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Whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot on your favorite middle schooler’s graduation gift, we’ve got fantastic options. If they’re the sentimental type, how about jewelry or a stuffed bear? Practical teens may want a journal or planner. Active guys and gals will love a zipline, scooter, or roller skates. Trendy teens are after video game systems, room decor, and makeup mirrors.
But we’re willing to bet that most incoming high schoolers just want to chill for a bit. Or an entire summer, especially after the year they’ve had. Not to worry, we found plenty of products suited for maximum relaxation: an inflatable pool, headphones, festive snacks, and more.
Check out our list and get ready to celebrate your incoming high schooler.
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1. For the sentimental grad: A cuddly bear in a cap and gown
Graduating eighth graders aren’t too old for teddy bears! Memorialize their big moment with a sweet stuffie. Build-A-Bear’s Everlasting Teddy graduation set comes with a cap and gown, a diploma, and even a festive sash.
2. For the grad with a sweet tooth: A box of cupcakes
This super-sweet box set from Baked by Melissa includes a graduation card and a colorful box of 25 bite-sized cupcakes. The fun part is tasting all the unique flavors that range from Chocolate Electric Tie-Dye to Peanut Butter & Jelly. Our tester thought these cupcakes were absolutely incredible, so if your graduate has a sweet tooth, this one’s a no-brainer.
3. For the poetic grad: A book of wise words
You may recognize inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the United States Amanda Gorman from her reading at President Biden’s inauguration. Your grad will no doubt appreciate her timely and moving poems. Her collection includes a foreword from Oprah Winfrey and holds a solid 5-star rating after more than 6,000 reviews. It’s the perfect inspirational gift for any grad in your life.
4. For the grad on the go: An electric scooter
Recommended for ages 12 and up, Jetson’s Element Pro electric scooter is perfect for middle school grads. They can zoom around the neighborhood this summer at a top speed of 15.5 mph. We love that it’s foldable for easy storage and it only weighs 28 pounds.
5. For the celebratory grad: Photo decor
Whether you’re having a party or a simple celebration, your grad will love seeing their prints on display. Choose some memorable shots from middle school and Social Print Studio will blow them up to be five times the size on cool photo strips.
6. For the grad who makes a splash: A pool float
Pool float brand Funboy has the coolest products, and this inflatable yacht is proof. The “yacht” is over nine feet long and inflates in minutes with a hair dryer or electric pump. Whether at the lake, pool or beach, your grad can relax in style. We love that the yacht even includes a cooler and cup holders.
7. For the grad who takes notes: Glitter pens
School may be out for summer but there are thank-you notes to write, letters to pen and to-do lists to create. Your grad will love having these 12 glittery gel colors on hand. Reviewers describe these 5-star retractable pens as “my dream pens” and “the most amazing pens ever created.”
8. For the outdoorsy grad: A backyard zipline
Keep that kiddo active this summer with a super fun outdoor escape—a zipline! This 90-foot kit includes everything you need to set up a zipline in your yard (two adults can put it up in a couple of hours). We love the secure spring break and disc seat.
9. For the proud grad: A tee that proclaims their new grad status
The ’80s graphics on this shirt are a fun way to announce they’ve graduated. We love this tee for graduation parties, the last day of school or just anytime your kiddo wants to feel good. This tee comes in 10 colors, so you can pick the color that best matches your grad, or order a set for your student’s entire friend group and solidify yourself as the coolest mom on the block.
10. For the gamer grad: A Nintendo Switch Lite
If you’re feeling generous, gift your grad the hottest gaming system around: a Nintendo Switch Lite. This handheld system conveniently plays trendy games like Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and Super Mario Party. It’s available in gray, coral, blue, yellow and turquoise. Need a game to pair with it? These are the best Nintendo Switch games we’ve tested and recommend.
11. For the funny grad: Graduation-themed Mad Libs
Have some good old-fashioned (affordable) fun with the popular word game Mad Libs. Fill in the missing words and read hilarious, graduation-themed stories. This timeless gift holds a 4.7-star rating on Amazon and features 21 hilarious stories your graduate can complete with friends and family.
12. For the makeup-loving grad: A ring light
If your teen is into makeup tutorials and ring lights, gift them this lighted vanity mirror for graduation—maybe you’ve got a makeup maven in the making. Fancii’s Nala mirror features dimmable Tru-Glow LED settings, a removable magnetic mirror and a cordless design. It comes apart easily for travel and can rotate 360 degrees. What’s not to love?
13. For the grad who wants to chill: An inflatable pool
Your grad has worked hard this year—and in a pandemic no less! Gift them an inflatable pool so they can inflate, fill and chill. Add a Funboy beach towel for the ultimate summer duo. Your teen will love Funboy’s social media-friendly designs. The pool is 66 inches in diameter and 18 inches tall—large enough for two adults or multiple kids. Pool party!
14. For the shutterbug grad: Disposable cameras
We can snap unlimited photos with our phones, but teens want disposable cameras for that retro charm. Grant their wish with some old-school QuickSnap cameras and let your grad capture some memories… and then get them developed like we did in the good old days. You can get this set in packs of 2, 3, 10, and even 20. More than 1,000 Amazon reviewers swear by them, just don’t be shocked by the retro quality of the developed pictures.
15. For the grad with to-do lists: A planner
Planner queen Erin Condren makes a product suitable for kids and teens who are just starting to learn the ways of the planner. We think it’s cool because it includes a reading log, allowance tracker, activity pages, monthly spreads, and more.
16. For the grad with the cool room: Trendy lights
Room lights are a fun trend right now, and we love that this particular pack includes tiny clips to display photos. They’re perfect for reflecting on middle school moments, and since they’re displayed with clips, your grad can easily swap them out as they make new high school memories. Reviewers warn that the battery pack is on the heavier side, so make sure you’ve carefully mounted it on a flat surface.
17. For the music-loving grad: Top-of-the-line Beats earphones
Your grad can pop these lightweight earphones in for a quality listening experience. Beats Flex have up to 12 hours of listening time and come in black, yellow, blue and gray—and they won’t break the bank.
18. For the grad who loves to snack: Candy!
Sugarwish will send delicious candy to the middle school grad in your life. They also offer cookies, popcorn and other snacks in their personalized packages. A congratulations card is included, too.
19. For the grad who’s ready to roll: Retro skates
It’s officially a trend: rollerskating. Whether your grad wants to hit up the local roller rink or glide down the sidewalk, we love this cool Kuxuan pair for beginners. It has an impressive 4.8-star rating after more than 2,300 reviews on Amazon. The pair comes in two colors and features light-up wheels, sure to entertain any sports-loving middle schooler.
20. For the crafty grad: A Cricut machine
Teens who love creating and working on craft projects will really enjoy Cricut’s compact cutting machine. Cricut Joy easily churns out birthday cards, banners, labels and more. When we tested the machine, we thought it was a great purchase for avid crafters, so if you’ve got a future Etsy shop owner in your home, it’s perfect.
21. For the inspirational grad: A sweet memento to wear
Gift a dainty bracelet from Katie Loxton and your grad will remember her special day. There are “Graduation Star” or “Special Day” styles in silver, a “Proud of You” rose gold heart, and a gold “Well Done!” star to choose from, among other adorable looks.
22. For the mindful grad: Help foster a growth mindset
Fans of Matthew Syed’s book You Are Awesome will love this journal. It’s designed to help kids and teens develop a growth mindset. The journal is full of helpful activities designed to foster confidence and inspire mindfulness.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.