How to Choose a Gift for a Tween

How to choose the right gift for a tween girl or boy. Gift ideas for tweens, what to know when buying a present for a tween. Pretty good ideas here.

How to Choose a Gift for a Tween

Shopping for a gift for a tween? Buying a present for kids between the ages of 9-12 can be hard no matter what the occasion. Tweens are done playing with toys but also too young for products aimed at teenagers. So what do these in-betweens want to receive as gifts? I’m here to tell you how to choose gifts for tween girls and boys.

When buying gifts for kids between the ages of 9 and 12 there are a few things to remember before buying.

Tips for Buying a Gift for a Tween

When buying a gift for a tween novelty wins out. Tweens like things that make them feel a little more grown up but still look cute and kid-like. If they ask for something their friend has don’t immediately think they’re trying to keep up. Tweens like to play together, and having the same thing as their friends making playing together that much more fun. Remember heading to a friend’s house to ride bikes or play Barbies? It’s the same these days for tween kids.

  • Don’t buy toys you would see in a preschool classroom. Dolls, princess toys, toy trains, plastic food sets and certain cartoon characters may be too young for the 9-12 set.
  • A toy that they hoped to receive two years ago is unlikely to interest them now.
  • Learning toys are fun. Tween kids love to build and create with art and science.
  • Technology is a thing. Embrace it or not, it isn’t going anywhere. Kindle gift cards and i-tunes cards are great gifts.

Types of Gifts for Tweens

Consumable Gifts (No, I’m not talking about Food)

A consumable gift is a gift that is used for only a short time. Examples of consumable gifts are art sets, doodle books, diaries, science kits and any other product that once used, cannot be reused.

Why Give a Consumable Gift?

They don’t take up space! Okay, they take up space for a short time, but then they’re gone. I know we have drawers full of toys and activities my kids just can’t bear to part with, which is why we went through de-cluttering. I love when my kids get consumable gifts. I also try to give these types of gifts when I feel like the family will appreciate them. We’ve given jewel shaped crayons, manicure sets, hair chalk and craft sets to friends.

gift for a tween

Building Sets

Building sets make great gifts for all ages. Kids can grow with a set from age three through the tween years, especially if it’s a large set. Building sets include LEGOs, Magformers, K’Nex, Tegu, Erector sets and many more.

Why Give a Building Set as a Gift?

They’re educational and fun! There are so many options for boys and girls in different sized sets that the perfect gift for a tween won’t be hard to fins. They’re kind of like toys, only way cooler. Kids don’t feel too young for building sets which means they’ll play with them more often. I also like the option of being able to put the building set away up on a shelf or in a bin. It doesn’t end up being a toy that sits in the toy box unused.

Building sets my kids have given as gifts and play with on a regular basis include LEGO Minecraft and the Magformers Standard Set.

Science Kits

Let’s face it. Parents love when their kids receive education gifts but the kids may not always show excitement. Lucky for them science kits are now pretty exciting to receive. Kids can make their own lip gloss, build an erupting volcano, experiment with edible candy, or gross each other out with home-made slime. There really is no limit to the cool science kits on the market today.

Why Give a Science Kit as a Gift?

Education, learning, hand-on activity, variety, the list goes on and on. Can you tell that science kits are some of my favorite types of presents for my kids to give and receive? I love spending time with them making rock candy or digging for dinosaur bones. Science kits are also consumable gifts, so they don’t take up too much space and kids stay interested until the product is done.


I know what you’re thinking. Books are never a popular gift for older kids. I remember getting new books every year under the tree from my aunt and uncle and it wasn’t exactly thrilling. There is a trick to giving a book that can make everyone happy. The trick is to not just give a book.

Wait, what? A book amidst a pile of toys looks more exciting if it has a companion gift. I like to give a small gift that compliments the book. Here are some examples:

Outerspace-Space Doodle Book and Colored Pencils

Minecraft Book-Minecraft Mini Figure

Dork Diaries Book-Diary or pretty pen

The Secret Garden-Kids Garden Set

Giving an Experience as a Gift

Tweens love going to amusement parks, kids science museums, a favorite restaraunt and on many other kids themed outings. Giving two tickets to a newly released movie or a local mini-golf course makes a fun gift.

Should you give Tween Clothing as a Gift?

Giving clothes as a gift is entirely up to you. Tweens do like to receive clothes as gifts as long as they’re the right clothes. Kids between the ages of 9 and 12 are learning to take care of themselves and this also means making their own tween fashion choices. Also, parents of tweens usually have rules in place so you’ll want to check with them on what they feel is acceptable for their kid.

Should I give a Gift Card as a Present?

In most cases I try to give a gift other than a gift card because kids like to try new toys right away. Giving a gift card mean the tween gets to pick out something they’d like at a later date. This can be just as exciting so don’t dismiss the idea of gifting a card. I do know that some parents don’t get around to shopping with their kids or spend the gift card on their own. If you think that’s going to be the case, skip the card and go for a real gift.

Should I give a Tween Girl Makeup as a Present?

The tweens I know don’t wear make-up on a regular basis so make-up aimed at teens might not be the best gift. Alternative ideas for real make-up include:

A caboodle full of inexpensive make-up for play (check with the parents first)

An assortment of nail polishes

Lip Gloss

Hair accessories and hair chalk

Should I Give a Tween Boy a Video Game?

Tween boys (and girls) love receiving video games for their game system. Parents aren’t always as excited about certain games that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right video game for the tween while you’re out shopping. While a tween boy may be begging for a new release game that is rated for older kids don’t buy the game without speaking to his parents first. Parents usually have standards for the games their kids can play and it isn’t always all about the rating on the game package. If you’re unable to speak with the parents (maybe you’re shopping at the last-minute) go with a neutral game theme. Sports, trivia, or any other family friendly titles. If you’re still unsure, buy a cool controller compatible with their game system.

What do I give to a Tween who Loves Sports?

gift for a tween

By the time kids have entered the in-between years they probably have a favorite hobby. Their hobby may be collecting baseball cards of their favorite players, or being a baseball player themselves. Tween kids can be involved in everything from dance to hockey and may own everything related to their favorite sport. So what do you buy for a tween that asked for a sports gift?  Here are some ideas:

  • A jersey with the player’s name on the back
  • Give a custom sports jersey with the tween’s last name on the back
  • A newly released or upgraded piece of sports equipment

Sports themed gifts can be expensive. Buying a ball cap or a mitt may not seem like much, but the kids know their worth and will be appreciative.

Last Minute Tips for Tween Gifts

Gifts giving to tween girls and boys doesn’t have to be a stressful event. They’re usually less picky than many teenagers, and have specific hobbies and interests. Remember, if you’re unsure about what the tween is interested in, or you’re questioning the appropriateness of a gift, ask their parents before buying.

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