You’ve officially made it to the tween years. Typically designated between the ages of 9 – 12 years old this is a truly magical time. And if you couldn’t tell, we’re being sarcastic. Not sure what to even get them? Relax. We’ve come up with a pretty decent list of gift ideas that almost any tween would actually want and not berate you over. We’re all in this together!
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle the tween years can be a bit confusing – especially if you’re new to this. They’re older than “just kids” but not quite yet full-on teenagers. Let’s break down what this age bracket really is all about.
So, What Actually Is a Tween?
According to most medical pros, a tween is considered a child between the ages of 9 and 12 years old. The cut-off for this group is once they hit 13 years old because then they’re officially a teen (good luck!). This age group is marked by a time of great change, both physically and emotionally. It’s also a time when they begin to explore their independence and seek out new interests – like getting away from you and spending more and more time in their room. It’s a double-edged blessing.
So, What Do Tweens Even Like To Do?
On average, many tweens are full of energy and love to be active. They enjoy playing sports, riding bikes, hanging out with friends and being involved in school activities. Many tweens also enjoy being creative whether it’s something art related, musical, dance related, DIY, crafting, etc. As they push closer to the 11 and 12 year old range, some start to get more interested in fashion, hair, and even some makeup (within reason).
So, What are the Best Gift Themes For Tweens?
It can be tough to find the perfect gift for a tween. They’re at that in-between stage, too old for toys but not quite ready for grown-up stuff. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve listed out specific ideas below, where to buy them, and how much they are. But if you’re interested in some overarching themes and ideas, check these out to help give you some guidance.
1. A Cool Backpack or School Supplies: Tweens love to express their individual style, so a cool backpack or some funky school supplies are a total no-brainer.
2. An iTunes or Amazon Gift Card: This one is a no-brainer! Music is huge with them, so an iTunes or Amazon gift card will let them download their favorite music, books, movies, tv shows, and more. They’ll finally stop asking you for money. Well, at least for nowl
3. A Kindle Fire or iPad: As you know, most tweens are tech-savvy and have been so since they were little. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade their Kindle or iPad. While kid-friendly devices are always great, both Kindle and iPad are suitable for the 9 – 12 age group too.
4 . A Magazine Subscription: Yes, magazines still do exist and if you’re trying to limit their screen time, magazines can make great gifts and you’ll even be able to watch over what they’re reading and what might be important issues in their life.
5. An Art Set or DIY-Style Kit: Many in this age group are creative, so an art set is the perfect way to let them express themselves. If that’s a bit of a yawn, try out some funky tie dye kits, hair chalk tools, and more.
6. A Diary or Journal: Yep, these are the tru beginning of the “emo” years and most will love to write to express their feelings, vent, let things out, etc. so a diary or journal may be right up their alley.
Hopefully now you understand the tween years and their interests a bit more and are now ready to find them the perfect present. Check out some of our favorite gift ideas that just about any tween girl would love to have (fingers crossed).
BEST FOR THE TWEEN ON THE GO
1. The Apple AirPods Pro
The latest Apple AirPods Pro have been met with a lot of excitement, especially since they bring a few key upgrades that many of us have been waiting for. Active noise cancellation, better sound quality, and an improved design are all part of the reasons why we recommend picking up pair.
Ok fine, they totally do deserve to be spoiled every now and then! Grab a pair for yourself so you can tune out your teens!
• Noise canceling helps tune out background noise.
• The sound quality is better than the original.
• Different ear tips come with this to help fit your ears the best.
• The price is definitely higher than previous versions.
• Battery life can be shorter than the original especially when using noise cancellation or transparency mode.
• Overall, we love ours and think it’s worth it. However, if your tween still likes their original pair you may want to skip this one as — in our opinion – in may not really be worth the price increase.
THE BEST REMINDER
2. The “You Are Loved” or “You Are Enough” Tee
Simply stated, but a totally needed reminder that, no matter what, they really are loved and enough. This super comfy tee comes in a variety of colors and styles for guys and gals like navy blue, light yellow, light blue, black, light pink, heather grey, and more!
• These T-Shirts have positive and important messages for your tweens to remember and live by.
• They come in more than 10 different colors to choose from.
• You can’t beat the price of a $20 tee!
