The last year before becoming officially a teenager, age 12 is an age of being in-between. On the one hand, 12-year-olds have not quite become teenagers and can still act like children you have known up until now, but on the other hand, they are rapidly approaching the teenage years and you often begin to see little glimpses of this in their desire for independence and self-expression. Fortunately, at this stage, the changes that go along with the teenager years are still emerging slowly so there is time to prepare.
All of this though can make choosing a gift slightly trickier, as you may be unsure whether to go for something like a toy or something more suited to a teenager. This list brings together some more mature toys, and some practical items, so you can find something suitable for the 12-year-old boy you are buying for.
1. Anki Cozmo Robot
12-year-old boys usually love technology and it’s a great interest to encourage as the world demands more and more advanced technological skills for everyday life as well as in industry and careers. Coding skills, in particular, are in demand and the Anki Cozmo Robot is an easy way to encourage children to work on those skills, without it feeling like extra school work!
The Anki Cozmo Robot is a fun, life-like robot friend with the ability to play interactive games and explore. Using the app on a compatible device, children can learn to write code for the robot, who is durable enough to stand up to a few bumps and bruises as it is used in play.
2. Amazon Echo Dot
12-year-olds are starting to want their own space to listen to the music of their choice, so adding an Amazon Echo Dot to their bedroom, playroom or den might help to keep the peace and promote their independence and self-expression at the same time.
The Amazon Echo Dot is extremely popular, with many people already utilizing Echo dots in their homes, so adding another is not generally a problem and also means that the Dots can be used as a kind of intercom system to talk to one another from different rooms; ideal for checking that the 12-year-old really is doing his homework or reminding him that dinner will be ready soon! With 360-degree audio and Alexa voice control, a 12-year-old will relish the opportunity to create their own space and atmosphere.
3. Upriser Ducati Panigale V4 S Remote Controlled Motorcycle
Remote-controlled vehicles are popular with 12-year-old boys who like technology and the opportunity to control items. The Upriser Ducati Panigale V4 S Remote Controlled Motorcycle is a replica of a popular motorcycle that can be controlled and used to perform stunts.
With up to 45 minutes of drive time from a single charge, the Upriser Ducati V4 S Remote Controlled Motorcycle gives 12-year-olds a longer opportunity to play; practicing steering and negotiating space, thereby developing spatial awareness. The self-balancing motorcycle can reach speeds of up to 12 mph and perform several different stunts, this will be a popular gift for a 12-year-old boy.
4. Lego Technic Fast & Furious Dom’s Dodge Charger
Based on a car from the popular Fast & Furious Movies this replica of a classic muscle car is the perfect gift for a 12-year-old boy who is a fan of Lego, vehicles or the Fast & Furious Movies. The Lego Technic Fast & Furious Dom’s Dodge Charger kit features moving pistons, suspension, steering and air blowers to help develop children’s understanding of this technology.
Building with Lego in general, helps to develop important engineering skills but the Lego Technic range has been specially developed to encourage these skills further, making it ideal for boys with a particular interest in engineering or mechanics.
5. Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile gaming system, offering the opportunity to connect to a TV or screen at home as well as a portable gaming system with great battery life. The handheld device is a popular selling point as many gamers want the ability to play on-the-go.
For many 12-year-olds this will be perfect, offering the ability to play wherever they are. We often think of playing video games as a simple leisure pursuit but they offer plenty of learning benefits too. Alongside increasing skills associated with technology, playing video games can increase physical dexterity in the thumb and fingers, improve hand-eye coordination and reaction times and develop critical thinking skills. This is a big-ticket gift that will certainly please a 12-year-old recipient.
6. Vatos Infrared Laser Tag Guns Set with Vests
There’s no denying that 12-year-old boys love technology, but it’s all too easy for them to become creatures of habit; stuck inside using screens far too often. At 12-years-old fresh air and exercise are still very important components of growth and development so anything that gets children moving is a good thing!
The Vatos Infrared Laser Tag Guns Set with vests is ideal for encouraging physical activity as children chase one another, and learn to aim and fire the safe, infrared technology, guns. There are several different modes that can be used including team mode to encourage children to work together and play as a team. The Laser Tag game is very easy to set up so they can get started right away with a high degree of independence.
7. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Marvel Spider-Man
Building healthy habits in childhood is key to keeping healthy as adults, and, as many 12-year-olds want to imitate the behavior of adults, a smartwatch could be a great idea. Smartwatches have a whole range of features, like a pedometer and goal setting which can help to keep children active and healthy.
