Finding the perfect 8th grade graduation gift isn’t easy! We rounded up the best middle school graduation gift ideas from over 3,000 moms of tweens and teens. Celebrate the 8th graders in your life with a gift they’re guaranteed to love.
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We had fun putting together this list of gifts, especially because our own teenagers helped us out (along with our amazing community of moms of tweens and teens)! You’ll find a range of ideas from sentimental and personalized gifts to practical and technology gifts. We’ve organized them into categories to help you find the perfect gift for your 8th grade grad:
- 2021 gifts
- Gifts for 8th grade boys and girls
- Gifts for 8th grade girls
- Gifts for 8th grade boys
- Books to give as gifts
And if you happen to be the parent of a graduating 8th grader, congrats on surviving middle school!
2021 Gifts for 8th Grade Graduates
I’m sure they won’t need any help remembering this school year, but it’s a year unlike any other and deserves to be commemorated with something tangible. We love this Friends-inspired quarantine ornament that will bring back stories every year at the holidays.
2021 Graduation Print
If your 8th grader is part of a small class or has a close group of school friends, a customized print is a great way to capture some memories. Available as a digital download or an unframed print, you can personalize in a lot of different ways: school name, classmate or friend names, year, school mascot, grade, school colors and good quality photo. It’s made by Word Dazzle, a small business with thousands of 5-star reviews!
2021 Cake Topper
This is a perfect way to say goodbye to 8th grade! This cake topper is 6.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall and it comes in lots of colors.
Gifts for 8th Grade Boys & Girls
Teens read almost everything on a screen, so it makes sense to invest in a device that’s lightweight, waterproof, glare-free and can access thousands of titles. I know…that’s a hard sell to traditional book lovers who want to hold a real book and turn the pages…but it’s reality for this generation whether we like it or not. Some of my college students use the Paperwhite for their textbooks and love the Amazon discounts they can snag. This Kindle comes in 4 colors, 8GB or 32GB, has a battery that lasts for weeks and includes Audible.
US Landmarks Scratch Off Map
We love this twist on a scratch off US map! If your 8th grade graduate loves to travel or wants to travel more often in high school, this scratch off map is a perfect gift to keep track of their adventures. Or they can get creative, especially if they’re avid readers who are always looking for new things to read. Search for books that are set in different parts of the US and scratch off landmarks as they read or learn about them.
Waterproof Digital Camera
Moms raved about underwater cameras in our gift groups! It’s a great gift for high schoolers to capture special moments in rain, snow and water that they can’t get with their phones. This camera shoots high-quality video and photos, and comes equipped with electronic image stabilization. If you want to splurge and get the best of the best, check out the GoPro Hero9.
Give your 8th grade graduate a great way to display their medals! We love the unique look of these award racks. Choose from 1, 2 or 3 levels and customize the top with a name, activity or favorite saying. Height varies based on levels, but all are 23.5 inches long. Your purchase ships free and supports a small business!
A lot of my college students have a Fitbit and swear by it. They love the slimmer design of the Charge. If your 8th grader is an athlete, the Charge will track workout intensity (including swimming!), sleep stages and both target and resting heart rates. They can control Spotify playlists and get notifications for calls, texts and other apps. The functionality is pretty impressive and the price point is less than half of a new Apple Watch. It’s a great way to help them be more aware of their sleep, activity and stress levels so they can learn to manage those in a healthy way.
Smart Reusable Notebook
Help these 8th grade graduates stay organized in high school and save some paper. This highly-rated Rocketbook Fusion notebook comes with a Pilot Frixion pen and a microfiber cloth. It includes 42 reusable pages with 7 different page styles for planning, listing, goal setting and note taking. They can use the free Rocketbook app to send their notes to popular cloud services like Google drive, Dropbox, Evernote, box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, email and more. Choose from 9 fun colors.