• These may fit a bit more on the fitted side, so you may want to go a size up.
• In a world that seems to be a mess lately, we could all use some positive messaging to remind us and others what’s really important.
BEST FOR THE SELFIE TAKER
3. The Instax Mini Instant Camera
Everything old is new again! And while everyone is typically obsessed with their phones, the Instax Mini (11) instant camera is easy to use, develops photos in a matter of seconds, has a new and improved selfie-mode that also has a selfie mirror, and comes in a wide variety of fun colors like lilac, sky blue, ice white, blush pink and more. Your tween will have a blast taking so many photos with all their friends, printing them out, and decorating their room with all the endless pictures.
• Automatically adjusts to different lighting, so works well in both bright or dark settings.
• It has a built-in selfie mirror so, don’t worry, your tween can still perfect their endless selfie game.
• Instant photos “develop” in a matter of seconds.
• This one doesn’t come with film/paper and both can get somewhat expensive.
• We love anything that’s come back from our own youth and this instant camera definitely got the modernized treatment, especially with selfie-mode. Your tween and her friends will have a blast taking endless photos that develop quickly. The film and photo paper can get expensive, especially when they’re going through a lot of it.
BEST FOR THE MINI CHEF
4. The “Create Your Own” Galaxy Donut Kit
Mini donuts are all the rage! In fact, the “mini donut” trend on TikTok has generated almost 200 million video views! Now, they can make their own mini donuts that are truly out of this world, yummy, and really super cute.
This DIY kit comes with all the ingredients you’ll need to make up to 8 delicious treats (with all natural ingredients), including the silicone mold so you keep your donuts the perfect shape and size, and even the must-have purple and blue glaze to give them that trippy galaxy vibe.
• The ingredients are all-natural, which is a nice change of pace for a dessert.
• Overall, they’re pretty easy to make and many tweens won’t even need any additional help.
• These are baked in the oven and not fried like a traditional donut, so they’re a bit healthier for you.
• They’re a bit more cakey than donut-y.
• You can only make up to 8 mini donuts and many wish there were more ingredients to make more.
• Overall, this is a great way for them to follow a recipe, instructions, and feel the pride of making a fun little treat themselves. It’s easy to follow and they really do come out looking so trippy and cool. Plus, they taste great. It’s a fun activity for them and a friend, especially on a rainy day when they’re “bored.”
BEST FOR A CHEAP BEDROOM UPGRADE
5. The Daisy Decal Wall Headboard
If they’re into a little home decor for their bedroom, a quick way for them to upgrade and not spend a lot is with a trendy headboard wall decal. This one is in the shape of a bright daisy and is made of peel-and-stick vinyl, which makes it pretty easy to install or remove. The dimensions are 63.2″W x 31.7″L, so it’ll work on most full-size beds. The trickiest part is making sure you line it up so that it’s centered and even. You can even add some string-lights to it to jazz it up even more…and you know every tween in this country is obsessed with lights for their room.
• A cost-effective way to add a little fun flair to their room.
• The peel-and-stick vinyl is easy to install (and remove) and can just be wiped clean when needed.
• For just under $50 you can’t go wrong, even if they grow out of it in a few years.
• It can be a bit tricky to install in terms of making sure it’s level, even, and centered.
• There really isn’t a lot to it, so adding some lights can brighten it up a bit.
• Overall, if they’re looking for a minor room upgrade that’s a bit more mature a headboard wall decal is pretty cheap and an easy way to quickly get it done. It simply peels right off when they get a little older and want something even more mature.
BEST FOR PERSONALIZATION
6. The Light Up Marquee Letter With Lights
Speaking of room decor, add a little personalization and (of course) some more lights to their room with their own letter (or initials) marquee lights(s). These multi-color letters stand at just under 9-inches tall and about 9-inches wide (depending on which letters you’re choosing). They even have holes in the back so you can hand them on their wall or just simply stand them up on their night stand, desk – wherever. Battery operated (2 AA batteries – not included), you can control these letters via remote and choose the lights to either flash, fade, jump, and more. You can choose from 16 different colors you’d like it to light up too, which is cool for certain times of the year (think: red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, and more).
• A great way to add some personalization to their room.
