Is there a little princess in your life? A girl between the ages 7 and 12 that has a birthday coming up? It’s true that young girls are easier to shop for than boys, but do you know what toys and games are popular right now? If you’re a stressed out parent, relative, or friend-of-the-family, keep reading for some helpful tips on what to get for Christmas or her birthday.
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Great Gifts For Tweens (9 to 12) – All Price Ranges
Get your tween (ages 9-12) thinking about high school with a 2-story dollhouse based on Monster High (even better if she already has Monster High dolls). If she likes to read, she’ll love Pippi Longstocking, a classic about an outrageous girl with red pigtails. If she’s musically inclined but not ready for a real instrument, try a toy saxophone by Bontempi (can play a full scale). Also on the list this year is a beginner’s microscope for amateur scientists.
Excellent Ideas For Ages 5 to 8 – All Price Ranges
For girls between the ages 5 and 8, you’re going to need something a little more complicated. Introduce her to the world of music with the 25-key starter piano by Schoenhut. Spark a curiosity in science with a kit that allows her to create a volcano, a miniature sunset, crystals, and more! For something the whole family can enjoy, try the silly “what am I?” guessing game HedBanz. For damsels in distress who like to play outside, get her a play tent – built to look like a pink castle, of course.
Gift Ideas for Age 7
It depends on her personality, but most girls this age love arts and crafts. A creative gift will allow her to make something she can give as a present or hang on the wall. Even better, art projects and toys stimulate the mind while promoting creativity and hand-eye coordination. If she likes to draw, she will love creating dizzying patterns with the Deluxe Spirograph. Even better, pair it with a set of gel pens (Fiskars has a great set that comes with 48 different colors for only $13).
Does she enjoy having her face painted at the amusement park? Bring that excitement home with the Klutz Face Painting Activity Book. Bonus: she can enjoy it with all of her friends. The book includes all kinds of ideas and tutorials and the set comes with an ample supply of paint. Another perfect gift for groups of girls is a duct tape set called All Duct Out (it includes 8 rolls of duct tape). She’ll enjoy creating wacky accessories like sunglasses and bracelets.
Does she like musicals? Disney just released a new one called Teen Beach Movie – a musical time-traveling romp that’s sure to have her singing along! If she’s accumulating a lot of stuff (as girls tend to do), why not surprise her this holiday season or birthday with a cute purse or bag (a great example would be a Hello Kitty purse). This will also get her accustomed to carrying a purse!
So far, all of these gifts have been light on the budget. If you’ve got several kids in the family or have extra money to spend on her, consider a playset (Lifestyle makes some great ones). Although these will run you about $1,000, playsets encourage exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and interaction with other kids. If this 7-year-old wants a playset but you don’t have the budget for it, consider a bucket swing, tire swing, or mini zip line; you could even build a custom tree house in the back yard.
Christmas Ideas for Age 8
Let’s take a minute to think about what being 8 really means: she’s in the 2nd or 3rd grade. This is the age at which most girls start having sleepovers and playing in organized sports. She’s probably reading novels and aware of current trends (in other words, what other kids are doing matters to her). Chances are that she probably knows how to operate technological devices like iPads better than you do! So what is the best gift for this little lady?
If she likes to write and draw, buy her a kit that lets her publish her very own book (Illustory is a great brand). She’ll be able to come up with a story, draw the pictures, and mail it to the company for publication!
If you’re trying to encourage family time, buy her a game everyone can enjoy. Try the classics like Connect4 and Twister. Don’t overlook sports gifts; they aren’t just for boys. If she plays sports already, she may really appreciate a basketball hoop or soccer ball. If she doesn’t currently play sports, a gift like this might change her mind. Organized sports encourage teamwork, discipline, friendship, confidence, and are a great form of exercise.
Is music and/or talking on the phone a big part of her life? A cell phone is an option, but 8 is awfully young for that. Instead, try the iTouch. You can use it as a phone (by installing Skype) and it’s great for music. You can even play games and take pictures and video. Does she like crafts and jewelry? Instead of a normal art kit, try the Twistz Bandz Rainbow Loom or the Friends 4 Ever Bracelet Kit (Alex Toys). The first will allow her to weave necklaces, rings, and bracelets from brightly colored rubber bands. The latter is a great gift for parties because it is something all the girls can do together (hint: by scissors, embroidery floss, and tape).
|Image||Name||Rating (out of 5)||Price||Ideal for Ages||Why this makes a good gift|
|Monster High |
High School Playset
|4.3||$99.90||9-12||Get her thinking about high school with this deluxe Monster High dollhouse.|
Perfect for girls who already have Monster High fashion dolls, this two-story playhouse really brings Mattel's creepy Monster High High School to life.
Folds up for easy storage.
|The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren||4.9||$5-$20||7-9||A great gift for girls who enjoy reading, The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking is a classic in the world of children’s literature.|
Girls will love reading about the hilarious adventures of Pippi Longstocking, a spunky redhead who lives with a horse and doesn’t have to listen to adults.
|Bontempi Saxophone||3.7||$17.54||7-9||Introduce her to the world of music with Bontempi's toy saxophone. This shiny silver instrument features 8 keys with which budding musicians can play a full scale. |
The saxophone’s color-coded keys match music printed on the box; sheet music is also available for purchase.
|My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope|
|4.5||$63.99||8-12||The perfect gift for a budding scientist! |
This microscope isn’t a toy. It features real glass optics, 400x magnification power, and a 50-piece accessory kit.
We suggest pairing this gift with AmScope’s PS25 prepared microscope slide set to get her biological journey started.
|Hedbanz: The quick question game of "What am I?"||4.7||$12.45||7+||Hedbanz is the perfect game for her to play with her friends. It’s easy for children to understand and encourages quick thinking and creativity. |
Players ask yes or no questions to determine what image is on the card in their headband. Comes with 74 cards.
|Spirograph Deluxe Design Set||4.6||$17.79||7+||Creative girls will love making the dizzy circular designs possible only with Spirograph. Pair it with black paper and gel pens for a more radical experience. |
Arts and crafts are fun for the whole family. Plus, they promote hand-eye coordination and stimulate the mind.
|Apples to Apples: The Game of Crazy Combinations (Family Edition)||4.6||$22.40||12+||Just how well do you know your friends and family?|
Find out with Apples to Apples - the incredibly popular game of crazy comparisons.
She might not be expecting a board game in today’s age of technology, but we promise she will love Apples to Apples.
*Great for the entire family; includes 500 cards.
|SCOUT Kate Wristlet||4.5||$16||12+||A wristlet is a practical gift that will help keep her organized. It’s smaller than a purse, but serves much the same purpose – and it’s a must if she already has her own cell phone. |
The wristlet pictured at left comes in several different colors and measures 8 x 4 inches.
|ALEX Toys Do-it-Yourself Wear Friends 4 Ever Jewelry||4.4||$15.48||8-9||Age 8 is about the time most girls start having sleepovers. Give her and friends something fun to do with this Friends 4 Ever bracelet making kit (and make sure you have scissors handy). |
*Includes supplies to make up to 22 bracelets.
|Create your own Origami Lights (4M)||4.3||$12.99||9-12||Beautiful, function, and fun! |
Inspire your preteen to decorate her own room while she learns the ancient Japanese art of origami.
Let her creativity soar as she creates brilliant birds, butterflies, and flowers (a perfect rainy day activity for the family).
*Lights are safe (low-voltage); batteries not included.
|Locked Diary||4.5||$9.16||9-12||No matter what kind of locked diary you choose (password, lock and key, etc.), it will be great for keeping siblings out of her private business! |
A diary is a fun and creative outlet for her feelings, and giving her one with a lock will give her the freedom to write about whatever she’s feeling and thinking (probably something about boys...).
The “Peace Diary” at left is manufactured by Hot Focus.
|Nintendo 3DS XL w/ game||4.4||$174.99+|
(less expensive if you buy used)
|10||If you don’t already have a gaming system in the house, a Nintendo 3DS XL is the perfect gift for a 10-year-old. This handheld system operates with buttons and a stylus and has 3-D capability. |
Pair this gift with an age-appropriate game like Yo-kai Watch, Mario Kart 7, or Pokémon: Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire.
