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20 Gifts Our Older Kids Love (That Will Arrive Before Christmas) | Ages 8-12

Still gift shopping? You still have time to get these items before Christmas if you have Amazon Prime. Don’t do Amazon? That’s okay, you can still find these gifts at your local Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.

I have two boys, ages eight and twelve, and I’m at that awkward stage of parenting where neither of my children is showing much interest in toys anymore. Is anyone with me? Lego sets used to be my go-to gift, but these days they just collect dust in the organizer cart that resides in my boys’ room. So, what on earth do I get my kids this Christmas season?

A Good Rule of Thumb

This year, my husband and I adopted a new Christmas gift-giving strategy. I’m sure many of you have heard of it before:

Something you want. 

Something you need. 

Something you wear. 

Something you read.  

This guideline helped our Christmas shopping significantly. It kept us from overspending and it gave us other gift ideas outside the usual toy route.

Here is a gift guide I created for all of you featuring 20 items our children actually own and love (and just a few that they’ll receive as gifts this year). I divided this guide into four sections; Something They Want, Something They Need, Something They Wear, and Something They Read. I hope at least one of these gift ideas resonates with you. Happy Shopping!

Something They Want 

Topple Dominoes 

Before you write this idea off as something for little kids, you must watch the Youtube videos where professionals create amazingly intricate domino structures. My kids discovered this side of Youtube and, of course, asked me to purchase hundreds of dominoes. I’m glad I did because they actually use them. So much so that I’ll be repurchasing domino sets this Christmas to add to their collection.

Nintendo Switch Console

You can’t go wrong with a Nintendo Switch. It’s great for traveling as well as enjoying it as a console to play with multiple friends. Already have a Switch? Nintendo Switch accessories are another great gift option.

Astro Hoverboard  

Our Astro hoverboard is another item that gets a lot of action around here. It has bright LED lights for evening fun and a Bluetooth speaker to enjoy some tunes while you ride. 

The Genius Square 

When it comes to board games, the Genius Square is right at the top of our list. And for good reason, as this brainteaser is an award-winning game that is both fun and challenging. Play it solo or race with an opponent. Also, small enough to travel with.  

Family Feud Kids vs. Parents 

We love to play Family Feud the most during long road trips. If you have a kiddo that’s really into board games, they’ll love to add this one to the collection. So much fun for the entire family.  

XP Pen Artist Pro Tablet 

A frequently asked question is what my tween uses to create his gorgeous artwork. It’s the XP Pen Artist Pro drawing tablet. This tablet is fantastic. It’s compatible with most computer brands, as well as applications like Photoshop and Illustrator.  

Target Shooting Game 

Nerf guns are one toy my boys haven’t outgrown yet, especially when shooting targets are involved. What’s fun about this game is that it keeps score, you can play with an opponent, and it’s suitable to play both indoors and out.  


A trampoline is another item my children haven’t grown tired of yet. They are on it almost every single day, whether they are reading a book, jumping, or simply sunbathing. If you don’t yet own one, a trampoline is the perfect family gift.

Disco Ball Light 

My kids love their disco light so much that they use it every night without fail. It’s a fantastic way to spice up the bedroom and makes a great alternative to LED light strips We’ve also used this disco light outdoors for an evening backyard party full of dancing and trampoline jumping.  

Something They Need 


Not ready to splurge on an iPhone for that tween in your life? Neither am I. An inexpensive Tracfone is the next best thing. I decided my tween needed a phone the day I was late picking him up for practice and there was no way for me to call him. If you’re concerned about phone safety, you can always set up parental controls to ensure your child stays safe and offline. I personally use the Microsoft Family Safety features. 

HP Omen Gaming Laptop 

I always get asked what computer my tween is using to code his awesome games. It’s the HP Omen gaming laptop. This computer boasts great performance and is worth the investment if your child enjoys creating animations and video games. Makes a great reliable laptop for schoolwork and gaming, too.  

Something They Wear

Nike Fly.by Mid 2 NBK Shoes 

Is my tween the only one wearing men’s shoe sizes now? If not, these cool Nike shoes come in big kid sizes, too. These shoes are great because they’re stylish, comfortable, and can be worn with any color outfit. best of all, they are budget-friendly. My tween loves his pair.  

Nike Crew Socks 

Since Christmas takes place in the middle of basketball season, these Nike crew socks are the perfect gift for the basketball player in your life. The name brand makes this otherwise boring gift a bit more special. Even if your kiddo isn’t into sports, these crew socks are an excellent winter staple.

Nike Cap 

I know it’s winter, but my boys will still wear a sports cap over a beanie. I love sports caps because they camouflage bad hair days. My boys love them because they think hats make them look cool. Nike is their favorite cap brand to wear.  

Chaps Sweater

We love the Chaps brand for sweaters. My boys have had many varieties of these half-zip sweaters over the years. In fact, they took their recent Christmas photos in their Chaps sweaters this year. These sweaters are stylish, high quality, and perfect for the cold winter months.

Something They Read 

Difficult Riddles for Smart Kids 2 

Last year, I raved about Difficult Riddles for Smart Kids. This year, I’m discovering they have a second book with 300 more riddles! My kids really enjoyed reading through these riddles before our homeschool lessons each day. If you have a kiddo in your life who loves brain teasers, this will make an awesome gift. 

It’s a Numbers Game Basketball by Nat Geo 

If you have a basketball lover, this is a great gift option. TIt’s a Numbers Game connects math with basketball in a rather engaging way. The book also offers insightful pointers on how to improve basketball skills.  

Inside the World of Roblox 

Inside the World of Roblox will be a huge hit for any Roblox fan looking for insider info from the Roblox team. It’s a hardcover book, which I love, and makes a great gift for both avid and reluctant readers.  

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs 

Perhaps you have a tween that loves to cook. This best-seller cookbook is a great gift option. This book is filled with kid-tested and approved recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and more. It also includes step-by-step photos of tips and techniques that will help young chefs feel like pros in their own kitchen. 

The Action Bible

My tween was really into this book. The Action Bible presents more than 230 fast-paced narratives in chronological order, making it easy to follow the Bible’s historical flow. My son loved the illustrations and how the stories were presented in a comic book format.

Well, that concludes my list. Be sure to check out my other post on gift ideas for tweens if you need more inspiration.  

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