If you’re shopping for cool birthday gifts for an 8-year-old girl or boy, remember that they’re just on the edge of being a full-fledged tween — but probably still love to play with toys, games, crafts, action figures and dolls. The trick is to find birthday gifts that aren’t babyish, but also not too advanced.
This is also the age kids start to develop really specific interests, from TV shows they stan, to sports they play and activities they love. So the best gifts often come from knowing a little bit about the kid you’re celebrating.
If you’re really not sure, no worries! These fantastic birthday gifts for 8-year-olds should help spark some ideas. And take a look at our list of cool gifts for 7 year olds, and cool gifts for tweens too. We’re here to help!
Be sure to see our full list of the coolest birthday gifts for kids by age
All picks are determined editorially by our staff; there has been no compensation in exchange for our picks. CMP is an rstyle affiliate. That means we may receive a small commission from certain purchases to help us remain independent and support our staff.
($25 at Amazon, also seen at top)
You say WORLD, I say CUP! With the extraordinary success of the USA Women’s National Soccer Team, more kids are going to be begging for cool soccer gear. We love Kaos, a company making training balls in a kid sizes up to a regulation 5, all in patterns that reflect kids’ own style. (Note: Size 4 is recommended for kids 8-12)
($29.99/month and up at Owl Crate)
More than just a book subscription, this is a fabulous gift for readers, or kids you wish would read more. Each month’s subscription box offers a different theme around a brand-new, middle-grade boo, plus fun goodies selected by the book’s own author.
($199 at Guitar Center)
All those guitar heroes can learn how to really rock with this terrific starter kit starring a short-scale Stratocaster guitar and a Fender amp. Of course all rocking out should be done before bedtime, of course.
($21.95, Brave New World Designs)
Kids today are more aware. idealistic, and empowered — support their hopes and dreams with a shirt that shows you’re committed to a better world for them too. Plus, it’s from one of our very favorite mom-run indie shops, with proceeds helping to support fantastic causes. In this case, 20% goes directly to Americares.
($24 at Nordstrom)
For today’s plugged-in kids, they’ll flip for this charming trio of emojis from tween-favorite, Charm-It. Plus they can add to it with more charms any time.
($24.20 at Amazon)
This mashup of Snap Circuits and building bricks was a Serious STEM Awards grand prize winner (judged in part by our editor, Liz), so we know it’s a truly amazing gift for kids 8 and up at an amazing price. It even includes a jam-packed book of ideas to help get kids building projects that blink, buzz, and move.
($14 at Amazon)
Our kids love the original paint your own rocks kit, which inspires random acts of kindness through…well, painted rocks. And the glow-in-the-dark version makes it even more fun. Kids can make them, write positive messages or rainbows, then leave them around the neighborhood for others to find. Even in the dark.
($50 at Watchitude)
Whether they are competitive, goal-driven, or even couch potatoes, kids will get a lot out of this activity watch — without paying Apple Watch prices.
($52 on sale at Amazon for paperback; $83 for hardcover)
If your 8-year-old hasn’t yet discovered the joy of Calvin and Hobbes, this should do it. Buy the books individually or splurge on the collectors’ edition box set and be their new favorite gift-giver! It’s turned more than a few reluctant readers into the kids who ask for “just 10 more minutes” to read before lights out.
($40 at Converse)
Covered with unicorns and shooting stars, but still amazing for flying over the pavement and shooting hoops.
($24.20 at Amazon)
Young puzzle fans will flip for this 180-piece puzzle from the masters at Ravensburger, that transform into an actual working 3-dimensional globe. Fun family game night activity, too.
(Photo: Christina Alt @raising_wildlings_ on Instagram via Ravensburger)
($199+ at Penny Skateboards)
Young padawans everywhere can learn how to cruise through the galaxy on their very own Star Wars skateboard; it’s up to you whether or not they ride with the Dark Side or the Rebels. Just make sure they wear their helmets!
($14.99 on sale at Steve Spangler Science)
These days, science is cool, and fortunately our kids are growing up in a world where they don’t think about it any other way. One way to make it extra cool is with the nine experiments in Steve Spangler’s very fun and mildly irreverent science experiment kits. Impressing your friends is a popular activity at any age.
($9.99 ea at New Museum Store; or $100 for complete Wisdom Collectors Set at I Am Elemental)
We’re huge fans of this line of bad-ass female superheroes, and so are all of our kids. Designed by a cool mom herself, each one represents an important element of character from honesty to bravery to creativity and persistence. You can buy them separately but the kit makes for one special birthday gift for a special 8-year-old.
($42.95/set at Amazon; individual book $8.95 )
We love Keri Smith’s original Wreck this Journal, and all the follow-ups in this boxed set which encourage kids to scribble, crumble, search, write, think and explore.
($59.90 at Amazon)
Starlux has created a super fun, high-powered way to get kids of all ages burning off energy — a twist on the classic game of Capture the Flag. The box includes enough supplies to play with a small group of besties or a party of 20.
($7-11/ea at Amazon; $65 for 8-pack)
For kids who love dress-up (or, ahem, cosplay as our kids so precociously call it now) we like sticking with non-toxic cosmetics that won’t harm that sensitive skin
($35 for 7, Natural Beauty Escape)
Forces of good, the Avengers are here to rescue us from stinky 8 year olds by hiding out in brightly colored, yummy-smelling bath bombs. See? They’re not just for girls.
($59.99 instant download from Nintendo;
$49.95 for retail edition on sale for a limited time at Amazon)
One of our kids’ own favorite Nintendo Switch games, ignore the ESRB rating (says these parents) if you’re looking for a super cool birthday gift for an 8 year old — this one is so much fun for the whole family.