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Finding the perfect gift for an 11-year-old boy can be a challenge; after all, tweens may have a lot of different interests from tech gadgets to science subjects.
Luckily, we researched top gift options, being sure to check out each pick's recommended age, safety, and educational value. The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler is our favorite pick for an educational science kit that is still engaging and produces awesome gems to collect and display.
To help you get started, here are the best gifts for 11-year-old boys.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit
Rough rocks turn into dazzlingly smooth gems with this classic rock tumbler. The National Geographic kit comes with a guide to learn all about the rocks and gems around you as well as supplies to turn your new gems into stylish jewelry. Tweens get a crash course in rock collecting and geology with this awesome science set.
The science set includes a tumbler, four polishing grits, sifter, nine types of real rough gemstones, plus a detailed guide for learning all about rocks and geology. The controls are easy-to-use with the simple instruction. Control the number of days that your tumbler is at work with a timer and automatic shut-off feature. At the end you'll have beautiful smooth stones to categorize, collect, and display.
The thick rubber makes this tumbler more successful than competitors, according to reviews. To ensure the best results, be sure to take your tumbler outside and rinse out the grit that results in the process. Be mindful, this kit definitely requires patience, but the results are definitely worth it.
Pandasaurus Games The Mind
With this fun and engaging card game, tweens are challenged to organize their numbered cards in descending order, but with a twist: no talking allowed. Players must find new ways to communicate to complete the shared goal, fostering teamwork and troubleshooting while providing round after round of thrilling playtime.
Spalding NBA Jam Over-The-Door Mini Basketball Hoop
Turn any room into a basketball court with this portable over-the-door basketball hoop. This hoop is easy to install and tons of fun for family time in the living room or to keep tweens occupied and entertained in their own spaces. This toy is perfect for colder months when shooting hoops in the driveway is not an option, but practice never has to end.
Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Exploration Kit
The Snap Circuits Exploration Kit is like Legos but with a kid-friendly approach to electricity. Each kit comes with 100 electronics circuit projects and over 30 electronic parts so your kid can make everything from a flashing light to a siren with his own hands. It requires no soldering and is safe for children to do on their own.
This game console is on many kids' wishlists and for good reason. It can be used either solo in handheld mode or hooked up to a TV in single or multiplayer mode. It features a battery life of approximately five to nine hours (depending on the game) and you can easily set up parental controls to monitor games and purchases.
Klutz LEGO Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit
Encourage your kid’s creative side with the Klutz LEGO Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit. This fun intro to animation allows your child to create his own stop-motion video using a tablet and 36 Lego pieces. A short video takes just an hour to create and can be easily shared across social media with friends and family. This activity kit can be used again and again with any Lego set and is easy to set up and use.
Spin Master Marvel United Super Hero Cooperative Strategy Card Game
Learning to collaborate is a skill all youngsters need to learn and that’s the goal behind this game. Each player is a Marvel hero and they have to work together to defeat the evil villain. Even after playing the game several times, the variety of challenge cards always keeps it fresh and new. This is suited for up to four players so kids can enjoy this together or make a family game night of it.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Mega Slime Kit & Putty Lab
Ask any kid and they will tell you: Slime is incredibly popular. This National Geographic Mega Slime Kit is one of the best gifts for 11-year-old boys who want to get dirty (without making a mess in your kitchen). This kit comes with four types of slime and putty, including magnetic putty, fluffy slime, and a DIY glow-in-the-dark slime lab. The set comes with an activity guide.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dino Fossil Dig Kit
If your child is into science and dinosaurs, he’ll love this National Geographic Dino Dig Kit. Your child can dig up three dinosaur fossils, including a mosasaur tooth, bone, and stool. Plus, the kit comes complete with a colorful learning guide to spark your child’s curiosity and teach him everything he wanted to know about fossils.
Amazon Fire HD 10
A tablet can be a great gift for an 11-year-old because it allows him to watch his favorite shows or play his favorite games, even on the go. The Fire HD 10 Tablet is available with 32 or 64 GB of storage and runs 30 percent faster than some previous models. Also, the longer battery life equals up to 12 hours of reading, gaming, and more. Also, the parental controls make it easy to set limits on all activities.
