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30 cool gifts for teens that they'll actually like

Shopping for goodies for teens and tweens? You could just opt for a gift card, but we promise there’s a way to make even the pickiest of teenage girls and boys scrolling their iPhones to look up and crack a smile— no wish list required. We’ve rounded up some of the best gifts for every music lover, self-care queen and Gen Z high-school student on your list. From skincare products and bestseller gadgets to the coolest gifts for gamers and wannabe influencers, we’ve got you covered with this stellar gift guide.

Quick Overview
  • Rukus FX Music Mixer

    A motion-controlled music mixer

  • Hexbug Vex Robotics Catapult Kit

    A STEM kit with a fun purpose

  • Funko POP! Marvel: She-Hulk Vinyl Figure

    Tiny pop-culture icons

  • JBL Flip 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

    Take this speaker anywhere

  • Prismacolor Premier Manga Illustration Markers

    Perfect for the artistic teen

  • J Way Instant Boba Milk Tea, 10 Servings

    Almost as good as a trip to Asia

  • Lego Star Wars BD-1 Building Set

    Perfect for 'Star Wars' fans

  • Cup Noodles Snack Attack Earbud Case

    An earbud case for ramen fans

  • Sky Viper Force Hover Sphere

    A small trick drone

  • Nerf Laser Vision 4-Pack Laser Tag Game

    Tech to see in the dark

  • Birthdate Co. Candles

    For adolescents into astrology

  • Ravensburger Dungeons, Dice & Danger game

    A brand-new strategy game

  • Kodak Step Slim Instant Mobile Photo Printer

    Photos they can hold IRL

  • Miss Pink Y2K Beaded Choker Necklace

    A trendy piece of jewelry

  • Microsoft Xbox Series S

    A sought-after game system

  • Jelly Belly Harry Potter House Points Candy Dispenser

    A magical jelly bean experience

  • Aerobie Sonic Fin Football

    Something fun to toss around

  • Marvel Black Panther 'Wakanda Forever' Shuri doll

    Collectible Black Panther dolls

  • Glow-in-the-Dark StarFire Gel Blaster

    A unique blaster system

  • JLab Go Air Sport Wireless Earbuds

    Colorful music accessories

  • Make It Real 5-in-1 Activity Tower

    A cool DIY bracelet set

  • Paxcess Electronic Drum Set

    For beats on the go

  • Daybetter Smart WiFi Led Lights

    A rave in their room

  • Kitsch Silk Heatless Hair Curler

    A foolproof TikTok trend

  • AED Moon Lamp

    For the astronomy lover

See 20 more

As you shop, keep this advice in mind from independent analyst and toy historian Christopher Byrne, aka the Toy Guy:

"One of the things that’s so important about teens — and has been for many years — is the social aspect of their lives," says Byrne. Making, sharing, connecting and building community are important aspects to consider when choosing a thoughtful gift. Today's adolescents still enjoy the old-school activity of playing board games as a way to bond with friends, for instance. The new Dungeons, Dice & Danger game is a great one. Or consider the JBL Flip 6 portable speaker that just begs for a dance party.

JBL speaker, bubble-tea making kit, necklace and mini gaming console.
From high-tech gifts to DIY, we've gathered the best gifts for the tweens and teens in your life. (Photos: Amazon and Walmart)

"This is a time of life when they may be trying on different identities, discovering who they are separate from their parents and as individuals in a peer group," Byrne says about the post-elementary-school age. "Technology has made this possible, so things that can be shared either in person or virtually are great." The Kodak Step Slim Mobile Photo Printer, for instance, lets teens take photos from their cellphones and print them out to share with friends. And the Rukus FX music mixer allows for music and video creation and sharing.

A few carefully selected stocking stuffers are better than a whole pile. "Don’t overload kids with presents," cautions Byrne. You'll risk giving kids so much that they can’t appreciate what they get. And to quote the kids: "That’s so ’90s."

Twist, swipe, flick and twist to create unique custom music tracks with this cool handheld device. Kids can upload their favorite music, add sound effects and even record their own voice.

