Tweens have one foot firmly still planted in childhood and the other inching towards the teen years so they often feel stuck between the cute stuff of kid years and wanting to be grown up. This age group possesses growing self-confidence, independence, and academic skills that need to be nurtured. The best gifts for tweens encourage them to be their best selves while fostering their growing interests.
Since they flip flop between wanting to be seen as kids but also wanting to be viewed as grown up, give them the autonomy they crave to explore things they love as they continue developing meaningful friendships. Gifts for tweens can be increasingly pricey but can also be a worthwhile investment for the future as they start to want to learn about specific topics and develop proficiency in their skills. Here are my picks for this year!
Best Gifts for Tweens
Piper Computer Kit ($249)
Piper is perfect for budding engineers with an interest in computer science. This build-your-own computer kit enables kids to build, code, and tap into their imaginations right out of the box to teaches relevant STEM skills. While it might be intimidating to open a box that contains laser cut parts, wires, and other computer components, take a deep breath because the enclosed Piper Blueprint walks kids through each step of building their computer. The directions are easy to follow and well laid out and teach technology basics, electronics, and coding. Once Piper is built, tweens can use buttons, wires, and breadboards to navigate obstacles, over come challenges, and create games. Their mission is to save the world by playing a damaged robot named Pip who needs some systems fixed. As they get help from PiperBot, kids will learn how to add on to their hardware with wiring, sensors, and more. Lots of skills are involved in the building process and this makes Piper hands on learning at its best! Pro tip: If you’re considering Piper, the company will be offering it for $199 vs. the full price of $299 as a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal when you shop here or on PlayPiper.com.For ages 7+
Glow Battle ($59.90)
Your tween will want to assemble a group of friends to go outside and play even in the cold winter months thanks to Glow Battle, where up to 10 players can use glow-in-the-dark foam weapons to run, jump and swing at each other to win! 28 glowing game pieces provide the structure for organized game play that can be done anywhere there’s space to run, making Glow Battle perfect for team building, developing strategy and group bonding. For ages 7+
There’s a difference between passive and productive screen time and Gravitrax allows tweens to use their phone as a tool to build their own marble runs or with the help of the free GraviTrax app for iOS and Android devices. While kids can certainly build through unplugged and experimental play using the starter set, the app allows them to test their run, use blueprints to build the actual system, and experience the race with different balls, various camera perspectives, including the marble’s point of vice using the Virtual Reality feature (VR headset not included). Builders can also add expansion packs (starting at $9.99) on to their set to create more epic tracks! For ages 8+
Crayola Crayon Melter ($29.99)
Crayons may not be the art medium of choice for your tween but they can be cool again thanks to the crayon melter. The Crayola Crayon Melter allows kids to color and doodle on a variety of surfaces with heated melted wax, making this a really great medium to embellish surfaces with an added dimension or textures. The Crayon Melter features a low-heat tip and safe quick-dry technology for crayon melted art, gift making, card making, and DIY crafts for kids and adults alike. Be sure to gift extra heavyweight paper ($18.97 for a pack of 100 9×12” sheets of watercolor paper) as part of this gift so tweens can continue to enjoy creating without the worry of running out of paper after winter break. For ages 8+
Harry Potter fans will love putting their LEGO building skills to the test to bring the Hogwarts Whomping Willow to life. This 753 piece set contains everything they need to build the Whomping Willow with spinning branches, Flying Ford Anglia car model and Hogwarts castle. The set also includes Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Seamus Finnigan, Argus Filch and Severus Snape minifigures for playing out favorite scenes from the Harry Potter books and of course, all pieces are compatible with other construction sets for creative building. For ages 8+
Bounce Battle ($24.95)
With dozens of games to play and flexible game play (multiplayer, 1 on 1, teams, or tournament style), this is a great addition to your family game night arsenal or to have on hand this winter for any upcoming snow days. 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Nine Cup, Level Out, Point Ball, Alphabet Soup (patterns/shapes), H-O-R-S-E (trick shot), and other games are easy to learn and quick to play. Just choose your color, pick your battle, and bounce balls to win. Bounce Battle games are fun, competitive, and highly addictive. For ages 9+
Survival Knots ($19.50)
