Want to give the holiday gift that keeps on giving to the older kids in your life? No, a subscription to the jelly of the month club isn't going to make them happy, but subscription boxes aimed specifically at their age and interest may be the perfect tween and teen gift ideas.
Here how it works: you buy a gift subscription for a certain period of time and the company will regularly mail a box to the recipient (usually monthly) for however long your subscription is. There are numerous options that cater to different ages and interests. Getting the box each month is part of the fun, and there's something new and different in them each time.
It's also possible, however, to get just one box which makes a great gift and, because it's already in a box, it's easy to wrap. (If you're not sold on subscription boxes, check out our gift guide for other ideas.)
Here are 11 options for tweens and teens, broken down by areas of interest.
If your kid loves STEM:
* Tinker Crate
Cost: 3 month subscription for $60, 6 month subscription for $110
Aimed at kids between 9-14 years old, each Tinker Crate contains a STEM activity designed to build confidence, and to that end they are "low threshold, high ceiling projects, so they are accessible and fun for all learners." Recent crates have included building a real, functioning trebuchet that launches a ping-pong ball up to 10 feet and wiring an electric motor.
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If your kid loves accessories and beauty products:
Cost: one time box $24; 3, 6, 12 month subscriptions are $20/box
The company says, "Each month we search the market for fun, new and exciting items that range from nail art, accessories, lifestyle items, fun school supplies, body, skin, and hair care. What makes us different is that included in our box is our positive ‘monthly message’ of inspiration and empowerment to help your girls feel more confident about themselves and to embrace who they are and believe in what they can become." There are two age options: one for tweens, ages 8-12 and one for teens, ages 13 and up, and then different options within the age group. Past boxes have included wristlets, hats, headbands and lip balm.
This also offers two boxes, one for ages 6-11 and the other for those 12 and up. Nail art, hair ties, scarves, and brushes have been included in recent boxes.
Related content: Teen & Tween Gift Guide
If your kids loves to read:
* Upper Case Box
Cost: $29/month for the expert pick, $35/month for the personalized recommendation
A hand-selected young adult book and one quirky bookish item such as a bookmark, poster, jewelry, tote, etc. arrive each month. This month's item was a Mockingjay bracelet in honor of the movie premiere. After the recipient finishes reading, they can access an exclusive member-only area with interactive video content and places to discuss it with other readers. (If you're an adult who enjoys YA books, there is absolutely no shame in adding this to your wish list. No shame at all.)
Related content: Best gift cards for tweens and teens this holiday season
If your kid loves crafts and DIY:
* Darby Smart
Cost: $19 per box
My kiddo has enjoyed Darby Smart boxes in the past. You can read our review here. They are great for cold winter days. These kept my tween busy for hours, gave her a chance to put her own creative spin on the project and didn't mean that I had to brave the bad roads. Boxes are delivered every 2 months, so the 6 month subscription means receiving 3 boxes.
Cost: 3 month subscription for $60, 6 month subscription for $110
Past crates include creating two canvas pouches using a fun tape resist technique or making layered candles that fit inside unique votive holders teens could decorate with a special paint pen. Crates are designed for kids 9 to 16+ and tested to ensure that the projects are fun and inspiring.
If your kid loves helping others:
* The Kind Kids Club
Cost: $35/year and recipient gets 4 boxes per year
The Kind Kids Club is an offshoot of The Kindness Connection, a nonprofit that helps kids get involved in volunteering. Aimed at kids ages 5-12 years old, each quarterly box comes with supplies and instructions about how to help a nonprofit organization. They also get a Kindness Journal. Founder Shannon Valko says the box a great gift "geared toward aunt, uncles, and grandparents who are in search of a gift for that child who has all the latest toys." Teaching kids to give back, helping them do so by working on the box with them, and letting them see the impact they can have on their community would all be great gifts.
Related content: 9 more great subscription boxes for teens and tweens
If your kid loves clothes:
* Threaded Canvas
Cost: $20/month plus $7 shipping
If your kiddo loves being an original, this could be the gift that they'll love the most. Each monthly box includes three art tees, one art print, and three small art collectibles, all designed by independent artists from around the world.
Cost: $12 per pair of socks per month
The idea of getting socks for Christmas has long been ridiculed, but Sock Panda's socks are so fun that they may just change that stereotype. Get a new pair with a different fun design each month with the added bonus that Sock Panda donates a pair of socks to the homeless for every subscription purchased. Kids can also email the Sock Panda with pictures and he'll give you wardrobe advice and feedback.
If your kid loves games:
* Loot Crate
Cost: $19.37/month ($13.37 for the crate and $6 shipping and handling) for a one-time crate, 3 and 6 month subscriptions available at $1 and $2 savings, respectively
A monthly box of gamer and geek gear could make you the coolest gift giver around. Crates contain $40 worth of items and past crates have included posters, comics, t-shirts, candy, and action figures. They promise an "epic experience" every month.
If video games are huge at your house, this may be the perfect option for you. When purchasing, givers indicate which gaming systems the recipient uses. Past boxes have included retro collectables, stationary, apparel, candy and office accessories. This is a division of Nerd Block, which also offers Nerd Block Jr. for Boys and Nerd Block Jr. for Girls, each $13.99 per month. I don't love the boy and girl distinctions, as the My Little Ponies would certainly appeal to Bronies and the items in the boys box don't seem to be gender-specific to me. Arcade block may not be specifically for tweens, but seems appropriate and doesn't have the gender issue.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Fun subscription boxes for teens and tweens, 2016 edition and 9 great subscription boxes for teens and tweens: 2015 edition and Best gift cards for tweens and teens this holiday season
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Filed under: Holiday