The 22 Best Gifts for 12-Year-Old Boys of 2020

Gifts tween boys will love

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Nintendo Switch Lite at Walmart

"Similar to the larger and more expensive Nintendo Switch, this Lite version is perfect for gaming on the go."

Vineyard Vines Vintage Whale Graphic Long Sleeve T-Shirt at Nordstrom

"These Vineyard Vines long-sleeve whale tees are popular among tween boys who love comfortable yet stylish clothes."

LEGO Architecture New York City at Amazon

"Tweens will simultaneously build their knowledge of iconic New York architecture and be entertained for hours."

Vans Ward Low Kids' Skate Shoes at Kohl's

"These sneakers exude the signature skater style and provide support with their padded footbed."

Echo Spot at Amazon

"Multiple functionalities are neatly packed into the Echo Spot, from weather and traffic updates to video chat and messaging."

L.L. Bean Personal Organizer at L.L.Bean

"As water-resistant as it is organizational, this bag can easily be toted from the bathroom to the gym to vacations."

GoPro HERO8 Black Live Streaming Action Camera at Best Buy

"This Action Camera captures all the memorable moments in action while also providing stabilization and live streaming."

Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack at Amazon

"The backpack has adjustable padded straps for comfort and plenty of room for him to stash his books and laptop."

Anki Cozmo Robot at Amazon

"Using the most recent AI technology, the robot can express hundreds of emotions, learn to recognize people and interact with pets."

Under Armour Kids’ Ignite V Slides at Amazon

"Versatile enough to wear outdoors or indoors and custom enough to mold to its wearer’s foot shape."

It’s no secret that 12-year-old boys are difficult to buy for. No longer a kid and on the cusp of teenagehood, 12-year-olds may still like to be active and play games, but they’re also interested in the latest trends in clothes and technology.

Here are the best gifts for 12-year-old boys with any interest.

Our Top Picks

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

Courtesy of Best Buy 

Similar to the larger and more expensive Nintendo Switch, this Lite version is perfect for gaming on the go. It’s compatible with popular Switch games—such as Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros, and any others that work in handheld mode. If kids don’t feel like playing alone, they can link up to eight Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems together to play multiplayer games anywhere.

Vineyard Vines Vintage Whale Graphic Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Vintage Whale Graphic Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Courtesy of Zappos 

These Vineyard Vines long-sleeve whale tees are popular among tween boys who love comfortable yet stylish clothes. Made of super-soft cotton, they’re breathable, cool, and feature a relaxed fit for everyday wear.

LEGO Architecture New York City

Since many kids don’t outgrow their love of LEGOs, the Architecture series is designed specifically for older kids. Designed for kids 12 and up, this 598-piece set lets them construct New York City’s skyline—including the Flatiron Building, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Chrysler Building, and the Statue of Liberty. Once it’s built, the set makes a fantastic display piece and can be combined with other LEGO sets.

Vans Ward Low Kids' Skate Shoes

Vans Kids' Ward Sneaker

 Courtesy of Kohl's 

Some 12-year-olds are ready to start expressing their individual style and these cool, retro-looking shoes make a great statement. With a rubber outsole and padded footbed, they’re comfortable and perfect for everyday wear.

Echo Spot

If you could combine the Echo Dot and the Echo Show, you’d get the Echo Spot, a compact gadget that tweens will love to have in their room. They can use it to play music, control smart devices, video chat, watch videos, news, and more.

L.L. Bean Personal Organizer

L.L. Bean Personal Organizer

 Courtesy of L.L. Bean

This compact hanging toiletry bag is perfect for helping your tween stay organized when he’s traveling. The main compartment has multiple soft mesh pockets and a removable shower caddy, while external zippered compartments on the sides allow for quick access to essentials. 

GoPro HERO8 Black Live Streaming Action Camera

GoPro HERO8 Black Live Streaming Action Camera

 Courtesy of Best Buy

Another splurge-worthy gift, the versatile GoPro HERO8 lets kids record themselves snowboarding down a mountain, catching air on their bike, or doing tricks on their skateboard. The new streamlined, smaller design makes it easy to carry and the image stabilization and cool slo-mo option allows for some amazing videos of their adventures.

Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack

This extremely popular backpack features a minimalist design that’s just right for a 12-year-old boy. It has adjustable padded straps for comfort and plenty of room for him to stash his books and laptop. A zippered front pocket allows for convenient access to his wallet, phone, and keys.

Anki Cozmo Robot

If your 12-year-old is into robotics or coding, he’ll go crazy for the new Cozmo robot. Using the most recent AI technology, it can express hundreds of emotions, learn to recognize people, and interact with pets. Kids can connect Cozmo to their iOS or Android phone or tablet and use the free app to unlock games and use all the cool features.

Under Armour Kids’ Ignite V Slides

Perfect for slipping on after sports practice or just chilling at home, these slides from Under Armour are comfortable, stylish, and extremely durable. They’re suitable for indoor or outdoor use, and feature Velcro that can be adjusted for the right fit.

Glow City Light-up Basketball

Kids don’t have to stop playing basketball once it gets dark out. This super cool glow-in-the-dark ball illuminates from the inside when they’re playing with it and then shuts off automatically when not in use.

Light-up Bluetooth Speaker

Your 12-year-old will love to use this Bluetooth speaker to listen to music, but the device is so much more than that. It’s a light that can change colors—including blue, red, purple, or green—and has a lamp setting that’s ideal for reading or doing homework. With an 18-hour battery life, it also works well as a light and speaker for outdoor use.

Jaws Board Game

Shark lovers and movie buffs will love this thrilling board game inspired by the classic film. Tweens will enjoy planning strategic moves as they hunt and try to avoid getting eaten by a great white shark. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Big Joe Milano Bean Bag Chair

Big Joe Milano Bean Bag Chair

 Courtesy of Walmart

Perfect for playing video games, movie watching, reading, or just relaxing, this comfy and durable bean bag chair is filled with UltimaX Beans that conform to you, not the other way around. It’s also made with SmartMax fabric that’s stain-resistant, water-resistant, and can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Choose from a variety of colors to coordinate with your tween’s room decor.

Franklin Sports Table Tennis to Go

Table tennis fans can still get their game on without a full-sized table. This convenient and affordable to-go set lets your 12-year-old convert any table into a table tennis table.

Codenames Game

This simple yet challenging game makes teammates work together to guess codenames of their secret agents, while trying to avoid choosing the assassin and their opponent’s codenames. Ideal for a group of friends or family members, the game is fun, addictive, and rewards creative thinking.

LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle

Another LEGO set that 12-year-olds will enjoy, this Ship in a Bottle is fun to build and looks really cool displayed on a shelf. It even comes with its own display stand, as well as a buildable cork and a wax seal element for an authentic touch.

4M Tin Can Robot

For kids who like to build and tinker, this kit lets them turn an aluminum soda can into a cool motorized robot that can move around. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, so 12-year-olds should be able to do it on their own without any parental help.

Spikeball

Similar to volleyball but played with a smaller ball, Spikeball is a non-stop fun game that’s popular among tweens and teens. They have to slam, spin, and spike the ball into a net while trying to get their opponents to miss it. The set comes with three balls and a net that collapses so you can easily store it in the included carrying bag.

K'NEX Thrill Rides 3-in-1 Classic Amusement Park Building Set

Ideal for kids who love to build, this K’NEX set comes with 744 pieces that they can use to create three different amusement park rides. The battery-powered motor makes each ride spin or rotate, just like a real Ferris wheel, boom ride, or swing ride. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

The Northwest Company Officially Licensed NFL Plush Throw Blanket

Featuring more than 30 NFL teams, these plush, comfy blankets make a great gift for football lovers. Made of a soft polyester, these oversized, machine-washable blankets are ideal for watching games on the couch.

Adidas Alliance II Sackpack

Twelve-year-olds on the go sometimes need a place to stash their phone, money, keys, and water bottle, but they don’t want to carry a large backpack. Streamlined yet big enough for the basics, this Adidas bag is the perfect solution. It’s also convenient for carrying sports gear to and from practice or games.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, as well as aunt to eleven teen and tween nieces and nephews. When shopping for tweens and teens, she sometimes opts for gift cards, but prefers to research and seek out the perfect presents. 

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