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Buying gifts for 12-year-old boy can be…tricky to say the least. Most boys this age are wishing they were older and are balancing that fine line between children and teen boys (tweens!). Being that their interests can range so greatly requires more effort on our part to provide the perfect gift that is both age and personality appropriate.
Whether it’s a birthday gift or Christmas gift, you’ll find some awesome ideas on this list that will make the gift buying experience much less complex.
By Steve Benjamins • Published Sep 16 2021
Teach the principles of engineering and design through building a robot— yeah, an actual, walking robot! Includes an online video tutorial, illustrated blueprint instructions, materials and more.
Although we don’t want our kids having too much screen time, there’s plenty to do on these besides watching videos. They come with kid friendly cases in a few colors for longevity. They can read, play games, watch videos, all the stuff that the other versions boast. You can easily set parental controls as far as time and content, which leads to worry free enjoyment for you both when relaxation is the goal.
For a very affordable price you can grab one of these gadgets and create unique and fun to do art pieces. Nothing special is required to use this product, and kids interested in the arts or science will think it’s pretty neat. This really gets the imagination working and can inspire young boys while providing a therapeutic aspect as well.
Hover Boards are super fun and one of the coolest gifts on this list. They keep both kids and adults on the move, both indoors and outdoors. What’s nice about this one specifically is it’s built in safety futures. It has two riding modes for the beginner and the experienced. It also has the ability to balance on its own and adjust to the surface its on. This means your boy can focus more on fun and the ride itself rather than the technicalities that other boards might require.
If you have a future Picasso on your hands, this set will be a hit. Its wood case provides organization and maturity in comparison to the art kits they’ve received prior. It gives the option of oil pastels, colored pencils, mixing trays, sketch books and more. Give him an outlet to really focus in and explore all the benefits of creating beautiful art pieces.
So, you want to give the gift of drums, but maybe not the whole set up and space taker? This drum set gives all the options for music making but takes up a quarter of the amount of space. Kids can play, create and record all sorts of sweet sounds. This set also has the option to connect to other devices including headphones which means he can jam, even when you don’t want to.
Drones are super popular right now. This one in specific is a double edge sword. Not only can this one fly in the sky, it can also race on the ground. It’ll keep kids outdoors and away from screens for hours. Great for beginners because whichever way the user holds the remote control, will be the direction the drone is heading. It flips, rolls and has neat LED Lights as well. Cool!
This kit includes all the tools he'll need to make his very own ice cream and sorbet. He'll learn about ice crystals, freezing and how air impacts ingredients like ice cream.
Some boys have been watching Dad hunt for years are probably ready to get in the woods themselves. Even if they aren’t interested in hunting specifically, archery is a sport that they may have already expressed an interest in it. This set is great for the beginner, has a variety of colors available, and features a doable 15-25 lb draw weight. It’s an affordable option for the beginner prior to learning the ropes and splurging on something more intense.
Since Amazon has nearly EVERYTHING these days, gift cards are a no brainer. Sometimes kids can be really picky. It’s fun for boys to be able to browse and personally pick out what it is they want. Regardless of interests, or if you are truly unsure of interests, then Amazon will not fail you. Another bonus of gifts cards, it’s a way to avoid duplicate gifts. This way whatever he didn’t get, he can still go ahead and grab. Now you’re the hero.
Nintendo’s 7th major video game console is also it’s fastest selling of all time. It’s a hybrid console that can connect to TV screens or be taken on the go in portable mode. Twelve-year-old boys will love the Legend of Zelda: Breathe of The Wild, the popular adventure game that IGN called a “remarkable achievement.” One of the best toys available.
The Baseball player in your life will love to have this machine in their back yard. Regardless of if it’s all for fun, or if their training for tryouts it’s sure to keep them busy and playing outdoors. This machine has different settings which allow for different speeds. You can also practice catching fly balls or grounders as if you’re live and in a real game.
Hoop star in the family? Grab this Arcade game that is sure to bring out a little friendly competition among friends and family. This game offers 10 different settings to switch it up and is nearly 100% accurate in it’s calculating of points. Another bonus is that the legs adjust so that it will not only adjust to the room that you decide to place it in, but also the height of the kid playing with it.
