Best Gift Ideas for 13-Year-Old Girls, Revised for 2016

Updated on March 14, 2016
CarolineChicago profile image

Caroline is the mother of three spirited children. She and her husband have two teenage sons and a 19-year-old daughter.

Gift Ideas for the Discerning 13-Year-Old

She's 13 years old! And whether the gift-giving occasion is a birthday, 8th grade graduation, bat mitzvah, Christmas, or Hanukkah, you are buying for a very critical and discerning recipient.

As the mom of a teenage daughter, I have first-hand experience anticipating the sensitivities and social pressures of this age group. The best gifts for 13-year-old girls are most often those that help them feel secure and comfortable among their peers, offer some form of entertainment, and are absolutely not educational. It sounds shallow, but even avid readers and straight-A students want and need to fit in during the middle school years. While individuality is great, too much sometimes can be difficult for a 13-year-old girl.

Read on for gift-giving ideas for:

  • Your Aspiring Artist
  • Young Musicians
  • Middle School Athletes
  • Science Enthusiasts
  • Favorite Gift Cards
  • Affordable Birthday Parties & Holiday Fun

For books, be sure to check out my article Books for Teenage Girls!

Smart Phones: The "Mom & Dad Are Amazing" Gift

Smart phones are the springs from which all teen activities flow. A smart phone is the ultimate 13th birthday, bat mitzvah, or eighth grade graduation gift. The camera, video, texting, music, infinite apps, web browsing, instant social networking, and, yes, even telephone functions combine to create one seriously awesome device (from the point of view of someone still shocked that the internal workings of our old Mac SE from the early 1990s wouldn't be fit for a wristwatch anymore).

Plus, you can still find deals. Good deals are available for these cell phones, including unlimited texting and affordable data packages.

While kids will say they want an iPhone, any smart phone will make them happy. The iPhone 6 is currently the latest (for a nano-second) incarnation in the iPhone line, which makes a new iPhone of the old sort immediately cheaper. However, Android phones are equally acceptable gifts. Just don't purchase your teen a Blackberry or Windows phone (because you may find that they don't offer the options, apps, or the support she wants).

Manikins, colored pencils, art markers, and other art supplies make great gifts for aspiring artists.
Manikins, colored pencils, art markers, and other art supplies make great gifts for aspiring artists.

Calligraphy Pen Set

Staedtler calligraphy pen set, Complete 33 piece tin, ideal for all skill levels, 899 SM5
Staedtler calligraphy pen set, Complete 33 piece tin, ideal for all skill levels, 899 SM5

This set comes with four calligraphy pens, five different nibs for a variety of lines, several cartridges of different colored inks, a pad of paper, instructions, and a carrying case.

It's a gorgeous set!


Gifts for Your Artist

Many 13-year-old girls are greatly interested in art and photography, including digital photos, charcoal and pencil drawings, anime and manga, and even multi-medium art.

  • Digital Camera: For girls who are becoming serious shutterbugs, a high-quality digital camera is a wonderful 8th grade graduation, bat mitzvah, or 13th birthday gift. Look for models that include sports and night settings, at least 12x optical zoom, 8 mega pixels, and HD video. Some of these cameras offer fantastic quality in a very compact size. Don't forget to buy the extended warranty and a memory card. Great deals can be found at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. (Consider making this a family gift. Mom and Dad can purchase the camera and warranty, with grandparents or other relatives contributing the memory card and camera case.)
  • Art Supply Kits: Beautiful charcoals and a rainbow of colored pencils are always welcome gifts from girls who like to sketch and draw. 120-piece kits often start at just $15. Check out Michael's,, and Blick. Double up the gift with sketch pads.
  • Wood Manikins: Jointed, poseable wood manikins are great gifts for teenage artists. (Manikin? Yes, that is how it is spelled in this situation.) You can also find posable hands, a variety of body sizes, and even posable dogs for reasonable prices. Try Blick and Amazon for variety and good prices (under $25).
  • Calligraphy Set: These sets often come with pen, nibs, ink, and instructions for drawing calligraphy-style letters. If your girl is artistic, literary, or enjoys writing notes to her friends, she'll love this.
  • Lap Looms: These weaving looms go beyond the small, simple childhood potholders and allow young fiber artists to design works of art in scarves, blankets, and wraps. Most are 18" x 14". About $50. and
  • Manga & Anime Art Books: Anime, manga, and other comic art is very popular right now with many middle school and high school artists. If your teen is interested in this genre, then high-quality markers and how-to-draw anime/manga books will be greatly appreciated.