*The Nintendo 3DS is fun for all ages.
|Webkinz Virtual Pets |
"Stormy the Dragon"
|4.6||$9.99||10||“Webkinz” are stuffed animals with online counterparts in Webkinz World (webkinz.com). |
Each physical toy comes with a “secret code” that will allow her to play with her pet online.
*Stormy the Dragon is a great addition to existing collections, but we suggest giving her 2-3 Webkinz if she doesn't have any yet.
|Roald Dahl BrainBox||5||$29.72||11||A teacher favorite, this 10-minute memory game features the whimsical characters of children’s author Roald Dahl. |
This portable game does not require paper, pens, or a table; it is educational and perfect for family, friends, and other groups.
*Made of mostly recycled materials; includes convenient storage box.
|Teen Beach Movie (DVD)||4.7||$9.99||7||If she likes musicals, she will love Disney’s Teen Beach Movie – a time traveling musical comedy that will soon have her singing along. |
With 50s/60s style high energy dancing and singing, Teen Beach Movie is a family-friendly echo of the classic musical Grease.
Gift Ideas for Age 9
Do you remember what it was like to be 9? Such different priorities – and you actually wanted to be older! A child turning 9 or unwrapping a Christmas present has definitely got some opinions about what she wants and what she doesn’t want. Age 9 straddles the line between preteen and childhood. You definitely don’t want to buy her something that makes her feel like a little kid.
If you want to play it safe, consider the following ideas:
• Books: buy her a book or two from a series she already likes.
• Sports: buy her equipment from a sport she already plays.
• Collectibles: purchase a gift that is part of a collection she has already started.
• Music: surprise her with headphones, an mp3 player, or a poster of her favorite band.
If you want to indulge her creative side, consider these kits instead:
• Create your own Origami Lights (she’ll be able to decorate her room).
• Wire Craft Rings (great for parties).
• Perfume Laboratory (make your own custom perfume).
• Grow it Bonsai Tree (grow and tend your own bonsai tree).
• Design and make Dangly Animals (great for key chains).
• Berries – Jewel and Charm Making
Depending on her personality, she might appreciate a “girly” gift. Check these out:
• A journal with a lock or password (great for keeping brothers out).
• Beauty bag (she can use this to store all her toiletries).
• Lip Balm Lab (create your own lip balm).
• Makeup: introduce her to the world of makeup and teach her how to correctly apply it.
Take a chance and foster a new interest with a unique gift:
• Fifty Amazing Magic Tricks (learn how to perform magic tricks).
• Sew Sweet (an introduction to sewing).
• Detective Fingerprint Kit (learn how to identify suspects and record clues).
• Paint your own PJs (use fabric paint to customize comfy PJs).
• Bananagrams (a fun word game the whole family will enjoy).
• Big Cheese Making Kit (Learn how to make cheese right in your own kitchen).
Gift ideas for Age 10
Unless she’s a tomboy, she’s probably starting to get into fashion. There are brands she loves and brands that she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. If you want to indulge her fashionista side, your best bet might be to surprise her with a gift card to her favorite store. This way, she can buy exactly what she wants. For something a little different, introduce her to fashion paper dolls. They go for about $15 online.
One of the most popular toys on today’s market for this age group is Webkinz. They appear to be small stuffed animals, but there is actually a “secret code” printed on each tag that allows you to play online with your new pet in “Webkinz World.” Access to the online virtual world is completely free!
If you’re a parent (or have permission), consider taking her to the mall to get her ears pierced. Combine the trip with lunch and a few pieces of jewelry. If she already has her ears pierced, you could take her out to the mall anyway and let her pick out a few things from her favorite store. Make a little day trip out of it and spend some quality time together.
If budget isn’t an issue, you may consider a gaming system. Video games aren’t just for boys – lots of girls this age own a Nintendo DS (a handheld system). If she already has one, you could surprise her with some gadgets that go along with it (like a cute carrying case or a new game).
Give her the gift of music (and I don’t mean an iPod). Has she learned how to play a musical instrument? Reading music is one of the most important skills a child can learn. If she hasn’t already started, talk to her about learning to play an instrument and see if she’s interested. For this type of purchase, it’s best to find out first which instrument she’d like to learn. You can try out different instruments in a music store if she hasn’t had the opportunity at school.
