Graduation Gifts

8 Sentimental Yet Sensible 8th Grade Graduation Gifts

8th-grade graduation is momentous enough to warrant celebration, but it’s hardly the end of the road – merely the midpoint of a student’s journey to their college graduation. It’s also a halfway age where your graduate is too old for toys but still not jaded enough to want something as mundane as a pair of cufflinks or a steel watch.

So how do you choose fun presents that reward the work done, but also remind them that the real labor has barely even begun?

8th Grade Graduation Gift-Giving Tips

To give you a general idea of how to shop for 8th-grade graduation gifts, here are some things you’ll want your presents to be:


A 2014 study by The Atlantic has stated that people prefer presents that are practical, useful, and easy to use rather than “impressive, expensive, or sentimental.”

Your 8th grader will be the same way! It may be tempting to get them all the fancy “Graduate Class of 2018” picture frames, congratulatory posters, and graduate figurines, but after graduation season is over, such ornamental presents will feel outdated. Instead, opt for presents they can take to high school and even beyond.


Young people are brimming with possibility. You never know, you might have the next president, Broadway star, Olympian, or person on the moon in your home! Nurture your graduate’s potential by giving gifts that motivate and create opportunities to flex their muscles, broaden their minds, and get creative!


High school will be a very social period in your graduate’s life. Gifts that they can share with their friends, start conversations, or take on social outings will definitely get a lot of mileage! You might even chance upon them showing off your gift and saying the words: “My mom/dad/aunt/uncle/brother/sister gave it to me, he/she’s the coolest!”


Teenhood will be a tumultuous time; it won’t be long before they’re up to their ears in their problems. Set a good example for your graduate with regard to thinking beyond themselves by giving conscious and environmentally-responsible gifts. Plus, being environmentally-friendly is a priority among the kids of this generation – having care about the planet they’re going to inherit will earn you major cool points.


We can dance around it all we want, but at the end of the day, graduations are intended to be touchy-feely and sentimental occasions. Take advantage of this day that symbolizes the fruit of all their hard work for the past three years in middle school, and go all out with the reminiscing and the Do you remember’s and the Don’t forget’s. 

Their 8th grade graduation day is an occasion to show them what their dreams and personal achievements mean to you, and you’ll want your gift to reflect that.

For school pride forever:

Your Guide to Sentimental yet Sensible 8th Grade Graduation Gifts

We’ve compiled eight practical gifts for your 8th-grade graduate that are useful, stimulating, social, responsible, and meaningful – while, yes, still being sentimental enough to match the pomp of the circumstance. Let’s march down the aisle and check them out!

School Colors Laundry Bag

Available on for around $29.99

school colors laundry bag

Kicking off the list is this personalized drawstring laundry bag, a thoughtful and functional present any 8th-grade graduate will appreciate!

It’s made of washable white cotton and can be emblazoned with their name, the year they graduated, and their school name. There are nine different design colors to choose from – perhaps their school colors for maximum spirit, or the graduate’s favorite shade.

They can bring it with them to high school and be the talk of the locker room, or use it at home and keep their parents happy by taking their clothes off the floor. It’s a beautiful way to send the clutter away every week but let the memories stay forever!


  • Material: Machine washable cotton and polyester blend
  • Design Colors Available: Red, Orange, Gold, Kelly, Green, Royal Blue, Navy, Purple, Burgundy, Black
  • Personalized with: any name up to 9 characters, any numeric year, any one line message up to 20 characters
  • Drawstring closure
  • Dimensions: 19×30 inches


  • Sturdy stitching and tight drawstring – no accidentally splitting open and spilling your dirty boxers everywhere here!
  • Easy to clean in case you stain the bag with its contents; you can just toss it in with the clothes when you do the laundry


  • Not big enough for heavy laundry users

For the Divergent:

Wreck This Journal: Now in Colour by Keri Smith

Available on Amazon for around $11.43

wreck this journal


The world will tell your 8th grader to strive for perfection, follow the rules, and never do anything disruptive. Such thinking will seriously cramp their creativity and stifle the unrestrained, youthful perspective they still possess about life. This is where Wreck This Journal comes in!

The wildly popular Wreck This Journal is filled with destructive prompts for your graduate to follow – or ignore – in order to create something new and unique. The pages will tell them to paint with coffee, tear out the pages for mailing to a friend, scratching the paper, and plain vandalize the book as they see fit.

Defacing a book can be a rebellious experience, especially for those raised to keep the status quo, but that’s the point of the book: to encourage your young one to explore, interact, and experiment without worrying about arbitrary rules.

Going through Wreck This Journal is a wonderful way for your graduate to release the whirlwind of feelings that come with teenhood, to embrace flaws, change, and the unexpected, and to learn to strive for spontaneity and genuineness instead of pristine perfection.