$24 at Walmart

Not only does the Rukus FX mix music, it has an LED light show and over 80 sound effects. And of course there's a built-in microphone for vocals. "After playing with it for a while, it is so much more than it might appear at first glance," says Byrne. "There’s a lot you can do with it; plus you can record and share what you do, and it’s a natural [activity] for taking videos and sharing those."

If the tween or teen in your life is into hoops, necklaces and bracelets, consider a unique pair of earrings like these selfie-worthy, dainty gold studs. "I love these studs!" writes one reviewer. "They are darling and just the right amount of edge. I’ve been wearing them almost every day." An impressive 93% of reviewers gave this pair five stars — those are good odds that the teen in your life will love them too!

Future engineers can immerse themselves in this cool building kit, which produces a working catapult that launches over 20 feet.

$21 at Amazon

Byrne recommends Vex building kits for kids who are into building and engineering. This particular kit contains over 160 pieces that can be turned into a working catapult to launch the three balls that are included. There's also an alternate build, which means more bang for your buck. One Amazon reviewer writes of her son: "He loves the science behind how the motors work and honestly they work quite well."

"Funko and Funko Pop have huge followings — and a great way to express affinity and express oneself," says Byrne. Teen Marvel fans will love this model, especially if they’re fans of the new "She-Hulk" TV series.

$13 at Amazon

Funko Pop makes big-headed products for just about every pop-culture franchise, including figurines from teen favorites like the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Marvel movies, TV's Stranger Things, Disney films and so much more.

These are popular with teenagers for their collectability, something Byrne says is great to consider when buying gifts. "This is the age when kids start collecting," he says. "The transition from play to collecting is an important one at this time of life. It really is a kind of rite of passage."

This portable speaker is a real powerhouse: It's waterproof, has 12 hours of play time and features JBL PartyBoost for multiple speaker pairing.

$130 at Amazon

Sure it has crystal-clear sound and deep bass, but the best thing about this speaker is its rugged portability. Plus it's Bluetooth connected and comes in 11 colors. "I've had several portable speakers over the years, and this is by far the best for the money," writes one Amazon customer. "I would more than likely buy it again because it fits easily into my backpack when I travel."

This eight-pack of markers is specifically curated for drawing Manga (a popular style of animation) art. Fine, brush and chisel tips are included.

$19 at Amazon

Help creative teens express themself with a high-quality art set that includes six black markers and two sepia-tone ones. "As a beginning anime artist, I was in search of a way to darken the lines in my drawings and lessen the number of pencil smudges in them," writes an Amazon reviewer. "Every marker within the packet was well worth the money."

Bubble tea, or boba, is trendy with everyone from tweens to 20s. Now they can save their cash and craft the sweet, chewy drinks at home.

$25 at Amazon

Amazon's No. 1 bestselling bubble tea kit, this contains everything needed to make 10 delicious servings of bubble tea. Inside the box are brown sugar boba pearls, milk tea, fruit tea and 10 fat straws. Teens will love customizing their own boba concoctions and sharing with friends.

"Marvel, Star Wars and other classics are big," says Byrne of the enduring hits. This hot new Star Wars set, designed for ages 14 and up, has movable joints for custom display poses.

$100 at Target

This cool BD-1 measures over 12.5 inches tall when built. The exploration droid includes authentic details that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order enthusiasts love. "The build was great, thoroughly enjoyed it," says one Lego fan. "The end model is brilliant with the various movement it has and poses it can be set into." The set is a splurge at $100 and includes more than 1,000 pieces, enough to keep them off of their phone for a couple of hours.

This silicone earbud case is compatible with Apple AirPods and makes a fun (and practical) gift! The handy carabiner allows teens to attach it to a purse, backpack or anywhere they please.
$15 at Claire's

Ramen — especially instant ramen — is a staple of youth. Celebrate your teen's love for yummy, convenient Cup Noodles with this fun earbud protective case. They're compatible with Apple Airpods, and we think this earbud case will get some laughs. But, more important, it'll keep your ramen-obsessed teen's earbuds safe and sound.

