Best Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls (a VERY picky 2018 list)

Does shopping for a teen girl conjure up terrifying images of eye rolls and huffy sighs? Don’t feel defeated; you are one of many adults that has this same trepidation about buying gifts for teenage girls. Afterall, you are now less worried about finding things that encourage skills like hand-eye-coordination and balance and more concerned about finding something that will engage her mind and not just collect dust under her bed.

Appealing to teenage sensibilities is something that requires a surprising amount of research. The good news is that while you have been helping your girl with her homework, we have been helping you with yours. After plenty of thought, here are some carefully selected gifts we think your girl will adore.

Our Top Picks

- Carefully curated gift ideas for teenage girls -

#1 Nikon D3400 with Deluxe Accessories Bundle

Do you live with a young lady who has a real interest in taking pictures? As one of the most trusted names in photography, Nikon hits another home run with this camera (check price on Amazon).

PROS

  • Easy setup;
  • SnapBridge technology instantly syncs photos to phones or tablets;
  • Low light photo and action shot capability;
  • Responsive controls;
  • Can connect with up to Bluetooth five devices;
  • Autofocus

CONS

  • Expensive;
  • No touchscreen

Why She’ll Love It: If she has plans to be a professional photographer, this camera is perfect for building a portfolio to use as she applies to schools. It takes fantastic photographs that she can immediately share or edit from her computer, tablet, or phone.

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#2 All-new Echo Plus (with Philips Hue Bulb)

What busy teen girl can’t use the great Echo Plus system from Amazon (check price)? She can keep organized, have an instant alarm clock to remind her of dates and deadlines through the day, and even sing to her. The Dot’s Alexa is a personal assistant to help your teen in myriad ways. Premium Dolby speakers ensure her music will play with the sound she’s come to expect from Dolby. If she’s living in a smart home, she can run it all with her voice right from her bedroom.

Why She’ll Love It: Your girl can ask Alexa to remind her to study for that French test tomorrow, make lunch from the leftovers, call her bestie before 8 p.m., then wake her at 6:00 a.m. Before bed, she can have the system play her favorite soft melody to help her to sleep. What’s not to love?

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#3 Spin Master Games – Escape Room The Game

One game teens and adults love to play is Escape Room (check price on Amazon). No, you won’t need to remodel a room in the basement. Logic, brain power, and cooperation will bring your teen’s team through challenging escapes like Virus, Temple of the Aztec, Prison Break or Nuclear Countdown. A team has exactly 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and enter the correct code on the Chrono Decoder to escape at last.

Why She’ll Love It: Team-building and cooperative effort are excellent skills for teen girls to develop. They will use these benefits well into college years and beyond to their future professions.

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#4 OMAX 40X-2000X Digital Binocular LED Microscope

Any budding scientist needs a good microscope. Designed to encourage your teen’s interest biology, the OMAX (check price on Amazonis a must-have for any young lady looking to expand her knowledge base.

PROS

  • Up to 2000X zoom capability
  • Built-in digital camera
  • Can play live video or images on a computer with up to 100x magnification

CONS

  • Expensive;
  • Images transferred to Mac computers don’t retain as much image quality as those transferred to a Windows run device.

Why She’ll Love It: If your teen felt unable to further delve into her studies because she only had access to a microscope at school, this is the answer to her prayers. It is a great study tool, and the captured images can be used to spice up class presentations.

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#5 CATAN (5th Edition)

As the recipient of the “Game of the Century” award, Catan (check price on Amazonis sure to entice the kids, teens and all, to gather around for a game night. A great teacher of how to strategically plan, this version can be played with up to four people at a time.

PROS

  • Encourages socialization with family and friends;
  • Plenty of replay value as no two game sessions are the same;
  • Easy to learn gameplay

CONS

  • Teens may get frustrated by the literal ‘roll of the dice’ luck involved

Why She’ll Love It: Each time she plays, she will have a different experience. As such, it will hold her interest. Also, since each game session is around one hour, she won’t have to worry about Catan dragging on.