Wreck This Journal: Now in Color | Amazon

A spectacular coloring and painting edition of the incredible journal that started it all, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the 10-million-copy international bestseller

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  • 224 pages
  • Paperback edition
  • Dimensions: 5.5×0.6×8.2 inches


  • Stimulating and thought-provoking
  • The book itself holds up to well to the wrecking


  • May require things that aren’t easily available (but really that’s okay, just wreck this journal your way!)

For awesome graduates of all sizes

“I am awesome” – 3 Piece Sock Gift Set

Available from Notes To Self for around $45.97

I am awesome socks

Socks are the ultimate go-to gift for anyone, and with good reason. They’re useful, always appreciated, never out of style, and zero stress to fit. Plus with so many designs out there, there’s sure to be a pair of socks for every occasion!

For their 8th grade graduation, give your graduate a 3-piece gift set of inspiring socks from Notes to Self.

Notes to Self socks were created with the idea of putting positive affirmations on the toes of socks, so the person wearing them would see a positive message at the two times of the day when the subconscious is most open to suggestion: in the morning when they put their socks on, and in the evening when they take them off.

This 3-piece socks gift set comes in grey, white, and black. Each one is inscribed with the affirmation “I am awesome” on the toes of the socks, and a huge “awesome” on the sole. Give this present to impress upon your graduate how awesome a person they are – at least two times a day.


  • 1 pair grey socks with purple words
  • 1 pair white socks with purple words
  • 1 pair black socks with white words
  • Material: High-quality cotton blend, breathable mesh top for ventilation
  • Arch support for comfort
  • Gentle stretch ankle cuff
  • Care instructions: Machine wash cold, non-chlorine bleach only, tumble dry low
  • Includes a brown gift box tied with a satin ribbon


  • Positive affirmations are woven into the fabric of the socks so that they won’t fade, crack, chip or peel


  • You won’t be able to see the positive affirmations once your shoes are on! The only words visible once shoes are on are “Notes to Self” on the ankle cuff.

For anyone who loves to treasure their old memories:

Project Repat T-shirt Quilt

Available on Project Repat for between $75-$130


This one’s for all the families who have accumulated loads of souvenir shirts growing up – be they from vacations, concerts, family days, student council campaigns, fairs and dances, varsity shirts, and even Phys Ed uniforms.

Instead of leaving shirts your graduate has outgrown to gather dust and smell of mothballs in the corner of the attic or closet – or worse, throwing them out! – give them new life by turning them into a warm T-shirt quilt for your graduate with Project Repat.

After sending in your pick of shirts to Project Repat, they take a square foot from the best part of the shirts and sew them on the front of the quilt, then back the quilt with fleece. You can opt to use only the front of your shirt (one side) or both the front and back of the shirt (two sides).

Every Project Repat quilt has significant social and environmental impact. Aside from keeping your shirts out of the garbage, the quilted fleece is made from 23 recycled plastic bottles per yard! Project Repat also employs designers and sewers that make sure each quilt is thoughtfully designed and well-made, so your graduate is always wrapped warmly in their fond and precious memories.


  • Materials: PolarTec fleece
  • Blanket sizes: Lap size 4 ft x 4ft (16 sides of shirts)
  • Twin size: 4 ft x 6ft (24 sides of shirts)
  • Full size: 5 ft x 6 ft (30 sides of shirts)
  • Queen size: 7 ft x 7 ft (49 sides of shirts)
  • King Size: 8 ft x 8 ft (64 sides of shirts)


  • Cheaper than most t-shirt quilting places out there
  • Warm, comfortable and stands up to several washes
  • The t-shirt squares look very precise and neat


  • Long turnaround time (4-5 weeks, although a 2-week rush option is available)

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

(with Fujifilm Instax Mini Airmail Film, Fujifilm Instax Groovy Camera Case, and Fujifilm Instax Wallet)

Available on Amazon for around $79.99

fujifilm instax mini 9 instant camera

The novelty of retro photos still hasn’t worn off, and instant cameras are still crushing their comeback! Whether your graduate is the next hotshot photographer or just someone who loves to collect memories, the Instax mini 9 will encourage them to capture the world through their eyes.

The Instax mini 9 makes shifting from digital photography to instant photography easy with its automatic exposure measurement feature. An LED light on the settings dial tells you the recommended aperture. – all you have to do is set the dial to get the correct amount of light for every situation.

There’s also a High-Key mode, which increases exposure for extra-dark locations, or just to lighten up a portrait. The Instax mini 9 also comes with a selfie mirror for perfectly-framed selfies, and a macro lens adaptor to allow you to take close-up photos.

So your budding photographer can hit the ground running, this set already comes with a carry case for the camera, a 10-pack of film, and an album to display all their new photos. Aside from being a guaranteed hit with friends, this is the perfect graduation gift for your soon-to-be high schooler to capture all the memories the next four years will create!

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera | Amazon

The new, Instax Mini 9 features a selfie mirror for the perfect selfie photo every time. Close up macro photos are now easier thanks to the included close-up lens adapter which allows you to focus on subjects as close as 35-50cm. 

