/ / Best Gifts for Tween & Teen Boys [2021 Gift Guide]

Best Gifts for Tween & Teen Boys [2021 Gift Guide]

Gift Guides | Tweens and Teens
White rectangles in the middle of the image with burgundy lettering that says, "Gifts for tween and teen boys." On a flat lay of electronics and sports equipment in black and burgundy around the edges

Finding the best gifts for tween and teen boys can be a challenge, especially gifts that don’t contribute to more time in front of screens. So I went straight to my tween and teen sons (and their friends) for their favorite gifts and wish-list items. Here’s our curated list of the best gifts for 10 to 12 year-old tweens and 13 to 18 year-old teenagers!

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Updated 7/17/21

*Shopping for girls? See our list of Best Gifts for Tween & Teen Girls 

Outdoor & Adventure Gifts

If he spends a lot of time outside, he’ll put these outdoor gifts for boys to good use. Check out our top gift ideas including an inflatable kayak and a hammock he can take everywhere.

Camping Hammock with Tree Straps
Mary’s son got this hammock for his birthday and it immediately went up between two trees in our backyard. It’s so easy to put up and take down with the tree straps, and you can honestly enclose yourself and take a nap.

Our neighbor’s son rigged his up on his back deck, where it stayed for most of the summer. My oldest son now has one hanging below a lofted bed in his room. It packs up small which is probably why students carry them to use all over campus. And you can’t beat the price at around $30.

Super Sparrow Water Bottle
Yeti products get lots of attention, but the college students I teach gave me an insider tip: other water bottles are made with almost identical technology for a fraction of the price.

We recently received a few Super Sparrow bottles and our boys love the leak-proof design, the flip top that opens with one click and the carry strap. Then order some cool stickers from Red Bubble to get started making the bottle unique to the kid.

My son loves collecting stickers for his water bottle. He’ll grab them when we travel and we give them as gifts sometimes (we grabbed skiing, biking and I’d Rather Be Playing Board Game stickers from Red Bubble).

Overnight Duffel Bag
Boys need duffels for everything from sleepovers to sports to camp. This one is a good size at a good price, and it comes in lots of color options. It’s a consistent favorite in our Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys Facebook group


Laptop, Water Bottle Stickers
The college students we teach all order their stickers from Redbubble. You can find stickers showing places you’ve been or hobbies kids enjoy. Or you can go with funny sayings or Michael Scott memes from The Office. Fair warning though. You can lose yourself in the thousands of sticker design options. And all from independent artists!

Four laptop or water bottle stickers from Redbubble as gifts for tween and teen boys. A soccer ball, the Millennium Falcon, "Boom Roasted" and a Chicago skyline

Rechargeable Hand Warmer
I’ll be honest–I was skeptical about these when my teen started asking for one. I ordered this brand to try it out, and I’m officially a fan! It made a cold and windy soccer game bearable for me, and my teen carries it everywhere. Apparently this is preferable to a winter coat.

Inflatable Kayak
Kristie’s boys love kayaking but traditional kayaks are pricey and hard to store. This inflatable tandem kayak is a more reasonable option and came highly recommended from family friends. We now own one and love it! It’s also the most popular gift in our Facebook Group Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys.

It’s easy to inflate with the included pump and comes with aluminum oars. We’ve been impressed by its durability and stability. If you’d don’t want a tandem, you can get a single inflatable kayak. We like this bright yellow tandem kayak too.

Inflatable Paddleboard
My boys tried paddle boarding through our Metroparks and loved it! We know other families who have this exact inflatable paddleboard. They said it’s so stable that you won’t believe it’s inflatable when you stand on it. It’s available in a few colors and comes with an adjustable paddle, pump, leash and a bag.

Metal Tags
These metal tags are perfect for backpacks or duffel bags and they’re made by a mompreneur who runs the small business Inspired Indigo out of Cleveland, Ohio.

Three black metal tags with silver steel wire cable keychains. Each tag has a different word in white: HUSTLE, DREAM, BELIEVE

Gaming Gifts

Whether you like it or not, your tween or teen boy is probably into gaming. We asked our boys for their top gaming recommendations and did our own research to save you time and make shopping for unfamiliar electronics a lot easier!

Nintendo Switch Virtual Reality
It’s part construction project, part amazing tech. The box is full of cardboard pieces and the disk throws step-by-step instructions up on the Switch or TV for building a headset and other virtual reality supplies. You slide the Switch into the headset and the virtual reality is super cool. Throw things around in a 3D room or jump from box to box.

Gaming Chair
If he asks for a gaming chair, this chair is my top pick. It came highly recommended by moms in our Facebook gift group and gets thousands of great reviews. My son got it from my in-laws and loves it!

This swivel chair has a high backrest and ergonomic design, and comes with a removable headrest and lumbar support. It reclines and can be adjusted for height.

Noise-Canceling Gaming Headphones
The price on these noise canceling headphones was so good that Mary ordered them for two of her kids. My boys have them too! They can use them as gaming headphones outside of school hours, but the microphone and noise canceling features also help them stay focused if school is online. Choose from several colors. 

Facebook group with gift ideas for tween and teen boys and good deals on gifts

Games & Toys

Games are one of the best things to gift because you can spend time together away from screens. Some of our gift suggestions may be new to you, but you’ll see some favorites too. Plus, some grown up LEGO sets for the kid inside.

LEGO Architecture
LEGO may be a staple for younger boys, but the LEGO Architecture series is part toy and part amazing display item. Perfect for tweens! Mary’s boys have three sets that all cost less than $50: San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York City. LEGO also has Chicago, Dubai, Paris, London, Tokyo, and Sydney.

If he’d enjoy a bigger challenge and more pieces (between 1500 and 2000), get one of the impressive larger sets like the White House, United Nations Headquarters, Louvre, Empire State Building, Taj Mahal and Statue of Liberty

EXIT: Escape Room in a Box
Mary’s son received this as a gift and they had an escape room party. It’s a one-time-use game because you end up tearing and destroying supplies in your quest to escape. The boys who were into it – her sons included – LOVED it. The boys who weren’t into it just weren’t really into it, and that’s fine, too.

They did escape, but it captivated them for two full hours. You can play with one to four players. There are many different versions including The Abandoned Cabin, The Pharaoh’s Tomb and The Sunken Treasure. They all run between $10 and $15.

Board Games
We have a separate list of the best board games for tweens and teens, but we’ll highlight a few of our favorites here. We love giving games as gifts!

Mary’s kids love Century and when other kids leave their house, other parents text her to find out the name of the game. Loaded Questions is a party game that my boys love to play with extended family. We end up laughing until we can’t breathe every time.

Telestrations is another hilarious party game my family loves. Think Pictionary and telephone and lots of laughter. If Ticket to Ride isn’t in your game cabinet yet, you need to add it immediately. It’s one of our favorite strategy games.

Not Parent Approved is a favorite for our boys–lots of potty humor and general silliness. It’s perfect for tweens and younger teens to play on their own. Tenzi is a go-to family or party dice game at Mary’s house. It’s easy and fun to play with all ages.

When Mary’s son was in sixth grade, his teacher assigned Azul to help with reading comprehension. Her son really liked it and his friend plays it with his family all the time. If you want a fun game that moves along quickly, 5-Minute Dungeon is a cooperative game that Mary’s teen really likes. Each round is only 5 minutes long.

Bedroom Decor Gifts

If it’s time to give his room a more grown up look, these gift ideas will help him create and enjoy his own space. He’ll be spending a lot more time there during these tween and teen years.

Strip Lights
Mary’s 13-year-old son says every kid on TikTok knows what these are from the constant ads. My teen loves these and has them in his room. It’s our new go-to gift for older kids. Our tweens and teens are spending more time than ever in their room, and they can change the color or mood with the click of a remote.

Weighted Blanket
My oldest has one of these and when Mary’s son tried one at a friend’s house, he immediately put it on his wish list. Different sources on the weighted blankets say they can be good for restless leg syndrome, restless sleepers in general, ADHD and even anxiety. 

This blanket has a plush cover that is removable for washing which is absolutely necessary for tween and teen boys! You can also select different weight, size and color options. It’s a full-sized blanket kids can take off to college with them someday. It’s one of the most popular items in our Facebook group Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys!

Scratch-off U.S. Map with National Parks
Mary’s son has this map hanging on his bedroom wall to track the places they visit – different states and national parks. (We use this frame to display it)

Facebook group with gift ideas for tween and teen girls

Technology Gifts

These tech gifts are the best ear buds, headphones, mini projector, blue light glasses, docking station, charging cables and more. We did the research and talked to our own tween and teen boys to save you time and help you choose gifts he’ll love.

