What to Buy? A Christmas Gift Guide for Older Kids

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Trying to figure out what to get school-age kids for Christmas? It can be tricky at this age to buy Christmas gifts as kids can have different interests. No matter what they’re interested in, there’s sure to be a gift they’ll love to receive.

Here’s a selection of Christmas gifts that they will love. If you’re shopping for younger kids, check out our baby, toddler and preschool gift guide.

Board games

Enjoy some retro fun and buy them a board game or two. They can play it with their friend or as part of a family game night. Some of our favourites include the 5 Second Rule, Cluedo, Jenga, Smart Ass and the aptly named Are You Dumber than a Box of Rocks? Here’s our list of recommended family board games and don’t forget that Newcastle now has its own version of Monopoly.


You can’t really go wrong with LEGO. No matter what your child might be interested in, there’s a LEGO-themed set that fits the bill like Star Wars, Frozen, Ninjago, Elves, Batman and Harry Potter. Depending on the age of your child, you can choose from different levels of complexity and number of pieces.

Science kits

Buy a gift that promotes fun and learning. There are some great science kits. We recommend the National Geographic range for kids 8+. We’ve personally tested the Dino Dig Kit, Hydrophobic Substances and Mega Slime Kit. These kits combine education with entertainment as kids get to do hands-on play while learning about different subject matters. In this same range, there are Volcano Science Kit, Magnetic Putty and Meteoric Dig Kit.

If you’re shopping for avid young scientists, choose a set from the Wild Science range. These kits are more involved and it does take longer to complete an experiment, sometimes days! However, the sets provide kids with an in-depth look at chemistry including reactions and outcomes.

STEM gifts

Osmo Genius Kit Kids STEM toy

To prepare for the future, kids need a good grounding in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To nurture these interests, choose a birthday or Christmas STEM toy or kit. There are some fantastic educational toys and games available in Australia relating to chemistry, biology, physics as well as coding and nature gifts. Kids will be having fun while they develop their learning and STEM skills. Some of our favourites include Osmo Genius Kit, Sphero and Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit which require an iPad. There are also engineering kits like Roominate and Alarm Robot and biology kits like an Ant Farm. Check out our STEM Gift Guide for more recommendations.

Craft kits

Get kids off devices and get them making something. This is why a craft kit is a novel idea. It encourages kids to use their hands, get creative and make a tangible thing. There’s lots of great kits out there that you can including sewing kits, Spirograph, slime making kits, terrariums, sand art, jewellery making and soap making.

Children’s books

For this age group, buy a book or two that will get kids hooked on reading. There are so many great books and book series to choose from. Some of our favourites include:

  • The Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
  • Alice-Miranda series by Jacqueline Harvey
  • Ruby Wishfingers series by Deborah Kelly
  • Little Paws series by Jess Black
  • Mr Walker series by Jess Black
  • The Girl, The Dog and the Writer series by Katrina Nannestad
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
  • Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan
  • Morrigan Crow series by Jessica Townsend
  • Warriors series by Erin Hunter
  • Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan
  • Any book by Roald Dahl
  • Any book by David Walliams
  • A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeline L’Engle
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

If you’re looking to support local talent, check our kids’ book guide featuring Newcastle & Hunter authors and illustrators.

Subscription to a kids magazine


A subscription to a kids magazine is a great gift as it lasts all year. It’s exciting for kids to receive something through the mail addressed to them. And a bonus is that they can be fun or educational like National Geographic KidsCSIRO’s Double Helix or Kookie.

Experiences gifts

Gift experiences

This Christmas, choose kids gift experiences instead of more toys. In addition to family bonding, these create lasting memories for kids. We’re recommending tickets to a concert, theatre production, sports games or a term of classes or zoo or museum membership. Here are 50+ ideas for Newcastle & Hunter gift experiences for all budgets and interests that both kids and parents will love, plus a few from Sydney. You can also encourage grandparents and extended family to choose experience gifts and even participate in specific activities with kids.

Gift cards

If you’re not sure what to buy for an older kid, resort to a gift card. There are tons to choose from depending on their interests. If they going to the movies, buy them a gift certificate. If they prefer online activities, buy them App Store and iTunes or Google Play gift cards. Sporty kids? Choose a Rebel voucher. Music or streaming fans? Choose Spotify or Netflix vouchers.

You can even buy the Ultimate Kids Gift Card available in $30 or $50 from Australia Post which can be used at Toys “R” Us, JB Hi Fi, Cotton On Kids, Rebel Sport and Dymocks. There’s also the Ultimate Teens Gift Card which is redeemable in-store (excluding online) at JB HI-FI, Rebel, Boost Juice, City Beach and AMF Bowling as well as Kingpin Bowling and Playtime.

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