34 Gift Ideas for Tweens (Ages 8-12)!

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of wrapped gifts

For this Tween Gift Guide, I had in mind the big kids — in the 8-12 years old age range. Me and my kids came up with a ton of great ideas for you. There are 33 gifts on the list, and thirteen of them are $15 or less. Many things on the list would make good stocking stuffers too. Ready? Here goes…

34 Top Gifts for Tweens

Harmonica. $11. A great stocking stuffer. They can treat it as a novelty or toy, or if they like it as an instrument, and start figuring out songs (youtube has tutorials), you can upgrade them to an even fancier version later.

Telescope. $32. Because the night sky is full of inspiration. And looking at it together is incredibly bonding.

Duct Tape Crafting Book. $10. So many cool projects! Part art, part engineering. Everyone in the family will enjoy getting involved in this creative process. Don’t forget to order some colorful duct tape too.

Colorful, Sturdy Umbrella. $25. Something cheerful on a rainy day. It comes in solid colors too.

Digital Piggy Bank. $11. This hits a sweet spot between high and low tech. Ultimately, it’s just a jar for their coins, but the fact that it can total the amount inside? That’s pretty darn inviting.

Shoot the Moon. $33. Think of it as one of the first video games. (Adults and teens love this one too!)

Illuminated Globe. $50. It’s pretty. It’s practical. Have it plugged in and glowing under the tree on Christmas morning and it is sure to bring a gasp of wonder.

Solar Robot Building Toy. $32. It’s designed for building early STEM skills. 

Cotton Jump Rope. $15. Pair it with a Jump Rope Rhymes Book. And buy 2 if they want to learn double dutch. (This is also a great family gift. It’s a group activity — two people need to swing the rope, and then 1 or more can jump at one time.)

Leather Slippers. $30. Don’t these look cozy?

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of Folkmanis puppets

Folkmanis Animal Puppets. $20. Have you seen these in person? Folkmanis makes really good puppets. There are lots of animals available, including a llama, an owl, and a clam with a pearl inside. If your kids think they’ve outgrown stuffed animals, but still appreciate something cuddly, a cozy puppet is a nice alternative.

Not Parent Approved. $14. A hilarious card game for kids, tweens, families and mischief makers. This game was inspired by Cards Against Humanity, but it’s for kids and 100% family-friendly! It’s won tons of awards — and there’s an expansion pack too.

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of Vertical Vortex interactive toy

Vertical Vortex Interactive Spring Toy. $18. A friend of Betty’s showed up at rehearsal with one of these and Betty says it’s irresistible and super fun to play with.

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of glow in the dark stars

Glow In The Dark Stars. $14. These are so cool! They stick to the wall or ceiling, absorb light during the day, and glow in the dark. You could use the starts to make constellations or any pattern you like.

Digital Camera for Kids. $29. Cute, small and lightweight — the perfect size for little hands, and it comes in five colors.

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of kids binoculars

Binoculars (Kid-sized!). $29. Even though these come kid-sized, don’t think them as a toy. They’re legit! Your kids can keep them in their backpack, or in the car, so they’re always ready for an adventure. They come in 3 different color options.

Pro-Yoyo. $15. It comes in three different colors, a it’s ready to be used for all the best yoyo tricks.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Waffle Maker. $38. Have batter waiting in the fridge, then they’ll open this with Ohs and Ahs, and all of you can spend the rest of day in your jammies making waffles. Sounds like heaven.

Slinky. $8. Do you have stairs? Then this will be a hit. Put it in a stocking.

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of Russian nesting dolls

Traditional Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. $23. My mom lived in Russia for awhile and brought us a set of nesting dolls when she moved home, and now I’m convinced every home needs a set. I’m telling you, people of all ages love them. They’re quite irresistible.

Tracer Bot. $20. You draw a line and the robot will follow it like it’s on a track.

Magna-Tiles Building Set. $117. Another irresistible one. Try your best not to play with these when someone sets them in front of you. It’s basically impossible. And they’re so pretty too!

Free Play Magnatab. $13. I picked one of these up at a Museum gift shop and couldn’t put it down. It’s sort of like drawing with magnets. It comes in a larger size too.

Exploding Kittens Card Game. $18. Both of my tweens put this on their wish list last year. I had never heard of it. But the reviews make it sounds like it’s the best game ever. So why not?

Mysterious Benedict Society Paperback Set. $29. A really great series your kids might not have discovered yet because they haven’t been made into a movie.

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of pogo stick

Pogo Stick. $50. For when they need to get their energy out.

Set of 12 Gliders. $6. Have you introduced your kids to gliders yet? They’re typically too delicate for younger kids, but perfect for tweens. This set is a bargain and would be great in a stocking.

Fabric Markers. $10. Pair these textile markers with white sneakers or a plain tee and let them go to town.

Clay Charms Kit. $16. I’m a fan of Klutz kits, and this one looks especially good. And they end up with an awesome charm bracelet when they’re done!

Top Gifts for Tweens featured by top blog, Design Mom: image of colorful headphones

Volume Limited Headphones. $17. Protect their hearing! They’re just kids and sometimes do stupid things like listen to their screens too loudly. These allow you to limit the volume. 

Rainbow Maker. $37. It basically makes magic.

Lego Gear Bots. $19. If you’re swimming in Legos, add this to the mix to make the most of what you already have.