Gallery Studio - 82 Piece Deluxe Art Supplies Set in Wooden Case - Quality Mediums Guaranteed
Gallery Studio - 82 Piece Deluxe Art Supplies Set in Wooden Case - Quality Mediums Guaranteed

Includes 24 color pencils, 24 oil pastels, 24 watercolor cakes, 2 paint brushes, 2 drawing pencils and accessories:

All the art supplies a budding artist needs to create her own art!


Gifts for the Middle School Athlete

Young athletes may have a need for some specific equipment that would be welcomed as a gift. Different YA athletic teams provide specific items of equipment and pieces of uniforms, while requiring players to supply the rest. Be sure to check with parents about what sports equipment might be needed. Advanced baseball and softball players may want high-quality mitts, while dedicated golf, field hockey, and lacrosse players may want cleats, clubs, sticks, or equipment bags.

A gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, or a specialized local sporting goods store (especially for hockey, golf, lacrosse enthusiasts) is an appreciated gift—and easy to mail.

For grandparents and other relatives searching for gifts, other much-appreciated options include contributions to summer sports camp funds or paying for training clinics.

Encourage a young musician.
Encourage a young musician.

For the Musician

Thirteen is a great age for learning to play the guitar—or any other instrument. While many girls are involved in school band or orchestra, now is the age where many young women start tuning in to popular music or creating their own. Guitars and keyboards are the perfect portable instruments for a lifetime of music. Recording software options also exist for encouraging your future rocker.

At our house, my husband is a serious home recording artist and plays a variety of guitars, basses, and keyboards. He recommends the following resources for good deals on instruments, amplifiers, microphones, and accessories.

Sweetwater Sound
They have everything. My husband bought some recording equipment from this Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based company, and we also purchased a beautiful acoustic guitar for our daughter for her eighth grade graduation from Sweetwater. Wonderful service and good prices! They've even compiled a list of gift suggestions you can browse in price categories. (800) 222-4700.

Musicians' Friends
A great resource for rockers of any age. My husband has bought from this catalog for at least 20 years.

Band & Orchestra Instruments

If your daughter is playing in a school concert band or orchestra and has been renting her instrument, thirteen is the ideal age to decide if she'll continue playing into high school. If so, you might get her a new or used instrument of her own. Your school band director or your child's private teacher can help her choose the appropriate instrument body and mouthpiece. Some private teachers are also willing to go the music store with you to get the right instrument.

Private Lessons

Whether your 13-year-old is a rocker or a symphony/concert band member, private lessons make great gifts from grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Makala MK-SD/RDBURST Dolphin Bridge Red Burst Soprano Ukulele
Makala MK-SD/RDBURST Dolphin Bridge Red Burst Soprano Ukulele

If she's into strings, she may want to try plinking around on a ukelele. This soprano ukulele is not too expensive. It has a rosewood fingerboard with graphite dolphin bridge and a mahogany neck and it comes in six different colors. The perfect ukulele for any age beginner!

Gift cards make great gifts for 13-year-old girls!
Gift cards make great gifts for 13-year-old girls!

Gift Cards to Popular Teen Stores

Gift cards are ideal presents for any 13-year-old girl, especially from friends and extended relatives. Cards to favorite retail and online stores are always welcome and eliminate such issues as unknown sizes and color preferences, giving something she already has, or purchasing something that doesn't match her taste.

