gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Tween Boys, According to Tween Boys

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Tween boys (roughly ‘tween the ages of 8 and 13) straddle a real middle ground. While they’re interested in a lot of the same things as a 17-year-old or even some adults, many of them still enjoy playing with Legos and plush toys. And because kids in this age range mature at different rates, picking out a great gift for a tween boy that you don’t know very well can be a challenge. To get a good sense of the best electronics, video games, toys and books for tween boys we talked to ten of them about the gifts they are currently pining for. (We also consulted a few toy and game experts.) The gifts they recommend run the gamut from bluetooth speakers to electric scooters and Funko Pop collectibles.

Electronics

A whopping seven of the ten boys we talked to said they either wanted to get a Nintendo Switch or already own one. Joshua, an 11-year-old in 6th grade, called it “the coolest gift I could imagine getting.” Rajan, a 10-year-old who already has an Xbox, says the problem with the Xbox is that “you can only play it at your house.” He’s played the Switch at friends’ houses and likes that it’s portable. “You can play Nintendo Switch anywhere and you can get the same games as you can get on Xbox and maybe even more,” he says. Two of the boys who already own the console told us they would like to get more games and new controllers.

Apple AirPods
$119

Half of the boys we talked to said they want a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro, which cost about a hundred bucks more than the originals but seem to fit most ears better and have the added benefit of being noise canceling. Thirteen-year-old Grant wants AirPods because, “I like listening to music and I don’t have good headphones.” And Sasha, a 12-year-old says he wants them for listening to podcasts and Drake — and because they look cool. “I think they’re nicer than over-ears because they’re not as bulky so I can just put em in my pocket.”

George, a 10-year-old who loves playing Minecraft, is asking for a speed cube. It’s basically a Rubik’s Cube to the extreme according to his mother. Speed Cubes are designed to move more quickly and with more fluidity than traditional Rubik’s Cubes. This set comes highly rated on Amazon with over 300 five-star reviews and includes both 2x2 and 3x3 block cubes as well as a pyramid. Speed Cubes are great practice for kids who want to get better at solving a Rubik’s Cube and because they move so quickly they also function as fidget toys.

A different Joshua, who is 12 years old, says that he wants his own 3-D printer similar to the one he uses in his after school robotics program Rocket Club. He says he’d use it to print accessories for his action figures — or all of the other things he hasn’t thought up yet. “You never know what you can make out of your ideas, especially with Tinkercad (a free app that lets you 3-D print your own designs),” he says.