Finding gifts for 12-year-olds is easier said than done. At 12, kids are in-between the worlds of full-blown teens and childhood dreams, making gift giving a bit of a conundrum.
Unless you know the recipient really well, shopping for a 12-year-old is tough. Tweens are classically hard to please. They’re always on top of the latest trends, and, let’s be honest, it’s impossible to keep up with them once you’re over the age of eighteen.
This list of gifts for 12-year-olds, though, is full of hip and trendy options they’re almost guaranteed to love. At the very least, they won’t roll their eyes when they open the box!
The Best Gift Ideas for 12-Year-Olds for 2023
If the tween in your life is always trying to stump you with riddles or make you laugh, this jumbo joke and riddle book is sure to provide hours of entertainment.
The book contains over 500 jokes, riddles, and brain teasers that the publishers promise you haven’t heard before. And they’re all family-friendly, so sharing them with younger siblings won’t be a problem.
Mixing science with a massive dose of cuteness, these crystal-growing hedgehog kits are perfect for the tween that likes to experiment.
This kit includes everything your 12-year-old needs to grow their own gypsum crystals overnight, giving bright-colored spines to an adorable hedgehog frame. After they grow their crystals, the hedgehog makes a perfect desk or dresser accessory, something every preteen needs.
Having a globe on hand can be helpful for homework assignments, but they usually make for rather dull gifts. Of course, if the globe levitates and glows, that’s a different story.
Your preteen is going to love this desk accessory that doubles as a helpful tool. It teaches geography as well as basic magnetic principles, making it ideal for learning without feeling too much like school.
Rather than a one-time DIY experience, this robot-building kit promises hours of discovery. It makes 14 different solar-powered robots that any budding engineer will love. Your tween can build a slow-crawling tortoise, a scurrying bug, a race car, and so much more. All the while, they’ll be learning basic building skills.
Believe it or not, fanny packs are back in style; just ask any preteen! Though you can pick one up almost anywhere these days, Herschel Supply Co. makes some of the hippest designs. With a lifetime warranty, free returns, and plenty of patterns to choose from, picking one out for the tween in your life is a risk-free gift option.
Today’s preteens are never without their wearable technology, except (maybe) when they sleep. A wireless charging stand to put on their nightstand is both sleek and functional. It will make any tween feel that much more like an adult.
If the tween in your life is a sports fan, why not get them a custom jersey? They’ll love rocking it to school, games, and while hanging with friends. Plus, even after they outgrow it, they’ll probably cherish it. Who doesn’t love a high-end jersey with their name on the back of it?
8. Cool Shades
Every preteen needs a pair of shades to rock, and nothing beats Oakley in terms of style and quality.
These retro-inspired and super hip Holbrook shades feature high-definition optics, ensuring the twelve-year-old in your life will be able to see in any condition. Plus, Oakley lets you add prescription lenses if needed, so even tweens with vision problems can wear these sunglasses.
Pre-teen years tend to bring a deep need for self-expression, making room decor an excellent gift for any 12-year-old. A poster featuring their favorite superhero or movie star won’t go to waste, even if you leave it unframed.
Every twelve-year-old needs a place where they can spend hours talking to friends, digging into comic books, or playing video games. Sure, they could sit in a standard chair, but have you hung out with a preteen lately?
You’re much more likely to find them lounging on the floor than sitting in a stuffy desk chair. That makes a fluffy bedroom rug the perfect preteen gift option.
11. Apples To Apples
This game is a gift the whole family will enjoy, and twelve is just old enough to play it. It’s a game of comparisons that always leaves everyone smiling, and with over 500 cards included, you’ll never play the same game twice. This one’s perfect for any tween who still loves the family game night.
12. Mars Dust Globe
The next generation will likely be taking trips to Mars! So give the growing astronaut in your life a little inspiration with a Mars Dust Globe. It’s just like a snow globe but features Mars dust instead of fake snow. We think it’s perfect for the desk of a future galactic explorer.
Temporary tattoos are childish and may not impress a preteen, but a freestyle henna kit is a different story. The kit comes with a henna applicator and enough henna dye for up to thirty designs.
There are stencils included, but your twelve-year-old doesn’t have to use them. Let them express themselves instead, with freestyle drawings that aren’t permanent.
We’ve yet to meet a preteen who doesn’t want a fridge in their room. This fridge is fully functional and can easily hold a few sodas and snacks. Or, for the beauty-obsessed tween in your life, it has perfectly sized compartments for all their favorite beauty products.
Honestly, many adults would love this gift; a twelve-year-old won’t be able to resist it. They can turn out the lights in their room and immerse themselves in the stars. The projector features several constellations and changeable color options, as well. So, your preteen can experience the full magic of the cosmos.
