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The Brightest, Coolest Gifts for 11-Year-Olds

Whether your tween leans cuddly, techy, or goofy, this list is filled with stuff they want.

Lexi Dwyer

11 Year Olds Gift Guide

Eleven-year-olds can be a tricky bunch. One minute they're deep in pretend play, developing elaborate storylines about dolls or zombies with their younger siblings. An hour later you'll find them hunched over their iPad, unleashing a torrent of emojis into a group chat. They're quick to deem certain things "babyish," but when they think no one is watching, they won't hesitate to gently cradle a long-lost stuffie they found at the bottom of their closet. The preteen years can feel like a wild roller coaster ride, but these fun gifts can add a little joy and ease to it all — and who can't use more of that?

Creatable World Dolls

What's not to love about a doll set that comes with the motto "all welcome"? These dolls, which are sold in several different skin and hair combinations, come with two different hairstyles (short and long) and a mix of different separates, such as jean shorts, camo pants, and a tulle skirt. Free of labels like "girl" and "boy," kids can create more than 100 different looks, learning along the way that there's no wrong way to dress a doll — or to be a person.

Dream Pillow Dreamimal Sharkie

This flufftastic pillow might look like yet another stuffie to add to the menagerie of Pusheens, Beanies, and Squishmallows that are already covering your kiddo's bed. But really it's a plush with a purpose: It comes with a pocket as well as a separate pad of paper. If your tween is having before-bed anxiety (and really, who isn't these days?), you can suggest that they write down a wish, a worry, or even just some to-do items for tomorrow, and tuck it into Sharkie's pocket. And since many studies have shown links between writing at bedtime and improved sleep, this is a win for everyone.

Sunnylife Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

We know — somehow, every time you go to sync up with your Bluetooth speaker, you realize it's been rehomed to your kid's room. This affordable, tween-friendly option is full of good, stripey vibes, and since it's waterproof, may even get reluctant bathers into the shower. 

The Original Live Sea Monkeys Neon Ocean Zoo

Has your kid been begging for a pet? Are you thinking they could use a little more STEM in their life? While it's not exactly a Whoodle or a Schnoodle, this cool aquarium kit checks off both boxes. You'll get live eggs, growth food, and the tank: Follow the simple instructions and in less than a week you'll have a bunch of colorful little critters flitting around, who can live as long as two years with the proper TLC.

Singing Machine Carpool Karaoke Mic

Sleepovers, karaoke parties, road trips — let us count the types of occasions that can be seriously improved with this glitzy-looking Bluetooth karaoke mic, which was inspired by James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke" segments. It has perks like echo sound effects, pulsing lights, and an FM tuner that can sync with your car radio. If belting out "Halo" while stuck in traffic is wrong, we don't want to be right. 

Micro Kickboard Sprite Deluxe 8+ Scooter

If your 11-year-old is still sporting their three-wheeled scooter, this is the year for an upgrade. This sleek option from Micro is nimble enough for doing tricks at the playground, but has safety features parents will love, like a reflector and integrated light. The high weight capacity (220 pounds) means they likely won't outgrow it for quite some time.

LEGO Star Wars: The Child

We're not sure how the folks at LEGO managed to capture Grogu's adorable essence using bricks, but we sure are glad they did. His ears, mouth, and eyes can all be set in different poses, making him incredibly expressive. The 1,000-plus–piece set will keep your kid occupied for a good stretch during the chilly days of winter, and when they're finished, it can double as room decor, since it comes with an official display stand topped with a Grogu minifigure.

DoughNotes

The problem: Grandma expects a thank-you note for the piles of presents she sent, but your middle schooler doesn't quite get why a text doesn't count. The solution: Gift your tween some DoughNotes, a lovely set of notecards that will get them amped up to send some good old-fashioned snail mail. The only issue? The sender or recipient may experience serious carb cravings after seeing one of these cute missives.

Genuine Fred Obsessive Chef Cutting Board

Your kid's chef game will be even stronger with a cool cutting board. The high-quality, eco-friendly bamboo surface will make them feel like they've landed on a cooking show. And they can nerd out with the helpful gridlines and measurements, such as the precise sizing for dice styles like julienne and brunoise. (Adults, remember to always supervise when sharp knives are involved!)

Villainous Board Game

In Villainous, kids can role-play one of six Disney evil-doers: Maleficent, Ursula, Jafar, Prince John, Queen of Hearts, or Captain Hook. Each character comes with their own backstory, objective, and cards; you can use the "fate cards" to meddle in your opponents' affairs and thwart their plans to succeed (insert throaty, evil laugh here). This game celebrates what kids know from watching The Descendents movies on repeat: The villains tend to be way more complex and fascinating than the heroes. 

Ollyball Glow Party

Switch on on the 6 foot LED blacklight, because it's time to play ball! Ollyball is the lightweight, indoor ball you could spike right into the windows, because it's not gonne break them. I mean, you could, but we don't recommend it. Instead, use the included markers to color in your neon design, and use the also included blacklight to kick off a new world glowing sports right in your living room. Remember: the ball won't break anything, but your foot sure will, so watch where you're kicking!

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