Picking a perfect gift for a teenager is tough. Whether your present is for a boy or a teen girl, developmentally they are at a place where the approval of their peers is a primary concern in their lives. Therefore, whether or not YOU think a gift is cool isn’t important – only what their fellow teenagers think matters.
It’s a big reason why cash and gift cards are often a default choice for gifts for teens.
But you aren’t the type to go with the default, are you? You have the courage to not only pick a gift that is “peer approved” but also one that reflects how much you care for your teenage boy. We’ve selected some gifts that check both boxes to help you in your quest.
We also tried to pick gifts that last and have some replay value – so your teenager can get some use from your present and remember you in the years to come. The world doesn’t need your gift to end up in a landfill come March of next year.
Finally, in acknowledgement that no one gift is “the best” for all kids, we’ve selected a wide variety of toys that should appeal to different types of kids. Our headings should give you a good idea what type of kid would love each toy. Hopefully you find something to match the child you are shopping for.
Quick Rundown: The Top Gift Picks For Teenage Boys
- The Dobson style means it is much smaller and portable than refractor telescopes.
- This is a serious scope – it will last for many years with proper care.
- Can add additional lenses to see even more universal detail.
- While a younger child could use this, this isn’t meant to be abused. Keep close supervision on younger brothers and sisters.
- No real instructions provided in the box, but plenty available online.
Ever used a telescope and thought “Big Deal”? That’s usually because the images you see aren’t coming in very bright.
When your child has outgrown a more toy-like telescope and is ready to step up to an adult-level, quality tool, the Orion 10014 Skyquest XT is a perfect fit. Due to the much larger aperture, this telescope producers images over 260% brighter than your run-of-the-mill starter telescopes. That means they will be able to see hundreds of more objects from the night sky.
The Dobsonian style means it’s more compact, so it’s easier to transport. Just be careful when moving it. It’s not a toy – it’s not meant to take too much abuse. Try this telescope out, and view the moon – or Venus – and see if you still think “Big Whoop”!
- Parental controls help protect children online.
- Matches almost every room decor.
- Works great for music and audiobooks, along with being an alarm in the morning.
- Can be used as an intercom system to talk to the kids in their room.
- Has a off button for the microphone for times you want to ensure no one is listening.
- Not everyone is comfortable inviting listening devices for outside corporations into their home.
- Need FreeTime subscription to enable all the kid-friendly options.
If you are looking for a way for your teen to have access to music, stories and alarm functions without having to take out a second mortgage, this device is great for you! The Amazon Echo is quite amazing – the sky is the limit to what it can do when you install additional “skills”. You can set it up to voice control your music – streaming music is available from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others. The Echo will answer questions, control your lights (if you have a a smart home), and work with other Echo’s around the home as a intercom system from room to room. There’s more, but I only have so much room in this review. :)
When paired with Amazon Free Time, the Echo becomes the top smart speaker for kids. Why? You can use the Amazon Parent Dashboard to enforce time limits, content filters and more so your children are only exposed to age-appropriate content at times you want. teen boys need to learn how to use technology instead of being ruled by it – you can help them by setting reasonable usage limits.
You are inviting a listening device into your home (which should make you at least a LITTLE uncomfortable) – but the mechanical On-Off button means regardless of Amazon’s promises, you can make sure certain conversations stay private in your home. The speaker quality is good for the size – but you’ll need two for stereo sound. For the price of almost any toy your teen would want, it’s a great gift.
- The soft-tip nature of darts means there is virtually no chance of damaging property or other children while playing with these toys.
- Gun is lightweight enough that most school-aged children can participate in the fun.
- Real camaraderie is built up among teammates.
- Darts are easy to lose. They especially seem to find their way into the vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to buy some extras.
- There are many Nerf Blaster choices – so your child may prefer a toy for a different playstyle.
Nerf dart blasters are a perennial favorite of boys and girls everywhere. The N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is no exception to this rule. With this blaster gun, you’ll be able to fire 6 darts in a row up to 90 feet. Just slam the slide to reload and you are on your way. That’s right, this blaster doesn’t require batteries.
