image by ChrisB in SEA

Can anyone tell me are these big kids or small teenagers?

If you are in contact with this age group on regular basis, you most likely would agree that it depends on the day and situation. Well, really the hour.

So the dilemma for Christmas gift giving becomes finding a Christmas gift for this age range that does not offend their 'grown-upness' but still plays to their childlike tendencies. After all, a nine year old is still a kid.

To help you sort through some of thinking behind finding the right gift this group, I have put together a few tips for you.

1. Buy Gifts that Give the Kids Permission to Play

There are some very fun toys out there that are targeted towards more advanced role-playing. Two examples would be -

1. A helmet with voice activated noises and lights, yes very cool.

2. Deluxe model transformers: these have additional features that younger kids would not know how to play or would break. Playing swords with a helmet that has lights everywhere would be great fun for all ages. Anything that flies or moves would be great interactive gifts.

2. Creative Gifts

So much fun to shop for! You can find just about anything you can dream up for this age group in the creative thought line.

Block Building Set

There are block-building sets with motors so your creations actually move. You can build Lego or other Lego type toys into transforming robots. My nephew loves his 'creature' like this and will tell you about his dad and him building it. K'nex and Magnetix (if you do not have small children or pets in the house) are tons of fun.

Science Experiments

I found lots of science type experiments that the kids would have a great time doing. Whether it is stargazing, exploding volcanoes, or watching a larvae to butterfly you can find an activity that is specific to the interest of your child.

3. Interactive Family Games

This age group tends to be very self-critical and desperately needs the reassurance of adults in his/her life. Interactive games are a great way to strengthen these relationships.

Board Games

A fun board game I found was Gobblet. Although I have not played this game personally it looks like a fast moving fun game. I highly suggest at least one gift that is not an electronic enable a different type of family interaction.

Game Systems

And course there are game systems very targeted at this age group, so depending on the system your child has you may want to consider a new game. My family as a Nintendo wii so I am looking at the Mario driving game.

4. Electronics

Each family will have to make their own decision about the age appropriateness for their children. Very popular choices in this age group: cell phones, digital cameras, Nintendo ds and game systems: Sony ps 3 and Nintendo Wii.

No mater what you decide for a gift it is important for the child to feel special and loved. Choosing a gift that compliments their personality will let the child know that you notice them. Possibly consider a short note to the child to put in with your gift telling the child how much you love them and one or two special attributes you have noticed. Even if during gift opening that note seems unappreciated you can be assured that your note will be saved long past Christmas morning. Because aside from all the gift hype at Christmas, deep down each child just wants to know that they are loved and special.