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How to choose
screen-free gifts
for your tween

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The older children get, the smaller and more expensive their requests seem to become!

As a result, you may need to manage your child’s expectations. It could help to explain to your child that if they want that one expensive gift, they might not get as many other presents as they used to, or perhaps as many as their younger siblings are getting. 

"Finding low cost, low tech toys gives children an alternative to screen-based play and is often a great way of encouraging collaborative play with friends or siblings. Simple is often best and board games, or arts and crafts and construction toys all offer great alternatives to tech toys."

Image is everything at this age, so it’s also tricky to choose surprise gifts. Anything that makes your tween seem childish to their friends will be branded ‘uncool’, even if they were playing with the exact same toy just a month ago.

Going retro

As your tween experiments with their identity, they may revert to younger toys to revisit calmer, easier times. Retro toys provide a ‘cool’ way for them to do this without looking childish, so they may appreciate cute collectables or revamped toys from their childhood.

Board and card games – particularly the timeless classics – are a more grown-up way to play and are also a good way to keep your family playing together as your tween becomes more independent.

Ticket to Ride London is a great strategy game that’s perfect for some family fun.  It is a fast paced game where players race one another to claim the most important bus lines and complete their Destination Tickets, connecting Districts in the capital of the United Kingdom. Ticket to Ride can help build your child’s knowledge of London as they play too – so perhaps they can be head navigator next time you visit!


Nurturing their talents and hobbies

If your tween has shown an interest or talent in a certain area, such as sports or art, toys can help to nurture their passion and build confidence. Magazines and subscription boxes can be a good way to encourage your tween to pursue their hobby, find out more about it and learn new skills.

For tweens who love building and designing, Geomag has extended their Classic toy Mechanics Gravity Race Track with its bars and spheres, adding new mechanical elements that give you new opportunities to play. Exploring the world of the magical forces of magnetism and gravity can give children an insight into the STEM world through the concepts of engineering and science.


If your tween hasn’t yet discovered a favourite hobby, this is your opportunity to get them to try something new. Why not get them learning awesome science tricks, while performing crazy experiments with the Nickelodeon Experimake Chemistry Chaos set?

The Experimake sets have been designed by scientists to be full of exciting, educational and fun scientific facts and experiments. You can grow your own stalagmites and stalactites, watch minuscule molecules movements and separate mixtures into their coloured components with the power of chromatography.



It’s really important to manage expectations at this age, both in terms of price but also age-appropriateness, as many tweens will ask for age-restricted games that aren’t suitable for them!

You can find gift inspiration to get you started in the Christmas Good Toy Guide, where we’ve picked out a few of our favourite toys for tweens. Simply click on the toy to read a full review online, including ratings for play value as well as an overview of the skills the toy can help your child develop.

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