Great Gifts for Teens and Tweens

Let’s face it – little kids are pretty easy to buy gifts for.  There is a wide range of games, toys, clothes, etc, to choose from.  You would be hard-pressed to really struggle buying a toy for a 3-year old or a 5-year old.  I think this is because they are willing to try lots of different things – even if the gift quickly ends up in the dust-heap of unplayed-with toys.

razor_scooter-2But teens and tweens – that’s a different story altogether.  Many kids of this age are into very specific things, and if they receive a gift that doesn’t fit their expectations you will know about it very quickly (unless the recipient is especially polite).

So what makes a good tween gift or teenager gift.  We’re not talking toys here – let’s not even go there.  We’re talking gifts that can be bought with little pre-knowledge of what the particular kid is interested in.  How do we do this?  We think about what most kids in the 10-15 year old range are interested, to one degree or another:  Socializing with friends, experimenting with exciting challenges, and for many kids digging deeper into math and science.

So let’s take a stab at some great gift ideas for kids in approximately the 10-15 year old range.

Social Games – For Parties or Just Hanging Out

Codename

Codename

The game Codenames is a highly rated game for ages 14 and up.  Each game is fairly short – only about 15 minutes – so it won’t drag a simple get-together into a marathon gaming night.

Codenames is a wordplay game which involves attempting to identify the codenames of up to 25 secret agents through a process of guessing and strategy.  You can play individually or in teams (for a more lively game).

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game that will take a little more time to play than the previous one.  The players develop an area around the French city of Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, and in the fields.  The most skillful player to develop the area will become victorious.

This game is officially rated for ages 8-15 years of age, but it can be fun for the whole family young and old alike.

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Getting Adventurous

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

This version of the UDI 818A Quadcopter is pretty sweet.  First of all it is based on the very popular 818A base model that we found was very popular in 2015.  But now there are a few additions that we think make this a very attractive entry-level quadcopter.

The HD camera is the main feature.  It has a 2 mega-pixel camera which can take high-res pictures and video during flight.

The Return Home function lets you command your drone to return to you with the push of a button.  No more lost drones (well, maybe fewer lost drones).

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This model has 6-axis gyro stability which is great in windy conditions and also makes it easily maneuverable for stunts.  Also has 2 batteries to double flight time and a 2200 mAh power bank to let you charge on the go.

As always with drones, they are somewhat breakable and prone to being lost.  This model has fairly good blade protection so you won’t be replacing blades every time it crashes.  But be aware that your drone will only last as long as you are able to keep it one piece.  (replacement parts are available though)

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Electric Razor Scooter

The E100 Electric Scooter from Razor is a really fun scooter to use.  Razor has been making scooters for many years and their electric scooters are very popular.  As with any scooter there is an element of risk – riding the scooter on bumpy roads or sidewalks, or riding into traffic are sure-fire ways to get yourself injured or worse.  So safety precautions must be taken when riding this scooter.

The motor is high-torque, and the battery is a long-lasting 24V unit.The scooter can reach speeds of 10 MPH.  The recharge time is about 12 hours, and the ride time is about 40 minutes of continuous use.

(Don’t forget the safety helmet and even knee and elbow pads for the younger ones)

Check out all of the feature of this highly-rated scooter on Amazon.

Getting all Science-y

First Microscope

First Microscope

Calling all future biologists!! The My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope features three magnifications: 40x, 100x, and 400x.  The optics are real glass (not plastic), and there is a 50-piece accessory kit.  This is a real biological microscope – not just some toy.  It can be used just for fun or for running real biological experiments.

This item is rated for ages 9-18 years.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Hot Kid’s Board Games in 2016

Kid’s love games – and not just video games.  There’s a part of every kid that just want to have some interactive fun with other kids, whether it involves a controller, some cards, or a handful of dice.  Speaking of which we’ve picked a handful of games for younger kids that we think will keep them laughing for a while.

Pie Face Game

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Hasbro’s Pie Face Game

This is not your typical “take your turn and roll the dice” board game.  In Hasbro’s Pie Face game you or your kids might get a little messy (or just wet if you choose to use a wet sponge instead of whipped cream).  There’s not much to it, but it’s all great fun.  The players take turns cranking the crank until someone is unlucky enough to trigger the hand and get a faceful of … something.  Just don’t forget the paper towels.

