Do you know a 12 year old boy with a birthday coming up? Maybe you’re just planning ahead for the holidays? No matter the occasion, I used to find myself having the toughest time finding boy gifts! My toughest challenge was when occasions rolled around for my son, Kaiden. Throw in the tween ages and forget it – it felt almost impossible to find something cool enough to hold his interest at such a tricky age. But after searching all over for the best gifts for 12 year old boys for his last birthday, I found a lot of great options!
These are some top favorites for my boy, but remember these gifts can be a great option for girls too! I hope you enjoy these Kaiden-approved gift options and you find the perfect gift for your kiddo.
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Gifts for the Active 12 Year Old
Whether for indoor or outdoor fun, I’ve come up with some of the most creative ways to get up and moving. Not only that, but we have options for the boy who likes to ride solo once in a while, and also other ideas for fun-filled activities with his friends!
For the Mini Man Cave
If your son is aspiring to create the perfect chill space for his crew and him to hang, you can’t go wrong with this magnetic dart board as a gift to add to the ambience. Great for a solo game to practice his aim, as well as a great game to involve several friends in the fun.
We have this one and it works really well - the magnets actually stick and don't easily bounce back off. (Unless my 5 year old son tries to play... but even he has pretty good luck!)
You can't go wrong with a foosball table! It's the perfect way to blend his love for sports with something he can do indoors, especially on those rainy days when he can't be outside.
Foosball is super fun and can get pretty competitive, which is great for kids that age. It's a fantastic way for him to hang out with friends or even have some family bonding time.
And you know, it's not just about playing; it also helps with hand-eye coordination and quick thinking. Honestly, it's one of those gifts that keeps on giving – fun, engaging, and even a bit of a workout!
Oh, a table tennis set would be another fantastic gift idea for a 12-year-old boy! The cool thing about table tennis is that it's easy to set up in a garage or a playroom, so he can play rain or shine.
I know in my competitive family, we love a good ping pong match, especially when the loser has to do dishes! The table tennis game is foldable and portable which is great when a change of scenery is needed on a nice sunny day so you can head outside and play too!
Gift Ideas for Fun Outside
I remember in high school, we had an archery unit. So when I came across this bow and arrow archery set, I just knew this would be a great gift for my 12 year old.
Luckily, my son shared the same sentiment and gets outside and active with this beginner bow and arrow set we got him, while also working on hand-eye coordination.
For an adventurous kid, a hoverboard would be an absolute hit! First off, the cool factor is off the charts – hoverboards are like the modern-day skateboards. They're super fun and give that sense of adventure and freedom that kids that age love.
The bluetooth speaker feature is awesome; he can listen to his favorite tunes while cruising around, which I bet he'll think is pretty neat. And the LED light features? They not only look cool, especially in the evening, but they also add an element of safety by making him more visible.
The self-balancing technology is a huge plus. It makes learning to ride much easier and safer, which is something we, as moms, will appreciate. And speaking of safety, the non-slip footpad is a thoughtful addition to keep him secure while he's riding.
Overall, it's not just a toy; it's like giving him a little bit of independence. Plus, it's great for getting him outside and active. A hoverboard like this one is sure to be a gift that he'll be excited about and use all the time!
You can read some good reviews on a few different hoverboards here!
An electric longboard is an excellent gift, especially for kids who crave a bit of adventure and independence. It's a step up from traditional skateboarding, offering a thrilling ride with the ease of electric power. This makes it not only fun but also practical for short commutes like going to a friend's house or the park.
They're generally easy to control, which is great for building confidence, and they can reach a safe but exciting speed that's perfect for that age group. Plus, the electric aspect adds a modern twist to the classic skateboarding experience, making it a cool gadget that's sure to impress their friends.
It's not just a gift; it's an experience that combines fun, freedom, and a touch of technology, making it ideal for a young, active person.
I can’t stop with these gifts for the 12 year old lover of the outdoors! Maybe it’s because these gifts aren’t just great for preteen boys, but many of them are great for all family members!
Spikeball is a fantastic gift for boys (or anyone really!), especially those who love active, outdoor play. It's a fast-paced, energetic game that's a mix of volleyball and foursquare, but with a unique twist. He will love the competitive nature of the game, as it's both challenging and engaging. It encourages physical activity, coordination, and teamwork, which are great skills for kids to develop.
