Tweens are always looking for a challenge. Their maturing brains like complex play that is far more sophisticated. Complex problem solving tasks, working strategically to advance to the next levels of video games, and multiplayer activities or organized sports tailored to a child’s interest can provide satisfaction through play while nurturing brain development through adolescence. Here are my gift picks for tweens based on the things that Little Miss Techie and her friends are loving right now.
Draw Something Game ($19.99)— Zynga’s popular digital sketch game played in the virtual world has morphed into an IRL game that friends and family members can play while sitting around a table or the living room. Just as the app challenged players to draw items for opponents to guess, the new game requires players to choose a card featuring an item that their friends will have to guess. There are 3 different levels of cards and the harder the card, the more coins you get. The first player to 15 coins wins. This game incorporates the fun and popularity of Draw Something but parents will love the old school fun reminiscent of Pictionary.
Jewelry Design Super Set by Fashion Angels ($24.99)— Necklaces, beaded bracelets, friendship bracelets, and more are possible thanks to this set that includes sparkly jelly bands, alphabet beads, charms, elastic cord and thread, embroidery floss in all colors, and more that is nicely contained in a bead storage container. Over 4000 beads allow for 200 or so pieces of jewelry to be made so she can create to her hearts content!
Kinect Nat Geo TV ($29.99)— Called 2 way TV, Kinect Nat Geo TV helps kids learn about wildlife living in North America without leaving the living room. Called playful learning, this game is engaging, educational, and anything but passive. We had the opportunity to try a beta version of the game when the Kinect team came to film in our home and both of our kids fell in love with the experiences immediately and are so excited that the game has finally come out.
Harry Potter Wonderbook: Book of Spells for PlayStation Move ($79.99)— Book of Spells is not only the first Sony Wonderbook title but it’s also sure to delight the biggest Harry Potter fans since it’s a collaboration between Sony and Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. Book of Spells uses augmented reality to immerse Muggles into the wizarding world while sitting in the comfort of your own home. The Playstation Move controller is used with the Book of Spells and turns the unremarkable book full of funny symbols into a spell book like the ones fans imagine Harry, Ron, Hermione, and other Hogwarts students using in their classes. Players engage in various tasks to learn proper wand usage before tackling challenges that Potter fans will recognize from the books. This single person game is a lot of fun thanks to amazing graphics and the Move camera that puts a player’s image on the screen to truly engage you in the story. If you don’t have the Move camera or controller, I highly recommend getting the Move Bundle pictured above. If you already have those items, Wonderbook Book of Spells is $39.99.
Xbox 360 with Kinect ($99)— Yes, you read that right! As part of their Entertainment for All promotion, Microsoft is offering Xbox 360 with Kinect starting at $99. $99 gets you a 4 GB Xbox with Kinect or a 250 GB Xbox console. For $149 you can get a 250 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect. This is an incredible deal for a gaming system that is popular with hard core gamers as well as families. It is probably the console system that we use the most in our home and yes, we do own the other two in the name of market research! To take advantage of this great deal, you can shop online or instore at participating retailers like the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, Game Stop, Toys R Us, and Walmart. Some stores will let you buy online and ship to your home, buy online and pick up in store, and/or purchase in store. This handy chart shows you how and where to make your purchase.
Harry Potter for Kinect ($49.99)— If you have an Xbox Kinect (or are tempted to get one thanks to the great deal above) and are a Harry Potter fan, don’t be upset about not being able to use the Wonderbook: Book of Spells because Harry Potter for Kinect is just as cool. Young witches and wizards immerse themselves in the wizarding world to experience moments and challenges depicted in the story and each of the eight films. Start with a visit to Ollivanders to choose your wand and then set off to Hogwarts for a try at Potions with Professor Snape before you practice dueling which becomes an important skill when battling Inferi later in the game. This game allows for cooperative game play that immerses the entire body in the experience through challenges like a Quidditch match with the Slytherins. Bob and weave through your opponents while following a course through the Quidditch field and looking for the Golden Snitch. It’s no easy task since it involves side jabs to other opponents, leaning to steer your broom along the course, and keen eyesight but this challenge, like so many others in the game, are absolutely delightful for any true HP fans.
Look on the Brightside Wrap Bracelet ($10)— Even the moodiest of tweens can appreciate a gentle reminder to look on the bright side as she looks down at the colorful Kate Spade wrap bracelet on her wrist.
Nerf Vortex Pyragon Blaster ($39.99)— Since coming to accept that our kids love Nerf guns, I happen to think the new Nerf Vortex Pyragon Blaster is pretty cool. This drum fed blaster holds 40 discs that can be fired one at a time or in slam-fire (or rapid fire) mode. It’s fun to have a friend over who has a Pyragon Blaster of their own for battle inside the house or out. The only bummer is having to pick up all 40 discs when your drum is empty or having a sibling who doesn’t have one and is clamoring to play with yours! If this is on your gift list, be sure to have a friend or family member get your child a refill pack of 40 discs because you can never have too many!