The Garmin vivofit Jr. 2 Marvel Spider-man watch uses a popular superhero design to appeal to 12-year-olds but syncs with a mobile app in the same way as adult smart-watches too. It is robust and swim-friendly so it should stand up to a 12-year-olds lifestyle. This is a good way to encourage positive use of technology in a child’s lifestyle too.
8. Hasbro Gaming Bop It!
Encourage a different type of gaming with the Hasbro Gaming Bop It! Whilst the game is electronic there are no screens involved, instead the Bop It! calls out instructions that players must follow, completing tasks like turning pieces or ‘bopping’ the hand-held electronic game. This improves children’s thinking and reaction times.
The Hasbro Gaming Bop It! requires a 12-year-old to complete lots of different physical actions like twisting, turning, pressing, making hammering and sawing actions that improve their physical speed and dexterity. This game can be played alone, as the player tries to beat their own high score or against others by taking turns.
9. Nerf Fortnite TS Blaster
Nerf blasters are extremely popular with 12-year-old boys and are ideal for fast-moving games and fun. This blaster comes with 20 darts and can fire these from a motorized barrel which will certainly keep things moving quickly!
Playing with Nerf blasters is a great way to improve hand eye coordination and develop spatial awareness as a 12-year-old handles and aims the blaster. This particular blaster is based on the popular Fortnite computer game which is sure to make it a real hit with many 12-year-olds, for whom playing with Nerf blasters can be a popular social activity as they play imaginative, strategy-based games with their Nerf blasters, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
10. Intex Seahawk 2
Water sports require plenty of confidence in the water, but by age 12 many children are able to swim and feel very confident in the water, and so they start seeking out that next water-based adventure and thrill. The Seahawk 2 is a 2-person boat with a 200 kg weight limit and includes the pump and paddles needed.
This boat promotes outdoor, physical play helping children to stay active and be healthy whilst continuing to build their confidence and physical skill in water. A great gift for a 12-year-old boy who is starting to explore water sports!
11. Lego Technic Rough Terrain Crane
The Lego technic range has been specially designed and developed to promote engineering skills and understanding as well as improving children’s construction skills. The Lego Technic Rough Terrain Crane set is a challenging build, suitable for a 12-year-old boy, with plenty of authentic details. It also has a motorized superstructure and 4-wheel steering.
This set is ideal for developing concentration and perseverance as instructions need to be followed carefully, and patience is required to fit all of the pieces together. The set can be used with others from the Lego Technic range and with other Lego bricks to expand construction or produce more creative designs.
12. Ray-Ban Junior Wayfarer
By age 12 many boys are becoming a lot more conscious about how they look and what they wear so, for a style-conscious 12-year-old a nice pair of sunglasses would make a luxurious and practical gift. Instead of toys which may or may not be used a pair of sunglasses is practical and will certainly be used on vacation or throughout the summer.
The Ray-Ban Junior Wayfarer sunglasses are available in a range of colors so that you can choose a pair that will suit the 12-year-old boy you’re buying for. They have UV protection to keep eyes protected from the sun’s rays and come with a protective case so that they can be kept safe when on the go.
13. Sphero SPRK+
Technology is a huge interest for many 12-year-old boys and robotics in particular is an area that many find exciting and fascinating. The good news is that as technology improves around the world robotics is a growing industry with more and more complex robots being designed and built every day and the ability to work within this field is growing too.
The Sphero SPRK+: App-Enabled Robotic Ball and Programmable Robot is ideal for 12-year-old boys who have a growing interest in this sector as it provides hands-on activities and helps to develop children’s coding skills as they use the compatible app to write programs for the robot to carry out.
14. Ravensburger Porsche 911
Based on the classic Porsche 911 car to spark a 12-year-old boy’s interest this 3D jigsaw puzzle is a great way to increase construction skills and spatial awareness as they figure out where to place each piece, and then have to carefully place each piece. The jigsaw puzzle does not require glue, as the pieces are designed to hold together without it but children must use careful fine motor skills to ensure that pieces hold well.
The Ravensburger Porsche 911 3D jigsaw puzzle would make an ideal gift for a 12-year-old boy with an interest in classic cars and will help to build concentration and perseverance.
15. Geospace Original Jump Rocket
Playing outdoors is important for 12-year-olds who still need plenty of fresh air and physical activity, but finding novel ways to encourage this can become increasingly more difficult as boys get older. The Geospace Original Jump Rocket is a fun way to get a 12-year-old boy outside and doing something a little bit different.
