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The 32 Best Gifts and Toy Ideas for 12 Year Old Boys in 2021


With a 12-year-old boy, you have to cater to your son’s new interests as an almost-teen. We are moms too, and we know first-hand how hard shopping is. Fear not! We’ve researched and pooled all the best toys and gifts for 12-year old boys into one handy list.

Top 6 Best Gifts for 12-Year-Old BoysWhy It's BestRating
BlissLights Laser Projector w/LED Nebula Cloud A star-field cool factor for your sons room♥♥♥♥♥
Spikeball 3 Ball KitSturdy, featured on Shark Tank, extra balls♥♥♥♥♥
Altair 818 Hornet Beginner DroneBeginner to experienced drone, first person video, one button takeoff, 150 meter range♥♥♥♥♥
Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3 Archery SetArrows travel 100 ft, safe foam♥♥♥♥♥
Marky Sparky Doinkit DartsA magnetic-based dartboard♥♥♥♥♥
Capture the Flag REDUX: Glow-in-the-DarkClassic "capture the flag" with lights for night play♥♥♥♥♥
Page Contents

The 32 Best Gifts for a 12-Year Old Boy

BlissLights Sky Lite Laser Projector

BlissLights Sky Lite - Laser Star Projector with LED Nebula Galaxy for Room Decor, Home Theater Lighting, or Bedroom Night Light Mood Ambiance (Blue, Blue)

Summary

Though the average 12-year old has grown out of their nightlight phase, this cool projector is fun, functional, and entertaining. It works as a rotating projector, lighting up your son’s room as if he is in the middle of the galaxy. It also bright enough to light up the room if he has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The BlissLights Sky Lite Laser Projector w/LED Nebula Cloud also lets you choose from several lighting effects, brightness levels, and whether you want the stars to move. A galaxy of stars is projected on a blue nebula powered by LED lights.

Pros

  • Rotates to coat your room in a galaxy
  • Three-foot long cord
  • Rotates
  • 4 lighting effects
  • Auto shut-off after 4 hours
  • Soothing display

Cons

  • Differing opinions on whether there is a noise as it rotates

What We Love About It

This gift has a cool factor that will make it acceptable in a tween’s room. At the age where being a little different and independent is appealing, this light will allow your 12-year-old boy to be unique in his own space.

Spikeball 3 Ball Kit

Image of the Spikeball 3 Ball Kit - Includes Playing Net, 3 Balls, Drawstring Bag, Rule Book

Summary

The Spikeball 3 Ball Kit has everything your child needs for a game, including the playing net, a drawstring bag, and a rule book, as well as extra balls in case one gets lost. It is similar to volleyball, though it uses a much smaller ball and a different serving technique before players try to return the ball to the central net, with the team that is unable to return the ball giving their opponents a point.

The set is easy to carry, making it perfect for family outings, the beach, and sporting events. As an added bonus, the net is adjustable to let the players adjust the level of difficulty.It comes with extra features like a rule book and an app that you can use to connect with other players.

Pros

  • Encourages physical activity and social interaction
  • Extra balls so play doesn’t stop when one gets lost
  • Foldable and comes with carrying bag for easy transportation
  • Can adjust the level of difficulty

Cons

  • Included app could be dangerous; your 12-year old should only meet new people for games with a parent present

What We Love About It

Spikeball is easy to set up anywhere, indoors or out. This best toy for 12-year-old boys encourages your son to be active in a fun, social, and physically active way.

Altair 818 Hornet Beginner Drone with Camera

Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3 - Shoots Over 100 Feet - Foam Bow & Arrow Archery Set

The Altair 818 Hornet is an advanced drone in terms of features but easy to fly, which makes it deserve the “beginner” designation in its name. This drone holds its altitude so that you don’t constantly have to increase and decrease the throttle just to keep it level. 

It comes with a wide-angle 720p high definition camera for stills and video. The video can be transmitted right to your cell phone so you can see what the drone sees and create aerial videos. It is not indestructible but is much sturdier than many drones and comes with a nice set of replacement parts if ever needed. 

Pros

  • 120 wide-angle 720p High Definition Camera
  • Headless mode (don’t have to know which way it is facing to fly it)
  • Solid 15 minute flight time per battery with 2 batteries in the box
  • First Person View via smartphone (unusual at this price level)
  • One button takeoff and landing
  • Solid workmanship
  • Outstanding customer service from a US-based company
  • Beginner, Advanced and Expert modes

Cons

  • Advanced trimming takes some practice

What We Love About It

The limited learning curve, forgiving controls, and advanced features will help avoid the frustration that some sophisticated gifts can cause. This drone will compare well against whatever model his friends have.

Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3 Archery Set

LEGO Technic WHACK! 42072 Building Kit with Pull Back Toy Stunt Car, Popular Girls and Boys Engineering Toy for Creative Play (135 Pieces)

 

The Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3 Foam Bow & Arrow Archery Set is not weak because it is made of foam it can fire across 100 ft. of ground in seconds. It comes with a bow, a quiver, and six arrows.

