If you thought shopping for the teen girl in your life was difficult, try to find the perfect gift for a tween girl. Tweens girls, who are between the ages of 9 and 12, are exceptionally tough to please because their tastes can oscillate between the realms of childhood and proper teenage-hood. To make things easier, we asked 12 tweens about what’s at the top of their must-have lists. Read on for the VSCO essentials, clothing, art supplies, and other gifts that they say are sure to impress the tween in your life.
Jewelry and accessory gifts for tween girls
Shell jewelry, a VSCO girl essential, is also super popular right now, says 9-year-old singer Nia Gisselle. This simple gold chain with a dangling cowrie shell feels stylish enough to go from the beach to homeroom.
Ariella Maizner, the 10-year-old designer and founder of lifestyle brand Theme, loves State backpacks because “when you buy a State bag, they give bags to kids that need them, too.” She also likes that they can be customized with tie-dye or patches. “Anything that is one of a kind and does good is my style.”
Actress and model Hendley Williams loves Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer, which would serve as a perfect stocking stuffer. “I love going and getting different smells. They are easy to put in your bag, and I actually have one attached in a cute case on my backpack,” she says. This five-pack has a range of scents, including sweet pea and cucumber melon, and when it comes to cases, it doesn’t get cuter than this little puff.
Four of the tweens we spoke to said that a HydroFlask — the perennial VSCO girl accessory — is at the top of their wish lists. According to Maizner, the Hydroflask is the “water bottle all of my friends want or carry right now. So it’s definitely the perfect gift for a tween.” Plus, they’re durable, keep water ice-cold for long periods, and are good for the environment, she adds.
The tweens we talked to also stress that part of the fun of owning a Hyrdroflask is personalizing it with stickers. “Tweens like to customize them with cool stickers,” explains model Alex M. Williams adds that stickers can also be stuck on school binders, laptops, and phone cases. “Some of my favorite stickers are plants, places I’ve visited, my favorite stores, and there are stickers for your favorites memes, too,” Williams says, which is why she likes this variety pack that features lots of different designs.
“I am really into scrunchies and headbands, bandanas, and barrettes,” says Maizner, who adds that hair accessories are super popular amongst her friends, too. While she personally loves Theme’s Tie Dye Bandanas, she also tends to buy hair accessories that have floral or paisley prints, like this LoveShackFancy x Lele Sadoughi knotted headband.
Beauty gifts for tween gifts
While Maizner says she hasn’t really started wearing makeup yet, “at sleep-away camp and sleepovers, my friends and I always do face masks.” She uses Glossier’s Moisturizing Moon Mask because it’s “good for sensitive skin and, most importantly, cruelty-free.” Glossier also includes a sheet of stickers free with every purchase which, as we’ve already established, are a crowd-pleaser.
When it comes to fragrance, Parys is a fan of Victoria’s Secret Pink body mist. “The colors and packaging are so cool; the smells are really good and light, not heavy and strong. When my mom first brought it, I had to bag it for myself,” she says.
“Lush bath bombs are also on my wish list this year. They are super fun to use and they smell amazing,” says 12-year-old Ella M. In addition to its regular line, Lush also makes limited-edition bath bombs that are an excellent buy for the holidays, like this one, from its Christmas line, that has gold glitter stars. “I love these products because there are so many different varieties in lots of colors and scents to try,” Ella says.
Another starter beauty product is lip gloss, which 12-year-old model and actress Jada B. told us she’s hoping to get this year. Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says Fenty’s gloss is “very nourishing” and gave “the perfect finishing touch for a glowy, sun-kissed look.”
Tech gifts for tween girls
Jada is also hoping for a new phone this year — specifically the iPhone 11, because it’s new and improved camera makes it even better for taking photos.
As an accessory to a new iPhone, two of our tweens mentioned wanting Airpods. “There is nothing worse than digging through your bag for your headphones to find them in a tangled up wadded mess,” says Ajjan, who adds that while she loves her Beats, sometimes her “curls can pay the price.” Which is why “Airpods are the perfect answer.”
Twelve-year-old musician Dallas Knight prefers a more old-school approach to listening to music. “I am very into music and, as a singer and guitarist, love listening to classic rock and pop songs.” While she specifically wants a vintage record player, those may be harder to source in one piece. We think this cream-colored Crosley player with rose-gold accents has that vintage-y look she’s after, while still being compatible with more modern technologies, like Bluetooth.
“Vinyl records to go along with the record player are also gifts that I would love,” says Knight. Several tweens we spoke to specifically mentioned they were hoping for Billie Eilish tickets this year, so a record of her newest album (or any other piece of Eilish merch, like a T-shirt) is a no-brainer. “I love Billie Eilish. She is such an inspiration as a songwriter and champion of breaking the mold of what it means to be a girl,” says Ajjan.
Jada also has a Nintendo Switch on her list, which she plays with her friends. The Switch can be played on both a television set, as well as on-the-go, making it a versatile choice for busy tweens.
Clothing gifts for tween girls
Like with record players, “tweens are starting to get into vintage music and bands,” according to Alex M. While buying clothing can be difficult, a tee sporting the logo of a classic rock and roll band — like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, or The Clash — is a sure bet.
Both Ajjan and Alex M. want a pair of classic Dr. Martens leather combat boots. These shoes not only fulfill the tweens’ love of all things ’90s, but they are durable and comfortable enough to last for years.
When it comes to sneakers, Vans reign supreme. Gisselle is one big fan of the brand, and says both the slip-on skate shoe and the original sneaker are popular styles.
Toys and creative gifts for tween girls
If your tween is still into toys, twins Leah and Ava Clements, who have over one-million Instagram followers, suggest American Girl. “We absolutely love American Girl and were so excited when we saw that they now offer a customizable gift box!” Each trunk comes with a doll, two hand-selected play packs, and an illustrated story, chosen after completing a short quiz. The box also includes other extras, including a heartfelt letter (personalized by the gift-giver), a doll ear-piercing option, and a decorative trunk to store it all. “It’s basically the best gift ever,” they say.
“We’ve recently gotten into skateboarding and enjoy playing outdoors with our friends, so we really love this new mini e-board,” the Clements twins say. The smart-sensors system allows a kick-to-cruise experience with no remote needed, and detects weight and motion, “automatically stopping the board in seconds when you dismount,” they told us. “This is definitely on the top of our wishlist this season.”
If you’re looking for a more traditional skateboard, Blue loves Baker Skateboards. The deck can also be hung on your tween’s bedroom wall if she’s not ready to ride. “A skateboard is the perfect gift for girls! I got one when I was super little, but it’s never too late to start,” says 11-year-old Sky Brown, who has her own collaboration with Almost Skateboards.
For a two-wheeled option, Alex M. suggests a “classic teal blue cruiser with a basket and brown seat,” which goes along with the vintage aesthetic that many of our tweens appreciate.
Things to nurture creativity would also make a great gift, according Jada B., who told us she always wants “lots and lots of art supplies” to draw and paint with, including Copic Markers, a sketchpad, and paintbrushes.
Décor gifts for tween girls
Another popular piece of décor among tweens, according to Knight, are “novelty or LED lights” that can be hung in a bedroom, like this crescent-moon light sculpture from Urban Outfitters. Novelty lights like this are also popular décor among teen girls as well as college students, so investing in a good one or set could mean your tween will use it for years.