31 best gifts for 12 year olds, according to a mom

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.

Fashion and beauty gifts for 12-year-olds

  • 1. Ceramic Flat Iron, $50, Target

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Hot Tools Ceramic Flat Iron


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

Kate Spade New York Penguin Crossbody Bag


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.

Separate your needs from those of your children. They can’t live your dreams.

  • 3. Kumi Kreator Friendship Bracelet Maker, $20, Walmart

Kumi Kreator Friendship Bracelet Maker


Spin this handy tool to create sweet friendship bracelets that turn into awesome gifts for their friends!

  • 4. Bear Paws Tall Suede Boots, $50-$105, Amazon

Women's Tall Suede Boot


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.

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Tech gifts for 12-year-olds

  • 1. Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 Camera and Printer, $99, Amazon

Polaroid Mint 2-In-1 Camera & Printer


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

Banana Phone


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, $97, Walmart

Sky Viper Pro Video Drone


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

Scuf Vantage Wireless Controller


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. Croove Portable Bluetooth Karaoke, $50, Amazon

Portable Bluetooth Karaoke Party System


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

Monet Slim Wallet with Expanding Stand


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. Air Hogs Extreme Paraglider, $30, Amazon

Air Hogs Extreme Paraglider

Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.


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!

LuMee Phone Case


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.

  • 9. Nintendo Switch, $299, Target

Nintendo Switch


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, $35, Walmart

Wonder Forge Disney Villainous


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. What’s That Smell? $16, Amazon

What's That Smell? The Party Game That Stinks


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.

Brain Fart


Take turns naming things in certain categories until the brain timer farts! This is sure to get a chuckle from everyone.

Laser Chess


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.

Giant Jenga


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!

  • 6. Monopoly Fortnite, $16, Target

Fortnite Monopoly


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?

  • 7. The Original Tiny Hands Challenge Game, $12, Amazon

The Original Tiny Hands Challenge Game


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.

When in Rome Travel Trivia Game

Repeat: I am not a short-order cook. "It's a child's job to learn to eat what the parents eat," says Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian and the author of Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family. Instead of the all-or-nothing scenario, offer a variety of foods at mealtime: the main course, plus rice or pasta, a fruit or vegetable, and milk. This way, your child can eat just the pasta and the peas and get protein from the milk. "What a child eats over the course of a day or a week is more important than a balanced meal at one sitting," says Stephen Daniels, the chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.


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.

  • 9. Blindfolded Twister, $20, Target

Blindfolded Twister


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?



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

Fuggler Plush


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

Volkswagen Camper Jigsaw Puzzle


Every kid likes a good jigsaw puzzle. Hang loose as they piece together one of the retro Volkswagen designs.

  • 3. Gravitrax Starter Set, $58, Amazon

Gravitrax Starter Set


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.

Mobo Trike


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.

Nerf Laser Ops


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!

  • 6. Nintendo Game Boy Heat Change Mug, $13, Amazon

Gameboy Heat Changing Mug


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.

  • 7. Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie, $110, Walmart

Ultimate Co-pilot Chewie


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!

Children with obesity also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, almost 60% of children who were overweight had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 25% had two or more CVD risk factors.

  • 8. Mini Buddha Board, $15, Amazon

Mini Buddha Board


Dip the brush into water and make a masterpiece on this simple canvas. When the water evaporates they can start all over again.

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:

  • Gifts for 8-year-olds
  • Gifts for 9-year-olds
  • Gifts for 10-year-olds
  • Gifts for 11-year-olds
  • Gifts for teens

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