If you want to live, DO NOT call him a tween. Or a child.
Other than that, and the outrageous sounds they can produce, 11-year-old boys can be somewhat unpredictable. That’s why finding gifts for 11-year-old boys can be a challenge.
But fear not! Yours truly is no stranger to the creatures, and I can say with relative confidence and an abundance of experience that I know what kinds of gifts make ‘em tick.
So have a look at my top ten list of tried-and-true gift ideas for 11-year-old boys. There’s plenty of stuff there that’ll make us look cool. Even though, clearly, we are not.
1. A Virtual Escape Game
I took my boys to one of the brick-and-mortar Escape Games for their 11th birthday, and OH MY GOSH, is it fun!
Now they offer a remote, online version of the escape room game, and it’s just as neat. Some of the activities might be a challenge for this age, but in a good way, and it’s a lot more fun when you do it together!
2. Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set
This was another gift for our 11 year-olds (this time for Christmas from Mom and Dad), and they really got into playing it together. It’s a classic for a reason, and the nostalgia hit me hard. I got a little teary just watching them.
Again, you may have to help them through some of the instructions, but well worth it for the hours of fun they’ll have playing with their friends.
3. The InterWorld Trilogy
I was at the library one gloomy winter day a couple of years ago with a couple of gloomy pre-teen boys who would’ve rather been home playing video games.
I was browsing the juvenile fiction section when what did I see? Why, a selection of books for malcontent, pre-hormonal preteens just like mine by none other than Neil Gaiman!
My boys ate this series UP before I finally got my hands on them, and I have to say, this old lady gives them two thumbs up too.
4.Yamaha Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Bundle
Pricey, I know, but hear me out. I bought this for one of my boys for Christmas a few years back, and he barely touched it. In my despair, I almost put it up on eBay, but to my surprise (and a big sigh of relief), he picked it up about three months later and hasn’t but it down since.
Then his brother picked up the bass. And his other brother started playing the drums. Fast forward about three years, and I’ve got a full-blown indie band in my house. And an excellent set of noise-canceling headphones.
Every kid is different, but if you suspect yours might be a musically-creative guy, it’s well worth the investment.
5. Gamer Posters
Say it loud and proud: “My kid loves his video games!!”
Ok, you may not want a poster for your room declaring your love for gaming, but he will. These prints featuring game controllers, both new and vintage, are really neat, and you can select your size and game controller preferences if he has a favorite.
6. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife
This is the age when a classic Swiss Army knife isn’t just appropriate; it’s a rite of passage. At least, according to my husband. After getting my boys their own pocket knives a couple of years back, however, I do have to concur.
Instead of the carnage I had conjured in my over-active imagination, receiving their own multitools prompted them to be careful and mature with such a tool. Who knew?
They can’t carry it to school, of course, but you’ll be surprised how many times they’ll come to the rescue with it when you need a package opened, a screw tightened, or a bottle opened. It’s the perfect gift to instill a sense of responsibility in your child who’s not going to be a child much longer.
7. The Dangerous Book For Boys
Speaking of the rites of passage for the animal that is the 11-year-old boy, The Dangerous Book for Boys has information on everything he’ll need to know, from decoding Navajo to making a go-cart, to trying to understand girls.
He may roll his eyes at his parents (that’s you) initially, but wait until he digs into all the good stuff this book has to serve up! It’s one of those non-toy gifts he’ll be referencing for years to come.
8. Glow-In-The-Dark Capture the Flag
This one’s universal, whether your boy likes sports or is a little more bookish. Every kid loves to play games at night (flashlight tag being the most common), and glow-in-the-dark capture the flag will quickly become one of their faves.
Find a big grassy field, wait for the sun to go down, and invite a whole herd of your kid’s friends to come out and play. A guaranteed good time for all, this would make an excellent stocking stuffer!
9. Bluetooth Beanie/Scarf/Drawstring Bag Set
Keep your little guy warm while he’s out being cool!
These knitted fleece Bluetooth hats are perfect for the boy who likes to take long walks and tune out to his tunes, or kids who like to run, play golf, ski; you name it. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, this would be a good gift for all kinds of people on my list. Good thing they come in lots of colors.
10. Acer Nitro 5 Laptop
In addition to the responsibilities that accompany owning things like pocket knives, now might be an appropriate time to introduce big-time electronics into your 11-year-old’s gift list (if it’s practical and useful, of course).
TBH, we wouldn’t have bought our boys new laptops if it weren’t for COVID and home-schooling. In our neck of the woods, metro public schools tried their best, but at this rate, it looks like they’ll be home for the rest of the year.
So we invested in this particular laptop, and we haven’t been disappointed.
Between the laptop’s performance and having a hubby who knows a lot about computers, I’m very comfortable recommending it to you for school and light gaming. As far as laptops go, it’s pretty affordable (at least compared to laptops with similar features and functions). Our boys’ laptops have gotten a lot of use and so far, they’ve been stellar.
Will it be the right one for you? Dunno, that all depends, but I can at least let you know about what we’ve got going on in our little corner of the realm of chaos.
Embrace the Noise
Buying gifts for 11 year-olds, especially boys, is undoubtedly trickier than in years past. After all, they know way more than you do now, so how can you possibly expect to do it right? Miraculously, it always seems to come out in the wash when the holidays and birthdays roll around, and we’re right as rain—gifting heroes.
It’s all so worth it, though. I have to say, the amount of crazy that can come out of someone who’s only been on this planet for 11 years is astonishing. It’s made me take a step back and realize that, as adults, we don’t laugh and act goofy nearly as much as we should.
So take a deep breath, embrace the noise, and enjoy the show. If your 11-year-old is like most, he’ll undoubtedly make you laugh like a crazy person, too.
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