Gift Guide To The Best Toy For 12 Year Old Boys

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Oh, the “tween-ager”.  Not quite ready to leave childhood, yet looking ahead to the teenage years. They aren’t quite as peer-driven as their older siblings – but only by a little.  The approval of their peers is a big part of what they think is cool. This makes it difficult to shop for them – whether they are a boy or a girl tween.

As you shop for your 12 year old boy, you need to keep this pressure in mind.  Your gift will be judged through the lens of what other kids think about it.

It’s a big reason why cash and gift cards are often a default choice as a present for tweens.

But you aren’t the type to give up and sign a check, are you?  You have the courage to not only pick a gift that is “peer approved” but also one that reflects how much you care for your 12 year old boy.  We’ve selected some gifts that check both boxes to help you in your quest.

We also tried to pick gifts that will last and have some replay value – so your young adult can get some use from your present and remember you in the years to come. The world doesn’t need your gift to end up in a landfill come May of next year.

Finally, in acknowledgment that no one gift is “the best” for all kids, we’ve selected a wide variety of toys that should appeal to different types of kids.  Hopefully, you find something to match the child you are shopping for.

The Rundown: Our Top Toy Picks For 12 year old Boys

Forbidden Island Board Game For Two Players

Forbidden Island requires tactical decisions to find the treasures before the island sinks.

Pandemic draws you into the urgency of saving humanity against four spreading viruses. Find the cure. Treat the sick. Stop a pandemic outbreak.

For boys  10 to 99 Years of age

Pros:

  • A strategic problem-solving game with a frantic fun element
  • Easy to learn and highly repayable
  • Cooperating and working as a team is essential because each character’s skill set is necessary

Cons:

  • Experienced players may dominate the game by directing the next move before others get the chance to work it out for themselves.

Hunting for treasure may be exciting, but how much pressure you can handle in finding the treasure before the island sinks in the two-player board game Forbidden Island. Although you are playing with other players, you are competing against time and teamwork becomes essential.

To be a winner requires strategic thinking, the ability to solve problems, and cooperation with others in finding the 4 treasures on time. Game master Matt Leacock created a board game that achieved considerable awards like the 2010 Mensa Favorite Brainy Games Winner and the Top Board Game of 2010.

Each of the six characters has their skills and unique abilities. The game is for two to four players, which creates a twist to the game because you can’t have all six characters.

If you don’t like the idea of a sinking island, then there is the Forbidden Desert or explore a mysterious platform in Forbidden Sky.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 30-45 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 7+ years

 

Pros:

  • Perfect gift for kids that love to paint, draw, or show other artistic traits.
  • Projects can be completed in a weekend so they don’t have to dominate your house.
  • This crate introduces unique crafting materials and interesting techniques.
  • Non-traditional gift can be perfect for kids that crave their uniqueness.

Cons:

  • Not all kids will be interested in these projects – you’ll know if it’s right for your boy.
  • Crates are given out randomly so there’s no guarantee which project you’ll get next month.  Can be good or bad.

The Doodle Crate makes our best toy and gift list for 12 year olds because it’s different than the average gift.  It’s not for every young adult, but those with an artistic bent will really appreciate your thoughtfulness once they receive it.

Every month, a “crate” is mailed to your child.  Inside are numerous projects based around the theme of the month.  It’s not just painting or drawing – projects require working in different materials including wood, clay, and resins.  Different styles of artistic expression are explored each month.  There are also written and video resources provided to allow inclined kids to explore the subject more thoroughly.

Not every 12 year old boy will love this gift – but it’s the perfect gift for the kid that’s shown an interest in art in the past.  I know in my family, my youngest son had a blast working on his project.  I’m confident your creative kid will enjoy the Doodle Crate as well.

Pros:

  • A challenging game that is easy to learn.
  • Players experience the urgency and drama as if they are part of the Pandemic world.
  • Cooperative play. Teamwork is essential to save humanity.

Cons:

  • Players who prefer playing against other players may find a cooperative concept difficult to grasp
  • Need to play a game before players understand the game

If the idea of saving the world interests you, then join the disease control team in Pandemic and protect the world against deadly diseases. You play against time to find the cures before the virus spreads.

It’s essential to work together as a team to find solutions. Pandemic is a great game to inspire teamwork and strategic play. Players must decide which actions to take next. Do they treat the diseases, find a new cure, build research stations, or fly or drive across the globe?

The game starts with nine infected cities. With each round, the number increases, and epidemic cards may re-infect previous cities that may cause chaos if wrong actions are taken.

Easy to understand the board game allows for all ages to play, requiring tactical and strategic moves to save the world. Players control the difficulty level by deciding how many epidemic cards they place in the deck.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 10-15 minutes

Average Playtime: 25-45 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium to High

Recommended ages: 8+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8+ years

Pros:

  • Dramatic colored water and alluring aromas may intrigue any reluctant kid to the bath.
  • The bath bombs are about the size of a tennis ball and make lots of bubbles.
  • Inside each bath bomb is a unicorn toy surprise that is released as the bath bomb fizzes and bubbles.

Cons:

  • The pieces may be a choking hazard for toddlers younger than three years old.

The Two Sisters Spa Bubble Bath Bombs may entice any kid to bath with all the bubbles…and the fun unicorn gift surprise inside the bath bomb. Yes, inside each bubble bath bomb is a treasure, a unicorn toy, or a unicorn jewelry piece. For little boys, there is the Superhero Kit with fun superhero figurines and keepsakes.

The secret is to use water pressure for the ultimate experience. Drop the bath bomb into the water while the bath is filling with water. Before long, you will have fragrant, colorful bath water with lots and lots of bubbles. Each bath bomb is about the size of a tennis ball…can you imagine the fizzing and bubbles!

Another surprise is the unicorn toy or jewelry that is released from within the bath bomb. It could be a unicorn necklace, a ring, squishies, unicorn horn or finger puppets, lip gloss, or a bracelet hidden within, waiting for an excited kid to have a bath.

The toys and products are created by moms who work flexi-hours because family is important to them. Being moms, they know which unicorn gifts and toys to select that will thrill little girls and little boys, who like all things superhero related.

Pros:

  • The Dobson style means it is much smaller and portable than refractor telescopes.
  • This is a serious scope – it will last for many years with proper care.
  • Can add additional lenses to see even more universal detail.

Cons:

  • While a younger child could use this, this isn’t meant to be abused. Keep close supervision on younger brothers and sisters.
  • No real instructions provided in the box, but plenty available online.

Ever used a telescope and thought “Big Deal”?  That’s usually because the images you see aren’t coming in very bright.

When your child has outgrown a more toy-like telescope and is ready to step up to an adult-level, quality tool, the Orion 10014 Skyquest XT is a perfect fit. Due to the much larger aperture, this telescope producers images over 260% brighter than your run-of-the-mill starter telescopes. That means they will be able to see hundreds of more objects from the night sky.

The Dobsonian style means it’s more compact, so it’s easier to transport.  Just be careful when moving it.  It’s not a toy – it’s not meant to take too much abuse.   Try this telescope out, and view the moon – or Venus – and see if you still think “Big Whoop”!

Helps To Develop: “Exploration, STEM,Thinking Skills”

Pros:

  • The versatile art activity book has something for all kids irrespective of their art skills; they can trace and scratch-off, color the drawings, or create their doodles and drawings.
  • The sturdy wire binding and hardcover protects the pages inside and endure kids’ handling.
  • It is perfect for traveling and for keeping kids occupied.

Cons:

  • Not for kids under 5 years that may inhale the scratch coating particles.

The Unicorn Adventure Scratch and Sketch, an art activity book, is one of the best unicorn gifts to give a creative child and budding artist…and a unicorn fan. What is hidden behind the black-coated scratch-off art board pages? Even boys and girls who don’t think they can draw could be inspired to follow the tracing and drawings in the activity book. Tracing with the wooden stylus strengthens hand-eye coordination.

Kids of all ages are invited to join Polly with the unicorn on an adventure to the unicorn’s castle. Scratching the black-coated art board pages reveal rainbow swirls and glittery foil unicorn-related images. The hardcover activity book contains twenty drawings and descriptions of unicorns and friends, twenty pages for doodling, and the twenty black-coated scratch-off pages. Kids may use crayons, markers, or colored pencils to create their unique unicorn artwork and their unicorn adventure stories.

It’s not only a drawing book; it combines the story with the drawings taking kids on an adventure. Boys and girls may build confidence in their art skills and create new experiences for the unicorn combining imagination and creativity.

The hardcover activity book with its wooden styles is convenient for road trips and to keep kids occupied in restaurants and waiting rooms. It gives kids the freedom to sketch on pages at the back or for the less daring to trace and color in the drawings.

Pros:

  • Various win conditions ensure no predictable outcome.
  • A fast-paced, quick but intense game.
  • Fun and competitive game for two players

Cons:

  • Frequent players may need more variety and purchase expansion sets.
  • Some players may prefer larger sized playing cards.

7 Wonders Duel is designed for two players and is as much fun with a similar style of play than the award-winning 7 Wonders. The object is to build a civilization with the best army that will crush your opponent. If you prefer a more peaceful victory than invading your opponent’s capital, you have two other options. Become prestigious by winning the most victory points or achieve a monopoly through scientific advancement.

In the ancient world, the civilizations move through three Ages building wonders that strengthen their game. With only half of the cards revealed and multiple winning options, you are never sure if your strategy is working; your opponent may surprise you at the last move.

If you are a frequent player, don’t fret, there is the Pantheon Expansion pack available.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5-10 minutes

Average Playtime: 30 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10+ years

Pros:

  • A strategic game for two players.
  • Tile pieces are durable with beautiful designs.
  • Portable with a pouch for storage and travel

Cons:

  • Some players don’t like to have to continually concentrate during a game.

Hive is a two-player board game that requires strategic thinking like when playing Chess. The objective of the game is to protect your queen bee that she isn’t locked in by opponent bugs.

The game is quick to grasp but requires strategic thinking. Set up time is fast because you don’t require a board; a flat surface will suffice to place the tiles.

Each tile is decorated with one of the five types of bugs — each bug hast its rules of how it can move.

A portable game that can travel with you wherever you go.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 8-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8+ years

Pros:

  • The unicorn garden is portable and can be displayed indoors or outdoors.
  • Five unicorn-related figurines decorate the garden. Your child may move them around depending on their imaginative role-playing story at that moment.
  • Kids learn gardening skills while having fun.

Cons:

  • The seeds and soil aren’t included in the package.

Your child may not have a unicorn in the garden, but they can create their unique unicorn garden with Creative Roots Create Your Own Unicorn Garden kit. The 10-inch plastic planter is a nice size for a sustainable garden project for kids indoors or outdoors.

Each child creates a unique garden by planting or decorating with the flowers, herbs, or plants they wish to have in the garden. You don’t even have to buy seeds; they can also use plants from your backyard or flower bed. Some unicorn gardens may well have daisies, pansies, and violets.  Other may have more tropical effect with ferns and ground covers. For some, a quick-growing herb garden could be a great idea.  It’s up to your child!

The five hand-painted figurines create a personal touch and inspire imaginative play. Your kid may move the castle, two unicorn figurines, the toadstool, and a butterfly around depending on how their creative story unfolds.

Gardening is a soothing exercise that provides delayed gratification after you see the plants grow and flower. Start by layering the planter with soil (seeds and soil not included in the package). Place the garden accessories as desired. Add the plants or flowers and display your garden for all to see.

If your kid doesn’t want to create a live garden, they can use fake moss, and toy trees and shrubs to develop their unicorn garden.

Pros:

  • With the design on both sides, it doesn’t matter in which hand your child holds the mug.
  • Add hot water and see the unicorn tail change color.
  • The unicorn mug, with its unique trademarked design, is decorative on its own and earns a position with the other unicorn collectibles.

Cons:

  • You’ll have to wait for your turn because everyone will want to drink out of the mug.

The Color Changing Unicorn Mug is a great unicorn gift for kids and adults who enjoy their coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and other hot drinks that works the magic. There’s a reason the unicorn face looks like it’s smiling as if it has a secret. When you pour hot water into the unicorn mug, the unicorn’s hair changes into beautiful rainbow colors.

The design is on both sides of the mug, so it doesn’t matter whether your child is left-handed or right-handed; they will see the color-changing effect. The manufacturer, Infloatables, guarantees a quality ceramic mug with their trademarked Unicorn Mug Design that won’t scratch off.

With a one-of-a-kind design, the 3D mug is decorative enough to earn a particular spot on your desk, in your bedroom, office, or a special place among the other unicorn collectibles. Display it empty or use it to store your pencils, markers, or pens.

It is one of the best unicorn gifts for kids or adults who adore unicorns. They will be delighted with such an original unicorn gift but wait until you offer them a hot drink in their new unicorn mug. It’s a jaw-dropping experience the first time they see the hair of the unicorn change into rainbow colors.

Pros:

  • Parental controls help protect children online.
  • Matches almost every room decor.
  • Works great for music and audiobooks, along with being an alarm in the morning.
  • Can be used as an intercom system to talk to the kids in their room.
  • Has a off button for the microphone for times you want to ensure no one is listening.

Cons:

  • Not everyone is comfortable inviting listening devices for outside corporations into their home.
  • Need FreeTime subscription to enable all the kid-friendly options.

If you are looking for a way for your 12 year old to have access to music, stories and alarm functions without having to take out a second mortgage, this device is great for you! The Amazon Echo is quite amazing – the sky is the limit to what it can do when you install additional “skills”.  You can set it up to voice control your music – streaming music is available  from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others.  The Echo will answer questions, control your lights (if you have a a smart home), and work with other Echo’s around the home as a intercom system from room to room.  There’s more, but I only have so much room in this review.  :)

When paired with Amazon Free Time, the Echo becomes the top smart speaker for kids.  Why?  You can use the Amazon Parent Dashboard to enforce time limits, content filters and more so your children are only exposed to age-appropriate content at times you want.  12 year old boys need to learn how to use technology instead of being ruled by it – you can help them by setting reasonable usage limits.

You are inviting a listening device into your home (which should make you at least a LITTLE uncomfortable) – but the mechanical On-Off button means regardless of Amazon’s promises, you can make sure certain conversations stay private in your home.  The speaker quality is good for the size – but you’ll need two for stereo sound.  For the price of almost any toy your 12 year old would want, it’s a great gift.

Pros:

  • Relaxing yet competitive game for two players
  • Quick but engaging game
  • Ideal for kids, teenagers, and couples

Cons:

  • Not for gamers who want complicated, integrated games and not a relaxing game

Patchwork may look straightforward, but there’s a catch. Uneven pieces of fabric require strategic planning and the ability to solve problems. When you’ve placed your fabric piece on the board, you can’t move it.

Created by game designer Uwe Rosenberg, this classic board game inspires creativity, problem-solving, and healthy competition. The competitive game challenges players to create the highest score with their patchwork quilt design.

A game could take up to 45 minutes, depending on the competitive play. The idea is to complete as much of the quilt as possible with the unique shapes. Kids who like solving puzzles will enjoy that element in the game. Creative kids who want to become textile designers will enjoy the idea of creating a quilt with odd pieces.

The secret lies in the buttons, which is the money currency and gives the quilt that final touch.

If you enjoy Tetris, then you may enjoy this engaging quilting game with its strategic puzzle-solving element.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 8-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8-adults

Pros:

  • A card-theme board game for a variety of ages.
  • Easy to learn and fun to play.
  • Teaches kids card game principles.

Cons:

  • Too many players fill up the board too soon.

Sequence is a two-player board game that requires strategic and decision-making skills. The object is to create a row of five pieces while simultaneously blocking your opponent from creating their rows.

The board shows two packs of cards. Each card lies with its image face up. Each player is dealt seven cards. When it’s your turn, you select a card in your hand to play by placing a chip on one of the two options on the board. That’s where the strategy and fun start, choosing the right one that will enhance your play.

There’s always the wild card to benefit a player and have a negative impact on the opponent. The Jack can be played as any card, or you could remove an opponent’s chip from the board.

The player who scores the required number of sequences wins.

Number of players: 2-3 or up to 12 in three teams

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 10-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 7+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 6+ years

Pros:

  • The soft-tip nature of darts means there is virtually no chance of damaging property or other children while playing with these toys.
  • Gun is lightweight enough that most school-aged children can participate in the fun.
  • Real camaraderie is built up among teammates.

Cons:

  • Darts are easy to lose.  They especially seem to find their way into the vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to buy some extras.
  • There are many Nerf Blaster choices – so your child may prefer a toy for a different playstyle.

Nerf dart blasters are a perennial favorite of boys and girls everywhere. The N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is no exception to this rule. With this blaster gun, you’ll be able to fire 6 darts in a row up to 90 feet.  Just slam the slide to reload and you are on your way.  That’s right, this blaster doesn’t require batteries.

While fine to shoot at targets by yourself, the real fun comes when a group of boys organize into teams and play tag or other games. Kids learn to implement strategy, cooperate with teammates and burn off a ton of energy running around outside while working to tag opposing team members.

Helps To Develop: “Social Skills, Strategy, Outside Play”

Pros:

  • The game is easy to learn
  • A strategic word deduction game that is fast-paced
  • Improves cooperative skills

Cons:

  • Could be too advanced for younger players in finding the right word clues

Instead of competing against each other, players work together as a team to win in Czech Games Codenames: Duet. The object of the game is to find the 15 agents among a grid of 25 that includes assassins and bystanders. Should you reveal an assassin, you lose the game.

Just like in the spy world, countries may work together, but they don’t reveal all their secrets to the world; they often communicate in code. With numbers and single word clues, players communicate to help each other find the agents and avoid the assassins.

Codenames Duet is a fast-paced strategic word game that could improve kids developing teamwork and cooperating skills by working together. For those who don’t like the challenge of finding the best word clue or trying to decipher the clue, the game may be frustrating.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 11+

Pros:

  • The flexible structure allows you to follow leads in the order that makes sense to you.
  • Perfect for budding detectives and logical thinkers and people with deduction skills.
  • A highly cooperative and competitive game that keeps you busy for hours.

Cons:

  • No replay value when you solved all 10 cases
  • Case 3 has a publisher error that makes it almost unsolvable in versions earlier than 2016. The corrected version is available to download online.

Solve crime mysteries faster than the famous Mr. Holmes in the two-player board game Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Thames Murders and Others. Players can cooperate to play against Sherlock Holmes, or they can up the competition level by playing against each other too.

There are ten mysteries to solve by visiting locations on the London map and reading stories and newspapers to find clues. If you enjoy reading and finding clues, then this is one of the best game choices for you. The clues you find leads you to a place on the map.

If you like games that don’t require a specific order structure, then you’ll enjoy being a sleuth in this flexible game. Players may visit any place in any order, read all newspapers to date, an interview any informant available.

As you progress as a consulting detective, the cases become more complicated with more clues. The first couple of cases are solvable within 1-2 hours; latter cases will take longer.

Number of players: 1-8

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 2 hours

Complexity Level: Difficult

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10+ years

Pros:

  • One of the best worker placement games
  • A competitive game without aggressive actions like battles and destruction
  • Planning is essential, but the outcome isn’t known

Cons:

  • Players may have to wait for other players to decide on their actions.
  •  Some find the game complicated in the beginning

Agricola is a turn-based, worker placement game where the goal is to build and expand your farm. The game starts with the farmer and his spouse, which means you have two actions each turn, one for the farmer and one for the wife.

Each farm chore can only be done by one player at a time, which means strategically, you can block another player’s progress or force them to do other actions. The game is low aggressive because there are no battles or destruction; you can only inconvenience your opponent, not destroy or harm their farm. Parents who want their kids to have competitive fun without aggression, Agricola is a great pick.

Players need to decide which chores are a priority to build the farm, stockpile, and feed the family. Players continuously faced with making difficult choices.

Number of players: 1-5

Set up time: 10 minutes

Average Playtime: 2 hours

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10=15 years

Pros:

  • A fun way to learn about history, and the timeline of events
  • Player take part in a challenge at the same time so no extensive waiting for your turn
  • The game is a standalone or integrates with other Timeline series cards.

Cons:

  • Generally, older players may have an advantage over younger players because of life experience and been exposed to more information.

Timeline Challenge is a series of trivia games that may delight history fans and players who like to know facts. The original Timeline game was a card game that included topics like historical events, music, cinema, and science and discoveries.

Time Challenge transformed playing cards into a complete board game for two players. It is a set of mini-games increasing the difficulty level of the game. It is a standalone two-player game or serves as an expansion to Timeline.

Although the board game may remind you of Trivial Pursuit, moving around the board isn’t determined by the dice roll. It’s related to how many points the player earns answering correctly during a Trial (mini-challenge). If there are more than two players, players who are furthest behind have two opportunities to catch up by playing Challenges against each other.

Number of players: 2-10

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 12+ years

Pros:

  • Teach kids to save with the piggy bank shaped like a unicorn head.
  • The ceramic material is durable and beautifully designed to display it in your unicorn-crazed child’s bedroom.

Cons:

  • It’s easy to remove the stopper to reveal the savings content.

The Beriwinkle Ceramic Unicorn Piggy Bank is the best unicorn gift to teach kids about finances. After all, if you want to go on adventures or enlarge your unicorn toys collection, you need to start saving.

The glazed ceramic unicorn head is available in six different colors to complement the décor in a child’s room. With more than one unicorn fan in the household, the different colors will avoid mixing up the piggy banks. If you have an avid saver, why not collect all the colors and have a unicorn display in their bedroom?

With dimensions, 7.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches the unicorn piggy bank isn’t too large for the dressing table or a bookshelf. The base is sturdy so that it won’t topple over and break. Then it is within arm’s length when kids want to add money to their piggy bank through the slot at the top.

When the unicorn piggy bank is full, or there’s a new unicorn toy to buy, the stopper at the bottom opens the bank and reveals the content. Note that it’s easy to remove the stopper, which means curious eyes may want to see how much money was saved.

Although it’s a piggy bank, the design is so tasteful, that it could be a great birthday or Christmas gift for any unicorn fan who collects unicorns or for people who enjoy unique décor.

Pros:

  • Jumping helps your 12 year old boy develop muscles and balance while burning off energy.
  • Tramp comes with a long list of safety features to make jumping as safe as it can be.
  • Your kid’s friends will always be over at your place when you are the ‘trampoline house’.

Cons:

  • Parents need to supervise play – there are dangers involved if instructions aren’t followed.
  • This isn’t a small toy.  You need to have dedicated space in your backyard to set up and jump.

As we mentioned in our outdoor trampolines review, we think this toy is a winner. Safety is a prime concern in the design of this model. It’s so important, Skywalker has made sure this model exceeds all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements.

We like the ‘W’ supports – they give more stability to the trampoline. The padded poles and enclosure net are well-made and help to keep your 12 year old is safe. The basketball hoop is a nice touch – it has a breakaway rim and even comes with 2 basketballs. It’ll keep your children and friends entertained for hours at a time. A great gift.

Helps To Develop: “Outside Play, Burning Off Energy, Social Development, Motor Skill Development”
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Our Process For Selecting The Best Toys And Gifts For 12 year old boys

We spend weeks writing all of our toy review and gift guides. We know you rely on our input, and we take that trust seriously.   Our writers and editors have spent approximately 26 hours researching and testing the most popular toys for 12 year old boys that you can find on the market in October 2022. 

All of this time and resources are spent to bring this toy guide to you – we’ve put in the time to make sure our recommendations are ones you can trust.

We also update these lists daily.  That’s because we don’t want to provide you with toys that are no longer in-stock – a gift you can’t buy isn’t worth much to you, no matter how cool it might be.  We have reviewed many more toys than we list in this guide – and many of them are good but not quite as great as the ones that made the cut. 

As toys move in and out of stock, the list will change.  We want this list to help you get the best toys you can for your 12 year old this Holiday season.

Frequently Asked Questions About Toys for Twelve-Year-Old Boys

How do I select the best gift for twelve-year-old boys?

Twelve-year-old boys and girls aren’t teenagers yet, but they aren’t kiddies either; they are preteen, on the verge of becoming a teenager. Buying the best gift for a twelve-year-old boy may be challenging. He has outgrown the childish toys, but he is still a child growing up.

Toys that stimulated him a year or two ago are now boring to your twelve-year-old boy. His mental skills have outgrown the toy. He needs more significant challenges to occupy his mind, stimulate his intelligence, and keep him focused. His ability to concentrate requires a toy that holds his attention for a while.

One of the best toys for twelve-year-old boys are sports and hobby toys. If you know what kind of sports he likes or what his hobbies are, you can’t go wrong in buying him a gift related to sports or hobbies. Boys at this age may have specific likes and dislikes regarding brands, number of pieces, size of parts, and type of toys. Keep it in mind when buying a gift for a twelve-year-old. If he likes simplistic, don’t buy him toys with lots of pieces, and vice versa.

How important is a particular brand when buying a toy for a twelve-year-old?

Twelve-year-old boys and girls are socially conscious. It’s important to them what is trendy according to their group of friends and peers. If a specific brand in a toy is what ‘everyone’ has, then it will help build his confidence to have the same brand toy. If it is an expensive brand and your budget doesn’t allow for it, explain it to your son why he shouldn’t expect that brand as a gift.

Sometimes the child prefers a specific brand in a toy. At twelve years old, getting the boy the brand he likes is important. It’s not necessarily the most expensive or best brand he prefers, but in his mind, it is the best. He will appreciate the gift more if it’s the brand he likes, even if another brand is more expensive or better.

It seems as if my twelve-year-old son is breaking more toys now than when he was a toddler. Should I be worried?

Your twelve-year-old son could be breaking toys for two main reasons. He is playing rougher with his toys as a tween-almost-teen. Some toys aren’t durable or sturdy enough to withstand his way of playing. It’s normal for twelve-year-old boys, so parents need not worry.

The second reason why your twelve-year-old tween is breaking toys more often than previously is because he is curious. Boys like to take things apart to see how it works. Putting the toys back together isn’t always as successful. So, the toy ‘breaks.’ If your son likes to take things apart and reasonably reassembles the item, perhaps a STEM engineering toy may be the best gift for your twelve-year-old. STEM toys may satisfy his curiosity. Engineering and technical toys may teach him how things work and inspire his creativity in building things.

Investing in toys for twelve-year-old boys that are designed to be taken apart and reassembled could be the best gift idea. Science experiments and other creative building toys may also fascinate your curious child.

My twelve-year-old son is forever missing a toy. The toys disappear into thin air, it seems. What’s going on?

The good news is that you probably don’t have to worry about your son’s social life. Disappearing toys could indicate that his social life is thriving; he has friends and isn’t a loner. As a parent, you don’t have to worry too much about the disappearing aspect, either. As fast as toys disappear, other toys may appear.

Twelve-year-old boys like to exchange things, including their best toys. They also tend to lend or give their toys away to impress a new friend or because their best friend likes the new toy. With the toy circulation of exchanging, giving away, and receiving toys, your son probably doesn’t know what happened to the specific toy you’re referring to. He isn’t lying to you or hiding the toy; he honestly doesn’t know which friend is currently playing with it.

Parents may control lending and giving away toys but shouldn’t interfere too much. It may help your son’s development if you accept his decisions. It shows you trust your twelve-year-old boy to make the right decisions; your approval builds his confidence. By giving to others, your son learns the benefits of being generous.

Why isn’t my twelve-year-old son playing with the toy he wanted?

Your tween boy has become fussy, which may come across as demanding. He knows what he likes and doesn’t like. Friends, however, may influence his choices and have him change his mind. He may have asked for a specific toy and was very happy when you bought the toy for him. Suddenly he changed his mind, and he doesn’t want to play with the toy anymore. He did like the toy but stopped playing with it when he found out that his friends don’t like it.

Observe the toy your son likes to play with and buy him more of the same kind of toy. He will appreciate it, and you will be giving him a toy he wants, and his friends will approve too.

 Should I limit screen time and stop buying him video games?

Some boys prefer playing video games to kicking a ball or flying a kite. There’s nothing wrong with it. Kids have different interests and hobbies. Screen time isn’t an issue if it balances with time spent outside, doing homework, social activities, and not interfering with sleep. If you think your son is spending too much time in front of the television or playing video games, limit his screen time. You may specify how long and when he can have screen time.

If video games are the only kind of gifts your son wants, he could end up playing games all day. A twelve-year-old boy is still growing and developing and needs physical activity and other stimulation besides playing games. He may not agree, but as a parent, you know what he needs best. One way of enticing him to play outdoors is to buy him toys that coincide with the type of video games he likes to play. For example, buy him a nerf gun or archery set if he likes shooter games. Go-karting, bike riding or skateboarding could entice him to develop his tricks or race against friends.