Tweens will be the first to tell you that they aren’t little kids anymore, and they want their toys to reflect that. But without being a teenager just yet, finding the right gifts for kids around 9 to 12 years old can be difficult. They may not know exactly what they want, but tweens do know what they don’t want. And they aren’t afraid to tell you that the gift idea you had was so last year.
To help you find the best gifts for tweens, we researched the top products for this age group and created this list using input from the actual tweens in our lives — since what might have seemed cool when you were a tween might not resonate with Gen Alpha or the youngest of Gen Z. These are the latest products coveted by tweens, from an electric scooter to a DIY mochi ice cream kit and more. Whether your preteen is into gaming, snapping selfies or simply relaxing, you’ll find a great gift here to suit their interests.
So, ready to get an amazing gift for your favorite tween? Read on to discover our suggestions and win some major cool points with your tween for their birthday, a holiday or another special occasion.
An electric scooter is a great way to get tweens off their screens and heading outside. And luckily, not all motorized scooters are the dangerous, bulky behemoths you see commuters zipping around on. Razor’s E100 is for kids ages 8 and up, and the max speed is 10mph. Tweens will especially appreciate the blue LEDs on the deck that light up whenever you twist the throttle.
Give the gift of luminous skin with this six-piece mask set. Tweens will find every mask they need for a healthy complexion, including a green tea sheet mask to brighten and purify, an aloe mask for intense hydration, and a coconut sheet mask to clean and revitalize.
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If the tween in your life is into PC gaming, take their gaming setup up a notch with a gaming keyboard. The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL is our favorite budget gaming keyboard thanks to its durability, super-quiet gaming switches and eight lighting zones. Bonus: It’s also IP32 water-resistant so it won’t matter if your tween is a chronic spiller.
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What better way to take selfies and fun pics with friends than with an Instax? It’s easy to throw into a large pocket or backpack so you can document your daily life. And there’s something great about immediately getting a physical photo to hold onto as soon as you take the pic.
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Once your tween starts snapping pics with their Instax, they’ll need a great backdrop and lighting. These dreamy string lights help add a magical feel to any room. With 50 clips to hang up their favorite pics, your tween will love their new sparkling retreat.
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AirPods are a tween staple. But if you don’t want to shell out $249 for Apple’s AirPod Pro 2, you might want to consider the lower-cost first-gen AirPod Pro buds, which still offer a comfortable in-ear design and solid active noise cancellation. Both versions are great for listening to music, tuning into TikTok and more.
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Gel Blaster’s Surge is tons of fun for both kids and adults. But be forewarned that you definitely want to take this one outside, and the “Gellets” do sting a little on impact — not as bad as paintball or airsoft, but protective eyewear is recommended. The best part is that the gel pellets are water based and evaporate after shooting them. No more cleaning up a hundred foam Nerf darts afterwards.
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If you’re a fan of Exploding Kittens (or even if you’re not), you’ll get a kick out of this game. It’s a card game and dodgeball (but with burritos!), all in one. Players collect matching cards to score points, all while dodging flying burritos thrown at you by your opponents. It’s a great way to get tweens off their screen and running around — just be sure to move any breakables out of the line of fire.
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What tween doesn’t love mochi? Making homemade mochi can be tricky, but this kit makes it super easy, and it’ll be a fun rainy-day project for your preteen. Flavors include matcha green tea and cocoa powder, but you can come up with your own flavors too!
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Spikeball is a super-trendy, fast-paced game that combines elements of volleyball and four square. Instead of hitting a large ball over a straight net, you’re smacking a softer, grapefruit-size ball onto a bouncy, ringed one, sort of like tetherball but without the string.
Be prepared, parents: This is a physical game, one that requires fast movement and probably some diving if you want to score points. Consequently, this might be best for just the kids, although it does require four players.
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The Nintendo Switch became a hot item during the pandemic, and it’s still high on tweens’ wish lists. If your kid doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch, you can’t go wrong with this gaming system. It’s a splurge, but it’s not as expensive as the PS5 or Xbox Series X, and it’s easier to get your hands on than either of those consoles.
The Switch provides hours and hours of fun with games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Mario Odyssey. Check out more great game suggestions here. It’s fun for adults, too.
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