Best Gifts For 7 Year Olds, According to Child Development Experts

Welcome to middle childhood, which means youre now on a quest to find great toys for 7-year-olds. Kids this age have opinions, and as such, finding gifts for 7-year-old boys and girls can be a challenge. Theres a ton of toys out there, but few worthy ones that play to and develop this age groups strengths. (Dont have a 7-year-old quite yet? Check out our 6-year-old gift guide.)

According to the CDC, he or she is in school, can dress him- or herself, and even tie his or her own shoelaces. Kids this age catch balls using only their hands. They develop close and important friendships. And their physical, social, and mental skills develop quickly, so its vital for them to build confidence in all facets of their lives, through friends, school, and sports.

Now, to the fun part. Get them toys thathelp them write stories, draw intricate pictures, and build and create things, including crafty items, sports equipment and building materials such as Legos and magnetic tiles.

The most important feature of a toy is that it be open-ended and provide opportunities for exploration, says Keith Sawyer, a Morgan Distinguished Professor of Educational Innovations at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill school of education who has spent his career studying creativity and learning. It should be something where where isnt one linear path, where every child does the same thing and theres the same solution in the end. Kids should be able to play with a toy in a way that the creator of the toy never intended. And they should be able to do so without their parents showing them how.

These are some of the best toys for 7 year olds.

You'll never find a more gorgeous or better quality art kit than this one.

This art set includes24 colored ecopencils, eight watercolor pencils, two grip graphite pencils, 18 oil pastels, 12 washable markers, a paint brush, and artist paper, all from one of the most storied brands in the biz.

Construction toys are key for seven year olds, to let them engage in hours upon hours of open-ended play while building stuff they dream up.

Sure, this construction set has 679 parts and lets your kid build a working crane that actually lifts things. All while developing fine motor skills, manual dexterity, and spatial awareness.

Dressing up is a key part of pretend play, and this costume cape is one of the coolest we've ever seen.

Not only is this cape reversible, which is double the good times. But it lets your kid create his or her own superhero, or be whatever knight or royal they want.

This killer set includes everything budding artists need to unleash their creativity. You get more than 60 pieces from colored pencils to markers, all packed in a great reusable carrying case.

Kids love to draw. But keeping all that gear in one place is a headache. Now, problem solved, with this all-in-one art kit.

An absolutely brilliant toy, this one teaches kids the basics of potential energy, momentum and gravity.

This is pretty much the perfect toy, encouraging exploration and open-ended play. Its the domino effect in action.Kidsput a wooden ball in the rail car and release it down the ramp, which causes a chain reaction.

If you want an antithesis to Barbie, check out these awesome new gender-neutral dolls from Mattel.

These customizable and interchangeable gender-neutral dolls that have tween bodies that look somewhat like tween bodies, thigh gap be damned. Kids can dress the dolls in shorts or pants or dresses, swap out wigs, and play around with accessories.

Kids can use the included tool to dissect the alien and save the hunter trapped in its slime-filled belly. Every alien comes with a bag of reusable ooze, and a tweezer for extraction purposes.

Not only is this grossness at its finest, it might even lead your kid to become a doctor or scientist. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus, theres a hidden gem in every pack.

Car nuts can build, race and display this white 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 toy car with a removable windshield.

The name of the game here is authenticity and attention to detail, and as such, the Porsche even includes iconic whale tail rear spoiler.

The ingenious gravitrax interactive track system lets kids design and build their own race tracks and experiment with gravity, magnetism, and kinetics.

What you get is a next-level marble runthat comes with 122 pieces and teaches kids all about gravity and spatial reasoning.

This five foot wide Hot Wheels set has a double figure-eight design with high speed boosters that lets kids race multiple cars and smash them into each other.

The best part of this track: Kids can use the levers to send cars through the ground-level crash zone or into the air for stunning collisions.

This super-cool set gives Lego builders a play experience that combines the endless possibilities of LEGO construction bricks with a continuously updated augmented reality game app.

Once kids are done building the ghost lab, they can scan the LEGO model with a phone to make it come alive and see crazy things happen.

With Nerf, go big or not at all. The rotating drum on this massive Nerf gun holds 20 Nerf darts to give kids (or you) plenty of firepower.

This behemoth of a Nerf gun is easy to use. Kids (or you)crank the handle back and forth to send 20 Nerf Mega darts in a row through the air, up to 85 feet. Thats a lot of feet, folks.

Upgrade your kid's drone by getting him or her a drone with an 720p HD camera, which lets them share what they capture on social channels.

Kids get a live stream of everything their drone captures, and see breathtaking aerial photos. The drone can flip in four directions, and has two speed modes, so its suitable for beginners. Its equipped with LED navigation lights and a remote control indicator.

With this inventive set, kids can build their own 3D printed mini sumo battle-bots and face-off against each other.

This STEM set, created to help kids grasp the fundamentals of physics and engineering, works with the corresponding app to get them start building and battling. They build their 3D bots, and then battle it out in the ring.

Of course you could buy bath bombs at CVS. But if you're trying to keep kids off their devices, get this kit and make them instead.