The arrows are tipped with a durable foam that eliminates any danger associated with archery and fletchings’ along the backside of the arrow give an authentic feel and balance the weight, making it easier for your son to hit his target.

Pros

  • Powerful, safe toy alternative to a real bow and arrow
  • Travels 100 feet in seconds
  • Improves your child’s hand-eye coordination and aim
  • Plenty of opportunities for target practice or play

Cons

  • Could be too simple for kids with archery experience

What We Love About It

Great for target practice or it can be a fun toy for 12-year-old boys and their friends; pair bows and arrows with some Nerf gun sets and have an all-out war.

Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board

Image of the Doinkit Darts - Magnetic Dart Board

Summary

Forget the sharp, dangerous tips of the darts included with the typical dartboard. This set of darts uses powerful magnets and an innovative design to bring the dart to the board, offering all the fun of darts without any of the risks. As an added benefit, this best toy for 12-year-old boys helps your son practice his hand-eye coordination must whether he is a video game enthusiast or enjoys sports.

The Doinkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board excels because of its neodymium magnets that make the front heavy and the Doinkit material that trails along behind, giving the same balance that you have with a traditional dart. The board can easily be hung in any room of your home whether your son’s friends retreat upstairs for a game or you bring it down for the family game night.

Pros

  • Encourages social behaviors, whether playing with family or friends
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Darts are well-balanced, have an authentic, dart-like weight
  • Can easily move the dartboard to different rooms of your home without the risk of damaging the walls or your possessions

Cons

  • The dartboard could be sturdier

What We Love About It

The quality of these magnetic darts surpasses the average dart kit that’d you pick up from the store. The powerful magnets let them stick to the board easily, without the risk of damaging your home.

Capture the Flag REDUX

Capture The Flag Redux: The Original Glow-in-The-Dark Outdoor Game for Birthday Parties, Youth Groups and Team Building - a Unique Gift for Teen Boys & Girls

Summary

Capture the Flag REDUX: A Nighttime Outdoor Game is a traditional Capture the Flag game with jails, territories, and, of course, the flag. It requires skills like teamwork and strategizing, as well as encourages physical activity as players chase each other around the playing area to capture the flag. As an added benefit, different variations of the game are included for a wide variety of plays.

Pros

  • Encourages teamwork and strategizing
  • Fun way for your tween to bond (without electronics)
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Fun for families and friend groups

Cons

  • Can take a lot of batteries once they need to be replaced

What We Love About It

Anything that encourages physical activity and togetherness is perfect for the average pre-teen whose focus may be on video games. This is one of the best toys for 12-year-old boys because it’s perfect for game night with the family or a summer night with friends.

LEGO Technic WHACK! Building Kit

LEGO Technic WHACK! 42072 Building Kit with Pull Back Toy Stunt Car, Popular Girls and Boys Engineering Toy for Creative Play (135 Pieces)

Summary

The Lego Technic WHACK! 135-Piece Building Kit is a 135-piece set that builds an intricately designed car featuring wide black rims and low-profile tires, a sturdy front bumper, and a giant rear spoiler. It’s also functional as a stunt car after the building fun is over. It has a pull-back function with a powerful motor that sends it zooming across the floor. Upon impact, the engine pops out.

The WHACK! model is also compatible with the BASH! Lego set for twice as much fun. You can build them separately or construct a super racer with dual pop-out engines.

Pros

  • Encourages working with hands
  • Complete with a pull-back motor and pop-out engine
  • Hours of fun
  • Compatible with BASH! set for racing or creating a super racer

Cons

  • We couldn’t find any!

What We Love About It

Even though this is technically a toy, it’s something fun and interactive for an almost-teen. 

Altair AA Wave RC Remote Control Boat

Altair AA102 RED RC Boat for Pools or Lakes [Ultra Fast Pro Caliber] Water Safety Propeller & Self Righting System | 2 Batteries Included | 30 km/h (Lincoln, NE Company)

The Altair AA102 RC Boat is a high-speed, long-range vehicle for the kid who likes things that go. With speeds of up to 18 mph and a self-righting feature that helps keep the boat upright, this boat provides the thrill of tricks and racing for a fairly wide age range of kids to adults.  

For parents worried about safety (that’s most of us), you’ll appreciate the child-safe propeller system. The boat’s propellers will not turn unless the sensors detect that the boat has been placed in water.

Out-of-range and low-battery alarms help you keep the boat from getting too far away. It has a range of 100 meters and sometimes a little more. If it does flip upside down, the Anti-Capsize Hull allows it to right itself. With a 100m range, your child has plenty of room to play.

There is no assembly and the included instructions are easy to understand. Simply put in the two included batteries for 20 minutes of playtime. You will need an additional 4 AA batteries for the remote control.

Pros

  • No assembly necessary out of the box
  • Out-of-range and low-battery alarms
  • 18 mph
  • 100m range
  • Self-righting features stops you from losing your boat after capsizing
  • Easy-to-understand instructions
  • Child safe propeller system

Cons

  • Takes a little practice to master self-righting feature

What We Love About It

The Altair AA102 RC Boat is a popular remote control toy that has enough oomph to keep boys interested and is sturdy enough to last a long time. It is the kind of thing that 12-year-old boys will enjoy even if they never thought of asking for one.