While fine to shoot at targets by yourself, the real fun comes when a group of boys organize into teams and play tag or other games. Kids learn to implement strategy, cooperate with teammates and burn off a ton of energy running around outside while working to tag opposing team members.
- Three-speed modes allow for beginner to advanced flying
- The portable foldable mini drone fits snugly inside the transmitter for easy transport.
- The altitude hold function keeps the drone on the same height when releasing the stick.
- You can’t charge the drone while it’s stored inside the transmitter.
If you’re looking for a high-speed portable drone capable of stunts and fits inside your teen’s back pocket, then the Holy Stone HS190 Foldable Mini RC Drone is an excellent gift for your teenage son. The foldable drone fits neatly inside the transmitter, making it easy to transport.
Unfolded, the quadcopter is capable of various flight movements from high-speed rotations to 360-degree flips. Three switchable speed modes give beginners ample opportunity to practice their flying skills at low speed. For the experts, who are ready to show-off the quadcopter to friends and impress the girls, there are medium and high-speed modes.
In Headless Mode, the drone is programmed to return to the pilot; with the press of a button, the quadcopter returns home. Flying the drone is easy; take-off and landing also happen with the press of a button. The throttle stick steers the drone. When you release the stick, the altitude hold function keeps the quadcopter at that height.
The LED lighting systems, consisting of navigation lights and control indicator lights, makes it possible for nighttime flight.
- Jumping helps your teen boy develop muscles and balance while burning off energy.
- Tramp comes with a long list of safety features to make jumping as safe as it can be.
- Your kid’s friends will always be over at your place when you are the ‘trampoline house’.
- Parents need to supervise play – there are dangers involved if instructions aren’t followed.
- This isn’t a small toy. You need to have dedicated space in your backyard to set up and jump.
As we mentioned in our outdoor trampolines review, we think this toy is a winner. Safety is a prime concern in the design of this model. It’s so important, Skywalker has made sure this model exceeds all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements.
We like the ‘W’ supports – they give more stability to the trampoline. The padded poles and enclosure net are well-made and help to keep your teen is safe. The basketball hoop is a nice touch – it has a breakaway rim and even comes with 2 basketballs. It’ll keep your children and friends entertained for hours at a time. A great gift.
- Active noise cancellation makes them great for car or air travel.
- Long battery life means they can be used all-day.
- Fold-able for easy storage
- Also comes with a 3.5mm cord for wired use.
- While better for noise reduction, ear-cup design can make some ears uncomfortable.
- Plastic headband designs are nearly always weaker than metal ones. These won’t be indestructible.
Everyone likes to listen to their music, videos and games with a good set of headphones. These active noise-cancelling headphones are a good deal for the price. You get dual microphone cancellation technology, along with the option of either using a Bluetooth or wired connection to your device. That’s nice because kids (and adults) will forget to charge these headphones on occasion, but you’ll still be able to use them.
These aren’t going to compete with $400 headphones – but at well under $100 you’ll have trouble finding anything better. The plastic headband is well made, but might eventually break if you have a large head. A nice hard case will help ensure your boy doesn’t accidentally break the headphones by stepping on them.
I like the noise-canceling feature because it’s really handy when trying to study or traveling by plane – and with how well constructed these headphones are your child will likely end up having a chance to do both while owning them. They also function as a headset for talking on the phone as well.
- The included cloak is an EXACT replica of the movie prop on display in the official Warner Bros studio tour in London.
- It’s going to be THE GIFT for Harry Potter fans in 2021.
- The cloak, standalone, is of nice construction. The added invisibility effect is a nice addition!
- Phone must be still in the tripod to get the “invisible” effect to work.
- Deluxe version is nice and completely true to the movie, but can be a bit pricey. The standard version doesn’t include the tripod either.
What kid hasn’t at some point wanted to be invisible? I know I thought the Invisibility Cloak from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone would have awesome to own. And now you can!
This 2020 Toy of the Year finalist is an exciting augmented reality toy. This official Warner Bros. Invisibility cloak costume perfectly replicates the cloak from the Harry Potter series’ magical properties.
