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Gift Ideas for 13-Year-Old Boys

Stephanie has four teenagers and has hosted many teenager birthday parties!

It's all about the games for 13-year-old boys

It's all about the games for 13-year-old boys

Looking for Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys?

You are in the right place. Not only do I have a 13-year-old son myself, but we also live close to several of my nephews who are heading into the teenage years (12 and 14 in particular).

If the 13-year-old in your life is anything like my son, then you probably won't get a helpful response to questions about what he wants for his birthday or the holidays. A shrug and grunt are all I got, at least. So I had to do some sleuthing to compile this list.

Whether you're shopping for a birthday present or for a holiday gift, bookmark this article for reference. I've included a range of topics, including:

  • Gaming gift ideas
  • Sports-related gift ideas
  • Tech gift ideas
  • Entertainment gift ideas
  • Traditional gift ideas
  • Gift cards

Gaming Gift Ideas for 13-Year-Old Boys

My boy shares an Xbox 360 system with his siblings, and he also has a Nintendo DSI. But he seems to be outgrowing the DSI now that he has a cell phone. The Xbox, however, still gets played whenever he has friends over.

Each year, the holiday season brings many new games for all of the gaming systems on the market: Nintendo DS systems (handheld gaming devices), the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, and the Sony PS3. There are also games to play on the computer and apps that can be downloaded to cell phones.

A 13-year-old boy is likely to want more mature video games. The kids want to play "cool" games. The ESRB uses a rating system that categorizes games as E for everyone, T for teens, or M for mature. Just because you have a teenager doesn't mean that all T-rated games are appropriate. The violence, sexual themes, and language in a T- or M-rated game is likely to be more coarse than that found in E-rated games. Think of it as similar to a PG-13-rated movie. If in doubt, you can ask a salesperson or read online reviews to find out if the game may be too graphic.

That said, I can say that one of my 13-year-old son's favorite games is Halo, which is rated M.

Some games include:

  • Current versions of NCAA, NFL, NBA and MLB sports games
  • Movie-themed games (Harry Potter, Batman, etc.)
  • Rock Band games
  • Halo
  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater
  • World of Warcraft
  • The Sims
  • Final Fantasy
  • Need for Speed
  • StarCraft Battle Chest

Some time-tested games include:

  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Batman Arkam City
  • Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare 3
  • Assassins Creed

Note that many of these games are rated M for mature due to violence/war.

My 13-year-old son loves anything baseball-related

My 13-year-old son loves anything baseball-related

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Sports Gift Ideas for Teen Boys

There is a subtle difference between my 10-year-old and my 13-year-old when it comes to sports.

Apparently, once you become a teenager, it's not as cool to wear caps, jerseys, sweatshirts, etc. of your favorite team. And he'll definitely take down the Red Sox drapes and put away the Yankees bedspread.

Here's a list of items that will probably be appreciated, even if they don't show it:

  • Sports equipment (balls, bats, mitts, helmets, hoops, goals, etc.)
  • Sports memorabilia (trading cards, signed balls, and the like)
  • Brand-name T-shirts (my son likes Nike and Adidas)
  • Tickets to a sporting event
  • Tuition for a sports camps or similar programs

Tech Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

For some, the teenage years are all about tech gifts. I finally got my 13-year-old a cell phone for his birthday this year.

Keep in mind, however, that not all boys will take good care of these items, like a phone or Nintendo DS, that can be easily lost or broken. Another tip to consider is getting previous models of items (so, a Nintendo DS instead of a Nintendo 3DS) and/or those with less memory (8GB instead of 16GB, for example).

Depending on your budget, there are many tech gadgets available that are sure to be of interest to your teenage boy:

  • iPod Nano
  • iPod Touch
  • Other MP3 players and accessories
  • Laptop computer: There are many inexpensive notebook versions available.
  • Cell phone: You don't necessarily have to go with the new iPhone! There are basic phone models that still allow for easy texting and are available for less than $50 with generous rebates (hint: go for an unlimited texting plan to avoid a shockingly high cell phone bill).
Finding gifts for 13-year-old boys is not always a piece of cake (or pie!)

Finding gifts for 13-year-old boys is not always a piece of cake (or pie!)

Entertainment Gift Ideas for 13-Year-Old Boys

Let's say you want to save money on this gift. How is that even possible?

Believe it or not, some young teenagers still enjoy reading books and watching movies. There are a number of popular series available, depending on his interests (sorcery, magic, history, fantasy, vampires, etc.) Just think—you'll save money and probably a few of your 13-year-old's brain cells when you get him a book for a present.

Recommended popular young-adult book series (so they don't stop at just one):

  • Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  • The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  • Stormbreaker series by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
  • Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan
  • The Vadelah Chronicles series by Julie Rollins
  • The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima

Other great books (classics he should enjoy):

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Traditional Gift Ideas for 13-Year Old Boys

When I was growing up, video games were fairly new, and no one had cell phones (at least not the kids). These days, 13-year-old boys' tastes have matured, while the price of gifts has increased. You'll be hard-pressed to find a typical teenager who will appreciate a board game for a present.