MERGE Cube

MERGE Cube - Hold Anything - Science and STEM Educational Tool - Hands-on Digital Teaching Aids - Science Simulations and STEM Projects - Home School, Remote and in Classroom Learning - iOS & Android

Summary

If your child has a smartphone or tablet, this augmented reality cube is a fun way for them to learn more about math, science, and engineering. Simply open the app, position the cube in front of the camera of your smartphone or tablet, and watch it transform before your eyes. You can hold and interact with everything from planets to the human heart.

One great thing about the MERGE Cube Fun & Educational Augmented Reality STEM Toy is that it works without wires, batteries, or chargers. It is durable, functional, and works with the camera on your smartphone or tablet. The cube does come with a device stand, a MERGE sticker, and 13 free apps. A membership to the MERGE member program is also included.

Pros

  • Encourages STEM learning
  • Durable, functional
  • Works without the use of batteries or chargers
  • Wide range of apps to encourage learning in several areas

Cons

  • Not compatible with all devices

What We Love About It

Even though the cube works with an electronic device, it encourages your child to use their hands through the augmented reality apps. These are critical skills for development in areas like science, technology, engineering, and math.

Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster with Rotating Barrel

Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster with Rotating Barrel, Slam Fire, and 6 Official Nerf Elite Darts for Kids, Teens, & Adults(Amazon Exclusive)

Summary

This upgraded Nerf gun includes a rotating barrel which means that your 12-year-old boy can shoot 6 darts in a row! Loading the missiles back up is easy and no batteries are required. Parents say this Nerf gun is quick, accurate, and darts can fly pretty far. 

Pros

  • Shoot 6 darts in a row
  • Quick reload
  • Shoots with accuracy
  • No batteries required
  • Can rotate barrel with hand

Cons

  • May not come in Nerf box packaging

What We Love About It

It’s hard to find a boy (or man) of any age that doesn’t enjoy playing with Nerf guns. With a rotating barrel, the Strongarm Toy Blaster is sure to be a hit.

KKONES Kids Tactical Vest Kit for Nerf Guns

Kids Tactical Vest Kit for Nerf Guns Series with Refill Darts,Dart Pouch, Reload Clips, Tactical Mask, Wrist Band and Protective Glasses,Nerf Vest Toys for 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Year Boys

Summary

What’s more exciting than a Nerf gun? A Tactical Vest for Nerf Guns! This vest includes 30 darts, darts bag, darts clip, darts wristband, mask, glasses, plus plenty of space to hold even more darts. Your 12-year-old will be stocked and ready to go for his next Nerf gun battle!

Pros

  • Lots of pockets and storage areas for darts
  • Includes extra darts, clip, wristband, mask, glasses, and more!
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee and 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Lower quality vest and darts

What We Love About It

This tactical vest is a fun way for children to “up” their Nerf gun battles with friends and family. We love all the different ways they can store darts and the protection equipment (mask and glasses) that they can wear.

National Geographic Kids Why?

National Geographic Kids Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything

Summary

The National Geographic Kids Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything book gives your son a chance to interact with you about animals, architecture, the human body, and more. Invite him to share something he has learned over dinner or try to stump you with a question. Do you know why snot is yellow? Turn to the section on the human body to find out. 

Pros

  • Clear, detailed explanations that are fun at the same time
  • Encourages learning in an engaging way
  • Vivid, colorful photos to accompany answers to questions
  • Over 1,000 topics to explore

Cons

  • We couldn’t find any!

What We Love About It

This type of learning, combined with interaction, can create positive experiences and memories that your son will carry with him through the rest of his life.

National Geographic Kids 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 2

I Am Fartacus (MAX)

Summary

National Geographic Kids 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 2 is a follow-up to the original awesome facts book by National Geographic. It is perfect for encouraging your son to explore learning and new topics in a way that is fun, rather than boring. You never know what he is going to share with you next!

Pros

  • Encourages your son to share what he learns
  • Packed full of interesting facts
  • Vivid, colorful photos and engaging colors
  • Promotes fun learning

Cons

  • Format can seem a little cluttered sometimes, especially on pages that have 50+ facts

What We Love About It

This book lets your son explore different topics in depth. From 50 facts about bears to 15 facts about peanut butter, each topic is spread across two pages. A series of facts is presented alongside a vivid, engaging design and colorful photos.

Activ Life LED Bike Wheel Lights

National Geographic Kids Quiz Whiz: 1,000 Super Fun, Mind-bending, Totally Awesome Trivia Questions

Summary

This hands-on gift keeps your son looking cool (and safe!) for nighttime bike rides. This becomes important as your son gets older and grows into his independence, wanting to try more things on his own. The lights are available in red, white, blue, green, and multi-color and can be set to Constant On or Flashing.

