Are you donating toys for holiday toy drives this season? If your answer was a “sure yes,!” then remember older kids in your holiday donations, as it’s usually easier to find cute toys to donate for kids under 7 and the older ones tend to be forgotten.
In reality when thinking about ‘toys’ our minds usually consider younger children first. But older kids need items that help keep them focused and entertained since peer pressure and other issues begin to develop in school or at home as children age.
My young teen daughter reminded me about this specific issue. She’s working on a toy collection drive with her Girl Scout troop and noticed the majority of donations are coming in for very young kids and hardly any for the older ones.
She put herself in the position of a child her age without the opportunity to receive something special this holiday season and became very sad and annoyed. I went ahead and posted this ‘tip’ for my friends on Facebook and received many ‘oh yes, I hadn’t thought about that’ comments.
To keep the holiday spirit alive for everyone, here is a list of potential toys and other items for consideration when donating to holiday drives this season:
9 Top Donation Items for Tweens and Teens
1. Individual games clearly marked for Ages 8+ – things that an older child can play on their own without adults or siblings. Ideas include the Scrabble Twist or the new trendy Rubik’s Cube
2. Remote control cars, planes, boats, motorcycles, etc. – they provide hours of individual fun.
3. Craft kits, sketch books and color pencil or marker sets – help bring out the individual creativity of older kids.
4. Books – donating a range of popular series can provide a unique opportunity to help foster reading in tweens and teens. For older tweens and teen (kids age 11+) ideas include series such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent, Percy Jackson and The Maze Runner. Other suggestions include special inspirational stories such as He Named me Malala ‘Beyond Championships’ and Esperanza Rising or self-help books like The 7 Journal Habits for Teens that helps readers start using their creativity to write down their thoughts and create positive change for themselves and others.
For younger readers (ages 7-10) there are many series including Middle School, Secret Kingdom (for girls) and comic books or the Star Wars books. I believe books are for everyone depending on the child’s preferred themes but for this age there are many books concentrated for either boys or girls.
5. Movies and music – Donating a preloaded music and movie player (such as Ipods) for a child who will not have the opportunity to have it otherwise simply brings them up in technology and opens their world.
6. Movie DVDs – keep them G or PG rated for safety but movies are always a fun gift and make sure NOT to select Blu-ray editions as not everyone will have the right player.
7. Headphones – this is the biggest trend among this age. Cool headphones don’t have to cost that much and can be found in fun colors and themes.
8. Technology – if you have the resources to donate tablets you can certainly brighten an older child’s life as well as support their education. Including a prepaid wireless card for data is an important consideration to add.
9. Clothes, coats, PJs, Backpacks and shoes –Depending on your donation location, collections may include more than toys and are very much needed during the colder winter months and as the middle of the school year approaches. Keep them in bigger sizes such as Juniors and in trendy themes and bright colors so the kids feel they’re receiving the coolest items possible.
All the best to everyone this holiday and please be sure to share your donation stories for older kids with us. You can email photos with captions to be featured on our Los Tweens & Teens social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter- firstname.lastname@example.org. FELICIDADES!!!
Want more gift ideas? Check out our “Gifts for Tweens” and “Tween Books” board in Pinterest (and don’t forget to follow us!):
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.