Friday, November 17, 2017

Holiday Store-Bought Gift Guide: The Tween and Young Teen

I'm making most of our Christmas gifts this year, so this holiday gift guide for tweens and young teens isn't so much of a must-buy list for me this year. I have some things on here that I hope to buy the kids, but everything else is something that we already own and use and love:

These are the BEST colored pencils, I swear. They ain't cheap, but they are worth the price. My kids prefer to use them for everything. We have a family set, the kids each have a small set of 12, and for her birthday this year, I gave Will, who enjoys adult coloring books, this very set, with the instructions that she did not have to share her pencils with ANYONE. I may have to buy Syd her own set for Christmas.

I LOVE  this LEGO set! I love that it inspires more exploration of female scientists, and I think it has that nerdy-cool chic that a lot of teens (my teen, at least!) go for.

Best Friends Necklace for You and Your Dog

Is your kid's best friend her dog? MY kid's is, and she would be so happy, I think, to wear this necklace that matched a collar tag for Luna.

Colorku Logic Game
My kids don't love Sudoku, I think because the numbers make them worried that I'm tricking them into doing math, but at the same time they adore logic puzzles. They'd enjoy working the puzzles, but I know they'd also enjoy just making patterns with the colored marbles.

DIY Cat Sculpture

Don't tell Syd, but I already bought this for her. I bought it, like, months ago, and it's sitting in the top of my closet, along with an American Girl doll outfit, a homemade candle, already wrapped, for Will, and a bag of gourmet coffee, already wrapped, from me to myself. Syd is obsessed with her grey tabby cat, and she is going to freak out over this sculpture!

This is the slackline set that I bought our family a few months ago, and we all really like it. It's definitely got a learning curve to it, but it's fun for the kids to see the adults struggle to learn along with them, and that perseverance while learning something is such a good example for them!

 Hatching Dragon Candle

This candle is ridiculously cute, and even better for kids who are super into dragons--like my kid!

Drone with a Video Camera
This was technically a present for both kids last Christmas, but Will, in particular, was totally wowed. It's not as hard to operate as you'd think, especially if you're mindful of the wind and you don't fly it too high until you're really, really comfortable with operating it.

Gummy Bear Night Light

Because even big kids need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom! I'd suggest buying or scavenging an AC adaptor so that you can plug this night light in, although it would also be cute sitting on a kid's nightstand, easy to squeeze when she wakes up and needs a light.

Prime Climb
Although any kid old enough to know how to multiply can play this game, it's especially great for older kids and teens, because the way that it delves into numbers is algebraic, and encourages a deep understanding, while still being fun!

Personalized Pocket Knife
I carry a pocket knife wherever I go, and it's come in handy countless times, so you'll be unsurprised to hear that I think that everyone, even kids, should have their own pocket knife. I bought Will this exact one (with HER name on it, not Steve's...) for Christmas last year, and she absolutely loves it. And yes, it's come in handy countless times!

Stacking Cats Game
My teen won't get out most puzzles or games, but she WILL play endlessly with these desktop-type puzzles. She's also so inside her head all the time that these fine motor challenges are still great for her. My tween, who's still into most puzzles and games, would be hooked on this simply by the fact that it's cats.

Toaster/Egg Cooker
I fully admit that I am eagerly waiting for our family toaster to die so that I can buy this, but my kids also make their own breakfasts most mornings, as I bet do a lot of middle and high school kids. Wouldn't this be an easy way for a kid to make herself a filling, healthy breakfast in just a few minutes?

LEGO Mindstorms
These are crazy spendy, but there are adults who happily spend their free time programming and playing with these babies, so if you've got a techy kid, it's certainly not a hobby that she need outgrow.

We have an indoor aerial silks rig that the kids are in and on and around constantly, but for those of you with normal ceilings, something like this, mounted from a joist, would make a kid so happy--especially if you were able to put it in her bedroom so she didn't have to share it with you!

Gummy Candy Maker
Yes, it is kind of annoying to have a bunch of little electric novelty cookers in our cabinets (at last count, we have a combo mini cupcake/doughnut/cake pop cooker, a second mini cupcake cooker that Syd won't give up even though the thing I just mentioned also cooks mini cupcakes, a waffle maker that puts a princess on each waffle, and a cotton candy maker. The two play-and-freeze ice cream makers live elsewhere), but the kids love them and use them and get a lot of pleasure out of them, so there you go. Also, they use them to make FOOD, which I then don't have to make or buy.


I'm deeply invested in several fandoms, so I know what it's like to be super into something and want to read/know/have all the things having to do with it. If your kiddo is super into something, you can often find a Lootcrate just about that, or if your kiddo is super into everything, they have subscriptions that have a different theme every time. I like the idea of a subscription as a gift that keeps on giving, but I also like the idea of sneakily ordering just one kit in advance, and then wrapping it up for your kiddo for the holidays.

Weird Perfume
Most perfumes are so cliche--pick a flower, make it cloying, and off you go. This company, in contrast, has really awesome scents--crayon, giant sequoia, paperback, etc.

Do you have anything that you've bought a tween or teen that has been a huge win? I'd LOVE to hear about it, so let me know in the Comments below!

P.S. I've got another holiday gift guide just of BOOKS for tweens and teens in the making, and another list that I'm working on just of handmade gifts for tweens and teens. Stay tuned!

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