The string of the Activ Life LED Bike Wheel Light is flexible enough that it can contour to the round shape of your son’s bike tire. If he isn’t a frequent nighttime rider, these lights can also be used to decorate his room. As an added bonus, the manufacturer throws in an extra set of batteries.

Pros

  • Extra set of batteries included
  • Doubles as a cool’ gift and a safety feature for your son’s bike
  • Hands-on installation that requires the wire to be shaped to fit the rim, encourages fine motor skills
  • Available in several colors, as well as a multi-color option

Cons

  • Lights are breakable, might not be a choice for pre-teens that are rough with their bike

What We Love About It

Even though your son will feel cool as he rides along from his friend’s house, you’ll know that he is well-lit and visible to traffic. At a low price, it is a safety feature that your son won’t be embarrassed to use.

The Manual to Manhood

The Manual to Manhood: How to Cook the Perfect Steak, Change a Tire, Impress a Girl & 97 Other Skills You Need to Survive

Summary

While no mother wants to think of their little boy growing up, this book helps ease the transition in a positive way with 100 different skills that can benefit your son. It teaches everything from tips he needs to know to get through his earliest romantic relationships to advice for excelling in sports and in life.

The Manual to Manhood: How to Cook the Perfect Steak, Change a Tire, Impress a Girl & 97 Other Skills You Need to Surviveis perfect for a child who does not always come out and ask his parents what he wants to know. By encouraging him to explore new topics on his own, you are also helping your son build researching and learning skills.

Pros

  • Teaches practical, real-world skills
  • Can be used for everything from dating advice to learning how to throw a baseball
  • Bridges the communication gap between parents and pre-teens
  • Covers 100 different topics

Cons

  • Might be too advanced for some 12-year olds
  • Not very colorful, chapter format is not always engaging

What We Love About It

The wide range of topics covered is perfect for that boy who may want to learn more about growing up but is too shy to ask.

How to Be a Math Genius

Image of the How to Be a Math Genius: Your Brilliant Brain and How to Train It

Summary

Whether your son has an interest in math or is struggling in his classes, this book is the perfect tool to propel him to success. Unlike the traditional textbook that throws facts and problems at students with the hope that they understand it, this book shows your son how he already knows and uses pieces of math in his daily life. Then, these ideas are reinforced and built on in a fun way.

How to Be a Math Genius is packed full of features that are relevant and engaging to young minds. It contains puzzles and activities to encourage learning, as well as stories of math geniuses and their capabilities.

Pros

  • Teaches students about how they already use math
  • Reinforced why math is important
  • Included fun stories about geniuses in the math world and where their abilities led them
  • Fun activities to reinforce ideas in logic, algebra, and algorithms

Cons

  • The book is more about reinforcing math, rather than teaching it

What We Love About It

Math is something that many students struggle with. This book is packed full of activities that are fun and engaging, helping your son build the basics of math in a fun way. This gift for 12-year-olds also helps students overcome the question of why they have to learn math by creating relevancy.

Threeking Smart Robot

Image of the Threeking Smart Robot Toys Gesture Control Remote Control Robot JJRC Robot Gift for Boys Girls Kid's Companion:Game Fun Learning Music Dance Etc.Rechargeable Rc Robot Kit - Blue

Summary

This programmable robot is entertaining for kids of all ages. You can use the remote to program up to 50 movement sequences and the robot also responds to hand gestures for on-the-spot fun. Some of its other functions include talking, singing, dancing, walking, and turning around.

The Threeking Smart Robot- Gesture Control Remote Control Rechargeable Robot is especially entertaining because of the flex-joints that let it bend at the fingers, arms, and knees. It also has wheels on the bottom for smooth movements that let it dance and glide across the floor. The robot charges using a USB cord and lasts for 60 minutes of playtime.

Pros

  • Easy to charge
  • Programmable features are fun
  • Gesturing lets you come up with moves on the spot
  • Plenty of cool functions, with and without the remote

Cons

  • May be a little juvenile for some 12-year olds
  • Limited music functions

What We Love About It

If your 12-year-old is interested in robotics or programming, this is a great first step to pique his interest. This also avoids obstacles and can roll over some carpeting, so it is fun to play with all around the house.

Fortnite Llama Loot Pinata

Image of Fortnite Llama Loot Piata, Rust Lord

Summary

All the kids love Fortnite, and you know that you secretly love doing the dances, too. For your little Fortnite champ, grab this Fortnite Llama Loot Pinata featuring their favorite character, Rust Lord. They’ll love this llama pinata that’s chock full of fun stuff.  

Boys can get out some aggression by tearing open this 14-inch llama to get to the goodies inside. The makers recommend that you don’t bash it like a real pinata, because you could lose or damage some of the pieces. In any case, the goodies and confetti will come cascading out, which is super satisfying. 

Inside there are 23 different pieces. There’s a 4-inch action figure that can articulate at 14 different points, plus 10 weapons, 4 back bling, and 8 building materials that are only available via the pinatas. The stone building materials come together to create 2 different graffiti sprays. The building materials are compatible with other sets, too. 