Keep tween hands busy with Survival Knots, a kit that contains everything you need to keep your young survivalist or fiddler busy learning how to tie 12 different knots that are always useful to know in real life. This set contains 5 paracords, 2 plastic clips, a metal carabiner, 5 reference cards, 2 cardboard branches, patch and instructions to make the Alpine Butterfly Loop, Square Lashing, Dropper Loop Knots, and more. For ages 6+
Nintendo Switch ($299)
We’ve owned our Nintendo Switch for a year now and while I was hesitant at first (another gaming system, more screen time!?!), the Switch is something our whole family enjoys. We love the versatility of this device that can be played at home docked in a console for game play on the TV but also taken on the go for portable play. Game play is also flexible thanks to pairs of controllers called JoyCons that can be used attached during portable play or taken off and shared with a friend so you can game together. Like mini Wii controllers (remember those?), JoyCons work as controllers since they each feature 4 buttons and a joystick. Separate them and give one to a friend so you can play together and add a couple more so you can play a 4 person game with more friends. Nintendo Switch is a cool hybrid system that promises lots more new games on the horizon and is fun for parents and kids alike. If your kids are getting a Switch this year, great add on gifts from relatives include Arms (rated E10+ and perfect for this age!) Super Mario Party (rated E for Everyone), or these Switch games that inspire offline learning. For ages 5+
Rock Painting Kit ($19.99)
If your tween loves finding painted rocks when you’re out and about in public spaces, encourage them to add to the movement by creating their own to spread some winter cheer. This complete craft set contains 12 acrylic paint colors, 70 transfer stickers, 4 rock holders, 4 paint brushes, a color palette, and 10 smooth river rocks to create beautiful lasting rock masterpieces. For ages 7+
Shadows in the Forest ($24.99)
Adorable forest creatures called ‘Shadowlings’ hide from any sign of light, while ‘The Seeker’ moves around the forest trying to catch them. The Seeker (one player) plays as the glowing LED lantern and tries to freeze the Shadowlings (up to six players) by casting light across the trees. As the light moves, the shadows change. The Shadowlings work together to move in the darkness and continue hiding behind the trees to avoid being captured. For ages 8+
Jurassic Park: Danger ($24.99)
In this strategy game, it’s you and up to 4 players against the dinosaurs! The first visitors have arrived at Isla Nublar to see Jurassic Park’s first hand but chaos has hit! The power is out and the prehistoric creatures are on the hunt so team up as characters from the classic movie to get Jurassic Park™ back online and escape the island before you fall prey. For ages 8+
Ya Blew It! ($16.99)
Warning: shouts of “Fire in the Hole!” might erupt as your family engages in this risk-taking social game. Players dig deep in the card deck to mine for diamonds and stake their claim. But be warned that other prospectors may try to steal from you and give you the shaft! Whether you play it safe, or push your luck looking for a bigger claim, the game is explosive either way, and you’ll enjoy the fun with every suspenseful roll of the unique 8-sided dynamite dice!
TinkerCrate is a monthly subscription box containing everything your tween needs to create a STEM project each month. Every kit provides materials, a blueprint with step by step instructions, Tinker Zine Magazine with more experiments and activities, plus access to video tutorials. Click here and use the code EARLY for 60% off your first month of Tinker Crate! For ages 9+
Phone Accessories for Tweens
- PopSockets ($9.99 and up) — Popping up on phones everywhere, PopSockets are not only a great phone accessory but they provide an added grip so phones are less likely to slip from their fingers. There are no shortage of designs to choose from, making it easy to find one to fit your tween’s style. Click here to get 20% off and free shipping!
- Powercell External Battery ($11.95 and up)— Ventev makes our family’s favorite external battery packs and my kids love the ones with the integrated cables so they can always be sure they can keep their phones charged on the go. The Powercell 3015 (iOS, USB-C, micro USB) models are nice and slim, perfect for tucking in a backpack, clutch, or pocket while the 6010+ model (ios and Android) features a wall charger, integrated cable, and fast charge capabilities to deliver enough power for 25 hours of talk.
- Mabel’s Labels Middle School Combo Pack ($42)— No one ever wants to lose their phone, external charger, or the hoodie that it was in at the time but sometimes these things happen and your kids are more likely to get their things back when they’re properly labeled. Mabel’s Labels has helped ensure that misplaced items find their way back to us for years and they’re a must have for digital devices, clothes, water bottles, and everything else they stick
- Bear Surge Protector ($18.99)— This adorable blue bear will keep tweens’ digital devices from going in the red and provide a central place for them to keep everything plugged in so you can keep an eye on their phone, tablet, laptop, gaming system, etc.
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES:
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
- Outdoor Adventures
NEED MORE IDEAS? VISIT MY PAST TWEEN GIFT GUIDES
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own.