Best Gift Ideas for 13-Year-Old Girls, Revised for 2016
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).
Calligraphy Pen Set
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, amazon.com, 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. Amazon.com and hearthsong.com.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether your 13-year-old is a rocker or a symphony/concert band member, private lessons make great gifts from grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
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 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:
- American Eagle
- Charlotte Russe
- Forever 21
- American Apparel
- Bath & Body Works
- Victoria's Secret
Other favorite gift cards include:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 Etsy.com are great sources for funky outerwear.