The Best Toys for 13 Year Old Boys – 2019 Gift Ideas & FAQ
If you’re looking for a gift for your 13-year old boy, you probably know that teens have preferences that can be tough to serve. Many boys start to grow out of traditional toys like action figures by the time they’re 13.
Likewise, many young teens are starting to build interests in hobbies which will carry them for the rest of their lives. That means picking the right gift is important — you want to promote their talents and minimize their bad habits.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the top 10 best gifts for 13-year old boys so that you’ll know which gifts will be winners and which will be lemons.
Our #1 Choice – Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone RC Nano Quadcopter
- Easy to use
- Long flight time for the size
- Takes a long time to recharge
The Holy Stone Quadcopter is excellent for young boys who love to use cool technology. With this quadcopter, your favorite someone will be able to experiment with flying the drone anywhere in visual range for up to 21 minutes. Or, if they would prefer, they can install certain battery packs while charging others for continuous but shorter periods of flight.
The drone can immediately be recalled back to the user with the Headless Mode function, meaning that you won’t lose track of it. Likewise, a few built-in features like the flip function can keep the copter entertaining for a long time.
The only downside of this drone is that it can’t sync with your lucky pilot’s smartphone, so they’ll need to use the controller for all their flight operations.
Our #2 Choice – National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit
- Great for learning about fossils
- Three separate fossils to excavate
- Fun to use as a learning tool
- Not much to do with the kit after excavating the three fossils
Not all young boys enjoy playing with toys for fun alone. Some prefer to explore the world of science using toys like this cool National Geographic Fossil Dig Kit. With this kit, your favorite boy will learn how to excavate a few small fossils much like how a real archaeologist would.
The learning opportunities are endless, and this toy is pretty darn cool. While there isn’t a tremendous amount of replay value with this kit, there are a handful of learning opportunities.
Especially if the recipient of the kit is known for being curious, they’ll be able to dive deep into paleontology. For children who aren’t as interested in fossils or hands-on scientific play, this kit is probably not the best choice, however.
Our #3 Choice – Play 22 Car Transport Truck Carrier
- Great way to stay organized
- Fun way to add play value to car toys
- May not be compatible with all toy cars
The Play 22 Car Transport Truck Carrier is a great toy set for teenage boys who have a lot of toy cars that they need to store all in one place. With this car carrier, your boy will have a convenient spot to store their little vehicles while also having a new play piece.
The capacity of this carrier will vary depending on how large the cars are. The important thing to remember is that the Play 22 Car Carrier isn’t necessarily going to be perfectly compatible with all of the toy cars that your child may have.
This means that it might be a bit of a jiggly or wobbly fit to get the cars in. But, it’ll be a matter of how many cars the carrier can fit rather than whether it can fit the cars at all, provided that the cars aren’t too wide.
Our #4 Choice – Threeking Smart Robot
- Animated and responsive toy
- Great for display or interaction
- Easy to learn how to use
- Requires batteries
The Threeking Smart Robot is an interactive robot which responds to your teenager’s voice commands and hand gestures. With its cheerful exterior and its animated joints, your 13-year-old boy will have a ball.
Between its movement, color, sounds, and responsiveness, the Smart Bot will be a great way of impressing friends and relatives. Despite its sophistication, the Smart Robot won’t break the bank. It’s battery-operated, and you’ll find that you get a long period of play from a single charge.
The best part of the Threeking Robot is that it has a surprising number of behaviors. Learning all of the gestures and voice commands that can make the robot move will take some time, and then combining the different commands will provide even more entertainment.
Our #5 Choice – UOKOO Walkie Talkies For Kids
- Long battery life
- Easy to use
- Poor range
- May suffer from radio interference
The UOKOO Walkie Talkie is an iconic iteration of the time-tested toy for young boys. Walkie Talkies are great for playing with friends and running around the neighborhood.
When a teenager can get the ease of communication that a Walkie Talkie set provides, they’re ready for serious play.
Importantly, these UOKOO radios are durable and have a great battery life. That means that your teenager won’t need to be constantly replacing the batteries during a play session. Likewise, these Walkie Talkies won’t break after a drop on the ground.
The only issue with these Walkie Talkies is their range, which isn’t as large as a real radio — but that won’t surprise anyone, so it isn’t a very big deal. You may also need to worry about interference from other radio sources, which is true of normal radios too.
