No. of Recommendations: 0
I will presume his has his own tools? tool belt? safety glasses?
real ones, not plastic, and is allowed wood & nails?
Get him something from Ikea and let him put it himself?

Legos are timeless and there is no number that is too many.
I don't know about Brain Development - But I am a firm believer in jumping directly into a Game and completely skipping any *junior* versions (Monopoly, Scrabble, etc)

I am a big fan of anything Strategy/Deductive Reasoning related - Chess, Battleship, Risk, Clue, Scrabble (as a strategy game-not a word game)...

Although those are the standards, and not trendy, there are some Very Cool (if you are looking at gifts) Versions of all of these

Card Games
Bridge is supposed to be one of the most difficult games to program, as far as the reasoning, and you only need one extra to have enough to play
Fluxx (any version) is ridiculous, but good for all ages
Munchkins - if he can read- he can learn it, might have some mildly inappropriate material on the cards.

And- on a general *Christmas* note -
Since i know you are just a few years younger than I -
This is the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride movie - a gift of the Book and DVD might be well received, as you mold his sense of humor.

peace & games
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