Gifts for Tweens and Middle Schoolers They’ll Actually Like

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

gifts for tweens

Finally: Something you two can agree on. Quit dealing with teenage drama 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.

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 $31.99 from


biOrb HALO 15

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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, fish are small pets that are easy to take care of and the tank is acrylic, so no worries about clumsy teenage mishap. It comes in white or gray and starts at $99 at


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 $69.99 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 $250, 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! Shelves, clocks and phone docks also available.

4-Year-Old Paper Dress Fashion

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.


4-Year-Old Paper Dress Fashion

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. Get it for $30.


Unspeakable Words

This hilarious game of words puts a twist on Scrabble that 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 $25 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 $15.


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.


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 on teaching teens about gift giving!

Main photo courtesy of

This post was originally published in 2013 and is updated regularly.