Best Tween Birthday Gifts for 11-Year-Olds to 13-Year-Olds
Tweens are unique animals, especially when it comes to gift buying. Tweens are too old for traditional toys but not old enough to be excited about adult-like gifts.
An 11-year-old still wants a pile of gifts to open, yet finding enough unique and affordable gift ideas for this age is challenging.
Tweens love things like electronics, bikes, and gaming systems which don’t come cheap. Plus, many tweens and young teens are influenced by social media and apps like TikTok that showcase the “coolest” gear and gadgets they “must have.”
If you’re like me and struggle to know what to buy for your tween for Christmas, their birthday, or other special occasions, we’ve compiled a list of 25 of the best birthday gift ideas for tween and teen girls and boys!
Related: The Best 16th Birthday Gift Ideas for Girls
Gifts for Techy Tweens
I have a techy tween, and there is no shortage of things he wants, but boy, those price tags add up! Not to mention it is essential to find a balance between tech and gadgets and gifts not related to screen time.
LED light strips are the fad with tweens and teens, and it's easy to see why. A simple strip of stick-on lights can change the entire atmosphere of their bedroom.
Most LED lights have a remote control to change the color and flashing pattern; some even have apps to control them from your phone or pulse to your music.
A 50-foot strip is enough to cover a standard-size bedroom, but since they're affordable, go with the 100-foot option to ensure you have enough.
You can cut the strips at specific points if you have extra, but anything that is cut off will no longer work, so ensure you measure carefully before snipping!
Click here for a link to buy on Amazon.
2. Gaming Keyboard & Mouse
The video game world is an entire universe, and until you're immersed in it, you don’t realize how much stuff there is!
A gaming keyboard and mouse combo are among the best gifts if you have a budding gamer or a tween just getting into gaming.
Razor is a top gaming brand, but their products, while excellent, are pricey. If you’re not ready to shell out $100 or more for your 10 or 9-year-old gamer, check out the brand REDRAGON and their wired gaming keyboard and mouse options.
A gaming headset is another essential for gaming beginners. Like the keyboard and mouse, they often light up (which is fun) and will add to your tween's gaming experience.
Price points vary, and you’ll need to pay attention to what types of device each headset is compatible with, but we like the Logitech G635 wired headset that works with PC, Playstation 4 & 5, and Nintendo Switch.
Click to learn more about this item on Best Buy
Remote Control Drone
8-year-olds and up will love receiving a drone for their birthday or the holidays. The Q9S drone is designed for beginners with an easy-to-use remote control and brightly colored LED lights.
The Q9S is a gentle drone designed for indoor or outdoor use.
Click here for a link to buy it on Amazon.
A rechargeable Bluetooth speaker is a great gift for kids of all ages. They’re portable, powerful, and perfect for kids who want to listen to their music wherever and whenever.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and price points and make a great stocking stuffer!
You can find them at any store that sells electronics from 5 Below to Target.
The Doss SoundBox Pro portable speaker is a solid mid-range option. Learn more about this speaker on Amazon.
Gifts for Art Lovers
I also have an art lover who loves all things arts and crafts related.
While finding affordable art gifts usually isn't the challenge, finding something they don’t already have or that will hold their interest for more than 5 minutes can be difficult.
So here are some art-themed gift ideas you may not have thought of that are simple yet long-lasting!
A high-end marker set is a great idea if you have a tween who loves to doodle and draw! We're not talking about a pack of washable markers you get for 4-year-olds, but high-end drawing markers with different styled tips.
You can check out some wonderful sketching marker sets here and find the perfect one for your price point!
If your young artist enjoys more than just drawing, then a complete art set is a great option! Art sets come complete with paint, markers, colored pencils, and pastels of all different colors. Some sets come with paper and tools too.
We like this mid-line set by iBayam that has just about everything a young artist could need and is stored in a beautiful wooden case.
Paint by Sticker Books
Paint-by-sticker books are one of the best toys for artsy kids. They come in various themes and ability levels, but most are recommended for kids eight and up because of the dexterity needed to peel and place some of the tiny stickers.
Check out some options on Amazon!
Electronic Drawing Pad
Drawing tablets have come a long way, Magna-Doodles and water mats. If you have a budding artist, particularly one interested in graphic art, an electronic drawing pad is a great gift idea!
Electronic drawing pads have a wide range of features and price points. The XXPen Star G640 is a great beginner tablet for younger kids because it won’t break the bank and is easy to use.
If you're fortunate enough to live in or near a city or big town with an art museum, purchase your child an annual membership.
A museum membership is a unique gift and allows the whole family to get out and explore together.
