11 Year Old Boy Gift Ideas
Gift ideas for an 11 year old boy should reflect the interests of the boy and aid in his growth. At eleven, boys have already developed interest in sports, toys, and entertainment. These interests are a great area to draw gift ideas from. Also, new technologies and future challenges in school and life offer additional gift possibilities for them.
Electronic Tablet or iPod Touch
By 2015, expect a majority of high schools to stop using printed books in favor of an electronic tablet or eReader device. Kids who are in elementary school and middle school will be responsible for navigating those devices to complete their assignments. It makes perfect sense to change to an electronic system. Kids with back injuries from carrying too many books in their backpacks and family dogs eating kids' homework will become a legend from the turn of the millennium.
First popularized by the iPad, which has been improved to Apple's iPad mini, tablet devices with built-in eReaders and customized program applications called apps, appear close to eliminating paper books because of the low cost. In the same way consumers have replaced records, then CD's with all-digital music, the same is expected with printed books and other publications. The Amazon Kindle Fire Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 and Barnes and Noble's Nook tablet have pushed this movement with more momentum because the $300 cost of an iPad is now under $160 with these devices.
Apple's iPod Touch is a smaller version of a tablet device. The iPod Touch is capable of running the Barnes and Noble or Amazon eReader apps. It can also run games, productivity and education apps, music, and movies. For subscribers, it even streams movies from netflix or Hulu Plus. The iPod Touch can be used with an Apple Bluetooth keyboard (about $50).
A Robot Kit
Robotics is popular with 11 year old boys. Designing, building, and maintaining robots is expected to be a growing area of employment in the near future. Assembly of a decent quality starter robot kit is a good way for a boy this age to learn the basics of robotics.
There are a few companies that offer relatively inexpensive robot kits. Several of these kits are relatively low quality from a technical perspective. Elanco Electronics/OWI offers some good quality beginner robot kits for the cost.
Elanco/OWI, who also makes Snap Circuits, offers the Escape robot kit. It is not certain if the kit was named after the rock band Journey's Escape album cover based on the design or because the robot, when assembled, is designed to "escape" from a maze. This robot kit is a crawling robot which requires soldering to assemble. It uses three IR sensors to detect objects and maneuvers to avoid any obstacles. Elanco/OWI also makes a cheap robot kit called the T3 Transforming Solar Robot, which is less technical, but adds solar power to the mix. This kit requires no soldering. One of their better robot kits is the Snap Circuits RC Rover. Again, no soldering is required for this kit since it features the snap together componets. This kit is more interactive when the robot is built because it has a radio controlled remote. The RC Rover is, however, more expensive than some of the other beginner robot kits listed.
Elanco/OWI also offers their own version of a Sumo robot kit. Sumo robots are very popular with the robot hobby. It is a version of sumo wrestling with robots. Essentially the match is between two robots and the first robot to push the other out of the ring is the winner. The cool part of Sumo robotics is that they must be preprogrammed and are not controlled by a human during the match.
For intermediate level robots (more expensive) the best are as follows:
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot kit is used by many robot kids clubs, like the FIRST LEGO League. LEGO supports their products and has many accessories available for the Mindstorms NXT series. There are also many website out there dedicated to LEGO Mindstorms.
BOE-BOT by Parallax is also used by many robot clubs. It features the Basic Stamp 2 for easy programming, a breadboard to avoid soldering, and the expansive Board of Education. It can be customized and expanded significantly, but the basic kit is impressive and will keep kids and adults busy.
SumoBot by Robot Competition Kit by Parallax is similar to the BOE Bot, but comes with more sensors, a custom control board, programming ideas for competition and more. The kit comes with two SumoBot so once they are built, they can have a battle.
For boys who do not have their own smart phone or iPod touch, a flip video recorder makes a nice gift. Boys can use the flip video recorder to record important events such as a vacation, sporting event, birthday party or visit to an amusement park or museum. If they aspire to be the next Steven Spielberg, a video recording device will help them make their first masterpiece without having to borrow the family camcorder. Kids in general, usually are more excited about watching a family movie from a trip when it is from their own perspective.
Most Flip video recorders can save video from YouTube quality all the way to HD quality. Although the HD video quality has a lower frame rate than true 1080p video, it is still amazing for the price of these devices. Most lower cost flip video devices record data to internal memory. Some video recorders have a built-in SD card slot which is used to store data. A flip video recorder may not be right for all 11 year old boys, but there are many boys this age who will be responsible with this type of gift.
More responsibility is being asked of eleven year old kids. Kids schedules today with school classes, homework, and after school activities, require them to be prepared for their next event. A wristwatch is a gift that helps a boy this age with his scheduled responsibilities. Giving a watch can also represent that they are ready to take on more themselves and move away from being a little child. For the money, the Swiss watch maker, Swatch has nice watches for pre-teen kids. Fossil and Timex also make good watches that will last for some time. The newest watches which appeal to teens and younger are Smart watches. They are nice watches and easy to read like a Kindle display. These new watches can connect to an iPhone or Android with the ability to transfer data through bluetooth.
If they have the coordination skills needed, a skateboard is a good gift for an 11 year old boy. Skateboards have been popular for more than a generation, but Tony Hawk has made popular again recently with his skateboard and video game products. There are some entry level Tony Hawk skateboards that are inexpensive or you can advance to his Birdhouse line of skateboards.
Two time olympic gold medalist Shaun White also has intermediate and advance skateboards available. His Shaun White Supply Co. Street complete board is a nice board for the money. Consider giving skateboard safety equipment (helmet, knee pads, etc.) with the skateboard to keep him safe.