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Let them blast music in the shower without steaming up their expensive phone by grabbing a waterproof speaker.
Artmaking books and supplies
-You Are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation, by Sarah Urist Green
Board and card games
-And don’t forget about the classics, including chess, checkers, Monopoly, Jenga, backgammon, and poker!
P.S. If your teen is a gamer extraordinaire, pick up a t-shirt with an “I Paused My Game to Be Here” slogan!
Box subscriptions and kits
What parents are saying: “Kiwi crate has boxes for older kids. Their Tinker, Maker and Eureka crates are for middle and high schoolers. I ordered some Eureka crates over the summer and the stuff my daughter made was pretty much cool. She loved 4 out of 5. She made headphones and a lantern that she uses a lot, a small printing press, an articulated lamp and 1 more I can’t recall. And she could do them on her own, except with the lamp she needed help.”
What parents are saying: “We bought my daughter a subscription to Universal Yums for her 12th birthday and it was such a huge hit! If you get a subscription, every month they send a box with snacks from a different country (everything is carefully labeled in English if you're worried about food allergies.) Each box comes with a booklet with info and trivia about the country and it's been really fun to try all these different snacks from around the world. During her subscription, my daughter got boxes from places like Egypt, Russia, Thailand, England, and Colombia. They also have a holiday gift, which has festive treats from a bunch of different countries in one box. Definitely a winner for a kid who is into food and interested in seeing how tastes vary from place to place.”
-Curious Jane: Craft kits with all of the supplies needed for 3–6 themed DIY projects.
-OwlCrate: Each box includes a new book, bookish items, and goodies from the author.
-Comics Fan Box: Treat them to new genres, fan art, and novelty gifts.
-Jambo Book Box: The age 10–13 version arrives monthly featuring one inclusive middle grade novel and one non-fiction book that explains in greater detail a topic covered in the novel.
What Park Slope Parents members are recommending:
-“We really like the America’s Test Kitchen book for kids!”
“My daughter has been cooking using America Test Kitchen's The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs. I've even learned a few things from it.
Fairly basic, tasty recipes plus step by step directions with the "why" behind some things.”
-“Melissa Clark’s Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks: A Cookbookfor kids looks excellent and just the right mix of accessible and interesting recipes. Just ordered it for my tween for a holiday present.
Clark’s adult recipes have been fantastic for me as a mid-level cook and also loved by my far-more-talented-cook sister.
And Clark is a Bklyn parent!
-“My 11 year old really likes using the Silver Spoon for Children - the kids' version of a classic Italian cookbook. All of the recipes are delicious and simple (but not dumbed-down).”
More suggestions from PSP members:
Letting them pick their gift can be the ultimate gift. Support local by picking up a certificate to a shop right here in Brooklyn (we have PSP member reviews here for gifts and shopping in the area), or grab a digital gift card from #TheOther5th, which lets them shop at dozens of stores in the Slope.
What Park Slope Parents members are recommending:
-Amulet: "Probably best for a 4th grader+"
-Anything and everything by Katie O'Neill
-Anything by Dav Pilkey (Dogman, Catkid, Captain Underpants, etc.)
-Anything by Raina Telgemeier (Sisters, Smile, Guts, etc.)
-Avatar: The Last Airbender
-Bowie: "graphic biography of David Bowie"
-Bug Boys: "friendship between beetles"
-Cleopatra in Space
-Compass South & Knife's Edge: "adventuring twins in the 19th century"
-Diana: Princess of the Amazons: "Wonder Woman as a girl"
-Dragon Hoops: "fascinating story of a high school basketball season"
-Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
-Rapunzel's Revenge: "pretty much what it sounds like"
-Peter & Ernesto: "cute and funny sloths... borderline comic-strippy. Easy to read, fairly minimal text"
-The Baby-Sitters Club
-The Prince & the Dressmaker: "beautiful fantasy about a gender nonconforming prince"
-When Stars are Scattered: "true story of refugee brothers"
-Witches of Brooklyn: "always fun to read about Brooklyn!"
Classics like Spikeball fit well in pint-sized Brooklyn yards and will keep teens active and warm during outdoor play.
Boxing reflex balls
From one PSP parent: "I bought my twin boys (almost 13) these balls that bounce off your head (boxing reflex ballls). LOL!"
What parents are saying: “I have a subscription to The Week, Jr. for my 9 year old. It’s a weekly publication. We love it. It’s very full of information, geared towards this age group and I found it has explained some delicate topics very sensitively these last few months. It can be overwhelming at first, but then we got the hang of sifting through and picking the ones we want to read.”
A subscription to MasterClass lets them learn from the world’s greatest in the arts, business, design, science and tech, music, sports, and much more. Skillshare starts out free but also offers a premium option, and focuses on creative pursuits like drawing, photography, and design.
Home learning and building kits
-"For tweens who love building, the Lego Architecture sets are expensive but very satisfying. Also Robotime makes some amazing wooden model kits."
Ensure they’re never caught juice-less with a portable battery pack.
A heavy blanket like this one offers a naturally soothing sensory experience at bedtime.