Trying to buy the right gift for a 12-year-old can be tough. They are too old for kid toys and too young for some teen-oriented items, but they still want gifts tailored to their newly sophisticated interests.
To help make things a little bit less complicated, we’ve compiled a list of gifts that are parent- and tween-approved.
To quickly jump to the category you're looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all 66:
- Best games for 12-year-olds
- Best outdoor gear for 12-year-olds
- Best clothing and accessories for 12-year-olds
- Best food gifts for 12-year-olds
- Best tech gifts for 12-year-olds
- Best beauty gifts for 12-year-olds
- Unique gifts for 12-year-olds
Best games for 12-year-olds
Nertz is the high-speed card game your 12-year-old didn't know they needed. The game, which can be played solo or in pairs, takes Solitaire to the next level with a new setup, time pressure and added competition.
Essentially 20 questions but 10, try and guess the Marvel character in 10 yes-or-no questions or less! Other editions include animals and the 50 states.
A combination of telephone and charades, actors and drawers both can indulge in this family-friendly board game. Draw what you see acted out, pass it to the person next to you and they have a chance to figure out the word based on what they saw and your drawing. One reviewer said it's "one of the funniest games I've ever played."
Challenge your opponent to see who breaks a smile first with this book specifically designed for 12-year-olds. For less than $10, you have a funny joke gift that will keep them entertained.
Since they're too young to actually go axe throwing, bring the fun of the sport into your home with this axe throwing game! It comes with the target, an over-the-door hanger and two foam axes.
A mix between four square and volleyball, tweens will have a blast playing this competitive game. Bonus: It will get them moving and encourage them to get outdoors.
This game of wits is fun for the whole family. Spymasters give one-word clues that point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates must use these clues to select their team's words, all while avoiding the words belonging to the other team and the game-ending assassin.
Compete like an NFL superstar in the latest iteration of Madden NFL from EA Sports. Realistic graphics, sophisticated playbooks and voice commentary will make them think they're actually playing on the field, plus nods to football legends of yesteryear will make this release extra appealing for sports-loving dads and grandpas who want to play, too.
Here’s a non-political game that teaches your children elements of math and the electoral college. (Let’s face it, half of the adults don’t understand, either!) This game was developed by a former Coast Guard officer and is a former Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner.
Your kid can become part of the Marvel Universe as an iconic comic book villain in this new extension of the Villainous franchise. Each villain follows a unique path to victory and uses different abilities to face other bad guys and mighty heroes from across the universe.
Got a kid who just loves toaster pastries? Here’s a game just for them! Grab the most Pop-Tarts from a parade of pastries lined up between the freezer and the toaster. After all the Pop-Tarts are gone, the player who “ate” the most points wins!
One of the greatest arcade-driving games ever is back on the track. Burn rubber and shred metal across the open roads of Paradise City while discovering jumps, stunts and shortcuts.
Best outdoor gear for 12-year-olds
Worried about your 12-year-old's roughhousing? These Bump N' Bounce Body Bumpers will add extra surface area to the tween's fun. "Great way to get kids outside and play, bounce off each other, try to get up and roll everywhere laughing, and having fun!" one reviewer wrote. "Great for a birthday party, day at the park, picnics, family gathering....consider buying adult size too for family fun."
Mount this version of a ring toss game in the garage or basement for rainy days when playing outside is not ideal. See how many tries it takes to successfully land the ring on the hook with this family-friendly game that will bring out the competitiveness in everyone.
Put their skills to the test with this pogo stick meets skateboard combo toy. It's completely safe and and can hold up to 160 pounds. Plus, you can buy confidently knowing it has over 1,600 five-star ratings on Amazon alone.
Is the weather outside frightful? That's no issue for this hovering soccer ball! Now you can bring the game safely inside. It's kickable and rechargeable.
Learn to train like a ninja warrior with your own backyard gym kit, including obstacles, storage bag, nylon ropes, monkey bars, gym rings and more. It's also a perfect gift to help your child’s overall strength and self-confidence.
This is basically the stretch limo of hoverboards. It comes equipped with an optional training mode for beginners and Razor’s EverBalance technology. Plus, it can also handle riders up to 176 pounds.
