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.
Another perfect addition to the space could be this foosball table. Once they tire of that, the nice thing is the legs fold to be able to move the table and create space for more activities!
Or maybe your 12 year old is more of a tennis fan in which case, this table tennis game might be a better gift.
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!
Taking the Fun Outside
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.
You can read some good reviews on a few different hoverboards here!
If your son loves the outdoors and craves speed like mine, another great gift for your tween boy is going old school with a longboard. We like this longboard because my son not only rides in style, but this design was also made with the environment in mind and was made with more natural materials.
While we love this design and Kaiden gets plenty of use out of it, he also has his eye on this electronic longboard, a pretty penny compared to the OG longboard, which is why he is saving his pennies!
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!
What a great way to minimize screen time for all and get some fun going with family game night, right?
While I have to keep the littles away from it right now, my 12 year old loves this simple yet classic slingshot – and since we moved to Georgia with much more land, he has plenty of open space to once again work on that hand eye coordination.
Another great solo gift that enhances focus and coordination is the slackline kit. We recently purchased this and boy, it is way tougher than it looks, but so much fun!
We’ve since added to the slackline set up with a ninja warrior course. If I don’t watch out, Kaiden will be the fittest one in the fam!
Last but not least, we don’t make it to the lake often these days, but when we do, we love to bring along this RC boat. A couple of Kaiden’s buddies also got this recently and they love to race their boats on Lake Allatoona.
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 books and I try to instill that love of reading in my children, even when it comes to gift giving! Not only that, but I tried to highlight some favorites around science kits and other gifts that curious minds would love.
Books Boys Love
First, the books! For my son, I can never go wrong with graphic novels and comic books. But what Kaiden and friends are loving the most right now is this riddle book. I love hearing their thoughts and critical thinking processes!
Have you ever heard of the YouTube “Don’t Laugh” challenge? Well, there’s a book of challenges too, and it’s too good! It’s another favorite amongst Kaiden and friends.
Last, as a family, we are loving “What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions”. The science behind it blows our minds as adults and I love the curiosity it sparks in my older kids.
Speaking of science, check out these next few mind blowing gifts for the budding scientist! There’s NOTHING like a good book!
Best Gifts for the Pre Teen Science Lover
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!
Spoiler alert: Shhh, I actually purchased this gift for Kaiden for the upcoming holidays! I can’t wait to check this out myself, and see the real life application of these new skills pay off.
Lego Sets for Tween Boys!
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 at least two lego sets in progress for completion!
Maybe that’s because I still see so much of my 10-year-old boy, even if his 12th birthday just passed, and some birthday gifts will never get old.
If your kid is anything like mine, you can’t go wrong with any of the dozens of lego kits that are available these days. We do have some favorites we recommend for your next gift idea.
We love the Lego ship in the bottle, which is an expert kit, so prepare your young man for a fun yet patience provoking gift!
Another really cool Lego kit is this Eiffel Tower one. This was the perfect gift for Kaiden because he loves architecture AND travel.
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. Kaiden practically lives in this galaxy hoodie, and I don’t blame him! So comfortable!
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.
We also really love these bike light wheels which is a great idea because they are stylish AND safe for night riding.
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.
Because sure, there may be times where my 12 year old son feels too cool to hang with his younger siblings, but Switch time isn’t one of them! I LOVE seeing the family create memories while playing games together.
Next, the camera drone is a great way to combine the great outdoors with technology. Kaiden got a similar drone last year and absolutely loves it.
Last, one of the best gift ideas that I’m really excited about for a future purchase is the Oculus Quest gaming headset.The best toys are the ones the parents can enjoy too, and let me tell you, this looks like so much fun! It’s definitely on the list for this year’s family Christmas gift.
By the way – I’ve been doing my research, and friends who have this already have strongly recommended to get the 256gb version over the 128gb. So keep that in mind.
Last, we really love this GoPro HERO7 as a live action camera gift option. Kaiden gets really creative with both the recording ideas a well as the angles of all the positions the Go Pro can accommodate.
It also links to free apps or paid apps for increased support and editing features, which is a cool little detail, too.
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!
Another great gift option that isn’t just great for a young adult but for actual adults long past their teen years is the new game, Hearing Things, which is a reading lips game and my family has absolutely gotten a kick out of it on family game night!
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.
Kaiden has been playing drums a while now and loves this electric drum set we got him. I also love it because as much as I love the drums more than the next guy, it’s nice that these plug into headphones when he is practicing!
He also recently took up the piano, and we got him this electric piano so he could keep up with practice at home.
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
Y’ll know 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!
This telescope by Celestron is great for beginners who love astronomy. In Colorado, our view was frequently obstructed in the suburbs of Denver due to light pollution or, unfortunately, smoke from wildfires. Here in Georgia, we have the perfect conditions for stargazing.
Remote Control Car
We have our eyes on this RC remote control car and this is our gift pick because not only does it look awesome, but it gets great reviews. Specifically, this item reports a great battery life for its rechargeable battery. Buy 2 and it’ll keep your 12 year old and his friends busy racing for a long time!
Instant Digital Camera
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.
Sure, nerf guns are always a fan favorite in this household, but to change it up a bit, another excellent gift idea is this laser tag set. Another great, fun way to get your 12 year old boy outside, this gift would be great for night games and even the daytime!
Lightning Reaction Reloaded Game
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!