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Shopping for gifts for 11-year-old boys can be tricky. Where do you even start? Do they even like toys at this point? What do they wear? Listen to? What do they enjoy doing when they hang out with friends?
When buying your pre-teen a gift, the most important thing to remember is boys never really stop being interested in toys — you just need to find the right toy. And there are plenty of "Big Kid" toys your 11-year-old will love. The key, though, is to make sure you don't call them toys.
Seriously, avoid calling them “toys” at all costs, or you might be met with the dreaded tween eye-roll. Instead, call them video games, technology, gadgets, LEGO sets, whatever they are. Let's be real, they're just like toys because they’re fun and they’re entertaining, but unlike toys, your 11-year-old can enjoy them while holding on to all their Cool Kid street cred.
In choosing these gifts, we wanted to select a variety of books, games, and toys (that we will not be calling toys!) that encourage fun and continued learning for 11-year-old boys. We also made sure to take a look around our own circles to see what the tweens in our lives are getting the most use out of. As a parenting writer and mom of two (including a tween boy), I have some first-hand experience in this area, and I won’t lie — buying gifts for kids this age is hard for me, but hopefully, with this roundup, it won’t have to be as hard for you!
Check out the best gifts for 11-year-old boys below!
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
For the tween who loves asking questions and sharing interesting facts, this book by Bill Bryson is filled with fun scientific tidbits. Your curious boy will learn about everything from atoms to dinosaurs to the rise of civilization. Be prepared — you may just find him asking, "Did you know...?" over and over.
Play this game on your own or with a friend by tossing and juggling a ball through a U-shaped tube. While it may look simple, this game will quickly become addictive and hold the attention of your tween. Play it in the backyard, take it on the go with you, or play it indoors if you're careful.
Made of plastic, you can even use it in the pool. What your 11-year-old won't see is that this game is helping them engage both sides of their brain and fine motor skills.
Stop Motion Animation Studio
Your 11-year-old boy will love this kit that will help them animate Lego, modeling clay, action figures, or whatever else they want to bring to life.
It includes a camera with a microphone, a 60-page animation activity book, a mini stage with a background and green screen, and stop-motion software with time-lapse features, sound effects, and backdrops.
DIY Pinball Machine
As if playing pinball isn't fun enough, now your tween can build their own pinball machine. This exciting game doubles as a STEM activity. With 375 pieces, your 11-year-old will enjoy hours of completing the puzzle of building the game.
Unlike other build sets, this one can be enjoyed over and over and over after it's built.
Laser-Guided Race Car
If your bored tween is driving you up the wall, give them something to drive up the wall literally, with this laser-driven car. Designed to drive up walls and even upside down on the ceiling, just point your laser, and the car will follow in whatever direction it moves.
175 Piece Deluxe Art Set
This 175-piece set is perfect for the 11-year-old boy with artistic aspirations. Includes 24 acrylic paints, oil pastels, color pencils, watercolor cakes, paintbrushes, drawing pencils, a drawing pad, and much more. The supplies are all tucked in a handsome wooden carry case, which lets them take their art anywhere they go.
This purple, pink, and yellow striped basketball offers a retro twist on the classic basketball. Whether your kid loves playing hoops outside or inside, this is a fun way to spice up a simple gift.
This gift for 11-year-old boys will have fun them gliding around the neighborhood in style. Designed with a self-balancing system, they can turn 360 degrees or zip along for up to 3 miles at about 6 miles per hour. And haven’t you always wanted — I mean, hasn’t your child always wanted a hoverboard?
Set of Brainteaser Puzzles
If your 11-year-old boy is constantly fidgeting, put that instinct to good use with this collection of interlocking puzzles. The set includes 16 different puzzles and a storage bag.
The goal: Separate the pieces. It’s harder than it seems — that’s one reason the set includes a set of solutions!
Hypnotic, fun, retro, and practical, lava lamps have always been cool, and we’re betting your 11-year-old will think so, too, if only for the kitsch factor. They’ll appreciate creating a groovy ambiance for their (probably messy) room with this classic piece of teen decor.
Quencher H2.0 FlowState Vacuum Insulated Tumbler
It’s rare one can hop on a trend and save the planet at the same time, but would you look at that? Perfect for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold (surely by now, we’ve seen the viral video of a Stanley Tumbler that went through a fire and was not only intact but still full of ice), Stanley Tumblers are a trend we can get behind.
There’s a very good chance the 11-year-old boy in your life is really into Roblox… and also a very good chance you already knew that because they talk about it non-stop. This gift card will allow them to enhance their gaming experience through in-app purchases and even offer a special gift upon redemption.
Tale as old as time: you ask your tween what they want for a special occasion, and you’re greeted with “I don’t know.” But then, weeks later, there’s something they need — it's so bad. Right. Now. With an Amazon gift card, they’ll be able to get it as soon as the whim (finally) pops into their head.
