One of the more surprising challenges of being a parent is trying to find gifts for teens. Once they grow out of the toy section, it gets a lot harder to find gifts for special occasions. Birthday coming up? You don’t know whether to get them something for the kid that still lingers inside. You’re not sure if you shouldn’t get them something a bit more grown up.

Teens Dream Big

One of the reasons they’re hard to buy for is because as they get older and grow into adults, the “toys” they want get exponentially more expensive. They also start to dream of life as an adult, and start to wish for things like new cars and expensive electronics. They’ve stopped pointing at every $30 toy on television. Now, they show you pictures of designer outfits and gaming computers with four-digit price tags.

More often than not, they’re well aware of the family finances. They already know that they’re not getting a new Honda for their birthday. They just want to dream out loud. There are still plenty of cool gifts for teens that fit the family budget. And you’d be surprised at how often they’re more impressed with your thoughtfulness than the digits on the receipt.

Gifts for Teenage Girls

Gifts for both girls and boys should be personalized. There’s no perfect gift list for girls, because each one is an individual. She may or may not like “girly” things, so pay attention to what kinds of things she already owns. Consider her hobbies and interests. The amount of thought in your gift that fits her personality is so much more important than the amount of money you spend.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD Set

This is the TV show that every girl between 12 and 82 should watch. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, has provided teen girls and women of all ages with two decades of inspiration. Now that it’s no longer on Netflix get her the box set with the iconic TV series featuring strong women battling evil. You can grab it on Amazon in the U.S. starting at $99.99.

2. Mini Stratocaster

Girls like to jam, too. Unfortunately, most full-size guitars are too big and unwieldy for growing teen girls. Even once they reach full height, full-size guitars are a challenge for the millions of women under 5’5”. A three-quarter size mini-Stratocaster is the perfect size for your rock star. And like all Strats, it has that jangly guitar-rock sound perfect for Indie rock. You can find it on Amazon for less than $130.

3. Shower Speakers

One thing almost all teen girls (and guys) love is music and showers. Put them together, and you’ve got a winner. The Splash Tunes shower speakers from FresheTech comes in pink, blue, and gray and with a very friendly price tag of <$40 on Amazon.

The one, the only, the original #SplashShowerTunes from #freshetech

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4. Instant Mini Camera

These instant gratification cameras are coming back in a big way. Manufactured by both Fujifilm and Polaroid, these mini cameras come in fun colors. The <$70 price tag is pretty cool, too. They take and print cute little pictures about the size of business cards. You can find both on Amazon.

polaroid camera mini 8
blue and white

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5. 3Doodler

Teen girls seem obsessed with the idea of making the world a nicer place. They often love to create art and decorate their rooms. What better gadget than a pen that creates in the third dimension?

Just like a 3D printer, this hand-held pen creates in 3D with plastic strands, allowing your teen to create a wide range of projects. Print jewelry, home décor, and other crafts. Refill strands and other accessories also make great stocking stuffers. You can find free stencils online from 3Doodler, too.  Get the Doodler at Amazon, $80.48.

Gifts for Teenage Boys

As with girls, don’t make assumptions that your teen boy would best appreciate. Some guys are just as concerned with grooming as girls can be, especially during the teen years. There are teen boys like sports, while others that want to be chefs or clothing designers. While some teen boys enjoy crafts, others might prefer to putter around with tools. And some teen boys like all of these things and want to try their hand at every opportunity life offers.

1. Holy Stone Quadcopter

What young man hasn’t dreamed of owning their own helicopter? This baby has a 50 to 100-meter range and a 720P HD camera. Great for beginners and skilled flyers, it does flips, rolls, and returns with the press of one button. Features four speeds, and both left and right hand operation. Find it on Amazon, $99.99

2. Oria Electronics Tool Kit

Many youngsters were taking things apart at a young age, and start to take on repairing their own electronics in their teen years. Yours may have talked about assembling their own gaming computer or trying to fix an old hand-held game from middle school. Make sure they have the right tools for the job. Oria makes awesome electronics tools, with kits that include precision jewelers screwdrivers that are just the right size. Special bits and anti-static tweezers make device repair a breeze. You can find them on Amazon $27.99.