The boy that has an interest in robotics will adore this choice. This guy will entertain for hours by not only challenging him, but by providing a sense of companionship as well. Boys can learn to code, and the robot can grow along with the child as his interests expand. Although slightly expensive, it’s an investment that can last a large amount of time. Adults (you the parent!) can have fun here as well.
All seven books by J.K Rowling come together so Harry Potter fans can read and reread the series from start to finish. It’s a great gift idea even for boys that have yet to read the series but love to read. If they aren’t currently a book worm, the wild ride of witches and wizards might just turn them into one. Encouraging reading is never a bad way to go.
Exercise, Outdoors and Adventure? Triple check. Your 12-year-old is probably ready to upgrade his smaller bike and jump on a new mountain bike to hit the streets with. This one has what it needs to provide a smooth ride, reliable and swift gear changes and is lightweight enough to make traveling with an easy task. It also possesses awesome stopping abilities when needed at the last second.
A nice pair of headphones are something that will no doubt be used with kids in this generation. He can use it with his tablet, android or iPhone device. No tangled, broken cords will be holding him back. Also, you can look out for his safety because these ones are Volume Limiting and will not go higher than recommended and damage his young ears. They fold up nicely, so he can take them in the car, in his backpack, wherever he needs to go.
If the 12-year-old boy in your life has a passion for music, why not give him a beginner guitar to learn to make some of his own? This guitar is perfect for the newbie. It comes in several different colors to match his personality, and make it feel like his own. It’s on the smaller side allowing the boy to feel comfortable and in control of his new instrument. You can also find accessories to add on if you’d like to load them up with guitar goodies.
This classic game never gets old. It will entertain your guy and his friends every time your house is the place to chill. You can also use it to spend time with the young man and have a blast with it yourself. If you have space for it, there isn’t much else to say about it. The game speaks for itself, hockey fan or not!
If he already has a PlayStation 4 system, then consider this awesome add on. Virtual Reality is just plain cool. This headset plugs into their current system to let them experience gaming in a whole new way. It boasts impressive sound quality which ties both the visual and non visual experience together seamlessly.
Awesome all-around skateboard appropriate for beginners and advanced users alike. Available in a variety of color choices for whatever your dude prefers. Since it is so lightweight it’s easy to take along to a park, friend’s house, or wherever they may be headed. It’s also said to be an extremely smooth ride and can be quick if speed is a priority.
If science is his thing, this kit will be both educational and FUN! By simply getting into the kitchen, and grabbing some household ingredients, he can really start to experiment. On the other hand, even if he isn’t into chemistry, it could be a great way to open his mind about it and get him excited about the topic in general. The equipment in this kit is one of the best, and not low quality like some of the others. If he’s into it, the brand offers additional and more advanced kits to build on.
The traditional Capture the Flag game gets kicked up a notch with this glow in the dark version. Perfect for active boys to get outdoors, practice team work and get some exercise. The game can be played with groups as small as 4, and as large as groups of 20. There are 12 different ways to play the game, and each one utilizes the 25 light up glow in the dark pieces.
Meet the Amazon exclusive Rampage Nerf N-Strike Elite Toy Blaster. Nerf games are a great way for boys to stay active, get competitive, and play inside or outside. We love that the Nerf line is affordable, making it easy to create a collection with. This blaster comes with 25 darts, but be sure to grab an extra pack or two. The gun itself holds the full amount of 25, so no need to reload over and over. They can load it once, and get ready for action!
Creativity and Education are combined in this awesome DIY science gift. The five star rated toy has excellent reviews for it's ability to be fun, but to also encourage thoughtful engineering skills. Once assembled, it becomes a remote controlled toy that they he can play with in combat against other robot creations. He can also disassemble, and do it all over again. It connects with an app and charges using a USB connection for endless amounts of fun.