This electric scooter features a hand-operated front brake in addition to the rear fender brake, creating a dual-braking system for better control. It’s for kids who love speed, as it can go up to 10 mph.
Best clothing and accessories for 12-year-olds
Just because your 12-year-old's feet keep growing doesn't mean that they don't deserve fuzzy slippers.
For the tween constantly jetting off to practice, help them keep their hair out of their face with this reversible pink and orange headband that fits perfectly to their liking with the adjustable tie feature.
For day trips or Saturdays at the mall when they need to pack a little bit more than the necessities, gift them the Fleece Everywhere belt bag from Lululemon. Outfitted with both an exterior and interior pocket, it has plenty of space to hold a wallet, keys, phone, lip balm and then some.
To be worn as a cute accessory in their hair or as a fun bracelet, these add a fun pearl detailing no matter where its worn.
Keep your tween's toes perfectly comfy wherever they are with these bestselling pillow sandals. Aside from their ergonomic shape and raised anti-slip design, they're also available in over a dozen trendy colors for whatever their aesthetic is during this pivotal time.
With over 5,300 verified five-star Amazon ratings and counting, The Comfy continues to make the comfiest sweatshirt around. Designed to be a wearable blanket, your tween will love cozying up in this jacket.
Even if you haven't heard about the Croc trend, odds are your 12-year-old has. Let them personalize and style their shoes with these adorable shoe charms. They are made with waterproof PVC material to ensure lasting durability.
This sturdy backpack is not only cute, but it's also durable! The Scandinavian brand excels in designing minimalist, functional accessories, and this school essential will have them covered with a water-resistant exterior, a roomy interior that carries most 13" laptops and comfortable handles and shoulder straps.
For the tween who's got a laid-back style, this two-piece set — featuring a relaxed-fit sweatshirt and joggers with elastic cuffs — makes the perfect gift.
Speaking of matching sets, this funky coral swirl set is perfect for sleepovers or for catching up on homework.
Simple yet cool, this star choker is sure to win over any tween. We also love this cord black choker — and so do Etsy buyers — as both of these picks are bestsellers.
The '90s-era camo trend is going strong, and your tween can rock it with these comfy joggers. They're perfect for lounging or wearing during class.
These are the hottest sneakers among tweens out there. The Nike Air Force 1 has a foam platform midsole and a luxe leather upper. Now let’s see if your child can keep them clean.
Keep your child warm during cooler weather in this lightweight Columbia hooded jacket. The insulation and plush fleece lining will keep them super cozy.
Your athlete can perform in top condition with these turf cleats from Nike. The TPU upper molder creates an additional sense of stability while on the field, while retractable and extendable pegs optimizes their active time.
These adorable slip-on ballet flats are comfortable and come in several hues that are sure to match anything in her closet. They're perfect for school, play dates and hanging out with friends!
These slip-ons are perfect for your tween. They are faux fur with a sheepskin footbed, making them super warm and toasty.
After-bath duty will be extra special in this luxe waffle weave bathrobe.
Best food gifts for 12-year-olds
We're here to tell you that plushie stuffed animals are still "cool" in middle school (they're even on trend in college). For the tween who's into food, this bubble milk tea plushie will combine their loves for plushies and yummy food.
Now they can have a taste of the big city in their own kitchen with this DIY Rainbow Bagel Kit. For breakfast or a sweet treat, this kit makes a dozen bagels to enjoy throughout the week. Reviewers rave about how easy the instructions are to follow — and how delicious the aftermath is.
This is an appropriately-designed customizable apron perfect for whipping up delicious desserts and delectables in the kitchen. This apron isn't too 'kiddish' so they're sure to enjoy it! These are "great quality, beautiful colors," according to one reviewer, adding that her granddaughters "will have growing room into their teens!"
If your tween is already starting to allocate their allowance for bubble tea, this is the gift for them. This kit comes with everything they'll need to make these delicious drinks at home: black and chai tea, tapioca pearls and reusable steel straws.
