Is there a more stressful situation than buying a gift for a teenager? Oh, wait, yes, we can think of one—raising a teenager. Teens are moody, their minds are always changing, and it can be hard, as a parent or aunt or family friend to decipher what’s on a teen’s wishlist. Is this cool? Not cool? How the f*ck is an out-of-touch adult supposed to know?
That’s where we come in, Moms. Teens may be wishy-washy and fickle, figuring out who they are and what they like, but all the items on this gift guide for teens are fair game no matter what. From highly-coveted tech gifts for teenage guys to games and stylish accessories, gift the teen in your life any one of these products and you’re bound to be hearing “thank you’s” until they reach their 20’s.
From VSCO girl-approved accessories to the latest gadgets, here are the best gifts for teens.
If there’s one thing we know about VSCO girls, it’s that they love stickers. Personalization is key here, moms. As long as they’re not, ahem, using them to decorate the living room walls, this is one fad we can get behind. Peep these cute AF vinyl girl power stickers (comes in a pack of 44 and contains everything from a happy succulent to chill pills) that are perfect for their next sticker bomb—be it their iPhone case, MacBooks, Hydro Flask, skateboard, you name it. Basically, if it’s not moving, it’s fair game. These stickers are made from high-quality vinyl and ink—they’re also waterproof and scratch-resistant—so you don’t have to worry about them fading after application. Cue the excitement: Sheri A. Mitchell says, “The moment my girls got these stickers they were strategically placed on their hydro flasks. Great amount of stickers for the price too.”
Okay, ready for your teenage daughter to lose her $h*t?! When it comes to jewelry, anything beaded, floral, and reminiscent of her summer camp days is bound to be a hit. Peep this SUPER sweet double-daisy necklace by Emily Levine Milan (courtesy of Catbird, our go-to for dainty stack rings). The blue and teal hues are simply stunning, and the daisies practically evoke an afternoon spent frolicking in a field of—you guessed it—wildflowers. Perfect for pairing alongside a crop top and denim cutoffs or a simple t-shirt dress for a Cali girl spin, this whimsical beaded flower chain is the definition of friendship #goals. It’s hand beaded in India by female artisans so you’re paying for quality here—it’s not going to break after only a few wears.
Every teenager on the planet wants a Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack, and for good reason. Besides the obvious: They’re effing cute (!) and come in a $h*tload of colorways (sky blue, peach pink, ochre, frost green… just to name a few); they’re also extremely versatile. From festival grounds to the classroom, this unisex bag is roomy enough to fit a wallet, an iPad, headphones, and water bottle. They’re made from polyvinyl and thus can easily be spot-cleaned should there be any spills or mishaps. As far as accessibility goes, it has a roomy main zip compartment and convenient side pockets that can easily be used to stash spare change, hair ties, afternoon munchies, or a smartphone. We can’t stress the cool factor enough, moms. If there was ever an “It” backpack to tote around, it would be this. Going hand-in-hand with a Champion hoodie and some cool Converse high-tops (unless you’re a Vans girl or guy), this backpack is guaranteed to be a winner with your not-so-easy-to-shop-for-teenager.
Um, remember your 90’s scrunchie obsession? These vibrant hairbands-on-steroids (in EVERY color of the rainbow, no less!) are officially making a comeback and we don’t need Clarissa to explain that to us. (Though we kinda wish she would.) The good news is you can get 45 velvet hair ties for only a few bucks; that way, the teen in your life won’t complain that they don’t have a specific color. Get her all the hues and she’ll have a color-coded scrunchie or six for every day of the week, if not the entire month. From a peppy ponytail to a Zenon-approved space bun, she’ll have a blast color-coding all her outfits with her SOTD (scrunchie of the day). These comfortable elastic bands won’t give her a headache even after hours of wear. This Amazon customer raves, “1000% would recommend this to everybody who loves scrunchies! They are super in right now so if you have a kid who wants scrunchies, this would be perfect!”
