Anyone whose buying a gift for a teenager is probably asking themselves “What are teenagers into these days?”
Whether you’re shopping for toys for teenagers for yourself, or looking for education STEM toys to give away as a gift, we’ve got you covered. Toys can be educational in a lot of different ways, it’s not all about science, we’re also going to look at some art toys, word and language toys, and more.
Check out these cool teen toys and by the end of this list, you’ll know exactly which fun toys for teens you’re most interested in. Not all of them will appeal to everybody, but I’m pretty confidant that I’ve curated a list of awesome toys for teens here so there is bound to be something for everybody.
Wooden 3D Puzzle Box Kit by Robotime
This is a 3d puzzle taken to the next level. Instead of the typical foam-and-paper based 3d puzzles, this one is wooden, and you end up with a cool little robot buddy. To take it a step further, it’s a music box.
If you check out the Amazon listing, you’ll also see a few other styles available including a little robot dog friend, a space vehicle, and a submarine. They’re pretty affordable and make great gifts, it’s something that’ll look cool on top of a speaker, or on a shelf, or on a nightstand or dresser. It’s the type of thing that’s fun to build, and then makes an awesome decoration forever.
The robot is about 7 inches tall, and has over 200 pieces to put together. There’s a little hand crank that plays a song. If you really like to get creative, you could combine this with some sort of Raspberry Pi to make some really unique things, but we’ll leave the creativity up to you.
It takes anywhere from 2-5 hours to build, depending on how experienced you are with building toys like this. That’s really good value as far as STEM toys are concerned.
This makes a great gift, or just something to buy for yourself if you have some Amazon credit burning a hole in your pocket.
Water Bottle Rocket Launcher Kit
Looking for a way to learn some science and STEM, or an excuse to shoot something 100 feet into the air? Either way, this bottle rocket launching kit has what you’re looking for.
This kit is recommended for teens who are at least 14 years old, for safety reasons, but I imagine it would be fine for someone a bit younger if they proper parental involvement.
It comes with everything you need except for a pump and a bottle (and some tap water). You can use any normal 2L drink bottle that’s been emptied out (And filled part-way with water), and a bicycle pump will do the trick just fine.
This launcher works kind of like a SodaStream, in the sense that you’re using air to create pressure. It’s not quite the same, but it’s similar.
PS: Speaking of bottle rockets, there’s a pretty cool Wes Anderson movie called Bottle Rocket that’s worth checking out, too.
Thames & Kosmos Structural Engineering Kit for Teenagers
If you remember toys like Knex, or certain Lego kits, this is in the same ballpark, but offer a more educational look at physics while still being super fun to play with. It’s also kind of like the computer game Polybridge, where you have to design a bridge while thinking about things like load, tensions, and compression.
It comes with nearly 300 pieces, and instructions for 20 different structures that you can build. While it’s an educational toy for teens, it doesn’t really feel overly educational in the sense that you’re learning while still having a lot of fun. With a Lego kit, you get the pieces and instructions to build one thing but with this kit, you can build 20 different things so it provides tons of replay value.
Not Parent Approved: A Card Game for Teens
This is a card game for teens and kids alike, so it’s great for someone with younger siblings. It’s one of many Cards Against Humanity clones that is a bit less edgy, but also a little different than Apples to Apples. It’s a happy medium that’s fun for the family to play together, if you’re looking for this type of game.
It’s educational in the sense that you need to read the room and try to play the cards that will win you the rounds, so it’s useful in a social-awareness sense. At the core, this is a word game, but you’re trying to choose the cards that will be chosen by the people that you’re playing with.
The Buddha Board
This is a pretty cool desk toy that simulates painting. It’s quite zen and relaxing. You fill the base with a bit of water, and then you use the included brush to draw strokes across the surface. Once it dries up, your canvas is cleared, so the art you create is fleeting but you can still snap a pic of it!
It’s fun for people who enjoy painting but don’t always want to go through the trouble of setting up their paints, setting up a canvas, cleaning up, and the permanency of it all. You can practice different strokes and techniques, and all you need is a little bit of water. It’s a really unique toy, and it helps develop a number of different skills like creativity, but beyond that it’s also just kind of relaxing and feels like meditation when you really get into it. There’s something to be said about taking a break from looking at screens and just letting your mind wander a bit.
Lego Architecture sets for Teens
In case you aren’t up to date on the latest Lego kits, they have a number of different collections now. Of course, most people are familiar with Lego Star Wars and other themes based on movies, but the Architecture kits from Lego take it to the next level.
They’re all based off of real-world locations, scaled down into Lego kits that you build yourself just like any other kit. These are a little classier to keep on display on your desk, your shelf, etc once you’re done building them so if you feel like you’ve outgrown Lego a bit – think again!
There are so many different sets to choose from, some of the popular ones are the New York Skyline, or a San Francisco kit that includes the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. There’s a London Skyline kit, the Empire State Building, the Capital Building, Trafalgar Square, Las Vegas, and countless other unique buildings and cities all around the world.
LEGO is one of the best learning toys for kids, but it’s great for people of all ages and the Architecture kits prove that.
Smart Circuits by SmartLab Toys
Here’s a really cool toy that teaches about how circuits and electronics work. It comes with buttons, lights, power sources, light sensors, resistors, and a lot more. You can assemble these things in different ways to create different types of circuits. There are 48 different pieces in total, and the possibilities for creativity are nearly endless.
This kit is awesome for kids who are really into STEM, but also old boys and girls who like to tinker with electronics. This is a great engineering kit for teenagers.
Theoretically, you could even create your own modules out of various sensors and widgets and wire them in, too, to expand this even further. In theory, I think you could even add a Bluetooth sensor to it and control it with a phone, but now we’re starting to get outside the scope of things.
You don’t need to hook this up to a computer or anything like that, it works as a total stand-alone unit with its own microprocessor of sorts that controls everything. Follow instructions to create existing projects, or come up with your own creations – this teaches some really good problem-solving, creativity, and skills like basic electronics.
Looking for more fun stuff? Here are some riddles for teens, and some interesting high school electives to keep in mind as you set out on your educational track.