Alternative Gift Guide for Tweens

By Jessica Stuebner

This holiday shopping season, I am focusing on gift giving with minimal waste and experience in mind! Here are some of the memory-making and experience-driven gifts I’ve chosen for my family and friends.

Polaroid or Instax Camera

I gave all three of my older sons this gift last year and it was SUCH a hit. I combined it with a small photo journal I picked up for $5 at Target and showed the boys how to label their photos. The former teacher in me was impressed and the mom in me was thrilled to be behind the lens for once! While the camera is relatively cheap (you can find for about $50), film can get SUPER expensive- let your kiddos know this and that there is a limited amount. My boys call it their “ammo” 🙂

Mani/Pedi

Girl and boy tweens alike can appreciate a good pampering…or maybe just a colorful and creative painting of the toes? Our boys like to do their favorite team colors and will sometimes go for a sparkle or two! They love the massage chair and the drinks they are served while getting pampered. Best part; It is a great activity to do together!

Monthly Membership to Skate the Foundry

Skate The Foundry is an indoor skateboard park located in West Philadelphia – but is also a mobile skateboarding experience that can pop up anywhere! They offer monthly memberships that are a perfect holiday gift option. Skateboarding is both an individual and group activity that teaches students how to not be afraid of making mistakes while instilling focus, patience, and persistence. The skate park, located next to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, offers a wide range of obstacles for skaters of all ages.

A Mini Fridge

In our home, we are really working on working together to be independent, contributing members of the household per the Montessori Method. Likewise, our tweens will be receiving a mini fridge for the holidays, stocked with all of their favorite drinks and snacks. They will be able to keep it on their level of our home if they are responsible. With this will come a discussion of “understandings” surrounding the fridge including clean up, “not spoiling our appetite” etc.

Magazine Subscription

Promoting literacy while making the wait for the mail a bit more fun, magazines are a great and affordable gift for any tween. A fun option is to allow your tween to pick from a menu of a few different subscription options. Another spin on the subscription gift would be to pre-order the subscription to begin prior to the holiday and use the first issue as your “gift” to wrap. It is always nice to provide your tween with additional ways to enjoy printed word. There are so many fun choices!

A Weighted Blanket

Whichever you choose; there are many at different price points, a weighted blanket is a necessity for any tween. Weighted blankets aid in stress management, increase REM sleep time and can improve your tween’s overall wellbeing. “One of the most popular uses for weighted blankets is for treating children with disorders like autism and ADHD” but they are an amazing tool for all for stress management. “Under the weighted blankets, the patients showed more activity in the part of the nervous system that is in control during times of low stress (source).” I like sleeping with one myself!

Monthly Cooking Subscription

Again, with a few options at different prices and honestly, varying reviews, monthly cooking subscriptions are a great way to integrate a planned activity to do with your tween once a a month. That seems like a win to us! As for which to pick, in my reconnaissance, I found that there are a bunch to choose from as well as some really great good opinions. Here is a great review of a half dozen companies providing the service, along with a good visual.