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 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.
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Best Activity: 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.
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Best Book: Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Book
Coloring books aren’t just for the little ones, your tween can absolutely enjoying this activity. This is especially great if they’re a huge Harry Potter fan. This book is close to 100 pages of intricate designs of some of the fave Harry Potter characters and locations. Just remember to also include a set of crayons or colored pencils.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Best for Foodies: Kid's Global Adventure Cooking Kit
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.
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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 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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Best Tech: Echo Dot Kids Edition
Get them a kids edition Echo which will let them make calls to their approved list, listen to stories and music, and get answers to kid-friendly questions. The purchase includes a FreeTime Unlimited subscription which opens up a world of thousands of books, games, and more. The parent dashboard makes it easy to review and set limits on usage and review any activity.
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Best for Creatives: 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 instructions 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 21 below.
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Best Puzzle: Snapshots of America Puzzle
Legos and puzzles are a great way to encourage anyone’s focus and imagination. This Snapshots of America puzzle has 500 pieces that paint a picture of some of America’s quaint diners, quirky locations, highways, and more. Besides being a fun puzzle, this is sure to create a sense of wanderlust for any kid.
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Creativity for Kids Tropical Spa Kit
They’re never too young to enjoy self care. This kit contains all the necessities for a pedicure. There’s three water-based polishes, more than 125 nail stickers, nail file, and even a soothing eye mask. But what’s most adorable is the inflatable pedicure pool in the shape of a flamingo.
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Lohanu Ukulele Concert Size Bundle
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.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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NBA Mini Rocker Speaker Chair
If you have a gamer in your household, this chair is a must. Or maybe your tween is a major NBA fan? This favorite from PB Teen is worth adding to your cart. Not only does it have a comfortable foam-filled cushion, but the built-in speakers truly amplify the sound. The NBA logo is on the side and the design is meant to resemble a basketball court.
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Karaoke Microphone Speaker
Sleepovers and family game nights will never be the same with this karaoke microphone. Just connect the mic to your karaoke app of choice and belt away. Have fun playing around with the bass or echo for a really unique sound. Though this is a great fit for a tween, everyone in the family will love this.
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Canvas Snap Backpack
Let them carry their school supplies, laptop, and more in this bold and stylish canvas backpack from Minted. With tons of fabric prints to choose from—lemons, flowers, and triangles are just three of the many options—your tween can match the bag to their personality. For no extra charge, emboss their name on the front leather tag to make it a one-of-a-kind gift.
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Paint Your Own Bath Bombs Kit
Nice, long baths are usually associated with adults, but tweens might just enjoy a soak in the tub thanks to this gift. 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 bomb also has mystery colors on the inside and can be purchased scented or unscented.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Sonic Snow Tube
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.
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IlluStory Create Your Own Book
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.
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Personalized Pajama Set
Pajamas may seem kind of basic but there’s no denying they’re practical. And they’re actually quite fun when they’re this cute. You can purchase just the tank, shorts, or the entire set. But it’s the shorts that can be personalized with the recipient’s name that makes this an amazing gift.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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BIC BodyMark Temporary Tattoo Marker
They’re too young for the real deal, but these temporary tattoo markers from BIC can provide hours of fun. 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.
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.