Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Catan at Amazon
"Easy to learn but addictively complex, Set on a remote island, the game challenges players to use a mix of luck, strategy, and trades."
"Everything they need to get started (or add to) on the Beyblade craze."
Best Electronic: Apple iPad Mini at Amazon
"This portable iPad is a lower cost option that will delight any middle schooler. Weighing just over half a pound."
Best fo Soccer Fans: Rally and Roar Tabletop Foosball at Amazon
"This miniature version of the classic game is just as a fun as a regular sized table, but in a smaller package. Perfect for two to four players."
Best Sports: Lifetime Portable Basketball Hoop at Walmart
"Great way for your child to burn off extra energy and have outdoor activity. It's adjustable from eight to 10 feet high, while it's shatterproof and sturdy."
Best Book: The Phantom Tollbooth at Amazon
"A story of a young boy’s adventure to a mysterious island is full of whimsical characters and inventive wordplay."
Best Building: Mattel Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game at Amazon
"This build-your-own video game kit encourages hands-on play and allows your kid to explore the basics of video game development skills."
Best for Artists: Merlion 3D Pen at Amazon
"This tool creates 3D art made from PLA or ABS filament. The pen comes with 12 different colors of PLA filament, with 10 feet of printing."
Best Projectile: Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster at Amazon
"This dart blaster provides hours of outdoor fun with friends and neighbors. The dart barrel can hold up to six darts and launch up to 90 feet."
Best Headphones: COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones at Amazon
"Whatever their mood or needs these noise-canceling headphones are a great purchase for any 11-year old."
01 of 10
Best Overall: Catan
Board games never go out of style, but Catan is a far cry from Monopoly or Life. Easy to learn but addictively complex, Set on a remote island, the game challenges players to make use of resources through a mix of luck, strategy, and trades. A genuine runaway hit, the game is so popular that none other than the Washington Post has deemed it “the board game of our time.” Suitable for kids aged 10 and up and three to four players, it’s sure to inspire hours of play (and maybe even a weekly family game night).
Customers write that Catan (formerly known as Settlers of Catan) is the perfect “gateway” to the world of empire-building games—it’s easy to quickly get the hang of it, and don’t be surprised if your kids start begging you to play night after night (or to plan their next birthday as a board game party). Just make sure you have at least an hour or two free first!
Check out our other reviews of the best family board games available on the market today.
02 of 10
Best from TV: BEYBLADE Burst Turbo Slingshock Rail Rush Battle Set
If you don't have an 11-year-old at home you might not have heard about Beyblade but it is all the rage. Kids spin-off their unit and compete with one another in an arena. This purchase has everything they need to get started or to add to their existing collection.
03 of 10
Best Electronic: Apple iPad Mini
If your 11-year-old has been asking for a tablet, consider the Apple iPad Mini. This portable iPad is a lower cost option that will delight any middle schooler. Weighing just over half a pound, the iPad Mini is perfect for on-the-go homework help, note-taking, or reading. A single charge lasts over 10 hours and the 7.9-inch display is big enough for most activities. Meanwhile, the touch ID makes it easy to secure and protect the iPad. Additionally, the Apple Pencil (sold separately) allows your 11-year-old to doodle or take notes for their next big report.
By 11, most boys are heavily into tech products and gear, and the iPad Mini is a great introductory tablet to keep him engaged and busy. A case is a must, and if you want to reduce screen time or block certain apps or websites, you can set child safety settings before gifting.
Here are some of the other best tablets for kids that we love.
04 of 10
Best fo Soccer Fans: Rally and Roar Tabletop Foosball
For a higher energy option, your 11-year-old will love Rally and Roar Tabletop Foosball. This miniature version of the classic game is just as fun as a regular-sized table, but in a smaller package. Perfect for two to four players, the game measures 40 x 20 x 9 inches and is great for BBQs, birthday parties, or sleepovers. The no-slip rubber handles cover heavy-duty steel rods that will hold up play after play. Though it requires assembly, the game is easy to construct and padded legs help protect your table or whatever playing surface the table rests on.
Owners say that while the foosball table is more compact than a full-sized version, it’s got enough surface area for two players to easily maneuver around throughout the game. This is a great gift for any 11-year-old boy and is perfect for those rainy day playdates.
