12 Best Gifts for 12 Year Old Boys in 2017

Ugh, gift shopping!

And for a 12-year-old.

How difficult is it these days to find something that a pre-teen boy will actually like? Do we get him something fun or educational? What can we get him with our budget?

We’ve been there, too, and we’re sure that we’ll face the same gift dilemma at some point in the future, but when it comes to finding the best gifts for 12 year old boy – whether birthday boy or just because – we can actually help you!

In our guide below, we’ll shed some light on some of the top gifts that pre-teen boys like.

Can we guarantee that every 12-year-old out there will love them?

Nope, but we can sure make the shopping process quick and painless!

Top 12 Gifts for 12-Year-Old Boys Ultimate Table

DesignNameTypeManufacturer’s Recommended AgeRating (1-5)
  1. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit Electronics Discovery Kit 8-108 4.8
  2. LEGO Architecture Trevi Fountain 21020 Building Toy LEGO Architecture Kit 12+ 4.7
  3. The Boys’ Book Of Survival (How To Survive Anything, Anywhere) Book 8-12 4.6
  4. Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler with Waterproof Electronics, 2.4Ghz Radio Control RC Rock Crawler 14+ 4.5
  5. Jim Stott’s Ultimate Magic Kit Magic Kit 10+ 4.5
6. 5 Second Rule – Just Spit it Out! Game 10+ 4.5
7. Perplexus Epic 3D Labyrinth 8+ 4.5
8. Kendama Kraze Wood Toy – Extra String Kendama 8+ 4.5
   9. Razor MX350 Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike

+

9. Razor Full Face Youth Helmet
 Motocross Bike

+

Helmet

 13+ 4.3
  10. Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa Fire Tablet N/A 4.3
  11. Lightning Reaction Reloaded – Shocking Game Shocking Game 14+ 4.3
  12. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, 3.2 Ounce, Hypercolor Twilight Putty 3+ 4.1

Define “12”

You’ll notice in our table of the “best gifts for 12 year old boy” that we listed the manufacturer’s recommended age: the reason?

Simply because each 12-year-old is different!

Some toys are great at any age, while others are better appreciated by a certain age group.

Another problem, however, is what he actually likes.

The one you’re shopping for may be into science projects or telling jokes, while others may prefer something as simple as silly putty or a cool book that he can actually relate to.

The point is that 12 for one kid doesn’t mean 12 for another: the gift you choose depends on their maturity level and their interests.

What Do His Parents Think?

If you are the parent shopping, then you can skip this part; if you’re not, keep reading!

When it comes to gifts that require a more serious investment (such as the Fire tablet or the RC rock crawler), it’s always a good idea to see what his parents think about him having it.

Do they want him to have access to a tablet?

Is he ready for a more expensive RC rock crawler or would a less expensive RC car be better for him at this stage?

When in doubt, double check with his parents to make sure the gift you want to buy is A-OK with them.

Types of Gifts That 12-Year-Old Boys Like

We’re going to give you a very general overview here because it’s not like we can give you a list of 500 toys to choose from: lists like that are the ones that make choosing a gift impossible!

That is why we narrowed down the choices to just 12.

  • Vehicles – If he’s not yet ready to get behind the wheel, that doesn’t mean he can’t control the vehicle.

The Redcat Racing Everest 10 Electric Rock Crawler is a more serious RC vehicle that is great for a pre-teen boy, but if he’s interested in something a little more serious that he can sit on and control, then he might even be ready for the Razor MX350 Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike.

  • Games – Games are another great option, especially if you’re looking for something that he can play with his friends or other family members.

The two options that we think he will enjoy include 5 Second Rule – Just Spit it Out! and Squirrel Products Lightning Reaction Reloaded.

Even adults enjoy the second one!

Parents and relatives who have purchased it for the younger boy in the family have read it themselves and find the book to be interesting with the right amount of humor.

This architectural masterpiece is more appropriate for older builders, and we’ll talk more about it in detail below so keep reading.

Both will teach precision and patience, and if the 12-year-old that you’re shopping for is lacking both, then this would be a good way to help him improve.

Of course, it could be the exact opposite, and he might get frustrated, but it’s all about teaching him new skills, isn’t it?

If he gets frustrated, help him approach it differently so that he learns how to be patient.

