Gift for 10-14 year boy?
November 13, 2011 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm buying a charitable gift for a 10-14 year old boy and need suggestions, please.

Through a charity organization, I've agreed to send a shoebox-sized gift to a 10-14 year old boy. I see the age range as tough, because most things I can remember liking at 10, I don't think I wanted at 14. Also, it seems difficult that this child could be in the US or practically any other country.

My thoughts are that it should be durable and have no extra costs, i.e. no battery-powered cheap plastic. There are no strict guidelines on price: $25 is suggested, but I'm certainly willing to do more on a good idea.

Any help y'all can offer is most appreciated.
posted by lost_cause to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Binoculars or a microscope.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think art or school supplies would be a good idea. They are often a little pricey and hard to come by in some places.
posted by Calzephyr at 4:14 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stuff I enjoyed at that age:
Magnifying lenses/binoc's
Large quantities of silly putty
Good beef jerky (seriously, it's relatively expensive and large quantities were rare around our house)
Rocket engines

Yeah ok this list probably says a little about me, but it's all stuff I couldn't get enough of.
posted by mce at 4:20 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would stick with the upper limit of that age range--nearly anything a 14 year old boy would like a 10 year old one will, too.

How about a hand tool set or a Dremel set? There are hand tool sets geared towards small woodworking projects, for example (versus household tool sets with picture-hanging stuff). I've seen all-purpose Dremel sets around that range, as well.
posted by rumposinc at 4:22 PM on November 13, 2011

A model boat or aeroplane and a bottle of glue.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2011

Maybe a good pocketknife.
posted by maurreen at 5:10 PM on November 13, 2011

Thanks, please keep coming with the great ideas.

rumposinc, I think you're right to shoot for the upper end of the age bracket, and the carpenter in me loves the hand tools.

mce, don't know what it says about me either, but that's stuff I still like.

maureen, I just had the same thought, though I wonder if it'd be okay. I had a knife at that age, and I still have the scar on my left hand to show for it.
posted by lost_cause at 5:23 PM on November 13, 2011

Compact dumbbells?
posted by astapasta24 at 5:47 PM on November 13, 2011

If it's the charitable organization I'm thinking of with the shoeboxes, remember the guidelines - nothing like slingshots, "weapons or things that can scare/harm a child; or liquids or items that could leak, melt, freeze, or break (so no model glue) – or shampoo, creams, lip balm, bath gels, mirrors, or glass, etc. (these can damage other items in the shoe box)". Remember too that there may not be electricity for a dremel, or batteries for items - so pack extra if you're sending some.

Things I have packed (or are similar to) for that age group when I have done it, in addition to the basic items suggested and school supplies:
(Yes) Binoculars; a Hand crank flashlight; Radio; Balsa Wood Plane; Sunglasses; Baseball cap; a hacky sack ball; an Ace rubber comb; Platypus-style water bottles; mini compass; little scissors; a good whistle; a wooden bird call; magic towels; an un-inflated beach ball if I can find one that's not dopey; and if I can find an appropriate pocket tool, I do that. And marbles - two sets or more so many can play - our dollar store always has them. I haven't put these in ever, but the boys in our school of that age are still nuts over Bey Blades and mini finger skateboards. And my husband always adds a tape measure in the shoebox, because he loved his as a kid. Go figure. He also insists on a good black gel pen or fineline marker and a small journal with nice, plain, paper in it. We've packed for boys in that age group a few times, because it seems like it's the toughest one, and I heard once on a radio show that it's the one least chosen. That's true even at our local shelters. So, good luck, and good on you!
posted by peagood at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Peagood's list is right on. The only thing I would add is a deck of cards. Because who doesn't love a new deck of cards?
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:30 PM on November 13, 2011

Ha! WaspEnterprises - I came back to say Uno, as the site suggests. I don't know why they don't allow playing cards (Gambling, maybe? They are a religious organization, though I ignore that aspect of it.) but it's worth a try. (Besides...)

I also wanted to say that even though they skew a bit younger, Scanimation books are pretty cool. And things like Fly Eye toys and other impulse items I see at the cash register too. And, I always try to put in a good pencil sharpener too, if I do pencils. I always figure with the little stuff, they might share or trade it if it's not right for them.
posted by peagood at 9:55 PM on November 13, 2011

a soccer ball!
posted by seriousmoonlight at 1:13 AM on November 14, 2011

Ah, just saw that it has to be a shoebox-sized gift

How about a harmonica?
posted by seriousmoonlight at 1:15 AM on November 14, 2011

peagood, thanks for all the tips. That is indeed the organization. My wife's office is putting this together, and I couldn't remember it.

seriousmoonlight, I bet I could pack a deflated soccer ball along with a small hand pump.
posted by lost_cause at 4:45 AM on November 14, 2011

You are welcome. It's one of my favourite things to do - I'll be shopping for our boxes and getting them out this week. It is such a fun way to give, because the challenge is that the shoebox size makes it more "equal" for everyone.

I came back (again) remembering that I have also given things like mini sewing kits, even to boys of that age. They're not expensive, and while I may truly be projecting here, I think that sometimes items can be passed to a grown-up in their life or that they may find a creative or industrial use for it, like turning it into fishing lines and hooks or something.

A deflated soccer ball would be amazing, with the pump. That is the number one request at the immigrant shelter near our school, where that is the number one sport for so many of their countries.
posted by peagood at 6:55 AM on November 14, 2011

Few more ideas:
* kite
* yo-yo
* Slinky
* Nerf ball
* microscope
* Magic 8-Ball
* water pistol
* boxing gloves
* magnifying glass
* pocket screwdriver
* combo travel game kit
* baseball glove and ball
* book about card games
* magic tricks or book about them
* woodworking kit that includes the wood pieces
posted by maurreen at 10:14 PM on November 14, 2011

Soccer ball and pump it is. Maurreen, I'm definitely throwing in a slinky and yo-yo. Thanks again, everybody.
posted by lost_cause at 7:46 AM on November 16, 2011

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