Choosing the right toy for a kid seems like an eternal struggle for person.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your child, a friend or family members, or a random child in your kid’s grade school class.
Finding the right gift can often leave us feeling confused and frustrated.
With little kids you can get away with more generic ideas. Nearly any toy will do when they are young enough.
As children get older, their tastes get more specialized. Older kids have clothing brand preferences, video games they love, sports they play, and activities that they want accessories for.
There are a lot of fun gift ideas out there to pick out the perfect present for an older child. Older (to me) is typically anything above the age of 13.
Great Options for Gifts for Older Kids
How simple would it be if an action figure or hot wheels were on the list for a teen? I wish!
It can be a lot of fun buying a gift at this age. Sometimes they even want to come with you to pick out the right one.
It’s like you’re getting a gift too because time and attention with a teenager is precious and rare.
I’m not above using a gift as a bribe to get some quality time.
1) Room Decorations
The teens years are the ones where they find their personal brand. Let that translate into their bedroom space as well.
Paint, wall decorations, twinkle lights, blankets, etc… can all be easily used to express that individuality.
This can also be a fun way for them to share their interests with you and let you in on something special to them. It will make for a great bonding moment.
When I was a teenager I absolutely LOVED stationary sets!
I can’t even describe how much fun it was to go to the store and sort through the options to find that one that was just perfect.
Writing letters is a bit of a lost art. If you can find a set that your teen will love then this is a great way to bring back some nostalgia for you and spark in them a newfound activity.
A hand written letter takes thought and time to do. I know every time I receive a letter or post card in the mail I feel extra special.
This vintage styled brings back old memories of the letters I used to get from my nana!
3) Apple Watch
I love the idea of a smartwatch for a teenager. This way I can get a hold of them at any time.
I also have a bit of a paranoid side and I like that if I wanted to I could check on their location to see if they are where they says they will be.
Also, I hear in the news about kidnappings and trafficking and my mom fears gear up at that thought.
My son likes to listen to motivational speeches while he works out or rides his bike. It calms him down.
I like that he can wear his Apple Watch and not need to have his cellphone on him to do so.
Here is a version for a smaller child. This one is perfect for a 6-12 year old that doesn’t quit need a phone yet with all the bells and whistles but still needs a way to get a hold of you in emergencies.
4) Sports Gear
Kids of all ages play sports but it can get really specific as they age or increase their abilities.
When the kids were young they didn’t care what brand they wore and they didn’t really need any top quality items because recreation leagues maybe have 2 hours tops of play time a week.
As your kids get older they can spend hours upon hours of practice and playtime each week and they need good solid gear.
Older teens also often have preferred sports teams. They may want a specific jersey with the number of their favorite player or a piece of memorabilia.
Combining this with experience gifts, like tickets to game, will make for a truly surprising gift that they will remember for a lifetime.
5) Fun Party Games
Board games and party games make for a fun family game night, but they can also be for a friend game night.
This would be a great gift for an older kid that is out of the house and on their own for the first time. Having some fun games on hand for get-togethers is one of the best ways to present a real world gift that they will most likely keep and use for the rest of their life.
A new game is fun to learn and play. I’ve never been to a game night that I didn’t enjoy.
6) DoorDash Credits
DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, etc…. Gift cards for food delivery services make easy yet
These make for unique gifts because teens are notorious for eating a lot and having cravings.
And how great is it when you don’t have to cook dinner?!
7) Gift Card
Money is always going to be an easy popular choice for a present.
Cash can be a great gift as well, but having a card that they can swipe and not having to deal with loose change is simple and clean.
And who knows what they will buy with it. It may be something fun like musical instruments or instant cameras or they could use it for something practical like gas for their car.
Last year I hung gift cards in the tree so they saw them hanging there on Christmas morning. They were almost as excited for those as they were for their packages under the tree.
This one is especially great for any older teen that is really into beauty treatments or makeup. This is one of the good non-toy gifts that will get a lot of usage for a long time.
A nice makeup palette with bright colors is fun to play with and inspires creativity.
A place to put on that makeup is not exactly necessary… but it is fun and a nice luxury to have.
9) Bluetooth headphones
There are a bunch of headphone options out there today. They are not all made equally.
There are few things more frustrating than being out while listening to your music or a podcast and the headphones either keep losing connection or lose battery life really fast.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 I saw so many kids out skateboarding. It was an amazing thing to witness.
We went to parks and greenways and even on the sidewalks in town and saw the different types of skateboards and how much fun teens were having riding them around.
This holiday season try out this top pick as a gift for your older kid.
A phone charging station will get lots of use daily. It’s nice to have one spot where you can store and charge your devices and always know where they are.
If you have an older child that needs a bit of help with keeping their stuff together this will help them stay organized.
12) Nice Sunglasses
A good pair of sunglasses can be very expensive. Having something that is valuable can be a great lesson in responsibility.
I remember being a kid that had second hand everything, and one time I got a really nice gold necklace for Christmas.
I cherished it because it was something that was valuable. I still have that necklace 30 years later.
13) Phone Case
A nice phone case is not only a great gift… It’s like insurance for an investment. Phones are EXPENSIVE!
A case and a screen protector are well worth the cost. That first drop when the phone slips out of their hands can be devastating if there’s no protective case on the cell phone.
And there are so many different colors and patterns to choose from.
This Otterbox case is AMAZING. I can’t swear by it enough.
A few years ago I left my cell phone on top of my car and drove down the highway.
I didn’t notice until I heard the thumping as it rolled back over the roof…down the trunk… then landed on the highway after rolling for a bit! (I was going 55 so it rolled for a good amount end over end)
I happened to be near a turnaround so I pulled over and ran back to it. I watched it get run over by 3 cars before I reached it.
I thought for sure the phone was a goner. But this case saved it!
There was a teeny crack along the top right edge and the case was cracked a bit, but other than that the phone was fine.
They now have my lifelong loyalty. I’ve bought it as a gift for people ever since.
14) Polaroid Camera
These cameras are a classic that are always fun gifts to give. I’ve seen these lately at my son’s football games. The teens in the stands are making memories and using something non-digital for a change.
The next best thing to giving a present is giving the money to buy their own.
I have a complete list of creative ways to gift cash for any occasion. Come check it out here.
16) Cell Phone
Along with a nice case, why not get them a cell phone as well. Older kids go crazy over mobile phones.
There is always a deal going on for nearly any phone on the market. I got my son one for free with a Buy-One-Get-One deal through our carrier.
That’s the exact price I wanted to pay for it….nothing. Even years later, he says it was one of the best presents he’s ever gotten.
This is a no joke major gift!
I can’t imagine any teen or early twenty child that would be disappointed at getting a car as a gift for either Christmas or their birthday.
It’s debatable whether this is a toy gift or not. I trend toward not because of how functional it is, but it for sure is fun like a toy!
Do You Have Any Suggestions?
Can you think of more ideas for gifts for older kids? I’d love to get your feedback on this and add to this list.
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