Gifts for 8th Grade Girls
She’ll love this bookmark if she’s a reader. We saw these wire bookmarks on Instagram and fell in love! Lots of colors available. You can customize with her name, school, inspirational word or phrase…anything you want. You’ll find over 2,000 5-star reviews on this mom’s Etsy site and comments that talk about how wonderful and easy she is to work with.
Colorful Felt Letter Board
A pop of color on a felt letter board is perfect for her room! Choose from eight different color combinations for a 10×10 board with a white wooden frame. Comes with a canvas bag to safely store 340 changeable letters, character, symbols, numbers and emojis. Put a favorite quote or personal message on the board before you wrap it up as a gift.
Hand Stamped Small Disc Necklace
We love Columbus-based jeweler Red Giraffe, and their Etsy shop makes it easy to buy and ship. This hand-stamped necklace comes in a couple different lengths and three colors. Personalize it with her initials or a favorite symbol like the sun, an animal, a wave and more.
Tie Dye Party Kit
We’re big fans of experience gifts because memories are honestly the best gift you can give. A tie dye party kit is the best of both! Your 8th grader will have a shirt to keep along with memories and pictures from a celebration with her friends or family. This kit includes 12 custom colors (2 bottles each), 1 bag of soda ash, 9 pairs of gloves, 60 rubber bands and step-by-step directions. (See our full list of experience gifts here.)
Gifts for 8th Grade Boys
Distressed Leather Wallet
If he doesn’t have a wallet yet, this is the perfect time to give him one. Moms in our Facebook gift groups were fans of this distressed leather wallet with a compact design that can be personalized or left plain. Choose from 3 different colors. It ships free and your purchase supports a small business with over 6,000 5-star reviews!
JBL Clip 4 Waterproof Speaker
Portable speakers from JBL are our favorite to use and recommend! This is the updated clip version that’s perfect for teens. They can take it to the pool or the beach and even the shower without worrying about getting it wet. The sound quality is a bit better than the Clip 3 speaker and this updated version has an integrated carabiner. It’s Bluetooth enabled and gets 10 hours of playtime.
Customized Cork Bulletin Board
These sports themed bulletin boards are great for sports fan or athletes. Choose from endless options and create a personalized gift from a small business with nearly 2,000 5-star reviews on Etsy. He can use it in high school for tickets, pictures, ribbons, medals, programs and notes. Or he can hang it on the wall as is.
Books to Give As Gifts
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
I’m sure you’re familiar with Dr. Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His son, Sean Covey, adapted those habits specifically for teens. Brilliant! We know some of our college students have read one of these books and we can tell it’s made a difference for them. Note that the hardcover is less expensive, but that’s because it’s a mini version.
Cookbook for Teens
I spent the first five years of married life in a men’s residence hall because my husband was an Resident Director. After that experience, I decided that if I ever had boys, I’d teach them how to do basic things like laundry, cleaning and cooking before they’re out of the house. Whether you’re buying for a girl or boy, this cookbook is a must-have for teens headed for high school. Yes, they can look everything up online, but here’s what I love about this book: it includes information like how to correctly measure ingredients, what common cooking terms mean and how to avoid common cooking mistakes. This is a book they’ll keep–and their future roommates and spouse will thank you!
I Am Malala
Most 8th graders have probably spent more time complaining about school than being grateful for it. That’s normal (we did the same thing too at their age). Celebrating 8th grade graduation is a perfect time to step back and see the reality of education around the world. Malala fought for the right to an education in Pakistan, and was shot while riding home on the bus when she was 15. This memoir from the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner is an incredible story about the power of education. It’s a must-read for everyone.
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
This book is based on the 2014 UT-Austin commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. The hardcover edition is a wonderful keepsake. If your teens won’t always listen to you, maybe they’ll pay more attention to life lessons from a Navy SEAL. It’s a book they’ll go back to again and again in high school and beyond.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
Does she love science, tech, engineering or math? Give her this book that highlights accomplishments of 50 women in STEM fields throughout history. It also has infographics about lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields and an illustrated scientific glossary.