It’s the Tweens turn! For this guide, I had in mind the big kids — in the 8-12 years old age range. There are 9 items on the list that are $15 or less, several more under $20, and a bunch of these would make good stocking stuffers too. Oh. And if you haven’t found a good teen gift yet, there are a few on this list that would be perfect.

Ready? Here goes…

Death Star Waffle Maker. 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.

Walking Metal Robot. Charming, and also cool. Start with one, and then make a collection in different shapes and sizes. Watch for old ones at tag sales and swap meets too. Hunting for them can be a new thing you do together.

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

Digital Piggy Bank. 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.

Traditional Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. 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.

Color Charts Rally Building Blocks Set. 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!

Unicorn-shaped Crayons. Another fun, simple stocking stuffer. (Need more unicorn picks?)

Free Play Magnatab. 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.

Shark Pendulum Wall Clock. I wish you could all see this one in person. The little fish bones are the pendulum and swing bag and forth!

Exploding Kittens Card Game. Both of my tweens put this on their wish list this 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. A really great series your kids might not have discovered yet because they haven’t been made into a movie.

Harry Potter Illuminating Wand. Tweens and Harry Potter go hand in hand, and there’s so much fun wizarding paraphernalia you can find. This light up wand would make any Potter fan happy.

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

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

Sign Language Blocks. How cool are these? Perfect for anyone who has an interest in languages.

Horseshoe Magnet. What is it about a big magnet? Such a simple thing, but it provides hours of fun, and sparks all sorts of science and nature questions too.

Set of 12 Gliders. 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. Pair these textile markers with white sneakers or a plain tee and let them go to town.

Timex Watch. It feels like a more serious option than a little kid character watch.


Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys. There quite a few books like this for girls, but so few for boys. This is a good one. Maybe put some deodorant in their stocking too.

Clay Charms Kit. 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!

Blocktech Fleece Coat. This coat is gorgeous! Faux fur and faux leather of course. Our teen, Olive, has a version of this in her size and it’s amazing. I keep borrowing it from her.

Volume Limited Headphones. 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.

Unfortunate Events Series, Books 1-3, Hardcover. There are 13 books in this series, which is quite an investment. So start with these 3 and if your kids love them, you’ll know exactly what to get when the next gift is in order.

Darth Vader Backpack. What a cool backpack! This is from J.Crew, and I know they have a bunch of sales happening for the holidays, so watch for a discount code on this one.

Minnetonka Leather Slippers. Yes, I want a pair for me too.

Light Up Hat. For camping. Or night walks. Or just for fun.

Rainbow Maker. It basically makes magic.

Cotton Jump Rope. 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.)

Lego Chain Reactions. If you’re swimming in Legos, add this to the mix to make the most of what you already have.

300 Piece Insects Puzzle. We love putting together a big puzzle on Christmas afternoon as the day gets quiet. This ones is neat looking.

Harmonica. Another great stocking stuffer. There are high quality, expensive harmonicas out there. This one is more of a beginner version. 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 later.

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


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!

P.S. — 25 more Terric Tween gift ideas.