At NACD, we work with children that have every imaginable developmental issue in addition to typical and gifted children. In the process we have explored, researched and utilized many thousands of toys and products that we have found to be fun, educational, engaging and helpful. At the request of families from throughout the world, we have put together a list of items that would make great gifts. Each item has been researched and reviewed by our professional staff. All items on the list below can be found either at our NACD Store or on Amazon.
From eight to twelve, children are beginning to discover who they are and can begin developing interests and abilities that can help shape their futures. We need to help direct their play, interaction and time so that they are learning important skills and traits that will help shape their futures. Schools don’t generally teach children what is important or develop their interests—parents do. This is a time to turn them on to many things including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) toys, hobbies and activities. Children can get excited about learning through play, learn to use their time productively and learn that learning can be fun and exciting. Build skills, excitement and knowledge through play and help build their sense of accomplishment and self respect at the same time.
NACD receives a small commission if you use our Amazon referral link to buy our recommended products. The funds collected will go directly into a scholarship fund for our NACD families. NACD also receives a small commission for everything else you buy that is in your cart when you buy our recommended products. If you are going to purchase items based on our suggestions please use our referral link to help our incredible dedicated families.
32 Great Gift Ideas for Holidays, Birthdays & Special Occasions – Ages 8 to 12
Simply Smarter Family
Its hard to imagine a better gift for a family than a tool that everyone can use to get smarter and do better. The families that I work with that utilize this program for the kids, mom, dad and even the grandparents see great benefits for everyone. Kids are much more motivated to try hard and compete when they know everyone else is doing the program right alone side of them. Its great hearing from amazed parents when start realizing how they are changing their own lives.
3 Wheel Recumbent Bikes
These bikes come in various size ranges. Match your child’s height to the right bike. Bikes are adjustable so you can accurately adjust the bike to properly fit your child or adult. These bikes are low to the ground, safe and provide many benefits including: improve strength and endurance, develop good leg muscle balance and development, help correct leg muscle imbalance issues, provide a fun activity that helps keep children engaged and present. —Bob
Blocks and Building Toys
Block and building toys have been a staple forever. There are block sets that can be helpful from the youngest child to adults. Blocks and building toys can help develop motor skills, eye hand coordination, creativity as well as a sense of accomplishment and pride. As children get older and cognition advances, building moves into mathematics, mechanics, engineering, and robotics and on and on.—Bob
Building Bricks-1000 Pc Bulk Blocks +
324 Piece Windows, Door and Roof Tiles, storage bag and more.
This is a great economical way to move into Lego type toys. This set offers endless possibilities for the child who is ready to move into these smaller very versatile toys. —Bob
COMINGFIT Indoor/Outdoor Rope Climbing Ladder for Kids
Climbing is a great exercise for children, building strength, developing good muscle balance, proprioception, vestibular function/balance, FUN and more. One of my preferred sport activities for children is indoor climbing wall. The rope ladder can build a good foundation for climbing walls.—Bob
Climbing Cargo Rope Net Ladder for Kids – Outdoor and Indoor
Climbing is a great exercise for children, building strength, developing good muscle balance, proprioception, vestibular function/balance, FUN and more. The cargo net and build a good foundation for climbing walls.—Bob
Science, Technology, Engineers and Math. This is about building your child’s future through toys and play. Tough to beat.