Pros

  • FORTNITE!!
  • Figurine has realistic skin, just like in the game
  • Comes with accessories to make a playset
  • Piata can be used as decoration

Cons

  • Action figure is small!
  • Llama may fall apart during shipping due to the frail nature of pinatas

What We Love About It

Add this pinata with a little action figure to his collection and watch him turn into a little kid all over again.

The Boys’ Book of Survival

Image of the The Boys' Book Of Survival (How To Survive Anything, Anywhere)

Summary

From surviving quicksand and tigers to practical situations like the first day of school, this book brings real advice and funny antics together for an entertaining read. Your son can be prepared for anything with this guide. It encourages reading and offers useful tidbits along the way.

The Boys’ Book of Survival: How to Survive Anything, Anywhere teaches skills like treating a snakebite, track an animal, build a ladder, and more. If your son ever found himself in a survival situation, he would be prepared.

Pros

  • Includes serious, as well as silly scenarios
  • Good balance of fun and practicality
  • Images break up blocks of text and add to readability
  • Great way to engage your son in learning

Cons

  • Might not be a good choice for a boy all about facts (like one who doesn’t want to learn about how to survive an attack from an Abominable Snowman)

What We Love About It

This is the perfect combination of silly and serious to help your son navigate the world. This best gift includes everything from how to survive a school dance to how to survive an encounter with a man-eating tiger.

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

Summary

Now your boy and his friends (or you!) can play your very own game of wizards chess with the Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set. The board measures 18.5 x 18.5 inches, and all of the pieces stand 2 to 4 inches tall. Each color of chess pieces has it’s own drawstring bag for holding them all together, too.

Pros

  • Perfect for Harry Potter fans
  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • Chess is a great intellectual exercise

Cons

  • Pieces aren’t the best quality (cardboard and plastic)

What We Love About It

This is the best gift for a 12-year-old boy who loves Harry Potter and wants a unique gift that’s not just another version of the book or movie. 

National Geographic Break Open 4 Geodes Science Kit

Image of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Break Open 4 Geodes Kit - Discover Crystals Inside!

Summary

The National Geographic Break Open 4 Geodes Science Kit comes with a colorful, informative guide that helps you identify what you unearth. Inside, you’ll find four different geodes to be cracked open, each of them revealing glittering crystals inside. As the geodes come uncracked, each is a surprise.

Additionally, display stands are included to put the crystals on display. Pieces can be broken off once the geodes are opened as well. Finally, included safety goggles keep your son’s eyes protected as he breaks into the geodes to find what they have inside.

Pros

  • Colorful guide to learn about different crystals
  • Display stands and goggles included
  • Fun, cool way to learn about the earth
  • Surprise every time that you open a geode, as they have not been broken open before

Cons

  • Might not be a good fit for a boy who is not interested in geology or the earth

What We Love About It

This fun kit encourages learning about the minerals that make up the earth.

The Don’t Laugh Challenge

The Don't Laugh Challenge - 2nd Edition: Children's Joke Book Including Riddles, Funny Q&A Jokes, Knock Knock, and Tongue Twisters for Kids Ages 5, 6, ... (The Don't Laugh Challenge Series) (Volume 2)

Summary

The Don’t Laugh Challenge 2nd Edition: Children’s Joke Book is perfect for dishing out the best medicine: laughter. Jokes, riddles, puns, and everything in between are used as players sit facing each other and the jokes are read aloud. Each time someone does not laugh, they get a point. Whether your son sits around with friends or uses the book for family game night, it sure to have everyone in stitches by the end of the game.

Pros

  • Encourages laughter
  • Social interaction with friends or family
  • Turns laughter into a fun game
  • Helps your son get through the emotional throes of puberty

Cons

  • Some of the jokes are a little on the simple side

What We Love About It

Going through puberty can cause your son to have a lot of emotional changes, so a gift that will make him laugh is the perfect tool to help him stave off the puberty blues.

Kano Harry Potter Coding Wand Kit

Image of Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit - Build a Wand. Learn To Code. Make Magic.

Summary

Using the technological magic of computers, your kid can put together a Bluetooth wand and can execute commands that have been programmed into the wand with the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit.

The wand comes with a printed circuit board (PCB) with LED, buttons, batteries, and wand pieces. The guide explains what you should do and why it helps the wand to work, so it’s ideal for introducing tweens into the amazing world of computer coding.

Pros

  • Comes with all the parts, including batteries
  • Teaches computer coding
  • Features the world of Harry Potter
  • Encourages learning, problem-solving, and creativity

Cons

  • Not compatible with phones and some tablets

What We Love About It

You’ll need a compatible tablet or computer to download the Kano app, but once you do, there is a whole entire world on there to use with the wand. There are challenges that, once completed, open up a treasure trove of Harry Potter-themed stuff, like outfits and potions. 