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#6 Apple iPad mini

Great for both entertainment and learning, this iPad (check price on Amazonencourages both socialization and education. You and your teen can choose how much storage she wants, as well as whether to add the tablet to her data plan or go with a strictly WiFi model.

PROS

  • More affordable than larger iPads;
  • Long battery life;
  • Different models for different budgets;
  • Up to 10-hour battery life

CONS

  • Without data plan addition, iPad needs to be in range of WiFi for many apps to work;
  • Needs case and screen cover for protection against cracks

Why She’ll Love It: Although the adage of bigger being better is alive and well in the minds of teens, this fully functioning tablet’s size means carrying it around in a purse or bag is super easy.

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#7 Ultimate Coding Kit For Kids

If your teen girl is interested in learning the valuable skill of coding, this is a great way to start her off. Don’t let the word ‘kids’ in the name fool you; the Ultimate Kit (check price on Amazonthere are plenty of challenging projects and engaging lessons for your girl.

PROS

  • Step by step instructions included;
  • Software works with Windows, Mac, and Chromebook;
  • Perfect for beginners

CONS

  • Teens over 15 might lose interest

Why She’ll Love It: With over 60 projects to complete, she will love thinking her way through each one. The code will translate into physical events, so she will enjoy both abstract thinking and observing the tangible results of her hard work in the real world.

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#8 Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through The Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

This book is a roadmap for girls making the long and arduous trek from tween to twenty. The book has plenty of advice for both the teen and her parents. Author New York Times Bestseller Lisa Damour, Ph.D. is the director of the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls.

In Untangled (check price on Amazon), she explains why the typical teenage behavior is not meant to stick her thumb in every eye she sees. It is instead the way a healthy girl makes it successfully to adulthood. Damour explores common problems and which reactions are most productive for parents and child alike, when to worry and what to ignore.

Why She’ll Love It: Untangled can serve as a jump-off point for discussions with her parents and let her know that, despite all appearances, she is not the only one experiencing difficulties in growing up.

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#9 ALEX Spa Ombre Hair FX

You have surely noticed your teen girl contemplating all sorts of drastic fashion choices. A nose ring here, a mohawk there; we’re sure you’ve heard it all. Give your teen the gift of experimenting with her appearance without the stress of a long-term commitment with this temporary hair chalk dye (check price on Amazon).

PROS

Washable color;

Blendable in hair;

Easy to follow instructions

CONS

May not be as bright in dark hair

Why She’ll Love It: She is at the age where she is trying to find her own style, and will likely cycle through many looks before landing on anything permanent. Luckily, with this washable chalk, she can try a new do every day; it’s color without the commitment!

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#10 Big Joe Dorm Bean Bag Chair

We bet your teenager has been begging you to let her paint the ceiling, knock down a few walls, and nail up all sorts of posters. Hey, we were all young once, and desperate to make our rooms an exact reflection of our teenage selves. Luckily, items like this Big Joe Bean Bag chair (check price on Amazonmight be able to keep her more extreme renovation desires at bay.

PROS

  • Stain and water resistant;
  • Refillable;
  • Lightweight;

CONS

  • May lose shape after continued use

Why She’ll Love It: With several color options, she is sure to find one that will fit perfectly into her teenage paradise of a bedroom. Should she feel like venturing out from her own four walls, she can easily take this chair along to another room. Family movie night, anyone?

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#11 AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

If you know your teen likes to wear headphones, and you are constantly worried about her not being cognizant of her surroundings when she is out and about, this gift gives you both what you want. The speakers rest against her cheekbones, sending vibrations to her inner ear. She can hear her music just fine but will retain better awareness of the goings-on around her (check Trekz price on Amazon).