• Each letter is pretty affordable (only $16) so you can get their full initials or name for relatively affordable.
• Choose between 16 different colors to light up and control it via the remote control that comes with the letter.
• 2 AA batteries are required and do not come with it.
• Some users felt like some of the colors were hard to differentiate from.
• Overall, these cute marquee letter lights are a pretty inexpensive way to light up their room and give a touch of customization at the same time. If you buy multiple letters you can sync them up with just one remote, which is pretty cool.
BEST POSITIVE REMINDERS
7. The Positive Message Pencil Set (10)
Inserting some positive message reminders into their daily life is more important than ever at this age – especially for girls. This cute set of 10 pre-sharpened pencils have positive reminders on them like: Enjoy the Little Things, Find a Way to Make Someone’s Day, Smile For a While, and so many more. And if they need them for testing at school, don’t worry because they use classic #2 lead and have a non-smudge eraser at the end.
• Great positive messaging and daily reminders for your impressionable tween.
• Comes as a colorful set of 10.
• Uses No. 2 lead and each has an eraser at the end (it won’t smudge either).
• While the price seems decent, some felt that basically $1 per pencil was a steep price.
• Overall, whatever it takes to bring some friendly positive reminders for themselves and their friends is always worth it.
BEST FOR THE ASPIRING SINGER
8. The Wireless 3-in-1 Karaoke Microphone/Speaker/Machine
If it’s one thing that so many tweens can agree on, it’s that they love to rock out to all their favorite songs (over and over, and over again). Now they can bring the concert everywhere with this best selling karaoke microphone. It uses bluetooth connectivity, is totally wireless, has a built-in speaker and can pair up with just about any singing apps. While most will use it wirelessly, you can plug it in directly to speakers with the audio/cable connection.
While the rose gold option is one of their more popular sellers, this one also comes in about 10 other colors like black-gold, champagne, light purple, space grey, and so many more. If you have a future Taylor Swift in your house, this one is a must-have gift!
• This karaoke mic can pair up with the most popular music services apps, including YouTube.
• It connects wirelessly using bluetooth, but you can connect it to speakers with the included audio cable.
• You can change the volume, sound, modes, echo, etc.
• It only take 2-hours to fully charge and you can use it anywhere from 5-10 hours on a full charge.
• Some felt the volume on the speaker could be a bit higher.
• The battery life will be shorter if you have the volume on high the whole time.
• Overall, it’s a great way for your tween to showcase their creativity and musical ability (or lack there of) and have a blast with family or their friends. You may get sick of hearing them singing Alien Superstar from Beyonce, but they surely won’t!
BEST FOR A RETRO LOOK
9. The Classic T-Shirt Tie Dye Kit
In case you’re wondering, yes the classic tie dye trend is still going strong and now they can create their own funky tie dye t-shirts right at home. This popular kit is water based, comes with 8 colors, and even a fabric spray so you don’t have to waste time trying to mix it properly with hot water or salt. With regular use based on the 8 colors, you’ll be able to create around 20 t-shirts (within reason) or you could stretch it out a bit by using less color combinations. You can also tie dye a bunch of other fabrics and items, too, like socks, pillow cases, sweatshirts, sheets, sneakers, and more. Time for them to put on their creativity hat!
• It comes with 8 classic colors that can be used to design up to 20 tie dye t-shirts.
• Once completed (and totally dry) you can wash your items and the colors will stay bright and strong.
• Everything is pre-mixed so you won’t need salt, hot water, etc like with some other tie dye kits.
• Some felt like their sprayer got stuck once in a while.
• When dying other things beside t-shirts the color dye may not last as long (meaning: a sweatshirt can take more than a regular t-shirt).
• Overall, it’s a really fun arts-and-crafts project and they’ll love the feeling of designing and creating their own outfits, room decor – you name it. You really can’t beat the price either.
BEST FOR BEDROOM DECOR
10. The LED Neon Pineapple Light/Sign
Another great way to add a little extra flair and a fun vibe into their bedroom with this funky LED neon pineapple sign. It’s not huge (17-inches x 10-inches) so it won’t take up too much room on their wall or blind you when you walk in! There are 2 pre-drilled holes on the back of the pineapple to make it easy to hang on the wall. Unfortunately, the screws do not come with it so be sure to have some extras on hand. It’s powered via a USB and even when it’s been on for a while it won’t get hot even if you touch it with your hand. Phew!