I Am Fartacus (MAX)

OWI Samurai Scorpion Aluminum Skulpture Kit

Summary

This story is about a kid named Chub, who becomes bald after the school bully gives him a lice-killing potion that kills his hair as well. As Chub starts to uncover some of the dirt about Arch, who is running for class president, he finds that the darkness of his secrets goes much deeper than anticipated.

Some of the themes that become clear as your son reads I Am Fartacus (MAX) include the importance of friendship and teamwork, as Chub teams up with an unlikely group of friends to take down the dark empire of Arch.

It also becomes clear that it is important to stand up to bullies rather than bowing to his insecurities, Chub stands up for what is right for the sake of the entire school. He does this with the help (and resistance) of zany characters that only amp up the entertainment factor of the book.

Pros

  • Positive themes like teamwork and bravery
  • Teaches kids about overcoming bullying
  • Age-appropriate reading level is entertaining enough to get your son hooked
  • Plenty of zany characters
  • Has been compared to the well-known Diary of a Wimpy Kid’

Cons

  • Transphobic ideas presented when describing some of the characters

What We Love About It

This is the perfect combination of real-world issues like bullying and the fun of outrageous situations and characters. It also teaches critical lessons that your son can use as he moves onto his high school career.

LEGO Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor Building Kit

LEGO Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor 76125 Building Kit Marvel Tony Stark Iron Man Suit Action Figures (524 Pieces)

Summary

Is your 12-year-old boy a huge Avengers fan and LEGO fan? If so, he’s going to love the LEGO Marvel Avengers Iron Man Building Kit! Featuring 524 pieces, your little guy will get to bring Tony Stark’s lab to life. This kit also includes 5 minifigures, 2 action figures (Outriders), plus an Igor Suit mech that a minifigure can stand within.

Pros

  • 524 pieces
  • Can detach and rearrange Hall of Armor
  • Great for imaginative play!
  • Includes 6 minifigures (4 Iron Mans, 2 Outriders) plus Igor Suit mech

Cons

  • None that we could find!

What We Love About It

Did we mention this kit has a 5-star rating? Parents say this gift has been an absolute hit with kids and Avengers fans alike!

Waterproof Children’s Digital Sports Watch

National Geographic Kids Quiz Whiz: 1,000 Super Fun, Mind-bending, Totally Awesome Trivia Questions

Summary

The Waterproof Children’s Digital Sports Watch works as a daily or hourly alarm clock. It can easily be set with the push of a button and it has a backlight that lets the numbers remain clear any time of day. This watch features a sporty design and comes in four colors, including blue, red, green, and gray. It is shock-resistant and waterproof up to 30M, which enhances its durability for use on young wrists.

Pros

  • Comes in several color options
  • Easy digital display tells time and date and functions as an alarm clock
  • Waterproofness works at the beach, when showering, and in the pool
  • Sporty design

Cons

  • Cannot push buttons underwater or causes damage

What We Love About It

Though this wristwatch is designed to withstand the common challenges of living on the wrist of a tween, it can send the message that you trust your son to be responsible.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite - Turquoise

Summary

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the handheld version of the original Nintendo Switch. It’s less expensive and is still compatible with popular games, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You can choose from Turquoise, Coral, Gray, or Yellow. 

Pros

  • 5.5″ touch screen
  • Compatible with popular games
  • Less expensive than the original Nintendo Switch
  • Available in a few different colors
  • Can play on-the-go

Cons

  • Can only play in handheld mode

What We Love About It

This is a great choice for a 12-year-old boy who likes to take his gaming on-the-go. It’s not as pricey as the original Nintendo Switch, but still offers a fun gaming experience!

LETSCOM Bluetooth Headphones

Image of Letscom Bluetooth Headphones, 15Hrs Playtime Wireless 5.0 Earbuds IPX7 Waterproof Sport Running in-Ear Headsets w/Mic Stereo Sound Noise Cancelling - Upgraded Version

Summary

The LETSCOM Bluetooth Headphones will give your kiddo 15 hours of listening. Once the battery dies, it only takes an hour or two to get to a full charge.

These headphones work via 5.0 Bluetooth, which is a stable connection that works at greater distances (up to 900 feet or so). These are also IPX7 waterproof, which is a super-technical way of saying that they won’t die because of a little sweat or rain getting on them. This makes them perfect for sports!

The LETSCOM headphones also feature an ergonomic design so that the 11mm copper speakers can give you the perfect fit and perfect sound no matter how big or small your ears are. High-quality and noise-canceling speakers help to give crystal clear sound, whether listening to music or talking on the built-in mic. Finally, you can pick any color your boy wants from matte black to neon green to gray or even purple! No matter the color, these earbuds have rave reviews and are sure to please.

Pros

  • Great features at a great price
  • 11mm copper speakers are clear
  • Built-in microphone
  • Sweat and waterproof
  • Lots of colors

Cons

  • Connection can be temperamental
  • Sound quality isn’t the absolute best (compared to the top brands)

What We Love About It

A great Bluetooth headphone option that won’t break the bank!

