The PSP Gift Guide: Tweens and Teens

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Tweens and teens may be notoriously difficult to shop for, but our Park Slope Parents members have them outsmarted with these savvy suggestions.

 

Read on for the recommendations—and if you’re not already a member of PSP, join our community today to connect with parents in our Tweens & Teens Group!

 

 

PSP may receive small amounts of compensation for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. We are a community-supported site, and we include these products because they've received positive reviews from our members.

 

AirPods case

Keep those pods protected with a silicone case. And if Apple isn’t your speed, pick up a pair of Jabra wireless earbuds with an ergonomic shape.

 

Artmaking books and supplies

-You Are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation, by Sarah Urist Green

 

Board and card games

Buy local from spots like The Brooklyn Strategist, SipNPlay, and Brooklyn Game Lab if you can—and check with them to get expert recommendations for your teen!

-221B Baker Street

-Abalone

-Anomia

-Apples to Apples

-Axis and Allies

-Azul

-Bananagrams

-Betrayal at House on the Hill

-Blokus

-Carcassonne

-Century Spice Road

-Codenames

-Coup

-DaVinci's Challenge

-Diplomacy

-Dixit

-Dominion

-Double Ditto

-Dutch Blitz

-Exploding Kittens

-Fluxx

-Forsaken Forest

-Gloomhaven

-Hive

-Kids Against Maturity

-Last Night on Earth

-Loaded Questions

-Munchkin

-Mysterium

-Not Parent Approved

-Pandemic: The Cure

-Pente

-Risk

-Scattergories

-Settlers of Catan

-Sequence

-Seven Wonders

-Sheriff of Nottingham

-Small World

-Snake Oil

-Splendor

-Stratego

-Sushi Go

-Taboo

-Telestrations

-Ticket to Ride

-Quiddler

-Quoridor

-Wits and Wagers

-Word Slam

-You’ve Got Crabs

-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

-KiwiCo

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.”

-Universal Yums

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.

 

Cookbooks

What Park Slope Parents members are recommending:

America’s Test Kitchen book

-“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.”

Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks: A Cookbook

-“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!

Silver Spoon for Children

-“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:

-The Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook

-International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World

-How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food

 

 

Gift cards

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.

 

 

Graphic novels

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.)

-Artemis Fowl

-Avatar: The Last Airbender

-Bone

-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"

-Double+ Adventures

-Dragon Hoops: "fascinating story of a high school basketball season"

-Dragon Prince

-El Deafo

-Ghostopolis

-Hazardous Tales

-Hilda

-Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl

-Olympians

-Rapunzel's Revenge: "pretty much what it sounds like"

-Peter & Ernesto: "cute and funny sloths... borderline comic-strippy. Easy to read, fairly minimal text"

-Stargazing

-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!"

-Witch Boy

 

Lawn games

Classics like Spikeball fit well in pint-sized Brooklyn yards and will keep teens active and warm during outdoor play.

 

Magazine subscriptions

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.”

 

Online classes

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, 

 

Portable charger

Ensure they’re never caught juice-less with a portable battery pack.

 

Socks

Keep their toes warm and stylish with a subscription like Awesome Socks Club or Sock of the Month Club, or brighten their mood with a pair of positive affirmation socks or Happy Socks.

 

 

Water bottle

Whether they prefer a HydroFlask, an infuser bottle, or a motivational bottle with time markers, there’s a perfect option out there to keep your teen hydrated.

 

Weighted Blanket

A heavy blanket like this one offers a naturally soothing sensory experience at bedtime.