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48 gifts for 12-year-olds that take the guesswork out of gifting

When it comes to presents for tweens, gifts tailored to their interests is key.
TODAY Illustration / Amazon / Walmart

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 mom- and tween-approved.

To quickly jump to the category you're looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all 48:

Best games for 12-year-olds

The Don't Laugh Challenge: 12-Year-Old Edition

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.

WIn SPORTS Toy Foam Axe Throwing Game

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.

Codenames Board Game

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.

EA Sports Madden NFL 23

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.

Election Night Game

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.

Funkoverse: Nightmare Before Christmas

Go head-to-head with your favorite characters from Tim Burton’s "The Nightmare Before Christmas." This edition includes Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie and Dr. Finkelstein.

Ravensburger Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power

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.

Funko Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Card Game

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!

Burnout Paradise Remastered

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

Flybar Pogo Ball

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 2,800 five-star ratings on Amazon alone.

Outdoo Hover Soccer Ball

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.

Slackers NinjaLine Intro Kit

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.

Razor Black Label Hovertrax Hoverboard

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.

Razor Black Label E100 Electric Scooter

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

Rosyclo Pillow Slides

Keep your tween's toes perfectly comfy wherever they are with these bestselling pillow sandals. Aside from its ergonomic design and raised anti-slip design, it's also available in over a dozen trendy colors for whatever their aesthetic is during this pivotal time.

The Comfy Original Jr.

With nearly 5,000 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.

Julie's Decals Fast Food Shoe Charm

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.

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

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.

H&M 2-Piece Sweatshirt Set

For the tween that's got a laid-back style, this two-piece set — featuring a sweatshirt with a jersey-lined hood and joggers with ribbed hems — makes the perfect gift.

Tucker + Tate Print Two-Piece Pajamas

Speaking of matching sets, this trendy tie-dye set is perfect for sleepovers or for catching up on homework.

clemenco Silver Star Choker

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.

Athleta Girl Warm Up Jogger

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.

Nike Women Air Force 1 Sneakers

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.

Columbia Jacket

Keep your child warm during cooler weather in this lightweight Columbia hooded jacket. The insulation and plush fleece lining will keep them super cozy.

Nike Alpha Huarache 8 Pro Turf Shoes

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.

Amazon Essentials Knit Ballet Flats

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!

Humiwa Faux Fur Slippers

These slip-ons are perfect for your tween. They are faux fur with a sheepskin footbed, making them super warm and toasty.

Waffle Robe

After-bath duty will be extra special in this luxe waffle weave bathrobe.

Best food gifts for 12-year-olds

Bubble Tea Kit

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.

Max'is Creations The Mug With A Hoop

These hand-painted, 16-ounce mugs make eating way more fun. The inspiring baller will love shooting hoops as they enjoy a snack.

Bokksu Authentic Japanese Snack & Candy Subscription

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.

Personalized Rolling Pin

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.

Baked by Melissa Cupcakes

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!

Wilton Ultimate Cake Decorating Set

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

Kimwood Clip-On Light Ring

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).

Tamagotchi Pix

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.

Bluetooth Speaker & Water Bottle

Your preteen will love jamming out to their favorite music with this sleek, portable speaker that doubles as a water bottle.

Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

These powerful but affordable Beats are versatile and easy to use for the kid that'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.

Casetify Custom Phone Case

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

e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Blush

12-year-olds 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.

Lush Intergalactic Bath Bomb

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.

Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Fragrance Mist

Your tween will love freshening up their room with this sweet blend of rose absolute, red currant and patchouli.

Goody Medium Heat Wave Brush

12 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

Elmer's Glue Glassy Deluxe Premade Slime Kit

Whether they love watching ASMR videos on YouTube or just like the feeling in between their fingers, tweens can't seem to resist slime. They're sure to give you some extra cool points if you give them the freedom to make their own cool creation with this slime kit.

GDPETS Galaxy Lamp

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.

100 Books Scratch-Off Poster

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.

The Positive Planner

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.

Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s other gift guides to find the perfect present for every teen on your list including 11-year-olds, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, 15-year-olds, 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds.