Gifts for a 12-Year-Old Boy
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Is it just me, or do kids get harder to buy for as they get into that pre-teen stage? I used to think that maybe our kids have everything they could ever want or need. But I think it's a combination of growing up and having less desire for toys, and also being stuck in that in-between stage: not yet mature enough to care about their appearance (and need for great clothes, or grooming products). Buying a present for a 12-year-old boy feels daunting!
Townes is turning 12 today (OMG) and when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday, even he was stumped! But the more I paid attention to what he was watching, talking about, and doing helped me come up with his birthday gifts. Who would've thought that really listening would be the key to solving this mystery LOL
I thought a quick round up of gifts we got him and other ideas for 12-year-olds that we didn't end up buying. (Check out my post on 11-year-old-girl's gift ideas here.)
Gifts for a 12-Year-Old-Boy
1. Big Joe Bean Bag Gaming Chair
One of the offices we spend a lot of time in for various therapies has a couple of chairs similar to this that our kids love! I figured it couldn't hurt to look into them. Sure enough, they were on Amazon and under $50! The reviews were great, so I went for it.
I bought two of the Big Joe Bean Bag Gaming Chairs to go in the playroom where we recently gave away the kids' old bunk beds. They actually play in the playroom now. Plus, they inherited our old TV from our master bedroom, so it's a place for them to play video games. These Big Joe bean bag chairs are going to be the perfect addition.
2. Mad Libs
To be fair, Kate is the Mad Libber of the house, but Townes always enjoys playing along. And since it gets him using language skills, Mad Libs are always a good idea.
Especially when they involve pugs. He is crazy about pugs these days. If only Joe would be open to a third dog. HAHA. I'm not even open to a third dog.
My Dog Ate My Madlibs is perfect for any dog loving 12-year-old!
3. National Geographic Break Open Geodes
The Denver Aquarium has an area for buying geodes you can break open and it's a big hit, but they aren't as large as the ones in this kit. This is a great gift idea for most kids, but perfect for a 12-year-old boy. Busting open rocks with a hammer? That's a no-brainer.
National Geographic Break Open Geodes is arriving at our house this week and I can’t wait to surprise both kids. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing a full review soon!
And if you have a gem and rock-crazy kid like Townes, be sure to add on a cool book like "National Geographic Kids Everything Rocks and Minerals" that is full of awesome information that will, according to them, "rock your world". Ha! Nice one, NatGeo.
4. Amazon Fire HD 8
Our family iPad finally petered out after 7 years (she was a beast!) and as much as we hated to admit it, it was handy for travel. But buying even one new ipad is a pricey investment. So we opted for the very affordable Amazon’s Kindle Fire 8.
We got them for a steal before Christmas at around $100 (we splurged for the 32 gb hard drive since movies and Netflix shows take up so much space).
I can't believe how much we love these devices. The kids can download Netflix shows and movies, they can read kindle books and play games like Minecraft and Teeny Titans.
They are not iPads, but they come very close!
5. Backyard Ballistics book
When we were on an American Indian presentation last week, the main question Townes wanted answered was if they had any dynamite on the premises. Classic.
At the library the next day I looked up books on dynamite and this Backyard Ballistics book popped up. I forwarded it to Joe and asked if he'd be willing to take the lead on doing some of these "projects" and his response, "that is one of the coolest books I've ever seen. I'm in."
I guess you can never underestimate the want of a man to blow up something.
6. Plush Tablet Cover (For Townes: Pusheen Kindle Case)
We got the kids protective covers for their Kindle Fire's, but I just couldn't resist this plush Pusheen Mini Tablet Case . Townes is Pusheen's biggest fan and this cover was made for him.
Plus, it was like eight bucks. Hard to pass it up!
7. Make a Family Memory
As a family, we are trying to experience more activities and make memories over buying more things.
Sure, things can be fun, but how often do we even remember what things we got for Christmas or our birthdays last year?
An experience is something to cherish forever. We opted to do a "meet and greet" with an otter and her trainer at the Denver Aquarium the morning of his birthday. He's going to freak!