  • STEM Toys – Educational toys like Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. are always a great idea if you ask us. “STEM” stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math and these types of toys are designed to nourish all four of those areas.

If he’s interested in science and circuits, that type of game is perfect for him, and if he doesn’t know much about it yet, a gift like this would be a great introduction.

So, now that we’ve highlighted the different genres, it’s time to take a more in-depth look at the five best gifts for 12 year old boys on our list.

Top 5 Best Gifts for 12-Year-Old Boy Reviews

1. Elenco Snap Circuits Jr.

Our top suggestion is one of those STEM toys we mentioned earlier: the young technology fan or math whiz in the family is sure to enjoy an electronic circuit set like this one from Elenco.

The set allows kids to create more than 100 different electronic circuit configurations that all snap together on the plastic module.

The manual is pretty straightforward and easy to follow: it has the projects listed and shows a diagram of the how the pieces need to be configured on the module along with instructions on how to assemble. A 12-year-old can navigate his way through them easily, and if he happens upon any words he doesn’t understand, the pictures are there to help him figure it out.

As an adult, you’ll love that this gift is both educational and affordable, and if the 12-year-old you’re shopping for is into finding out how things work, he will love having projects like these to keep him busy.

You’ll have a better idea of what the circuit looks like if you watch Elenco’s quick video here:


Don’t forget to buy some extra AA batteries!

2. LEGO Architecture Trevi Fountain

From electronic engineer to architect; this next gift is great for young builders who want a real challenge.

We really like the fact that this LEGO set allows kids and parents to work together as a team: while some 12-year-olds may prefer to tackle the entire project alone, some may need a little extra help, and that is where an adult can step in and help. Spending time together building is a great way to bond!

So, not only will this toy challenge his building skills but it just might inspire him to travel the world when he is older!

LEGO’s Architecture sets are also great for teaching him about geography, world landmarks and introducing him to other cultures. They actually did a pretty good job of “LEGO-ing” the Trevi Fountain, and the instructions are quite easy to follow!

It may be expensive for a LEGO set, but since he’s probably outgrown the childish versions, a set like this will make him feel a little more grown up.

3. The Boys’ Book of Survival

If you’re a practical gift giver, then you might consider getting him a book like this.

One of the reasons that this works well for young boys is because it addresses some of the issues that they may be too embarrassed to talk about with adults: how to survive a huge pimple or how to survive a school dance, for example.

It also touches on some practical things like making a fire, creating a compass with help from the sun and how to tie a quick-release knot. The suggestions are useful; along with a few humorous ones (he will definitely be able to survive a visit from an Abominable Snowman after reading this book!)

Not all 12-year-olds are interested in reading, and sometimes it can be hard to get them to read period, but this book kind of knocks down some barriers for him.

If you didn’t want to spend tons of money and prefer useful gifts, this is a great match!

4. Redcat Racing Everest 10 Electric Rock Crawler

Due to the cost of this RC rock crawler, we would make sure that the 12-year-old you’re shopping for is ready for it. It’s a more serious investment, and rough treatment of a toy like this isn’t cheap to fix.

If he does have experience with RC vehicles, then this would be the ultimate upgrade present as he makes his way into teen-hood.

This rock crawler has waterproof electronics, so if he happens to run it through some puddles or shallow streambeds (where the tires can touch, of course), there’s no risk of a shock.

It is a 1/10th scale rock crawler with front and rear multi-link suspension along with a front and rear transmission. The tires are monstrous and will slide over the rough, rocky terrain like butter.

You definitely need to check out the video of this guy in action: it’s a beast!


Stop plunking him down in front of his video games and a computer screen: get him outside where he can hold the power of this RC vehicle in his hands.

5. Jim Stott’s Ultimate Magic Kit

Does he love getting all of the attention? If so, a Magic Kit would be a great gift for him.

This really is the Ultimate Magic Kit since it will teach him how to perform over 350 tricks. Jim Stott has been entertaining audiences with his magic tricks since the late 70’s and having experience as a teacher, he just also happens to be great at teaching magic!

The nice thing about this kit is that there are tons of online resources available (YouTube tutorials) that will help kids master their skills as a magician.

Many find this to be the perfect kit for beginners, so if your young 12-year-old is interested in giving it a go and loves having all eyes on him, get him this kit!