Knit Cuffed Beanie
Perfect for keeping warm in cold weather or looking on point any time of year, this country staple has become a must-have for 11-year-old boys everywhere. (And look at that: a favorite present that’s also practical!)
Wicked Good Moccasins
Fun fact: statistically, your 11-year-old boy will probably fit in Men’s shoe sizes now (we’ll give you a minute to sob). So why not get him the perfect pair of house slippers. Being from Maine, L.L. Bean gets cozy and unlike imitations, this pair is built to last.
Clean Water Science Kit
If your tween has been showing signs of budding environmentalism, give him the tools to explore with this clean water kit. He'll be able to learn about and create solar water purification, water desalinization, and a carbon filtration system all on his own.
Electronics Exploration Kit
Perfect for aspiring engineers (or bored tweens), this building toy comes with 30 electric parts but can be configured to make more than 100 different projects, from a photo sensor to a mini-siren.
The kit includes everything your 11-year-old will need (no tools required), including a detailed instruction booklet.
What Do You Meme? Family Edition
Compete with family and friends to create the funniest memes. Draw a picture card (there are 65) and choose the best caption card (there are 300) to pair it with. Every round a different player will serve as judge, but your 11-year-old boy will be so busy laughing, they won’t care whether they win.
Kids LED Beanie and Glove Set
Keep your kiddo warm and visible when they play outside with this beanie and glove set. The knit beanie features a rechargeable LED light that lasts for up to eight hours and has three brightness settings. The matching set will keep him warm and help him see while playing outside in the colder months.
Adjustable Basketball Net
The basketball hoop you put in their playroom when they were 5 years old just isn’t cutting it anymore. Time for an upgrade! Its height is adjustable, so it will grow with your 11-year-old. The base can also be filled with sand or water to keep the stand stable, but can still be easily wheeled away when necessary.
The Original Stretch Blanket
We love this gift for 11-year-old boys, because whether they’re taking their third nap of the day or want to build an epic blanket fort, this 10x10-foot blanket (you read that right) is perfect. Cozy and playful, it’ll be a favorite for years to come.
'Greek Myths' by Jean Menzies
This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for budding Hellenists (or just kids who like cool stories and reading). It introduces kids to the main players of Greek mythology — gods, Titans, monsters, heroes, as well as the mortals who caught their attention — through profile pages of the various characters and 30 of the most beloved myths of Ancient Greece.
Is your 11-year-old boy a piano prodigy? If so, this is a great gift. If you don’t know, well, how will you know without giving them the opportunity? A great gift for the kid who wants to try their hand at music, and whether or not they’re amazing at it, it’s still fun!
Magic 8 Ball
Consulting a Magic 8 Ball is a right of passage for a tween, and your child will think it’s as funny and mindlessly entertaining as you did when you were their age. What does the future hold? Only the Magic 8 Ball knows … not really, but it’s fun to pretend.
How can something so simple — throw this beanbag into this hole, taking as much time as you need — be so challenging … or so fun? Yes, this game is a classic for a reason, and it’s high time your 11-year-old boy started honing their skills!
Llamas Unleashed Card Game
Brace yourselves: Farmageddon is here. But don’t worry, friends, the llamas are on it — that is if the goats, rams, and alpacas (which are not the same as llamas, BTW) don’t beat them to it. Hilarious illustrations and card captions make this game even more fun.
Reverse Weave Pullover Hoodie
If your 11-year-old boy hasn’t started their hoodie obsession yet, allow us to fill you in on something about tweens: They live in hoodies. Like, for the next 10 years or so, they’re going to be all hoodies all the time, so why not give them one from tried-and-true favorite Champion?
Monster Jam" Grave Digger"
You may not be able to buy him a monster truck, but a kit to build one yourself is the next best thing. And what better truck to get than the classic Grave Digger, the most iconic monster truck of them all?
Polar Slider DLX Sled
L.L.Bean is the first name in outdoor gear, and that’s why we love this sled. Made from durable molded plastic, this sled is simply good fun: We recommend going with the extra large size, since it can easily fit an 11 year-old boy or even an adult
Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing
Perfect for play and display, this Lego set is the perfect gift for 11-year-old boys who love Star Wars, building, and using their imaginations. There’s even space in the cockpit for a mini-figure of the Jedi master himself (and space behind for trusty R2-D2) and spring-loaded missile shooters.
Mario Party Superstars
A must-have for any Super Mario fan (and who among us isn’t?), this game for the Nintendo Switch is a gift for 11-year-old boys sure to elicit some excited whoops and is perfect for group or solo play. Challenge friends or beat your personal high score in this collection of five classic boards from N64 Mario Party games.
Poetry for Neanderthals Card Game
Use only single-syllable words to try to get your team to guess the word on your card. If you slip up and use two syllables, a player from the opposite team will whack you on the head with the club-like “No!” stick. It is the caveman way — fortunately, it’s inflatable!
‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats has been sent to a boys’ detention center — Camp Green Lake — where he and his fellow inmates are made to dig holes … but why? Could it be someone is looking for something? Full of social commentary and magical realism, this book has been a favorite for more than 20 years.
‘Thirsty’ by M.T. Anderson
Chris just wants to be a normal kid. Unfortunately, he appears to be turning into a vampire. Bummer. Especially since his hometown is performing an ancient ritual to keep the vampires at bay.
Funny, scary, and full of teen angst, your 11-year-old boy will love this satirical tale from National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson.
BrickHeadz Mandalorian Set
We don’t care how old you are, there are two things no one ever outgrows completely: Lego and Star Wars. And, come on, who doesn’t love Baby Yoda? (How can you resist those massive eyes?!) Comes with Mando and Grogu figures, as well as display stands to show off your creations.
‘Amulet’ Box Set by Kazu Kibuishi
After Emily and Navin’s father dies, they move with their mother to the mysterious home of their great-grandfather. But it isn’t long before the children are thrust into a dangerous but whimsical world of robots, talking animals, and an assortment of new friends — and enemies — that Emily must save.
‘Divergent’ Box Set by Veronica Roth
The set includes all four books in Veronica Roth's dystopian series of choices, consequences, and what the powers that be mean when they say “perfect society.” A great choice for established fans of the series or the 11-year-old boy you know won’t want to stop at just one!
Stubbornly and expressly against your wishes, your 11-year-old boy is growing up. As such, they’ll probably start having more opinions about decorating their personal space. This constellation tapestry can fit their aesthetic without offending yours (and is more grown up than glow-in-the-dark stars)! Available in five different sizes, it’s a perfect focal point for any boy’s room.
Throw 'n Go
In this version of the classic game of stacking and balance, Throw 'n Go Jenga leaves some moves to chance. Colored dice — not strategy — determine which blocks you have to remove from the tower. Best of all, it can be played alone or with friends.
Harry Potter House Pennant
By the time your boy is 11 years old, it’s important to have The Talk … and by that, of course, I mean which Hogwarts house do they belong to? Loyal Hufflepuff? Brave Gryffindor? Ambitious Slytherin? Clever Ravenclaw? Now they can show their allegiance with their very own pennant!
If your 11-year-old is starting to go out more on their own with friends, make sure their money is secure. Whether it’s a trip to the mall or a night at the movies, you can rest assured everything is being stored safely thanks to a zippered coin pouch, ID window, and cardholders, plus plenty of room for cash. With 12 different colors/patterns, you can find one to fit your boy's personality.
RC Stunt Car
If your boy can't get enough of cars and trucks, they'll love this remote-controlled car designed to cover all kinds of ground. Its 360° flips and ability to navigate off-road terrain with ease makes it less of a "kids'" toy car and more of an age-appropriate stunt car. Just make sure you don't use the term "play with" when your tween uses it.
Cubik LED Flashing Cube Memory Game
This interactive handheld game is a great gift to keep your kid entertained. The cube has five memory games and lights up and plays music, making for a great sensory gift.
Cosmic Kick The Can
This interactive, color-changing LED ball is a great gift for your kid if he loves to play outside with friends. He'll defend the spaceship from invaders and players can earn points if the ball lands on their color when it gets kicked.
Motion Activated LED Lights
Your kid can create a colorful atmosphere in his room with these color-changing LED lights. Using the sensor, remote, or an app, he can change the color and speed of this fun light strip.
Magnetic Dart Board
There’s nothing like a game of darts. but we don’t love the idea of an 11-year-old boy throwing around pointy projectiles willy-nilly.
Enter magnetic darts! Now you don’t have to worry about your boy (or your walls) getting damaged when they play.
Monthly Dry-Erase Calendar Decal
Have them take ownership of their schedule with this decal so prominent, even they won’t miss it. It can be stuck to any smooth, flat surface and comes with a dry-erase marker to note all their lessons, practices, and social engagements. When the month is done, simply wipe down and start again.
Wooden Backgammon Set
Easy to learn but difficult to master, this gift is perfect for the 11-year-old boy who enjoys board games that rely on strategy and growth. Includes a backgammon game board, two wooden dice cups, four dice, a doubling cube, and 30 wooden playing pieces.
Portable Art Set
This 126-piece set is perfect for the 11-year-old boy with artistic aspirations. Includes 24 acrylic paints, oil pastels, color pencils, watercolor cakes, paintbrushes, sketch pencils, canvases, a drawing pad, and much more, they’re all tucked in a handsome wooden carry case which lets them take their art anywhere they go.
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