Magneto 44 Inch Kicktail Cruiser Longboard

The Magneto 44 inch Kicktail Cruiser Longboard Skateboard | Bamboo and Hard Maple Deck | Made for Adults, Teens, and Kids … (Blue)

Summary

This 44-inch Kicktail Cruiser Longboard by Magneto is made with bamboo, maple, and aluminum. Because the deck doesn’t offer much flexibility, this longboard is a great choice for a 12-year-old boy who is new to skating.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Deck doesn’t flex much (easier to ride)
  • Made with bamboo and maple
  • Available with black, blue, or red wheels
  • Grip holds feet well 
  • Great quality

Cons

  • Slow to turn 
  • Does not offer as much flexibility as regular skateboards

What We Love About It

This is a trendy and easier way to board because of the solid grip on the deck and the fact that there’s less flexibility than a traditional skateboard. We also love the look of this bamboo and maple longboard.

PowerNet Baseball and Softball Practice Net

PowerNet Baseball and Softball Practice Net 7 x 7 with Bow Frame

Summary

Does your 12-year-old boy love baseball and all things sports? Then, he’ll enjoy building up his skills with the PowerNet Baseball and Softball Practice Net. With this 7’x7′ portable net, he can practice pitching, batting, fielding, and more. The net also collapses down to store and travel with easily.

Pros

  • Multiple ways to use (pitching, batting, etc.)
  • Collapsible
  • Portable (lightweight)
  • 7″x7″ in size
  • Sturdy net that can hold multiple balls

Cons

  • Some reviews say this product didn’t last long

What We Love About It

With an almost 5-star rating and almost 5,000 reviews, we feel confident in saying this practice net is a good buy. We love that it’s portable, easy to assemble/breakdown, and functions as a training tool for so many skills.

Handheld Game Console

Image of JAMSWALL Handheld Game Console, Retro Mini Game Player with 400 Classical FC Games 2.8-Inch Color Screen Support for Connecting TV & Two Players 800mAh Rechargeable Battery Present for Kids and Adult

Summary

The Batlofty Handheld Game Console looks like a GameBoy. It comes with a Nintendo-esque controller for 2-player games. That makes it ideal for playing retro games like Tetris, Contra, Super Mario, Pacman, Space Invaders, and even Pokemon. All told, there are 400 different games to provide hours and hours of non-repetitive gaming entertainment. 

The 2.8 inch LCD screen is small by today’s standards, but you can use the AV output to plug this into a computer or TV for a bigger gaming experience. The handheld console itself has a lithium battery with 5 hours of battery life before it needs a recharge.

Pros

  • Gaming on the go
  • 400 games for endless playing time
  • Can be plugged into a TV or computer
  • One player or two player options
  • Favorite characters like Mario and Pacman

Cons

  • Screen is small

What We Love About It

These arcade-style games are a great way to have fun and bond with your 12-year-old boy. He can take this console on the bus or to a doctor’s appointment to keep him entertained, and then you can play against each other when you get home. It’s a lot of fun for a great price!

Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Bundle with Fender Play Online Lessons, Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD

Summary

Set your 12-year-old boy up with his own Acoustic Guitar Bundle from Fender! This almost 5-star kit includes a Fender FA-115 acoustic guitar, clip-on tuner, extre set of strings, picks, straps, instructional DVD, and online lessons.

Pros

  • Steel strings
  • Includes instructional DVD and online lessons
  • Also available in Black, Natural, and Sunburst
  • Great quality (almost 5-stars!)

Cons

  • Not designed for left-handed players
  • May arrive with a sticker on the guitar that’s hard to remove
  • Low-quality case

What We Love About It

For a decent price, you’re getting an entire acoustic guitar kit plus guitar from Fender – a well-known and respected company. With lots of positive reviews and an almost 5-star rating, you can’t go wrong with this musical gift! 

Gifts for Similar Ages

How the Gifts Were Chosen

Choosing gifts for a 12-year old boy requires tact and an understanding of where your child is with their developmental milestones. Below, you’ll find the milestones of development for a 12-year old boy. By choosing gifts that coincide with certain milestones, you can encourage healthy development.

Physical Milestones

Perhaps even before he turns 12, it may become apparent that your son is growing up. Here are some of the physical milestones that he may reach as he grows into the age of 12:

  • Muscular development that is indicative of his body going through puberty
  • Greater interest and/or ability in sports
  • Possible growth spurt
  • Sexual development that occurs with puberty

Emotional Milestones

The time before the teenage years can be a challenge for adolescents. By choosing the best gifts for 12-year-olds, you can give your child a way to cope when they are stressed and an outlet for their emotions. Here are some emotional milestones you should expect:

  • More moodiness as your son enters puberty
  • Distancing themselves from their parents, guardians, and other relatives
  • Increased ability to understand stressors of the world, which can result in the uprising of mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and others
  • Questions family values and develops own sense of morality
  • Some rebellion

Social Milestones

Social milestones are major for a child growing into their adolescent period. The teenage years can be a tough time and without the social skills to make friends and the self-confidence to overcome obstacles, your son will not be set up for success. Here are some social milestones that your child should develop around age 12:

