Gifts for Tweens and Middle Schoolers They’ll Actually Like

Wondering what to buy a teen for their birthday or another event? Make a big impression with these trendy gifts we found for that impossible-to-buy-for tween.

Finally: Something you two can agree on. Quit arguing with your adolescent about what’s appropriate, assert your parenting savvy and show them a lot of love with these family-approved gifts with serious staying power. Wondering what to buy a teen for their birthday or another occasion? From guitar-inspired jewelry and a spot-on wall clock to a sweet skateboard stool, old-school camera and blinged-out plushy, some of these goods (covertly) teach your child about life – and others are just plain cool. Spec out our eight picks that are prime for older kids, teens or young adults.


Pokémon Monopoly Johto Edition

Given the Pokémon Go craze that captivated teens (and adults!), and the fact that board games are hotter than ever lately, this combo of a classic board game meets Pokémon will be endless hours of fun for your teen and her friends. Snag it from Think Geek for $44.99.

Happy Cat Emoji Portable Charger

Who doesn’t love cats and emojis? This portable charger from Wattz Up is great for teens on the go – especially if they’re always draining their phone batteries texting and snapping their friends. You can order one for $39.99 from

Kylo Ren Lightsaber Room Light

The latest movie in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, was a smash – and if your teen is a fan of the Dark Side, then no doubt they’ll be proud to illuminate their bedroom with this Kylo Ren Lightsaber light from Think Geek. Buy it for $29.99.

Guitar String Bracelets

Spike your tween’s interest in learning something new! With this guitar string bracelet, they can wear their passion on their sleeve – and show off their unique gift to all their friends. Explore the option of sending in a string from your own guitar and get your music-loving teenager’s initials imprinted for emphasis. They cost $18-plus, depending on customization.


“Upcycling” means breathing new life into an old item – creating something that’s often better than the original. Show your skater-kid you care with this upcycled, surprisingly comfy stool, great for playing guitar or video games. After all, recycling is trendy whatever your age. At around $150, the deckstool is a little pricier than other items on our list, but you can expect this to be worth it. Keep in mind that skateboards are made to stand up to a lot more than being sat on!

Awkward Moment Card Game

What situation isn’t awkward when you’re a tween? Bodies and minds are changing and new experiences crop up every day. Help the young person in your life prepare for those times with the Awkward Moment Card Game, which runs $19 at Uncommon Goods.

Customized Sneaker Kit

Tired of hearing your teen complain about their boring shoes? You buy them a new pair to grow out of seemingly every week, and they still aren’t satisfied. Well, now they have the power to create their favorite designs on any footwear. The JGoods Sneaker Customization Kit gives them endless possibilities to impress their friends with the coolest kicks in school. Save big money in the long run by purchasing this kit for $4.

Chill and Spill Journal

With gossip, first crushes and trends flying in and out like it’s migration season, emotions run high when middle school hits. Give your kid the power to control their feelings and vent in a healthy and productive way. This Chill & Spill Journal, promoted by the Committee for Children, provides a guided writing experience for teens to get everyday issues out of their heads. Give them the priceless gift of mastering their emotions for just $20.

Whatever Wall Clock

It’s their favorite word, so why not display it where it matters most? Your tween will never be a slave to time if she remembers to say “whatever” in the face of the forever-ticking clock that is life. Find the “whatever” wall clock at Uncommon Goods for $22.

Plush Organs

Does your teen torment others? Bully those less fortunate? We thought not – which is why you could buy them a plush heart! Here is the perfect present for that rare and special teenager – the one with a kind heart (your kid, yes?). Show them how much you appreciate their niceness with this adorable plushy – along with a grouping of other Plush Organs for $18.

Diana Camera

Teach your technologically attuned teenager to learn from the past: We call this one the Original Instagram. This classic debuted in the ’60s but fizzled out quickly due to newer versions and spinoffs – and didn’t get the respect it deserved. But what goes around comes around, right? The once-dying trend is now new again! At only $49 from Lomography, this classic beauty is a gift that won’t leave you worrying you spent too much – and might get your kid to discover the one-hour film developing counter.


Maybe your teen is looking for the perfect gift to give a friend, coach or family member for a special occasion. Here’s some advice to pass along!

This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2016.


  • Speaking as a tween myself i say these gifts are horrible and that if you are trying to give your kids gifts they like dont give them these. Also if any tween girl would like them it would not be a black girl these gift strictly attract white tween girls so if you are going to put gifts on your website for all tween girls consider the black girls too. But hey i guess that what the world has come to now only considering the white people, right?

  • Wow. These are only ideas to get you thinking. I love the stool idea, only i would make it out of something more along my daughters personality. She loves arts and crafts: So maybe a pencil and paint brush stool or chair. The journal is great, but maybe look for something more in line with a specific theme. Leather with hand made paper. (Amazon… $10-$100 in price depending on the quality.) I got one with a giving tree for $12. I want to thank you for taking the time to come up with the list as a starting point. All you complainers, the author did ask for other suggestions. Didn’t see any. Really with all that’s going on in the world right now, chill. There wasn’t anything racist about this article. Thank you for reading, again just one opinion.

  • Got my hard to buy for tween nephew a GARMIN version of the Fitbit and he loves it. Big hit.

  • To me, these things are something I would actually want, especially the Pokémon board game . The clock seems neato and the organ plushes seem adorable. In my opinion these would make great gifts for a tween like me.


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