The Best Toys for 13-Year-Old Boys – 2020 Gift Ideas
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 in 2020 so that you’ll know which gift ideas will be winners and which will be lemons.
- Our #1 Choice – Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone RC Nano Quadcopter
- Our #2 Choice – National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit
- Our #3 Choice – Play 22 Car Transport Truck Carrier
- Our #4 Choice – Threeking Smart Robot
- Our #5 Choice – UOKOO Walkie Talkies For Kids
- Our #6 Choice – LEGO Technic WHACK Building Kit
- Our #7 Choice – Adventure Kidz Outdoor Exploration Kit
- Our #8 Choice – Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board
- Our #9 Choice – Marky Sparky Faux Bow and Arrow Set
- Our #10 Choice – Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad
- Our #11 Choice – Kids Against Maturity
- Our #12 Choice – Infinity Cube Fidget Toy
- Our #13 Choice – Laser Tag Set
- Our #14 Choice – Manual to Manhood
- Our #15 Choice – Gravity Maze Marble Run
- Our #16 Choice – Slapzi
- Our #17 Choice – Ultimate Card Magic Kit
- Our #18 Choice – Mixed Media Art Set
- Our #19 Choice – Razor A5 Lux Scooter
- Our #20 Choice – D&D Player’s Handbook
- What features should I look for in a gift for a 13 year old boy?
- Which Video Gaming Systems Are Best For Long-Term Use?
- Which gifts are the best for active play?
- Which gifts help to minimize screen time?
- Which gifts are the best for creative play?
- Which gifts are the best for learning technical skills?
- Which gifts are the best for group play?
- Which gifts are the best for promoting family time?
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 13 year old 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 13 year old 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 battery life 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.
Our #11 Choice – Kids Against Maturity
This silly card game is an exercise in creativity.
- Award-winning family fun game
- Encourages creativity among kids who are trying to decide who they are
- Not considered appropriate in some families
- Humor inappropriate for some
However, the real value of this toy isn’t family entertainment. Instead, playing games like this can help teach your child that it’s okay to open up to you and say things that might have gotten them in trouble before. This will reduce their inclination to hide things and can encourage them to come forward if they have a genuine problem they need help with.
Our #12 Choice – Infinity Cube Fidget Toy
This handheld toy is perfect for boys who need to keep themselves occupied.
- Durable design is suitable for long-term use
- Ideal for discouraging harmful fidget behaviors like biting or scratching
- May be too loud for some environments
- Won’t appeal to kids who don’t like puzzles
Small Fish’s Infinity Cube is a rugged, durable toy designed for extended use when kids are most likely to fidget. While we all sometimes wish young boys could sit still and pay attention, the truth is that many of them need to be touching or doing something so they can keep their minds occupied.
This fidget toy features covered rivets to avoid pinching and smooth edges that make it comfortable to enjoy for extended periods. The potential benefits of playing with this toy include improved focus, calmer behavior, and stress relief.
Our #13 Choice – Laser Tag Set
This set of four laser tag components provides indoor or outdoor fun.
- Multiple game mode options provide various ways to play
- Outstanding for groups of boys
- Not suitable for solo children
- Batteries may need replacing after first year
Play22’s laser tag set is a significant improvement on older sets. With variable team selections and multiple weapon modes, it supports creative scenario-building and long-range encounters through indoor or outdoor areas. The lasers themselves are safe infrared light.
For families that like shooting or hunting, or have a strong tradition of going into the military, laser tag sets offer outstanding early-learning opportunities. They also promote exercise much better than video games do, which is a bonus.
There are two things to keep in mind about this product. First, it requires a lot of batteries. Second, it requires friends, preferably those who live nearby and can come over to play regularly.
Our #14 Choice – Manual to Manhood
This book helps teach a wide variety of skills that are useful for teens moving towards adulthood.
- A dense guide that teaches multiple useful skills for daily life
- Useful for early teens through adulthood
- Some families may disagree with the strategies and techniques this book advises
Many boys moving into their teens struggle with gaining confidence and feeling like they have a place. At times like these, teaching them new skills can help them build confidence and understand their own identity.
This book works particularly well if you go through it with them and help teach each skill. For example, you may ask them to help cook a steak, teach them how to set the table, or teach them to sew buttons onto their clothes. Some families prefer giving different advice, so be sure to read this book before giving it to your child.
Our #15 Choice – Gravity Maze Marble Run
This 3D puzzle game offers increasing levels of challenge.
- Encourages creativity and puzzle-solving skills
- Dozens of challenges for extended fun
- Best for kids who prefer intellectual toys
Physical puzzles offer more stimulation than many puzzles that exist solely on paper, and learning to think in 3D is an outstanding skill for any career. This award-winning puzzle offers five dozen challenges based around interlocking blocks, all powered by gravity. It also comes with several marbles, which is handy if your kid gets their design wrong and loses the marble.
