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 — especially since it’s a different kind of 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 22 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 always begging for Mister Softee
An ice-cream-truck fort, for the ultimate summer role-play.
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 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. While the Switch has been selling out immediately for months, the Lite — which, unlike the other model, is solely a handheld device — is usually in stock.
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 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).
For the grad who prefers to get around on eight wheels
For the grad who’d like to spend the summer in the pool
For the grad who’d like to spend the summer indoors
Perfect for curling up with a good book — for now, at home, and come fall, in the dorm.
For the grad who’s already dreaming about decorating her dorm room
For the grad who wants to keep learning
For the grad who (finally) wants to learn to cook
Or if they’d rather learn a practical skill — namely, how to feed themselves — this guide to cooking from the editors of Munchies is a good place to start.
For the grad who has knitted more scarves than she knows what to do with
If they’ve been knitting away their anxiety with the help of needles and yarn, this kit is both stylish and far more seasonably appropriate than yet another muffler.
For the grad who’s planning to travel the globe (as soon as that’s possible)
Vacations are on pause for now, but they won’t be forever (and for now, this wireless outlet will come in handy for marathon laptop sessions on the couch).
For the grad with an unsustainable Starbucks habit
An espresso machine, for when real life hits.
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