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Gifts for Tweens Aged 9 to 12

Top Picks and Other Options

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Gifts for tweens--kids aged 9 to 12—can be difficult to choose. Tweens vary in interests and maturity. They are heavily influenced by peers and media, although they are still likely to want a close relationship with their grandparents. To maintain that relationship, get them something that will meet their personal definition of cool. This list of gifts for tweens may give you some ideas. It's been approved by my tween grandchildren as uber cool, but I would still hold on to my receipts!

1. Ugly Dolls

Uglydolls are a whimsical alternative to traditional stuffed animals.
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Tweens may have outgrown the desire for cute stuffed animals, but still have the need for something cuddly. Uglydolls will meet that need with a constellation of kooky characters. Aficionados know that in the Uglyverse, ugly means unique and special.

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2. Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a board game intriguing enough to lure tweens away from their video games.
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This board game just might be enough fun to lure tweens away from their video games, and it's sophisticated enough to interest Grandma and Grandpa as well. One really neat feature is that the game is different each time you play it, thanks to a gameboard that you generate each time.

3. Geomate Jr. Geocacher

gps geocaching for kids
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Tweens love geocaching, and grandparents like to give gifts that will get them outdoors. Made by Apisphere, this easy-to-use GPS device automatically displays nearby geocaches whenever it is turned on, eliminating the need for downloads and computer connections. An optional kit allows for periodic updating.

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4. LittleMissMatched Bed in a Bag

Give your tween granddaughter a gift of room decor with LittleMissMatched Bed in a Bag.
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If your granddaughter loves to change the way her room looks, she'll love these bedding sets from LittleMissMatched. Ingeniously designed, each set offers 384 different looks. Decorative pillows are sold separately but add to the fun.

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5. Erector 30 Model Set

Erector building set
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Remember the classic Erector construction sets? Nostalgia buffs can buy the old style sets, but I’m betting most tween boys would rather have this kit which will allow them to build 30 different models. The development of flexible pieces has made working with Erector sets easier and more fun.

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6. Clocky

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Invented by an MIT design student, Clocky is an alarm clock that functions normally until the second time you hit snooze. At that point, it takes off on its own, traveling on oversized wheels to some unknown location so that you will have to get out of bed and find it the next time it goes off. It has a clean, whimsical design that tweens will love—at least until the third time it goes off!

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7. Hyper Dash

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This game is a parents' and grandparents' dream as it combines problem-solving skills with physical exercise. The set consists of an electronic tagger that plays music and gives directions to the player. The tagger is used to hit targets, which can be placed close together indoors or spread out when playing out-of-doors.

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8. Razor Ripstik

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I was intrigued the first time I saw neighborhood girls riding their Ripstiks. With a gentle undulation of their hips, they propelled themselves down the street, laughing and talking. I understand that it's almost as easy as it looks. A Ripstik is one of the best known brands of what is called a caster board, which is something like a skateboard except with only two wheels.

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9. Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye

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This is a device which plugs into the TV and enlarges everyday objects to 200 times their regular size. It takes a little practice to operate, but is much more satisfying than peering through a toy microscope. Great for the budding scientist, or for the kid who simply wants to know what Grandpa’s nose hairs look like when enlarged 200 times.

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10. Coal Beanies

Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

For cold weather, every tween boy needs a beanie. As far as I can tell, a beanie is the old stocking cap with a new name, except that these come in stripes and bright colors instead of the old neutrals. The trendiest have a bobble on top, like this model from Coal.

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11. Target Gift Cards

Tweens love Target gift cards even more now that they are mobile-friendly.
Photo © Target

Target is a favorite retailer for many tweens because their product lines are hip but reasonably priced. The iconic puppy is a favorite image. Target gift cards can now be sent, saved and spent from a mobile phone.

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