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The 10 Best Gifts for Tween Girls (Ages 8–12)

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Stacie L has been an educator for many years and likes to share her experiences and advice.

Picking the right gift for a tweenager can be a real challenge. Here are a few ideas to help you on your search.

Picking the right gift for a tweenager can be a real challenge. Here are a few ideas to help you on your search.

What Gifts Do Tween Girls Like?

"Tween" is a relatively new term. I don't remember being referred to with this term when growing up, so I'm guessing it's an advertising term that's since been created to zero in on this particular age group. It refers to those girls between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age—also known as pre-teens.

These young girls may still like dolls, but it's also possible that they have started to care more about clothes and crushes. Friends are also becoming more important to them, as they are trying to figure out how to deal with new feelings and experiences. Of course, girls mature at different rates, so a few may think of some of these ideas as "babyish" while others will not.

Here are some gift ideas that may appeal to most of this age group, whether it be for Christmas, birthdays, Hanukkah, or any special occasion. I've reviewed the best-rated and most creative items that are sure to please.

1. The Tween Survival Guide

Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul by Jack Canfield was written because this age group wasn't written about before now (and can be hard to figure out!). This book is one of a series that have been written by this author.

Jack describes this book as a survival guide and tackles tough issues that preteens or "tweens" face today, such as divorce, changes in friendships, life issues, family problems, attitudes, and adjustments as they mature. Stories from celebrities such as NSYNC, Mia Hamm, and Beverly Mitchel.

2. A Custom-Designed Laptop or Tablet Cover

A custom-designed laptop sleeve or tablet cover is a very grown-up item for a young girl. She will feel special carrying her laptop to school or friends' homes in this very fun and fashionable sleeve. There are many sites online that will help her design her own laptop or tablet cover.

3. A Beanbag Chair

Here's a fun gift idea for your tween daughter, niece, or cousin—a furry beanbag chair. This is made from synthetic “fur” of polystyrene and comes in many fun colors. It will be a favorite place to sit and do homework, listen to music, and watch her favorite shows. Maybe get a few for her and her friends.

4. A Scrapbook

A scrapbook kit can help your tween daughter preserve memories of the good times. She can make her own or have friends come over to work on their last memorable event. The kit consists of a hardcover book, markers, stickers, and tape, allowing the child to create memories in a book style with her favorite photos. This can be made by the company in the mail or online by the child. This is a good, creative and fun way to share memories with family and friends.

5. A Make-Your-Own-Jewelry Kit

Help her make her own jewelry using hemp. These hemp bracelets have been around for generations and are fun and easy to make. A group of friends can have an enjoyable afternoon making many designs anywhere they go.

Klutz Hemp Bracelets Kit comes with 10 feet of hemp string, assorted beads, and clear instructions to make up to 10 bracelets. This is a favorite activity of girls. It allows them to make a unique piece of jewelry and share an activity with friends and family. A very economical gift from Fat Brain Toys Company.

A company by the name of Jewelry Basics makes a variety of kits with everything needed to create the perfect necklace, bracelets, or earrings. The kits are inexpensive, with easy-to-follow directions. A jewelry-making party with her friends makes this gift a super fun afternoon. A class version is available for teaching larger groups.

A third company, Make Your Own, has jewelry-making kits as well; they look a little different and more grown-up. Some are the Retro Jewelry Glass Pendant Jewelry Craft Making Kit, The Mystery Tree Glass Pendant kit, and the Earring Abstract Art kit. The feature online videos for each package and make great jewelry-making parties for girls and their moms.

A Portable Music Player

A Portable Music Player

6. A Portable Music Player

Another fun gift for the preteen girl is a way to carry all her favorite music wherever she goes. of her own.

Apple's iPod Shuffle can carry up to 500 songs. This is very compact, measuring only 5”x 5” x 1”, and comes with earbuds. It is an easy way to play music, podcasts, and audiobooks. It comes in pink and other fun colors.

The Tomameri Portable MP4 Player MP3 Player is also an e-book reader, voice recorder, video player, and photo player. It holds a lot of information with the 32GB card and comes in so many cool colors, like red, lime, blue, white, pink, black, and purple, to name a few.

7. Custom-Designed Headbands

Making a custom-designed headband is a sure way to develop her style and show others. Alex Ribbon Headband Kit with 14 interchangeable ribbons is another necessary accessory for the fashion-conscious tween girl!

The kit consists of a hard plastic headband and seven reversible ribbons that slide onto the band. Each ribbon has two different designs on either side; they can be reversed to have a total of 14 different looks.

8. Leg Warmers or Leggings

Leg warmers and leggings are popular and add style to her wardrobe. Levi's Girls Leg Warmers are another must-have fashion accessory to have this year.

They can be worn with a dress or skirt or shorts. Some girls even wear them under a long tee shirt. They are very fashionable, with the Levi label in an assortment of colors and materials.

9. Beauty Items for Tweens

Young girls also need to think about their skin needs, as breakouts may begin earlier than the official teen age of 13.

Cleansers and Moisturizers

Some of the stand-bys for generations are Neutrogena, Eucerin, Proactiv, and a few natural lines such as Kidskin. The Kidskin gentle, sensitive skin cleanser is a good start to the changing skin needs of a pre-teen and teen girl. The company has a line-up for the acne-prone, a moisturizer, and combination kits.

