7 Fun Games and Activities for 9-Year-Olds

June 11, 2015

Kids love to play, but not every game is a good fit for every age group. Deciding which games are right for your fast-growing child is a critical component of parenthood. How else will you know what game to buy for your kids birthday? (Kidding!)

Age 9 is a period of competition and criticism, as psychologist Eileen Kennedy Moore, PhD, author of the parenting course Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids, explains: 9-year olds are often very competitive, but they tend to be better than younger kids at handling winning and losing graciously. They can be moody and anxious, compared to more energetic eight-year olds, and are often critical of both themselves and others.

This moodiness and competitiveness leads to a child who bounces between wanting to play in a big group and wanting to be alone or with a close friend. In both cases, however, its important that you keep your 9-year-old engaged and encourage interactive games that require language and conversations, as child development and early learning specialist Stacy Benge, M.S., reminds us.

For that reason, the 7 games and activities that best fit the developmental stage of your 9-year-old are diverse:

  1. Stratego
    [9 year old kids] planning/strategizing skills are noticeably better than those of younger kids, explains Kennedy-Moore. Stratego, which involves a good deal of preplanning in the layout of your army, is a great choice for this age group.
  2. Checkers and Chess
    Thinking steps ahead is the name of the game when it comes to chess and checkers. And anyway, every kid should learn chess and checkers. Highly popular and nearly ubiquitous within our culture, knowing these games is sure to help your child make friends (or foes!).
  3. Monopoly
    Maybe youve started giving your 9-year-old an allowance. If not, Monopoly will definitely give them a sense of handling money. Monopoly can be a difficult game, but your 9-year-old will savor the challenge.
  4. Blokus
    If youre searching for another board game for your child, look no further than Blokus. An award-winning game, Blokus is easy to pick up but also requires a good deal of strategy to play well.
  5. KNex
    For those moments when your kid is looking to spend time alone or with a few friends, KNex is a great option. KNex not only offers directions for building specific structures, but also gives your child a chance to let their imagination run wild.
  6. Legos
    KNexs rival, Legos, has been turning kids into architects since 1949. With an ease of use and flexibility of design, Legos give kids the chance to build castles from sets or create their own mega-structures. For your convenience, Lego sets are catalogued based on age group, so you can find the right sets for your 9-year-old.
  7. Team Sports
    The structure of a team sport offers 9-year-olds a challenging and complex set of rules to adapt to. At the same time, the emphasis on teamwork will be just the kind of play environment your child is looking for. Its also a great time to expose them to the level of competition that sports offers.

Tiffany Smith is the director of content and publicity at William Woods University. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And, as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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