a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Dec, 2012

Tried and true Christmas gifts for tweens and young teens

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

Is it just me, or do kids get harder to buy for as they get older? I wanted to share a few ideas of things that we ALREADY love here at Casa Fishbowl in case you’re looking for some ideas for the tweens and young teens in your lives.

A scooter
Sarah’s first cheapie scooter broke and I didn’t want to buy another cheap one only to have it break again so we bought a white Kick scooter for Sarah for her birthday back in April. We decided to spend a little extra because we knew she was going to get a lot of use out of it. And she has! She rides that thing every day and she rides it pretty hard. We ordered this model through Fishbowl patron Tag Along Toys and I’m so glad we did. That thing is pure awesome; a smooth quiet ride with tough oversized wheels. We’ve never had a single issue with it. In fact, it was so good we bought a second one for Emma. Mark secretly wants one too.

I bought gold Buckyballs (pictured here) for Mark but I keep finding the girls playing with them. They’re very powerful little magnets and that you can use to make shapes. It has been described it as a cross between an erector set and silly putty, and I think that sums it up pretty well. Buckyballs are NOT a toy. Do not buy them if you have little kids. I still secretly live in fear that someone is going to some in their mouth without thinking or that they’ll drop a couple on the floor and the dog will divebomb thinking it’s food. Either of these scenarios could result in Horrible Things happening. Like Death. But hey, they’re old enough to play with them. I think. Sigh. [Update: seems the company that makes them has lost the battle and won’t be producing them anymore. Get yours while you can.]

I first wrote about them here.


As you can see, Nanoblocks are like super tiny Lego, and very fun. They’d make a great stocking stuffer!

Xbox Kinect
If you’re looking for a console game, this is it. I’m looking around for a new family game to play this Christmas and I’m considering Lego Lord Of The Rings, which is getting good reviews. The Lego series of games are very fun for the whole family. Lego Indiana Jones was particularly good.

TIP: Do not buy video games on impulse. Read reviews before you buy, otherwise you’ll get stuck with a crappy game. Trust me on this.

iPod touch
My kids got iPod touches for Christmas from their grandma and grandpa last year and they LOVE THEM. (They come in new colours this year, check ’em out.) If you do get them an iPod, make sure you get a protective case for it. Also, pick up some iTunes gift cards that can be used for music and apps. Every teen I know is dying for iTunes gift cards. Our girls are hankering for cool speaker docks (which also act as chargers) like this one at Best Buy.

And while we’re on the topic of electronics, my eldest has asked for this Fujifilm instax mini 7s Instant Camera. It is admittedly pretty cool but I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s not cheap to use. It basically costs $1/photo. (It takes this film, which costs $19.99 for a pack of two. Sigh.)

Books are always under the tree, but for the first time in my life I’m not sure what to buy. In case you’re also thinking about buying books for your tweens and teens, here are a few past posts regarding some of our favourite books… with lots of reader suggestions too.

Board and card games
Our kids are koo-koo krazy for board games. Some of our family favourites include Sorry, Life, Rummoli (a new one for us), Squarrels, and Uno to name a few.

Djeco creativity kits
This is another item I’ve bought at Tag Along Toys and I’ve written about these fabulous creative art kits many times before. I cannot recommend them enough. The kits range in ages/abilities/design and media: lacing, painting, colouring, stitching, sand, glittering (is that even a word?) but the results are always gorgeous and totally frameworthy.

Djeco art kit

The Djeco website is a real treat, so take a moment and visit.

Finally, I want to leave you with some teen-related gift picks from terra20 that I thought were pretty cool AND have a real live teen’s stamp of approval. You can read it over on their website.

Tell me, do you have tweens and teens in your life? What’s on their lists? Share some ideas and help out the rest of us!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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