I have a soon-to-be 12-year-old son, so it’s safe to say I’ve been in the tween phase for a little while now and it happens to me every year: birthday and Christmas shopping for him can be difficult! With his help and guidance I’ve compiled a sweet list of cool gifts that go slightly beyond the video games, gift cards and cold hard cash that seem to be the go-to items for these years.
With activity level taking a dip thanks to so many gadgets and electronics at hand, I feel fortunate that my oldest has a pretty good balance of an active and sedentary lifestyle (growing pains are rough, y’all!). He runs and bikes regularly, and occasionally throughout the school year he walks or bikes to school. He has also enjoyed taking out this RipStik for a ride (to/from school or the park) that he got around his 11th birthday. I would recommend getting a helmet (and maybe knee and elbow pads, if your guy plans to learn some tricks!)
GIFTS FOR THE BOOK ENTHUSIAST:
Whether your guy wants to set the next Guinness World Record for most claps in a minute (last I checked it was 1,080, by the way!) or likes to dive into an awesome non-fiction, you can never, I repeat, NEVER go wrong with a book. We’ve made it our thing to get into books that have a movie made after them. Here’s a short list of a couple favorites: (oh, and as you may already know, the movie is never quite as good as the book!)
- Guinness World Records 2019
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- A Journey to the Center of the Earth
*Honorable Mentions also go to anything age-appropriate by Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, and John Flanagan
If you have a tween who loves all things coding and programming, I’d strongly suggest getting this Sphero SPRK+. It’s an app-enabled robot so he’ll have to use his phone to “drive” it (or borrow yours). A couple things I’ve enjoyed as the parent of a child who has one, is that it’s scratch-resistant, waterproof, has a 60-minute battery life and pretty cool LED lights. The price for it IS a little steep, but if your child plans on using it for all it can do, I’d say it’s a great investment.
On a slightly smaller scale on the techy gadget front is this super cool My Arcade Pac-Man Hits Handheld Gaming System. All the nostalgia of the OG Pac-Man arcade games in a portable, tiny, handheld device.
As much as I fought and resisted in our home, the gaming system was inevitable. With one evening out of the week set aside for all his gaming indulgences (provided grades are up and chores are done), I took a “If you can’t beat them, buy them the necessary accessories and try not to complain too much about it” stance. So, if you too have a gamer in your home, here are a few headsets I’d recommend: PS4 Headset with Mic ($- only compatible with PS4) or the Razer Kraken Pro V2 ($$- which is compatible with PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch and Mobile Devices).
And as I mentioned before, gift cards are a go-to item for the tween gift. So, you can be 150% sure that a gaming gift card will most definitely be put to use to buy the newest battle pass, skin, or whatever!
If you frown upon the material gifts (because, depending on my mood, I, too, get tired of ALL THE THINGS), I’d suggest getting totally immersed into your tweens current favorite band, singer, YouTuber, artist, and the like. Most things at this stage in their life and development will be things they remember for the rest of their lives. Like when my mom took me to Universal Studios in Florida (just us girls) and we made some memories that I still cherish to this day. Not to mention, you’ll get MAJOR cool parent points if you’re IN-THE-KNOW on his favorite YouTuber who just so happens to be in town for tour and you just so happen to have tickets to go see him (just sayin’!).
GIFTS FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER:
My tween has begged and pleaded with us to let him have a ferret OR a turtle. Judging by the looks of his room before a Field Day at our house, I’d say with 100% certainty he WILL NOT be getting that ferret anytime soon. Now, a turtle on the other hand…I may entertain that gift suggestion. If your tween is up for the responsibility of a pet and is an animal lover, I say, WHY NOT?! If they decide they’re ready for a hamster, ferret, guinea pig, gecko, turtle or fish, do it! SMALL ANIMALS NEED LOVE, TOO!
This was just a small portion of what I’m sure could be an exhaustive list, but I’d love to know your recommendations for cool gift ideas for tween boys (since I do still have two in tow after this guy is well into his teen years!).