These hand-painted, 16-ounce mugs make eating way more fun. The inspiring baller will love shooting hoops as they enjoy a snack.
Kids love exploring other cultures — and eating is a great way to do it. Every month, your child can receive a curated box of high-quality Japanese snacks and candies.
Let your junior baker roll out their very own cookies with this mini embossed rolling pin. It’s perfect for personalizing their name on cookie dough.
For the child that doesn’t live nearby, they'll appreciate this sweet surprise. These delicious cupcakes come in a fan-favorite assortment of flavors and can be delivered right to their door!
This 263-piece cake decorating set and organizer is the perfect gift for little bakers of all ages. It includes tools to master decorating with buttercream and fondant.
Best tech gifts for 12-year-olds
Anyone who has been in a middle school classroom in recent years knows that Pop It toys have captured the hearts of tweens and teens alike. For the 12-year-old who may have just received their first phone, this Pop It iPhone case will keep their mind occupied and jitters contained.
For the tween who just got their first smartphone, gift them with this mini photo printer so that they can have physical copies of all their favorite memories on display. Simply connect via Bluetooth and put the 2x3 images into a cute frame, clip to fairy lights or put right on the wall with tape.
Make sure their selfie game is on point with this easy-to-use ring light. Beyond having five brightness levels and three dimmable light modes, its rechargeable battery can last over two hours (which is a necessity if they're going live on TikTok).
Millennial parents may recognize Tamagotchis from their '90s childhoods, but this modern version allows your fave tween to connect with their friends and take selfies with their virtual pet.
Your preteen will love jamming out to their favorite music with this sleek, portable speaker that doubles as a water bottle.
These powerful but affordable Beats are versatile and easy to use for the kid who's always on the move. The magnetic earbuds also make listening that much easier by automatically playing music when they’re in your ears and pausing when they’re attached around your neck.
If they're also looking to make a statement with their phone case, Casetify's got them covered with this custom phone case available in glittery and psychedelic options.
Best beauty gifts for 12-year-olds
As your tween leans into their sense of style, decorative nails should surely be the finishing touch of a cute outfit. This nail decorating kit includes six nail polish pens, glitter, nail art design tools and more.
Help them smell like a living, walking cloud with this Ariana Grande body mists that smell like vanilla, lavender and more.
Tweens love experimenting with makeup, especially when it's practically fool-proof to use. e.l.f. Cosmetics is not only incredibly cool amongst tweens and TikTokers, it's also a makeup brand that's extremely kind on your wallet.
Who doesn't love a bath bomb that transforms bath water into an intergalactic escape? Lush has a wide array of eye-catching (and refreshing) bath products, including this top-seller loaded with essences of peppermint and grapefruit oils.
Your tween will love freshening up their room with this sweet blend of rose absolute, red currant and patchouli.
Twelve is the year when kids want to experiment with their hair to find that signature style. Goody’s brush is perfect to get that smooth blowout.
Unique gifts for 12-year-olds
Just because they live in a warm place doesn't mean the 12-year-old you're shopping for can't enjoy a well-meaning snowball fight. With this pack of 50 pretend snowballs, they can have a snowball fight at any temperature without worrying about a face full of ice.
For the ex-little leaguer who will soon make brushes with the big wigs, gift them with this medal wall display so they can proudly boast all their middle school accomplishments, from softball prizes to cross country PRs.
For the on-the-go tween, stuff a house key and a little extra pocket cash in this scrunchie that features a zipper pouch to store essentials.
With 42 colors to choose from, gauge their mood with one quick glance at this reversible plush octopus. Are they in a sour state of mind? Or just had the best day of their life? Now you can tell thanks to this stuffed animal.
Moon lamps has been one of TikTok's hottest home trends, so this affordable pick from Amazon makes the perfect gift for your 12-year-old. They'll love adding this trendy decoration to their room.
The bookworm in your life is sure to love this gift. Listing 100 classic must-read books, this is a list they can check off throughout the rest of middle school and through high school and college.
Give them a space to write down their thoughts, aspirations and feelings. The Positive Planner features prompts for mindful breaks, reflections and self-care activities that will teach them how to connect with themselves.