How does it work? It works with an associated phone app – so you can save – and share – your invisible scenes. It’s easy to save stills or videos to your devices’ camera roll for later viewing fun. If you or your children haven’t played with a “green screen” before, you are in for a treat.
In addition to the A-R aspect of this gift, it’s also a great Harry Potter toy and collector item on it’s own. If your teen boy is into Harry Potter dress up or Cosplay, he’ll appreciate this gift!
- The cards are really creative – from Super Fertile Unicorn to Fat Unicron, you never know what you’ll get.
- There’s enough strategy in this game – but not too much – that’s a great introduction to more detailed strategy card games.
- Only takes 3-4 rounds before you completely understand how the game works.
- High replay value – and can pick up and finish a game in under an hour.
- This game is the opposite of a cooperative game – if you don’t like having loved ones sabotaging your plans, this isn’t the game for you.
- Best played with 4 or more players.
Unstable Unicorns is still one fo the Top 50 most backed projects on Kickstarter, and for good reason. This card game is quick to learn and play, but it’s not easy to master. You are trying to build your Unicorn army to full-strength – but so is everyone else at the table. Note: these unicorns aren’t warm and fuzzy – think Pegasus not My Little Pony.
Skill is important, but there is a lot of unpredictability due to the draw of the card deck which means anyone has a chance to win a particular game. Detailed instructions are available online – they are better than the ones in the box and will get you up and playing in no time.
Codey Rocky is a GREAT toy for learning how to code. teen programmers can use the associated app to get up and running quickly. There’s plenty to do with this robot without moving on from just app-based play. Your inquisitive boy can move and play with the robot really quickly in this mode.
Once the Codey Rocky is attached to your PC you can use an easy-to-learn block-based language to program the robot. If this is too limiting, you can also use the popular programming language python to expand your choice enormously. This should give your teen years of play as your child moves up the programming skill curve.
- Easy to control and get into the air – but still helps to build patience.
- Flight control builds hand-eye coordination to keep the kite soaring in the air.
- You need to get outside to use this toy – and teen boy will!
- You’ll need to help younger children with assembly.
- You need some space and decent weather to play with this toy.
Good kites are under-rated toys. There’s something hard-wired in most boys that makes he want to fly a kite on a warm, sunny day. This kite makes that easy enough for teens.
The design makes it surprisingly easy to get – and stay -airborne. It won’t entertain your children for multiple hours at a time, but they will continue to come back to this toy as they grow through the years. The colorful pattern will bring a smile to both you and your child’s face.
- Has enough features to be useful for beginners and advanced users alike.
- MIDI controller will grow with your child throughout the years.
- Reasonable price for all the features available.
- Portable so your kid can take it anywhere.
- There is a learning curve to use any MIDI device. Make sure your child has a passion for music before buying.
- As with all MIDI controllers, you need a computer to operate.
- Older models had keyboard quality issues – seems to have been addressed in the MK2.
This popular MIDI controller is great starting point for the beginner – but can be used by experts as well. It’s not plug-n-play – THERE IS A LEARNING CURVE – but there are tutorials available online to help speed that process. Once that curve is overcome, this musical device will provide hours of creative fun. Your child will be sampling and creating music for years to come will the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII.
I’d be a little leery buying this for any child under 10 – and even at that age, expect to learn how to use it yourself in order to get this toy up and running. Your aspiring DJ will be happy you bought this gift this holiday season!
Our Process For Selecting The Best Toys And Gifts For teen boys
We spend weeks writing all of our toy review and gift guides. We know you rely on our input, and we take that trust seriously. Our writers and editors have spent approximately 35 hours researching and testing the most popular toys for teen boys that you can find on the market in May 2021.
We put in all of this time and resources to bring this toy guide to you – we’ve worked hard to make sure our recommendations are ones you can trust.
We also update these lists daily. That’s because we don’t want to provide you with toys that are no longer in-stock – a gift you can’t buy isn’t worth much to you, no matter how fun it might be. We have reviewed many more toys than we list in this toy gift guide – and many of them are good but not quite as great as the ones that made the cut.
As toys move in and out of stock, the list will change. We want this list to help you get the best gifts you can for your teenager this Holiday season.