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montessori gift ideas

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Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended, Screen-Free Gift Ideas for Every Tween & Teen!

November 27, 2021

Super Fun, Opened Ended, Screen-Free Gift Ideas for Every Tween & Teen!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

Raising Generation Nourished…

It’s more than just the food, though that is typically the focus around here! Today, I thought I’d take a little step aside from the recipes, and focus on another aspect of raising a nourished generation. A generation that is creative, focused, and content. A generation that has just so much good ahead of them. Their future is so bright.

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

Contented kids

Not long ago I received a private message on my Instagram asking how I’ve raised kids that are so “content.” She mentioned it always felt like my kids found joy in the simplest of things – digging in the sand at the beach, stirring a pot of soup, taking a hike…simple childhood. She was curious how a 12 year old could be happy with such simplicity. We aren’t a completely screen free home – we definitely enjoy a good movie! And my kids have their favorite shows. We even play the occasional educational computer game. But over 12 years into this thing, I do think that part of my kids’ joy in simple childhood play has to do with limited screens. They aren’t the enemy, but open-ended play is vital to kids that don’t need to be constantly entertained with a screen. Contented kids that are ok with being “bored” because those are always the moments where creativity shines the brightest. I have seen it with my own eyes, and I would go back and do it all over again to see that in my kids.

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

You do you momma!

I am most definitely not here to mom shame. Every household has a different rhythm, and every child has different needs. If you have video games in the house, and that is working for you, great! If your kids have tablets, and that is working in your home – totally fine! What I am here to do, is give you some ideas for under the Christmas tree that my upper elementary/tween/middle school aged kids have enjoyed and are enjoying right now, that I really think any kid will have fun with, whether they are into screens or not. I hope to give you some ideas to put something different under the tree next to the other items.

Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended, Screen-Free Gift Ideas for Every Tween & Teen!

Tweens & Middle School ages

Years back I created a Montessori Inspired gift guide for younger children when my kids were little, and I thought it was time to do an update! My older two are 12 and 10 and this list was so fun to put together with them. They helped me pick out their favorite activities in our home now, and we messaged with friends of both boys and girls of this age group to find out what their favorite screen-free activities were too. I hope you find something fun to put under the tree for the kids this year that will stimulate the child that is within them, foster creativity, and give them purpose!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

STEM/Science/Building

The number one thing my children along with every momma that I texted said for this age group was…LEGOS! Every last one of them. My 12 year old still asks for Legos every holiday and birthday, and she pulls them out all the time. This age is literally built for STEM mindset, and it is why so many schools focus on innovation days, science fairs, and STEM clubs from 4th grade through middle school. There are so many to list – I would love to hear your tween and teens favorite STEM items to add to this list – please comment below if you do!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!
The solar robots became a favorite sometimes even over Legos over the last year (age 12)

Crafts

Our crafting collection started around my oldest’s 6 year old year, and has become such a staple inside activity in our home over the years. Those “I’m bored” moments almost always land in the Rainbow Loom box, Perler bead bin, or with a sketch pad and markers.

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!
Rainbow Loom bracelets she made to sell!
Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!
All the perler beads, all the time!

Board Games & Puzzles

This is definitely not an inclusive list! Please comment below with other favorite board games – we are always looking to add to our collection too!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

Outdoors/Movement

No matter the weather where you live, fresh air is an important part of childhood. It will create habits that will last into adulthood, and that, my friends is where raising a nourished generation starts. I would love to know what your tweens and teens like to do outside so I can add to the list for our readers! Use the comment box below!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!

Safe Skin Care/Self Care

I started putting little self care things in the girls’ stockings starting pretty young. A new bar of soap or a fun nail polish to start, and as they are getting older it is getting even more fun. You can do the teen girl stuff in a safe, non-toxic way so easily these days too! Use the EWG Skin Deep website to check ingredient safety, but for the most part, these are the brands we love and use in our house.

Books

This was the hardest list to tailor down when I asked the girls’ their favorites. I do have a household of very big readers, and I am here to tell you I really do think it is because when I get the “I’m bored” look, if they aren’t pulling a craft out, they are pulling out a book because we don’t have tablets around. I will often say on a rainy day “go get sucked into a book” and they haul up in a beanbag for hours! Here are some of our favorites both in our home and ones the girls have had to read in school at the upper elementary and middle school ages so far. Please let me know what your tweens are reading! I have one adventure lover that needs action and Harry Potter-like books, and another that prefers more imagination, and less thriller like books!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!
Fun lights to make a cozy reading nook is a great gift idea too!

Cooking & Baking

Of course this is near and dear to my heart, but I literally haven’t met a tween that doesn’t like to bake or do something in the kitchen. It is part science/STEM, part mess, and right up their alley! I’d love to know what your tween and teens are making in the kitchen and what tools they love the most that would make great gifts! Please comment below!

Screen Free Tween & Middle School Gift Guide! :: Super Fun, Opened Ended Ideas for Every Kid!