The coolest birthday gifts for tweens and big kids
Before long, older kids will just ask for money and clothes, so enjoy these years by surprising tweens with the kinds of awesome birthday gifts they’d never think you’re cool enough to buy. If you know their interests, they’ll be thrilled you took the time to find the very perfect thing. And be sure not to buy anything too young! If you’ve ever seen a 10-year-old opening a cutesie baby doll (and trying to feign gratitude) you may know what we’re talking about.
Hope these ideas help! They come directly from our own older kids’ covet lists.
($119.99 at Parrot)
Our kids are officially obsessed with this awesome mini drone that’s easy to get flying right out of the box. Fly it indoors or use it to get the kids to play outside more; in fact if you’ve got two, they can host an aerial show or flight race for the neighborhood.
(Starts at $399 at New Matter Store)
A 3D printer is a seriously amazing gift to get kids thinking about how to put all their innate creativity and ingenuity to work. You never know if they’ll come up with a fun trinket or the next lifesaving medical device. And this particular one is a truly great value for an excellent printer.
($109 on sale at Roller Skate Nation)
Inline skate may have had their day but 4-wheelers are back with a vengeance, and kids are craving ones as cool as their non-wheeled kicks. Like these from Ridell, which come in multiple colors.
($26.95 at Brave New World Designs)
Everyone loves unicorns, and we love how this shirt from designer and blogger Christine Koh can be personalized. On top of that, 20% of all profits are donated directly to support The March of Dimes.
($70 at Ray Ban)
Here’s a savvy shopping tip: You can get original Ray Bans at a great price in junior sizes if you’re shopping for a not-so-huge kid (or even an adult) with a smaller face. Otherwise size up to the regular Wayfarers. Black with green classic lenses, of course. Timeless fashion.
($35 at Rebel Girls Co )
One of our favorite new books of the year, and probably one of our favorite books ever, this must-have volume is packed with 100 short, witty bios about amazing, achieving, rebel women you know — and plenty you’ll be excited to get to know. And wow, the illustrations. Whatever your age or gender, you can’t help but be inspired by this book in a million ways.
($16.95/mo and up at Kiwi Crate)
One lucky kid will end up with a new, fun activity packed into a box each month that lets her design her own canvas pouches, carve stamps, or decorate cards. Our own older kids have tried the Doodle Crate crafts with very satisfying results and let’s just say they recommend them highly.
($10.99 + $13.95 at Amazon)
We are still big fans of the adult coloring book trend, and artistic minded tweens will love a birthday gift of a book around their favorite theme — like this one, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s latest. Don’t forget to add a box of shiny new colored pencils.
($24.99 at Amazon )
One of our very favorite games to play with our kids, it’s like Cards Against Humanity only… a little more PG. Expect lots of booger and toilet humor, which will keep anyone about 8 and up laughing all night.
($59.99 and up at Amazon)
A camera that spits out an actual picture that develops before their very eyes? How novel! (Ha.) It’s the perfect birthday gift for tweens and teens living in an instant-gratification world, and so many cool colors to choose from. Just remember to include some extra film because digital kind of messes you up that way.
Tweens are at a terrific age to try more extreme activities and adventures. Take them outdoor rock climbing, find a zip lining venue, or go go-karting. Or check out Cloud 9 Living which offers tons of experience gifts, quite a few of which kids can participate in. Just looking at the NY area alone, we found trapeze lessons , whitewater rafting, and (hello!) private Ninja lessons. Whatever you choose, look for reputable businesses that have different levels for various ages and abilities as well as strong safety practices.
($44.99 and up at Target)
Kids like their music portable these days, and this sturdy little speaker offers booming sound in a small size they can take to sleepover parties or just move from room to room as they do chores. (As if.)
($149.99 at KANO)
This wonderful kit actually lets kids put together their own computer. Then, jump in with beginner programming. Really. As in, a working computer. While more techy families might consider building their own Raspberry Pi computer for less, this is a complete and easy-to-use kit that kids really rave about.
($99 on sale at Williams-Sonoma)
Future chefs will flip over this very grownup, and yet totally kid-friendly set of real knives from the masters at Wusthoff. The one catch: They have to promise to make dinner at least once a week.
($59.99 for download, Playstation store; $59.99 for disc at Target )
This highly anticipated new adventure game may be heavy on the action, but deep down it’s a sweet story about the relationship between a boy and the mythical Trico. It’s not educational, but it’s not Murder Zombies XII either.
Gift card to their favorite shop
While gift cards sometimes seem like a cop-out birthday gift, to a tween without a lot of disposable income, it’s like freedom, possibilities, and a glimpse of big-kid responsibility all wrapped up in one little piece of plastic. Figure out your tweens favorite interests whether it’s music, gaming, fashion, books, or Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos, and let them go to town. Literally.
(A lot of moneys)
When kids have outgrown the little kid parks, Universal Orlando is a simply amazing family theme park destination. If only for the Gringotts Ride in Diagon Alley. (The best!) If you’ve had a vacation like this on your wishlist, make it a once-in-a-lifetime birthday gift for a really special kid. We’ve even got tips on how to save money on family vacations like this one. Oh, and best tip ever? Stay on site at a Universal resort hotel like the Hard Rock Hotel or the Portofino Bay Resort, and you get to cut all the ride lines for free. That’s a gift for everyone.