Eight year old boys definitely judge the value of their gifts by the cool factor. If the gift looks fun or intriguing to them they will consider it a good present. Clothes and other useful items, while certainly needed, may not be the presents to give during a kids birthday party.
Scooter or Skateboard
Is the scooter the new suburban skateboard or does the skateboard still reign over the pedal-less transportation market? I guess the preference for a scooter or skateboard is determined by pre-adolescent boys choice. Razor has improved and marketed scooters to the point where they typically outnumber skateboards on most suburban blocks. Also, many copy-cat scooters have emerged to challenge Razor in their dominance of the market. Both a scooter or a skateboard provide healthy activity for boys (assuming recommended safety equipment is worn). The only question is which toy does the boy prefer?
These Japanese-based character games are very popular with 8 year old boys. Pokemon have been around for more than 20 years, first gaining their popularity on the Nintendo Game Boy. The Japanese inventor first envisioned the Pokemon characters playing with insects as a boy. Other video games, Japanese anime TV shows, and a trading card game have evolved from the original characters based on bugs. Bakugan are similar to Pokemon but instead of the popular trading cards magnetic trading cards are used along with the ball-shaped Bakugans which open when they come in contact with the magnet cards. Card values along with the strengths of the Bakugans are used to determine the winner of battles. Beyblades is a new game, based on a classic toy. Beyblades are essentially high-tech spinning tops. The Beyblades have different tips, edges, and center of gravity. They are classified in different categories including defense, attack, and stamina. The object is to be the last Beyblade spinning, but some Beyblades are designed to hit the other Beyblades and slow them down. As they say in Beyblade world "3, 2, 1, let 'em rip".
Nerf GunsNerf guns offer a safer way to do what boys love to do, battle! There are different Nerf guns available from the smaller spring-powered hand-held models to the larger battery-powered automatic models. The Nerf guns are great when a group of kids all have them to be able to play capture the flag or other battle games.
Most boys want at least 1 nice LEGO set during their childhood. The themes and choices of LEGO sets are vast. Typically, LEGO sets with more pieces requires more skill and patience putting the thing together. Gauge the boy's mechanical skills before selecting a set. Also, find out what they like. There are many themes like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Space, and Castles (Kingdoms) which boys this age may enjoy.
Eight year old boys are into sports and they have plenty of extra energy to work off. Encourage healthy lifestyle habits by giving sporting goods to them as gifts. At this age, boys are willing to try about every sport so the field is literally wide open.
Movies for 8 Year Olds
Eight year old boys love to watch movies. Sometimes the movies they watch are not always the best form of entertainment for them. There are some popular movies for elementary school that are appropriate for their age, but many movies marketed to kids and parents are not beneficial. There have been many books and websites created to review movies for a specific demographic, but what they may not capture is the long-term benefit of a good story and message from films that may help kids benefit in their maturity and emotional growth. Here are some movies that 8 year old boys will like and also demonstrate a good message along the way.
E.T. - Teach them it is OK to be apart from friends
The Sound of Music - Teach them about sacrifices in life
The Pride of the Yankees - Teach them about responsibility
Since this present would imply learning, it is best to stick keeping it as cool as possible. Luckily, most boys this age are just starting to learn about science so most science toys will be new to them and therefore considered cool. There are some very good science related toys available that both teach kids something about science and can generate some amount of excitement in boys.
Video Games (iPod, iPad, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony, Xbox 360)
Eight year old boys are typically masters at video games. A good video game they do not own will always make a good gift. Find out the system they own and select a game they do not own. Any of the Mario Bros. games are excellent, Pokemon games are good, sports games like Madden Football are good for boys this age or try a simulation game like Sim Theme Park (a little harder to find).
One thing to keep in mind if you are thinking about video games is the cost of a game on each system. Nintendo (Wii and DS) games tend to be the highest, followed by Sony and Xbox. Games are the iPod and iPad are by far the cheapest. For example, EA sports John Madden Football sells for over $20 on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP system. The full iPod version is only $2.99, and like most iTunes Apps a trial version that is completely free to see if it is a good game before buying. The best way to give a boy games for their iPod touch or iPad is to give them an iTunes gift card.
Official LEGO Website - FREE Shipping on all orders of $99 or more. Valid 10.15.12 - 12.18.12
sciencewithkids.com - Science experiments and information for kids