  • Greater attention to clothing and appearance
  • Greater interest in their peer group
  • Possible interest in sex, drinking and smoking (you should have an open, honest conversation with your child about these things and encourage open channels of communication)
  • Becomes interested in activities with the other gender (or expresses interest in boys as more than friends)

Cognitive Milestones

As your child’s body and social development continue, they will also meet several cognitive milestones. These are milestones associated with thought patterns. Here are some things you may notice in your 12-year old:

  • Stronger sense of right and wrong
  • Ability to express feelings by talking (though they may not always be willing to share at this age)
  • Greater ability for complex thought patterns
  • Greater understanding of their own role in success in school, social situations, and life in general
  • Desire to make his own decisions

FAQs about Gifts for 12-Year-Old Boys

Should I limit screen time with my 12-year-old boy?

One of the biggest challenges that you are going to face with a boy growing into a teen is going to be his screen habits.

There is nothing wrong with your son playing video games or watching television, especially if he is interacting socially by playing team games online. Not all screen time is created equally.

As long as your son is balancing his screen time with physical activity, social interaction, homework, and other responsibilities, and getting enough sleep, it’s fine.

By choosing things that engage your son without the use of electronics, you are encouraging variety in his activities.

What if my 12-year-old boy says he only wants video games as a gift?

If you let your son, he may decide to hole himself up in his room and play video games all day long.

Even if your son insists that he won’t use anything but video games, sometimes parents know best.

Engage his interests. For example, kids who are interested in playing shooter video games might benefit from the archery set mentioned above.

Limiting screen time and putting your foot down about how long he can play video games each day can also help. Your son will quickly realize he needs something to fill his time.

How can I choose gifts if my 12-year-old doesn’t seem to be interested in anything?

As children age, they may communicate with their parents less. They are distancing themselves and growing into their own person.

While you can keep the channels of communication open by having serious and casual conversations, your almost-teen will not always be cooperative.

The best thing that you can do is be interested and listen when your son does talk. He has interests; he just hasn’t shared them with you yet.

How do I choose toys that aren’t too young for my 12-year-old boy?

As kids go through puberty, they tend to look at some of their favorite toys and pastimes as being part of their life as a younger child.

As you choose toys and activities, think about those that meet your son’s needs. Explore his interests with things like race cars, building sets, and activities that he can do with his friends.

Does my 11 or 12-year-old have to have the right brand?

No, and yes. Platinum Threads may be no better than what you can buy at Walmart; may come off the same line, in fact. Buying Platinum Threads makes no practical sense. But kids aren’t practical. They want the right thing, and there is a right thing. Usually, it’s a more expensive thing.

The right thing won’t make your child popular, but it will make him more comfortable among his peers. If you can’t afford the right thing, even secondhand, be honest with your child; she’ll understand. Notice what the kids in your kid’s society are wearing, what they’re carrying. Try to buy reasonably-priced things for your child that are not too far off.

If you can afford the right thing, buy one on occasion (and one for the kid whose parents can’t afford it).

It’s hard being a kid, especially for tweens and teens. Everything doesn’t have to be the right thing.

Everything shouldn’t be the right thing. But your child will be a lot more comfortable if he has at least a few things that are.

Should I let my 11 or 12-year-old boy have a party that includes girls?

Not unless the party is all-inclusive: all boys and girls in the class, all boys and girls in the neighborhood, church class, club, etc. It’s too early for special opposite-sex friends or mixed cliques. With boy and girl parties, close supervision is key.

How do I choose a thoughtful gift for my 11 or 12-year-old boy?

The most thoughtful gifts are always those which take into consideration your recipient’s need, preferences, and personality. If he’s a racing fanatic, maybe it’s tickets to the races. If she’s suddenly gone horse-crazy, maybe it’s the opportunity to ride. In purchasing personal belongings, consider his or her favorite color, tastes, hobbies, and style.

Maybe the child needs spending money for an upcoming field trip, new equipment for a chosen activity or sports team, art supplies, or even the fees for participation in a club or activity. A thoughtful gift says not just, I love you, but, I know who you are.

How can I be sure I am purchasing the game or device my 12-year-old grandson is asking for?

This is very difficult, especially for grandparents. Have the child show you the item online, or have the parents send you a link to the product.

This is especially helpful for technology gifts, but it’s a foolproof means of identifying any product. It is a good idea, as children get older, in fact, to have them send a list of links for specific gift ideas rather than hand you a handwritten birthday list.

Wrap Up

Choosing gifts or toys for an almost-teen can be a challenge. When you consider your son’s interests, cater to his needs outside of playing video games or watching television, and choose toys and gifts that can encourage exploration and learning, choosing the best gift for your 12-year-old becomes easier.

Hopefully, this list helps you find something age-appropriate and engaging.


Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis

Samantha Davis is a part-time writer and a full-time mommy of two boys, Apollo (age 5) and Adrien (age 7). She has been working as a writer for seven years and one day plans to run her own writing company. For now, Samantha homeschools her little ones while seeing the country with her fiance who travels for work.