3. Camping Set

Even if your kid isn’t a Boy Scout or Explorer, lots of young men hear the call of the wild in their teen years and decide to do some bro-bonding in the woods. This bundle contains everything he needs to head off for adventure. Perfect for hunting and fishing trips, or just some local ecotourism. Contains a two-person tent, moisture barrier, sleeping bag, travel pillow, and backpack. Get it on Amazon $149.99.

4. Digital Art Studio

This pair will have your teen creating comic books of his own. If your teen boy loves to draw and is fascinated by comics and manga, pair up a Huion graphics tablet with Manga Studio software and watch him bliss out creating his own universe.

The Huion H610PRO table has a large ten by six drawing surface that has 2,048 levels of sensitivity to the drawing pen. Hook it up with Manga Studio by SmithMicro with thousands of professional digital art tools.

You can find the Huion Tablet ($72.99) and Manga Studio ($59.99) both on Amazon.

Showcasing your ideas #HuionUSA #Illustration #tablets

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5. Azpen Dockall Phone Docking Station

This is just an amazingly cool looking docking station. The Azpen Dockall wirelessly charges phones and devices, while playing his favorite tunes though via Bluetooth. The Dockall charges up to three devices, and it includes two USB ports for non “Qi” devices, If your teen has a tablet, smartphone, or Fitbit, he can keep everything organized and charged up, ready to go. You can find it on Amazon, $79.99.

Gifts for Graduation

Graduation is a big accomplishment after years of hard work. And even if the work wasn’t that hard, they were still four very tough years of changing expectations and plenty of drama. If you want to mark the day with a special gift, here are several gifts for teens that are perfect rewards for graduation.

1. Cash

By the time your teen is 18, they pretty much just need cash. Lots of cash. They may need cash for college. They could probably use cash for a car. Some teens want cash for gap year travel. A few even want cash to get their own place.

Cash is always appreciated.

2. Chromebook

Whether your teen is heading off to college, off to travel, or off to work, Chromebooks make an excellent graduation gift. Somewhere between a laptop and a tablet, they’ll be able to stay in touch with email, do research and school assignments, and even hog your Netflix queue from the dorm.

You can find the new Acer Chromebook on Amazon, $187.92.

3. A Grown Up Briefcase

Backpacks are fine for high school, but college students should be styling. Get your teen a classy briefcase or messenger bag for their first job or summer travel.

Not only does it make them look good, but they’ll also feel good knowing that you view them as adults. Chose from leather, pleather, or suede and pick a neutral tone that will go with a suit, dress, or jeans.

You can find a nice selection from $20 to $250 on Amazon.

4. A Monthly Box Subscription

Now that your teen is out of high school, they’ll probably be looking to change their style for work or college. Get your new grad a clothing subscription so they can try new fashions, get fashion advice, or find their own unique style moving into the world.

Urbane Box

For high-end casual wear for the fashionista, check out Urbane Box. Fill out the style questions and get $120 worth of fashion-forward finds for just $60. Carries clothes for men and women, and you can skip a month by email.

Lootwear from LootCrate

From the people known for their awesome Geek Care Packages, LootCrate has a wearables subscription, too. Choose socks, undies, tees, and other cool clothing items featuring your favorite fantasy, sci-fi, and comic book franchises. Boxes start as low as $10.

Along with clothing, there are subscription boxes for grooming products for both teen boys and girls.

Blogged // Obsessed: Harry's Shave Sets ft. @harrys & @jacandseb

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Gifts for Teens to Give their Friends

Now that your teens are taking more responsibility for their social relationships, and, hopefully earning some of their own money, they may need help picking out gifts for their friends.

They’ll still want to buy birthday gifts for their closest friends or holiday presents for romantic partners. But they might need your help finding gifts that are appropriate for the relationship within reasonable spending limits.

They may be on a limited budget, so here are some great gifts for teens under $10 that shouldn’t stretch their bank account too far and still get rave reviews from the recipient.