Plus, I upgraded and he's getting a tote bag and an otter stuffed animal to go along with the event. This is huge since we have a rule of: for every stuffed animal you buy and bring into our house, you have to get rid of two. He will be so happy that there is a birthday loop hole!
8. Nintendo Switch
When I found out how much these puppies cost, I sobered up pretty quickly to the idea of gifting one to Townes for his birthday. The Switch, plus the cover, plus a game puts you out at around $385!
I've heard incredible things about the Nintendo Switch and I think it's a perfect gift for a 12-year-old boy, but this is something we're making the kids purchase themselves.
During no-spend January/February, they saved up their allowances and added to the savings they already had. They are almost to their goal! I think it'll mean so much more that they are paying for it themselves.
That said--if you're looking for an awesome gift for a pre-teen boy, this is a slam dunk!
9. Faux Bow Foam Bow and Arrow Archery Set
We got Townes a bow and arrow set (from Dicks, or somewhere) when he was seven or eight and he loved it.
This Faux Bow Foam Bow and Arrow Set would get used a lot more since you don't have to take safety into consideration or get out the big foam target cube.
And for under $30, this is foam bow and arrow set is a lot of bang for your buck!
10. The Ultimate Unofficial Encyclopedia for Minecrafters
This book is perfect for any Minecraft fans out there. My kids are pretty proficient at Minecraft, but I'm betting this little encyclopedia could enlighten them.
The (Ultimate Unofficial) Encyclopedia for Minecrafters would be great for a pre-teen boy or pre-teen girl (since I know Kate would love this book, as well!).
Why 12-Year-Old Birthdays Are Hard
You know and they know they are on the cusp of some big changes. Heck, some 12-year-olds may have already reached puberty! Regardless, they are on the verge of transitioning out of being kids and into the beginnings of their life as a teenager and then adult (gasp).
And this is a weird place to be--they're in limbo. Some are holding on to their less mature days and want to continue playing with their Beyblades and Lego sets, while some are trying to act older. They might start wearing their hair differently and even ask for more stylish clothes. Every kid will be different. Hence the trickiness of buying for a 12-year-old LOL
Even Townes Was Stumped on What to Ask for on His Birthday
Sometimes even the birthday boy doesn't know what he wants. This may go back to the above point--they are in limbo. Also, he's not getting ideas from his classmates anymore.
Since we unschool the kids, they aren't interacting with other kids as much as they used to when they were in school all day. Sure, they see kids their own age at the various classes and homeschool meetups we do, but it's not hard core, seven hours straight of being in small spaces with boys and girls their own ages.
The result is that Townes and Kate are a little out of the loop when it comes to the latest and greatest toys and/or clothes that are hip and cool. And I couldn't be happier. They no longer feel "less than" because they don't have the latest and greatest "it toy".
We Cut the Cord--No More Advertisements
The kids aren't being inundated with commercials anymore! We opted out of a cable or satellite service about four months ago and haven't looked back. Partly because nothing was ever on the 200+ channels we had at our fingertips, and partly to give the middle finger to cable news.
The kids watch their shows on Netflix and there are no commercials--so that means they aren't inundated with all of the things and all of the latest and greatest toys that they didn't know they couldn't live without. Yet another reason we are so happy we cut the cord!
Listen to What They're Watching as Much as What They Are Saying
Once I really thought about what makes Townes tick, the easier the ideas came to me. He's a pretty simple 12-year-old boy: gaming, animals, gems, and minecraft. That was an easy combination to come up with the best birthday gifts for him.
In the end, the best gift for the 12-year-old boy in your life is one that makes him happy. And to figure that out, spend a little time with him. If you're looking for gift ideas for a school birthday party, you can't go wrong with a nerf gun, or foam bow and arrow set, or an amazon gift card! Who doesn't love a gift card??
Or, if all else fails, just shoot the mom an email and get some scoop from her! Or snag one of the ideas from this gift guide for 12-year-old boys :)
I can't believe I'm the mother of a 12-year-old boy! How did this happen? I'm also happy that we came up with the best birthday gifts for him. If we couldn't get him a pug for his birthday, these presents are the next best thing LOL He's going to have the best day!