Current popular stores among 7th and 8th grade girls include:

  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle
  • Hollister
  • Ambercrombie
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Forever 21
  • American Apparel
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Victoria's Secret
  • H&M

Other favorite gift cards include:

  • iTunes
  • Visa / MasterCard gift cards
  • Local movie theaters, including AMC, Loews, Kerasote, or your local theater

If you like to support local, independent stores, a couple of good gift card ideas would include:

  • Mani-pedis
  • Hair salons
  • Unique, inexpensive jewelry stores

Fun, Affordable Gifts for Birthday Parties & Stocking Stuffers

  • Make-up, nail polish & other toiletries: A basket of fun lip glosses, perfumes, lotions, nail polishes, and other toiletries makes a great gift. Festive lip glosses and seasonal nail polishes are perfect for Valentine's Day and other holidays. ULTA Beauty is a good source for make-up kits.
  • Earrings
  • Gloves, hats, and scarves: Fun hats and colorful, trendy scarves make great gifts for winter. Fingerless gloves and glittens (convertible mittens) are popular now with teens and women and can easily be found with unique embroidery embellishments. Independent clothing stores and are great sources for funky outerwear.

What Gifts Do You Typically Give?

I strive to provide a high-quality, gift-giving resource. What gifts do you usually purchase for 12 to 14 year old girls?

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    • profile image

      Elizabeth 4 months ago

      get something she well love like a fhone

    • profile image

      Lexi 6 months ago

      i would love to have a phone

    • profile image

      Tara 6 months ago

      U know what i want? A makeup kit books, guitar/guitar lessons,Victorias secret hoodies,ankle boots, and aniPhoneX

    • profile image

      Crimson 7 months ago

      I was more of the band type and I think the 2 best birthday gifts I ever received were tickets to see AC/DC and Iron Maiden in concert, and I loved it when people would give me t-shirts for my favorite bands. I was also into artsy stuff and for that, I recommend an art subscription box and makeup products.

    • profile image

      Kaitlin 7 months ago

      How much was the iPhone?

    • profile image

      Anonymous 7 months ago

      These are some good ideas! :) I’m 15, and brainstorming some gifts for my sister. Some more suggestions:

      Bath bombs, earrings, wall decor, band merch, craft making kits, a ukelele, earbuds/headphones, earrings, candles, tea/coffee mugs, a subscription to Spotify (or other music source), video games, succulent plants, Starbucks gift card, wallet, hand sanitizer, shoes (converse, vans, boots, adidas!), socks, pajamas, lotion, sugar face scrub, chapstick, essential oil rollers (like a mild perfume!), bookshelf decor, and books!

    • profile image

      Ella 7 months ago

      BTS merch!

    • profile image

      Alexis loves KPOP 7 months ago

      Just get her BTS merch ( a very popular South Korean boy group) or her fav band. This comes from a 15 year old girl

    • profile image

      Selina to helen 8 months ago

      I say give her the birthday she wants if not at least do your best and try and help her to enjoy it

    • profile image

      Helen 9 months ago

      Hi, this year my daughter is turning 13. i'm not too excited for her birthday, if anything I just buy her a donut and sing happy birthday. she always cries about her birthday and how her friends have amazing parties and cakes. now shes going to be a teen and I really don't know what to get her...maybe necklace from dollarama? any ideas.

    • profile image

      Hannah Zolenski 15 months ago

      This website really is wonderful! It has inspired me on what to get my 13 year old daughter this year for her birthday! Thank you so much for making this website and saving me from a birthday disaster! I really appriciate this! Keep up the goof work guts! So if this was a website where you could like something this would get 1 billion thumbs up! Thanks again! And I really do appriciate this website! Make sure to keep updating this website though. Sometimes it can be a bit hard to give 13 year olds out-dated toys, but other than that this really is a wonderful website! I would reccomend more electronics and social meadia related items aswell. My daughter, Francesca really likes social media and I think that other parents should also be aware that children (pre- teens) could use a screen! And elaborating on this, I would also reccomend some clothing stores for shopping! Children love close! And finally, I would reccomend putting more Emoji* Related items here! I also am aware that children love Emojis* and they think that it would be very very cool to get some updated- with the trend items. Because afterall, no child wants to feel left out of the trend. And I know that I said finally but furthermore going along with the "trend" theme I think that children would really enjoy makeup! Makeup is a neccessety for children who are just finding there way in life! So these are just a few of my reccomendations! But thanks so much for reading this VERY long comment, but I thought that this would help you a lot! Thanks again!

