Robin is a former third grade teacher, has a Masters in Education, and has three children of her own.
Birthday and Christmas Gifts for 8- and 9-Year-Old Girls
Having three girls (one being in the third grade), I understand the importance of buying the right gift for an 8- or 9-year-old. Obviously, not all girls have the same interests, so I've compiled this list and categorized the gifts into multiple categories so you can find the best gift for girls with different interests. We either have or have bought every gift that I recommend—I hope you can find the right one for your special third grader! Here are some ideas for:
- Artsy Girls
- Sporty Girls
- Girly Girls
- Intellectual Girls
- Quirky Girls
- and, the Best Books for Third Grade Girls
Best Artsy Craftsy Gifts for Third Grade Girls
Most 8- and 9-year-old girls love to do art projects. These are the art gifts that we have bought or own and love:
- Origami kits—our girls love creating origami. We have even done origami Valentine's day cards for the kids in her class. Our girls love creating dream catchers with origami paper.
- Art case—the art case that we bought was from Costco. It was a great deal at 19.99 and had everything that a budding artist would love: pencils of all shades, pastels, crayons, erasers, paints, paintbrushes, and paper.
- Rainbow Loom—while the girls loved creating bracelets, they have moved on to creating keychains with the rainbow loom. Their favorite videos are from a woman called Made by Mommy. I have attached one of her videos, too.
- Most cities have art lessons for kids. Arrange for a one day art lesson, or check out the art studio for supplies. Where we live there is a great art studio that sells every type of art product you could want. Our daughter loved receiving a real canvas and paints. Be sure to talk to the art teacher about products though, many oil paints need special cleaning supplies for the brushes.
- Buddha Board—our 12-year-old received this gift from her uncle, but all of our girls love to play with it. Write on the board with water and it dries leaving a blank canvas to keep creating art work. There are mini Buddha Boards as well—this is what we have.
- We love all of the Klutz products, but one of our favorites is the Potholders and Other Loopy Projects Kit. I still use the pot holders that my daughter made for me, and she loves seeing that she made something that is not just in a box. It's perfect for 8- or 9-year-olds, but it's a great gift for any child ages 6–12.
- A trip to a museum in your city or town. What is better for a budding artist than to see the real deal. Experiences are my favorite gifts, and taking your child or your child and her friend to lunch and a museum is a fantastic gift. We are lucky and have amazing museums in the Bay Area, but most towns have some type of museum to visit. If you don't, try to talk to a local artist and see if you can visit their studio—it will be eye opening for everyone!
- Our girls love their lap desks from Pottery Barn. They keep all of their art supplies in them and they are also great for homework!
How to Make an Ice Cream Sundae With a Rainbow Loom
Gifts for Athletic Girls
Our girls love sports. They play soccer, basketball, volleyball, and snow ski. Finding the right gift for a sporty girl is usually fairly easy. Here are the gifts that we love:
- An athletic sweatshirt of her favorite sporting team. We are Giants fans in the Bay Area and our girls always love to get Giants gear. Jerseys are expensive, but you can usually find local team sweatshirts at Target or Costco at much better prices than at other retailers.
- Tickets to a local college game. We went to numerous Stanford women's soccer games this year and they were amazing! The girls loved seeing the competition and the tickets were very reasonable.
- A ball—whether it's a soccer ball, basketball, volleyball, or softball depends on the girl and her sport. Our girls love to play soccer and we have numerous soccer balls. This is a bit obvious, but balls do go flat easily, so it's always nice to have a spare.
- Over the Door Basketball Hoop—we love this gift and have given it multiple times.
- Headband—most sporty girls need a good headband that won't slip. We have found that the best headbands for girls can be found at Lululemon. They are pricy for a headband ($12), but make a great gift that many parents won't buy for their own kids.
- Kendama—while it's not really playing a sport, our girls love playing with their kendamas. It takes hand-eye coordination and is a lot of fun! We have both wooden and marble ones, but our daughter prefers the marble. There is also a super sticky, marble kendama that is the easiest to use and I recommend it for a beginner.
- If the girl has a Wii, the Just Dance Game is a lot of fun for the entire family! Our girls love playing it and it's a great workout!
My Top Gifts for Feminine Girls
I don't think I'd classify our girls as truly girly, but they do like feminine things. Here's a list of their favorite girly gifts:
- Mani and Pedi gift certificate. Ideally, you'd take her for a mani/pedi, but if this does't work, a gift certificate is a great gift!