Recommended ages: 5 and up.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens Card Game

Exploding Kittens Card Game

As the package says this game is for “people who like kittens and explosions and laser beams, and sometimes goats”.  Well what could be better than that.  In the Exploding Kittens card game players draw cards until they draw the Exploding Kitten, at which point they are out of the game … but not if they have the Defuse card.  There are a lot of other wild and strange cards such as laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches.  This game was one of the top earning games to have been listed on the fund-raising site Kickstarter.  So why not give it a try.

UPDATE: Also check out the Exploding Kittens expansion pack called Imploding Kittens, to be released in October (you can pre-order before October).

Recommended ages: 7 and up.

Stinky Pig Game

Stinky Pig Game

Stinky Pig Game

The Stinky Pig Game is pretty much like “hot potato”, but with a gassy pig.  That’s right – you pass this pig to one of your fellow players until the unlucky player is stuck with a pig that … toots.  Okay – FARTs.  It’s an affordable little oinker of a game, it’s very popular on Amazon.com, and kids as young as 6 can play.

Recommended ages: 6 and up

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Great Board Games for 10-14 Year Olds

Single-play toys are one thing, but board games allow parents to interact and play with their children, or allow a group of children to play by themselves and build bonds between them.

Here is a check of some of the top-selling board games for 10-14 year olds on Amazon.

Hint: Typically younger children can also play these games, but you may need an adult involved (or a very helpful older child) to help explain the rules and keep things moving along.

7 Wonders

7 Wonders Board Game

7 Wonders Board Game

The 7 Wonder board game is a history-related game that lets you gather resources, develop commercial routes and affirm your military supremacy. This activity takes place in one of 7 great cities of the ancient world.

The review are outstanding, such as “One of the best games I own”, “Best board game since Dominion”, and “Best family board game ever!”.  This game has nearly a full 5-star rating on Amazon.

Players: 2-7
Play time: 30 minutes
Ages: 10-14 years

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 Munchkin Deluxe

Munchkin Deluxe Board Game

Munchkin Deluxe Board Game

The Munchkin Deluxe board game is a popular card-based game that provides a dungeon adventure, but without the role-playing.  You get to kill monsters, grab magic items, and work your way to the Plutonium Dungeon.  It’s fast-playing and tons of fun.

Again, this is very highly-rated, with mostly 4- and 5-star user ratings on Amazon.

Players: 2-6
Ages: 10+ years

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King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo Board Game

King of Tokyo Board Game

The King of Tokyo board game is from the designer of the worldwide hit game Magic the Gathering. In the game you will be able to play mutant monsters, gigantic robots and other aliens all of whom are trying to become the one and only King of Tokyo.  This game involves both cards and dice, which brings in the element of chance (what good game doesn’t).

Almost all the reviews are very positive on this fun game.

Players: 2-6
Play time: 30 minutes
Ages: 8-15 years

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Takenoko Board Game

Takenoko Board Game

Takenoko Board Game

The Takenoko board game is all about the panda! In this game players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden.  You have to deal with the panda’s voracious appetite for bamboo.  You win the game by growing the most bamboo while feeding the appetite of the panda as well.

This is a change of pace from the “dungeons and dragons” type games on the market today.  It teaches your children about respecting the environment, and understanding how limited natural resources must be maintained for everyone on earth, even the animals, to live in harmony.

Players: 2-4
Play time: 45 minutes
Ages: 13+ years

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Castle Panic Board Game

Castle Panic Board Game

Castle Panic Board Game

The Castle Panic board game is a cooperative tower defense game where you work together to defend your Castle.  You need to defend your castle from monsters that attack out of the forest.  You trade cards, slay monsters, and plan strategies to keep your castle towers intact.

This is a great game for people who haven’t played board games in a while.  It’s a little less competitive and therefore is  more on the fun side.  You can vary the rules to suit your group.

Players: 1-6
Play time: up to 60 minutes
Ages: 10+ years

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.