They’re betwixt and between, also known as tweens. Not exactly little kids anymore, but not quite grown up either, which can make them almost impossible to buy for. If you’re scratching your head about what to buy your not-quite-a-teenager, don’t sweat it.
We’ve gathered a collection of over 40 on-trend gifts that they’ll actually like, and that will also make you look cool for picking them out. Or at least not totally uncool.
Our picks include bath and beauty items, games, fashion, tech, decor and more. Whether your tween is a little more grown up or still has a sense of childlike whimsy, you’re sure to find something to suit their taste.
Let’s take a look at the best pre-teenager gifts.
Bath & Beauty
Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. But try to tell that to the middle and high school crowd. Set your tween up for success with these little luxuries.
Teenage girls love experimenting with their looks. And with 12 washable hair pens, this chalk salon set will allow them to express their creativity without ending in a “disast-hair” that they have to live with for months.
It also comes with 30 beads and 30 hair elastics, so they have everything they need to transform themselves. Temporarily, thank goodness.
Yes, they’re way too young to get inked. But with these temporary and skin-safe markers, they can create their own temporary body art with an app or just go freestyle.
This unique gift comes with eight different colors to create a tat that they (and you) won’t have to live with forever.
Your tween will like these bath bombs because they smell amazing. You’ll like it because they don’t leave a rainbow residue in your tub. It’s a win-win!
With this at-home nail salon, your teen can stamp their manicure with flamingos, cupcakes, unicorns and more. The non-toxic polish and custom design are included. You’ll definitely nail it with this gift! But don’t use that pun on your 14 year old.
Your tween may be a little young for a trip to Sephora, but it’s always fun to put on a face mask with your besties. This one’s good for sensitive skin and is also cruelty free. Now that’s a beautiful skincare goody!
Light and fresh, this Abercrombie perfume will give your tween a hint of fragrance without overwhelming the room. As long as they don’t take a bath in it.
Fashion and Accessories
Nothing is more important to your tween than the way they look. These gifts will help them look (and feel) their best, no matter what is happening with their skincare routines.
They’re cool, they’re comfy and totally nonbinary. Your tween will love these classic checkerboard Vans that they can slip on and kick off with ease. No string attached!
Unlike most adults, tweens are now hot for wearing their birth year around their neck. This trendy necklace comes in three different metals and has adjustable lengths (just in case they want to layer it with their name necklace).
Is your tween the sporty type? Keep her comfortable and on trend with these classic leggings from Adidas. Perfect for all of her activities, including sprawling out on the couch.
This pack of colorful and popular Pura Vida bracelets can be mixed and matched, worn all together or traded with friends. They’re also waterproof, and a portion of the proceeds goes to local artisans. And that’s a trend we like!
In tween world, this is the must-have backpack. Help them tote their essentials in style with this dirt and water resistant classic that wipes clean when their world gets messy.
It seems these clunky, throwback sandals just won’t go away. And now Birkenstocks come in plastic and a rainbow of colors. Teenage boys and girls are even sporting them all year long with a pair of socks. Face it, there are things about your tween that you’ll never understand.
Fanny packs. They were in during the 90s, very out soon after and now back with a vengeance. These days tweens are sporting them around their waste and as crossbody bags. We definitely didn’t see this one coming.
These gifts are dual-purpose—fun for your tween and great memory makers.
Aspiring animators and moviemakers will be able to make their own stop-action film with this cool gift from Lego. Appropriate for beginners and more seasoned tween directors, this Make Your Own Movie kit can help your tween produce their own work of genius in just an hour. Bravo!
Some kids are gamers. Some are fashionistas. And some are into bugs. If you have a budding entomologist on your hands (or just a tween that likes to freak people out), this 3Doodler Hexbug Set will allow them to create their own robotic creepy crawlers.
They can use the doodle pen to draw wings and legs to add to their insect molds and then let them roam around with the pint-sized motors that are included. And hey, at least they’re a lot less scary than real bugs!
This 259-piece Juicy Couture Bracelet Set will give jewelry lovers everything they need to make their very own bracelets. Includes beads, jump rings, thread, faux suede and charms with Swarovski crystals.
Perfect for teen girls looking to make friendship or frenemy bracelets, depending on the day.
Encourage your budding chef to take a culinary trip around the world with this cooking kit that helps them create authentic meals from places like Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
This great gift includes key spices and hard to find ingredients, along with interesting facts and activities centered around the country’s culture.
It may be their first step towards a Michelin star!
Give your tween a place to write down all those things that they’d prefer not to tell you with this super creative journaling kit.
This journal comes with glitter frames, stickers, washi tape and other embellishments to make their thoughts, dreams and secret crushes all the more exciting.
Are they obsessed with tie-dye? Help them start their own little factory with this kit that features 14 different colors of non-toxic dye to make their t-shirts, sweats or anything else look a little extra groovy.
Games, Toys and Entertainment
If your tween is scarcely seen without a headset, you may be able to entice them away from the PlayStation with these games that are a far cry from your days of Hi Ho Cherry-O or Trouble. The best part? Your budding tween won’t have to keep an eye on battery life.
Dodgeball meets cards in the fast-paced, burrito-slinging game from the creators of Exploding Kittens. But don’t worry, these soft and squishy wraps don’t have any beans or salsa that will destroy your couch. Throw Throw Burrito has also been deemed safe for great aunt Irene.
Whether your tween loves unicorns or is starting to think they’re a little corny, this super popular game Unstable Unicorns puts a new twist on these magical creatures. First, you have to build a unicorn army, and then you betray your friends. Sounds like a good time to us.
As if this mega popular game wasn’t fun enough, now you can play it at night! Kan Jam Illuminate comes with 2 translucent goals, 1 glow disc and 2 LED glow light pods. You can even play it in the pool! Let the games begin!
Exploding Kittens is a wildly popular, Game of the Year winner that’s both super easy and fun to play. And it also gives them something to do when they’re not taking selfies.
We couldn’t leave the gamers entirely out of our gift guide. This lighter version of the original Nintendo Switch comes in a bunch of fun colors and is a perfect gift for the gamer on the go, just don’t forget to pack the charger.
Quad roller skates are back and better than ever! Unlike the scuffed-up white ones of old, they come in tons of fun colors so that your tween can roll in style. Far out, man.
This electric skateboard will let your tween kick less and cruise more. Intelligent sensors detect weight and motion and automatically stop the board when you dismount. It’s going to be an epic ride!
In Their Room
Your preteen spends a lot of time in their room. And spoiler: they will be spending even more time in their room in the coming years.
This LED lights kit will let your tween create a little ambiance in their room. Just stick the strips to the wall, plug them in, and you’re ready to go. It comes with a remote control, 20 color options and 8 light modes. It will make those piles of clothes on the floor look ever so much cooler.
Being a tween isn’t always easy. For those days when they need a little extra TLC, this lavender-infused Smoko plushie can be heated up in the microwave and oozes comfort. Choose from adorable animals to food items with cartoon faces.
Thanks to Tik Tok, decorative leather vines are a growing trend among teens and tweens. Help them bring the outdoors in with this pretty set of climbing faux plants that will bring a sense of calm to their sometimes chaotic world.
This washable polka dot floor lounger is more comfortable than a sleeping bag and also way cuter. Just fill it with five pillows, and your tween will have a new place to hang out. Also great for slumber parties!
With 354 letters, numbers and emojis, your tween can put their name or anything else they want to say up in lights with this Cinema Light Box. Also, it comes with a remote control to change the color of the light.
The tie-dye craze is still going strong. This super soft sherpa blanket is the perfect way for your tween to cozy down while giving their room that multi-colored and throwback touch they seem to love.
This is the 21st century, after all, so why not give your tween a gadget that fits the times?
Tech meets style in this sleek leather charging pad that can charge multiple devices at the same time. It also looks great on their nightstand!
