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Being a 12-year-old kid isn't easy, and neither is shopping for them during the holidays. They are at the age where they're figuring out who they want to hang out with, and their friends are of utmost importance. They may or may not get offended if you call them kids.
To make shopping for this tricky age a little less complicated, we've found some mom-approved gifts they're sure to love. From a digital flat iron to a Giant Jenga and the coolest game controller, there's sure to be something for every finicky tween on the list.
When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
Our top gifts for 12-year-olds
- 1. What’s That Smell? $13, Amazon
TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
Most 12-year-old boys are easily entertained by smelly things! This is a fun party game that literally stinks with more than 50 scratch-and-sniff mystery smells. This will put their sniffers to the test.
- 2. Air Hogs Extreme Paraglider, $30, Amazon
Test their skills with the Air Hogs Extreme Air Board! This 2-in-1 RC flyer transforms from a stunt board to a paraglider. Float it through the air and see what kind of tricks it can pull off!
- 3. Mini Buddha Board, $15, Amazon
Dip the brush into water and make a masterpiece on this simple canvas. When the water evaporates they can start all over again.
- 4. Gravitrax Starter Set, $64, Amazon
This is the perfect gift for a curious kid who gets bored with most toys. They'll design and build their own race tracks and experiment with gravity, magnetism and kinetics to race a ball to the finish on this interactive track system.
- 5. Brain Fart, $21, Amazon
Take turns naming things in certain categories until the brain timer farts! This is sure to get a chuckle from everyone.
Fashion and beauty gifts for 12-year-olds
- 1. Ceramic Flat Iron, $50, Target
Also check out this $20 flat iron we tried and loved.
Maintaining the mane might be important to your tween, and this ceramic flat iron will make sure their tresses are perfectly smooth. This digital iron reaches up to 440 degrees and helps reduce frizz.
- 2. Kate Spade New York Penguin Crossbody Bag, $148, Amazon
This bag will always be cherished by your pre-teen. The Penguin Crossbody purse is the perfect accessory to store their phones safely and keep any cash for a last-minute hot cocoa.
- 3. Kumi Kreator Friendship Bracelet Maker, $20, Walmart
Spin this handy tool to create sweet friendship bracelets that turn into awesome gifts for their friends!
- 4. Bear Paws Tall Suede Boots, $46-$105, Amazon
This classic suede boot will keep her feet toasty and let her shine as a fashionista. Don't worry about getting these dirty because the suede is treated with NeverWet technology that repels salt and water.
Tech gifts for 12-year-olds
- 1. Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 Camera and Printer, $100, Amazon
Kids will love this 2-in-1 digital camera and printer. Snap a selfie and print the photo instantly! The compact design also slips perfectly into a back pocket.
- 2. Bluetooth Banana Phone $40, Amazon
Pair this Bluetooth-enabled banana handset to your cell phone and get talking! It also supports a great cause, too. The company donates 1 percent of all revenue to support gorilla conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- 3. Sky Vipor Pro Video Drone, $70, Walmart
No need to worry about losing this drone because its new GPS tracking system returns it straight home at the push of a button. It also streams wide-angle videos so they can see exactly what the birds are seeing up above!
- 4. Scuf Vantage Wireless Controller, $200, Game Stop
Gift your 12-year-old the wireless controller that professional gamers swear by. Achieve precision gaming with the customizable side action buttons, hair triggers, lengths, stops and tension. Adjust the sound with the audio touch bar for a truly high-tech experience.
- 5. Karaoke Machine for Adults and Kids with 2 Microphones, $120, Amazon
This is perfect for your tween's next sleepover. Connect a phone or tablet for a night of nonstop karaoke!
- 6. Monet Slim Wallet with Expanding Stand, $15, Amazon
This cute little carrier has a secure grip, slides flat when the phone is in a pocket and slides open when someone is holding it. It also has two pockets to hold any cash or credit cards.
- 7. LuMee Case $70, Amazon
The perfect selfie is everything at this age, and this phone case makes it happen! This newer version of the influencer-approved case has dimmable LED lights on the front and back.
- 8. Nintendo Switch, $300, Target
The versatile Nintendo Switch can be played in two ways — at home positioned in its docking station or on the go as a handheld game system. We love it for family game nights!
Games for 12-year-olds
- 1. Disney’s Villainous Board Game, $32, Walmart
No matter the age, everyone loves a good villain. This board game from Disney gives older kids a chance to remember their favorite Disney villains while setting traps and wild curses as their favorite evil-doers like Maleficent, Ursula, and Captain Hook. Find out who will triumph over evil and win!
- 2. Laser Chess, $40, Barnes and Noble
Laser Chess is a great STEM toy for both boys and girls. It's just like a traditional game of chess ... but with lasers! This game helps develop critical thinking skills and is a MENSA Select award winner.
- 3. Giant Jenga, $80, Amazon
Here’s a jumbo take on the original Jenga game. The design can reach heights over 5-feet tall, and it's perfect for entertaining friends!
- 4. Monopoly Fortnite, $16, Target
This edition of the classic Monopoly game is inspired by the Fortnite craze that took over millions of kids' lives last year. How long can you survive in the game?
- 5. The Original Tiny Hands Challenge Game, $15, Amazon
This is a hilarious new party game that will have everyone laughing. Compete and earn points in fun physical stunts with two pairs of tiny hand props.
- 6. When in Rome $30 Amazon
Fly to Mumbai, London or New York City! Amazon's Alexa acts as the host of this game to bring your child around the world.
- 7. Blindfolded Twister, $20, Target
Here's a twist on this classic party game Twister! It's the same game, but this time played wearing blindfolds. Players still move to spots on the mat, but now they play completely by touch and memory. Who will be the last player standing?
- 8. Skee Ball, $35, Target
Your child will love competing with their friends in this classic arcade game. It's also easily portable so they can keep it at home or take it to a friend's house.
Toys for 12-year-olds
- 1. Fuggler Plush, $15, Barnes and Noble
These funny, ugly monsters are creepy, mysterious and kind of cute? The brand was originally launched on Etsy where people loved their real-looking dentures. Now, it's one of the hottest toys for millennials and Hollywood stars.
- 2. Volkswagen Camper Jigsaw Puzzle, $30, Amazon
Every kid likes a good jigsaw puzzle. Hang loose as they piece together one of the retro Volkswagen designs.
- 3. Mobo trike, $249, Amazon
This is the ultimate three-wheeled cruiser. A new, innovative rear-wheel steering system and a sleek design will give your kid quite a workout, too.
- 4. Nerf Laser Ops, $30, Walmart
This is laser battling as you've never seen it before. Blast up to 225 feet and connect with the app to track statistics and more!
- 5. Nintendo Game Boy Heat Change Mug, $25, Amazon
Your gaming child will love sipping hot cocoa while watching the heat-controlled GameBoy console light up with a game on the mug. It's a great stocking stuffer.
- 6. Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie, $45, Walmart
This interactive Chewbacca is the perfect gift for the "Star Wars" fanatic. There are more than 100 sound and motion combinations to discover. He even has great facial expressions and, of course, responds in the Wookiee language!
- Gifts for 8-year-olds
- Gifts for 9-year-olds
- Gifts for 10-year-olds
- Gifts for 11-year-olds
- Gifts for teens