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If you ask the average 13-year-old how successful their parents are at gift-giving, they'll likely tell you it's a struggle. A six pack of sensible new socks? Boo! A pair of reversible slacks? No, thank you! School shoes? Skip!
That’s probably what I would have said at 13 too. Now that we are adults, the bridge between fun and functional can get tricky when shopping for teens. Teens like practicality, but they don’t want it as a gift.
When it comes to shopping for teenagers, I try to base my selections on how I react to prizes on "The Price Is Right." A jet ski sounded awesome when I was 13, whereas new flooring was the dud prize. Now that I am an adult, I would be flummoxed to where I would put a jet ski, and overjoyed by the thought of new flooring.
While no one should rush to buy a jet ski for a 13-year-old, you get the gist. Do your best to put yourself in your teen’s gum-stuck shoes, and you should be just fine! If you need some help getting started thinking like a 13-year-old, here are some thought starters from my childlike brain.
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Best gifts for 13-year-old boys
Don't let the size of this adorable speaker fool you. The sound is crystal clear and loud enough to fill a room.
This battery-powered LED kit is perfect to bring any basketball game to the next level. The LED basketball is impact activated, meaning it lights up when played with and shuts off after use, so night games are now much more fun.
This unique design is perfect for riders with a narrower stance. Not only will they be able to practice tricks on the board, the slip-resistant deck will give them a safer, smoother ride, too.
Easy to use and hard to destroy, this drone is great for the novice drone pilot. It features voice activated commands, one touch take offs and landings and video transmission that can be automatically shared on social media.
This chair is a slam dunk for any sports fan or video game fanatic. It’s comfy, it’s functional and most importantly it’s super cool. This chair includes two high quality speakers and features built in Bluetooth compatibility. As an added bonus, this chair doesn’t just rock, it folds. Seriously, it folds to allow for easy storage.
All signs lead to awesome with this game room LED sign. Good for your child’s bedroom or playroom, this versatile piece of electric art can be easily hung almost anywhere.
Skateboards are a hot ticket item! But you don’t become a legendary skateboarder and not know a thing or two about boards. Featuring a colorful and artsy board deck as well as Pro Trucks and skateboard wheels, the Tony Hawk Popsicle skateboard series has it all. It's an ideal starter board for the newbie at the skatepark and sophisticated enough for the veteran on the skate ramp.
If you have a kid who is ready to rock and go, this is the bluetooth speaker for him. The JBL Clip 3 combines function, funk and fun into one compact and clippable speaker. The speaker features 10 hours of playtime, wireless bluetooth streaming, and a built in carabiner. As an added bonus, this speaker is also durable enough to take a mild beating or a quick swim in whatever body of water your child accidentally drops it in.
“Where we dropping, boys?” will never be heard more clearly than with this USB Mic. A perfect mic for the intense gamer who is ready to rally his troops and livestream their game play or podcast. It features four distinct sound pickup patterns which should eliminate any chance for, “Can you hear me now?”
The Nike Men’s Pull Over Hoodie is so comfy and cool that your teen will try to live in it. You never want to interrupt or cramp your child’s style, but they will need to pry this hoodie off once in a while for a dance around the washing machine.
Under Armour slays when it comes to fashionable active gear. What won’t kill, thanks to Under Armour’s anti-odor technology, is the oftentimes aromatic scent of teenage boy. Your entire family can thank me later.
Classic Vans are often a huge hit for teens. This low top sneaker features the Vans signature side stripe and a boat load of street cred for you and your young man.
Consider this the gift that keeps on giving for three solid months. This Game Pass provides unlimited access to over 100 games with new games being added all the time. It's perfect for the Xbox fanatic in your house.
Gaming is the thing for teens, and that includes board games. Strategy meets fantasy in this dungeon crawl adventure. Your teen will enjoy the video game-like storyline without the increase in screen time. It's great for a solo player or for group play.
Best gifts for 13-year-old girls
This faux leather backpack is both stylish and functional, making it perfect for your middle schooler's days in class.
No teenage girl wants to hear about foot breathability or arch support, so I will just say these trainers are super cute and comfortable.
As a mom, my favorite thing about this board for a new rider is the low center of gravity since it makes this easier to ride without falling off. For a kid, it will be the shiny, sparkly, LED wheels. The Nordmiex Cruiser Skateboard is a strong and sturdy board for your strong and adventurous girl.
Your daughter’s Frappuccino will be kept safe and cold for up to 24 hours in this water bottle, while warm drinks have a 12 hour warmth window. The Hydro Flask includes a Sport Cap which should limit the number of spills and stains in your child’s future.
Can’t tell if she will smell like teen spirit in this vintage tee, but your child will certainly look the part in this classic Nirvana shirt. It's washing machine safe, but angst will not wash off in the laundering or tumble dry process.
Everyone loves a good light show, and now your daughter can have one in her own room! The LED Strip Lights are easy to install, features 20 different colors and eight various modes. Colors and settings change with a simple click of the included remote.
Simple and sophisticated, your girl will feel fancy and frilly with this rose gold-plated, initial pendant necklace from Kate Spade. It's a great first accessory piece. Good for everyday wear or for special occasions.
This camera will provide memories in the palm of her hand, or hanging in her school locker or even in her wallet — printed pictures are a thing again! Teens love these handy little cameras. Small and snazzy, this camera brings instant gratification to any slumber party, trip to Starbucks or surprise snap attack of mom as she comes in the front door.
Your kid will kick cords to the curb with her own set of Apple AirPods. This set includes a charging case, which allows for multiple charges for 24 hours worth of battery life.
Your girl will shimmer while she shines with this deep-cleaning charcoal peel off mask. Cleans and softens skin in as much time as it takes to watch one episode of "Outer Banks."
When I was 13, my starry nights were glow in the dark stickers that barely clung to the popcorn ceilings in my childhood home — how the times have changed! This projector not only shines the stars, but it calls in the tide as well with an ocean wave projection. Connect your phone via bluetooth and have a super starry serenade.
Some gifts just stick with you, and this one will be appealing at first sight. Stickers make the world go round, and with this sticker maker your girl’s world will keep on spinning and sticking.
This cute turntable may be old school to mom and dad, but it’s new to your teen. Portable and versatile, play your favorite LP’s on the turntable and your favorite mp3 through the record player’s bluetooth capabilities.
Still looking for the perfect gift? Be sure to check out Shop TODAY’s Gift Guide to shop for everyone on your list, including:
- 53 gifts the teenager in your life will actually like
- 14 fun tech gifts for kids of all ages
- 24 thoughtful gifts that will make your girlfriend swoon