Finding the perfect gift for your persnickety tweenager can be a challenge. No longer a little kid but not quite a full-fledged teenager, 10-to-12-year-olds sometimes can be stuck between gift worlds. But a new crop of cool holiday gifts will delight even your hardest-to-please big kid. Read on to discover some of our favorite gifts for tweens!
3Doodler Start Kit
Conceived as the world’s first consumer 3D printing pen, 3Doodler was a successful Kickstarter project before quickly growing into a $20 million business. Thanks to its ingenious design, hand-held portability and ease of use, 3Doodler has become popular among school STEM programs and at-home techie creators alike. This year’s new releases include the 3Doodler Create+ 3D printing pen ($79.99) and the 3Doodler Start Make Your Own HEXBUG Kit ($59.99). Combining drawing and sculpture with a dose of 3D magic, 3Doodler is a cool gift for gadget-loving creative types.
Available at the3doodler.com/shop, starting at $49.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
Faster than you can say, “Expelliarmus!” the Harry Potter Coding kit will have young wizards learning how to code in no time. Created by Kano, makers of kid-friendly, DIY computer kits and programs, the Harry Potter Coding Kit lets users build custom wands that can perform acts of magic when connected to tablet or computer screens. Following a few simple steps, apprentice wizards learn how to code by connecting code blocks that pair with actions tied to their wands. A wave of a wand can make fire flow, pumpkins grow, feathers fly, goblets multiply, and much more, via iOS and Android devices.
Available at amazon.com, $99.99.
Air Hogs Supernova
A huge hit at this year’s Toy Fair, Air Hogs Supernova is a fun, gravity-defying orb that players control using the power of their hands—no touching or remote control needed. Built-in motion-sensitive lights and sensors respond to hand gestures, resulting in more than 30 different free-floating moves that range from simple to complex. Air Hogs Supernova orbs seem to levitate and move on command and have a flight time of around five to seven minutes on a full charge.
Available at amazon.com, $39.99.
Families with tweens find themselves with kids who are growing wings, out exploring their world parent-less a bit more. Often times that means sending them off with cash in hand and change returned with bills in crumbled form. Help them stay organized, and look cool doing it, with a rite-of-passage wallet purchase from a brand that's on the rise.
Available at herschel.com, $29.99.
Benefit Gorgeous Plush Robe
Few things are better than being wrapped up snug-as-a-bug on a chilly morning, and PBteen and Benefit Cosmetics collaborated to make the cozy adorably glam with their super-soft plush robe. Snag a Benefit Gorgeous Plush Robe and add on a Benefit Gorgeous Hair Wrap to deliver a gift with blissed-out vibes.
Available at pbteen.com; $79.
Harry Potter House Colors Knit Throw
Is your kid a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or (eek!) Slytherin, perhaps? Sort your kids and help them display their proud loyalty with a cozy throw in their House colors. For a full-room makeover inspiration, check out the full Pottery Barn collection by clicking here.
Available at pbteen.com, $69.
Lush Bath Bombs
A bath experience exploding with essential oils and filled to the rim with fizzy fabulousness is within reach with Lush's bath bombs, an invention original to them. The goal with their new Turtle Immersion was to create a larger-than-usual jelly bomb that softens skin in cypress-sandalwood waters, while also reminding of the dangers faced by turtles and other marine animals because of plastic in our oceans. If turtles aren't your kid's thing, scan the website for other shapes like snow fairies, eyeballs, disco balls, dragons eggs and more.
Available at lushusa.com, $10.95.
Circuit Scribe DIY Drone
Circuit Scribe was born in a Ph.D. lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where co-founders Brett Walker and Analisa Russo developed and refined an electricity conductive ink that could flow from a ballpoint pen. The results gave users the ability to literally draw working electrical circuitry without cumbersome wires that needed to be soldered. Circuit Scribe’s newest DIY drone kit lets techie kids build and fly their own paper drones powered through drawn-on circuits made of non-toxic silver ink that creates electrical connections on a regular sheet of paper.
Available at shop.circuitscribe.com, $99.99.
Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit
Like colorful miniature pieces of stained glass, Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit lets young artists create unique window decals that will brighten any room. The kit includes five colors of cling art paint and 14 simple-to-follow designs. Trace the designs using the black outliner paint, add color, leave for 24 hours, then stick the finished cling art to any window. Additional free printable designs are available for download on the website.
Available at ooly.com, $14.99.
The ridiculous and hilarious objective of Handimonium is for players to wear a pair of tiny hands, then perform seemingly simple tasks such tying shoelaces or filling a cup with water. Saddled with miniaturized appendages, players soon realize that life with teeny-tiny hands ain’t so easy. The game comes with two sets of tiny hands and 56 challenge cards.
Available at amazon.com, $19.99.
IVY Mini Photo Printer
After years of digital-only photo sharing, pocket-sized photo prints are definitely having a moment right now. Canon’s IVY Mini Photo Printer lets you print smudge-proof, rip-proof and water-resistant peel-and-stick 2-inch by 3-inch photos directly from your smartphone or favorite social media platform. The mini printer’s mobile app also lets you add custom frames, emojis, stickers, filters and text to your photos before printing.
