Our Top Picks
Best for Girls: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon at Amazon
"Includes five washable hair chalk pens, 24 metallic beads and 24 hair elastics for a full-range of fun."
Best for Music Lovers: Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon
"Complete with memory-foam ear cushions, high sound quality, 13 hour listening (15 for talk time) battery life, and a 33-foot range."
Best Tech: Mpow Selfie Stick Bluetooth at Amazon
"This Amazon bestseller captures 270-degree views and can extend 31.5"."
Best Active: KanJam Ultimate Disc Game at Amazon
"The goal of this fast-paced two-on-two flying disc sport is to get the disc in your opponents' can...The set comes complete with all you need."
Best Creative: Harry Potter Coloring Book at Amazon
"From the four Hogwarts houses to the Forbidden Forest to the Weasley’s residence and more"
Best Vintage: Felt Letter Board at Amazon
"This popular vintage-inspired felt letter board is the perfect way for them to add personality to their bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere!"
Best for Science Lovers: 4M Kitchen Science Kit at Amazon
"Watch along as they create a working volcano, generate electricity with a lemon, launch a vinegar-powered rocket and more!"
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Best for Girls: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon
Let your tween express their creativity in the most colorful way! This top-rated hair chalk (yes, it’s a thing!) is sure to make their hair as vivid as their imaginations. The set includes five washable hair chalk pens, 24 metallic beads and 24 hair elastics for a full-range of fun that allows them to experiment with several colors on any hair type. The best part? The hues come out with a quick wash of the hair, so you won’t have to worry about anything being permanent, making it a perfect gift for a tween girl.
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Best for Music Lovers: Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones
For jamming out to their favorite pop bands, to playing with the latest iPhone game, these wireless over-ear Bluetooth headphones cover all their needs. Complete with memory-foam ear cushions, high sound quality and 13 hour listening (15 for talk time) battery life, and a 33-foot range they’ll have all the amenities they need to keep them happy for hours on end. Plus, with an easy-fold design and portable carrying case, they’ll be able to tote your gift everywhere from the bus to their BFF’s house. They also come in five fashion-forward colorways.
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Best Tech: Mpow Selfie Stick Bluetooth
With selfies still going strong this Bluetooth self-portrait model selfie stick is better than before, featuring an easy-to-assemble one-piece design and a U-shape clamp to make all their selfie-taking a cinch. This Amazon bestseller captures 270 degree views and can extend 31.5". With a convenient, collapsible design, they can carry it around to any event worthy of a few snaps. Just don’t forget to say cheese!
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Best Active: KanJam Ultimate Disc Game
At an age where their energy is at an all-time high, this is one activity that’ll keep up with their pace. Consistently rated as a top game, KanJam has all the elements of a good time and makes a great toy for a tween. The goal of this fast-paced two-on-two flying disc sport is to get the disc in your opponents can, hence the name KanJam. The set comes complete with all you need for hours of fun — two portable goals, two labels, custom-designed discs, and instructions, making it the perfect entertaining idea for the backyard to the beach.
Take a peek at some of the other best lawn games you can buy.Continue to 5 of 22 below.
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Best Creative: Harry Potter Coloring Book
Let them color their way through one of the most renowned series of all time. From the four Hogwarts houses to the Forbidden Forest to the Weasley’s residence and more, they’ll be able to add life to the designs from all of their favorite scenes in the Harry Potter books and movies.
With the book they'll get 16 pages of art, that'll keep their interests (and away from technology) until each page is covered, while also exploring their imagination.
Looking for more reviews? Our must-have holiday toys guide has everything you need.
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Best Vintage: Felt Letter Board
Fact: Gifts for tween girls can be challenging. This popular vintage-inspired felt letter board is the perfect way for them to add personality to their bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere they spend their time! There are 16 different colors and five different sizes to choose from, so they can select the right option for their space. Each board has a warm, oak frame and the ribbing is tight enough so the lettering won't fall off. With 300 letters, numbers, and symbols, they will never be at a loss for words.