Motion sensors mean that tweens can control this flying gadget with just their hands.
$15 at Target

No remote control is needed here. Just toss this drone to launch it, guide it with hand movement and "teach" it tricks, then flip it upside down to power off. Rechargeable battery included. Some 81% of Target buyers give the Sky Viper Force Hover Sphere five stars.

We love that this set comes with four blasters so friends can enjoy a fierce game of laser tag together.
$54 at Amazon

These new Nerf Blasters take laser tag up a notch with the ability to play in the dark — the Laser Vision option illuminates enemy targets. The blasters have a range of up to 300 feet and battery life that will provide up to four hours of play.

A scented candle unique to the recipient's birthday, this unique gift features astrological info about their special day.
$50 at Amazon

For teens who look to the stars for guidance, this is a really fun gift. The pictured June 4 candle features an orchid, sandalwood and lemon scent, but each date features a unique “custom scent to match your energy.” The all-natural soy and coconut wax jar candle has a burn time of 60 to 80 hours. “It’s crazy that they were able to nail it and capture a scent truly made for me,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “I’m obsessed with it, and so are all of my friends, so I will definitely be gifting it to everyone I know.”

Search dungeons for treasure in this humorous roll-and-write game that's fun for ages 12 and up.
$27 at Amazon

Up to four players (yes, you can even play solo!) explore four different levels of this board game, including Annoyed Animals, Defiant Dinosaurs, Puzzled Pyramid and Clumsy Cultists. Get through by searching dungeons, battling monsters and scoring treasure. “Easy to learn and pick up,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “It’s fun and I recommend to anyone who likes the genre or is looking to try a roll-and-write for the first time.

Teens can wirelessly print 2 x 3 in. photos from their phones.
$80 at Amazon

Hey, Gen Xers, take your young adult back to your own teen years with actual paper photos. The sticky-backed photos printed from this wireless compact printer are smudge-proof, waterproof and tear-resistant — perfect to decorate bedrooms, lockers, mirrors and more. Simply connect to the printer via Bluetooth and use the Kodak Step Prints app to print vibrant photos.

Everything from the year 2000 is in again, including smiley faces and beaded pearl necklaces. A colorful choker makes a cool gift for fashion-forward teens.
$13 at Amazon

This inexpensive jewelry option resembles one worn by rapper and style icon Bad Bunny. “This necklace is so cute and great quality,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “Perfect dupe for the popular expensive brand.” The gold-tone choker features beads and faux pearls on a 14.1-inch chain (it has a 2.7-inch extender for a flexible fit).

This bold pullover is made from 24% recycled materials, which is a bonus for green-minded teens. The soft fleece fabric will keep your kiddo cozy this winter, as well as sporting the current style.

Adolescents and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly. Naturally, the Xbox console will be a hot gift!
$275 at Walmart

“Don’t forget video games,” says Byrne of the ultimate teenage gift idea. The Xbox Series S is a great price for a powerful system, and teens will enjoy it to play their favorite video game. “This is the MOST AWESOME THING I'VE EVER BOUGHT,” says one Walmart reviewer. Convincing words!

Perfect for the Harry Potter fan, this jelly bean dispenser releases beans according to each Hogwart's house. Will you get Green Apple, Lemon, Very Cherry or Blueberry?
$31 at Jelly Belly

The magical Sorting Hat chooses your Hogwarts house with the touch of a button and awards jelly beans accordingly. Will you get Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor or Ravenclaw? A 1-ounce bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans (in four flavors) is included with this set. The House Points dispenser makes a unique gift for middle school Potterheads.

This aerodynamic football is a bit more advanced than your typical foam toy. Its hollow gyroscopic design allows everyone to throw far — up to 100 yards! And it's endorsed by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
$25 at Amazon

“I love the Aerobie football,” says Byrne. “It’s easy to throw and creates social interaction.” The fins are adjustable for right- and left-handed throwers, and you can calibrate the spin rate. There’s even a hashtag to follow — #sonicfinchallenge — to participate in social media challenges. A great gift for the sporty teen.