If you’ve yet to hear of a raindrop cake, we won’t hold it against you. This social media-worthy bake looks like a giant raindrop, making it the perfect canvas for all the colors, flavors, and toppings your twelve-year-old could ever want.
Making this camera-worthy cake is a science lesson disguised as dessert. If your preteen likes the kitchen, we promise that they’ll love this gift.
Yes, Sonic The Hedgehog entered our world in the early nineties, but this retro character has a new following with today’s youth. The Sonic The Hedgehog device holder is perfect for a preteen who needs a place to put their game controller or cell phone.
18. Classic Hoodie
Hoodies never go out of style for tweens, and no twelve-year-old has too many of them. A classic hoodie, like this one by Volcom, is the ultimate wardrobe piece. They’ll rock it from day to night, and every moment the ambient temp under eighty degrees.
Preteens don’t need much encouragement to participate in karaoke. Just hand them a mic!
We like this one because it comes with a phone holder. Tweens can sing any song they want with the lyrics right in front of them. Plus, it lets them remix the sounds with fun voice-changing options. They’ll even be able to record their entire performance.
Let your twelve-year-old express themselves with their favorite phrase in lights! This retro, back-lit marquee is the perfect room accessory for a preteen who wants to make a statement to friends and family.
Remember, those preteen years are all about expressing yourself, and a lightbox is a perfect way for tweens to share what they’re feeling.
Music speaks to almost-teens in a way that words often can’t. That’s why twelve-year-olds tend to carry their music with them. Headphones are fabulous for solo listening, but most preteens want to share with their friends. So, giving them a travel speaker is always a great option.
We like this one in particular because it’s on a convenient keychain. Tweens can attach it to their bike, backpack, or jeans and blast their music wherever they go. Plus, it comes in several fun colors so they can further express themselves.
22. Friendship Lamps
For tweens, friendships are exceptionally important, so get them something that helps them stay in touch. These friendship lamps light up when either person touches one, letting a far-away friend know that you’re thinking of them.
They work across long distances, so whether your tween has a next-door bestie or a friend across the country, these lamps will keep them close. Plus, the modern and trendy design looks good in any bedroom.
At twelve years old, the tween in your life is a few years from driving, but they’re probably starting to crave more independence. This beginner-friendly skateboard is an excellent option for promoting independent fun.
The light-up wheels are a cool plus. They look great but also act as a safety feature if your tween is skating after sunset.
Most twelve-year-olds seem to have their phones surgically attached to their hands. So, it’s not a bad idea to stick a stylish wallet onto their cellular device. That way, they can carry their ID, debit card, or allowance cash in a convenient way that won’t get lost.
25. Ax Throwing Game
Tweens are too young to go ax throwing, but they can still enjoy the fun. This foam ax-throwing game is perfect for a twelve-year-old’s room. It includes two axes, an over-the-door hanging target, and a carry bag for traveling convenience.
Encourage more indoor and outdoor play with a hover soccer ball. Unlike boring soccer balls that stay on the ground, this one hovers ever so slightly, allowing it to glide across any surface, including carpet and tiled floors. And parents need not worry; the bumpers keep it from harming any furniture.
Razor scooters have come a long way since they came out in 2000. Tweens today still love them, but they prefer the electric type. Rather than pushing themselves, this electric scooter allows preteens to travel up to ten miles per hour without much effort. The dual braking system keeps them safe and stable.
28. Air Force 1’s
Today’s tweens still love Nike’s street-style classic, proving that these sneakers will never go out of style. This updated version looks like the 1983 model but has more modern features like encapsulated air cushioning. So, your twelve-year-old is guaranteed to be comfy as well as classically hip.
29. Fleece Bathrobe
At around the age of 12, kids start spending more time on their appearance. They might spend hours in the bathroom getting ready before going out with friends, and that means they need something to get ready in.
A soft and luxurious fleece robe in a fun pattern or print is the perfect option for a preteen that likes a little pampering.
30. Hoops Cereal Mug
Just because they’re edging on adulthood doesn’t mean your preteen is too old to play with their food. This hand-painted ceramic mug includes an attached basketball hoop, perfectly sized for cereal and other small snack foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer a few questions about toys for 12 year olds.
What Do 12-year-olds Do for Fun?
By twelve years old most kids are finding themselves. They often have activities or hobbies that they want to immerse themselves in, whether it’s shooting hoops, playing drums, or competing in gymnastics.
They also tend to have more fun with friends than with family. Friendships are vital at this age as they provide a sense of belonging.
What Do I Get a 12-year-old Girl?
12-year-old girls tend to love accessorizing. Room decor, fun make-up, purses, and hats are almost always a good choice. They’ll also enjoy toys that promote physical activity, especially if they play a sport.
What Do I Get a 12-year-old Boy?
12-year-old boys often like being physical. So, consider gifts that will encourage their interests in science or sports. If they can build it or use it outdoors, it’s probably a good choice.