Apple AirPods Pro / Apple AirPods
I got a pair of these to help with online teaching, and my boys weren’t happy that I got them and they didn’t. Moms can still win the tech battles every once in a while. 

Beats Wireless Headphones
If he prefers headphones to ear buds, he’ll love these Beats wireless headphones that have 40 hours of battery life, a foldable design and several color options! If he wants noise cancelling headphones, you’ll need to get the Beats Solo Pro version.

Mini Projector
Project movies, shows and video games onto any flat surface (including the ceiling–which seems to be important to tweens and teens). A mini projector is on my teen son’s wish list and after a lot of research and deliberation, this one came out on top.

The GooDee 6800L, rated best value outdoor movie projector by Good Housekeeping. With over 5,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating, this projector has great picture quality with full HD 1080p resolution and a huge 230″ image, plus built-in stereo speakers.

Top rated for outdoor movies use, it’s also great for indoor tv and movies, gaming and presentations. You can connect all multimedia devices including iPhone and Android, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Streaming Stick, PS3 and PS4, Xbox, laptop, external speakers and more.

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Dot lets tweens and teens keep in touch with friends and family from a distance, play music, listen to audiobooks and set reminders and alarms. Both of our families have relied on Echo Dot for tweens at home with no phones and no landline. It has an easy drop-in feature so you can check in and kids can make outgoing calls.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses 
All of our kids have a pair of these. I have a pair and wear them a lot when I work. These are specifically designed for tweens and teens with a plastic frame and a bit smaller design. They also come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Docking Station
Docking stations make it easy to charge phones, iPads, laptops, watches, earbuds and other electronics all in one place. To keep the cords under control, you’ll want a 5-pack of 7″ cords for Apple products or 7″ cords for Samsung/Android products.

Charging Cables
Kids seem to lose charging cable and cubes everywhere. And then they take ours, insisting that it’s theirs. That problem came to a screeching halt when I finally got smart and bought everyone their own color! I like the braided nylon cords because they seem to last longer, and cords in different lengths are really useful.

Sports Gifts

Help him stay active at home with these gift ideas. We included gifts that he can use on his own and some to play with his friends because we’re always looking for screen alternatives.

Spikeball
This is a favorite game for my boys and their friends. It’s perfect for the beach but you can also play it indoors, and it’s a great game to play tournament style with bigger groups.

Rock Climbing Holds
If your boys are active, these rock climbing holds are designed for both kids and adults. It will give them something to do inside or outside. Kristie’s boys used these as part of an obstacle/ninja course they designed in their basement.

Indoor Basketball Hoop
Kristie’s son received this breakaway-rim hoop as a gift and loves it because it can take a beating. It also comes in a glow-in-the-dark or mini foam ball version. This is another favorite gift inside our Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys group!

Facebook group with gift ideas for tween and teen boys and good deals on gifts

Clothing Gifts

Super comfortable clothes are a must for our tween and teen boys, and they wear these t-shirts, sweatshirts and socks on repeat. Choose from pro and college sports, favorite tv shows and movies, important social causes and other pop culture references.

Homage T-shirt
It’s no secret that we love Homage shirts – they are SO comfortable. They also offer options for sports and pop culture fans in both youth and adult sized. Honestly, a Homage t-shirt tops the list every time we’re buying for the boys and men in our houses.

Mary’s son and my husband both have this You’re Killin’ Me Smalls t-shirt. We bought them as gifts at the same time without knowing it. A lot of their t-shirts come in youth and adult sizes. If you’ve never tried Homage before, use this link for $20 off your first purchase.

Homage tshirt for tween and teen boys that says "You're killin' me smalls" in blue bubble letters on a gray background

Rock ‘Em Socks
These are more expensive than everyday socks, but they’re a super fun gift. We live in Ohio and are big Buckeye fans, so these are the ones we have. But they have all kinds of different designs.

Book Gifts for Tween & Teen Boys

Books are an excellent gift idea, but what if you don’t know what tween and teen boys like to read? We’ve got you covered with books recommended by librarians, teachers and our own tweens and teens.

Alex Rider Books
Mary’s family is big into reading, so she loves giving book suggestions. The hot series right now with her tween boys is Alex Rider, kid spy. There’s a little bit of language and potty humor, but they’re fast-paced and adventure-filled.