- Hair chalk and hair accessories—we have received and given hair chalk to a number of girls and it's always a hit. The last kit we bought was from Costco and it was a great deal. Hair chalk is also a great small gift to tie in your bow on top of your present.
- A scarf—in the photo above, my daughter received a super cute scarf to go with her outfit. Nordstrom has great scarves that would be great for kids.
- Make-up kit—our girls love playing dress up and wearing makeup. I recommend going to Target and buying real make-up, not a kid make-up kit. Organic or natural makeup is always a good idea to reduce the change of any skin reactions. We have bought the kid make-up kits before and they have been very poor in quality. I also recommend the make-up remover wipes to remove the make-up before bedtime!
- Purse—there are a lot of purse making kits for sale, but I recommend buying a real purse or wallet. Our 9 year old loves carrying her purse and keeping her money and gift cards in it—she feels so grown up!
- Diary—there are a variety of diaries out there, but our favorite is the Password Journal. It is a voice activated diary that will only open when the owner of the diary's voice is used. Our daughter received this gift from her best friend on her 9th birthday. She loves it because her sisters can't open it. It is one of our favorite gifts!
Gifts for Intellectual Girls
What about the girl that isn't into sports and doesn't like the girly stuff? Here are our picks for the best gifts for the girl that likes to use her brain when she plays:
- The Settlers of Catan Board Game—this is one of our favorite board games that is fun and intellectually stimulating. There is quite a bit of strategy that needs to take place in order to win, but the game keeps your attention and is fun for the whole family! While it's a bit on the pricey side, it's been hours of fun for our family and educational for us all. The rules state it's for 2-4 players, but we play with a larger group in teams.
- Butterfly garden—with the purchase of the garden, you get a voucher for caterpillars. It's a great project to watch the metamorphosis of the butterfly from caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. Plus, you can use the garden multiple times.
- Leather journal and a nice pen or pencil. Our 9 year old loves her journal and uses it to draw and write poetry.
- Book publishing kit. We have used a few sites for our girls and have also used Illustory. The writer uploads their work and the book is published and sent to them. A great gift for the budding writer!
- Chess board—our girls love to play chess, and a new board is a great gift. We have a few chess boards and a great chess app that they bought on iTunes.
- iTunes gift card for books, apps, and music. If the girl you are buying for has an itouch, gift cards to the itunes gift store are always a good idea.
- Ant farm—we have had a few ant farms in the past. I think the blue gel farms are the best.
Best Books for Third Graders
Our 9-year-old is an avid reader; I have to force her to go to sleep at night because she is so engrossed in her books. Here are her top 11 favorite books:
- The Land of Stories Series: This is probably the hottest series right now for 9-12 year olds. Our daughters have read every one of the books and buy the next book as soon as it comes out. The books are a different take on classic fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Wizard of Oz, and Sleeping Beauty. Chris Colfer became well known from his acting on Glee, but has since made it as a New York Times Bestselling author for the first book in the series, The Wishing Spell.
- Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke: This is our daughter's favorite book and author. It is about a young dragon who must save his kind by finding the ring of heaven with the help of mythical creatures and a young boy. She has also read a second book by Cornelia Funke, Inkspell. However, Dragon Rider remains her favorite.
- Wonder: Soon to be a movie, this book is a favorite of our 9- and 12-year-old. Wonder is a story of a young boy faced with disabilities and his journey starting school for the first time.
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: This book is beautifully illustrated and follows a young Chinese girl and her journey to change her family's fortune.
- So Be It by Sarah Weeks: This is a wonderful book about a young girl whose mother is mentally disabled and her way of always moving in the right direction.
- The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: This is a story of the schooling of the good and evil characters in fairy tales. Our daughter can't put this book down right now, but it is a bit scary.
- The BFG by Roald Dahl: A favorite amongst most third graders, it's the story of the Big Friendly Giant and his quest to save his new friend Sophie. It's funny and a favorite in our household.
- The Dork Diaries: These are written in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not a favorite of mine, but our 9-year-old has read every book.
- Whatever After Series by Mlynowski: Again, not one of my favorites, but they are fun, easy reads about different Disney characters like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel.
- A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky: One of the best children poets of all time. He's funny, clever, and our girls love reading and memorizing his poetry!
- The Giver: We read this book aloud. The Giver, now a movie, follows the life of a 12 year old boy, Jonas, and his life in a seemingly perfect world of conformity until he meets the man who holds all of the memories of the past and realizes maybe his world isn't so perfect.