BEST FOR STASHING STUFF
11. The Hidden Pocket Scrunchie Set
Oh yes, scrunchies are officially back! What was a staple in the 90s are back again and totally one of the must-have hair accessory trends this season. There’s a little twist with this scrunchie set (set of 2) because they have a hidden zip-up pocket in them where they can stash their keys, cash, chapstick, ear buds – you name it. At this time, these only come in a really pretty velvet jewel tone of blue and lavender – but we’re hoping to see this in more color choices because these really are pretty genius!
BEST FOR CHILLING OUT
12. The DIY Squishy Toys
If they’re still on the cusp of wanting to play with toys, you can’t go wrong with these super cute DIY squishies. These cream scented squishy toys come as a set of 10 that they can decorate themselves. The set comes with some bonus stickers that can add to each squishy like eyes, mouths, noses, etc. They even come with keychains in case they want to proudly display them on their keys, decorate their locker with them, or attach them to their backpacks.
Please note that while these can be painted, this set does not come with the paints or markers – so you’ll have to purchase that separately.
• This 10 piece squishy set comes with stickers to help decorate them and even keychains to add to their favorite things.
• The stickers go on pretty easily (just press them down for at least 10 seconds).
• The price is really fantastic (just $12) for a complete 10 piece set!
• Paints and/or markers do not come with the squishy set.
• Unfortunately, these are not washable to once they get marked up you may just have to toss them.
• Overall, squishy toys can be really calming, soothing, and may even help with some minor anxiety. We love that these can be decorated so they can really create any kind of personality they want their squishy to have. You can’t beat the low price either!
BEST FOR COMFY TIME
13. The Shag Beanbag Chair
If they’re spending more and more time in their room (yep, we’re officially at that age), get them a really comfy and trendy ivory shag beanbag chair to chill out on where they can read a book, listen to music, scroll through their phone, hang with friends – whatever! While the chair isn’t huge, it’s really the perfect size for most 9 – 12 year olds. It’s 28-inches high (just over 2-feet) and almost 31-inches wide (just shy of 3-feet). It’ll come fully filled, fluffy, and ready to veg out on. If you don’t think they’ll love shag, don’t sweat it. There are a bunch of other colors and materials available too like pink, mint green, navy blue, black, white and more.
BEST FOR GETTING COZY
14. The Bed Floor Lounger & Recliner
Speaking of getting cozy and making their room truly their own, this trendy pillow lounger currently has more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon as we speak! All you have to do is stuff this with pillows and it instantly becomes a fun floor lounger where your tween can relax on, chill out with friends, read, play games, have a sleepover on – you name it!
Currently you can either buy the queen size (26-inches wide by 88-inches long!) or the king size (32-inches wide by 88-inches long), stuff it with queen or king size pillows (it takes 5) and let the fun begin! There are a bunch of cool patterns and colors to choose from like purple polka-dot (pictured above), aqua, hot pink, light pink, navy, plaid and more.
If you have the space for it in their room, it’s the perfect place for them to hang out and not be lounging directly in their bed. Many reviewers actually use these for sleepovers instead of using sleeping bags since they’re way more comfortable. The only challenge we have with this is that you still need to fill it with your own pillows.
• Super comfy and really easy to set up this floor pillow bed.
• It’s machine washable so if it gets stained or dirty you can just toss it in the laundry (minus the pillows).
• The difference in size between the queen and the king is 6-inches and actually does make a bit of a difference.
• It can really come in handy when it’s time for a sleepover!
• The pillows do not come with this, so you’ll have to supply five queen or king size pillows.
• While it’s machine washable, it’s suggested to hang to dry and not place it directly in the dryer.
• Overall, we love the idea of having them not hanging out in their actual bed and just using that for sleep. This floor pillow lounger creates a comfy space for them to call their own and priced under $40 is pretty great, especially for the two large size options.
BEST FOR LITTLE BUSINESS GIRLS
15. The 6,000 Piece Bead & DIY Bracelet Gift Set
Get their creative juices flowing and crank those business minds with their own DIY bracelet kit. All their friends are basically making bracelets and selling them in school (is that even legal?!), so help them get into the action and take their own market share!