Aside from the puzzle-solving aspect of this toy, the Gravity Maze also has a construction element that requires interpreting symbols to select the right pieces. This is a particularly helpful skill and one that you may want to nurture throughout your son’s youth.
Our #16 Choice – Slapzi
Slapzi is a quick-thinking card game that encourages creativity.
- Excellent for helping develop critical thinking and subject association skills
- Playable with up to ten people
- Not playable alone
- Too fast-paced for some kids
Slapzi is a word/picture association card game focused on speed. In this game, players must evaluate a written clue, then look at images to find a card that matches the clue and play it before anyone else. The main value of this game is teaching children how to make rapid associations and process information so they can make better decisions.
Aside from the regular rules, this game also has rules for several other ways to play, which can further develop your child’s processing skills. If your child isn’t as interested in games like these, consider tying their in-game victories to small rewards. These can motivate them to play and ingrain the idea that working and learning is worthwhile.
Our #17 Choice – Ultimate Card Magic Kit
This in-depth guide teaches over 200 magic tricks to surprise audiences.
- Comes with everything boys need to learn hundreds of tricks
- Has links to additional content for even more tricks
- Helps teach fine motor skills
- Not a good choice for physically-challenged boys
The early teens are a tough time for young boys, but learning tricks to impress their friends can keep them occupied for hours on end. This collection of hundreds of card tricks offers countless hours of entertainment and, just as importantly, gives boys a way to stand out from the crowd and socialize with friends.
For visual learners, this product also includes access to online video tutorials that show each trick step-by-step. We appreciate this because boys learn in different ways, and what works for some won’t always work for others. By including several types of instruction, this toy is much easier for different learners to enjoy.
Our #18 Choice – Mixed Media Art Set
Designed for beginning artists, this 73-piece art set includes multiple colors and materials for kids to practice with.
- It includes professional-quality products in a sturdy case
- There’s enough of each material to last for several projects
- A little expensive for entry-level artists
- A little expensive for entry-level artists
Some boys are naturally inclined towards art and other creative endeavors, and encouraging this can help them eventually move into lucrative careers like graphic design or professional animation. This robust art set includes pencils, acrylic paint, watercolors, and oil pastels, which are four of the most popular entry-level materials.
For serious artists, the manufacturer offers larger 152-piece and 181-piece sets with additional colors and materials. These are a little on the expensive side, but you can expect them to last for quite a while.
Our #19 Choice – Razor A5 Lux Scooter
This bestselling scooter offers fun and reliability in a compact package.
- This sturdy, well-designed scooter will stand up to many hours of use
- Razor is a highly reputable brand and has a good customer support network
- Not as fast as some high-performance scooters
- The rider may slip and fall
Razor is one of the most well-known brands in the scooter industry, and their A5 Lux scooter is one of their all-time bestsellers. That alone makes this product with serious consideration, and one look at the scooter shows its focus on robust design. With the ability to support up to 220 lbs of weight, this product is also a viable choice for boys of all sizes.
Solid urethane wheels ensure there will be no blowouts to worry about, while feedback from professional riders ensures this product can always perform well. The A5 Lux is more expensive than most toys, but it’s still worth considering if your child loves playing outdoors.
Our #20 Choice – D&D Player’s Handbook
With its release into the mainstream, Dungeons & Dragons 5E has become an increasingly popular game for teen boys.
- Online rules access allows you to try before you buy
- Easy for total newcomers to learn and play
- Requires a group to play
- May be too complicated for some boys
In an era of smartphones and video game consoles, few offline entertainments can match the unexpectedly explosive popularity of Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy roleplaying game where the players embark on their own unique journey to smite evildoers, rescue cities, or just spend five hours arguing with a talking fish.
However, what really makes this game stand out is the way it gets young boys to interact with each other in person. Someone needs to step up and learn how to be a Game Master, but D&D’s freeform storytelling style means you can use it for everything from pure fantasy adventures to a venue for teaching useful life lessons.
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 Video Gaming Systems Are Best For Long-Term Use?
Gaming systems are especially popular toys among boys of all ages, but they’re also more expensive than most traditional toys even before you start getting video games themselves. That makes smart investments more important than ever.
There are two important factors to keep in mind here. First is the development speed of gaming systems. Notably, Sony and Microsoft expect to release new gaming consoles around the 2020 holiday season. These will be expensive, but also the best source for games over the next few years. Alternatively, getting a current-generation PS4 or Xbox One gives access to a huge catalog.
Second, consider the number of games you want to get for your child (or that they express interest in) on each platform. People have different ways of weighing these judgments, but we recommend holding off on a gaming console until you can select at least five games you or your child want to play on it.
At the standard retail price of $60, this is enough games to make them approximately half of your entire investment into gaming. Buying an expensive console to play one $20 game is not a good investment. Buying a console to play many games is a much more reasonable investment.
Also, consider the per-hour cost of gaming as entertainment. If a child gets 60 hours of enjoyment from a game, that’s approximately $1 an hour (or less!), which is significantly more affordable than many other types of entertainment.
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.