13 year old boys undergo a lot of changes and can be notoriously difficult to shop for, especially when it comes to toys. Luckily, we’ve researched the crucial developmental milestones and educational standards that 13 year olds are expected to achieve so that you don’t have to, and used that knowledge to assemble a list of the 10 best toys and gift ideas for 13 year old boys.
Pressed for time? Jump straight to our list of 10 best toys for 13 year old boys below. Or, take a few minutes to learn about the big changes and milestones that you can expect at this age.
13 Year Old Developmental Milestones
Age 13 is a time of huge changes in your son’s life. He’s in middle school, and his body and mind are going through quite a growth spurt. Physically, 13 year olds are all over the map, so don’t be too concerned if your son is a late bloomer. That said, many will be in the throes of puberty, so rapid growth in both height and weight is common.
Because 13 year olds grow so rapidly, coordination and agility often play catch up to strength and speed. At age 13, physical growth often outpaces cognitive growth, which is an important fact for parents to keep in mind. As with every age, getting enough physical activity is a must for 13 year olds.
Your 13 year old will experience many cognitive developments. In middle school, kids tend to readily soak up information and also dive into specific topics in far more depth than before. Age 13 is a common time for kids to become more informed on current events, and worry about how those things might impact them and their world. 13 year olds gain a more developed worldview, and tend to question information rather than accept everything they’re told. Overall, a 13 year old will be more flexible in his approach to problems, and learn to change strategies as needed. This is also the age where many kids decide they want to earn an income of their own.
In middle school, language skills really take off. Most 13 year olds become much more sophisticated with their language use than they were even 1 or 2 years ago. They routinely use sarcasm, humor, and metaphors in everyday speech, and love to engage in lively discussions—and, to many parents’ chagrin, arguments!—just for fun. When communicating with others, 13 year olds are much more adept at picking up on nonverbal cues, like changes in tone of voice and body language.
During middle school, you can expect big changes in your teen’s social and emotional growth. 13 year olds often branch out into a specific hobby or interest, and “try on” different personas in their attempt to figure out who they are and how they fit in. It’s common for 13 years to start valuing their friends’ opinions more than yours, as peer relationships become very important in middle school. Their developing values will at times come into conflict with peer pressure. 13 year olds tend to think that everyone is always looking at them, and can become very wrapped up in other people’s opinions, so it’s no wonder that this is a time of both confidence and self-doubt.
10 Best Toys for 13 Year Old Boys
Pandemic is an intense board game where players work together and strategize to find cures for 4 deadly diseases before all of mankind is decimated. This is a sophisticated game that requires the kind of cause and effect logic that 13 years olds are learning, and forces them to prioritize and use their newfound flexible thinking skills. Pandemic also provides a great way to spend time with peers.
In The Manual to Manhood, author Jonathan Catherman provides instructions on 100 life skills that boys will want to know, from planning a date to changing a tire to tying a tie. As 13 year olds hit puberty and start experiencing more self-doubt and concern with how others perceive them, this book provides a great way to instill confidence and ensure that your son is adequately prepared for just about any situation.
What gift list for a 13 year old would be complete these days without an iPod? This Apple iPod Touch contains 32 Gb of storage, is available in multiple colors, and comes with accessories like a stylus, Apple earbuds, and a USB charger. Teens can use iPods to stay in touch with friends, play music, and also research any and all newfound interests. Really, this iPod will give your 13 year old boy the gift of instantaneous access to the world’s information.
As a bonus, the Apple iPod Touch gives parents with Apple products a great way to keep track of their new teen’s whereabouts, and communicate with them when they’re on the go as long as there’s wifi around.
As we mentioned, 13 is an age where kids want to distinguish themselves with a special talent or hobby, and where they have the attention span and focus to really dive into specific tasks. This guitar starter pack is a great way for your 13 year old to learn a skill, build self-confidence, work on coordination, and hone his focus. Plus, they can impress both their peers and potential dates with their musical prowess.
Skateboards have been a staple for teen boys for decades now, and this Quest Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard is sure to please. The Quest Super Cruiser is a 44 inch longboard with a maple and bamboo deck, comes in different colors and patterns, and is designed in Southern California, the skateboarding motherland. This skateboard provides your 13 year old with an easy way to hang out with friends, all while getting that ever-important physical activity and working on coordination and agility. Just be sure to also get a helmet and pads.
This Holy Stone drone comes with all the gadgets, including a live-feed camera, at a reasonable price. Learning to fly this toy will tap into your 13 year old’s new critical thinking and focus skills, and help him work on flexible thinking as he trouble shoots flying mishaps and how to avoid them going forward. The Holy Stone drone is also great for sharing with friends, as everyone will want their turn to fly.
The Spikeball 3 Ball Sports Game Set comes equipped with a playing net, 3 balls, a rule book and a carrying case, making it perfect for the backyard, park, or beach. This fun Shark Tank game encourages physical activity, coordination and athletic skills, and fun with friends. Spikeball will help make your 13 year old the life of the party, all while logging some exercise time and interacting with peers.
Catan is a clever board game about settlers and trading that changes with every play. With multiple Game of the Year awards and even a Game of the Century honor, this game will engross 13 year olds by engaging those crucial flexible and critical thinking skills, and prompting them to consider how current choices impact the future. It’s also a fun way to spend some time with friends.
This mentally stimulating Ball of Whacks inspires hours of creative and problem-solving play. 13 year olds will enjoy reading the illustrated guide book, as well as dreaming up creations of their own. The Ball of Whacks is a great way to flex those growing cognitive skills, and of course, teens will love encouraging their friends to squeeze it so that the ball “explodes” and has to be reassembled.
This next one comes with a steep price tag, but if you want to coax your 13 year old into hanging out at home with his friends so that you can help monitor risky situations and peer pressure, then the PlayStation 4 is a great investment. This package comes with a console and a PS4 controller, and while all parents have been warned about the dangers of excessive video game time, some games are seriously great at honing critical thinking and strategizing skills. Also, your 13 year old can play with friends even when they aren’t physically present, which is a nice plus for socially driven teens.
PlayStation 4 is also one of the first consoles to add VR support. If you haven’t tried VR before, it’s transformative. VR experiences are highly immersive, and are only starting to transform society.
Toys for Other Age Ranges
For more toy and gift ideas for kids, check out our other great articles:
- Best toys for 1 year old boys
- Best toys for 2 year old boys
- Best toys for 3 year old boys
- Best toys for 4 year old boys
- Best toys for 5 year old boys
- Best toys for 6 year old boys
- Best toys for 7 year old boys
- Best toys for 8 year old boys
- Best toys for 9 year old boys
- Best toys for 10 year old boys
- Best toys for 11 year old boys
- Best toys for 12 year old boys
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list. While we don’t suggest that these are the only toys your child will ever need, we do think this list of the best educational toys for girls is a great start. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please reach out to us.
Criteria for Placement
While listing the best educational resources is never an exact science, we’ve done our best find products that rank highly on the following criteria:
- Developmental impact: Many toys out there like plush dolls are somewhat limited in their developmental impact. We’ve critically evaluated the toys on this list for their impact on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
- Safety: All toys on this list are safe to use, free of toxic compounds like lead and BPA
- Durability: Children love to throw, jump on, and touch everything in sight. The toys on this list are fit to withstand the bumps and hard landings.
- Price: Parenting doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive. We looked for the cheapest products that still meet our developmental and quality requirements.
- Developmental milestones for typical middle schoolers – understood.org