Unique Gifts for the Quirky Girl
- Fedora or a funky hat. Our 9-year-old is really into hats and loves her fedora!
- Fun glasses and accessories—you can see how much fun the girls are having in the above pic in their new glasses.
- Magic set—most kids love a good magic trick. A great kit we have bought at Costco was by Criss Angel.
- Fun and funky room décor—our girls love bean bags and wall decals. My favorite wall decal site is blik.
- Musical instrument—most kids love music. Our girls play the piano and guitar, but the ukulele is a great place to start.
- Bouncing Juggling Bubbles—our girls love these bubbles right now. Because of the glove, the bubbles don't pop easily and they have contests who can juggle the longest. The only downside is that you need to buy a special bubble solution for the bubbles to work properly. We've tried normal bubble solution and it doesn't work as well.
- Helicopter—our girls and their friends are really in to helicopters right now. We have two helicopters, but their favorite looks like a small drone. I've added a video below of our daughter and her Cx-10 drone. This is THE item in our house. It does flips, bounces off of the ground, and flies nicely. It really is a fun and inexpensive drone-style helicopter and is great for ages 9 and up!
Video of Our Daughter Flying the Cx-10 Helicopter
Questions & Answers
Question: What about gifts for tomboy girls?
Answer: Any of the gifts in the sporty girl or intellectual girl sections will work for tomboys. Our girls are definitely not girly, so most of these gifts will work for girls that like similar things as boys. One of our new favorite gifts is a swell water bottle. There are awesome new designs!
Have any other ideas? Please share them below!
Brianna on April 08, 2020:
this is a great site my 8 year old sister's birthday is coming up and this helped me out alot!!!!!!!
Audrey on November 06, 2018:
Great ideas! I have a fourth grader/9 year old girl and found lots of gifts already given to her and some new ideas :)
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on August 02, 2018:
Excellent ideas. I love them all for my children. I try to tap into my children's tactile sense when they have play time - the girls love making silly things out of Play Dough. They also love writing stories and asking me to read them aloud in class. These ideas are not just good for parents, but for teachers who want to have rewards and strategies for motivating young minds.
I've encouraged my students to use the Win 10 Voice Recorder app to help my children with note taking as well as IPhone apps. I let them pretend to be people in different careers - journalists, writers, politicians, scientists - to keep them engage even during play.
That's why I dropped by, I figured something great was waiting to help me be responsive in the class and as an uncle with two nieces.
HKSUEIH on March 09, 2018:
Can you please make one for girls aged 11-12/11 or 12
Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on January 11, 2018:
Thanks, Leah! That is one of our absolute favorites, too. I read it aloud to the girls a few years ago—so good!
Leah Lefler from Western New York on January 11, 2018:
I love gifting experiences over objects. Since I have two boys, this article is extremely helpful for birthday ideas! The One and Only Ivan is another excellent book choice for this age range. It is one of our favorite books!
Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on October 12, 2017:
Thank you. My niece just adopted several children who are around that age. I needed this.
Helga Silva from USA on December 11, 2015:
Love all of your gift ideas. Great hub.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 16, 2015:
Great ideas, Robin! Real useful and voted up!
Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 28, 2015:
Thanks, Rebekah! I'm always wondering what to buy the boys in our lives, so I thought I should share my girl ideas (even though many of them work for boys, too!) None of my girls are very girly— I agree that most girls will fit into multiple categories. I love all of the strong, passionate, smart, young girls that I am around! Thanks again! :)
rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on March 28, 2015:
Robin, this is fantastic! What a great resource for the young girls in our lives. I love that you have used the products and have them categorized. I think many girls fit into all of these categories. I'll be sharing this for my friends/family. Thanks again, this is so helpful!
Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 05, 2015:
I agree, Alison. The Giver is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I think for a third grader, it definitely should be a read-a-loud. There are major themes that are great discussion starters.
Alison Monroe on March 05, 2015:
The Giver, what a great book. It says everything your parents taught you could be wrong. It's a relief to be able to discuss it with kids.
Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 02, 2015:
Thanks, colorfulone. Our girls really do love all of the products I suggested. Having three girls that are all different helped to complete the list! :)
A Playstation sounds fun! Although the girls do play some games on their devices, they aren't that in to playstation and wii. They do like the dancing games though! :)
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on March 02, 2015:
This is a great hub. I love all the gift ideas for girls, the photos, and the way you have presented a few products.
Jake Michael Peralta from Indio, California on March 02, 2015:
My uncle and aunt just gave my cousin a Playstation 1 when she was 8. Probably because of me.