This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
Often called “tweens” or “preteens,” girls between the ages of 9 and 12 are no longer a little girl and they’re not quite a teenage girl — but their tastes may have matured. That makes finding the perfect gift for a tween girl rather tricky. Add in a pandemic, and your options may seem even more limited — unless you resort to a boring gift card.
But we’ve researched the top products for this age group and compiled a gift guide of the best gifts for girls between the ages of 9 and 12. Whether she’s into science, cooking, dolls, crafts, skateboarding or simply relaxing, you’ll find a great gift here to suit her interests. All of these unique gift ideas double as fun activities that can be safely enjoyed from the comfort of home.
A young girl who enjoys The Great British Baking Show and experimenting with desserts will go nuts for this chocolate pen. And we have to admit, it is a pretty cool gift. The kid-friendly pen allows you to write in chocolate, creating all kinds of sweet designs. It’s practically as easy to use as gel pens or colored pencils. The set also features a melting tray for four different colors of chocolate. Forty molds for candy creation are included so your little confectioner can create to her heart’s content.
You’ll have to give this cute gift idea early; it’s an advent calendar! Count down the 12 days until Christmas with the famous gray cat Pusheen and friends. There are 12 plush surprises inside the adorable pastel gift box. When all the doors have been opened, your tween will love setting up the cozy scene with each toy and placing the cute animals around the tree.
If you’ve got a girl who loves earrings, a Rowan subscription will bring joy month after month. Sign up for a monthly package including a pair of sterling silver or gold vermeil earrings, an accessory and inspirational words geared to tweens. The introductory box also has a journal and pen, a travel pouch and an earring stand. You can also opt to buy hypoallergenic earrings a la carte.
Get your girl out and about with her own skateboard — it’s one activity she can still do during the pandemic. We love the galaxy design on this flexible plastic deck, and the board’s smooth ride. Available in five cool colors.
Encourage your tween’s self-expression with this cool journal craft set. A 70-sheet journal is included, plus plenty of craft supplies to gussy it up. There are practical items like a pen and magnetic bookmarks, as well as glitter tape and stickers to embellish pages. If your girl likes to write or stay organized, she’ll appreciate this on-trend, thoughtful gift.
If your daughter (like so many) is into American Girl dolls, she probably wants the latest edition to the historical lineup, the Courtney doll. Courtney is from the ’80s, as you can see from her acid-wash denim and hot pink scrunchie. Her accessories — Care Bears, a Walkman and a Pac-Man lunch box — will totally make moms nostalgic. She just needs a pair of mom jeans.
Ravensburger has translated ’90s Halloween hit (and 2020 rerelease) Hocus Pocus into a spooky fun board game. Players band together to protect Salem from the Sanderson sisters. Best for kids ages 8 and up, this is a cooperative game parents will enjoy, too.
Tweens want in on the tie dye trend! Grant your crafter’s wish with this cool set. Bonus for parents: It’s basically mess-free, thanks to a handy orb scenario. Kids can squirt the dye bottles (12 colors included) into the orb to color their projects — there are even gloves to keep dye off hands.
We think a subscription gift is the best kind of gift; it keeps giving once the holiday season is over. Pipsticks is a fun sticker club that delivers cute packages perfect for the tween set. Shower her in stickers! Kids’ subscriptions start at just $12 per month.
Gift her a luxe bath experience with this set from Lush. The brand is known not only for their bath bombs, but also for their quality ingredients and cool packaging, something tweens and even older girls appreciate. The butterfly gift set includes a great trio of shower or bath products: a Sleepy lavender bar soap, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner and toffee Honey I Washed The Kids Shower Gel. And it’s all wrapped up, ready to go under the tree.
If your tween or teen girl is feeling a pull to help out in the world, this guide book is a great tool for ages 10 and up. A Smart Girl’s Guide: Making a Difference is full of ideas, tips and information for your little world changer. Inspiration from other girls will fuel her fire.
If your tween loves O.M.G. fashion dolls, this is the perfect gift. The Remix Super Surprise includes over 70 music-themed items to unbox, including four bigger O.M.G. dolls, four smaller L.O.L. dolls, and little musical instruments (that actually play).
This cool STEAM kit lets your tween learn about science while growing her own colorful crystals. Win-win! The kit has everything needed to grow crystals and create crystal decor (like the mermaid tail statuette) and crystal charms for jewelry. Beads, cords and craft tools are also included.
This story has been completely updated for the 2020 holiday season.
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