Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Middle Schoolers

Now the The Pea has entered middle school, I've entered a whole new world as well.  Today's tweens and pre-teens are independent, bright, confident and tech savvy.  They're old enough to know exactly what they want, but young enough to jump for joy when they realize your present is exactly what they want.    Here are some suggestions for the perfect present to remind them that mom and dad are cooler than they look:


The Pea and her friends are really, really into nail art.  She has amassed quite a collection of polish and nail art accessories, and she plans to drop nail-related hints to her grandparents for gift ideas.  But girls still somewhere to put all that stuff, so take a cue from your own girlhood and get her a Caboodles organizer.  Yes, Caboodles!  They're still around, and better than ever!

*** Giveaway Alert:  Enter to win a Caboodles My First Love organizer below!

Duct tape crafts are really popular right now. The web is full of great tutorials, and Pea and her friends love creating purses, wallets, gift bags, folders and other knick-knacks.  That's why Scotch Colors & Patterns Duct Tape makes the perfect stocking stuffer: they're small, inexpensive and guaranteed to give their duct tape crafts and explosion of color and visual appeal. 

As they grow older, girls get better and better at baking, so they no longer need an Easy Bake Oven to whip up tasty treats -- but they still might need a bit of help to create something that tastes as good as it looks.  Enter the Ultimate Cake Pops Set by Bakerella, a baking set with all the tools girls need to make cake pops that look (almost) as good as the exquisite creations of Bakerella, the creator of the cake pop. It has molds and stands and graters to make it easy as pie (or should I say cake?)

We've just received Just Dance 4 for Nintendo Wii to review, and already The Pea wants to invite her friends over!  It has all the songs that she and her BFFs love to sing and dance to -- plus they get the added fun of a little friendly competition.   


Physical and virtual play combine in one cool game with Nukotoys' Monsterologys.  Kids can collect physical cards ($1.99 for a 3-pack, $3.99 for a 7-pack, $19.99 for four 7-packs) featuring various mythical monsters based on the popular Monsterology books.  They get to trade cards with friends and hunt  for those prized "rare" cards.  In addition, they can download the free Monsterology game for the iPad which features a virtual role-playing world.  The best part:  kids can  "insert" their monster cards into the game by "scanning" or "tapping" the physical card on the iPad surface!  Amazing does not even begin to describe it, you'll just have to see for yourself.

My soccer fans love FIFA Soccer, and the 2012 for the PS Vita gives them the best on-the-go experience yet.  The graphics are superb, giving them amazing detail that matches the one on the PS3, and the PS Vit'as rear touchpad gives them added ball control.  They can easily form teams from years past, not just from the current 2011-2012 team lineups.

Oh what the heck, it's the holidays -- so why not go the whole hog and get him a PS Vita? With rich graphics, front and rear touchpads, social-enabled play, hundreds of games, the possibilities for play are mind boggling.  They may be middle schoolers, but they're not too old for their eyes to shine like stars when you get them this one perfect present!

Those buckets and buckets of LEGO bricks don't get relegated to the attic just because they're in middle school; the bricks and models just become more intricate and complex.  Once your son gets into the LEGO Technic series, it's time to get him the Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide.  It's full of instructions and inspiration for intricate, realistic, to-scale models of machines like bulldozers, supercards, tanks with suspended treads and more.  

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Picture Puzzles  is the perfect stocking stuffer, travel companion and videogame downtime activity.  The "spot-the-difference"-type picture puzzless are super complicated, and each one specifies a time limit so everyone is challenged.  It's challenging without being geeky so it's perfect to look at with a friend during a playdate (oops, I'm not supposed to say "playdate" anymore -- in middle school it's called "hanging out").


Now that The Pea goes to and from school by herself, a cellphone to stay in touch with me is a must -- but I think she's too young to be texting her friends and immersing herself in social media via smart phone.  That's why I love her Kajeet Cellphone plan -- the parental controls are awesome, I was able to set her up with the most basic of plans, and she can gets a cool (not dorky) smartphone to surf the web -- at home, that is!

Have you tried lifting a middle schooler's backpack?  Even without school books, The Pea has a massive binder, school supplies, water bottle, lunch and assorted books she borrowed from the school library.  You can help lighten at least some of that load by gifting your middle schooler an e-reader like the Kindle or Nook, so she can fit all the 10,000 books she wants to read in a single, lightweight tablet.
Q2 Wifi Internet Radio It's a little four-inch cube that connects to your wireless network and lets you listen to any internet-based radio station in the world! That's right, you can listen to your favorite local, national or international radio stations or podcasts.  It comes in cute girly colors and cool boy colors.

Kids this age are really beginning to prize their independence, so giving them a gift card  (I love the American Express gift cards that donate the purchase fees to charity!) not only gives them the present they want, it also gives them CONTROL -- which makes the present all the more precious.  

Win a Caboodles organizer
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a My First Love Caboodles organizer!  It's just like the one I reviewed a few days ago, and it is GREAT.

Required Entry
Check out the Caboodles website and leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Caboodles kit..

Bonus Entries

1) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (5 entries)

2) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry)

3) Pin this giveaway on your Pinterest board (1 entry -- you can use the "Pin It" button at the bottom of this page!).

4) "Like Bonggamom Finds" on Facebook and tell me which item on the School Aged Kids gift guide you would most like to give/receive (1 entry)

5) Follow @bonggafinds on Twitter and tweet this (1 entry):
RT @bonggafinds Check out the Bonggamom Finds Holiday Gift Guide for 2012 -- gifts for every child, at every age and stage!

6) Follow @bonggafinds on Twitter and tweet this (1 entry):
RT @bonggafinds Enter to win a Caboodles organizer! Giveaway ends 12/4 at

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on Dec 4, 2012; I will draw a winner at random on Dec 5 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US  residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.

Disclosure: I have reviewed select items in this gift guide in the past.  Inclusion in this guide was based solely on my personal preferences; no review samples or compensation were received for this gift guide post. Giveaway prize is provided by Caboodles.  The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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9 Comments, Leave yours here:

Heather! on November 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM said...

Wow...I love the Femme Fatale! I didn't know Caboodles made cool bags like that!

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Heather! on November 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM said...

I pinned this!

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Heather! on November 17, 2012 at 12:27 PM said...

I LIKE you on Facebook, and I wrote on your wall!

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Heather! on November 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM said...

I follow you on Twitter as hybroanglid, and I tweeted!

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Heather! on November 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM said...

Tweet Too!

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Mum Luvs Contests on December 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM said...

I love the Bitsy Bag!

Mum Luvs Contests on December 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM said...

I follow on Pinterest

bonggamom on December 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM said...

Congratulations to the winner: #6, Heather!

Gina von on December 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM said...

Love the Caboodles organizer. Great idea!!!

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