Brackitz Inventor 170 piece Set: Educational Construction Set
This set can be used at various levels starting with children as young as six or seven, but is a great entry into the world of STEM toys. They company says this toy is suitable for those from 3 to 103. Looks like a lot of educational fun. Designed as a building set with endless possibilities it strengthens imaginary play, problem solving and creativity. One of Amazon’s top STEM toys.—Bob
Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
Designed for kids 6 and older. This set is filled with very cool science experiments to turn kids on to science. One of Amazon ’s top STEM toys.—Bob
The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book
Targeting kids from 7-12 this is a great source of experiments that you can do with you children.—Bob
Creativity for Kids Grow ‘n Glow Terrarium-Science Kit for Kids
For kids from 6-96 this kit permits kids to grow their own little habitat with plants and water. Contains everything they need.—Bob
4M Magnet Science Kit
This kit is designed for children 8 and older. Children can learn about magnetism through a combination of fun science experiments and games. A top STEM toy.—Bob
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
This is advertised for kids from about 6 -12, but I would probably wait until about 8 unless you have a precocious child. This is a very cool toy, a real robot that is ready to use right out of the box. It teaches children to code and uses free apps from Apple, Android or Kindle Fire. This little robot is used in over 10,000 schools.—Bob
This is a 35 foot zipline for high intensity play. Super fun! —Ellen
Beginner Slackline by “Goodtimes”
Fun that requires balance and attention. It’s like a balance beam but trickier and loads of fun. —Ellen
Indoor Basketball Hoop and Backboard
This is perfect for those long winter days when we want the kids active and improving their coordination skills. —Ellen
Alex DIY – Friends Forever Jewelry Kit
“Makes 22 friendship bracelets – Fun alone or with friends to work on together (ages 8 or older) .Works on fine motor skills and fun to have a finished product they can share.” —Glenda
Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit
For any child age 6-12 this is a must for a budding engineer. Learn how circuits work and create your own radio, buzzer, or light. My lego building kid LOVED these! —Sara
My kids love this game. It is fun for ages anywhere from 8-adult. It teaches number order, grouping, and is a great thinking game. —Sara
Scrabble Deluxe Edition
I have played this for years. My mother -in-law won every time. My boys and I have a thoughts on why…In any event, we continue to pay this together every time we get together. They boys beat me bad now and they don’t “cheat”! —Glenda
Simon Electronic Memory Game
The classic memory game that can be played alone or with others at the same time to compete! Sequencing for sure with this game!
One of the most popular dice strategy game which can be fun for the whole family . I can’t count how many times I have played this one over the years and love it to this day! —Glenda
Play alone or make it a family strategy game – Challenge themselves or compete with others. They love it when you are the one to make it drop. —Glenda
The ever popular Strategy Game – Makes for some good family fun. Even if they beat me every time! —Glenda
K’Nex 70 Model Building Set
For ages 7+ – Curiosity and creativity, fine motor and eye/hand coordination, all while having a great time and showing you what they did. —Glenda
For ages 6 and up. Break the code in 10 or less moves by figuring out which 4 colors go in which 4 slots. A great game to keep a child thinking and build attention span. —Lyn
Appropriate for players 10+. Growing up I can remember playing Clue with all my family members. Clue builds conceptual thinking through deductive reasoning. Players have to use a process of elimination to solve a murder mystery. —Lyn
Superhero 3 in 1 Craft Kit by JackInTheBox
This kit has all the necessary things to make a super hero cape, mask and cuffs. Boys 5-10 can have fun while working on their fine motor and creativity skills with the result being their very own superhero outfit.
Freddy the Pig Book Series
These are a series of books written by Walter R. Brooks for grade level 4 and up. These books were written in the 1920s through the 1940s, so your children are exposed to a larger vocabulary range, but the stories are timeless. The characters are richly developed and each book puts Freddy in a unique setting i.e Freddy the Detective, Freddy Goes to Florida, Freddy the Pilot etc… Highly recommended for independent reading or high interest reading as a family. —Staci
Telegraph Kit/Morse Code
Are you looking for something fun for your 8+ year old that will also build auditory attention? How about learning morse code? A nice unit study are the development and use of morse code would go hand in hand to build those learning tornados Bob talks about. —Lyn
And speaking of that fun unit study….here is a great book to accompany your telegraph kit:
National Geographic Rock Tumbler Kit
One Christmas my dad got my boys into rock tumbling and supplied them with everything they needed. This sparked a brand new interest that they have carried on to this day. In fact, they can enter a gym and mineral show and know the vast majority of everything in the building. This kit is a great way to get your children interested in a whole new area of learning.—Lyn
Music Maker Lap Harp
This is an excellent way to start a child in the direction of playing a musical instrument. This lap hard comes with pages that insert underneath the strings to guide in playing well known tunes. Not only will it start them off with an instrument that is easy to learn, but it also helps reinforce cortical opposition and fine motor movement. —Lyn