Gift giving for the middle-grade kids seems super easy at first. They are interested in all kinds of things which makes the list of options super long, but then it becomes almost too much to sort through. If your kids are anything like mine, they still have a hint of little kid deep down inside them. When nobody is around, I can find them pretending with lego minifigs or scheming an imaginary plot to destroy their action figures on the Christmas train track. However, there is also this side of them that is fascinated with a more grown-up world. Things like make-up, cute clothes, interesting books, skill development are also really interesting to them. Then I add my own desires for gifts to be intentional, quality, and of some educational value to this already long list of prospects. My head quickly swims as I scroll past screenfuls of items. After a season of searching, I found a few good ideas to help us.

Sketch Pencils ($): Drawing is not my forte, but with the help of my artist-sister-in-law, I found real sketch pencils for my in-house budding artist. These offer shading and other artistic things that our regular school-use Ticonderoga pencils don’t. Toss in a good instructional book about technique and you’ve built a great gift for any kid.

Telescope or microscope ($$): Since you are homeschooling, you might already own one or both of these items, but if not, these are fun and educational gift ideas. The potential for learning is obvious, but the limits are unending. Most microscopes come with pre-made slides as well as blanket ones.

An Architects set ($$): This gift idea would be for the kids with a bit more maturity because of the potential danger of the tools. I picked this to add to our list because it combines their creativity with a chance to explore a new skill set. My kids find it fun to use actual tools and try to solve real-life type problems. I even found a website that offers free projects (based on Frank Lloyd Wright structures) ideas for my kids to print out and complete for free. Shhhhh, don’t remind them that this is where all of those math skills come in handy!

Digital Pen for the tablet ($$$): If you have a digital tablet in your open, a pen to write on the screen is a fun gift for the middle-grade kid. They can get crafty while also deepening their knowledge of using these devices for more than just chatting with friends.

The theme I noticed as I brainstormed a list for my own kids as well as for a wider audience is “real”. This age seems to appreciate authentic tools, gadgets, and skills. Have you found any great gift ideas for middle grades?


Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at

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