Gift Guide: Tween Boys (9-12ish)

By Polly Conner
October 21, 2020

Tween boy–roughly the ages of 9-12–is the age of maturing kid and not yet teen. Two of my sons fall in this range, so they helped me quite a bit with this list. We tried to think of a high quality gift for all of kinds of boys. Whether your tween likes the outdoors, sports, reading, science, or games, we’ve got a variety of ideas.

Make sure to hop over and browse around our other Holiday Gift Guides!

Note: If you bookmark any of these ideas for later, we’d be so thankful if you came back to this page and go through our link when you are ready to purchase. We only get credit if you make a purchase through our link. We appreciate your support SO much!

Tween Boy: Ages 9-12 Gift Guide

Spikeball Game Set – My 12-year-old son got hooked on this indoor or outdoor group game at church camp this summer.

Spikeball Set

Echo Dot with clock – My kids LOVE their echo dots. They use it for music and audiobooks primarily. The Echo Dots also have games on them that the kids have fun with. What I learned after I bought them is that they can also be used as kind of a walkie talky. From my phone, I can drop into their room, make announcements, block certain songs, set time limits, and turn on the explicit filter. Now truth be told, they still find songs that you may not approve of but all you have to say is, “Alexa, never play that song again.” I love these!

Fitness Tracker – When I asked moms of tween boys what they recommended, a fitness tracker was a common response. “He loves competing with who got more steps per day (he always wins!)” While I have previously used a Garmin Vevofit Jr., this fitness tracker looks like a great option for older kids.

Kids fitness tracker

Electric Scooter – I have seen kids zooming around on these in our neighborhood and think this age group is ideal for an electric scooter. This one has great reviews and is a reasonable price.

Razor Scooter

Nerf Football – This exact football gets a lot of play action in our backyard and is taken on almost every road trip. Super affordable and something every family of young boys needs!

Hoverboard – Built-in wireless speaker can be easily connected to portable devices, just enjoy your favorite music or books without wearing headphones. Easy to learn for beginners and amateurs.


Flint and Steel – My almost 11-year-old son prides himself on his survival skills. He loves the woods and the idea of being able to start his own fire. Now this gift isn’t for young kids or every kid. But, if you have a fairly responsible one who is an adventurer, he/she will love this flint and steel set. I let my son start all of our fires in our fire pit with it, while all the neighbor friends look on in awe. 

Flit and Steel fire starter

Bow & Arrow SetThis puppy shoots over 100 feet! “My ten-year-old son loves this bow and now we are thinking of buying a second one for our seven-year-old son who loves it, too. It shoots really far and was simple to put together. We like that it’s safer than a traditional bow & arrow and easier for a child to use. We are happy with our purchase and it was a great price.”

Bow and Arrow Set

Bike Wheel Lights – These look so fun and have GREAT reviews. Not only do they make evening bike riding much safer but kids love being able to customize their look! I read that installation is easy but to watch the video provided to better understand how. Could be a great stocking stuffer too!

Bike Wheel Lights

Headlamp – Such a staple for young boys. They will find so many ways to use this!

Head Lamp

Illustrated Harry Potter Collection – These are amazing! The illustrations and creative touch on every page helps keep those busy boy’s attention. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, these are a must. I have found so much joy in reading these with my kids.

Illustrated Harry Potter Series

Swiss Army Knife – All three of my kids, girl included, have a pocket knife like this. They like to whittle wood with it, take it on hikes, and pretend to “survive”. For There are so many colors and patterns to choose from.

Swiss Army Knife

Electronic Snap Circuits – Designed for young engineers ages 8+. Build over 300 experiments with 60+ parts, including photosensitive electronic organ, a Lie detector, an AM radio, and a two-finger touch lamp and much more!

Snap Circuits

Ogosport – I think these look SO fun and they have come highly recommended by trusted sources. The more outdoor games the better in my opinion!


Throw Throw Burrito – I’ve heard great things about this game. I did read that it works best with around 4 player so keep that mind. Here is what reviewer said: “We have had this game for roughly three days now and have played Throw Throw Burrito every night since receiving it in the mail. My family has multiple closets full of games and this is our favorite, hands down.”

Throw Throw Burrito

3×3 Rubik’s Speed Cube – The Rubik’s Cube is back but it’s even faster. Speed cubing has now become popularized. My oldest son spent a few years learning the speed cubing method and investing a lot of his money and research time into cubes. He quickly learned that not all cubes are made equal. The one I linked to is one of the best 3×3 cubes on the market for your up-and-coming speed cuber or recreational cuber.

Wireless Headphones – Kids will love the freedom of wireless headphones! Here is what reviewer said: “I bought these on Prime Day because I needed some less expensive headphones to use while mowing the lawn. Right out of the box, it took only seconds to connect to my iPhone. The sound quality wasn’t quite what you would get with an expensive set, but I didn’t expect that. Still, the sound quality was great and they were powerful enough that I was concerned that my very loud lawnmower wasn’t working correctly.”