Theodore Boone Series by John Grisham
Mary and I both grew up reading Grisham, and he has a series for younger readers about a teen who dreams about being a lawyer and gets pulled into the courtroom much sooner than he expects. It’s a great series for older tweens. My family listened to the first book on Audible on a recent road trip.

Audible Gift Membership – Amazon’s library of audiobooks
Amazon makes it easy for you to gift 3-, 6- or 12-month memberships to a massive library of audiobooks for tweens and teens who love listening to books.

And if he doesn’t like reading, an Audible subscription is the perfect way to encourage him or at least come to a compromise. He can listen to books assigned for school and other books for fun or to learn something new. It might even spark a renewed (or new) love of reading.

I’m a huge fan of Audible–so much so that I wrote all about it and answered the most common questions here: Is Audible Worth It? [Guide to Audible].

Blue square with white lettering that says "Give the gift of Audible. You choose the delivery date, and they choose exactly what they want." Images of book covers on the bottom half of the square

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plan
For tweens and teens who like to read on a Kindle, you can gift 6, 12 or 24 months of Kindle Unlimited so they can access a massive library of books in seconds. Our college students often talk about how much they like reading on a Kindle.

Image of an open book on a white background with letter that says "Kindle Unlimited: Freedom to explore over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device"


Best Books for Tweens

We have a more complete list of books for tweens, but here are a few that our boys have really liked: Refugee, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Counting by 7s, Charlie and Frog, Ghost Boys, I Am Malala, A Long Walk to Water, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, The Breadwinner.

Best Book Series for Tweens & Teens
If tween and teen boys find a series they really get into, they’re more likely to keep reading. We included more on our complete list of series for tweens and teens, but here are a few favorites from our Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys Facebook group: Track Series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, Lu), Ranger’s Apprentice, Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle), Ender’s Game

Facebook group with gift ideas for tween and teen girls

Gift Cards & Money Gifts

Tween and teen boys love getting gift cards and money so they can buy exactly what they want. These are favorite gift card ideas along with some really fun ways to gift cash.

Gift Cards

Did you know that you can get gift cards for a ton of stores on Amazon? You can ship the gift card or share the digital code with the recipient. So easy! You can’t go wrong with these gift cards: Playstation, Xbox, Finish Line and Amazon.

Money Gifts

Lots of tweens and teens are saving for bigger ticket items and they honestly want gift cards or cash. You can give cash or gift cards in a clever way. Free options include wrapping a box within a box within a box to throw them off. The options below are other affordable and creative ways to give gift cards and cash.

Puzzle Pod
If you want to get a little more creative, this puzzle lets you design your own set of clues that lead to a three-letter word of your choosing that opens the pod and reveals the gift.

Money Maze
Here’s another type of puzzle if you want to make it fun and challenging to get to the money inside.

Money Tree
You could use all cash on this money tree or add some gift cards.

Savings Bond
No joke, Mary’s 12-year-old son asked me about the bonds I received from my grandparents when I was a kid because he knows I used them to buy my first car. He wants to put them on his wish list (though I got a shocked look when I told him I had to wait 20 years to cash them in if I wanted the full value).

I looked into it, and the hard copy EE bonds I got as a kid were discontinued in 2012. But you can still give savings bonds electronically and then print gift certificates to give as gifts. Plan ahead, because it requires that the recipient have an account set up.

3 US Treasury savings bonds. One series I, series EE, series E

Experience Gifts for Tween & Teen Boys

If you’re looking for the perfect gift idea, try an experience gift! They’re a great way to spend time with the tween or teen boy in your life, and the memories will last forever.

A few suggestions include our own Honoring Veterans Family Service Project download, membership to a museum or zoo, tickets to a sporting event or show, Tinker Crates (the boys in both families have made some really cool things with these science and engineering boxes),and Kids Cook Real Food online video cooking lessons.

Check out more ideas on this list of 33 experience gifts for tween and teen boys.

Gifts That Give Back for Tween & Teen Boys

If you’re shopping for a socially conscious tween or teen boy, he’ll love gifts from give back brands. These gift ideas are from social enterprises that making the world a better place.

We compiled a whole list of gifts that give back, and we dedicated one section just to gifts for tween and teen boys.

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