Gift Ideas: Age 11
Eleven years is smack in the middle of what they call the “tween” years. They say that girls ages 10-12 are “too old for toys and too young for boys.” However, neither of these may be true of the little lady you’re shopping for! Whether it’s for Christmas or a birthday, this age group tends to be rather difficult to please. After all, her tastes probably change every other day!
Because she’ll be even more interested in fashion and trends during her tween years, it’s important to do some research on what to buy for her. Don’t be afraid to ask her or her friends for some ideas. If you’d like it to be a complete surprise, it’s important to first consider her personality, her hobbies, and her extracurricular activities. What does she talk about often or seem most interested in? Is there an aspect of her life you would like to encourage (i.e. exercise or music)? With this advice in mind, check out the list below for ideas:
Electronic Dictionary Bookmark: If she likes to read, she’ll love this little gadget. Slim enough to fit between the pages of a book, this device is actually a mini dictionary. Easy to use, it contains thousands of definitions so she won’t have to stop reading to ask what a word means (made by That Company Called If).
Screen Printing Workshop: Foster the artist in her with this introduction to the ancient art of serigraphy. Use unique printing techniques, stencils, and inks to create beautiful designs. The gift set from DJECO comes with everything you need to create beautiful artwork.
Smart Touch gloves: If your 11-year-old has a smartphone or other touchscreen device, she’ll love these gloves. Made by many companies, such as Isotoner and Louis Garneau, they come in all sorts of styles and colors. So whether she needs gloves for cycling or for cold weather, she will be able to use a touchscreen without taking them off.
BrainBox: Have fun with the whole family while challenging your mind with BrainBox. The Green Board Game Company makes tons of varieties, but our favorite is the Roald Dahl BrainBox. This version incorporates whimsical material from children’s author Roald Dahl.
Karaoke Machine: Engage the whole family and invite friends over to share the fun with a karaoke machine. Make sure you have good soundproofing or simply invite your neighbors over too! Check out our review of the best karaoke machines in this article.
It’s hard to believe, but this young lady is about to be a teenager!! My advice: cherish this final year before all the drama starts or good luck if the drama has already started! Just like other tweens, 12-year-olds can be hard to shop for. Not to worry, the following list includes all the top toys this season plus something to fit every budget and personality type.
• Apples to Apples: this popular word game is fun for everyone, broadens the vocabulary, and can be played just about anywhere.
• Angry Birds: Knock on Wood: this extraordinarily popular app can now be played in real life!
A few appropriate book series she might enjoy:
• Divergent by Veronica Roth
• Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
• Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
If she likes video games, check out these top games:
• LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation Vita
• Spore for PC
• Just Dance 4 for Nintendo Wii
• Disney Universe for Nintendo Wii
• Wristlet Wallet: a convenient way to securely carry small items. Plus, there are thousands of designs!
• Mighty Boom Ball: does she love music? This clever device turns any object into a speaker. The Mighty Boom Ball uses vibration technology compatible with Android and Apple devices. Anywhere she goes can turn into a party with high-quality sound.
• Mood Cube: If she has started to decorate her own room, she will love this accessory. This LED cube provides a gentle light and phases slowly between four different colors. At less than $10 each, why not surprise her with a few of them and let her give her bedroom a little sophistication.
Girly Gifts: Is she wearing makeup yet?
• Lip Gloss: girls just can’t get enough lip gloss! Pair this gift with a cute makeup bag or other makeup items.
• ELF Makeup: a great brand to start out with. Pick a few palettes and let her experiment.
• The Little Book of Earrings: a safe, convenient way to store earrings. It looks like a simple book, but can hold up to 48 pairs of earrings. She will love the cute design.
Encourage a new hobby:
• Digital Camera: is she ready for her first camera? We like the Canon Powershot because it takes high quality photos and is perfect for beginners.
• Recipe Book: Sprinkles makes a cute, high-quality binder in which to record your own recipes. This might be just the thing to spark an interest in cooking.
Good luck finding the perfect gift! Look online more information about specific toys mentioned above. Click here to view a children’s gift gallery featured by the Chicago Tribune. For a different perspective, click here to read our article that asks “Do Gifts Spoil Children?”
Looking for gift ideas for boys as well? Check out our list of top gift ideas for boys 8 to 12 years old.