Most of us know about home assistants, more commonly known is the Amazon Alexa. This newly released Apple HomePod Mini is said to have amazing sound quality, yet a low profile. It's price point comes in at around $100. The gift gives assistance and entertainment simultaneously. He can improve his organization skills, set alarms, play his favorite music and more. If he already uses Apple products, it's the perfect companion for his computer, iPad, iTunes and Apple TV.
This retro style game console takes us back to our Super Mario days. Pass on classic arcade style games with this portable device that costs about $20. It's available in red, yellow or blue and hosts 400 boredom busting games. Its perfect for travel too and can be thrown into any bag easily without taking up much space. When charged, it can last up to 6 hours and can be played solo or in two player mode with a friend.
Is there really anything cooler than light up bike wheel lights? This gift includes two sets of LED Lights. They are rechargeable by USB, making them usable over and over again. What's even better is the 7 vibrant color options and 16 different modes so he can really light up the neighborhood. The best part of this gift is of course the safety aspect. He will be seen from a far by drivers in many lighting conditions, giving you peace of mind.
How can one cube turn into 70 different shapes? 36 rare earth magnets somehow mold this gift that is loads of fun and will stimulate his mind. There are 10 different cubes that can be purchased and added onto the others if desired. But it's great for kids that suffer from anxiety or have a hard time sitting still by providing relaxation. All of the companies toys reflect their "fun in motion" mission, and have won awards for their execution in creating toys that do just that.
This comfortable and adaptable chair is a unique gift idea. During his studies, this chair will provide comfort while keeping his posture in line. The leather chair has a swivel base, and adjusts to four different angles providing comfort in whatever he's working on. It even has a foot rest and is available in several different color options. If this sounds too "educational" for him as far as gifts go, it's also called a gaming chair so tell him it's for work and video game fun.
Part of the gaming fun that comes with playing any video game is the challenge. If you have a Fortnite fanatic to shop for, help them be the best. This book has 112 pages of tips and tricks for being successful in the game. It doesn't matter what skill level he's currently at because this book offers a wide range of tips from beginner to advanced. The survival guide has received 5-star ratings from buyers and is an affordable gift he will be eager to read.
The LEGO Brand has been around forever and they have a TON of building sets for kids of all ages. This one is suitable for the 12 year old boy that loves building, loves cars and creativity. This Orange Chevy Corvette can also be rebuilt into a classic hot rod for a two in one gift. All LEGO sets can be taken to new levels, by combining other pieces and sets. 579 pieces are included, giving his brain some exercise while also having fun.
Football fans can only dream of football being a year-round sport. If he simply can't get enough of the NFL, consider this electric football game. The set is available in small, medium and large depending on the amount of space he has. The hand-held remote operates the movements of the players and it can be customized to his favorite NFL teams. Instead of playing football video games like Madden, he can step away from the screen and still play when he can't be on the field himself.
This Bluetooth speaker is the perfect gift for Star Wars fans. He can stash it in his room and pair it with all of his devices like laptops, tablets and gaming equipment. It's a super cool flagship that also lights up when in use. When fully charged, it will last up to 10 hours so he can listen to whatever he wants nearly all day long. There are two more Star Wars models available to choose from if you don't think the flagship is his favorite.
You can't really go wrong with an Xbox Game Pass Gift Card. If he's a gamer, they are always looking for more games and hours to play. This is a one month pass but you can purchase more than that if you wish. He can use this on his console, but also on his PC and the online mini-player as well. With the pass, he also gains access to early releases of brand new games. Even more so, he can find promo codes and special offers with the purchase.
This tornado lamp can be added to his bedroom. Similar to a lava lamp, it has calming properties with its' inner tornado and color changing flow. There are 20 color options he can choose from in addition to different operating modes. A handheld remote is included, so he can just lay back and relax. Another bonus is the scientific aspect of watching how a tornado forms from start to finish.
You've likely played the popular adult game Cards Against Humanity. This is equally as funny, but suitable for kids 10 and older. The card game allows kids to be well... kids. Brace yourself for a whole lot of immature combinations and a whole lot of laughs. He can play this with his friends, or he can make it a part of family nights letting everyone take life a bit less seriously for a night.