Traditional gift ideas for teen boys are often focused on what's "cool." They probably won't admit it if they still like to experiment with SpyWare or build Legos, so take those off the list.

Instead, consider:

  • Skateboards and accessories
  • Rollerblades
  • Bicycles
  • Scooters
  • Other sports equipment, like gear for snowboarding, wakeboarding, skiing, sledding, etc.
  • Pool table, balls, and cue
  • Table tennis set
  • Foosball table

Don't forget accessories: helmets, gloves, boots, bindings, batteries, and any other item necessary for your child to enjoy these gifts.

Lucky number 13—how to buy gifts for boys of this age

Lucky number 13—how to buy gifts for boys of this age

When in Doubt, Go With a Gift Card!

Let's face it: teenagers are difficult to communicate with. Trying to please a young boy with a gift may be more difficult than getting him to clean his room.

Fortunately, you don't have to worry about a gift card being a cop-out for a present. Teens will appreciate the freedom of shopping for their own gift on their (mostly) own terms. Even better, after the holidays, most retailers slash prices on their products—right when your kid will go shopping.

Gift cards are available in a range of values (usually $25–100) from a number of specific retailers. The boys in my family enjoy getting gift cards from:

  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • Wal-Mart
  • Game Stop
  • REI and other sporting goods stores
  • iTunes

If you want to give your boy even more flexibility in shopping with a gift card, pick up one a Visa or MasterCard cash card. They work just like cash!

© 2010 Stephanie Marshall


Abriana on October 10, 2019:

These idea's are very helpful!! Thank you!

Jordan C on November 25, 2018:

I think this list is pretty accurate. Everyone says boys hate books and music and non-violent video games but I'm a boy and I love that stuff! Just saying you can't go wrong with that, everyone loves a good book and a baseball mitt.

sam on May 06, 2018:

old people are so out of it. DO NOT buy anything except for somehthing they ASK for like a phone. If they dont tell you then give them STRAIGHT UP CASH.

Elijah on November 24, 2017:

I am a 13 year old and actually most of its true, I really only want an Xbox or some sort of cool hat or backpack, because an average kid like me likes gaming, looking cool, and staying inside. If your like me, then let me know.

Heff on October 09, 2017:

Can't go past a baseball mitt!. If they are into tech stuff "The Amazing Annoyatron" is a pretty cool gift for this age group. It was developed by a 14 year old kid in Australia and won some award. I know its available online, not sure if its hit stores yet.

harley doolan on September 09, 2017:

if hes into mountain bikes trails and jumps get him a mountain bike that is just under 600, i started mtb a year ago now and i love hitting massiv jumps with my mates ps i am currently riding a voodoo hoodoo

Frustrated on August 16, 2017:

I really don't know what to get my 13 year old brother,

Any ideas?

bayoulady on June 09, 2017:

These ideas are rubbish

Eli on March 22, 2017:

I think they should add some gaming consoles... They have the games, but what if someone doesn't have a console with which to play the games?

JulieHub on February 18, 2017:

He has an xbox 360 with lots of games, a new bike, a scooter, his room decorated, and many other things. I will have to think outside the box and also inexpensive. Any ideas?He likes football all of a sudden but I think that is due to a girl he likes, there is already a basketball thing and he has a ball, I have an extra computer but he cannot use that because it drains my computer. Cannot get cable in his room. He has a watch. He wanted one so bad but never wears it and it beeps all the time and he has no idea how to fix it. I can't see well enough to do it. He could use a coat, he has one and he never wears them. He burns up all the time. Spring will be here next month and he has lots of hoodies he wears. He just got new shoes and a haircut. I will just have to think about it.

Stephen on November 23, 2016:

Lol, this is all wrong, not to be rude, but to help

Harry on September 18, 2016:

I am thirteen and most of those gifts aren't that great. Sorry for being judgemental but it's the truth.

jaydon on October 17, 2015:

hey, im a 13 year old boy and all of this stuff is wrong. 13 year old boys want money, electronics, skateboards, and other stuff like that. so if you have one just ask him and tell him what you are going to get him, its not that big of a deal.

Daquan on October 10, 2015:

Hey can anyone think of anything 13th birthday boy

briana on September 20, 2015:

great gift ideas this is the first time i been on your web page and tbh i love these ideas bc i have a guy friend and his birthday is coming up and idk what to get him but this helped me thanks alot!!!

a person on December 21, 2014:

pretty good ideas though needs to be updated to video games like destiny, c.o.d. advanced warfare, titanfall, skyrim

dmoney on December 15, 2014:

i agree these are terrible

fddd on December 05, 2014: