Gifts for Tweens and Middle Schoolers They’ll Actually Like

Wondering what to buy a teen for their birthday or another occasion? Make a big impression with these trendy gifts for tweens.

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 rad gifts for tweens.

Wondering what to buy a tween 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 fish bowl, some of these goods (covertly) teach your child about life – and others are just plain cool. Spec out our top 12 picks that are prime for older kids and tweens.



biOrb HALO 15

Lava lamp meets fish tank in the biOrb HALO 15. This 4 gallon tank features a hidden waterline and virtually seamless design that will fit in with the decor of just about any kid’s space. It also comes equipped with 16 controllable colors to light up the fish and your room. Best of all, the tank is acrylic so no worries about clumsy teenage mishap. It comes in white or gray and costs $99 at

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


Ravensburger 3D The Earth Puzzleball

If you’ve got a kid that loves to problem solve let them take a crack at this 540-piece 3D puzzle. When they’re done, they’ll have a working globe to adorn their space with. It’s $32.99 from Amazon.

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.


Unspeakable Words

This hilarious game of words puts a twist on Scrabble but will gobble up your sanity. Use your cards to create words and score points but be careful because you have to test your word by rolling the sanity dice. The bigger the word the riskier the roll. Costs around $60 from Amazon.

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.


Wired Cat Ear Headphones

Every teen loves music and thanks to pop princess, Ariana Grande,  cat ears are huge. This unique gift combines the two to create a total unique gadget for kids to listen to their tunes. They’re rechargeable and each of the four speakers light up. That’s right, these headphones have four speakers. Two for personal listening and two (built into the ears) for group jam sessions. Get it for $99.99 from

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.


The Boc Box

This kit comes with the materials, instructions and other helpful resources that will help your teen create one-of-a-kind pieces of crochet jewelry. Comes in warm, cool and neutral colors and is available for $35 through





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 is updated regularly. 


  • 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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