Sunday, December 8, 2013

10 Gift Ideas For Tween And Early Teenage Boys

On some of the parenting forums check, I'm seeing the same question asked over and over again: what do I get my 12 (or 13 to 15) year old son? Often, the question is asked with exasperation and as the mother of a 13-year old, I fully understand. Those idyllic days of getting Junior a Lego set or the latest Hot Wheels tracks, sadly, are long over. And since personal hygiene is still primarily on the back burner, at least until girls formally enter the picture, gifts of clothes and toiletries are still in the future. So what can you get for a boy in that age range that won't cause you to take out a second mortgage? Here are some suggestions:

1.  Video games or money toward the purchase of a new system. The hottest gaming systems this season are Xbox Ones and PS4s. Yeah, we're a one-income family and Junior already knows those won't be under the tree. A Game Stop gift card will help him save up to purchase a new system on his own, plus if he brings them his old games, gaming systems, and accessories, he can get in-store credit or cash. 
2.  Accessories for current devices. Junior received an iPad Mini for his birthday but doesn't have a case for it. With a bouncy little sister and rambunctious feline in the house, a case will help protect his precious Mini from careless oopsies. In the past, he's gotten a mouse for his laptop and, from Five Below, a nifty little vacuum which attaches to his USB port to suck up the many cookie crumbs that seem to inhabit his keyboard. I'm also a fan of earphones which have been proven to be safer to one's hearing than ear buds. 

3.  Itunes Gift Cards. Both my son and my nephew (age 16) are mega music fans. An iTune gift card can be mailed to my nephew and should sooth my son's musical soul. My local Sears has a limited-time offer where if I buy a $25 iTunes card, I'll get a $5 gift card back. Sweet!  

4.  Bop It. Want to get the kid off video? Bop It is a great game of repetition in which the device calls out commands that come faster and faster as the game goes on. The better you get, the more skill levels you unlock. Play alone or pass it to your friends. We'd brought this to a distant friend's house a few years back and accidentally left it there. Time to get one back in the house for some family fun! 

5.  Solar Phone Charger. I mentioned this before when I wrote about surviving Hurricane Sandy. This handy-dandy little unit that I purchased at Target for about $20 charges any time it's exposed to light. For a kid, it could hang on their key chain or from their backpack to absorb light. When they need it, there's a little wire they could keep in their backpack which connects the unit to the phone. My Smartphone gets about 25 minutes of power from this little sucker a and for the kid who always forgets to charge his phone, it could be a lifesaver. It can also be charged via USB port or from a wall charger (those accessories are sold separately).

6. Dunkin' Donuts Gift Card. Now that DD has hot chocolate and Coolattas as well as coffee, it's a destination spot for some teens and their friends. Instead of him coming to you for money, give him his own refillable gift card.

7. Solar Backpack. Yep, back to the solar thing for the kid who can't seem to keep his phone charged. Solar backpacks charge electronic devices while the backpack is in direct sunlight (like at the bus stop or while walking to school). That way, the teen can use his electronics while he is out without worrying about having to be near an outlet to charge them. Be forewarned, however, that solar backpacks are not cheap. You can find out more about them at

8. Food. If your kid is like mine, he's inhaling food these days. A supply of protein bars (Zone Perfect is our family's brand) which I can tuck in his stocking is something he can keep in his locker for between-class snacks. They're healthy and filling. You can also bake him his favorite treat or give him a coupon for a home-cooked meal he can plan.

9. Movie Passes. Give him something he can share with a friend. Purchase movie passes at your local theater or online at or at your local movie theater.

10. Sports or Fitness Gear. Kids are very aware of the benefits of being fit. Give your special kid something related to a sport or exercise he enjoys. Free weights and other pieces of fitness equipment don't necessarily cost a lot and can help a boy enjoy the many benefits of physical exercise.

Keep in mind that when choosing a gift, it's about what the person wants, not what you want them to have. Set your expectations and desires aside. Think about what will be appreciated by the recipient. 

What are you getting your favorite tween or teen boy?  Please comment below!  And Happy Shopping!

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it! Come back for my next post in a day or so, won't you?

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