STEM learning doesnt have to be a chore. In fact, this kit makes it a literal blast. Kids get everything they need to make cool bath bombs, that they can use in the tub.

Every kid is unique. Every fingerprint is unique. You see where we're going here?

Your aspiring FBI agent learns how todetect and collect fingerprints with this kit, which contains 10 fingerprint cards, dusting powder, stamp pad, brush, and stickers.

Kids can pretend to hit the slopes, or practice for the winter Olympics, with this ultra-detailed City Lego set.

Whats better than going skiing? Ok, maybe not better, but almost as fun? Building your own ski resort, which includes arescue base, half-pipe and grind rail, ski shop, hot drinks stand, helicopter toy, 44 truck and snowmobile with an attached trailer.

These are the most badass binoculars for kids. They amplify sight and sound with built-in audio amplification and triple the visual magnification.

Intrepid explorers will tackle the wilds (of your backyard) with these binoculars, which kids can see and hear with. Seriously.

After kids unwrap their surprise pet, they add water to wash off the fuzz and reveal the critter inside.

The Fuzzy Pets come inside a shampoo container, and the set includes seven surprises: a magic mirror, a secret message, a bottle, a scooper, an outfit, a fashion accessory and of course, the Fuzzy Pet itself.

It's like a batting cage, but for soccer balls. You blow up the string-attached soccer ball, fill the base with sand or water, adjust the cord length and start kicking.

Yes, mini Messi, this ones for you. This soccer set works on any surface, and is an outstanding way for kids to build endurance and muscle, improve balance and coordination, and home gross motor skills and reflexes. Plus, its just fun.

Artie is a cute robot that teaches your kid to code. How? Your kid simply drags and drops blocks of code to tell Artie how and what to draw.

You download the app (of course), connect through your tablet, and then program Artie 3000 to draw whatever you want. Kids drag and drop blocks of code to tell Artie how and what to draw. Hes your personal Banksy.

Kids use clay to create whatever charms they want. You bake the clay. And they wear their creations.

Its a full DIY jewelry-making kit. Kids get six bright colors of clay, two colors of glitter, charm bracelet, glaze with brush applicator, clay shaping tool, and a drying rack.

At this age, you should be reading to your kids, and they should be reading to you. Take it one step further and let them make their own books with this brilliant kit.

This is self-publishing at its best. You get a complete kit for writing, illustrating and publishing a hardcover book, about whatever topic your kid loves.

It's Crazy Aaron's putty, but with a literal twist. The goal is to connect the same-colored dots by creating same-colored paths of Crazy Aaron's putty without crossing different putty paths.

Its putty, but in puzzle form. The goal here is to connect the putty to the same-colored dots. It teaches kids logic and planning skills.

Sports are key at this age, so we're betting this door pong kit (it's ping pong, sans table) will make for hours of fun.

The clamp attaches to any doorway. And its like playing ping pong, but without the table. You hit the ball back and forth and back and forth. For hours.

Soon enough, your kid will be old enough to read all about the boy wizard. For now, he can wave his wand around and cast magic spells.

Expelliarmus! No chance, with this light-up wand, a classic from the Harry Potter book series.

Crafting is a great activity for kids this age, which is why we recommend this Sculpey clay.

It stays soft and malleable until the epic art creation is finished, at which point you just bake it in your oven. Yes, youll wind up with misshapen coffee mugs. And yes, your kids imagination will run fairly wild.

The Q-Ba-Maze big box includes 92 cubes consisting of 3 different designs to be used as scaffolding, ramps, and paths to help young builders learn basic physics.

TheQ-BA-Maze is a system of colorful cubes that interlock to form a marble run. You can create marble maze sculptures in any form such as animals, robots, towers, and geometric shapes, which encourages kids to think outside the proverbial box.

Crafting toys are a major hit with this age group. And this one from Alex lets kids make unique personalized cards for any occasion. Kids can stamp their own patterns, and the set includes printed cards, envelopes, stickers, paper shapes, gems, adhesive foam, wooden stamps, stamp pad, washi tape, twine, and a glue stick. Creativity, not included.

No more store-bought generic paper sentiments. With this DIY card kit, kids can makebirthday, anniversary, or holiday cards at home.

Of course you can grab soap at CVS. But why, when your kid can make his or her own using this DIY kit?

This kit includes molds to make 10 soaps from scratch. You can choose colors, soap stickers, and skin-safe glitter. Which is how youll wind up with soaps shaped like emoji cats, peace signs, and cupcakes.Shower, optional.

We're huge fans of Legos here, because they grow with your kids. And this set lets them build an amazing pickup truck toy with hitch and a caravan trailer with removable roof, opening side and extendable support leg.

Its the perfect level of difficulty for a 7-year-old, and the set includes a mom, dad, and son to let kids build their own camping outing without ever leaving home.

Ah yes, enter the magic world of L.O.L Surprise! This doll house is made from real wood, has three stories, six rooms, and a working elevator!

Kids can unpack 85 surprises as they move into this deluxe house.The outside patio includes a real pool for cold water, a hot tub for warm water and a sandbox for any pets. There is, of course a massive walk-in closet with a vanity.

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