Our #6 Choice – LEGO Technic WHACK Building Kit
- Excellent for training future engineers
- Large amount of play time during assembly and programming
- Medium-difficulty Technic kit
- Not suitable for teens who are not technically inclined
The LEGO Technic WHACK Building Kit is a prototypical LEGO Technic Kit which will let your teenager build a racing car that they can control using their computer and a series of articulated servos and small electric motors.
For the technically inclined teen, Technic Kits are a great introduction to building robotics and other animated creations. This means that they’re a great learning tool as well as an hours-long source of entertainment.
Children who are skilled at making these Technic Kits are building themselves up to be the engineers of tomorrow. But, for teens who aren’t technically inclined, the WHACK kit might be a nightmare because of how complicated it is.
So, make sure that your child is up for a substantial challenge and a prolonged task before you purchase this kit as a gift. Anything less than a full commitment will leave the kit unfinished and most of its play value still on the table.
Our #7 Choice – Adventure Kidz Outdoor Exploration Kit
- Inspiring for young scientists
- Contains three great tools
- Hard to use when there is no nature around
The Adventure Kidz Outdoor Exploration Kit is a great pickup for teens who love to walk around and explore the natural world. With the tools in this set, your teenager will get the ability to peep natural phenomena in greater detail.
It might seem like this kit is for children younger than 13, but in fact nothing could be further from the case. This kit is for aspiring environmentalists, ecologists, and biologists, not for casual bug-hunting.
Especially if you have a family trip to a national park planned in the near future, this kit can be the inspiration that your teen needs to start taking exploration of nature more seriously.
If, on the other hand, you live in a city or in an area where it isn’t feasible to go for a walk in nature, the kit might be difficult to use.
Our #8 Choice – Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board
- Safer than real darts
- Great for taking a break at home
- Easy to mount and throw
- The darts may damage electronics because they’re magnetic
The Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board is a great gift for the teenage boy who wants a casual toy that they can play with while they’re taking a break from doing their homework in their room.
When your teen throws darts at the board, they’ll be having fun and building a little bit of fine motor control. If they like, they can also start a friendly competition with their friends or family members.
But darts can put someone’s eye out if you aren’t careful, and we all know how irresponsible teenage boys can be. With these magnetic darts, you won’t need to worry about any injuries from missed throws — or marks on your walls.
The magnetic tips on the darts are safe for your family, pets, and walls, and they’re easy to handle too.
Our #9 Choice – Marky Sparky Faux Bow and Arrow Set
- Great way to promote active play
- Builds complex motor skills
- Not very durable
Playing with a bow and arrow is a great way to encourage your teenager to keep doing active play in between their time spent playing sports at school or after school.
With this Marky Sparky foam bow and arrow from Marky Sparky, your child will get the health benefits of exercising without the risks or the cost of a real bow and arrow.
While the bow is very lightweight, the arrows will go surprisingly far. There isn’t any target included with the kit, however, so your child will need to set up some targets in the lawn. The force carried by the foam arrows won’t hurt anyone, but they might knock things over inside.
The only downside of the bow is its durability. Because many of the parts are made out of foam, the pieces of the bow and the arrow can be prone to tearing if they are played with too roughly.
Our #10 Choice – Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad
- Easy to use to make beautiful sketches
- Great for training artistic ability
- Requires batteries
The Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad is great for boys who love to doodle. With pen and paper or pencil and paper, doodles can be a bit messy, and adding color or light can be impossible. That’s where this Tracing Pad comes in handy.
With the Tracing Pad, your boy can make doodles that they can erase easily and add light or color however they want. You’ll need to provide batteries to power the pad, but once you do the results will be beautiful.
Even the less-skilled teenagers can add an impressive flair to their doodles with the pad. The trick is the backlight; adding a backlight to the penciled sketches makes them beautiful in a way that’s hard to replicate.
What features should I look for in a gift for a 13-year old boy?
When you’re shopping for a gift for your 13-year old, you need to keep their interests in mind, but you don’t need to necessarily stay on the rails. Your teen’s interests are still being formed, even if they have some ideas about what they like and what they don’t.
In practical terms, this means that you should play on the edge of what you suspect your teen might be interested in. Don’t always pick a gift that you know they will love — it’s okay to take a risk as long as you have a reasonable rationale for them liking a part of the gift.
Of course, you should cater to their interests at least in part when you get a gift. But don’t worry about picking a gift that will challenge your young teenager. The more things you can expose them to, the better off they’ll be further down the line.
Don’t worry too much about the durability of toys for your teen. Instead, you may want to consider safety. Most 13-year-olds aren’t at risk for the same mishaps as younger children, but remember that they get into mischief.