The Geospace Original Jump Rocket is 100% air powered; launching is achieved by jumping on the durable launch pad and sending the rocket flying up into the air. Flights of up to 300 feet can be achieved on each launch, and the whole set up has really been built to last. An ideal gift to keep a 12-year-old boy busy outside.
16. Hasbro Risk Board Game
Risk is a classic board game that can be played at family gatherings with older children and adults, or with friends. Playing board games in this way offers a whole host of benefits to children as it helps to develop social skills. 12-year-olds will love being able to join in with what adults and older children are doing and will develop social skills such as turn-taking, emotional self-regulation and playing by the rules.
The Hasbro Risk Board Game is a particularly good game for developing strategy skills such as critical thinking, planning ahead and problem-solving as players have to decided how to distribute their resources and what to prioritize. These are important skills that a 12-year-old could use in a range of situations.
17. Lego Architecture Las Vegas
Over 500 pieces of Lego that can be made into an accurate, detailed replica of the Las Vegas Skyline, this set is ideal for 12-year-old boys who are beginning to develop an interest in architecture or geography. This set features famous Las Vegas landmarks to improve 12-year-olds knowledge of the area and also comes with a booklet explaining some of the architecture found in Las Vegas.
The Lego Architecture Las Vegas set will help to improve children’s construction skills as well as their ability to follow instructions, concentrate and persevere at an activity for an extended period of time. It is also compatible with other Lego sets if the 12-year-old you’re buying for likes to play creatively.
An award-winning party game Klask is half table football and half-air hockey and can be played on any flat surface, making it portable and ideal to take to family events or friends’ houses. 12-year-old boys like to be involved in what adults and older children are doing and Klask is a great way to do this at parties and events.
Each match of Klask lasts for just 10 minutes making it ideal for tournament play. For 12-year-old boys, this kind of involvement promotes plenty of important social skills as well as improving physical skills and spatial awareness through gameplay.
19. Lacoste Unisex Kid’s Analogue Quartz Watch
By age 12 many boys are pretty fashion conscious and want to express themselves through their style. A watch makes a lovely, special gift for a boy who is starting to become more interested in their image.
The Lacoste Analogue Classic Quartz watch has a classic, clean and sporty design and is made with high-quality materials. Water-resistance means that it can stand up to being worn by a 12-year-old and it comes with a gift box and 2-year warranty, making it an ideal gift.
20. Newyes 12 Inch LCD Writing & Drawing Tablet
12-year-old boys don’t always love practicing spellings, handwriting or maths but if it is presented in a new or novel way then they are much more likely to engage in the activity. The Newyes Kids LCD Writing Tablet is a safe, high tech screen that encourages children to write and increases creativity. Children can draw directly onto the screen, and delete at the touch of a button.
Portable and lightweight the Newyes Kids LCD Writing Tablet is great for taking along in the car. It is battery powered but doesn’t use a lot of power, and no charging is required.
21. Fjällräven Kånken Art Special Edition
A backpack makes an ideal, practical gift for a 12-year-old boy as at this age they begin to develop their own hobbies and interests and spend more time independently out of the house. A 12-year-old boy will probably need a backpack for school, and then may need one for school sports kit, any extra-curricular sports or activities and will usually like to have one to take to friends’ houses too. So even if the boy you’re buying for already has a backpack, another will probably still come in useful!
The Fjällraven Kånken Art Special Edition is a specialized designed edition of a popular, stylish backpack brand. The backpack has useful built-in features such as cushioned pockets, lightweight, durable fabric and adjustable shoulder straps. It’s available in two special artistic designs so you can choose one to suit his look and personality!
22. Intex Pool Side Rocking Lounger
Most 12-year-old boys love days at the pool and are starting to be able to enjoy time relaxing as well as plenty of time playing in the water. Confidence in water and physical swimming skills are important for 12-year-olds and contributes to their overall sense of wellbeing as well as health and fitness.
The Intex Pool Side Rocking Lounger can be used in the water and out and has a contoured design for added comfort, handles for stability and built-in cup holders for convenience. As an inflatable, this product is easily portable so can be taken on vacations, pool parties or for a day at the pool.
