Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide: For Teens and Tweens

Buying for a teen or tween can be notoriously difficult, or delightfully easy.  The ease or otherwise of this shopping seems to correlate directly to how much time you spend with said teen/tween.  If they are a shut-in-their-room gamer or goth, easy; if they are a jolly, joy to be with you see lots of (unlikely?), easy; anyone in between, potential nightmare!  Although there is a general truth about many females of the kind, that a bit of glittery nail polish and some One Direction stuff will work just fine.  For anyone not of that persuasion, here are a few ideas that might help - I feel your pain!


My absolute favourite gift idea for tweens and teens are the inspired 3D backpacks and accessories from MadPax.  Their funky and fashion forward styles are fantastic, with the usually bland backpack now adorned with soft spikes, bubbles and blocks, or featuring crazy alligator textures, and an amazing array of colours.  Available in fullpack (18" high x 14" wide x 8" deep) and halfpack sizes (14” high x 12” wide x 6” deep), they also boast several pouches and pockets and a secure zip, so fashion doesn't outweigh functionality.


We have the MadPax Spiketus Rex in Streamers in the capacious Halfpack size, and heartily agree with their slogan: ‘life is too short to wear a bland backpack’!  Spiketus Rex is the original design, but Later-Gator, Bubble and Blok are also available.  They even offer the Nibbler lunch box, to give your sandwiches some edge, the Ledlox pencil case and Mighty bite, a 6” version of Spiketus Rex.  Celebrity fans include Willow Smith, Ben Affleck and Naomi Watts.  Prices range from £12 to £60.


For a car-mad teenager, a very cool alternative present would be a Junior Driving Experience.  Suitable for teenage drivers of at least 1.42m (4'8"), ther are a variety of driving options available, from first drive to the chance to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini!  Any aspirant young petrolhead would be beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a supercar.   All under the close supervision of a friendly, helpful instructor of course.  Online site Into the Blue makes booking the experience so simple, with an easy to use online voucher system that can even be used on Christmas Day itself, in case you forget!  Then in the new year you can schedule that all-important slot for your teen to look forward to.  What a great gift!


These super cute and very cool notebooks from Caroline Gardner are perfect for jotting thoughts and plans at home, or taking notes at college.  With funky modern designs inside and out, they are great fun and I think any tween or teen would be happy to find one in their stocking.  Even better if you slipped a gift card for their favourite shop inside the front cover!  You can see more of Caroline Gardner's products and fun designs over on the website.


A fantastic addition to any child's bedroom, but perhaps coming into their own for older kids and teens, is an over-sized beanbag to lounge on.  With a tough, waterproof cover they can be used indoorss or out, and are really robust and built to last.  We have been trying out the pink one, but there are 9 different colours to choose from.  Sophia and Lara love the bean bag and both of them can fit easily on ours, they are that big!  Their 10 year old cousin is seriously coveting one at the moment, so the girls are fiercely protecting theirs!  The wonderfully-named Kids Baz Bag® is available from www.BeanBagBazaar.co.uk, priced £39.99 with free UK mainland standard delivery.  The perfect place for watching TV, gaming, daydreaming, and reading...


There are several great books we would recommend for this age group, including the highly-acclaimed The Parent Agency, the first children's book by comedian David Baddiel, written following a conversation with his own son, Ezra.  The novel follows the trials and tribulations of 9 year old Barry Bennett, whose parents are so boring that they actually called him Barry.  Finally despairing of his less than glamorous life, Barry makes a fateful wish and finds himself in a world where kids get to choose their parents, with the help of The Parent Agency.  Barry embarks on a fantastical quest to find the perfect parents, visiting a series of outlandish characters, all eager to win his favour, with hilarious consequences.  Published by HarperCollins 4th Estate, hardback £12.99.


The Top 10 of Everything 2015 is just the kind of book older children and young teens love! Packed full of mind-boggling facts, crazy lists, facts, stats and amazing feats, it tells you everything you ever wanted to know about humans, animals, machines, and more. This really is the Top Ten of EVERYTHING! From space to rollercoasters, prison breaks to pirates, it’s all here.


With categories including Only Human, Epic Structures, and Movie Showtime. With cool Been & Seen checklists to challenge the reader to join in, Danger boxes to showcase the really scary stuff, magnifications to zoom in, and lots of visual representations of the data, this is a really accessible and fun book. Who wouldn’t want to know which were the 10 Biggest Prehistoric Carnivores or the 10 Most Valued Materials? A great gift for all curious kids and fact fans. Published in hardback by Hamlyn, widely available, priced £14.99

Pocket Money Cookery from Oober Kids Republic is a small collection of recipes aimed at older primary children, this book encourages children to get into the kitchen, find out about food, and learn some simple cooking techniques.  There are two desserts and eight savoury dishes, although unfortunately most of them contain meat (even veal!) and/or eggs, so not much for us vegetarian or vegan types!  The author is Italian which perhaps explains the meat/egg-heavy content and the inclusion of a rather non-PC meat.  Not one for us, but may suit some families.
Most teen and tween girls can still be convinced of the merits of cute, so these fab Boot Bling welly stickers, £3.50; and Kitsound Owl Ear Muffs, £10, both from Tesco would go down well in their stocking.  My ten year old niece also still loves all things Tatty Teddy and Me to You, so this Father Christmas bear and lip gloss set would be perfect for those in-between years.  You can find lots more ideas over on the Me to You website.



And finally, the craze sweeping bedrooms and playrooms across the land has finally hit the plastic bricks that inspired it - Minecraft LEGO is here!  A sure hit with many a teen and tween boy, and girl, there will be many yes's and high fives when these parcels are opened on Christmas Day!



9 comments :

  1. some fab ideas, the older the kids get I find the more difficult they are to buy for

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  2. Wow a great list of products here. I love those bean bags. Shame I've already bought my kids their 'big' present. I know my son would like the Minecraft lego and certain he would also enjoy that book. Thank you for some new ideas!

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  3. Pam Francis Gregory3 December 2014 at 20:51

    The Lego looks great!

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  4. Oh wow Lego Minecraft !! My son hasnt spotted this yet !!!!

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  5. I love the little pointy back packs !!

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  6. these are great ideas for my nieces and nephews thanks!

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  7. Some great ideas thank you. My son reviewed "The Parent Agency" and thought it fab. In fact got a giveaway for it ending today on my blog. #britmumsreviews

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  8. Im struggling for our 3 year old as shes not long had her birthday and now has way to many toys so not sure what to get her

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