Gifts for Tweens Aged 9 to 12

Top Picks and Other Options

Gifts for tweens -- kids aged 9 to 12 — can be difficult to choose. Tweens vary in interests and maturity. They are heavily influenced by peers and media, although they are still likely to want a close relationship with their grandparents. To maintain that relationship, get them something that will meet their personal definition of cool. This list of gifts for tweens may give you some ideas. It's been approved by my tween grandchildren as uber cool, but I would still hold on to my receipts!

  • 01 of 10

    If you have a tween grandchild who enjoys building toys, try one of these totally cool kits by the Canadian company Pathfinders. The Da Vinci kits are based on drawings by the master, and they all feature moving parts. Parts are pre-cut, and glue is included. Younger teens will probably need some help to assemble.

  • 02 of 10

     If the grandchildren aren't Beatles fans, the grandparents haven't done their job! This yellow submarine kit from Lego is a rocking retro build. It comes with mini-figs of the Fab Four and other fun accessories, including a display stand and informative booklet. With 550 pieces, it's appropriate for 10 and up. 

  • 03 of 10

    If you have a grandchild who is interested in music, this digital keyboard will hit all the right notes. Featuring 100 sounds and 100 rhythms, the RockJam 561 will keep a grandchild engaged and learning for hours. The set comes with stand, stool and headphones. The package also includes 30 free songs with the Piano Maestro iPad app, a popular learning tool for beginning pianists. 

  • 04 of 10

    Tweens may have outgrown the desire for cute stuffed animals, but still have the need for something cuddly. Uglydolls will meet that need with a constellation of kooky characters. Aficionados know that in the Uglyverse, ugly means unique and special. Some of the classic Uglydolls have been discontinued, but there are still plenty of fun choices. There's an Uglydoll card game, too.

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  • 05 of 10

     Ogodisks are hard to explain but easy to have fun with. Ogosport calls their product hand trampolines, but the grandchildren shouldn't jump on them. The disks are held in the hand and used to bounce other objects, usually the koosh balls that are also manufactured by Ogosport. They can be used for solo or team play.

  • 06 of 10

    Do you have budding artists in the family? Splurge on some real art supplies, not those kiddie sets. Prismacolor is a top maker of colored pencils and markers. This set is especially designed for fans of manga and anime. It comes with 18 Soft Core pencils for shading and 5 Verithins for sharp detailing. 

  • 07 of 10

    Remember the classic Erector construction sets? Nostalgia buffs can buy the old style sets, but I’m betting most tweens would rather have one of these multi-model sets that let you build from three to 30 different items, all from one kit. Some of the kits are motorized. Younger tweens may need a helping hand from a grandparent.

  • 08 of 10

    Sure, hoverboards are hotter (sometimes in a bad way), but classic casterboards won't explode and offer a lot of fairly safe fun. The Ripstik is the best known brand. For the uninitiated, a Ripstik is something like a skateboard except with only two wheels. It consists of two decks joined by a torsion bar. The carving motion that is required to ride the Ripstik is somewhat like that used in snowboarding and surfboarding. Ripstiks come in several different models for different ages and skill...MORE levels.

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  • 09 of 10

    Marble runs fascinate everyone, young and old, but most are rickety contraptions that end up being frustrating. This variation, designed by an architect, features pieces that fit snugly together so there's no frustration factor. The translucent colors make the grandkids' creations aesthetically pleasing, too. The Big Box contains single-exit, double-exit and bottom-exit pieces and 20 steel marbles. If this set's a hit, you can augment it with others. 

  • 10 of 10

    This gift will appeal to a grandchild's inner treasure hunter. Unlike old school metal detectors, this one by National Geographic is light enough for a kid to use. It features a digital screen and has various modes for better searching. It's a great educational tool as the grandchildren will learn about the various types of metals and research the items they discover. Collapsible for easier storing, it comes with a 2-year warranty.

You can find more gift ideas on these pages:

You'll also want to avoid these gift-giving pitfalls.