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Is there anyone harder to shop for than a teen? Yes, a tween! The tween years are a huge time for transition. They are no longer children, but they aren’t quite teenagers. They want to spread their wings, but they still rely on you for support. But there is one constant throughout this journey: All tweens are working on building a strong sense of self by exploring new interests and passions.
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So, what do you buy for a nine to 12-year-old that is in the midst of tweendom? We’ve got you covered. This gift guide is as diverse as all of the interests your tween has with everything from personalized gifts and outdoor gear to DIY kits and self-care favorites. Read on for more.
For the tween who loves having their own stuff: Personalized gifts
If snacking was an Olympic sport, tweens would win hands down in all categories. Whether they love sweets like ice cream and cookies, or salty snacks like popcorn and potato chips, these personalized snack bowls will keep them coming back for more.
Tweens and phones go together like peanut butter and jelly. It also might be their first big ticket item that requires responsibility. Protect your investment while allowing them to express themselves with these colorful personalized phone cases from Mark and Graham. With bold fonts, fun prints and creative color combos, these cases will win over picky tweens.
This personalized pencil case is a great home for all of your pre-teen’s colorful pens, markers, erasers and other classroom treasures. But it doesn’t just have to be for school supplies. Try it as a make-up bag, game card holder, sticker carrier and more.
Afraid of the dark? Never! But a sweet night light never hurts. These LED lights are made to order with your child’s name and rotate through 16 different colors and can be made from 50 different font choices.
Your tween will love packing up for a day at the beach or the pool with these vibrant, striped, 100 percent pure cotton terry towels. They come in four different colors and are generously oversized for maximum comfort.
These socks are guaranteed to make your tween smile. I mean, who wouldn’t want a pair of socks with their favorite face on them? The possibilities are endless. Just upload a picture of yourself, your friend, your mom, your dad or even your pet. Then choose from hundreds of different sock patterns and styles. In just a few days, you’ll be the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind pair of socks that are just begging to be shown off.
For the athletic tween: Outdoorsy and sporty gifts
If we can’t get enough of workout pants, then neither can our tweens. These high rise capri style pants are perfect for school, play or sports and come in eight vibrant colors. Your tween will love the pockets that are perfect for stashing keys, phone, lip balm or anything else they need while on the go.
Keep your tween hydrated with this 24 oz. Hydroflask. It keeps cold drinks icy cold and hot drinks piping hot for hours. Make this gift even more tween friendly with a stack of vinyl water bottle stickers for an extra $10
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the fun. This LED lit frisbee will keep the games going well into the evening, thanks to 20 hours of battery life. It comes in six different bold colors.
Tweens can nap just about anywhere. Support their lounging abilities with a portable hammock and help them make anytime naptime. It’s great for the backyard, camping, picnicking or anywhere the mood for relaxation might strike them.
Walkie talkies are fun at any age, but these are the real deal. Keep lines of communication open between friends on the go with a 20-mile range. These are great for amusement parks, hiking or even shopping.
Don’t let water get in the way of your tween’s creativity. With this waterproof digital camera, they’ll be able to snap the perfect shots below and above water without the fear of ruining their camera. The compact design fits perfectly into a pocket and uses a micro SD card for maximum storage.
For the crafty tween: DIY gifts
Tie-dying is all the rage, and this kit has it all. With 26 colors to choose from, plus table covers and aprons, your tween will be creating one of a kind wearable art in no time. You supply the t-shirts, tank tops, socks or whatever base your tween wants to design. The sky is the limit.
Chances are you made a friendship bracelet or two in your time. Now share the nostalgia with your tween with this friendship bracelet making kit. The easy-to-create three step process makes knotting, decorating and braiding a snap.
If you have an aspiring guitar player in your midst, encourage them to perfect their craft with this DIY guitar punch. Get creative with your choice of materials like old credit cards, gift cards, hotel room key cards, driver’s licenses or any thin piece of plastic laying around the house.
