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Teenagers can have taste that's ever changing and quite fickle. That can make it quite hard to find the perfect gift for their newly developed hobbies or the latest trends. But some presents can truly speak to their unique personalities, interests, and have a timeless feel.
If you're having trouble finding the perfect present, here are the best gifts for a teenager.
If your teen is into outdoor activities (or you want them to be), slacklines are all the rage with the younger set. These kits can be set up in the backyard where your kid can master the art of balance as they try to walk across the slackline. Think of it as tight roping, but with a wider base to walk on. This kit will give your teen everything they need to get from Point A to Point B while also getting in some fitness.
"It’s an awesome entry into the sport of slacklining and includes all the safety equipment you need to keep you in the air rather than on your bottom in the grass below."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
For the serious cinema buff in your life, the Nebula Capsule Smart Mini-Projector is the perfect splurge-worthy gift to create a home theater. Thought it has an array of cutting-edge features, it’s small enough to fit in your hand. The Nebula Mini-Projector is able to play content from a streaming app (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) or mirror whatever’s playing on a phone screen. And thanks to its omnidirectional speakers and advanced IntelliBright algorithms, the sound and picture quality rival that of a movie theater. Teens will love that they can take this mini-projector virtually anywhere.
This Kodak camera combines the gratification of instant pics but with a bit of a retro look. The camera features automatic focus, flash, and the viewfinder makes it easy to snap the best pic. Not only can photos be shared, but they can also be printed out. There's even the option to print two photos on a single sheet. Printed pics have a sticky back and there's even the option to add a border or filter.
Imagine this: you or your teen have digital photos languishing in the cloud or on your hard drive. In just 10 days or less, Minted will transform your fave 30 photos into a gorgeous piece of art complete with a frame of your choosing, although unframed is also an option. It comes in six different square sizes, and frame choices include brushed silver, distressed white, reclaimed barn-wood, and classic colors like black and walnut.
Your teen undoubtedly has a lot of electronic devices, probably more than you have. And all of those gadgets need to be charged. Elago's charging station is compatible with all iPhone models and it also simultaneously charges AirPods and an Apple Watch. The material is made of sturdy silicone and the back has slots for wires so they're not jumbled up.
As much as you may try to encourage screen-free time, teens will inevitably be glued to their phones. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Game of Phones is a game of who can use their mobile devices the best and be the fastest. Users have to draw one of 150 cards and then create an emoji or find the best Google image to match the prompt. This is a game best played with three or more people so it's perfect for game night with friends or family time.
A gift that keeps on giving month after month is sure to please anyone. Now in Books subscription gifts your favorite teen with newly released novels. The book titles will vary, but each box also includes activities, discussion topics, and even a curated playlist that corresponds to the theme of the book. Choose between monthly or quarterly deliveries.
Teens will love playing this athletic game that’s a mix between volleyball, tennis, and basketball. The Spikeball set is lightweight and portable, making it ideal for teens to take wherever they go, from gatherings with friends to vacation. This set comes with three softballs, a net with collapsible legs, a drawstring bag for easy storage, and an instruction book. As an added bonus, teens can connect for free to the Spikeball community for tutorials or they can download the app so they can find pickup games for any time fun.
The Swedish company Fjällräven is known for making rugged bags with a clean, minimalist design. The Kanken backpacks are ergonomically designed to help kids balance their loads of textbooks, and this one also has a padded sleeve that fits a 15-inch laptop. Other handy details include easily accessible pockets on both the front and sides, padded shoulder straps, and a top handle. Eco-minded families can also feel good knowing that the company supports conservation projects (including those that help endangered species) and uses sustainably produced fabrics.
This affordable wooden ukulele is praised by musicians for being comparable to pricier counterparts. The kit comes with many extras, such as a neck strap, digital tuner, padded carrying bag, and microfiber polishing cloth. The company, Ranch, also offers free online video lessons, with the final one teaching "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," a song made popular by the late Hawaiian musical icon (and ukulele player) Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
There's a likelihood your teen uses their phone as an alarm, but this alarm clock will surely change that. It's cute, sleek, can fit on any night stand, and the functions are useful. The LED light gradually brightens over 30 minutes to arise any sleeper and the timer dims the room when it's time to get some Z's. The clock also plays soothing nature sounds.
For a truly amazing listening experience, it doesn't get any better than JBL's bluetooth speaker. This can be used at home or while on the go as it has 12 hours of playtime. Besides the crisp audio and easy connectivity, the device is also waterproof, so no worries if it gets a few splashes while near the pool or on the beach. Also, it comes in tons of colors and even camo.
Jewelry lovers will absolutely adore Human Before Handles, especially these Sailor earrings. The styles are super trendy for your teen and easy on your wallet. These earrings are statement making and right on trend, but the faux pearl style has such a classic look. This jewelry is sure to be in heavy rotation in your teen's accessory rotation.
The gamer in your life will absolutely appreciate Homall's gaming chair that's built for function. The foam fits the body comfortably and there's the ever important headrest and lumbar support. Also, the seat has a tilt back function that can be adjusted between 90 to 180 degrees. The casters move easily on hardwood floors or carpeting.
No need to wait for college to gift your teen a fridge for their room. This pint-size, retro-style Frigidaire holds up to six cans or four one-liter bottles—it's also a great place to stash small snacks or beauty products like gel eye masks. It comes in fun colors like robin's egg blue, red, and pink, and has a quiet motor that makes it ideal for a bedroom. This can also be used on road trips as the mini fridge plugs into a 12V car adapter.
Thanks to this BPA-free bottle's double insulation, hot drinks stay hot for up to six hours and cold ones keep cool (even ice remains solid!) for up to 24 hours. The Hydro Flask water bottle has a handy loop to keep it securely attached to a backpack. While the standard cap will work for most, if your teen is active, consider buying the sport cap that makes it easy to stay hydrated without missing a beat.
Of course the teen in your life likes to zone out listening to their favorite tunes. Why not gift them a new pair of headphones that come in seven different colors to rock out to? While these aren't the super expensive brand of headphones, their solid reviews point to how functional they are. These can play music for up to 20 hours so they won't need to charge them all the time. The headphones can also be used to make and answer calls, and since they have Bluetooth capability they are wireless.
Teens draw and doodle on just about everything—their arms, their pants, their shoes, and anything else they can get their hands on. So why not give them a creative outlet for self-expression? The 642 Things to Draw journal is filled with 304 pages of ideas. It’s got everything from the ridiculously simple—like a cupcake—to things that will take a bit more artistic know-how—like the northern lights. Packed with plenty of blank space for teens to stretch their creative legs and hundreds of drawing prompts, this journal is the perfect home for everything from doodles to masterpieces.
This tabletop version of the popular lawn activity is a fun, uncomplicated choice for family game night, but it's also cool enough to lure teens from their devices. The colorful cornhole board is three feet long and comes with launchers and a wrench for adjusting them (to make it easier or harder), eight mini beanbags, four score pegs, and felt feet to prevent scratching.
Originally designed for stressed-out executives, Speks are minuscule ball magnets that come in sets of 512. Note that because of their 2.5 millimeter size, they are only officially recommended for children older than 14. With inspiration from the manual or their imaginations, teens will love squishing, rolling, or piling their Speks into shapes like cubes, hexagons, cylinders, chains, and more. These can provide hours of fun or a form of relaxation. Speks are easy to lose, so buy an extra set to avoid the inevitable disappointment when the first few go astray under your teen's bed or the couch.
Your teen might opt to hang this elegant cotton floral tapestry, which comes in a floral mustard color, on their wall, but it can also work as a pretty bedcover. Though the tapestry is pretty sizable, 84 x 84-inches, it's lightweight and easy to hang. The soft material is machine washable for easy cleaning. It might just end up in a future dorm room or apartment, too.
Need a great stocking stuffer for your outdoorsy kid? If they're planning any kind of camping adventure, this slim water filter weighs just two ounces and filters 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria—no more messing with cumbersome purifiers or iodine tablets. It can be placed directly into a water source and has a fast-flowing straw that's easy to drink from. Your teen can stay hydrated and you can know they're safely drinking clean water when they're out on any adventure.
For your teen who's missing a friend far away, there's no better present than this Long Distance Friendship Lamp. Buy a pair of lamps, one for your teen and one to send to their friend. When your teen touches the lamp, the corresponding lamp, whether it's a few blocks away or across the world, emits a glow. The light can stay illuminated from 30 minutes to up to 24 hours and is a great way to let someone know you're thinking about them. This is a sweet gift for friends or family members who want to stay connected in a sentimental way.
Sure, your teen probably has digital notes, but nothing beats a good 'ol notebook. However, this one from Uncommon Goods combines the convenience of being able to remove and rearrange the pages. The magnetic pages snap in and out of the spine. This is great for your young creative who wants to organize any notes, doodles, or ideas.
"I forgot to charge my phone." That's no longer an excuse if your gift your teen this portable charger. The slim device easily fits in any backpack, purse, or even some pockets. The USB charger easily juices some phones up to three times, so even when your kid isn't near an outlet, they can stay with a full battery. Even better, you don't just get one, but two chargers in the pack.
PopSockets make it easy to hold on to a phone and this one, which has a wallet attached, is even more useful. The PopWallet can fit up to three cards or a few folded bills. For anyone wanting to switch up their style, the wallet and socket are easily changeable with one of the numerous colors and prints.
Practicality Most teens will appreciate a gift that they can use in their daily routine. Products that let them enjoy music, movies, or quality time with their friends are always a big hit. Also think about items that’ll encourage them to get outside and be more active—a practical, fun way to break up their screen time and keep them moving.
Quality While you don’t have to break the bank when buying a gift for a teenager, they’re old enough to appreciate a well-made product. Unlike younger children who may be more likely to misplace or break things, teenagers have (hopefully) learned to show more care for items they value. Especially in the areas of technology and electronics—like cameras, speakers, and more—it might make sense to opt for a quality product they can use for years to come.
Connectivity Whether it’s a cell phone, video game system, or wireless speakers, teenagers are some of the biggest users of technology. So it’s no surprise that many popular gifts—like Bluetooth headphones, smart speakers, and gaming chairs—integrate with different devices. Think about which ones your teen already has and what might complement them best.