Mudpuppy Beetle Puzzle. $14. We love putting together a big puzzle on Christmas afternoon as the day gets quiet. This ones is so colorful and charming. Other handsome options when you click through.

Coogam Metal Wire Puzzle Set. $9. This comes with 16 puzzles and a carrying pouch. Each puzzle is a brain teaser that you have to disentangle. Something to play with when they’ve maxed out their screen time.


Okay. That’s it for the Tweens. Now it’s your turn. What’s on the wishlists of the tweens in your life? Does anything here spark ideas for you? Feel free to share links and recommendations!

38 thoughts on “34 Gift Ideas for Tweens (Ages 8-12)!”

  1. The Mysterious Benedict Society series is so so good. I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a film yet.

    The books have been translated into French as well, which is fun for reading practice.

    1. Yes, my son, now 13, loved all the Benedict books, and so did I! The author has another book, The Secret Keepers, which is also wonderful and is not part of the Benedict series.

      BTW, consider borrowing books from the library as gifts. Sometimes it is nicer to read a hardcover, but that can get pricey. We give books for every night of Hanukkah, and mix in purchased and library books. This way they can read cool old books no longer in print or test drive new titles before committing to having them in the home library. It is free and green to borrow books, and you get to think about the person you are choosing for instead of worrying about cost. Of course, I know it is essential to have their own books and visit the library all the time :) Yay reading and Happy Holidays!

    2. The Mysterious Benedict Society hasn’t been made into a movie but it’s has been made into a series on Disney+. Our family absolutely loved it and I’m sure they would love the books too!!

  2. Gabby, Excellent work!! Thank you for putting together such a fun and thoughtful list with a wide variety of price points; this is just the help I need shopping for my almost 12 year old. I want the colorful blocks for myself!

  3. I have 9 and 11 year olds and this is a great list! Thank you! We have a number of these items already (like the Timex watch, which is worn daily and has been going strong for a couple of years now, and Exploding Kittens, which sounded very exciting but in actuality has not been a big hit) and so many of them look like things my kids would love. Thank you so much for putting this fun and helpful (I bought the Guy Stuff book for my 11 year old son; it looks perfect) list together!

  4. Aliesha Fullerman

    I was trying to think of something different for my 9-year old niece this year, and ended up getting her a set of Judy Blume books that I think will be appropriate for her age and maturity. I’m so excited to introduce her to one of my favorite authors from my tween/teen years!

  5. Pingback: Gold Stars: Christmas Edition | KendraNicole.net

  6. Thanks for this great list! I had the entire family asking how I found such awesome gifts! ;-) You are a secret weapon in the holiday gifting scene!

  7. I think you recommended the glider set last year (or a similar one); I got it for my then 8 year old, and he loves them! They are a little battered but still fly and have been played with a lot (including being thrown out of a second story window to see which one flies furthest).

  8. Thank you so much! I was just driving home from work, desperately trying to work out what to buy my nine-year-old daughter for St.Nicholas Day. She is out of the girly stage (no mire glitter, nail polish,hair accessories etc) and I can’t always only buy books. Love the ideas.

    Thank you!

  9. Thanks for this wonderful list. I was desperate and here I found at least 5 toys we don’t have. The Happy potter’s Wand and the exploding kittens are really cool!

    Last year I bough my son a pogo stick which I regret. I spent two days comparing features and picking up a really durable pogo, so it won’t get destroyed in an instant. Now it just lies on top of the other uncool stuff in the garage. This year I’m getting him a scooter for tricks, and I’m getting my daughter a Brother CS5055PRW which is one of the most popular choices for kids https://hellosewing.com/best-sewing-machine-for-kids-tweens-teens/ . I spent a ton of time researching both presents, and I hope they will both like them!

  10. Exploding Kittens is SO good – a big hit with my tween and her friends! We also LOVE Sparkle Kitty and Babies vs. Bears.

    The Rainbow Maker looks amazing!

  11. Hey, Gabby— have you got any “something to wear” recommendations for the tween set? I think socks or shoes, but whenever I shop for clothes for my son, he doesn’t like it. I was just looking at John’s Crazy Socks yesterday, but my husband doesn’t thnk he’ll like any of them, and I was considering Primary’s socks today… sigh. Tweens are so hard to shop for.

    And shoes? He should be able to pick out his own shoes, but Payless went out of business, so I can’t buy a gift card for them.. Got any tips?

  12. We just moved into a 2 bedroom apartment and after a couple weeks switched the parents and girls bedrooms but we had already put up glow in the dark stars for them (in our now room). It’s so sweet when I turn off the lights to have the little galaxy up there shining for a couple minutes. Highly recommend for ALL ages!

  13. In the same vein as Shoot the Moon, another lie tech, pub type game is shut the box. You can play a solo version or one that has more players.

  14. Loving nearly all of these suggestions. Except for a HARMONICA!! Are you kidding me? That might be as bad as a recorder. 🤣 definitely not coming to my house. But really- thank you for these lists. They’re wonderful.

  15. This is off-topic, but have any of your blog settings recently changed? I’ve read you through Feedly for YEARS and just the past couple weeks, it stopped seeing new posts. The last one was the Nov 18th post, and Feedly hasn’t given me any of the gift guides or other posts.

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