20 Birthday Party Gift Ideas for Tweens Who Are Impossible to Shop For

Mandy Velez | Apr 29, 2019 Food & Party
20 Birthday Party Gift Ideas for Tweens Who Are Impossible to Shop For
Image: Etsy

do it for the gram

People say tweens are hard to shop for. They're the kids that are older than a little kid and younger than an actual teenager. Teens are supposedly aren't as predictable to shop for as the little ones (just get toys!). But we think tweens aren't as complicated, or as costly gift-wise, as people think. They like so many things, there's many, many gift possibilities. Surely, there has to be gifts that will be "cool" enough for their birthday party. Spoiler alert: There are! In the world of tweens, there's YouTube, TikTok, social media influencer personalities, selfies, games, and lots and lots of unicorns. They like technology but also kids' games, too. It's just a matter of finding the right combination. 

That's where we come in to help. If there's a tweens birthday happening soon, there's tons of options to bring and put a smile on their face. Given how many "changes" they're experiencing at this point in their lives, the best adults can do is make them happy with a nice surprise or gift every once in a while. (Seriously, hormones suck.) 

And there's no need to worry too much trying to read their minds -- they may not even know what's going on in there. Just try to understand what they like and go from there. We found lots of toys, games, and fun things relating to some of the trends (e.g. donuts) they're into. 

But if an iPhone ins't in the plan, we have you covered. With the rise of having technology and access to so much information at their fingertips, a good old-fashioned physical gift might be exactly what they need for a refresh. They will (literally) have their entire lives to have a cellphone. So go the old-fashioned route. 

Take a look at these fun gift ideas and make the tween in your life happy (at least for a few minutes.) As long as its fun, cool, and will possibly give them street cred on social apps, they'll be sure to love it. And maybe look up from their phones to use it.

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Vans


    Vans are "in," as the kids say. It seems every other kid is rocking these sneakers with the white line across the side. Add to their collection. This style comes in a variety of colors. 

    Vans Sneakers ($40, Vans)

  • 'Sisters' Sweatshirt


    Makeup artist James Charles is a big favorite for tweens who watch his YouTube channel. He's a beauty guru who has also released his own retail clothing line with his favorite phrase, "sisters," all over the items. The James Charles fan to get this will rock it for days. 

    Sisters Sweatshirt ($45, James Charles)

  • Ice Cream Maker Ball


    Tweens like kids' things, like balls, but they also love interesting things. That would likely include this ice cream maker ball that uses the friction from bouncing around to churn the ice cream. If they like ice cream enough, it'll give them an excuse to get some fresh air and exercise. 

    Ice Cream Ball ($50, Uncommon Goods)

  • Printed Pillowcase


    Don't send them off to a sleepover with their Paw Patrol or Disney Jr. pillow, as cute and useable as those might be. Upgrade their pillow game with this printed one. It's young and fun, but a step up from the "little kid" ones they may have laying around. 

    Dot Pillowcase ($10, PB Teen)

  • Changing Lightbox


    Show them that social media isn't the only place to write messages. Get them a cinema phrase lightbox. It comes with the full alphabet to spell whatever their heart desires. 

    Lightbox ($35, Uncommon Goods)

  • #SELFIE Necklace


    Speaking of social media, give the selfie-taking tween the gift of rocking their favorite activity. Selfies never hurt anyone, why not let them rock it with a necklace?

    #Selfie Necklace ($27, HannahCatherines/Etsy)

  • Earth Bracelets 


    Tweens love expressing themselves with bracelets, give them ones that count. These are made by women in Guatemala and each layer and color represents different parts of our galaxy, like the moon and the sun. 

    Earth Bracelets ($45, Uncommon Goods) 

  • 'I Do It for the 'Gram' T-Shirt


    For those too old to get this reference, doing something "for the 'Gram," means taking a photo with the intent of putting it on Instagram, an app that curates photos and videos. Tweens will definitely understand, and appreciate, this T-shirt that tells it like it is. They'll probably even wear it for the 'Gram, too.

    "I Do It for the 'Gram" T-Shirt ($17, SuperiorEpoch/Etsy)

  • Basketball Cereal Bowl


    They shoot, they score! In their cereal bowl, that is. This basketball-themed bowl comes with a fully functional mini-hoop. Tweens might play with their food no matter what is said to them, might as well make it worth their while. 

    Basketball Bowl ($25, Uncommon Goods)

  • Unicorn Cereal Bowl


    Unicorns are everywhere and on everything. Why should should bowls be excluded from that? Make breakfast magical with this unicorn cereal bowl if sports isn't their thing. 

    Unicorn Bowl ($42, Uncommon Goods)

  • Selfie Light


    If the tween already has a cellphone, there must be lots of selfies taken. Help them up their game with a phone selfie light. It attaches to the top of the device for Kim Kardashian-level selfies.

    Selfie Phone Light ($14, Amazon) 

  • Scratch Map


    This world scratch-map is for the travelers or future travelers. It features the countries and continents around the world and the ability to scratch off the places they've been. 

    Scratch Map (from $26, Uncommon Goods)

  • Llama Socks


    Who doesn't love llama socks? We do. Give the gift of warm and cozy llama feet with these affordable and fashionable socks. 

    Llama Socks ($10, Uncommon Goods)

  • Sailboat Kite


    Kites will never be not cool. Make it even cooler by gifting a kite that looks like a sailboat. Kill two birds with one stone. 

    Sailboat Kite ($42, Uncommon Goods)

  • Onesie


    Onesies are comfortable. Give the gift of that comfort to a tween -- it's the perfect mix between kid and grownup (we know many adults who wear onesies now). Bonus: This one comes with corgis on it, but onesies come in many different styles. 

    Onesie ($31, Justice)

  • Sprinkle Heart Earrings


    These heart-shaped studs are loud, fun, and totally Instagram ready. They are made from sterling silver and were cast from 3D-printed from molds. 

    Sparkle Earrings ($28, Uncommon Goods)

  • Drumstick Pencils


    Apologies to teachers in advance, but these drumstick pencils are great for the tween who needs to rock a beat while studying. If anything, they just look cool. Win-win. 

    Drumstick Pencils ($8, Uncommon Goods)

  • Chocolate Donut Towel


    Tween or not, there's not too many folks who don't appreciate a good donut. This donut towel/ blanket allows whoever has it to lay out, or dry-off in yummy style. 

    Donut Towel Blanket ($20, Amazon)

  • Charger Stick-On Faces


    People, tweens especially, can get territorial about chargers and cables. Get rid of any chance of it getting mixed up with these personalized charger stick-ons. 

    Charger Sticker Faces ($13, Uncommon Goods)

  • Pencil Case


    This one is a win for both parents and kids. Pencils are stored in this cute stationery organizer and moms don't have to keep wondering where in the world all the pencils go. 

    Pencil Case ($8, AliExpress)

  • Pin It!

    Birthday Party Gift Ideas for Tweens pinterest image

    Save these birthday party gifts to your Pinterest boards as an idea for tweens who are impossible to shop for! 

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