We’re not sure why, but just about everyone finds popping bubble wrap totally addictive. Give your fidgety tween something to do with this pop it phone case that features bubbles they can pop over and over again. It’s either very meditative or compulsive. Either way, it’s fun!
Whether your tween is jamming out in their room or partying to their go-to playlist with friends, this Bluetooth-enabled karaoke mic will let them sync up with their favorite artists from iTunes and Spotify for an impromptu concert. A karaoke star is about to be born!
When the alarm goes off, this robotic rolling clock will roll off the nightstand and roam around the room until your tween jumps out of bed, chases it and turns it off. A much easier way to get them out of bed than banging their door down!
This small but mighty portable speaker is perfect for jamming when they’re on the go. It’s also waterproof, which makes it great for the pool or beach and even comes with a convenient carrying strap. Because losing their tunes would be totally tragic.
This light up phone case will help them take the perfect selfie every time. Because in tween world, one always has to be Insta ready. It’s also compatible with a variety of phones and comes in a bunch of colors to suit the tastes of any influencer.
Even when it comes to tech, everything that’s old is new again. The latest version of the Fujimax camera comes with a selfie mirror and lots of fun colors. And, of course, they’ll be able to print their favorite moments to hang up in their room.
And A Couple of More…
In case you didn’t find anything you liked, here are a few more gift ideas.
Yep, stickers are still a thing. This pack includes 50 colorful designs to jazz up laptops, skateboards, water bottles and more. Easily removable, your tween can swap them out when the mood suits them. And we all know they have a lot of moods.
It’s the water bottle of all water bottles. Keep your tween sipping on trend in this stainless steel water bottle that comes in tons of colors and will keep their drink cool or warm for 12 to 24 hours. Hydrating never looked so good.
Give ‘Em What They Really Want
You don’t have to shell out money for a new iPad to really wow your tween. If you went through the list and still can’t decide, a gift card is always a great option! Sure, it may not be as personalized as some of our other gifts, but for the budding preteen, shopping is one of the few realms where having an opinion is safe and validated.
So before you succumb to the, but everyone has the new iPhone talk, stay strong knowing that you don’t have to break the break to give a really awesome gift.
You might also be interested in: How To Make Money As A Teenager [56 Easy Money-Making Opportunities]
Best Gifts for Teens:
Bath & Grooming Gifts:
- Alex Toys Spa Hair Chalk Salon
- BIC Bodymark Temporary Tattoo Markers
- Aprilis Bath Bombs Gift Set
- Go Glam Nail Stamper
- Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask
- Abercrombie Kids Life Perfume
For the Fashion Know-Alls:
- Vans Checkerboard Slip-Ons
- Gothic Number Necklace
- Adidas Performance Tight Leggings
- Pura Vida Friendship Pack
- Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack
- Birkenstock Arizona Essentials
- Mum’s Silver Holographic Fanny Pack
- Klutz Lego Make Your Own Movie Kit
- 3Doodler Start Hexbug Pen Set
- Make It Real Juicy Couture Crystal Sunshine Bracelets Kit
- Uncommon Goods Kid’s Global Adventure Cooking Set
- STMT DIY Journaling Kit
- One-Step Tie-Dye Kit
Games, Toys & Entertainment:
- Throw Throw Burrito
- Unstable Unicorns
- Kan Jam Illuminate
- Exploding Kittens Card Game
- Nintendo Switch Lite
- C-7 Roller Skates
- Swagtron Swagskate NG3 Electric Skateboard
- Daybetter LED Lights Kit
- Smoko Toasty Heatable Plushie
- Decorative Vine Set
- Butterfly Craze Floor Lounger
- Cinema Light Box
- Newcosplay Tie-Dye Throw Blanket
- Courant Leather Charging Pad
- Popping Bubble Wrap Phone Case
- Bonaok Karaoke Microphone
- Clocky Rolling Alarm Clock
- Sony Mini Bluetooth Speaker
- LuMee Duo Light Up Selfie Phone Case
- FujiMax Mini Instant Camera
A Few More: