The Best Toys for 12 Year Old Boys – 2019 Gift Ideas & FAQ

The Best Toys and Gifts for 12 Year Old Boys in 2018

Buying a gift for a twelve-year-old isn’t always easy. From about 10 to 13 years, children are busy trying out new things and getting an idea of where their interests lie. If you know the child, it’s much easier to buy things that are relevant to his interests. If he’s your son, figuring out what his passions are shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

Even if you don’t know, you can always ask some of his friends or other family members – discreetly, of course; you don’t want to tip him off that you plan on buying a gift.

Super Cool LED Bike Lights

This is a useful, fun, and safe gift. Your child gets to have a flashy bike, and you get the comfort of knowing drivers can see him more easily.


  • Multiple colors
  • Excellent safety feature


  • Can be hard to attach

If the child has a bicycle, safety is of paramount concern and goes beyond just wearing a helmet. The bike needs to be visible. Luckily, these LED bike lights accomplish that purpose while giving the bike an undeniably recognizable look that your child is sure to love.

The LEDs come in your choice of several colors, making it easy for the boy to customize the LED to match the bike’s color. Whether he wants blue, green, red, yellow, or another color, all options are available.

Craft Boy Catapult Wars

It’s like a mix between Lincoln Logs, Game of Thrones, and Minecraft.


  • Simple, intuitive construction
  • Introduces the concept of projectile motion


  • Glue takes a long time to set

Catapult Wars lets your 12-year-old boy channel his inner medieval side by crafting this miniaturized siege weapon, engaging in strategic battles with his friends. The catapults are easy to set up, just by following the included instructions. They aren’t excessively powerful so that they can be safely played with inside and outside.

As for ammunition, the catapults use bean bags, which do little to no damage. The only downside is you’ll need to let the glue dry for about a day before playing with the toy.

Darice 80-Piece Deluxe Art Set

This kit works great for both beginner and advanced artists: the most basic colored pencils are included, as are more advanced media like watercolor paints.


  • Encourages artistic experimenting
  • Suitable for multiple mediums


  • Small parts can get lost

Nourish your 12-year-old’s artistic side by getting him this deluxe art set. It has 80 pieces including everything from colored pencils to acrylic paints and watercolor paints. Erasers, H-B pencils, and other materials come with the kit as well, allowing the child to experiment with different media. The case latches shut for easy portability and storage, so you don’t have to worry about any of the pieces being lost.

Even if your child’s starting out on his artistic journey, it still has enough tools to get him started. The wooden case looks great on its own, giving a sense of seriousness to the endeavor of creating art.

EpochAir Remote Control Car

This EpochAir RC car makes a nice starter gift for the RC enthusiast in your family.


  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy materials


  • Not super exciting to look at

Flying RC drones might be the new craze among teens and adults alike, but you have to drive before you can fly. This car has three separate functions; it can drive on the floor like a normal car, and it has a vacuum seal that lets it drive on sheer walls for a short period. This means it can do tricks and traverse surfaces it otherwise wouldn’t.

If your child tried his hand with RC cars in the past and had them break, you need not worry. The EpochAir is made of ABS plastics that have more crash resistance and overall toughness. Crashing with an RC car is pretty much a certainty, so it’s important that it be able to withstand the forces involved.

Safety Dart Set

This game can improve hand-eye coordination, concentration, and teamwork when playing with friends in a casual two-on-two tournament.


  • Safe to play with indoors
  • Promotes hand-eye coordination


  • Dart tips can get bent

Darts are always a fun pastime. What’s not so fun is errant darts making holes in the wallpaper. This safety dartboard can remedy that by using plastic darts and a stippled board. The darts ideally go into the holes in the board.

The board itself is laid out just like a standard dartboard, with rings for double and triple points, a bullseye, and the numbered parts for single points.

It’s easy to set up; all you need is a stud and a nail from which to hang the board.

NSG Jr. Boxing Set

Whether this is a gift to promote fitness, boxing skill, or simply a way to vent aggression, this boxing set works well for young boys of all stripes.


  • Easy to set up
  • Easy on child’s knuckles because the bag is air-filled


  • Not meant for indoor use

The preteen years are a time of increased emotions, especially aggression. A good toy for 12-year-olds is this NSG Jr. Boxing Set. It allows him to take out his frustrations in a healthy, constructive manner without damaging property.

The boxing set has a speed bag attached to a base. The base, when filled with sand or water, provides enough weight and force to withstand even the heaviest punches your child can unleash upon the bag. It’s best to set the bag up outdoors on grass or concrete.

The adjustable stand makes it easy to collapse and move the punching bag stand anywhere you want, and the bag itself is simply air-inflated with an included pump.

Lifetime Adjustable Basketball System

Nothing gets the blood pumping for preteen boys like a friendly game of hoops.


  • Easy to set up
  • Adjustable height


  • Not as sturdy as an in-ground basketball goal

The pole telescopes, making the basketball goal able to change height between 7.5 and 10 feet. It’s perfect for practicing those long shots, or if your boy aspires to be like Mike, slam dunks. The backboard and rim are both made of polystyrene material, which is durable and can hold its own against the weather.

Just like the punching bag, this basketball goal comes with a base that you fill with water, sand, or other heavy material to keep it from moving unless you want it to. If you want to switch locations, simply drain the base, move the goal, and refill it.


Want to give your teen guitarist a fun practice tool? Set him up with Rocksmith, a premier software package by Ubisoft.


  • Excellent tool for learning to play music
  • Multiple songs to start


  • Limited song selection at first, more unlocked through DLC

As soon as you put the disc in and connect your guitar, you start learning songs from classic artists of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Over 50 songs come prepackaged with the disc, and more are available as downloadable content (DLC).

The software works with electric guitar, electric bass, or acoustic guitar with a USB-enabled mic. All you need is a ¼-inch input jack on the guitar, which most electrics have. Rocksmith has been used by many people as a tool for teaching guitar. Even by just learning the songs without any of the practice exercises on the CD, musical skill will likely improve.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

If your preteen is a fan of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), The Elder Scrolls Online is a good starting point.


  • Immersive gaming experience
  • Opportunity for online socializing and playing with friends
  • Regular content updates


  • Mature themes

If your preteen is a fan of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), The Elder Scrolls Online is a good starting point for someone wanting a non-subscription-based MMO. Unlike World of Warcraft, ESO is buy-to-play, meaning you only have to buy the initial game disc. The game itself is set on the continent of Tamriel, where players can create their character from the ground up and participate in a wide range of activities from crafting to combat to trading items.

The game is extremely active on all consoles and receives regular DLC updates. The newest update, Summerset, will allow players to visit a new region and unlock new crafting skills. The game has mature themes but set in a clear fantasy medium.

Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone

Even amateur pilots can make the drone flip, spin and soar. The drone also lands automatically.


  • Durable drones and controller
  • Easy operation with auto hovering and landing
  • Includes three batteries


  • Relatively short flying times

Take to the skies with this fun mini-drone from Holy Stone. The set includes three mini quadcopters, three battery packs and a controller. The mini drones are durable, easy to fly and safe for pre-teens.

The three batteries provide a total flight time of 21 minutes. An auto-hovering feature keeps the drone at a level height with the push of a button. Additionally, a Headless Mode means you can fly the drone in any direction, even if you can’t see what direction it’s facing.

Plus, they’re fun to fly! Even amateur pilots can make the drone flip, spin and soar. The drone also lands automatically. It provides all the fun of a full-size drone but in an easy-to-fly, kid-friendly package.


A 12 Year Old’s Development: What Should You Expect?

By the time a boy reaches twelve years old, he’s most likely in the grip of puberty with all that entails. The boy’s voice has deepened, and his muscles have started to develop more than they ever have. He’s also starting to undergo growth spurts, gaining a couple of inches a year or even faster.

All the physical changes that come with puberty are second to the emotional changes. A twelve-year-old boy starts to grow more rebellious and adventurous. This can happen as early as eleven years, but twelve is when the real preteen development starts to show itself. Boys of this age are eager to prove themselves as adults and likely want to shed all the associations with their childhood.

You can expect a twelve-year-old to attempt to be more independent from his family, focusing instead on hanging out with friends.

It’s at this general age that boys will want to start abandoning their old toys and replace them with newer, ‘cooler’ toys that they believe will be a status symbol among their friends. Electronic gadgets, more advanced sports equipment, and games are all good ideas for gifts to give twelve-year-olds.

When giving a toy to a twelve-year-old boy, figure out what his interests are. Late childhood is a time during which the child’s basic interests and personality start to emerge. The child likely begins to discover passions and hobbies that persist beyond fleeting fancies.

What Kinds of Toys Do 12-Year-Olds Like?

Children’s interests can vary greatly and even change from time to time, but at the age of twelve, the child is just starting to form his identity. If you know where the child’s interests lie, it can be a simple matter of buying gifts that pertain to that interest, like art kits for the budding artist or sports equipment for the aspiring athlete.

Even if you’re getting a gift for a nephew or grandson you see infrequently, there are a few standbys you can almost always rely on

Video games, provided they’re age appropriate, are good. Many boys get a thrill out of competitive online games like sports titles, racing games or first-person shooters. This last group you should be careful with; as would be expected for an FPS, they feature graphic content that the boy’s parents may not condone.

Sports paraphernalia work well too. Pre-teen boys often find camaraderie in sports and relish the chance to get to practice. Any protective equipment like helmets or gloves gives the boy the protection he needs to play to his fullest.

For musicians, try a music-based video game like Rocksmith, which plays similarly to Guitar Hero and Rock Band with the bonus of actually teaching proper guitar techniques. You could also get a music editing program for the tech-savvy songwriter.

Programs like Audacity and Frooty Loops provide excellent composition and editing utilities. Similarly, artists might enjoy a new pencil set or a graphics editing program like Photoshop.

What About Toy Safety for 12-Year-Olds?

By the time a boy reaches the tween years, he should have gained a basic measure of how to behave safely with a variety of objects. This is either through parental or scholastic education, or simply experience the consequences of unsafe use.

You don’t have to worry about the boy, for example, touching a live electrical circuit that he knows to be live. Still, it’s best to avoid providing gifts that expose the child to dangerous elements like live electricity, flames, or chemicals without first making sure he knows the basics of safe handling.

Following from this sentiment, Airsoft toy guns and paintball guns are popular among boys because they can engage in outdoor competitive play. Pellet guns and paintball guns may not be ‘real’ weapons, but they can still cause serious injury when misused.

This is a good opportunity to instruct your child in the basics of firearm safety such as keeping the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, keeping safety engaged until ready to fire, confirming the target and what’s around it, and never pointing the weapon at anything he doesn’t intend to shoot.

As far as video games, there’s still controversy about whether violent games affect children’s behavior. Although twelve-year-olds have reached the stage at which they can distinguish fiction from reality, some studies show a possible link between violent games and aggression.

If you notice that your child has aggressive tendencies, it may not be a good idea to give him a copy of Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.


Remember that the gift you give your twelve-year-old is a reflection of how well you know and pay attention to the child. By having regular conversations with him and getting to know how he spends his free time, you can form a lasting bond.

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