Need more inspiration? Here are the best foosball tables on the market now.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Best Sports: Lifetime Portable Basketball Hoop
Most 11-year-old boys could stand to burn off a little energy, and the Lifetime Adjustable Portable Basketball Hoop is a fun way to channel that energy into an outdoor activity. This portable basketball hoop adjusts from eight to 10 feet high, and is shatterproof and sturdy. A polyethylene frame ensures durability and the 31-gallon portable base is solid but easy to move as needed. The entire hoop weighs just over 75 pounds and requires minimal construction. It comes with a rubber basketball, so your middle schooler will have everything he needs to shoot some hoops or come up with new basketball games with neighbors.
Owners say that not only is the Lifetime Adjustable Portable Basketball Hoop well made and durable, but the ease of adjustment makes changing the height a breeze. Whether your 11-year-old is a budding athlete or just has a little energy to burn, this hoop is perfect for any driveway.
06 of 10
Best Book: The Phantom Tollbooth
One of the all-time classic young adult books, The Phantom Tollbooth has been delighting kids and adults alike since its publication in 1988. This story of a young boy’s adventure to a mysterious island is full of whimsical characters and inventive wordplay and has withstood the test of time incredibly well. If your 11-year-old’s already blasted through Harry Potter and is looking to scratch their reading itch, The Phantom Tollbooth is a book they’re sure to return to again and again—maybe even in adulthood.
Countless reviewers recall first reading the book around age 10 or 11, noting how its blend of wisdom and humor has stuck with them through the years. It’s ripe for discovery by today’s young readers as well.
07 of 10
Best Building: Mattel Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game
We can go out on a limb and say the 11-year-old boy in your life is probably into video games. If so, the Mattel Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game is a wonderful interactive toy he’ll love. This build-your-own video game kit encourages hands-on play and allows your kid to explore the basics of video game development skills. This game uses a mix of physical and virtual tools to build your very own game room that can be explored on the accompanying app. Using a 13 x 13 game board and different color blocks, you can create a virtual space that can then be recreated in the app tool. It’s a great way for kids to visualize their designs and then bring them to life—and then they get the reward of playing through their own creations.
Customers write that Mattel Bloxels are an amazing tool for kids with in interest in how video games are made, noting that you can even design your own characters and artwork. While a few buyers note that the initial step of using the board can be skipped once you get familiar with the app, it allows kids to better visualize their creations—and the app will turn the physical blocks into an in-game design when you take a picture of the board.
08 of 10
Best for Artists: Merlion 3D Pen
The Merlion 3D Pen is a highly addictive interactive printing pen that the recipient won’t be able to put down. This tool creates 3D art made from PLA or ABS filament. The pen comes with 12 different colors of PLA filament, with each color providing about 10 feet of printing. The pen’s speed and flow can be monitored and changed for optimal control and intricate designs. The temperature of the pen is adjustable from 130 to 240 C and can create endless designs and artwork.
The Merlion 3D Pen is a great alternative to expensive 3D printers and will allow your 11-year-old to tap into his creative side.
Reviewers say the pen is safe and easy to use (but we suggest supervision) and the included filament provides enough material for multiple designs.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Best Projectile: Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is a time-tested choice for nearly every 11-year-old boy. This dart blaster provides hours of outdoor fun with friends and neighbors. The dart barrel can hold up to six darts and launch up to 90 feet. The flip-open barrel allows for rapid-fire shooting and each blaster comes with six nerf darts included. The Nerf Blaster is hand-powered and doesn’t require batteries, so your kid can play for hours without worrying about running out of juice.
Nerf foam darts are safe for kids over eight, and the perfect gift for 11-year-olds who enjoy being outside. Reviewers love how powerful and lightweight the Nerf Blaster is and say it’s so much fun, even adults may want a version for themselves.
Check out our list of the best outdoor toys for kids.
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Best Headphones: COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Maybe they are really into their music or maybe they just want a little privacy. Whatever their mood or needs these noise-canceling headphones are a great purchase for any 11-year old.
This model has Bluetooth so they are wireless. It also has a microphone so they can take calls or play video games on it. Did we mention playtime is 30 hours on a charge?