Not sure what toys to buy for an eleven year-old? Read on for some tips and suggestions from the Good Toy Guide experts!
These are some examples of toys that a child of this age may enjoy, but please remember that every child is unique and has a preference for different toys and brands.
Arts & Crafts
Activity kits that allow children to personalise things and choose designs to suit their mood are likely to be popular at this age. They may have more confidence to experiment and challenge themselves, and may enjoy creating things from scratch, allowing them total freedom of expression.
Art materials like Primo Modelling Clay give children the freedom to try out their own designs, experiment with new techniques and create a final piece (they can paint their model once it has dried too).
At 11, children are preparing for secondary school and this is a common milestone for children to be given a mobile phone. If it’s a smart phone all of the precautions parents take are still important but as children progress through their teens they should be given more freedom to self-regulate. As children enter the teenage years they are allowed to access social media sites and they are likely to use their phones more for the internet and texting than making actual phone calls. Given that they may prefer a tablet to a phone and teenagers will enjoy being treated more respectfully and being given more choice in their technology.
If you are thinking of buying a tablet for a child, have a look at our tablet comparison guide for more information on features – such as parental controls and content – that are key when considering a tablet for a child.
As technology improves so do the tech toys available, and there are some great ones out there now that older kids can enjoy. The Sphero SPRK edition is a clever little round robot that children can control with their phone or tablet to drive, programme, play games and much more.
Board games and card games are a great way to keep families playing together. ‘Tweens’ and teens still need fun, relaxed, playful interactions with family members and it’s amazing how much you find out about each other through playing even the simplest game. As children mature, they can take the lead in games with younger members of the family so it’s beneficial for all ages to make a habit of regular game playing.
Telestrastions from John Adams is a funny twist on Chinese Whispers. Player 1 draws the item shown on the card, player 2 writes what they think it is and passes it along, then player 3 draws the word they have written, and so on. Just like Chinese Whispers, as the notepad is passed around, a rugby ball can be accidentally transformed into an egg!
As children make the transition to secondary school, it’s vital that they stay active and fun sporty toys and games can help children maintain healthy activity levels and promote a positive body image. Toys such as swingball and skateboards are cool enough to still be appealing to this age group and remote control toys and stunt kites also encourage children to play outdoors.
Trampolines are popular with all ages, and particularly with older children they work great both for fun exercise and as a private chill-out space! The TP Toys Genius Octagonal2 Trampoline has a safety net with a crawl-through tunnel, ‘intelligent’ feet that adjust to uneven ground, and completely enclosed springs for added safety.
Books & Magazines
Books can be a great gift for teenagers as they encourage reading for life and help with vocabulary and spelling. Non-fiction can be great for supporting interests or introducing new activities and there’s been an explosion in good quality teen fiction that can help children escape from or make sense of their adolescent lives.
Retro / Classic Toys
As teenagers experiment with different identities, they may revert to younger toys to revisit those calmer, easier times. Retro toys provide a ‘cool’ way for them to do this without looking childish so don’t be surprised if an otherwise mature teen goes crazy for cute teddies or a revamped version of a toy they liked 10 years ago.
Brands such as Sylvanian families, Monopoly, Rubiks and Lego have a timeless quality that doesn’t suffer from trends and fads and are be popular with a wide range of ages.
Page updated: December 2015