It's super portable and can be set up almost anywhere - in the backyard, at the beach, or in a park, making it perfect for family gatherings, playdates, or even just hanging out with friends. Spikeball is great for all skill levels, so it's a game that they can grow with and continue to enjoy as they get better.
What a great way to minimize screen time for all and get some fun going with family game night, right?
Gifting a slackline kit is an excellent idea. It introduces a unique blend of fun and skill-building. Slacklining helps in improving balance, concentration, and core strength, which are beneficial for overall physical development.
It's also a versatile outdoor activity that can be set up in various environments like parks or backyards, offering a great way to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors. The aspect of gradual skill progression inherent in slacklining ensures that it remains challenging and engaging over time.
It's tougher than it looks -- but it's a lot of fun!
If you have access to water, you'll want to check out this RC boat. They're super fun to zoom around in ponds or pools, giving him a bit of that thrill of controlling something fast and exciting.
Plus, it's a great way to get him outdoors and maybe even spark an interest in learning more about how remote control gadgets work. It's the perfect blend of fun, outdoor time, and a bit of techy learning – can't go wrong with that!
Gifts for the Curious 12 Year Old Boy
These gift ideas are by far my favorite because they are not only fun, but educational gifts, too! You know how much I love learning, and my kids enjoy science kits and other gifts that curious minds would love.
It blows my mind how many ‘toys’ out there are, in essence, preparing our next generation for their future careers. If you're searching for the perfect gift for that future engineer out there, check out this Hydrobot arm kit. This is powered by water, not a motor.
As a matter of fact, all this company’s products are powered by either water, wind, or sun - how neat! It comes with really detailed instructions, which I personally am grateful for, but I bet your 12 year old wouldn’t need to rely on as much as me!
Not only are Lego sets a great toy, but they are great for challenging visual spatial skills too! In the Seghetti household, there are always Lego sets in progress for completion!
Have you seen the LEGO Ship in a Bottle set? It's such a cool gift! Not only is it fun to build, but it also sneaks in some great STEM learning. They get to explore concepts like engineering and design, and it's a neat way to encourage creativity and problem-solving skills. Plus, it looks awesome on display once it's done!
I think the LEGO Eiffel Tower is another great gift idea for a tween or teen. It's fantastic, especially if he's into architecture or loves travel. Building it is like a mini adventure into the world of design and construction, and it's great for developing spatial skills and an appreciation for iconic structures. It's not just a toy; it's like bringing a piece of Paris into his room, sparking curiosity about different cultures and places. It's a gift that combines learning, fun, and a bit of global flair!
Gifts For the Stylish 12 Year Old Boy
Sure, accessories and apparel might not be at the top of the list for most soon to be 12 year olds, but I find these have been some of the top gifts that get the most use.
With video games being of utmost interest for these almost-teenage boys, I found it fitting to throw this witty little video game t-shirt on the list of great gift ideas. It’s funny because it’s true! No worries, we will loop back to good old technology and gaming options on this gift guide too!
Beyond apparel, we’ve got some other ideas for cool gifts that are also stylish.
If you’re looking to make a big statement for this last birthday before the teenage years, then check out these Bose frames audio sunglasses. They’re so sweet I might even have to buy a pair for myself! Not only do they look awesome, but they are so functional and connect to your music via bluetooth.
Gift Ideas For the 12 Year Old Boy Who Loves Tech
Up until this point, we have talked about a lot of cool gifts that don’t necessarily involve technology. But, I mean, I have yet to meet a 12 year old, young boy, or really any kid in their tween years who doesn’t enjoy technology and electronic devices. So it’d probably be a good idea to highlight the coolest tech gift options that my 12-year-old kid loves.
I feel there’s definitely a time and a place for technology. As with everything in life, it’s all about moderation. When I think about the gifts I want to share my experience with that relate to technology, I find myself gravitating toward gifts that still involve family, social skills, or creativity in some way.
Seriously, if you're looking for a gift, the Nintendo Switch is a game-changer. It's super versatile – like, you can hook it up to the TV for big-screen fun or use it handheld for gaming on the move. And the game selection? It's huge, with something for everyone, from epic adventures to cute, casual games.
Plus, it's perfect for family gaming sessions, making it a hit for both kids and adults. Our family loves playing Mario Kart and Just Dance, while the kids enjoy epic Minecraft sessions. Definitely a crowd-pleaser!
