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They're not tiny tots or teens, but tweens are that in between stage. They're up on the latest technology, trends, and know exactly what they like. Instead of struggling to find the right gift, look no further.
Whether they're into fashion, tech, or sports, here are the best gifts for tweens:
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.
"The ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon earns points for precision. Unlike hair color sprays and chalk-embedded combs, these hair chalk pens allowed the kids to apply color just where they wanted it. They could even use more than one color on a single lock of hair."—Danielle Centoni, Product Tester
For jamming out to their favorite pop bands, to playing the latest iPhone game, these wireless over-ear Bluetooth headphones cover all their needs. Complete with memory-foam ear cushions, high sound quality, 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 colors.
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.
For the kid who’s probably done a million puzzles, this option is a little different and sure to keep them engaged. The puzzle has 540 pieces and when completed, it’s a 3D model of a globe. The pieces click securely together and there are even numbers on the back if your kid needs a bit of help. Also, the rotating base is included, making this perfect to display.
For kids who love bugs, they’ll adore this toy that allows them to create parts of a 3D insect. The doodle pen works just like a real pen, but kids can use it to draw wings and legs to add to the insect molds. After creating these personalized crawlers, the insects even move and buzz around thanks to the included motors.
If your child has a love of cooking, learning about other cultures, or all of the above, then this cooking kit is a must. Each box highlights a specific country and includes some ingredients for three meals. It’s easy to virtually journey to Lebanon, Ethiopia, or Greece from the comfort of your kitchen. Also, the kits feature fun facts and an activity sheet.
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 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.
A game that encourages your tweens to throw things at each other? Yup, that’s the concept behind Throw Throw Burrito. It’s basically a combination of a card game and dodgeball. But don’t worry, the balls, well, burritos, are soft and squishy. Kids can play this together or it’s great for the family, as up to six players can enjoy it.
Tracing and doodling just became so much fun with Crayola’s Light Up Tracing Pad. The tablet lights up, which makes it so much easier for kids to follow specific lines and details of images they want to trace. The entire kit comes with everything they’ll need, from traceable images, 20 sheets of paper, and a dozen colored pencils. Also, the light on the tracing pad adjusts based on current lighting.
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 instructions for how to set up stop action scenes for both beginners and advanced moviemakers that can all be done in under an hour.
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. This is such a classic game for kids 10 and up.
Start an interest in a new hobby—learning the ukulele! This bundle will give them everything they need to learn a new instrument. They’ll receive a beautifully designed ukulele, more than 15 videos perfect for beginners, and a quality leather pick. There’s even a hanger so the instrument can be securely displayed on the wall when not in use.
Sleepovers and family game nights will never be the same with this karaoke microphone. The mic has a fun design, soft silicone casing, and it easily connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone. Though this is a great fit for a tween, everyone in the family will love it.
Making a bath bomb can be messy and quite time consuming, but this kit comes with pre-made bath bombs that can be painted. The skin-safe colors can be painted on and when dropped in the tub, create a fun experience. Each kit includes twos bath bombs, six paint pots, and one paint brush.
Encourage them to play outside with this awesome snow tube that will keep them entertained on a snowy day. This tube is built for heavy use so it'll hold up over the years. Handles give them something to hold on to while tubing and the attached tow strap makes it easy to carry uphill. This makes a perfect toy for tweens that even mom and dad might enjoy.
This award-winning book makes it easy for kids to write, illustrate, and publish their own 20-page book. The set includes templates, instructions, and a set of markers. Also included is a postage-paid envelope so after the artist has crafted their masterpiece, it can be professionally printed and mailed back to them within a few weeks.
They’re too young for the real deal, but these temporary tattoo markers from BIC look authentic. The set includes eight felt tip markers that create smooth lines and bold designs. The colors are vibrant and more importantly, skin-safe and can be washed off. Users can just freestyle a design or download the app for inspiration.
Sure, you could buy your tween jewelry, but this kit lets them make their own accessories. The set has everything to make up to 7 charm bracelets, including jump rings, chains, and more than 200 beads. This is a fun way for kids to express their creativity and create a bracelet for themselves or others.
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.
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.