      With much admiration,

      - (School Social Worker) Hannah Zolenski

    • profile image

      Gothic tomboy heavy metal musician 18 months ago

      I'm 13 years old turning 14 soon and I'm not into any of this. I was always the tom boy heavy metal type. All the stuff on this list, in my opinion, sucks accept for the instruments. Currently I play piano, guitar, and the drums. I play to Alice Cooper and Kiss. I don't wear makeup and I'm gothic, so I have no idea what I want for christmas this year since all the stuff for girls is too girly for me.

    • profile image

      Mystery Typer 19 months ago

      Hello! In about 19 days I am turning 13, and I would like a iPhone, and I had one a year or two ago. But it was taken away, and now it has been lost for about a year now. Should I ask for a new one?? Thanks for your time! :P

      -Mystery Typer

    • profile image

      Aneesah 20 months ago

      I am turning 14 and don't know what to get for my birthday please help me

    • profile image

      Cheerleading10 21 months ago

      My sister is turning thirteen and I love the manikin idea

    • profile image

      Alesha 21 months ago

      I would love the iPhone case were do u get them from

    • profile image

      Celina 23 months ago

      Hiii I am still 12 but turning 13 in couple of months or weeks I didn't get a phone I 'm like telling my parents like every small kid has got a phone why can't I . They told me when u reach grade 9 any way to convince themm!!!!

    • profile image

      a 14 year old girl 2 years ago

      i want video games

    • profile image

      Donna 2 years ago

      Hi, I love the iPhone case pictured and would love to buy one for my daughter for her birthday but after hours of searching the internet I have turned up almost nothing!! Would you mind telling me the brand and where I can purchase please?? Many thanks

    • profile image

      13 & wondering 2 years ago

      I am turning 13. I have a phone and all that, but idk what to look for when I search for gift ideas. Im not into makeup so i dont want anything like that. I live in the country and Im not into fancy clothes from a department store . I live in a musical family already so I dont need any musical item and I dont really draw much.......but maybe that caligraphy thing though.... What do I do?!?! Please help!

    • profile image

      me 2 years ago

      this is amazing i am turning 13 in a couple weeks and this will be amazing to show my mom and dad thanks so much this was so helpful!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      hforever 2 years ago

      hi my sister is turning 13 and I want to get her something good but under the prince of 15 doallors

    • profile image

      sassy pants 2 years ago

      i thank this should be for 16 not 13

    • profile image

      JayJay 2 years ago

      I am 13 years old and I cant quite think of what I want to put on my list that is due this month (big family lots of gifts to buy in such time) I like Legos, Drawing and gaming. The problem is, I have a phone and twenty unused notebooks and I dont think they will get me any more legos. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      QUEENJAYY 2 years ago

      Well hi i'm turning 13 in 3 more days and i don't know what to do i like some of the ideas but i just don't know if i want to go to the mall or just have a birthday party

    • profile image

      HiroQueen 2 years ago

      I'm turning 13 in about 21 days and the question everyone has been asking me is

      "What do you want for your birthday??"

      I didn't know what to ask for, considering I know for a fact I wont be getting a new smartphone. The gift card idea was a really good one. When I was like 8 my mom would take me to a local outlet store chain like Walmart or Kmart. She would take me out to brunch/lunch first and let me spend about $100 at the store we went to. I have always been an avid reader, and writer, so she made me tally up my own money and what was spent. Like I said, I'm almost 13 and I'd love to do this again.

    • profile image

      CandyCANE 3 years ago

      Great help. For my friend I'm getting her a throw pillow possibly and some Bath & Bodyworks stuff; all on your list. Very good can't wait for Christmas to use these ideas

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I'm sorry to hear you didn't find this useful. Perhaps you could let me know what you expected to find. I'm getting ready to update this for 2015.

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks cmac for your ideas!

    • profile image

      cmac 3 years ago

      Hi, I'm turning 13 in less than a month, and these are really good ideas. I would absolutely love a smartphone for my birthday, but I do have a couple ideas.

      Shopping Spree- Most girls love to shop, and with a shopping spree, she would be able to buy what she really wanted. You will have to set a budget, of course.

      Throw Pillows- Girls would love to decorate their room the way they want, so you could buy her a couple throw pillows or a blanket

      Art Supplies- If your daughter is the artistic type, you could buy her a sketchbook or tracing pad

      I hope you liked my ideas :)

    • profile image

      ally love's Mattyb!! 4 years ago

      Hi I'm ally and I'm 13 year's old!! I did not get any of those things!! :(!

      But thanks for the ideas Caroline!:D

    • profile image

      Moon B 4 years ago

      Hi CarolineChicago,thank you so much for the lovely comment that means a lot!! :)

    • profile image

      Moon B 4 years ago

      Thanks so much CarolineChicago,that means a lot!! ;)

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Hi Moon B:

      Thanks for the wonderful suggestions! You're well on your way to creating your own hub.

    • profile image

      Moon B 4 years ago

      Hey,I'm a 13 year old girl so I definitely know what girls my age are into.Here is a list of gifts that teen girls will be sure to love!

      NAIL POLISH-girls love painting their nails so this gift is an easy please.

      SUN GLASSES-those neon pink Ray Bans will sure to be a hit at the party.

      JEWELRY-I recommend earrings, they are small,easy and fairly cheap. Easy stores to buy cute jewelry include: Clair's and H&M.

      BOOKS-most girls love reading! However,it's hard to find great books that they have not read before. Here are some old favorites that she may not have heard of:Kiki Strike, When You Reach Me,The False Prince,Diary of Anne Frank,or The Mother Daughter Book Club.

      I hope this helped! Good luck!:)

    • profile image

      Sierra 4 years ago

      I'm 13 and this was really good for most girls. Only problem is I'm more into the guy stuff but still like to fit in with the girls. But even if someone is out there like me most of this stuff is perfect

    • maggie worthy profile image

      maggie worthy 4 years ago from St. Marys City, Maryland

      I am turning 13 in about 3 weeks. if your daughter has an ipod touch or and I phone and she does not have the wifi connection you could give that to her or you could get her a new case. I was at the walmart and I saw a case and my mother said maybe for your birthday. if your daughter likes sports get her a new soccer ball or what ever sport she is interested in. if she has wanted a laptop, then that is a great way to surprise her. if she is into animals don't get her something as of a cat or a dog. you should start with something small like a fish then a guinie pig then a farett then a mouse and then a cat then a dog then if she has taken care of them you could maybe take her to a farm and let her take care of some of the animals and if she does that well, if she wants a horse mybe you could get her a pony then get her a horse.

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks again for the comments! I just updated it as of January 2013. The resident gift card expert (the 15 yo) approves of the current list.

    • profile image

      David 5 years ago

      You really know your 13 year old girls.


    • profile image

      Brettla 6 years ago

      Thanks for the Ideas:-{ )

    • profile image

      reneebull 6 years ago

      i am 13 i would love to get all of these things as a present

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks for all your comments. I'm really glad this hub has been useful! I will try to keep it up to date. As of May 2011, it seems to be good to go, as of the resident expert.

    • NikkiBC profile image

      NikkiBC 7 years ago

      I love this hub! I have a 10 year old that skipped a grade or two and likes to think she is 13! Up till now, I have not had to contend with any preteen requests, but a week ago, she asked if I could buy her Aeropostle uniforms next year. You said it perfectly..."Even avid readers and straight-A students want and need to fit in during 7th and 8th grade."

    • profile image

      Suzy 7 years ago

      I have a 13 teen year old and I had no clue what to get her intill mow.So this help me out me so much so every one out their should take this and use what is on hear.

      PS.thanks!!!! :)

    • Nikki D. Felder profile image

      Nikki D. Felder 7 years ago from Castle Hayne, N.C.

      Very resourceful Hub. My daughter is only 7, but she thinks she's in the league of teens. She desires a cell phone, but it's too early. We can get her a gift card to buy new games for her gift of a Nintendo DSi! Thanks.

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You've done your homework here plus created your own special touch. You sound like a great mum and much as I like children I remember those teen years all too well, so thumbs up for the animals, they do love us so very much and stay loyal for life.


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