‘TIt’s the season, and even elves know that gift shopping for a teen or tween can be a real challenge. To help you, we did a little reconnaissance during the holidays. Read on for our information under the tree.
Oprah has jumped on the virtual reality bandwagon, including the Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus Quest 2) virtual reality headset on its list of favorite things for the second year in a row. At $399.99, it’s not a cheap freebie – even though it comes with a free download of the popular game Beat Saber. However, if your teen is a gamer and you’re worried about the time they spend glued to a chair, many VR games have a fitness component and almost all require movement. As a bonus, parents can borrow the headsets for their own virtual workouts! Add a local angle with a download of VR Golden Gloves ($29.99). This virtual reality boxing game is a real workout, and it was developed right here in Tulsa.
Useful and efficient, Elago 3 in 1 charging station ($28.99) charges three Apple products — iPhone, iWatch, and AirPods — at the same time.
KODAK Smile Classic Instant Digital Camera ($149.99) is the perfect way to get those retro selfies. Old-school design meets modern technology in this camera, which features Bluetooth connectivity and lets you print photos or save them for later.
The 3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen ($80) heats and extrudes multicolored plastic inserts, allowing you to draw in 3D. The kit includes 15 different colors and a guide.
Reusable water bottles are a useful gift for children of all ages. The Hydro Flask is one of the most popular brands. Dishwasher safe and BPA free, it’s a great way to travel with a drink, while maintaining its temperature. The 40-Ounce Wide Mouth Cap ($49.95) version packs a lot and makes a great gift paired with a customizable sticker pack.
Novelty socks from brands like Hotsox ($8), Sock It To Me ($10), and Blue Q ($13.99) are as entertaining as they are useful. With dozens of whimsical prints and quotes to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect pair for everyone on your list.
Gift cards are always a welcome sight for cash-strapped teenagers. Available in any price range, you can go specific – Starbucks, McDonald’s, QuikTrip – or general in the form of a prepaid Visa gift card.
Games and puzzles
It can be hard to compete with any electronic device for a teenager’s attention, but the holidays are the perfect time to pull out the old arsenal of “old-fashioned fun.” Consider packing one of these options without a battery.
The Awkward Family Photos Movie Subtitle Set ($30)
Players use memorable movie lines to caption awkward family photos. The favorite legend wins the round.
This board game is beautifully made. Players are “bird lovers” trying to get the most birds into their yard. Start with an action mat, bird cards, bonus cards and food tokens, then use them strategically to earn the most points over four rounds.
Not parent approved ($25)
Like a family version of Cards Against Humanity, players answer fill-in-the-blank questions with a (ridiculous) answer card from their hand.
Tulsa Flag Playing Cards ($15) and Expo Pavilion Puzzles ($30)
These items, from Crazy Ideas, are perfect gifts for holiday hostesses, as well as fun under the tree for the whole family. Available at Kiddlestix, Ida Red and other Tulsa locations.
Life Skills 101 – Everything You Need But Won’t Learn In School ($25)
This book discusses social media and mindfulness through infographics. Colorful and practical, it covers everything from time management to budgeting and parent-child relationships.
Guinness World Records 2023 ($30)
This perennial family favorite is packed with fascinating facts and entertaining treats that can be digested by all levels of readers in manageable increments of time. The new editions have been updated to be more diverse and inclusive in their coverage.
The cookbook for teenagers ($15)
This cookbook contains 100 simple recipes in an easy to follow format, using readily available and affordable ingredients. For a slightly older teenager, try The Ultimate College Cookbook ($20) with 60 recipes that can be made in a dorm or apartment.
Sports and fitness
Keep them moving through the holidays and beyond with these sports and fitness related gifts. Fitness trackers continue to be popular and come in a wide range of prices and sophistication. The Fitbit Charge 5 ($99.95) is waterproof up to 50 meters and includes GPS. For a more affordable tracker, consider the Amazfit Band 5 ($27.99), which includes many of the same basic services.
The GlowCity basketball that glows in the dark ($39.99) is the perfect way to extend outdoor playtime, especially with the shorter days of winter. Activated with a bounce, the lights turn off automatically when not in use and the batteries last up to 30 hours (extras are provided).
Fitness dice are a simple way to encourage movement. Flex it Pink Fitness Dice ($3.99) make a great Christmas gift. Chronicle Books Fitness Dice ($19) are made for all experience levels. With seven wooden dice you can roll over 45,000 possible bodyweight training routines.
What’s a holiday without a little frivolous fun? The GummyGoods night light ($40) is a much larger, squishy electric version of its edible cousin. With a rechargeable battery and a wide range of colors, it’s a nice gift that’s also useful.
For your music lover, a Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch ($23.95) looks great like a stapler and creates custom guitar picks from old credit cards, gift cards, hotel room key cards, driver’s license or any scrap thin plastic.
Make your own drink with the Flavor Purveyor Bubble Tea DIY Kit Boba Tapioca Pearls ($34.99). The kit comes with everything you need to make your own bubble tea in minutes – just add boiling water.
Julie Wenger Watson is a freelance writer who has worked in all aspects of music promotion. She is also co-director of “Live From Cain’s”, a public radio show pilot.
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