Beyblade Metal Fury Destroyer Dome ($39.99)— 1-2-3- let it rip now moves from a stadium like battle to one that occurs in the round. Kids who love engaging in Beyblade battles will love this new spherical arena and watching tops spin in every direction. This highly addictive game started in Japan and is now just as popular here in the U.S. Our two kids spend lots of time perched on the floor mesmerized by their Beyblades spinning around in the new dome arena. The set includes two Beyblade tops, two spin tracks, two launchers, and the dome arena. Additional Beyblade tops can be purchased for the ultimate challenge.
Fashion Angels Tapefetti 30 Piece Caddy ($12.95)— As much as tween girls want to fit in, they also want to be able to express themselves with a distinct style. The Fashion Angels Tapefetti 30 Piece Caddy features 30 different rolls of decorative tape that can be affixed to just about anything including binders, lockers, pencil cases, and electronic devices. Each roll contains 9 feet of tape for a whopping 270 feet of Tapefetti! Little Miss Techie couldn’t get enough of the Tapefetti at last week’s FashionTweenstas event hosted by KidVuz. She decorated little pouches, my cell phone case, and just about anything she could get her hands on. I’m secretly tempted to buy each of us a Tapefetti set this year! They’re just that cool! I also really like the Project Runway Tapefetti Fashion Design Challenge Set ($32).
Donut Microbead Pillow from iScream ($30)— I fell in love with iScream’s squishy pillows filled with microbeads at the FashionTweenstas event. Cupcakes, chipwiches, gummy bears, Peeps style Andy Warhol art, Smarties, Warheads, and more are fun additions to any tween’s room. My favorite just happens to be the donut. Little Miss Techie really liked the Chipwich one for the oversized chocolate chips that looked good enough to eat! We are also big fans of iScream’s Activity Books affordably priced at $7.50. Order a pillow and while you’re at it, get some activity books to keep in your gift closet!
Just Dance 4 ($39.99)— The popular Just Dance franchise is back with all new popular songs from artists like Flo Rida, One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ricky Martin, Pink, Maroon 5, Rihanna, and more. Plus those who can’t get enough of Gagnam Style will be happy to know that it’s available to download as an add on. Available for Xbox 360 with Kinect, Wii, and PlayStation 3.
eReader: Voracious readers who can’t put down their books would love an eReader of their own. Which eReader to get depends on what your family already owns.
- Nook Simple Touch is affordable thanks to recent price drops that have brought the device down to $59. This offer is limited and only available through Barnes & Noble retail stores.
- The Kindle Fire HD is the hot eReader right now because it’s new and has a truly gorgeous HD display but the classic Kindle for $69 is a budget friendly option that will allow you to load up the new gift with tons of books before it gets into the hands of your reader.
Books: What should you download when you get the new eReader or are looking for titles for your reader? Here are our picks:
- Harry Potter Books 1-7— After a year and a half of reading Harry Potter together as our bedtime read aloud, Little Miss Techie and I just finished them but loved each word of every chapter! Fill in holes in your child’s Harry Potter library or start them out with the complete box set.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—Little Miss Techie can’t get enough of Greg Heffley and has been a huge fan ever since discovering the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. She says she enjoys them because “they’re funny and deal with topics that kids her tweens can relate to.” The newest book, The Third Wheel, has already been read over and over and over again and is a great addition to any fan’s library as is The Wimpy Kid Do It Yourself Book where the book owner becomes the author, illustrator, and the main character of their life story. It’s like a diary but way cooler for tweens.
- Encyclopedia Brown series— Leroy Brown runs his own detective agency and for 25 cents will solve any case that the residents of Idaville present to him. Kids will enjoy reading the story and trying to solve the crimes before flipping to the back to see if they’re right. Start with any of the books in the series or get the first 4 books from Amazon for $13.47.
- Choose Your Own Adventure series— Tweens will never tire of the Choose Your Own Adventure books because each time you read it, the path you decide to take results in a different ending which makes them fun, exciting, and books to read over and over again. Books are sold individually or in sets of 4 for $14.95 from Amazon.
Gift cards may seem impersonal but are helpful to tweens as they think about money management and budgeting. What kinds of gift cards do tweens appreciate? iTunes, Old Navy, GameStop, Claire’s, and American Girl are great places to start.
Samples were received for review purpose while other products were personally purchased. No compensation was received for this post. All images are courtesy of the companies. All opinions are my own. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post.