Gifts for Tween Bookworms
11. Harry Potter Set
f your tween is a book lover, chances are they love Harry Potter. So, if they don’t own a complete set, consider getting them one. It makes a great gift for 11-year-old boys and girls since that was the age Harry received his letter to Hogwarts!
Check out complete set options at Bookshop.org
A Bookstore Gift Card
Bookworms love receiving bookstore gift cards which allow them to choose their own books. Consider a gift card to your local bookstore or a website like Bookshop.org that donates funds to small business bookshops to keep them running.
Thriftbooks.com is another fantastic option and is a massive, online used bookstore. Many popular books are in good condition and cost less than $10 apiece. Plus shipping is free for purchases over $25!
Rechargeable Book Light
If your tween loves books, chances are they stay up late reading. A rechargeable book light means they can read anywhere at any time!
Book lights also make great stocking stuffers at Christmas!
Check out your options on Amazon and compare prices!
A book couch is perfect for reading a book or using their iPad or kindle and makes a cute addition to their bedroom.
We love these Cuddly Reader pillows that come in different animal faces. Perfect for a 7-year-old or a 12-year-old!
Gifts for Outdoorsy Tweens
15. Survival Skill Book
A survival skill book is the perfect gift for your outdoorsy tween.
We recommend the bestseller: Wilderness Survival Guide for Kids: How to build a fire, perform first aid, build shelter, forage for food, find water, and everything else you need to know to survive in the woods by Rick Bayne.
A book like this will make your tween feel grown up and probably lead to some fun family discussion!
Scooter or Bike
It may seem cliche, but a new bike or scooter is still a number one birthday or Christmas gift idea. First, however, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your tween about the type of vehicle they want, especially if it is something they’ve mentioned before.
A trip to Target or Walmart might be a good idea so they can look at what’s available and read up on the specs.
Family game nights no longer have to be just board games and card games. Lawn games are a big trend and a great way to get your tween active and outdoors!
LED Cornhole, Ladder Golf, Lawn Twister, or Jenga are all great options for fun lawn games to play with the whole family
Gifts for STEM Tweens
If your 11 or 12-year-old loves all things science, math and engineering, these STEM gifts are both thoughtful and educational.
- 18 LEGO Sets
LEGOs always stay in style and are original STEM toys.
LEGO has partnered with many movies and brands, so you’ll find a set for anyone of any age. Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Super Mario Bros., Minecraft, and more are just a few of the brand-specific LEGO sets available.
- Chemistry Kit
A Chemistry set is another retro toy that is still out there. Albeit with updated packaging! 11-year-old girls and boys who love STEM will enjoy engaging with a hands-on activity like a chemistry set.
We recommend MindWares, which takes the chemistry set to a new level. They have a makeup kit to create your own lip gloss, an anatomy kit, a bath bomb kit, and a crime science kit, just to name a few!
Get a DIY flower or garden kit for the tween who loves gardening. If they are also artsy, you can make it a STEAm activity by giving them a Paint and Plant Kit!
Coding and electronics are the way of the future. Most 3-year-olds are starting to become more tech-savvy than most adults! And teens love building and learning about computers and coding.
If you have a budding scientist who loves engaging and fixing things, consider an electronic or coding kit so they can start learning the basics of how their favorite machines work.
The beginner kit by ELEGOO has everything your tween needs to get started coding and making their own electronic devices. Check it out here!
Gifts for Sports Lovers
22. Sports Equipment
It may seem like a no-brainer, but new equipment makes a great gift if your tween is an athlete.
Bats, helmets, lacrosse sticks, knee pads, insulated water bottles, gloves, and balls are excellent gifts for your sports lover. Even if they only dabble a new high-quality basketball or baseball glove makes for a great gift!
If your tween has a favorite team, a jersey with their favorite player is an excellent gift. Jerseys are often pricey, so giving one as a special occasion gift may take the sting out of the price tag.
Stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Lids often have sales and coupons, so get on their email lists if you have a sports lover!
Tickets to a Game
Take your sports lover to a home game for their favorite team! This is especially a treat if they’ve never been to a live sporting event before.
More and more gift guides are recommending events over things for Gen Z, and we must agree that special events make the perfect gift!
Private sports lessons are another great gift idea for your budding athlete. Private lessons allow your tween to perfect their skills and gain confidence in their abilities between seasons.
Check your area for local sports academies or ask their coach for recommendations.
Need more ideas on how to pick the perfect gifts for your kids at any age? We’re spilling the secret in The Ultimate Guide to the 4 Gift Rule for Kids.
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L. Elizabeth Forry, Preschool Lead
About L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom experience.