These "Wakanda Forever" dolls aren't just child's play — they're cool collector's items for Marvel fans.
$50 at Target

“Representation is very important for teens,” says Byrne of these Fresh Fierce Collection dolls from World of EPI. There are three posable 11.5-inch dolls inspired by Marvel StudiosBlack Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. Black Panther fans will want to collect Nakia, Okoye and Shuri (pictured).

Tweens can blast one another with glowing water-based gel beads with this cool new Gellet system — 5,000 pellets are included.
$39 at Walmart

A built-in LED activator charges the included glow-in-the-dark Gellets for a light-up nighttime experience. Don’t worry, parents: The impact is just enough to register a hit but not enough to injure. And the Gellets dissolve on impact, providing mess-free play. The set includes the StarFire blaster and accessories, plus a USB C charging cable, barrel removal tool and safety glasses.

We love these earbuds because of their price point and fun colors, but they also feature great sound and long battery life.
$30 at Amazon

We all know that tweens and teens lose things a lot. That's why the manageable price of these earbuds makes them a practical — and fun — gift for teens who love Spotify or streaming Netflix on their phones. JLab’s new Go Air Sport earbuds have 32-plus-hour Bluetooth playtime, multiple sound settings, convenient touch controls and of course a charging case. You’ll get the charging case with an integrated charging cable, three sets of gel tips for a perfect fit and a two-year warranty. Available in six colors including on-sale black, neon yellow and teal as well as sky blue, green and sand. “These are the best earbuds I've owned,” writes one of more than 2,000 Amazon reviewers. “My favorite feature is that they stay in securely no matter what. They're comfortable to wear too.”

Crafty tweens will love this 1,600-piece activity tower — the storage sections are smart, and the kit contains materials to make more than 40 pieces of jewelry
$25 at Target

Middle-school-age kids who are into DIY jewelry trends will love all the ways to craft with this perfect gift set. Materials are included for Heishi Craze, Just Bead It, It’s Elastic!, Friends Forever and Link Em’ Up bracelets. The rotating tower keeps everything organized, and the trays can be removed to bring anywhere.

This No. 1 bestselling roll-up drum kit is a convenient way to create music. The seven pads, variety of timbers and rhythms, and volume control make this a great gift. Plus, it's portable and plays for 10 hours without a charge!
$76 at Amazon

Musicians in the making enjoy practicing the drums on this cool gift, and it won't bust your eardrums. (It includes a headphone jack!) It's a space-saver too! A five-star fan wrote: "This is great for beginners or taking on the go. You can work on the drumming skills anywhere. I got this for my son who wants a full drum set, but I was worried about commitment, so he can start with this set, which is small and compact, and if he sticks with it, we can invest in something bigger."

LED lights have been big on TikTok all year, and these — which pair with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant — are an excellent way for teens to personalize their space with fun colors, and they're so easy to install (and eventually remove).
$26 at Amazon

Even if they don't have a smart speaker in their room, they can control the lights via an app or the remote control that's included.

Boxes start at $23 for two treats and go up to $78 for 12, and the price includes shipping. Plus, code delivery is instant.

#heatlesscurls has over 2.9 billion views on TikTok, and these easy-to-use headbands can give anyone the look overnight. Plus, they won't have to worry about forgetting to turn the curling iron off before heading out for the day.
$14 at Amazon

Say hello to voluminous, bouncy curls. Thanks to this beauty product, they require nearly zero effort. Wear them while lounging or in bed at a sleepover and wake up with perfect curls to throw up in a scrunchie or wear loose.Say hello to voluminous, bouncy curls — and they require nearly zero effort.

Amazon's No. 1 bestselling table lamp not only looks way pricier than it is, but it makes for an excellent night light — and you'll kind of want one for your own bedroom too.
$19 at Amazon

It even has a remote that your teen can use to make it switch colors.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.