Well, or gift ideas for an 11-year-old girl, or for a 10- or 12-year old boy or girl, probably, but it is an 11-year-old boy I am shopping for, and the other title would be too long.
William is nearly 11, and one of the challenges in shopping for him is that he has many interests and they change fast: he’ll practice magic tricks obsessively and daily, and then abruptly move on to something new. Another challenge is that our town has a “One Man’s Trash” shed—a place where people can leave things they don’t want, and other people can take them for free. William has had remarkable success there and is continually coming home with the very things we were considering buying for his birthday or for Christmas: a pottery wheel! candles for his endless candle-burning interest! a pet triops! magic tricks! a terrarium kit! a chemistry set!
Well. We’ve explained to him that it’s possible he will be disappointed with his birthday gifts if he (1) suddenly switches gears or (2) comes home with the item from the Trash Shed. Here’s what we’re hoping he’ll still like/want when it’s his birthday:
Magnet Balls (photo from Amazon.com). Oh, man, do your kids have these? They’re also sold as Bucky Balls or Magnicube. We got him the particular set I’m linking to because he’d already saved his allowance and bought a set of them, and he’s saving for a second, matching set. He bought them about a month ago (after waiting a couple of years to be allowed to buy them: magnets are so dangerous if more than one is swallowed, so it wasn’t until Henry was four and a half that I said yes to the purchase), and I’m not sure they’ve been out of his hands since. They’re TINY: 216 of them takes up about the same amount of space as a golf ball.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty (photo from Amazon.com). We’d planned to give this to him for Christmas, but he had a sudden interest in some other thing and we got him that instead. We got him a tin of the heat-sensitive color-change kind pictured above, and also a tin of the Illusions (color shifting / “oil slick”) kind. William loves Silly Putty, and this stuff is like Silly Putty XTreme.
Pi shirt (photo from ThinkGeek.com). Awhile back we had a Pi Fad at our house (we listened to The Pi Song a million times, and it STILL goes through my head sometimes—but I have to hum the words), and both Rob and William were competing to see how many digits of pi they could memorize. He’s already excited because his 5th grade teacher says they’ll talk about pi on Pi Day (March 14th: 3-14, get it?). So. Pi shirt, where the pi symbol is made up of as many digits of pi as could fit.
Pet Tornado (photo from Amazon.com). This might be a cheap disappointment, but this is the SORT of thing William loves (all those oil/water things where, like, little balls of color drop down from one side to the other) so we’re hoping it will be fun until a sibling steps on it.