Gifts for Teens under $10

1. Super Hero socks.

Everyone loves a cool pair of new socks, and they’re even better when they feature your secret identity. Find Wonder Woman caped socks ($7.99) and Superman caped socks ($8.92) at Amazon.

2. Smartphone Accessories

Teens love cell phone covers that reflect their personality, and they usually cost less than $10. Cell phone grips by PopSockets are huge now, and great for phones and tablets. You can find cases and grips on Amazon.

3. Funko Pops

Funko Pops are the adorable vinyl doll figures that are all the rage. The best part is, there’s a Funko for everyone. These collectibles run from $4 to $30, depending on how rare they are. You’re sure to find the perfect one for any teenager.

You can Funko Pops from the teen’s favorite movie, comic book or television show. Even beloved PBS painting star Bob Ross has his own Funko Pop.

They might like Dancing Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

How about Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead?

You can also find Funko Pops for popular video game characters, like Dovahkiin from Skyrim.

4. Special Playing Cards

It sounds like a lame gift, until you look at the vast selection of beautifully illustrated and select playing cards they make. Lots of teens would love a set of Harry Potter playing cards.

Tabletop games and card games are making a comeback, especially with teens. Video games are great, but teens like to gather in groups for fun, and card games fit the bill.

And science fiction and adventure movie fans will love this three-deck set of playing cards based on the Star Wars movies.

5. Journal

Many teens like to write down their thoughts and keep notes as their world changes. A nice hardbound or leather bound journal makes a great gift, and most cost only $7-10. You can find a style to suit any teen, from a dark and serious black journal to one covered in stars and filled with dreams.

6. Tote Bags and Lunchboxes

Teens can find lots of cool and cute tote bags for less than $10 at online stores like or Amazon. Even though teens don’t usually carry lunch boxes to school, they’re used at home for storing pens, pencils, makeup, cards, keepsakes, and more.

Tote bags can carry books or overnight sleepover gear, as well as small laptops or beach gear. And they’re definitely not just for girls.

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7. Starbucks Gifts

Teens love the drinks at Starbucks, boys and girls alike. Along with their gift cards, you can also get coffee cups or gift sets of coffee blends or hot drink mixes. A $10 card will get them a coffee or tea and a pastry. This is a wonderful pick-me-up treat for any teen, while shopping or after a matinee movie.

8. Dungeon Dice

With the increasing popularity of tabletop role-playing games, how about getting your teen their own set of dungeon dice. Be ready for the next adventure with a set of the most common die and a bag to put them in. This set of Glowing polyhedral dice are luminous and very special. They’re probably enchanted for good luck. The set has six dice and brick box package, perfect for gifting and easy to wrap for <$9 on Amazon.

I just got these beauties! I love them! #bescondice

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9. Skull Cap or Beanies

Knit wool beanie caps are popular with boys and girls from 13 to 30, so they’re a sure bet for gift giving. They’re a great solution for busy mornings when there’s no time for messing with hairstyles. Slouchy styles are popular with girls, and some even have holes in the back for ponytails.

Hipster style beanies are popular with boys. They sit above or at the top of the ears and are great for hiding bed head.

Who's cutting Echo Parks hair?? #memesohard #badbadnotgood #hipsterbeanie

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10. Craft or Model Kits

One of the best gifts you can give a teen is an experience. For only $10, they can make their own jewelry or model. Not only will have the cool model or bracelet when they’re done, but they’ll also have fun putting it together. And if you can share that experience by helping them out, even better.

For new crafters, it helps to get easy kits with everything they need inside. A bracelet kit from Melissa and Doug has everything, costs less than $10, and looks like it turns out a nice product.

A fun model kit from Amazon that features baby dinosaur eggs is more décor than challenge. But any Dinophile will tell you that you never grow out of your love for dinosaurs.

Buying gifts for teenagers doesn’t have to be that hard. Just remember that they’re people, like anyone else. The gifts they will love best are the ones that the giver chose just for them, tanking their unique personality and preferences into account. Practical gifts are always fine, and they’ll be sure to tell you what they need. But don’t forget that there’s still a kid inside that wants to play once in a while.


Featured Image: CC0 Creative Commons by Bahaa A. Shawqi via Pexels

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