Have you ever thought about a Quadcopter drone as a gift? It's such a hit these days! They're not only super fun to fly, but they also teach kids (and let's be honest, adults too) about basic aerodynamics and controls.
This one has a 1080p camera, so you can capture some cool aerial shots. Kaiden got a similar model (same brand) and has had so much fun with it. It's a perfect blend of technology, outdoor activity, and creativity. Great for getting them outside and exploring from a whole new perspective!
Board Games for the Preteen Boy
In our household, we love strategy games and one of Kaiden’s favorite is the Catan board game. He and his friends also love other popular games like Catch Phrase and a new game that I haven’t heard up until recently called the Space Team card game, which can get pretty chaotic!
Cool Gifts for the Music Lover
I remember really falling in love with music when I was in middle school. Kaiden is my second of 4 and it’s been so cool to see the same thing happen for the second time with my kids.
Not only do my two oldest love to listen to music, but they are quite talented musicians, too. In high school Eden played a variety of musical instruments including the flute and violin.
This electric drum set is a fantastic choice for a music-loving 12-year-old. It's quieter than traditional drums, thanks to headphone compatibility, so they can practice without driving everyone nuts. Plus, it offers a range of sounds and rhythms, which is great for exploring different music styles.
It's a fun, engaging way for them to develop their musical skills and maybe even discover a lifelong passion.
There are a lot of other gifts for drummers that we will be adding to his collection as he gains more experience!
He also recently took up the piano, and we got him this electric piano so he could keep up with practice at home. I have a feeling we will need more gifts for our piano player this year, since he’s really into it!
You can frequently find us jamming out in the kitchen and for that we love this smart speaker. It connects to our music via bluetooth and Kaiden loves to take it on the go with his friends. I love it because it’s durable and water resistant so I know it will be safely returned to the house for family jam sesh use!
The little kids aren’t yet embarrassed of mom’s dance moves.
Other Gifts We Couldn’t Leave Out
While we haven’t personally tried these (yet!), there are a couple other gift items that seem like they would be really fun gifts to us, so we wanted to share these great finds! Here are a few gift ideas we think your 12 year old tween would love if you want to check them out.
Harry Potter Chess Set
We love Harry Potter in this family and if your 12 year old is like mine, this Harry Potter chess set would be a great choice for your next gift! It's not just a regular chess set; it's got this magical, mystical vibe that can really spark the imagination. Playing chess itself is great for developing strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
It's a beautiful piece that can double as a room decoration, making it both practical and enchanting. It's a way to enjoy a classic game while feeling like part of a magical world.
Gifting a telescope can be an amazing idea, especially for someone curious about the universe. It's like a doorway to the stars, offering a glimpse of the moon, planets, and constellations right from your backyard. It's not only about the awe of space; it's also educational, sparking interest in astronomy and science. Plus, it's a unique gift that encourages exploration and learning, and can provide endless hours of fascination and discovery. It's a way to literally broaden someone's horizons and give them a new perspective on the vastness of the universe.
Sold in a variety of different colors, a gift that will keep on giving for a long time is this instant digital camera by Fujufilm. Easy to use and reload film, your 12 year old son will be able to make AND document memories with this thoughtful gift.
So, this fun game was introduced to use by one of Kaiden’s friends. There aren't many new things I hear about in the toy world with 4 kids, but this sure is one of them.
While I don’t understand the allure necessarily, it has proven to be a great toy and quite the hit at friend gatherings amongst him and his pals.
This shocking game is filled with suspense, as it literally delivers a quick shock to the person with the slowest draw! So, if the excitement of being on the edge of their seat interests your 12 year old, this is a great choice for his next gift!
And When All Else Fails…Gift Cards!
Because hey, who doesn’t love gift cards!? Since his 9th or 10th birthday, my son has started asking for gift cards and while it takes some of the fun away for mom, it sure is easy to please him with a quick Amazon, Nike, or even Roblox gift card.
The best thing is he can pick out his own gift and he has such creative interests, that he usually chooses the best toys, and it’s great fun for him!
It’s no easy task to find the right gift for a 12 year old boy. These are some of our favorite things, and I hope this list of gifts have helped you to brainstorm ideas for your next big occasion!
Other Gift Guides You May Like:
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.