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Best for Science Lovers: 4M Kitchen Science Kit
Give your little scientist a good reason to play around in the kitchen. This kit allows you to convert your cooking space into a lab where they can complete six unique different experiments. Watch along as they create a working volcano, generate electricity with a lemon, launch a vinegar-powered rocket and more! With easy-to-use instructions and tons of fun included, they’ll be ready to explore the full range of other 4M science kits.
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Klutz Lego Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit
This might be the coolest gift for a tween that we have ever seen! With this kit they can make and film their own live-action Lego movie! The 80-page book has instruction for how to set up stop action scenes for both beginners and advanced moviemakers that can all be done in under an hour.Continue to 9 of 22 below.
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Fairy Light Panel
Fairy lights are all the rage with the teen and tween set these days. They can add a cozy glow to their room with this curtain panel that has lights built-in.
See more reviews of our favorite string lights for bedrooms available for purchase.
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BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone
Sleepovers will never be the same with this karaoke microphone. Sync this up on Bluetooth and you can belt they can belt out all of their favorite tunes.
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Bath Bomb Making Kit
Hone her entrepreneurial skills with a bath bomb making kit which gives her all she needs to make 12 bath bombs.Continue to 13 of 22 below.
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BEYBLADE Burst Starter Pack Nepstrius N2
These toys are all the rage amongst the tween set. With this starter set they'll be able to get into the spinning action with one top that can compete. For a bigger gift, you can buy a few more of these or purchase a stadium where they can host all their friends.
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LEGO Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
If you've got a budding builder on your hands why not combine their love of Harry Potter and LEGOS with this set that lets them build Hogwarts. Suited for children ages 8 to 14 this set will keep them entertained while also helping them use their imagination.
Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best LEGO sets available online.
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Encourage them to step away from their screens and use their problem-solving skills with the highly addictive Catan game. Here, they'll play a 60-minute game where they will have to trade, build, and settle the island of Catan.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best family board games.
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Sonic Snow Tube
Encourage them to play outside with this awesome snow tube that will keep them entertained on a snow day. This tube is built for heavy use so it'll hold up over the years. This makes a perfect toy for tweens that even Mom and Dad might enjoy.Continue to 17 of 22 below.
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Cute Cartoon Print Tee and Shorts Pajama Set
You can never go wrong with a new pair of pajamas. This cute set from Amazon has a bunch of fun prints like watermelon, flamingos, and even houseplants, making it a unique and special gift for a tween girl!Continue to 21 of 22 below.
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Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought one of our readers’ favorite gifts for preteens that our reviewers tested on multiple occasions for hours on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this product, from its age level to its ability to be reused. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Gifts for Preteens
Age appropriateness Preteens, or “tweens,” are usually between the ages of 9 and 12. While these children are too grown up for many kids’ toys, they’re also not quite ready for young adult themes. As such, you’ll want to screen any gift to ensure it doesn’t have mature content and is age appropriate for your recipient.
“Cool” factor As almost-teenagers, preteens are very keyed into what’s “cool.” You’ll score a lot of points if you get them a gift that’s in line with the latest trends, so browse through social media to see what’s popular. Pro tip: Fidget spinners are so last year!
Reuse Finally, consider whether your gift has replay value. Some novelty gifts are fun once, but then end up collecting dust on a shelf. Instead, try to find a game or activity that preteens will want to use again — bonus points if they can share it with their friends.
Test Results: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk
What We Like
Easy to apply
Fun for groups
What We Don't Like
Chalk stains hands and fabric
Our testers found the ALEX Spa Hair Chalk to be a perfect gift for preteens, with one reviewer declaring it “great for the price.” One of our reviewers, whose two daughters used it at a party, said, “It is bright, fun, and easy to use.” One of our testers cautioned that the chalk did stain fabric and hands during application, but also said it washed out of hair fairly easily. The bottom line: “There are some downfalls with it, but if you use creativity with hair designs and be mindful of not rubbing it off on fabric, it is otherwise a very entertaining and fun experience,” summed up one of our reviewers.