Which gifts are the best for active play?
Gifts for active play are at a premium for teenage boys. If you don’t get them into the habit of being active, they may grow up to be a couch potato. Active play is also a great way to get away from excessive screen time.
Many gifts for your teen boy mimic sports equipment. These gifts, like dartboards, bows and arrows, and basketball hoops are all excellent for active play. Anything that gets your teen up and moving around — or at least moving around while sitting down — is a good option.
Active play gifts are not necessarily the most educational, however, so you should be sure to nurture your teen’s mind.
Often, the best way to promote active play is to give your teen a gift that they can use with their friends. Sure, young boys are prone to playing video games together, but giving them an engaging gift can help bring the group into the yard rather than the den.
Which gifts help to minimize screen time?
Minimizing screen time may be an important thing for your teen. Screen time can be educational or recreational, but it may interfere with your child’s development, even into their teen years.
Minimizing screen time is easy to do with a handful of different gifts, thankfully. Active play gifts like sports equipment is the most obvious choice to minimize screen time, but it isn’t the only choice.
Besides, your teen will get tired eventually if they are trying to do active play all the time. The same goes for active play that isn’t part of a sport—even throwing a basketball around can be tiring.
Thus, you should have constructive play or creative play opportunities for your teen. This means that art kits, building sets, and chemistry sets can be great ways to get your child playing without keeping them glued to the screen.
Books are also great gifts which can minimize screen time. The best part of reading is that you can help your child to pick books which will be either educational or recreational so you don’t need to consider reading time as solely for leisure or business.
Which gifts are the best for creative play?
The best gifts for creative play are the ones which give your teen the chance to exercise their artistic skills in whatever format they choose. This means that art kits are excellent for creative play. But, not all teenage boys are inclined to do much more than doodling.
So, the best gifts for creative play can also include building sets or other more technically-oriented creative play. Sculpting sets can also be a great way of getting your teen to get their creative juices flowing.
The one thing that you don’t want to limit is the amount of creative play that your teen can have. That’s why reusable creative play solutions like digital sketch pads can be a great option for promoting creative play — they don’t need extra paper or supplies to make them work.
Which gifts are the best for learning technical skills?
The best gifts for learning technical skills are those which require your child to follow sets of instructions extremely carefully. This means that complicated science kits or building sets are the best for promoting technical skills.
This is especially true for building sets or science kits which integrate multiple formats of technical acumen. For instance, some kits require both instruction-following, hands-on building, and software engineering. LEGO Technic kits are especially useful in this regard.
Science kits are also excellent for learning technical skills because they help your child to understand the theoretical reasoning behind the things that they’re doing. If your child doesn’t follow the instructions carefully, they’ll also need to spend time troubleshooting the kit.
Gifts which make your teen spend time troubleshooting are also great for learning technical skills. Troubleshooting, while a bit annoying, is an essential technical skill because it helps your teen to understand the way that pieces within a system interact with each other.
Which gifts are the best for group play?
Many teen boys jump to using video games as their primary way of group play. Others prefer to use sports as their mode of group play. Group creative play is rarer to find among teenage boys than it is among teenage girls, however.
These facts mean that you need to be cautious with your gifts intended for group play. Giving your teen a gift that they can use outside with their friends is a great start, but board games can also be a compelling option. Card games can fill a similar role.
Toys which build technical skills are typically not the best for group play, at least at the young teenage age. Technical toys aren’t great gifts for promoting group play because not all teenage boys will understand the level of attention and teamwork that is necessary for technical endeavours.
Which gifts are the best for promoting family time?
The best gifts for promoting family time can range from board and card games to toys for active play. It all depends on what everyone in your family likes to do that they can convince the teenage boy to enjoy doing.
The cornier the activity, the less your teenage boy will enjoy doing it with your family. So, a competitive or high-intensity family-time gift is preferable to one that is more broadly accessible.
Monopoly might be a good choice, but a more intense board game like Settlers of Catan might be preferable. Role-playing games like D&D could also be a good choice, depending on your teen’s preferences and your family’s level of interest.
In a nutshell, you may need to compromise between a family-time gift that your teenage boy will enjoy and the family-time gift that the other members of your family will enjoy.
Gifts which promote active play and group play can also be great for family time, but you might be a bit tired at the end of the day so you should probably pick an active play gift that is low-impact, like disc golf, rather than an active play gift like a basketball hoop.