The coolest birthday gifts for tweens ages 9-12

The best gifts for tweens 9-12, like this Friendship Bracelet Kit from Natural Life

We know it’s tough finding the best gifts for tweens, but we appreciate the challenge of shopping for kids with ever-changing interests, so we’ve put together our list of cool gifts for tweens, whatever their interests, and whatever your budget.

If you know their passions, tweens be thrilled you took the time to find the very perfect gift that isn’t too young for them. If you’ve ever seen a 10-year-old opening a cutesie baby doll (and trying to feign gratitude) you get it! The cool tween gifts here are all approved by our own pre-teen kids and supported by their wish lists. And hey if you need more ideas for a 12-year-old, take a look at our list of cool gifts for teens too.

Before long, your pre-teens will be teens who only want money and gift cards (ha). So enjoy these years by surprising them with the kinds of cool gifts for tweens that they’d never imagine you’re cool enough to buy — but certainly hope you are.

Above: Natural Life Friendship bracelet making kit 

Be sure to see our full list of the coolest birthday gifts for kids by age

Best gifts for tweens 9-12: Cool Mom Picks ultimate kids' gift guide

The best gifts for tweens 9-12

Some purchases may help support our work at no additional cost to you.
All picks have been independently selected by our editorial team

Fairy lights for a bedroom: Best tween birthday gifts

Remote Control Fairy Lights

($13.99, Amazon)
I mean, is it even a tween bedroom without them?
Photo Max Felner on Unsplash

Converse x Dungeons & Dragons Chuck Taylor All-Stars: Coolest gifts for tweens
Converse x Dungeons and Dragons Chuck Taylor All-Stars

($60+, Converse)

This collection is incredible — and wait until you see some of the detailing!

XBox Design Lab Custom Controllers inspired by Mario and Spider Gwen: Cool gifts for tweens

Xbox Design Lab custom controller

($69.99 for the base, plus optional add-ons at Microsoft)
Design a controller that fits their style perfectly — browse the community gallery to see designs inspired by superheroes, team colors, or their favorite gaming character– above, Spider Gwen and Mario. With over a billion possible color combinations, it’s a super cool gift for tweens. (Or give them a gift card so they can design their own.)

Sugarwish Treat Boxes: Best gifts for teens because they get to pick their own!

Sugarwish Personalized Treat Box

($25-79, Sugarwish)
They get a text or email telling them to pick 2-12 treats of their choice–cookies, candy, snacks, popcorn —then they get a second gift when it arrives! One of our favorite gifts for tweens and teens.

Best gifts for tweens: A bike helmet upgrade made just for their head size. The Schwinn Thrasher Youth is tops

A serious bike helmet upgrade

($29.99 and up, Amazon)
The Schwinn Thrasher is the best bike helmet for kids according to our resident bike expert family, and this youth helmet is the right size for older kids up to 13. Lots of colors and styles — just be sure to select youth, and not kids or adults. If in doubt, go by head circumference.

Little Guide to Taylor Swift + Taylor Pencils: Best gifts for tweens

The Little Guide to Taylor Swift and Pencil Set

($8.95, $8, Francesca’s)
The best gift for tweens in 2024 who can’t get enough of Taylor. And there’s a lot of them.

Related: The best Taylor Swift gifts for your special Swiftie

Glossier Balm lip balm is a great gift for teens under $15

Glossier Balm Dot Com

With its moisturizing gloss and just-a-kiss of tint, this yummy-smelling vegan balm is tops with teens and tweens. (And parents who aren’t yet ready for our kids to be in full makeup.)
($15, Glossier)

LEGO Ford Mustang builders kit: Best gifts for tweens 9-12

LEGO Speed Champions Ford Mustang Kit

($26, Amazon)
For kids into cars, this 344-piece kit for kids over 9 is fun to build and the result is so detailed. Fans give this one super high marks for clear, easy instructions — always a plus!

