Tweens, kids who aren’t quite teenagers but aren’t still young grade-schoolers, have different tastes and likes than you might expect. If you’ve got an 8 to 12 year old on your gift list, consider these helpful tips when purchasing birthday gifts this year.
If it has batteries or a plug, it will be a hit with the tween set. Kids in this age group love the newest electronic toys. Everything from Barbie as a video camera to the iPod Shuffle will get their attention. They’ll be thanking you all year long. If you don’t know which electronics are the latest versions, ask a salesperson in the electronics section of your favorite store. They can steer you towards the coolest gadgets and games so you won’t show up with a gift that’s considered old news.
Many tweens have their own iPods or mp3 players. They will just love a gift card for downloading songs. You can purchase an iTunes gift card at stores like Target or Wal-Mart and even at some drug store chains. Just ask for an iTunes gift card and the salesperson will point you in the right direction. You’ll have a choice of how much you want to spend. The more you spend, the more songs your tween can download from the Internet into their music player. This is one gift idea that will definitely go over well.
Wii is the current cool video game system. Xbox runs a close second. If you have a tween with one of these systems (ask his mom or dad if you’re not sure which one he has), a game he can play on it is the perfect gift. Just beware, however, that tastes change all the time. Most video games can’t be returned unless they are defective, so don’t purchase a title you’re unsure of as your recipient will not be able to exchange it if he doesn’t like it or already has it. Instead, ask Mom and Dad which game is on his most wanted list. If you’re at all uncertain, go with a gift certificate to a mega store where your tween can select his or her own game. You might write a note saying, “Gramma hopes you buy yourself a Wii game that you really love.”
Tweens are a finicky bunch. They still like to play with dolls and action figures, but they also have more sophisticated (and expensive!) tastes. You can really surprise a tween with the gift of music or a video game or player. Just do some fact checking before making any purchase. You want to know the exact names of gaming systems your tween has as not every game is compatible with every model. Yes, it can get confusing. But it’s better to go into the store with a firm written list that you’ve double checked so that you are certain to buy the exact item you need.
Tweens may not show their love of your present, but be sure that they are jumping for joy inside. They’ll be showing their new games off to their friends on the bus and they’ll be the most popular kids at recess when everyone bends over their shoulders to get a glimpse of the newest handheld wonder.