Graduation is upon us, and while it’s easy enough to stick a $50 bill in a greeting card, we’re here to help you step it up this year with some graduation gifts you know they’ll love. Whether they’re moving on up from kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college, we’ve selected the 24 best graduation gifts, many of which have been recommended by various experts and students themselves.
For the grad who has all the planets memorized
We’ve all spent a lot of time at home lately; this dreamy tent will freshen up a kid’s surroundings and provide a new opportunity to flex one’s imagination.
For the grad who’s an aspiring Monet
For the grad who can’t get enough Legos
For the grad who’d rather play outside
For the grad who loves to explore
For the grad whose favorite movie is Finding Nemo
This Squishmallow plush clownfish is big and ultra-soft enough to double as a pillow.
For the grad who suddenly decided to become a vegetarian
For the grad with a wrist full of friendship bracelets
For the grad who’s never not playing video games
Although you can’t go wrong with any new gaming system, one teen we spoke to said that “the Nintendo Switch has become the hottest console this season,” and described it as the “*fire emoji*” item of the moment. It’s also ideal for both casual and seasoned gamers. Emily Heller, recommendations editor at Vulture and gamer said that since purchasing the Lite, she rarely picks up her regular Switch.
For the grad who has a newfound interest in photography
The whole VSCO-girl movement may be a thing of the past, but teens’ enthusiasm for photography will never waver. “Every girl needs one to capture memories, fun moments with friends, and even darker days,” one recent high-school grad told us. She owns — and loves — the classic Polaroid.
For the grad who’s more interested in the memories than the photography
If they have tons of photos and nowhere to put them, consider gifting a few scrapbooking essentials. Strategist writer — and scrapbooking camp alum — Chloe Anello recommends starting with this simple vinyl album and a couple of pads of colorful paper.
For the grad who, like everyone on Instagram, wants a tie-dye sweat suit
For the grad who, like everyone on TikTok, wants LED lights
Graduation is the perfect excuse to upgrade their bedroom, and these color-changing LED strip lights from Govee make it easy. Strategist contributor Kyle Schurman says they’re easy to customize — they can be cut and pasted to any dry indoor surface, glow in any color on the RGB spectrum (according to the brand that’s 16 million different hues) and will even flash to the beat of your music. The light’s color and brightness can be controlled via an app on their phone or with Alexa or Google Voice.
For the grad who’s already missing home
A weighted blanket feels sort of like an entire-body hug. This one, from Strat-favorite Bearaby, might be just the thing for the the soon-to-be (homesick) college freshman. Bonus: It’s stylish so it’ll look good flung over that XL twin bed.
For the grad who just got a car
Strategist contributor Chris Black loves this car mount, which “adjusts a full 360 degrees and attaches with a clean adhesive” and will keep a phone right where the driver can see it (and, crucially, keep it out of the driver’s hand).