Raddish Baking Club subscription box for tweens: Fantastic birthday gift

Monthly Baking Subscription Box

($23.95/mo and up, Raddish Kids)
Whether they want to be a Top Chef or just like eating cake, this is a great cooking subscription gift for tweens who are ready to preheat the oven without adult supervision. (Or of course, they can do it with an adult. That’s fun too.) The boxes are packed with lots of goodies beyond seasonal recipes.


Crazy Aaron's Prediction Putty | Cool tween birthday gift
Crazy Aarons Amazing Prediction Putty

($14.95 at Amazon)
A tin filled with squishy fun that never dries out and will answer all their crazy questions? Yes, please. Think of it as a Magic Eight Ball made of goo — and a fantastic tween gift under $15.

Hearthsong tent with lights | The coolest gifts for tweens and big kids

A-Frame Tent with Lights

($189 at Hearthsong)
A perfect spot to get some alone time or to hang out with friends, this weather-resistant tent can go indoors or out. The lights add some ambiance so they can hang outside even after the sun goes down.

Natural LIfe's beaded bracelet making kit is one of the best gifts for a Taylor Swift fan or any tween

“Spread Love” Beaded Bracelet Making Kit

($9, Natural Life)
This one comes right off our recent list of our favorite gifts for Taylor Swift fan,  but Swifie or not, all tweens love friendship bracelets.

Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer 2 | The coolest birthday gifts for tweens
Instax Mini Link 2 photo printer

($89.99 at Target)
If an older tween has already been gifted (or handed down) their very own smartphone, they’ll love this amazing palm-sized photo printer. So easy to add graphics and effects to their photos before they print them too.

rechargeable nightstand bulb light from MoMA Store: Best gifts for tweens

Rechargeable Bulb Light

($40, or $36 for members, MoMA Store)
With a pink heart, rainbow, or yellow smiley face, it’s the cutest bedside light for a tween. No base required.

Britannica's new Encyclopedia Infographica is an incredible gift for knowledge-hungry tweens

Britannica Encyclopedia Infographica: 1000s of Facts & Figures

($18 and up, Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
A set of middle-grade graphic novels, or any books make perfect gifts for tweens, but fact-hungry kids will love
absorbing loads of new facts about space, Earth, animals, humans, and technology, all in infographic form.

Fidget toy subscription box for tweens: Best birthday gifts for kids 9-12

Fidget Toy Subscription Box

($24.99/box and up, Cratejoy)
Each month your fidgety kid (don’t worry, they all are at this age) get a super fun box of sensory toys perfect for tweens and even young teens. You can choose a “boy” or “girl” box, but honestly, we’d go for “unisex” just to be sure you get all the best ones.

Create your own comic book kit from Lulu Jr | The coolest birthday gifts for tweens
Comic book making kit

($29.95 at Amazon)
For years, our readers have gone wild for this cool tween gift, so we keep including it in our gift guides every year. Who are we to argue! Kids create their own, send it to the company, and Lulu Jr. will print and deliver an actual published comic book.

The new Star Wars Villainous Game is one of the coolest tween gifts in 2022

Star Wars Villainous Card Game

($20-29 at Amazon or Target)
Everyone gets to be part of the dark side in this Star Wars version of the classic strategy game for kids ages 10 and up. After all, we know that the villains always have more fun, right? For serious Disney fans, try the Disney 100 edition of Villainous: Intro to Evil. It’s good (evil) fun.

50+ gifts under $15 for kids: initial hair clips on sale at Bauble Bar

Initial hair clips

($8 on sale, Bauble Bar)
At this price, we’d grab them for lots of tweens on our list!


Stranger Things Hawkins High mini backpack from Jansport | The coolest birthday gifts for tweens
Official Stranger Things Hawkins High Mini Backpack

($39 at Amazon)
So many cool details will thrill your Stranger Things fan, making this a fabulously cool gift for tweens:

Specialized's adjustable Jett bike | The coolest tween birthday gifts
A bike that will keep up with their growth spurts

($550 for 24″ Jett bike, with other sizes available, at Specialized)
Specialized’s Jett bicycles “grow” right along with your kids thanks to an extra-long seat post, and adjustable pedals and handlebars. Top-of-the-line construction doesn’t come cheap,  but they’ll keep riding right into their teen years and it comes highly recommended by our resident biking family. (Plus, wait until you see the cost of car insurance for them in a few short years — this is a bargain! Laugh/cry.)