Teenagers are to AirPods as moms are to glasses of wine after a long, hard day. It’s just math. The only downside (for you, Mom, not for your kid) is that these babies are wireless, which means under a hat or hair tucked over the ear, you may not even notice that your sassy teen is tuning you out. Insert face-to-palm emoji here. They’re listening to the game, or Spotify, or are on a call with their friends. Nevertheless, it’s a risk worth taking as AirPods continue to be one of the hottest gifts on the market right now. Besides, aren’t you tired of your kiddos stealing your AirPods rightttt before an important business call?? We rest our case. No teen wants to be left behind—go ahead and snag the “Mom of the Year” award by gifting a set of these babies to your tech-savvy teenager.
Sooner rather than later, your teen is going to be driving. As in, behind the wheel of an actual car. Scary, right? Prolong the inevitable with another mode of transportation: the RipStick Ripster Caster Board. Shorter than the original RipStick, this modern take on skateboards is made with high-tech polymer with removable plates, slip-resistant concave deck platforms, and high-grade urethane wheels, so that your driver-in-training can rip through the streets at a fast (but totally safe!) pace. If you’re a helicopter mom—no judgement here—DO throw in a helmet to keep them out of harm’s way. From the boardwalk to an empty parking lot at school to your neighborhood in the ‘burbs, just imagine how fun your teenager will have zipping around the block. The compact size and narrower stance is made for li’l tricksters (AKA, they’ll be mastering a kickflip backside tailslide in no time).
JENGA is a timeless game that’s fun for literally everyone—children, adults at a brewery, and yes, even the hard-to-please teenager who gets bored AF way too easily. Double the fun by upping the ante with Giant JENGA. Starting at two feet high at setup, these 7″ by 3″ by 2″ hardwood blocks can stack as high as five feet—nearly 15 times the volume of a classic JENGA tower. Need your rowdy teens out of the house? Send them packing into the yard with Giant JENGA and you won’t see them for a few hours at least! It also comes with a bright orange heavy-duty carry bag that’s practically made for road trips or an afternoon at the park. Just pack ‘n’ go for your next adventure. (More time for you to do important #Momming things. Or you know, unwind with a glass of vino and catch up on Real Housewives.)
Fairy string lights just got a huge upgrade. These LED string lights connect to an app on your teen’s phone, so they can control the colors and lighting. Connected with Bluetooth, these lights have the capability to actually sync to music through the app that features music modes. Lights change color and modes along to the beat. In total, there are 16 million color combinations and 29 modes, and the lights can also be hooked up to a timer, so you don’t have to worry about your—ahem—irresponsible teen forgetting to shut them off manually. Can you imagine the epic disco dance parties they’ll have in their bedroom when you’re not around? KIDDING. Beyond the cool factor, these multi-colored lights would be great for decorating a bedroom (or even a college dorm in a few short years) for a cozy little setup. Nicole from Amazon agrees, “Love the lights, they are super cool! Daughter loves how they change with the music. Nice mood lighting for just hanging out in her room.”
What is it with today’s teens—or shall we call them VSCO girls…and boys—being obsessed with relics from our past? It’s like, they get all the nostalgia and cool-cred from instant cameras, but don’t have to deal with any of the technical issues we did at the time: No dial-up, no beepers, no shotty signal. Nope, Gen Z gets to enjoy the gems of a gone decade all while reveling in fast-as-f*ck WiFi and wireless earbuds. But we’re not bitter, right, Mom? The Fujifilm SQ6 Instax Square Instant Camera features three color filters to attach over the flash, giving pics a vibrant tint, and also has six shooting modes and automatic flash. It even has a selfie mode, because of course it does. Better than Huji Cam, this Instax camera will be great for concerts, vacations, and hanging out with friends. Afterwards, your teens will have a blast creating a polaroid wall in their bedroom.
Maybe you’ve got a super sophisticated teen on your hands whose only item on her wish-list is to travel the world. You know—she wants to get cultured, backpack around Europe, and learn Italian. Well, say no more. For the wanderlust-y teen, may we recommend a TSA-approved suitcase from Away—and maybe a roundtrip ticket to Spain?! Away is the most durable luggage out there, so no matter how many flights she boards lugging this carry-on suitcase behind her, it will be in top-notch condition for years to come. Available in 10 different colors including blush pink, the Away Carry-On also has a USB feature and battery so you’ll never have to worry about your teen’s phone dying while she’s en route to her dream destination. All the better to keep texting tabs on them during that gap year trip to Europe.
Stumped on finding the perfect gift for your teenager? Check out our curated gift guides for ideas!