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The set includes:

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera – Smokey White
  • Selfie mirror
  • Macro lens adaptor (35cm to 50cm)
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini Airmail Film – 10 Exposures
  • Fujifilm Instax Groovy Camera Case – White
  • Fujifilm Instax Wallet Album – Yellow
  • Other set colors available: Flamingo Pink, Ice Blue, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue and Smokey White
  • Package Dimensions: 11.4 in x 6.7 in x 5.1 in
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds


  • Good quality, moody instant photos
  • Carry case is stylish, fits the camera well, and makes carrying the camera around convenient


  • There’s a slight learning curve for taking perfectly framed and exposed pictures, especially if you’re used to taking digital photos

For those seized with wanderlust

Secret Message Compass

Available from for around $49.99

secret message compass

High school will mean field trips, travel, and various opportunities for your graduate to explore the world and go far from home. It’s natural to worry that they’ll wander off the safe, well-traveled paths and get lost in the wide, wide world.

Even in this age of technology, no one can guarantee that there will always be access to smartphones, Internet, and GPS. Teaching your soon-to-be teen how to navigate the old-fashioned way is still a useful skill to have.

Perhaps you might want to take them on a camping trip this summer, and pass on your knowledge of survival, being one with nature, and finding the way back home.

For their 8th grade graduation, give them this compass with your inspirational, directional message inside, to make sure they always know where to go – metaphorically and geographically.


  • Material: Box is made of wood with a rosewood finish; the compass is made of plastic
  • Inside of lid has a round brass plate you can engrave with your message (1-4 lines, 16 characters per line OR a 3-letter monogram)
  • Dimensions: 1.5 in x 3 in


  • A very classy addition to any tabletop
  • The bottom of the compass has small foam feet to prevent it from slipping on surfaces during use


  • Occasional compass issues

For your high achiever

Trophy & Medal Display Shelf

Available on for around $39.99

trophy and medal display

For your valedictorian, mathlete, art fair victor, or sports champion, it’s never too early to have a vanity wall.

If your 8th-grade graduate is taking home a handful of medals on their graduation or has accumulated a wealth of accolades during their middle school career, give them somewhere to display all that gold on their graduation day!

This display shelf from is proud and dignified while still looking youthful and age-appropriate. Trophies and plaques go on the two-foot long shelf above, and there are eleven pegs to hang medals from below.

Their name can be painted on the espresso-colored wood in the color of their choice, so there’s no doubt about who all these achievements belong to.

This 8th-grade graduation gift is a great way not just to remind them of their greatest hits, but also to motivate them never to rest on their laurels. You might want to get them a second display shelf for all the trophies and medals they’ll take home in high school!


  • Material: Dark-colored medium-density fiberboard
  • Design colors available: Red, navy, purple, pink
  • Personalized with: any name up to 10 characters
  • Dimensions: 24 in 8.5 in


  • Sturdy and roomy enough to hold two feet worth of trophies and plaques


  • The shelf will require some assembly

For the future

Kovot Ceramic College Fund Money Jar

Available on Amazon for around $18.95

college fund money jar

Graduation marks the end of one journey and signals the start of a new one! High school looms right up ahead, and that means four years until the next major milestone – high school graduation.

Encourage your graduate to spend those four years learning to take charge of their finances with this KOVOT ceramic money jar! They can learn to stow away their cash using this money jar for college, or their own car, or whatever big adult purchase they want to make in the future. It’s certainly of a good enough size to hold all their loose change, summer job money, or babysitting earnings for the next four years.

This KOVOT ceramic money jar is shaped like a traditional graduation hat with a tassel and metallic text that says COLLEGE FUND – all the better to remind your high schooler of the achievement they just tucked under their belt and the next star to shoot for. After all, endings are just new beginnings!

Kovot 2018 Graduation Throw Fleece Blanket | Amazon

These super soft throw blankets are perfect for the home or cottage. Whether it is for sitting around watching TV, by the fire or as an outdoor blanket, you'll appreciate them wherever comfort is needed. Available in 3 Colors: Blue, Gray & Burgundy.

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  • Material: Ceramic
  • Hand-painted finish
  • Dimensions: 6 in x 8 in x 8 in
  • Weight: 4.13 lbs


  • Bigger than your average money jar can hold a substantial amount of change throughout the years


  • You’ll have to break or drill a hole into the ceramic to access your fund later on

Over to you!

For your special 8th grader’s graduation, you’ll never go wrong with gifts that are functional, motivating, a hit among friends, responsible, and special.

Soon, your graduate will be diving into the tempest that is high school, and they’ll be grateful you gave them something they can really use to ride those rocky waters! This 8th-grade graduation gift guide will help you choose lasting, practical gifts that nod to the youth and wide-eyed wonder they still possess while cheering them onwards and upwards on their academic journey.

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