Gross board game and The Dangerous Book for Boys, it is one of those rare items that manages to balance educational and entertaining as gracefully as it is humanly possible.
In order to find a genuinely meaningful gift for an 8-year-old boy, you need to acquire at least a superficial knowledge of the psychology that is characteristic of kids that age. As it has already been implied, this is the prominent learning stage of development when the cognitive functions of children ‘steps into the limelight’ before hormones take over. However, one should also note that this is the age when boys develop sturdier musculature, they grow and their motor functions stabilize. This means that the gifts should ‘feed’ into the developing strengths such as learning method, and athletic performance, but they should also be fun and spark curiosity.
Of course, the idiosyncratic tastes of the specific boy need to be taken into consideration. Dinosaurs, robots, outdoor activities, makeshift contraptions and a cavalcade of athletic outlets is what typically enraptures the mind of an 8-year-old boy, and a gift of any kind that is steeped in such topics is a definitive move in the right direction. In the end, hardly anything beats the good ol’fashioned exclamations of interest at face value. Children tend to be blunt about what intrigues them, both boys and girls of that age. Keep an ear open for suggestions and patterns to discover what they like and just roll with it.
It goes without saying that, when the child expresses interest for a particular topic, you will choose a gift that is age appropriate. For example, if an 8-year-old boy is transfixed with the undead, it only makes sense that you purchase a game from E-rated ‘Plants vs Zombies’ franchise than, let’s say, The Walking Dead. Thankfully, it has become fairly easy to filter down your search of items on a variety of online shops and e-commerce websites.
The point of every gift is that it lasts. For this reason, one of integral criteria was the replay value – or how much hours of fun a boy gets out of their newly-acquired toy set. A one-trick pony of a gift is a bad investment and, after some tinkering, the boy will probably throw it into a dark corner to collect dust ‘till kingdom come.
With a few limited exceptions, most toys on this list can be unpacked and assembled by boys. They come with exhaustive and comprehensible instructions, and setting them up can be part of fun. In fact, boys can learn to appreciate gifts even more if they invest some effort into assembling them from the batch of moving parts.
Child’s health is of paramount importance. If you are purchasing a toy online, you probably have an access to a features list that also accounts for the craftsmanship. The highlights typically list durable materials which were used to make the said item, and there is also a matter of guarantee and return policy. Check out the label for detailed manufacturing info and see if it matches the description. If not, you have every right to return the toy with the receipt as proof of purchase.
Leave the boy to his own devices after the gift exchange. If the assembly proves to be too complicated, he will seek out your help. In such cases, it is not uncommon that the instructions are too confusing even for adults. Check out YouTube for detailed instructions with visual aid, and if that does not help (though it usually will) you call Customer Service of the company that manufactured the toy for further clarification.
Toy purchase is not just a box for you to tick on an arbitrary list. While gift is certainly a symbol of affection in and of itself, you have to be mindful of the fact that it represents so much more than that for a child. A toy has sentimental and personal value. Through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy, it is an assertion of his tastes and, consequently, a statement about his character. Most importantly, it is a ‘tool’ of sorts that will funnel the child’s interests and intellectual pursuits. While a singular toy will certainly not define his future, it can, should you choose right, become an invaluable item simply because numerous values overlap in it.