Wireless Headphones

Exploding Kittens Card Game – This hilarious card game for all ages especially connects with tween boys because of the quirky comedy involved. Fun family game that is easy to learn.

Exploding Kittens

Ripstick – Our whole street of boy and girl tweens ride up and down the sidewalks and driveways after school on their Ripsticks. Such great exercise and reason to get outside! The mom in me has to suggest investing in a helmet and pads, too. 😉


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series – When asking moms of tween boys about gift ideas, these books came up over and over again. All the main books are the journals of the main character, Greg Heffley. Befitting a teen’s diary, the books are filled with simple drawings of Greg’s daily adventures.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Slack LineA friend of ours had this in his backyard and boys of all ages used and loved it. Set it up and take it down fairly easily. Great for exercise, getting outside, and fully family fun.

Slack Line

Fathead Wall Decals (so many options!) – These decals are easy to install, easily removable (and even reusable) and serve as a great way for your tween to express himself. They have all types of decals: sports, Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, Comics, and more.

Fathead Wall Decal

Cup Stacking Set with Pro Timer Mat – Kids at our church play this fast-paced activity by themselves or in groups. There are amazing YouTube videos of kids going at lightening speed.

Cub Stacking Set

More Ideas:

The Dangerous Book for BoysThe classic bestselling book for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses*, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age-old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age, there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage. This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. 

Dangerous Book for Boys

Younger Tween Books: Here are a few great book ideas for 9 and 10 year old boys.

Older Tween Books: Here are some favorites in our house for older tweens.

Legos: Lego City is currently the most popular Lego set on our street for younger tween boys (ages 9-10).

Lego City Lego Sets

Code Names: A really fun group game that all ages and genders will love. I often give this as a birthday gift to older tween boys.


Bible: Snag my 9-year-old’s favorite children’s Bible, The Action Bible. Find more excellent Bible options on this list of Children’s Bibles or this list of Tween and Teen Bibles.

Check out all of our Holiday Gift Guides:

Note: If you bookmark any of these ideas for later, we’d be so thankful if you came back to this page and go through our link when you are ready to purchase. We only get credit if you make a purchase through our link. We appreciate your support SO much!

Make sure to hop over and browse around our other Holiday Gift Guides!

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78 replies
  1. Susan Eubank says:

    We are a game playing family and I love the indoor and I outdoor games.
    I’ve never seen the Spike Ball game and it looks like fun.

  2. Angel Derby says:

    I love the recommendations of the Swiss Army knife and headlamp. There so many things these young men can get their hands into and minds around as they explore and learn new skills! Definitely adding these to the list for the tweens in our family!

  3. Hilary says:

    Love the illustrated Harry Potter collection! I may need that for myself! It’s so fun to see kids get into the same books that you love!

  4. Traci says:

    I love that age specific gift guides can also be used for others! They are just a collection of great ideas! My husband wants Spike Ball! Thanks for all these great ideas with easy access!

  5. shelby says:

    Even though I’m not a teenage boy, I definitely asked for the Harry Potter illustrated collection this year 🙈 It was on major sale on Groupon this past week!

  6. Melissa Wenger says:

    My boys would like everything on this list! A pocket knife is something they’ve both asked for…the one you linked seems like a good quality choice!

  7. Kate B. says:

    Our whole family loves Exploding Kittens! We read the first Harry Potter illustrated as a family, and I loved that it was the story my 10 year old enjoys, and the illustrations were enough to hold the interest for the 6 year old!

  8. Donna says:

    I always have trouble getting gifts for the men in my life. This is so helpful. I. Like the fitness tracker because he can keep it as he matures. I also like the idea that it gives the subtle message that his health is important.

  9. Laurie says:

    This list covers so many great gift ideas for boys! The fire starter is a unique idea that would be fun for camping! And the Illustrated Harry Potter books have caught my eye before. We haven’t read those yet so maybe this would be a good set to start with!

  10. Janette Miller says:

    I bought my son the Throw Throw Burrito game for Christmas this year! Can’t wait to see him play it with his older, adult brothers!

  11. Karla Knight says:

    The Harry Potter series is close to my heart! I read these to my son when he was in elementary school, then he reread all of the books when he was in Middle School – great memories and a wonderful series for any kid to read!!!

  12. Sarah says:

    I want to get all my mine a Ripstick. They need to spend more time outdoors and less time on electronics and this looks like a fun way to do it!

  13. Megan R. says:

    I don’t have a boy, but I can recommend the illustrated Harry Potter books to everyone!!! They are beautiful and so engaging! We have the set and I love them!

  14. Angela Johnson says:

    From these tween guides, the football, bow and arrow, and the Swiss army knife would be my choices…my son, even though he’s 13, would enjoy any of these three.

    Thanks for having these giveaways!

  15. Carrie Nespor says:

    I like the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series” idea #20! I’ve seen the books but we’ve never read them. Thanks for the suggestion!