This 6 in 1 building kit dabbles in a little bit of everything for an extremely well-rounded gift. Science, brain-building, and creativity. It's also solar-powered which teaches about solar energy and renewal. Boys can choose from robotic space ships, a dog, a child figure, and an astronaut. Once building is complete, it becomes robotic and movable using solar energy or batteries.
This T-Shirt is perfect for him to rep throughout his entire 12th year. Its vintage vibe is cool, edgy and available in a ton of different colors. We love the time reference of the shirt and the total confidence it boasts about being awesome. 100% cotton and comfortable for the dude that rocks this relaxed vibe. The 5-star reviews say this is a quality t-shirt, so you don't have to worry about the stiffness that comes from some online orders.
For the hoop star in your life, give him the chance to practice and play when he's not on the actual court. This Lifetime brand hoop is 44 inches and shatterproof. The universal mounting bracket gives him (and the family) plenty of options as to where to place it. It can attach to a wall, a roof, an eave or a pole. It also has an all weather net, to handle Mother Natures elements. He'll love the blue colors which are fade-resistant, so it stays vibrant throughout the years.
This puzzle is a challenging brain teaser for his evolving mind. It's a unique 3D puzzle that can be done over and over again, in many different ways. This is where the game Jenga meets puzzles, and combines problem solving skills with fun. This puzzle is also a wonderful way to provide relaxation that has nothing to do with with an electronic device or screen. Once he conquers this puzzle and is ready for a new challenge, The Sharp Brain Zone brand has more advanced brain teasers to challenge him with.
We like these earbuds for the preteen for a few reasons. For starters, these will provide good quality sound and comfort at a reasonable price point. With such a wide range of earbuds and headphones on the market, it's easy to be very cheap or very expensive. You'll want to make sure they can take care of something before upgrading, yet give them enough quality to last when properly cared for. These hold 8 hours of charge, are water and sweat proof and have a built in mic. Reviews speak very highly of the Bluephonic brand overall.
Who doesn't love the classic board game of Battleship? Old-school or not, it's still a popular pick among ages both young and old. This game is great for two players to strategize against one another while combatting in naval style. If you aren't familiar, the goal is to sink the other players' ship, and those battery operated sound effects never get old while doing it. The game comes with two storage cases that are portable, thus making it easy to travel with, but also to keep all of the tiny pieces together.
Search online and you'll find endless amounts of science kits for kids. For the young boy, you'll want something that makes sense for his current level of learning. This 4M kit in particular is great for his age range and has everything he needs for experiments in gravity and magnetics. Pencil floating and levitating a screw are just a couple of the neat tricks he can do. This kit makes learning fun and has previously won toy of the year because of it.
If he plays or watches sports, he will definitely love these wall decal stickers. The design looks like the balls are actually breaking through the wall. The set includes 8 different 3D vinyl ball stickers that are easy to apply. Placement totally depends on where he would like them with the wall being a popular choice of course, but any smooth surface will work. The best part is that they are easy to remove, so it won't do damage to the surface when directions are followed.
The original Spikeball game gained much of its popularity from the infamous investor show called Shark Tank. The game can be played anywhere he has some space, both indoors and outdoors. The competitive game requires four players, making for a two on two match among him and his friends. After serving the ball off of the bouncy net, it becomes a game of spiking it again within a certain amount of touches, and without hitting the ground. Spikeball doubles as an amazing workout, which has landed the game in gyms and among athletes.
Star Wars fans will love this Darth Vader Device holder by Cable Guy figurines. It's a small way he can provide organization to his space using his favorite characters. The Darth Vader can hold any of the controllers from his favorite video gaming systems, and it also holds any cell phone nicely as well. This gift is also available as a set with Darth Vader and Iron Man, or Darth Vader and Stormtrooper. Each figure stands at 8 inches tall.
Twelve year olds are just developing strong interests— this is a great time to find a gift that fits their interests.
You could give him an experience: spend all night playing video games together, organize a family board game night, set up a scavenger hunt— just get creative!