Let your tween express themselves by decorating their room with this DIY wall collage kit. It includes 154 cutouts, 66 letter cutouts, 769 stickers, 41 quote stickers, 10 markers, paint-safe double-sided sticky tape, six yards of string, 90 foam squares and instructions: Everything your tween needs to showcase their favorite friends, bands, movie stars and more.
Arts and crafts meets science with this make your own windchime kit. Build the windchimes then use the included paints to make each one as unique as your tween. It makes for a great group activity too.
For the tween who likes to stay on task: Organization gifts
Jump on the bullet journal bandwagon with this starter kit. It’s a great way to introduce journaling to your tween and make the process of organization fun and creative along the way. The kit comes with everything you need to start your bullet journal journey including pens, stickers, stencils, washi tape and more fun stuff.
Never lose another thing with the Apple Airtag. Attach it to your keys, backpack or any other thing that mysteriously disappears. Then download the app and always keep track of your valuables’ whereabouts.
It’s never too early to start using a wallet. Keep identification and money safe with this fashionable tri-fold wallet from Puma that comes in 11 trendy patterns and colors.
Too much stuff? Organize it all with this high-capacity storage pouch. It can hold up to 60 pens and opens from the top and side for easy access. The carry-all comes in dozens of bright colors in a cool corduroy, washable fabric.
Forget the square sticky notes of yesteryear and make taking notes more fun with these. Choose from bunny, kitty, pig, puppy, penguin or bear to make any task more enjoyable.
For the earth-loving tween: Eco-friendly gifts
Make a difference by cutting down on single use plastics. This pack of BPA free silicone straws come in their own carrying case with a cleaning brush. They are also extra-long, so they can be used with 20 and 30 oz tumblers.
Reduce your carbon footprint with a new set of bamboo utensils. Each set comes in a colorfully designed cloth bag that fastens with an elastic band and button combo. They are perfect for everyday use and are heat and stain resistant.
Plastic bags are out, and reusable totes are in. This six-pack of lightweight, animal themed reusable totes are washable and perfect for shopping, traveling and more. The extra-long handles make carrying easy and the small size makes it perfect for tucking away in backpacks and purses.
Turn art into life with these plantable colored pencils. Each pencil is 100 percent eco-friendly, nontoxic and biodegradable. When your pencil becomes too small to use, simply plant your pencil tip-down and the patented decomposable cellulose seed-capsules at the top of each one will release seeds for herbs, flowers or vegetables.
Switch up your tween’s routine with a brand new bar of shampoo. With each wash you’ll be saving the earth one plastic bottle at a time. The best part? The bars last a lot longer than the average bottle and the price is comparable to some of your favorite brands.
For the tween who needs a little extra TLC: Self-care gifts
Tweens are notorious for not getting enough sleep. But these funny animal sleep masks might give them enough incentive to catch some extra zzz’s. Soft and lightweight, these masks are perfect for home, travel or anywhere your tween might need some help nodding off.
There’s nothing better than a fresh face. Make your tween’s face washing routine a little more fun with this face mask sampler pack from TonyMoly. With names like “I’m Honey,” and “I’m Watermelon”, these masks are sure to brighten your skin and your mood.
Unfortunately, today’s tweens are no stranger to stress. With school responsibilities, social obligations and everything in between, these kids need a little something to help them calm down and regroup. The app offers guided mediations, daily affirmations, sleep stories and more for a truly calming experience.
Need to de-stress? Pick up the NeeDoh cool cat stress ball. Give it a squeeze and let that tension melt away. Each pack contains three neon-colored, non-toxic, durable squishable cats.
Too sleepy to get out of bed? Take the warmth with you by sporting this wearable blanket hoodie. Made with ultra-soft fleece, this wearable blanket is the perfect accessory for a rainy day indoors watching movies or anytime your tween is looking for added comfort.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.