Gifts for Preteens

A preteen sits on a couch with a wrapped present in her lap.

Got Preteens? Here Are Some Gift Ideas You Can Feel Good About Giving.

The holidays are here and whether the preteens in your life have been naughty or nice, you’re probably going to buy them a few gifts. Sure you can get them whatever big budget electronic gift that is on their list, but we all know what happens when you do that: They disappear into their screen-world for hours at a time, and you get to listen to them complain about needing the updated version next year anyway. 

Because the pre-teenage years are important ones for formation, think about what you want their upcoming year to look like. Think outside the screen and looks for gifts that encourage your preteen to have a year full of active play, social interaction and creative development. How can you do that without giving totally boring gifts that will cause their eyes to roll right out of their heads? Here’s a list of gifts for preteens that they’ll feel excited to get and you feel good about giving.

A boy kicking a soccer ball.

GIFTS OF GOOD FITNESS

Healthy habits should be a priority, even for the under thirteen crowd. Experts recommend that kids and preteens get at least 60 minutes of of physical activity every day, but many don’t. The right gift can be the motivation they need to get them off of the couch, away from their screens and active. Here are some examples of fun fitness finds:

  • New exercise gear such as sneakers, a cool sweatsuit or yoga outfit.
  • A certificate for a fun activity like rock climbing, ice skating, or hip-hop dance.
  • Sports equipment including a new basketball, tennis racket, or football.
  • A cool water bottle in a fun color or design that they can carry with them.
  • Active glow-in-the-dark games like Glow Battle from Starlux Games.
A young boy with headphones closes his eyes to listen to music and is surrounded by yellowing leaves on trees.

GIFTS THAT ROCK ON

There are so many cool ways to keep the music playing in your preteen’s life. Music is a great way to keep them moving and improve their moods. In fact, studies show that listening to music can help preteens cope with their emotions. In addition, listening to music while working out makes exercise feel easier and improves athletic performance. Here are some fun gifts to help them never miss a beat:


Three teens play Wizards & Werewolves on a hill.

GIFTS THAT GET SOCIAL

Research shows that social connection and interaction in the preteen years is important for mental and physical well-being. Search for gifts and games that allow them to connect with their friends and family members in fun ways. Games and activities that involve absurdity and laughter are always a big holiday hit on the preteen gift list.

  • Board games that involve being a little goofy or stepping out of their comfort zone like 
  • Multiple-player sports equipment like a ping pong table, volleyball net or basketball hoop. 
  • A gift card to a social activity with their friends such as bowling, paint ball, or miniature golf.

A fantasy-filled LARP game like Werewolves and Wizards

A preteen uses chalk to draw on the sidewalk.

GIFTS THAT GET CREATIVE

Encourage your teen to embrace their inner creative side with some art-inspired gifts. They don’t have to be a Picasso or Rachael Ray to have some fun using the innovative part of their brain. Plus, the American Art Therapy Association reports that 45 minutes of creative activity can help reduce stress no matter what your artistic ability. Try these gifts to bring a little art to the table.

  • Coloring books or doodle pads for preteens/teens with fine-tip markers.
  • Advanced art and crafts kits or science lab kits made for preteens.
  • A series of lessons with a cooking expert, singing coach or painting instructor.
  • An unusual musical instrument such as a ukulele or a harmonica.
  • A polaroid camera for the little hipster in your life.
Two preteens ride mountain bikes on a grassy hill.

GIFTS THAT OPEN DOORS

The best way for preteens to unplug is to spend some time outside where they can restore their mental energy and regulate their mood. Spending time outside reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Check out these gifts for preteens that encourage them to put down their screens and step out into the fresh air.

  • Camping gear like a tent, sleeping bag, hiking boots or fishing rod.
  • Tools for exploring the great outdoors like a telescope, compass, or metal detector.
  • Outdoor toys for preteens as big as a trampoline or as small as a cool kite or frisbee.
  • Gifts to get moving outside like a mountain bike, scooter, skateboard, or snowboard.
  • An updated neighborhood classic like Capture the Flag REDUX.
A group of kids pose after playing Capture the Flag REDUX.

GIFTS THAT ARE JUST PLAIN FUN

The preteen years can be confusing ones…and not just for the preteens. If you have a preteen in your life, you may feel like you’re on a roller coaster. They like one thing one day but can’t stand it the next. If you’ve exhausted all your gift ideas and still don’t know what they like or what to get them, go for a crazy, fun gift that just might bring a rare smile to your preteen’s face. 

  • Adorable socks with llamas, tacos or snowmen on them.
  • A snuggly burrito blanket, or a blanket with a giant picture of their own face on it.
  • A cool hooded sweatshirt with their favorite sports team, movie character or rock band.
  • Something that lights up their room like string lights, glow-in-the-dark stars or a message light box.
  • A trip somewhere they’ve always wanted to go with an accessory like a travel pillow or trip journal. 

The possibilities are endless. Whatever your gifts to your preteens end up being, we hope your holiday is filled with quality time with your friends and family. 

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Capture the Flag REDUX

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Glow Battle

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Wizards & Werewolves

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