It’s important to teach pre-teens and teens about growth mindset. When adolescents understand the brain is flexible, adaptable, and capable of growth, they are more willing to embrace challenges and mistakes. With a growth mindset, tweens learn to persevere and keep trying until they reach their goals. Although there are many strategies to instill a growth mindset in older children, gifts for tweens provide a way to make it fun!
Below, we’ve compiled a fun list of gifts for tweens ages 9-12 to support the development of a growth mindset.
Top 19 Educational Gifts for Tweens
Each of these 19 items makes a fun, engaging, and empowering gift for tweens! Whether they’re building, creating, or doing some inspirational reading, these gifts will help the tween in your life feel confident and accomplished.
1. Crayola Color Chemistry Set
The Crayola Color Chemistry Set combines art and science into dozens of colorful experiments. Each experiment was designed by Crayola scientists. Activities include erupting volcanoes, sticky slime, tornadoes in a bottle, bouncing colored bubbles, color separation, and much more. With an easy-to-read instruction booklet, your tween will feel like a proud and successful color scientist!
2. Big Life Journal for Tweens and Teens
The Big Life Journal for Tweens and Teens helps older children develop resilience and a growth mindset so they can become confident, happy adults. It empowers tweens to transform negative self-talk, set goals, learn to overcome challenges and setbacks, and realize the importance of their mindset. With colorful images and engaging activities, this science-based journal is a fun way to give tweens the gift of a growth mindset. Plus, learn how to make the most of the Big Life Journal with this helpful guide.
3. ZOOB BuilderZ S.T.E.M. Challenge
ZOOB is a 3-D modeling system with five different styles of pieces that pop, click, and snap together. Tweens can create designs that solve challenges, like bouncing a ball or hitting a target. It includes five instruction guides to build 40 creations, plus 35 engaging ZOOB challenges. Kids can build monsters, vehicles, or almost any creation their imaginations can dream up.
4. Daily Brain Games Calendar
Daily Brain Games puzzles are fun but they’re also scientifically designed to improve brain function. The brain teasers range in difficulty from easy to difficult, providing an enjoyable challenge each day. Puzzles involve words, numbers, logic, and more. It’s a great family activity and one of our favorite educational gifts for tweens!
5. String Art Kit
String Art Kits make beautiful, fun gifts for creative tweens. With string art kits, children use embroidery floss, pattern templates, and step-by-step instructions to create gorgeous pieces of art. Hang the designs in your home or classroom to provide an extra confidence boost!
6. Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game
Encourage your tween to build their visual perception and reasoning skills with this dynamic challenging Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game. To win, players strategically place the Gravity Maze towers on the game grid with a path for the marble to reach its target. This fun maze game includes 60 different challenges, providing plenty of skill-building fun for tweens.
7. LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox
Learning the basics of coding, engineering, and robotics has never been more fun. The LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox allows young builders to bring their creations to life with a free easy-to-use app. Your tween can build Vernie the Robot, Guitar4000, Frankie the Cat, or other exciting options. In the app, tweens learn basic coding to make Vernie talk, sing and rock out with their guitar, or take good care of Frankie the Cat. The app includes over 60 exciting educational activities that encourage creative problem solving, social play, and imagination.
8. Osmo Genius Kit
Another gift for tweens that combines hands-on learning and digital fun is the Osmo Genius Kit. The kit includes tangrams, wordplay, creative physics problems, art activities, and number games. Download the app and have your tween use the tactile pieces to support positive and educational screen time. Children receive real-time feedback and learn the valuable lesson that there are multiple ways to solve a problem, making learning a creative and fun growth mindset experience.
Quadrillion puts a modern twist on the classic game of solitaire. Solo players use magnetic grids to create game boards then solve the puzzle by fitting the game’s 12 colorful pieces onto their board. There is always at least one solution! This game stimulates logic, spatial insight, problem-solving, visual perception, and concentration—and it’s fun! Like many of the other gifts listed here, Quadrillion will teach your tween challenges are solvable and they can do difficult things. They will also see that, with practice, their brain becomes sharper and the game gets easier.
10. Mistakes That Worked: The World’s Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be
Mistakes That Worked is a wonderful book to teach tweens about the value of making mistakes. This collection of strange and delightful stories shows that many of our favorite inventions wouldn’t exist without mistakes. The book is packed with hilarious cartoons, amazing facts, and proof mistakes can actually make a positive difference in the world.
11. Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles offer another fun way for tweens to build skills, solve challenges, and gain a confidence-boosting sense of accomplishment. If you think your tween won’t enjoy a standard jigsaw puzzle, try 3-D puzzles. Options include Hogwarts towers, the Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House, a space shuttle, the Titanic, and more.
12. The Confidence Code for Girls
The Confidence Code for Girls is a series of books designed to help middle-grade girls become bold, brave, and fearless enough to follow their dreams and reach their goals. Filled with graphic comic strips, challenges, lists and quizzes, and stories about real girls, each book inspires tween girls to embrace challenges and mistakes and live as their authentic selves. These empowering entertaining books make a thoughtful and heartfelt gift for tween girls.
13. Monthly Science Kits and STEM Boxes
Give the gift of monthly science kits and STEM boxes to the young science enthusiast in your life. Hands-on science kits called “crates” are delivered monthly, with each crate exploring a concept in technology, engineering, or science. All projects include easy-to-follow explanations, instructions, and all the materials needed for a successful experiment. Not only do these kits make big ideas accessible and fun, but they also nurture children’s curiosity, creativity, and growth mindset.
14. Origami Kit
Origami is part-puzzle and part-artwork, making an origami kit a perfect growth mindset gift for tweens. You can find a wide variety of origami kits online, both general and tailored to specific interests or passions. The kit we have linked here includes step-by-step instructions with photos. Tweens learn the art of paper folding and creative expression using fun patterned paper and colorful stickers. It even includes a link to online paper folding videos for tweens who learn best by example!
15. Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different
Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different features 75 inspiring stories about “boys who changed the world without killing dragons.” It teaches boys they’re free to be sensitive, introverted, expressive, and innovative—there’s no one correct way to be masculine or successful. Examples of featured stereotype-smashers include Beethoven, Salvador Dali, and Jesse Owens.
16. Window Art Kit
Tweens will love creating their very own window art to proudly display. This kit features 12 shapes, eight vibrant paints, and an acetate sheet to create customized window clings. If you aren’t into this kit, you can find a wide variety of window art kits online with varying themes like animals, emojis, and stained glass.
17. Piper Computer Kit
With the Piper Computer Kit, tweens can build their own fully functioning computer. Once the computer is built, children can participate in challenges, play Minecraft, and explore a vast number of cool activities and projects. It’s an exciting and confidence-building approach to developing knowledge of coding, computer science, electronics, and the inner workings of technology. Piper offers additional products like a Mini for beginners and a Monthly Makers Club for tweens who want to keep the innovation and invention going.
The best-selling novel Wonder teaches tweens it’s okay to be different and that it’s important to treat others with empathy and kindness. It tells the story of August, a boy born with a severe facial difference who longs to be treated like a normal kid. In this story of heart and hope, August is a true hero. Author R.J. Palacio accurately describes her book as “a meditation on kindness,” as it offers tweens an important message about courage and compassion.