23. Minecraft Boys Creeper Robe
A comfy and cozy robe makes a great, practical gift that a 12-year-old will get plenty of use out of. The Minecraft Boys Creeper Robe is a fantastic option for a boy who is interested in the popular Minecraft video game, but for whom you want to buy a physical product or practical gift. The fun design features an all-over print of Creepers, Zombies and Skeletons from Minecraft.
The Minecraft Boys Creeper Robe is official Minecraft merchandise, available in a range of sizes and has a hood and pockets. Perfect for cozy nights in, or lazy mornings playing Minecraft!
24. Kan Jam Portable Disc Slam Outdoor Game
Physical skills like throwing, catching, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness are still being worked upon and improved at 12-years-old but are also usually of a high enough standard that children can enjoy joining in with games with family and friends.
The Kan Jam Portable Disc Slam Outdoor Game is great for all ages, develops a whole host of physical skills and has a quick easy set up too. A great gift for a 12-year-old boy who loves sports and playing outdoors.
25. Lego Technic Hovercraft
Part of the Lego Technic range, the Lego Technic Hovercraft set is ideal for 12-year-old boys who are particularly interested in vehicles, mechanics or engineering because the range has been specially designed to promote this kind of understanding and skills.
The Lego Technic Hovercraft set features sticker detailing which needs to be carefully placed, so children can follow instructions and use their fine motor skills to place the stickers appropriately. This set also has plenty of working parts, demonstrating engineering features and is compatible with other Lego sets to promote creativity.
26. Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid
Noise from gaming, music and TV can become an issue at 12-years-old and cause conflict in the household; these noise-canceling headphones might just provide a solution. Compatible with a whole range of devices, using Bluetooth connectivity, these headphones can be used for various activities, saving the household from the noise of a 12-year-old boy’s interests and saving the 12-year-boy from the noise of the rest of the household!
These high-quality headphones reduce noise by about 90% so he can concentrate fully on what he’s doing. With a 40-hour playtime and comfortable design, with memory foam features, these make a great gift.
27. New Era NY Yankees Baseball Cap
If you’re looking to buy a more practical gift for a 12-year-old boy then a baseball cap may be a good idea. A baseball cap can be both fashionable and practical, and the New Era NY Yankees Baseball Cap ticks both of these boxes.
With its classic design, the New Era NY Yankees Baseball Cap is available in a range of colors so you can select one which suits the 12-year-old boy that you’re buying for. As well as being a fashion statement a baseball cap is also ideal for protection from the sun and made from 100% cotton to stay cool.
28. Ravensburger Notre Dame 3D Jigsaw Puzzle
Encouraging an interest in architecture or construction is a great idea for a 12-year-old boy as these kinds of skills are becoming increasingly in demand in the workplace. The Ravensburger Notre Dame 3D Jigsaw Puzzle is a 3D Jigsaw Puzzle, which produced a replica of the famous Paris Notre Dame Cathedral, without the need for glue.
12-year-old boys will have to work carefully using fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness to fit the pieces together, improving their perseverance and concentration.
29. Nerf N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster
The Nerf N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster is ideal for fast-moving games and fun. It comes with 25 darts and can fire these from a motorized barrel at up to 5 darts per second which will lead to a lot of fast-paced fun!
Playing with Nerf blasters is a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and develop spatial awareness as a 12-year-old handles and aims the blaster. This can be a popular social activity for 12-year-old boys who often like to play imaginative, strategy-based games with their Nerf blasters, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
30. Hasbro Gaming Simon Air Game
Simon is a classic memory game, requiring the player to remember colors in a sequence and getting progressively harder as the game progresses. This is a game that can be played independently, or as a challenge with friends and obviously focuses on improving memory skills.
The Hasbro Gaming Simon Air Game uses motion-sensing technology to provide a twist on this classic game and involves the player carrying out a series of actions to repeat the sequence they have memorized. This would make a great gift for a 12-year-old boy who likes to set himself challenges and play independently.
Whether you decide to buy a toy, game or practical gift from this list all of the items we have selected provide a range of benefits to a 12-year-old boy’s development. As 12-year-olds have very distinct personalities, styles and interests it’s important that you choose something suitable for the particular 12-year-old boy you are buying for by taking all of these factors into consideration.
12-year-old boys may be beginning to approach the more difficult teenage years but they still do look up to the adults in their lives and appreciate being given gifts by them. This appreciation will often translate to a desire to try out something slightly new or different, so even if you select a game, toy or kit that they may not have chosen themselves, they are often still likely to give it a try. We hope you find the perfect gift for the 12-year-old boy you have in mind.