I’m in a bit of a panic because I have no idea what to buy my older children for Christmas this year! As kids get older, it gets harder and harder to find gifts you know they’ll love – especially gifts that won’t break the bank. I thought there may be other parents out there feeling the same pain, and since I now have three boys in their teens I’ve put together a list of great gifts for 13 year old boys. These recommendations are either gifts we’ve given to our kids in past years that they’ve enjoyed, or gift ideas our boys wish they’d received when they were 13!
Now someone just help me figure out what to get a 16 year old…
Best Christmas gifts for 13 year old boys (or 12 year old boys, or 14 year old boys, you get the idea)
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For more teen gift ideas, visit this post: 20 best gift ideas for teens that won’t break the bank
The idea is pretty simple – you and your opponents take turns bouncing the ball on the net – but it can get very fast paced and competitive. Easy to carry with you and play just about anywhere. Great way to have fun and get a little exercise!
Players take turns hanging notched pieces on the tabletop stand. Try to add your piece without toppling the whole thing. Perfect for 13 year old boys who love a little competition.
3. Kindle fire
We got all our kids Kindle Fires last year and these have definitely been the most used gifts we’ve ever given. For a surprisingly small price tag, Fires have big capabilities. Our kids use them to listen to music, read books, and send emails. You can also access the web and download apps and games. The best part is that parental controls are easy to use and extremely customizable so you can completely block web access and app purchases if you choose. You can even set a bedtime so kids and teens don’t stay up all night using them!
Almost every 13 year old boy I know could use a little more active fun and a little less time on electronics! Set this tabletop air hockey board up on a table, plug it in, and let the fun begin.
The new Architecture sets from LEGO are models of famous building and skylines throughout the world – such as the Eiffel Tower and the White House – and are designed specifically for older kids ages 12-15. They’re harder to put together than other LEGO sets because lots of small pieces are involved, and the finished models are impressively accurate and detailed.
Funny t-shirts are super popular with teens and tweens and are a really nice idea when you’re looking for a less expensive gift. Last year I rounded up 35 funny shirts that feature geeky humor, pop culture humor, snarky humor, lazy humor, and more. Click through to find the best gift for your 13 year old boy!
One of the newest handheld gaming system from Nintendo, the 2DS plays the same games as the 3DS but without the 3D functionality, making it quite a bit cheaper. There’s a gigantic library of games available for the 2DS because it plays anything made for the original DS as well, AND you can purchase versions of retro games straight from the 2DS for as little as $5 a game. Some games allow friends that both have a 2DS to play against each other, meaning the bus ride to school has never been so much fun.
If your 13 year old boy has dreams of becoming a rock star, help him learn to play electric guitar with this fun and innovative video game that teaches proper guitar technique with over 80 interactive lessons and 50 popular songs. Our son went from having never touched a guitar to playing hits like REM’s “Losing My Religion” note-for-note in a couple of months with this game. You will need an electronic guitar or bass with a 1/4″ output jack to play.
Whether your 13 year old boy loves to read or is a reluctant reader, Brandon Sanderson books are a great gift idea. Sanderson writes both fantasy and sci-fi and his books are always fast paced and full of adventure. My kids highly recommend the Mistborn series (about a thief with magic powers who’s trying to con the evil Lord Ruler) and the Reckoners series (about the human resistance against the gifted Epics who have taken control of the world).
Let your child capture every moment of his adventures with this small camera that’s surprising inexpensive. The ultra wide angle fish eye lens captures 170 degrees, meaning you get more of yourself and your surroundings in the video, and you can even record underwater! Online reviewers love the crystal clear picture quality and the extra rechargeable battery.
11. Board Games
It’s always nice to have lots of board games to play when friends come over. These three games have been especially popular with the 12-16 year old boys at our house:
Pandemic: Game players have to stop the spread of four deadly diseases before humankind is wiped out. In this cooperative game each player has different abilities and players must work together to with the game.
Settlers of Catan: This game that has you earning resources to develop settlements and cities and cut off your opponents has enjoyed huge popularity in the past few years! Game play is a bit more complex than the average board game (although my 9 year old has no problem playing) which keeps things interesting. The board is set up in a different configuration every time, meaning no two games play out the same way.
Bang: In this Wild West themed card game the Outlaws hunt the Sheriff, the Sheriff hunts the Outlaws, and the Renegade tries to get rid of everyone, but no one knows who everyone else is. Games are fairly long (about an hour) and full of intrigue and strategy.
12. Penny board
These plastic retro skateboards are a great introduction to skateboarding with a small price tag. They’re only 22 inches long so they fit in a locker and still do a great job cruising from place to place. These are perfect for kids who walk to school. Find an even cheaper version that gets good reviews here.
This classic multi-tool is the perfect gift for the 13 year old boy who enjoys camping, building things, or just being the guy with the pocketknife that can open bottles, cut through wire, and drive a screw (among other things).
This fun “reference book” covers 100 skills a teen boy might need, including how to wear cologne correctly · manage a credit card · talk to a girl · plan a date · write a résumé · clean a bathroom · throw a football · change a tire · tie a tie · grill a steak · find a stud in a wall and more, all written in short, easy to read entries.
My mom got mini bluetooth speakers for all three of my teen boys last year and they love them, making this a great gift for 13 year old boys. The small size (and price tag) make it an easy gift to carry around with you, but it provides big sound, including great bass.
16. Hover ball
This inexpensive air powered soccer disc glides on hard floors, turning your house into a giant air hockey table. Padded foam edges protect walls and furniture. This product is marketed to younger kids, but I suspect my teens would have a great time kicking it around and trying to get it past each other.
I know what you’re thinking: aren’t dot to dot books for little kids? Well, this one isn’t. All your favorite Marvel heroes are brought to life in these incredibly detailed 1000 dot puzzles. Twenty puzzles will provide hours of entertainment, and finished puzzles are great for displaying around the house. A great gift for a 13 year old boy!
18. Sled legs
This brand new product combines the ease of sledding with the control of skis to make sledding fun again for ages 13 and up. Get a running start at the top of the hill, then kneel down for a screaming fast ride.
19. Raspberry Pi
If you have a 13 year old boy who’s into programming, a Raspberry Pi is a great gift idea! These credit card sized computers were developed with the intent to teach computer science to kids and teens, and have been hugely popular. This is a great basic starter kit, while this ultimate kit includes the basics plus electronic components.
20. Gift cards
If you’re still having a hard time finding the perfect gift for your 13 year old boy, give him the chance to shop for himself! My kids love getting Amazon gift cards so they can pick out just about anything, but iTunes cards, movie theater gift cards, and fast food gift cards are also a big hit!