Beats Solo3 Wireless
The Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones are a great gift for those who love music or video games. These super trendy Beats headphones are perfect for long road trips or for the budding athlete who wants to listen to music while training. Beats don't come cheap but the quick charging time, long battery life, and crystal clear sound consistently rate high.
Crazy Forts Set
Remember just how fun building a fort was when you were a kid? Crazy Forts is like that, but better. This kit comes with 69 balls and 44 sticks that easily click together to create the craziest, wildest fort that can be covered with pillows and blankets when your child is done. It is perfect for siblings or sleepovers and is a great STEM gift to inspire an interest in designing and engineering.
Looking for a classic gift perfect for any child? This Spalding basketball comes in intermediate size (28.5 inches) or official size (29.5 inches) and looks and feels professional. It does require a pump (sold separately) to keep it inflated but comes fully inflated when you order it.
University Games Rubik's Race Game
Perfect for the kid who loves solving puzzles, the Rubik's Race Game is a two-player game based on the classic Rubik’s Cube puzzle. To play, you shake the mini cube to create a new pattern. Then, each player races to recreate the pattern on his or her own Rubik’s cube.
Educational Insights Kanoodle Brain Twisting 3-D Puzzle Game
The Educational Insights Kanoodle features 200 logical thinking puzzles to keep your child entertained for hours. Your child will create both 2D and 3D puzzles using 12 different pieces to match a range of challenges. It comes with a carrying case for on-the-go play and a 48-page guide for solving all of the brain teasers.
Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science
Curious teens will spend hours enjoying this science kit. This single bag has the necessary items for more than 65 science experiments. The hands-on experiments teach kids everything from electricity to gravity to fun tasks like launching a soda geyser. Also, the carrying case makes it easy to contain all of the items or take this science show on the road.
Starlux Games Capture the Flag REDUX: The Original Glow-in-The-Dark Outdoor Game
Capture the Flag REDUX is a great group activity to encourage outdoor play. It’s an updated take on the traditional capture the flag game where the goal is to steal the other team’s “orb” without getting tagged by the territory lights. Each game can accommodate between four and 20 players and the lights can be used across 12 different game modes.
What to Look for in Gifts For 11-Year Old Boys
This can be a tricky age group to navigate, as the gift recipient often has different ideas of what they can handle than his parents. Make sure to follow the recommended age guidelines on any gift (most include them) to be sure. You can also check with parents before purchasing to make sure that they are comfortable or can provide some supervision, if needed.
There are so many great outdoor gifts on our list and for good reason. Eleven-year-old boys often have a lot of energy and what better way to use it than by playing a fun, active game outside? It’s always a great idea to include safety gear, such as helmets or other protective pads, to make sure that your gift recipient isn’t hurt during their fun. This can also be required for indoor activities, such as needing eye protection for science experiments.
Keep your child thinking by choosing a gift that engages their brain. Whether it’s an individual puzzle or logic game or something that they can play with family or friends, gifts with educational value are sure to be a hit. The top ones on our list encourage boys to learn a new skill or try a new interest. If your child needs some additional help, look for a gift with multiple ways to play to start. “I love as many open-ended project as possible, but if they’re not used to that, they need just enough scaffolding to get them started,” says Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia.
How much should you spend on a gift for a 11-year-old boy?
When it comes to gift-giving etiquette, it's not about how much the gift costs but more about how closely it aligns with the receiver's interests. That being said, etiquette experts and co-authors of Modern Manners for Moms & Dads: Practical Parenting Solutions for Sticky Social Situations, say that a reasonable price range to spend on an 11-year-boy is somewhere between $15 and $40. Of course, if you are a close family member or financially able, this can go as high as $100—depending on the gift and level of comfort of the parents.
What is an age-appropriate gift for 11-year-old boys?
Developmentally, 11-year-old boys are at an age where their interests are rapidly changing, so anything that can keep them engaged is a worthy gift. Think board games, science kits, electronics, and outdoor activities—anything that they can channel their energy into for more than a short period of time.
Why Trust The Spruce
Melissa Quintero is a passionate project manager and content creator who writes for The Spruce. Additional reporting was done by Mackenzie Dunn, a lifestyle writer and editor whose work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, HelloGiggles, Real Simple, MyDomaine, and more.