Available at shop.usa.canon.com, $129.99.
Carson Kropfl was just 11-years-old when he created the first designs for Locker Board in 2016. As a skater and surfer, Kropfl was looking for a non-folding, sustainably-sourced skateboard that could fit in a school locker or backpack. Following an appearance on Shark Tank and funding from Sir Richard Branson, today Kropfl is an eighth grader with two patents for his precocious skateboard designs. The current Locker Board lineup includes 17-inch cruising and trick skateboards, plus a new 24-inch board designed for the skatepark.
Available at lockerboard.net, starting at $98.
The Night Diary
One of our picks for the best new kids books of 2018, in 1947 India, 12-year-old Nisha is not sure where she belongs as a half-Muslim, half-Hindu in her country. When her father decides to leave Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark on a long and challenging journey to find a new home. The hopeful and personal story of this family is told through Nisha's letters to her mother.
Available at amazon.com, $11.72.
Karina Garcia DIY Squishy Art Bake Shop by Craft City
Move over homemade slime: DIY squishy arts are the latest trend to spark the imaginations of crafty kids across the country. This well-composed squishy art kit comes courtesy of Karina Garcia, a popular YouTuber who parlayed her online celebrity into a successful line of DIY crafts. Featuring an adorable bake shop theme, the kit includes decorative sprinkles, colored chalk and puffy paint. After making your slow-rise bake projects, simply color, add paint and sprinkles, and squish your original squishy art designs!
Available at target.com, $19.99.
Microduino Itty Bitty Buggy
Microduino’s Itty Bitty Buggy is a 5-in-1 DIY programmable robot toy that’s easy to build and fun to play. Compatible with LEGO building bricks and controllable via Bluetooth using an iOS or Android device, Microduino’s versatile coding system supports Scratch, Python and Arduino. Robots can be controlled by voice or programmed to recognize colors, among other cool tricks. Coding instructions are included and simple enough to understand for even novice programmers.
Available at amazon.com, $59.99.
Few accessories complete a tween’s look like a great bag. We’re currently obsessed with OMG! Accessories entire line of affordable and stylish bags created for fashion-forward kids, teens and beyond. These well-made handbags, backpacks and totes mix appealing graphic designs with a healthy splash of kitsch. We especially love the holographic unicorn designs and translucent bags, which are definitely on trend this year.
Available at omgaccessories.com, starting at $18.
Relay: World’s Simplest Kids’ Phone
Featuring the ease of use of a walkie-talkie combined with the range of a nationwide cellular network, Relay is an affordable and practical alternative to mobile phones for kids. Relay devices are super-simple: push a single button to talk, just like a walkie-talkie. Channels can be customized like apps. Without the distraction of a screen, Relay distills communications to talk. Compatible with 4G LTE and wifi, the devices are GPS enabled and available on a safe and secure network.
Available at relaygo.com, starting at $149.
Sew & Glow Kit
Seated neatly at the intersection of fashion and technology, the Sew & Glow Kit lets users design and build glowing badges that light up with electrical conductive thread. In addition to exploring crafting, the kit teaches kids about electrical circuits in a fun and simple way. Light up badges with LED lights and become an electronics master in minutes!
Available at techwillsaveus.com, $24.99.
SmartLab Toys Ultimate Vortex Generator
SmartLab Toys Ultimate Vortex Generator promises young, not-so-mad scientists the chance to create their own tornadoes in a beaker. Along with 20 other science experiments that combine chemistry and visual thrills, the Vortex mixer teaches science concepts such as combining, mixing, blending and siphoning.
Available at amazon.com, $24.99.
Table Top Shuffleboard
For the kid who has had enough of digital games, this classic pub-style shuffleboard offers challenging and fun physical gameplay in a realistic, high-quality wooden tabletop design. More than five feet long, this tabletop shuffleboard is a perfect old-school addition to a new-school family rec room.
Available at amazon.com, $86.37.
Disney Villainous Strategy Board Game
Featuring six different Disney Villains—Maleficent, Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook, Queen of Hearts, and Prince John—this strategy board game lets players get into the minds of the evil characters that we love to hate. Using each character’s unique abilities, players work toward reaching their objectives while other Disney Villains attempt to thwart them in their quests! Whether you’re playing with a group of devoted Disney fans, classic strategy gamers, or with family and friends, Disney Villainous is perfect for any game night occasion!
Available at amazon.com, $34.97.
iTOUCH Air 2
For most tweens who may find an Apple Watch too pricey, iTouch offers an affordable alternative with its newly released Air 2 smartwatch. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Air 2 features many of the same features of higher-end fitness trackers and smartwatches, including smart notifications, heart rate monitor, GPS tracker, pedometer, and sleep monitor, among other functions. Designed with a slim, elegant profile that features a durable glass display and metal casing, the Air 2 is available in a variety of colors and two case sizes.
Available at itouchwearables.com, $59.99.