Our Top Picks
Best Overall: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon at Amazon
"Lets kids apply colorful streaks to their hair, and it washes out after.”
Best Beauty: Klutz Nail Style Studio Kit at Amazon
“Has all of the tools and 25 fun nail art designs for them to replicate.”
Best Book: Dork Diaries (Books 1-3) at Amazon
“This series has become so popular among readers ages 9 to 14.”
Best Retro: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 at Amazon
“A fun camera that lets kids take pictures and get instant gratification.”
Best Robot: Anki Cozmo at Amazon
"An educational robot that's equipped with a beginner coding platform."
Best Camera: Ourlife Waterproof Camera and Recorder at Amazon
"Comes with a waterproof case to capture special moments underwater."
Best Craft: Lokai Classic Bracelet at Amazon
“Lokai bracelets are infused with elements from different points on Earth.”
Best for Cooks: Babycakes Mini-Cupcake Maker at Amazon
“Easy to use and easy to keep clean. Plus, no oven required.”
Best Cozy: LAGHCAT Mermaid Tail Blanket at Amazon
“The cutest, snuggliest mermaid tail blanket.”
Best Tech: Echo Dot Kids Edition at Amazon
“Can perform the same tasks as the regular one but has parental controls.”
Best Music: Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones at Amazon
“Funky cat ear headphones that will give her wireless, Bluetooth access.”
Best DIY: All-Natural Lip Balm Boutique at Amazon
“Lets her whip up six different lip balm concoctions with the included recipe book.”
01 of 12
Best Overall: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon
Fashionistas will love this gift. The ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon kit lets kids apply colorful streaks to their hair, and the best part is that it simply washes out with shampoo, a bonus parents are sure to love. The kit comes with five different chalk colors: green, pink, blue, purple and orange, all of which look great with any hair color. The chalk pens are easy to apply and are just as easy to wash out with a shampooing. The kit includes the five chalk pens, beads, a beading tool and a small comb. Girls can add color highlights to their own or a friend’s hair then accessorize with the included beads. Perfect for girls ages eight and up.
02 of 12
Best Beauty: Klutz Nail Style Studio Book Kit
This all-in-one kit gives girls the tools they need to get crazy creative with a perfectly polished mani (or pedi). Girls love doing their nails, their friends nails, their mom’s nails and yes, sometimes the nails of the family pet. Give them a kit that has all of the tools and 25 fun nail art designs for them to replicate. Included in the kit are six peel-off polishes, a custom dotting tool for detailed design work and over 250 stick-on stencils. The peel-off polish is specially formulated for easy removal so kids can experiment, create, and start all over again and again. The included book has over 60 pages of instructions and is full of brightly-colored images this book has everything they need to start creating whimsical designs, dots, shapes and more.
03 of 12
Best Book: Dork Diaries Box Set (Book 1-3)
Tween readers follow main character Nikki Maxwell on all of her middle school adventures as she journals about the trials and tribulations of a first crush, BFF drama and mean girl entanglements. Nikki journals all of her monthly crises in a humorous, touching, entertainingly illustrated format for young readers to enjoy. This series has become so popular among readers ages 9 to 14 because it chronicles many of the challenges young girls experience during this transitional juncture. Nikki is the perfect companion for girls navigating the transition from little girl to middle-schooler and all the changes that come along with it. Dork Diaries is an award-winning book series, a NY Times bestseller and has sold millions of copies worldwide.
04 of 12
Best Retro: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
Budding photographers (or social butterflies) will love this retro-feeling camera by Fujifilm. The Instax Mini is a fun, easy-to-use camera that lets kids take pics and get instant gratification. The Instax spits out instant 2” x 3” photos. Available in a variety of trendy colors like ice blue, flamingo pink, cobalt blue, lime green and smokey white we think that this cool little camera is one of the cutest we’ve seen (and your tween probably will too). We know kids will love the look, feel and simplicity that this camera comes with but it is also chock-full-of a few technical features that make this camera a top pick. Features like the ability to adjust for various lighting conditions, an f-stop range of 12.7 to 32, and a close-up feature for artsy images all let beginners experiment with creative photography.
The Mini 9 comes with a small mirror on the front of the camera for the perfect selfie. Film is not included with this camera so make sure you pair it with Instax Fujifilm for a gift that’s point-and-shoot ready right out of the box. And be sure to check out all of the fun Instax accessories, like photo albums designed to hold the mini photos or cute carrying cases to keep the camera safe while toted around by your on-the-go tween.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12
Best Robot: Anki Cozmo
Unlike other educational robots of its kind, Cozmo by Anki is imbued with hundreds of human-like emotions and feelings—this little guy is practically bursting with personality and charm. Coolest of all? His personality (his quirks, speech, and mannerisms) evolves over time, with every usage. Cozmo is comprised of over 300 parts that allow him to move around, explore, challenge you to dozens of different games (including Keepaway and Quick Tap), and get to know you. He’s even equipped with Code Lab, a beginner coding platform, which is an awesome feature for tech-loving kids. You’ll need to have a compatible Android or iOS device to operate Cozmo by Anki; the Cozmo box comes with one robot, one charger, and three interactive Cubes.
06 of 12
Best Camera: Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera with Video Recorder
For the budding 11-year-old photographer or filmmaker in your life, the Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera with Video Recorder is the perfect gift. This popular kids camera offers a bevy of features that’ll keep her entertained for hours on end.
It supports both high-resolution photography (up to 5M) and video (30 frames per second), and has the ability to both replay and delete. It also boasts a 1.77-inch LCD screen, built-in microphone, 3.7V rechargeable lithium battery, and a micro SD slot with 32G of storage capacity. The Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera also comes with a waterproof case that allows it to be used in water up to 33 feet deep, so she can capture special moments when she's swimming or snorkeling.
07 of 12
Best Craft: Lokai Classic Bracelet
Lokai bracelets have quickly become the must-have collectible accessory among tweens, teens, and yes, adults. The story behind each Lokai bracelet is one reason these bangles have become so popular. Lokai bracelets are infused with elements from the highest and the lowest points on Earth. The black ball contains mud from the Dead Sea and the white ball contains water melted from Mt. Everest snow. Both are supposed to bring balance and clarity as well as instruction for your personal journey on life’s path, reminders to stay humble in the high moments and hopeful during the lows. But the story behind the Lokai is only a part of the appeal. They are affordable and come in small, medium, large, or extra large sizes to fit nearly any wrist. The Classic Bracelet is the first in this collectible series. There are also many special edition versions, each with their own story and link to a worthwhile charity. When you purchase a Lokai bracelet, 10% of the profit is donated to a variety of charities—making this one gift certain to give back.
08 of 12
Best for Cooks: Babycakes Mini-Cupcake Maker
Most young girls love to bake and, well, tweens are bit beyond the Easy-Bake Oven. So why not get them a real baking appliance that lets them can whip up mini cupcakes for friends and family? The Babycakes Mini-Cupcake Maker is easy to use and easy to keep clean. No oven required, no baking trays or cupcake liners needed. Just plug in the cupcake maker, let it heat up—the light indicates when it’s ready to use—fill the non-stick cups, close the lid and in about five to eight minutes your budding baker will have eight mini cupcakes that are ready for decorating.
This set includes the cupcake maker, icing bag, coupler, four stainless steel decorating tips, a plastic crust cutting tool and a manual that includes recipes, hints and decorating suggestions. The interior plates have a non-stick coating and can easily be wiped clean when done. Your tween girl can let her imagination run wild while creating adorable cupcakes in the Babycakes Mini-Cupcake Maker.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
Best Cozy: LAGHCAT Mermaid Tail Blanket
Who said there’s no such thing as mermaids? We found the cutest, snuggliest mermaid tail blanket to make any mythical-creature-loving young lady happy. Crocheted from a soft Orlon and Cotton blend, these blankets will keep kids warm in cooler temps. They are machine washable, available in two sizes: 56” x 28” or 71” x 35.5” and come in eight different colors. The LAGHCAT Mermaid Tail Blanket comes ready for gift giving and is conveniently packaged in a reusable drawstring bag and includes a precious silver mermaid necklace. With over 3,000 favorable reviews and nearly five stars, this mermaid tail blanket a customer favorite.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best mermaid tail blankets.
10 of 12
Best Tech: Echo Dot Kids Edition
Give her the gift of smart-home automation with the Echo Dot Kids Edition that can perform a lot of the same tasks the "grown-up" one can but it also has limits and parental controls. She can listen to her favorite music, read stories, ask it questions, set alarms, and much more.
With the kid-friendly edition, you can rest assured that your child can't ask it sensitive questions perhaps about sex education or politics, so you can feel comfortable letting her use this device in the comfort of her own room. It comes in three different colors so you can choose one that best describes her mood. And if you want to make sure she is actually going to bed, you can set limits on this device so she can only use it for a certain amount of time each day.
11 of 12
Best Music: Brookstone Wireless Cat Ear Headphones Bluetooth Headset
Let her rock out to her tunes in style with these funky cat ear headphones that will give her wireless, Bluetooth access to all of her favorite songs. Besides being able to listen to music in the comfort of her own room (without disturbing the whole family!), these headphones also light up, giving her a bit of flair. She also is able to turn on the speakers with these so her friends can also get in on the music listening experience.
These headphones provide 5 hours of playtime and they can be charged with a USB. Reviewers these are super cute, and many tweens really loved these, but a few comment that they aren't the best quality sounding headphones on the market.
12 of 12
Best DIY: All-Natural Lip Balm Boutique
If she is into creating things why gift her a lip balm making kit that lets her whip up six different lip balm concoctions with the included recipe book. She can make various different flavors with the included recipe book and natural ingredients like olive oil or chocolate chips to create the desired flavor.
This kit comes with beeswax, six container, gift tags, stickers, and more. Pretty much all she needs to get started in her own lip balm making business.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought five top-rated gifts for 11-year-old girls and our reviewers tested them for 40 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these gifts, from age-appropriate entertainment value to price. We've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Gift for an 11-Year-Old Girl
Age appropriateness As with anything you buy for children, it’s important to ensure your gift is appropriate for an 11-year-old. While these tweens may think they’re all grown up, they’re probably not ready for mature books, movies, or games. At the same time, they’ll likely turn up their noses at toys designed for younger kids, so you’ll want to find the sweet spot in between.
Longevity You’ll also want to consider whether the present you pick is something that an 11-year-old girl will use more than once. Some toys have limited replay value, and, as such, they’re really not worth spending too much money on. You’re better off investing a little more in an item that your recipient can use for a longer period of time, whether it’s a fashion accessory, DIY kit, or something similar.
Trendiness As girls reach the tween years, they’re more likely to enjoy “trendy” gifts that will impress their friends. Do some research on hot trends among teens and tweens, as this will clue you into what would make an amazing present.
Test Results: ALEX Spa Hair Chalk Salon (Best Overall)
What We Like
Chalk pens are easy to use
Fun, bright colors
Chalk easily washes out of hair
Includes beads, elastics, hair-beading tool, and comb
What We Don't Like
Stains hands and fabric
Pasty texture makes hair clumpy
Colors are very muted on darker hair
“I would recommend this product, because it's bright, fun, and easy to use,” gushed one reviewer. Testers liked how entertained their daughters were by all the colors and beads and appreciated how easily the chalk washed out of their hair. The chalk can rub off on nearby fabric (like your clothes) and stains your hands, according to a reviewer, but, overall, she called it “great for the price.” One person noted that the chalk can make your hair look greasy and suggested applying it to braided hair for best results.
Test Results: Klutz Nail Style Studio Book Kit (Best Beauty)
What We Like
Easy to use
Engaging and fun
What We Don't Like
Can frustrate non-artistic kids
Doesn’t come with real nail polish
Could come with more designs
“This product really is a winner for any child who loves to paint nails,” raved one of our testers. “The directions are easy to follow and the designs appeal to a wide array of kids.” One reviewer also thought it was “'very exciting and empowering for kids to be able to make the nail designs work,” but that it can also “frustrate young kids and those who aren't artistic.” Our testers also wished it came with more designs as well as real nail polish (the kit only includes washable “practice polish”).
Test Results: Dork Diaries Box Set (Book 1-3) (Best Book)
What We Like
Helps young children develop reading habits
What We Don't Like
Won’t expand reading comprehension
“The stories engage 9- to 11-year-old readers and get them into longer chapter books,” explained one of our testers. “They’re like a ‘gateway drug’ in a good way — they’ll help kids develop a reading habit, which is important.” However, according to one reviewer, their “shallow and stereotypical” storylines fell short: “The language is simplistic,” she noted. “It won't expand kids' vocabulary or reading comprehension.”
Test Results: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 (Best Retro)
What We Like
Easy to use
Takes great pictures
Ideal for parties
What We Don't Like
Selfie camera isn’t effective
Recommended settings aren’t always best
“Overall, this camera is a real crowd-pleaser,” declared one of our testers. “My friends complimented me on it immediately when I took it out to take photos at a party. They were super happy to have pictures to bring home with them!” In particular, our reviewers loved that it was beautifully designed and easy to use. On the other hand, one tester thought that its seflie mirror was a “cool idea, but it doesn't really help you frame selfies.” Additionally, according to one reviewer, the camera’s recommended light settings weren’t always best in natural light: “I didn't always agree with its choice,” she said, “but indoors and in low light, the flash works perfectly and the pictures are clear.”
Test Results: Anki Cozmo (Best Robot)
What We Like
Fun to play with
Teaches kids about coding
Has broad appeal
What We Don't Like
Questions about ongoing app support
“It would be great if this robot had a lower price tag,” said our tester. “It's important to introduce kids to STEM basics, but spending $200 on a tiny toy robot is a luxury that some families can't afford.” However, you can swing it in your budget, she said it was worth buying: “Cozmo is a pretty clever way to teach kids how to code,” she said. “The app and the interactions make it feel like you're playing, not learning, which is a great way to get kids on board. Also, the fact that Cozmo can mimic human expressions and react to interactions is so fun to watch.” Lastly, she did have concerns about its ongoing app support: “Anki recently announced that it’d be shutting its doors and laying off all staff,” she said. “Bugs or other issues could cause the app, and therefore Cozmo, to be useless, especially if it's not being regularly updated or patched.” Note: the company has created a self-serve help center and will be monitoring cloud operations for Anki accounts.