This gift set comes with 6,000 pieces (yes, really) that include colorful beads, strings, claps, tools and so much more to make really chic and fun bracelets, necklaces – you name it! In fact, it even comes with 550 charms to choose from so the combinations and possibilities are pretty much endless. It even has letters to choose from so they can add their name, your name or their BFFs name to each and every piece of jewelry. It’s bringing friendship bracelets to a whole new level.
• The kit comes with 6,000 pieces and all for under $20 (insane!).
• They can create bracelets, necklaces, or even earrings.
• It’s a great way for them to showcase their creativity and share their designs with family and friends.
• Some felt that with 6,000 pieces they ended up finding beads everywhere around the house (eh, such is life).
• The pieces are small so if you have little ones around the house or pets you want to make sure nothing is left on the floor.
• Overall, anything that will keep them off their devices, doing something creative, and using their hands is always a great idea. You can’t beat the price, especially for everything you get in this amazingly fun kit.
BEST FOR TIKTOK’ERS
16. The 10-Inch Ring Light With Tripod Stand
You know how they love taking selfies and making endless TikTok videos? Yeah, well that’s never slowing down so help them up their professionalism with an official ring light with tripod. The ring light itself is 10-inches (enough to light up exactly what they’re doing) and the tripod extends up to 50-inches (just over 4-feet tall) so they can raise it up or lower it depending on what they’re filming.
Their smartphone can fit directly in the middle of the ring light (it fastens with easy to use clips) and they can choose up to 30 brightness levels and three different shades of light (daylight, cool white, and warm yellow). Truth be told we actually own this one and have used it for our endless Zoom calls, but then it really came in handy when bringing our selfie game to the next level. We feel like a Kardashian!
BEST FOR TEMP HAIR COLORS
17. The Hair Chalk Salon Kit (DIY)
Do you even have a tween if they’re not begging to dye their hair 17 different colors each and every month? While many actually don’t care about their hair (lucky!), some are obsessed so a fun and temporary way to have them experiment all while proudly displaying their uniqueness is with this top selling Hair Chalk Salon.
Inside this DIY kit, it comes with 5 washable hair chalk pieces, 24 colorful beads, 24 must-have elastics, and their official hair beading tool. What’s great about this kit is that the chalk pens can be used on dry hair and any hair color (no one seems to be excluded), and it even washes out pretty easily with just one shampoo.
• It’s a fun way to test out funky hair colors in a temporary and easy-to-wash-out way.
• Under $10 the price really can’t be beat.
• All the beads and elastics it comes with allows them to bring their creativity to the next level.
• Some moms (and dads) felt that their kids with darker hair didn’t show the colors as bright as they would have thought.
• Overall, it’s a fun way for them to show their unique side, their personality, and their creativity in a totally temporary way. As long as you don’t expect real salon results, you’ll be good to go.
BEST FOR GAMERS ON THE GO
18. The Nintendo Switch Lite
Ok, fine. You knew we just had to add at least one video gaming device onto our list. Whether they’re into Mario, Animal Crossing, or everything in between there’s something for just about every tween’s interest with the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s lightweight (only .61 lbs), totally handheld, and can be brought with them just about everywhere they go. It’ll make boring car rides more fun (and you’ll hear less whining) and when they’re not playing with it you may actually want to take a crack at Mario yourself.
The battery life is decent but, like with anything, the more they play it the more it’ll drain. It’s better than most others when it comes to how long the battery will last. Most claim that the battery on the Switch Lite lasts longer than the original handheld Switch, which is promising – but just make sure it’s fully charged up before that car trip!
• Now they can play their favorite Nintendo Switch games on the go just about anywhere they are (including car rides).
• If they have older Switch games from the console or previous handheld model, most games will still work on the new Switch Lite.
• It currently comes in 5 different colors to choose from (coral, turquoise, blue, grey, and yellow).
• Some felt that the battery life wasn’t the best, but was at least a bit better than the original model.
• Overall, video games can be totally fun and harmless, keeping your tween entertained, occupied, and not texting! The price of the Switch Lite actually isn’t too bad (under $200) and you can purchase additional memory cards if you need more storage eventually.