Perfect present for a boy turning 9
October 23, 2010 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What is the awesomest possible present for a boy turning 9?

He's a fairly boyish boy in the mainstream sense, into sports and games and puzzles, also likes music and clothes. He's very literate but I don't think he reads much for fun. I don't know what gaming system he has. I probably have about a 30 dollar cap.
posted by serazin to Shopping (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Radio controlled helicopter? Maybe they're passé now since they've gotten so cheap, but I would've been ELATED to get one of those at 9. Hell, I'm tempted even now.
posted by contraption at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

remote control helicopter.
posted by 256 at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by 256 at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

a parrot ar drone. i saw a demo of one of these and was blown away. apparently the battery only last 15 or 20 minutes though, so i would suggest getting a second one that you can swap out.
posted by phil at 9:12 AM on October 23, 2010

i apologize. in my excitement to talk about the drone i skipped over the price cap.
posted by phil at 9:13 AM on October 23, 2010

posted by timsteil at 9:14 AM on October 23, 2010

If I were 9 all over again, I'd say a radio controlled car, not a radio controlled helicopter. Because then I could drive it at my dog and make my dog go apeshit.

Inside every 35-year old man is a 9-year old boy itching to get out.
posted by dfriedman at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

At $5 over budget... and depending on how dark it is where he is... I suggest a telescope.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:20 AM on October 23, 2010

I came here to say microscope, but I think RC helicopter is awesomer.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:23 AM on October 23, 2010

I have that syma s107. It's totally awesome, but the package deal Amazon shows with replacement rotors and tail rotors are actually incorrect parts.

It's a robust little helicopter. I've crashed it a lot and it still works, though it is still very fragile. I would recommend at the very least wrapping the weighted ends of the gyro stabilizer bar in a single layer of light duct tape because they are actually single tiny metal weights in a chamber with a plastic cover screwed on and very likely to break. Just make sure to keep the weight distribution equal.

This may be too complicated for a 9 year old, but for $30 he can get a few hours of fun out of it before an unrecoverable crash.
posted by knowles at 9:29 AM on October 23, 2010

posted by jeffamaphone at 9:34 AM on October 23, 2010

I think a remote-controlled car would be better than a helicopter--I could see a 9 year old getting frustrated with the fragility and touchy controls of the helicopter, while he could run the car all around and crash it for fun and do some sweet jumps.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2010

This awesome kite from Kitty Hawk Kites. It's a parafoil, so there are no struts to break. My oldest has a slightly smaller version that goes up lickety-split and stuffs into a bag when she's done.
posted by jquinby at 10:18 AM on October 23, 2010

My husband has remote helicopters and they are a pain. It's frustrating to try to get them to do anything other than go up and down. They aren't supposed to be used outside (they move in the slightest draft) so unless he has vaulted ceilings they aren't much fun. It takes a lot of patience to get to the point where you can do tricks, and most 9 year old boys don't have a surplus of patience.

The boys that age that I've known usually like building things. My son is in the same age range and he loves his Erector Set and his Marble Racer.

My sister always sends my kids gift cards and they go nuts. I'll take them down to the store (usually Target or Toys 'R' Us) and let them buy whatever they want with it. They love the freedom to make their own choice. If you've got the time you might make the trip part of your present. I always learn a lot about my kids during these shopping excursions.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:23 AM on October 23, 2010

I just bought my 9 year old godson the Mattel Ucreate DJ station (cheapest at Amazon) - he LOVES it and I think he'll be able to use it for many years as he gets more into music. I may even get one for myself - it is a surprisingly solid piece of gear.
posted by judith at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cash, video games, or anything with real destructive potential.

And no, I don't mean this sarcastically.
posted by pla at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2010

The answer is probably in the brains of the other nine-year-old boys at his school, or at least in his general area. Ask someone of that age what the thing this year is.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:09 PM on October 23, 2010

A big box of tat? Mini light saber $1.71, 100 mini dice $2.20, 12 pirate rings $2.20, solar cockroach $2.28, etc etc. Check out the magic tricks, and the stationery.

Notes on sometimes things will take a while to arrive. Sometimes things will get damaged in the mail. But, free shipping is free shipping, and customer service is generally a "Please to be sending photographs of damage," "Will you be liking new product or PayPal refund" reasonable affair, if a little slow.

You could toss in a $10 bookstore gift certificate to try to offset the disposable junkiness of it...
posted by kmennie at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2010

I don't know about 9 year old boys, but geomag is a popular toy for physics grad students.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2010

I bought my brother a pocket knife. He loves it. You may want to check that his parents are okay with that though.
posted by twirlypen at 12:58 PM on October 23, 2010

If his parents approve, a tank full of frogs.

Make sure the parents know that they need to buy live crickets once a week, and keep them alive for that week.
posted by CathyG at 12:59 PM on October 23, 2010

seconding or thirding the recs against RC helicopter. i returned the ones we got my 9 year old - they are waaaay too frustrating and annoying for 9 yr old fun. RC cars are pretty great though.
posted by chr1sb0y at 3:15 PM on October 23, 2010

Response by poster: Well, I went ahead and got a helicopter. I was perhaps overly influenced by the guy in the store flying one around and I felt like I was in a fantasy movie about mechanical living creatures.

Thanks for the other suggestions too, which I will keep in mind for future present buying needs.
posted by serazin at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2010

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