PROS

  • Comfortable;
  • Wireless;
  • Can be used for phone calls;
  • Six hours of playback;
  • Good sound quality

CONS

  • Not Adjustable;
  • Some sound leakage;
  • Mic not great in situations with a lot of background noise

Why She’ll Love It: Available in several colors, this type of headphone is not something you see every day. She’ll love feeling unique as she listens to her tunes.

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#12 Elgato Avea Flare Portable “Smart” Mood Lamp

If your teen loves to squirrel herself away in a dark room while she works on her computer or texts her friends, the Avea Flare (check price on Amazon) is a great way to encourage her to bring a little light to her surroundings. With a spectrum of gorgeous hues and the ability to change them using an app on her smartphone, she’ll love the ability to make her den match her mood.

PROS

  • Rechargeable; no cords;
  • Indoor/Outdoor capable;
  • Water resistant;
  • Compatible with smartphones/Apple Watch/iPad (check compatibility with current device models);
  • Adjustable brightness

CONS

  • Rechargeable; be sure to turn off when not in use

Why She’ll Love It: It’s a way for her to customize colored lighting in her room, for parties, or on camping trips.

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#13 A SMART GIRL’S GUIDE: GETTING IT TOGETHER

Self-help books have long been popular among adults. If you have a teen who enjoys reading and is open to receiving advice, this guide (check price on Amazonis a gift that she can use to improve her life skills. The subtitle “HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR SPACE, YOUR STUFF, YOUR TIME” gives a good summary of what it’s all about. When you have teens, sometimes life tips land better when they come from someone other than Mom or Dad. Who better than a fun writer and a quirky illustrator?

PROS

  • At 96 pages, it’s a quick read;
  • Cute illustrations;
  • Helpful advice

CONS

  • May feel too “young” for older teens

Why She’ll Love It: With the ever-growing responsibilities that start popping up in those teen years, your girl might need some help when it comes to, well, getting it together.

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So, What Makes a Good Gift for a Teen Girl?

Ah, the question heard around the world.

Based on the above, we made sure to look for gifts that provide mental stimulation, both academically and creatively. By fostering these aspects of the teenage mind, you are giving your girl the gift of confidence as you encourage her to excel in her interests.

We also took into account that teens like group activities and how this can have a two-fold benefit. We love seeing teenagers blossom into their social independence, but gifts that are enjoyed in groups also provide a great way to engage your adolescent in family time without having to resort to bribery.

Teenage Development

Your teenager’s mind is now continually expanding as she learns how to navigate social situations, find her individuality, and form opinions on the world in which she lives. While we were investigating gifts that appeal to adolescents, we made sure to take specific teenage milestones into account.

Cognitive Development

Your teen girl is actively seeking out information and using what she finds to fine tune her core beliefs. She is taking a growing interest in many new academic and intellectual pursuits, including

  • Politics;
  • Abstract thinking;
  • World issues;
  • Long-term planning;
  • Setting goals for her future

Social Development

Realistically, your teen girl is more likely to ask for an extension of her curfew than a family game night, but her burgeoning social life will come with plenty of ups and downs. You will probably notice things like her

  • Being influenced strongly by her friends;
  • Comparing herself to her peers;
  • Seeking romantic relationships;
  • Finding her independence

Physical Development

While you are no longer checking baby books to make sure your teen is on par with things like dexterous development, it’s important to remember that the teen years are fraught with somewhat awkward growth. Remember your teen will be

  • Experiencing growth spurts;
  • Developing acne;
  • Sexually maturing

Toys & Gifts by Age

Looking for another toy or gift? Have another child in mind?

Check out our carefully curated lists of games, puzzles and toys for different ages and stages. The items on each have been chosen to match your kid’s physical, emotional and cognitive abilities.

Browse for toys and gifts by age:

Wrapping up

Sugar and spice and everything nice might not always be the phrase that comes to your mind when you think of your growing girl. Afterall, teenage years can be hard, complex, and emotional. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you and need you to be an active participant in her life.

Remind her that you love her and appreciate the person she is becoming by giving her a gift that speaks to her interests and allows her to express who she is.

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