Throw Throw Burrito game | Cool birthday gifts for tweens

Throw Throw Burrito

($16.99 on sale at Amazon)
Family game night gets a whole lot more exciting when you add this dodgeball x burritos game to your rotation. It’s a hilarious and ridiculous game by the masterminds behind Exploding Kittens, and our tweens love it.

Best gift for Tweens: Super Mario Bros Wonder or a new game for their Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Bros Wonder (or any new Nintendo Switch Game)

($51 at Amazon for this one)
Can their games use some refreshing? This one is a 2023 nominee for Game of the Year, and our tweens agree.

Nintendo Switch: still one of the best gifts for tweens
Nintendo Switch

($295 at Amazon, or $347 for the OLED Model Switch)
Of course, if you’re looking for THE It-Gift for tweens, it’s still a Nintendo Switch if they don’t yet have one. Compare prices at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, which tend to have the best deals.
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Go-kart riding | The Coolest Birthday gifts for tweens
A day of go-kart racing (or laser tag or skating or bowling)

(price varies)
We love experience gifts of all kinds, and gifting an outing to the closest go-kart facility, like K1, shown here, will be a big hit with tweens exctied to get their licenses one day. K1 has 60 locations across 21 states so look for one near you.

Best gifts for tweens: Wishing bracelet from Natural Life

Wishing Bracelet

($5, Natural Life)
How could they resist?

Full-size portable basketball hoop | Best gifts for tweens

Full-Size Portable Basketball Hoop

($149 on sale, Walmart)
Move over Nerf…you have a place in our hearts, but it’s time to move to the big hoop now.


Coolest gifts for tweens: Brain Games Criminal Mind Puzzles book from PBS

Brain Games Criminal Minds Puzzle Book

($16.95, PBS Store)
Our kids were obsessed with the show Brain Games (and later, with the show Criminal Minds), making this a super cool gift for your tween sleuth.

Climb Like Amanda journal kit | Cool tween birthday giftsClimb Like Amanda journaling kit

($29.99, KidsCrafts LLC on Etsy)
Whether they want to jot down their poems, write stories, or compile lists of their favorite things, they’ll find a lot of inspiration in this journaling kit which includes the words of poet and activist Amanda Gorman.

Best Chess Set Ever: Tournament ready and perfect gift for tweens and teens
Tournament Chess Set

($62.99 at Amazon)
Is it too corny to call this “The Tween’s Gambit?” Great for beginners and experts alike.

Rainbow cake from the Cake Boss bakery | coolest birthday gifts for tweens

Their own rainbow cake

($74.95, Goldbelly)
If you can’t be with your favorite tween on their big day or you just want to surprise them with the coolest cake of all, Goldbelly ships an actual “Cake Boss” rainbow cake from Hoboken’s Carlo’s Bakery. Whoa. Talk about a cool gift for tweens that they won’t stop talking about!

Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses | Coolest tween birthday gifts

Ray-Ban Jr. Wayfarers

($77 at Nordstrom)

Here’s a savvy shopping tip: You can get original Ray-Ban glasses 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 for a very special gift for a tween who’s responsible enough not to lose them.

Best gift card for tweens | cool mom picks birthday gift guide

A Gift Card They’ll Love

For a tween without a lot of disposable income, this is the gift of freedom, possibilities, and a glimpse of big-kid responsibility, all in in one little piece of plastic. (Or you know, a QR code on their phone.) We love that Etsy gift cards are now available for, or give a gift card related to your tween’s interests —  tech, camping, gaming, music, shopping at Five Below, reading, sports, vanilla bean Frappuccinos — spend a few bucks, and let them go to town. Literally.


The best gifts for kids by age 2024

The coolest first birthday gifts
The coolest birthday gifts for 2-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 3-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 4-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 5-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 6-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 7-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for 8-year-olds
The coolest birthday gifts for tweens and big kids 9-12
The coolest birthday gifts for teens