Age-Appropriate Cosmetics

Cosmetics and make-up for a 13-year-old is a sensitive topic that parents and their daughters struggle with. It's exciting to start wearing some, but many girls don't know when to stop.

Hello Kitty has start-up cosmetic kits called Happy Fun Makeup Collection featuring lip glosses, eyeliners, and an eye-shadow palette to start with. A choice of colors is available, and she can experiment at home before going out in public. There are other Hello Kitty kits featuring just eye shadow, as well as lip-gloss palettes.

As far as facial makeup is concerned, it may be a wise decision to start with a light powder type and not a liquid that may clog the pores and aggravate a new skin condition.

e.l.f Cosmetics, which stands for eyes, lips, and face, has a few options for young faces. Their Disney Snow White Face Collection gift box and The Fairest of them All Limited Edition Face Collection Silky Smooth Powder are safe products. Another ELF makeup kit is the Jasmine Face Makeup Set Disney Princess Beauty set, which includes a mirror, brush, a makeup guide, shadow, powder, eyeliner, lip color, bronzers, and a blush with applicators. This makes a cute gift and is a limited-edition product.

Buying a gift package or trial kit with all the products line in small sizes may be a good introduction to skincare.

10. A Karaoke Machine

Let the secret rock star out with her own karaoke machine. Your pre-teen can practice her melodies in the privacy of her room and let loose at the party! She and her friends can be the life of the party with good wholesome fun! here is a review of some well-received systems that are affordable and easy to use.

The first one is the iCarly Sing Out Loud CD + G Karaoke System, which is a complete system for your tween daughter and friends to sing along to. This makes for a lot of fun and brings out even the shyest girl. The lyrics can be watched on a black and white monitor, and duel microphones will allow her to sing along with a friend or family member. Among the cool features, it has a 20-track programmable memory, built-in camera, and enhanced vocal effects.

Another good choice is Singing Machine SML283BK CDG Karaoke Player, made by a company called the Singing Machine. This comes in the colors pink and black, has two microphone jacks with volume control, and built-in speakers. The LED display with red and blue lights is good for dimly lit rooms.

A little more expensive model is the Pyle PWMA120BM - Portable PA Speaker and Wireless Mic. It comes in two versions-Bluetooth and wireless. Among the capabilities of this model, the Bluetooth version has a portable and compact PA system, the ability to stream audio from most devices, and a wireless hand-held microphone.

The other wireless version includes a built-in one-channel VHF wireless receiver, a built-in 12 V 1.2A rechargeable battery, and separate wired MIC and wireless MIC volume controls. This looks a little more professional but is easy to use and lightweight. The Pyle PWMA120Bm can also play FM stations and has one of the highest ratings of the portable karaoke machines.

Happy Gifting!

Tween girls are not children, nor are they teens, so trying to find a gift that they won't roll their eyes at can be a daunting task.

The gift ideas in this article are geared toward self-discovery and friendship-building, which is so important at this age. Some gifts may be too young for her or too old; you need to ask questions and pay attention to what she talks about. Or just watch some of the preteen shows she likes to get some good ideas yourself!

© 2009 Stacie L


Marites Mabugat-Simbajon from Toronto, Ontario on March 26, 2012:

I have a teen who recently turned 16 this March. She is one girl who is happy to receive bottles of nail polish, lip gloss, an eye liner and a black mascara. NO heavy make-up. Just the basic four. That polka dot laptop sleeve is pretty, Stacie! And just an idea, a cellphone cover or a digital camera (other times though they are more comfortable with the cameras from their cellphones). She told me once, "Mom, don't buy me books. You don't know which type of stories I love to read." She'd be most happy to receive a gift card from Indigo Bookstore instead. I enjoy wrapping up presents, but if my 16 yr old and 21 yr old daughters prefer receiving gift cards (from a bookstore, fashion store, cosmetic store, McDonalds, Tim Hortons and Pizza Shoppes) why not? It saves me time, hahaha! And comes with it is a special birthday card with a personal and touching message from mommy. Recently, I made my 16 yr old a slideshow for her birthday that she can replay and keep forever.

Thanks Stacie, you've got some good ideas there. Cheers!!!

Annomus on November 23, 2011:

I think those ideas are good but I think some of them would be better for younger kids and some for older kids like I suggest a camera or a note pad set or a dog yeah a dog would be cool to get if u wanna get a dog u should get it based off their personality or a dog that fits their living environment.just saying.the dog is just an idea good for any age I just said a dog because I was running out of suggestions

Alexis on December 11, 2010:

I would suggest perfume or DS games.Also we also like things like make-up.only clear mascara or lip gloss.Fruity flavor/scents my favorites

Stacie L (author) on December 05, 2010:

thanks for the suggestion Sarah.:-)

Sarah on December 04, 2010:

You can try skin products I' m 12 so I wouldknow

Stacie L (author) on November 16, 2010:

well Anonymous,I've presented the newest ideas here. Have a look.

Anonymous on November 15, 2010:

I need ideas sooonnnnn!!!

Stacie L (author) on November 29, 2009:

this is a silly stage for girls..still innocent and fun!

whastzis on November 28, 2009:

Great ideas for that hard-to-find-giggly girl group!