8 Empowering gifts to inspire and motivate tween girls

Dec 10, 2014 at 7:45 a.m. ET
Image: Monkey Business Images/Getty Images

When shopping for a gift for a tween, it's a great opportunity to give her something empowering for her mind and body.

I've compiled eight gift ideas that are sure to inspire and motivate young women this holiday season.

1. Yoga class pass

Image: Seattle Yoga News/Flickr

I remember attending my very first yoga classes in my early teens at our community center. Prior to attending yoga classes my only exposure to fitness was in organized sports with young women my age. It was incredibly eye-opening to see men and women of all ages and body types. I was opened up to a wider perspective of fitness and body image. Learning to center myself, focus on my breath and place my attention inward taught me so much about mental clarity and concentration. I also developed a genuine appreciation of my body simply for its ability to move.

Check out LivingSocial.com for great deals on Yoga courses in your area.

2. A journal

Writing in a journal was absolutely instrumental for me growing up. It helped me find my voice, intuition and creativity. Having a beautiful journal to write in at the end of the day sets a young woman up to be in touch with her feelings. That daily moment of calm and introspection will foster creativity, self-reliance and confidence. To take it a step further, gift her with a Gratitude Journal in which she can write what she's grateful for on a daily basis. Focusing on the blessings in your life develops integrity.

Check out this gorgeous Gratitude Journal on Etsy.

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Image: Meetville.com

The holidays are prime time for cuddling up with a good book. Your tween absolutely has to read Wonder, the story of Auggie, a young boy with a facial deformity and his experience going to school for the first time. Its author called the book a "meditation on kindness." The book is astounding and has the message of acceptance and learning to embrace imperfection.

Purchase Wonder by R.J. Palacio on Amazon.

4. DarbyGirl subscription service

One of the best ways to develop a strong sense of self is through creativity. DarbyGirl is a subscription service that delivers a craft kit bi-monthly to your home. It includes all the necessary supplies to create a fun DIY project like bracelets, photo boards and custom totes. This gift is a great way for young women to begin to explore what aspects of creativity fit their personality. Not to mention the pride of making a project with your own hands.

Learn more at DarbyGirl.

5. Running shoes

Image: Michael Wa/Flickr

There's nothing like a new pair of cute Nikes to get you motivated to move. If your tween is the athletic type, think about gifting her with a high-quality pair of running shoes. Encourage her to take trail walks or, even better, you could start taking nightly walks together.

Check out Nike iD for sneakers that can be customized and encourage self-expression.

6. Mani/pedi gift card

Image: Alessandra/Flickr

One of my favorite indulgences is a manicure and pedicure. Treating your tween to one would make her feel like a queen. Plus, this is a great way to make her feel more grown up without delving into the world of makeup too soon. This is a great investment in self-care which can never start too early.

Check out Google Maps or Yelp for local nail salons, and read the reviews.

7. Guitar, record player or music lessons

Image: Changjin Lee/Flickr

Music was an escape for me growing up. I played piano for hours when I felt those tween emotions. If your tween shows interest in music you have so many options, from music lessons to a new guitar. A record player is also an excellent idea for young music lovers who feel drawn to the classics. Giving your tween the gift of music will be a lifelong gift to her heart and mind.

Check out Guitar Center, local music schools and eBay.

8. Cooking classes or cooking sets

Image: Matthew Oliphant/Flickr

One of the best ways to encourage healthy eating habits among tweens is to get them involved in cooking at home. The more they know about what goes in to their food and where it's coming from, the better decisions they can make about what they're eating. Look for local cooking classes or consider buying a set of cooking tools just for them.

Check out Joseph Joseph for fun, vibrant tools.

Image: Vancouver Public Library/Flickr