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The Best Gifts for 12-Year-Olds, According to Experts

The Best Gifts for 12-Year-Olds, According to Experts

Lisa Goldstein, the librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, says that she and her colleagues consider 12 years as the age of young adult. As kids get to this age, they are straddling that child’s and teen sections of life. And children are trying to get more of their freedom, as they get deeper into puberty. Adolescence, as our expert, Matt Lundquist, who is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York, states, is all about the dialectic of freedom versus supervision.

When parents come to choosing presents for their not-yet-teenager children, it is very important that they ask kids about their interests. Lundquist recommends spending some time getting to know the young person and suggest a gift that encourages deeper research. He also likes the idea of considering the gifts being the tools for exploration and investigation. Even though some 12-year-old kids may still enjoy playing with their dolls and building blocks for example, very often, the toy usually perceived as childish might offend the kid who receives it, says Alyson Cohen who is a psychotherapist. Check out the list of 19 gifts for 12-year-old children that are age-appropriate and approved by our experts.

Also, check out our gift suggestions for kids of different age groups, including 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and 11-year-olds, as well as for as well as guides for teenage girls and boys

Just in case you are searching for holidays toys, we have talked to specialists to indicate the 2018’s best items for you. So, take a look at the top kid’s toys to buy before they sell out. In addition, here you can find all of the Strategist’s holiday gift offers.


KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer

KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer

Lundquist considers very important to find out and understand exactly what children at this age are up to, rather than just thinking about the specific toys. Maybe you as a parent should straightly ask them about what they prefer, says Cohen. For example, you can ask something like this ‘What do you want as a present this year? Is it a toy, or maybe you are looking for something older that you will be able to use in the next upcoming years?’ Lets say you’re your 12-year-old kid loves baking. Instead of buying an Easy to Bake Oven, which is made mostly for younger children, our experts recommend getting them something that will show your kid that you acknowledge his or her interests, and at the same time encourage trying out the activities that are a little more complex and challenging. How about a hand mixer? 12 years is the age when you can support them in exploring some of their deeper interests. You should let them see that you take their hobbies and interests for serious. Show that you trust them with stuff made for adult people.

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Spikeball 3 Ball Kit

Spikeball 3 Ball Kit

At this age, boys are usually a little bit behind girls in terms of puberty. However, says Cohen, this is the period when some of the boys might be developing more muscles, their voices might get deeper, and their athletic abilities are likely to improve greatly as well. Outdoor group games, as this super popular Spikeball, is a perfect choice for 12-year-old kids. Moreover, it will also serve as an opportunity to hang out with their pals.

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Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

Since a boy of this age might be gaining some extra weight, something simple, like this pull-up bar installed in their bedroom, might also be a perfect gift.

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Giantex Adjustable 66-Pound Dumbbell Set

Giantex Adjustable 66-Pound Dumbbell Set

This adjustable weight set would definitely encourage a 12-year-old boy to develop his interest in athletics.

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SIMREX X101 DIY Drone Building Blocks RC Quadcopter

SIMREX X101 DIY Drone Building Blocks RC Quadcopter

Lundquist, as we know, believes that presents should be tools for inquiry. Therefore, he recommends getting toys like STEM kits that will help them to explore their interests and discover the world around them. Climbing gear, kits for growing crystals, books about plants identification, coding kit, and stuff for building projects are the appropriate examples of that. This kit for building drones is a great gift for beginners.

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Meuxan 33-Piece Clay & Pottery Sculpting Tool Kit with Canvas Storage Case

Meuxan 33-Piece Clay & Pottery Sculpting Tool Kit with Canvas Storage Case

Cohen agrees with Lundquist. She recommends if you are looking for gifts for a girl, getting something for her to make by herself. For example pottery, jewelry, or origami. In other words, something that might require a bit more skills. However, she warns that it is extremely important to pay attention to the age labels on toy boxes. Parents have to make sure that the toy is intended for the age of 12 and up, and not 10 and up. Try out this tool kit for the beginning ceramicists.

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Instax Wood Photo Magnet

Instax Wood Photo Magnet

Children are beginning to express themselves creatively when they are at the middle-school age. Sometimes they are doing this through what they wear and listen to, sometimes through how they decorate their lockers in school, according to Cohen. Since most of their social activities are taking place at school, you should give them something they can apply to express themselves in a school environment. And if you get them something like this they will definitely use it, she says. We recommend these magnetic frames for Instax pictures. They would make great stocking stuffers, as well as will look cool on your kid’s locker, which is more importantly. It will also showcase a middle school kid’s BFFs.

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Nike Epic Lux Running Leggings

Nike Epic Lux Running Leggings

Trendy clothes for a gym is something Cohen also suggests for gifting to a preteen. We all know that many kids find gym classes to be a routine. However, if they have leggings from one of their favorite stores, or something trendy and fashionable like from Nike, not just from the clearance rack, they would definitely feel cool wearing it.

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Champion Reverse Weave Snoopy Sweatshirt

Champion Reverse Weave Snoopy Sweatshirt

Check out this sweatshirt from Champion. It is manufactured in non-boring color sports and has the cutest little embroiders Snoopy. And it would make any schooler look flying in gym class.

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Caboodles On-The-Go Makeup Case

Caboodles On-The-Go Makeup Case

At the age of 12 girls are just getting into makeup. Try out the Caboodles, which is a fun way to organize all their beauty stuff.

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Apple Store Gift Card

Apple Store Gift Card

Kids are developing their taste in music. Give them more control over what they listen to and download. That would be a great way to show them that you value and respect their independence, says Cohen. She adds that giving children the opportunity to download different media from iTunes or any other platforms gives them some sort of purchasing power, but with the boundaries at the same time.

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Amazon Gift Card

Amazon Gift Card

Or give them one of the Amazon gift cards that are very popular as well.

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Aneew 16GB Blue Unicorn USB Flash Drive

Aneew 16GB Blue Unicorn USB Flash Drive

Even though children of this age group would love to have their own laptop, many of them are usually using the family computer or an old hand-me-down. Parents can help them personalize the family computer by purchasing them a cool USB flash drive. Сohen also suggests you create the personal profile for your kid and his own username within the computer.

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Best books for 12-year-olds

Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

As Lisa Goldstein says, the book, written by Jarret Krosoczka, which is the Finalist of the National Book Award, get a lot of attention. The author is well known for his picture books and graphic novels, like the popular Lunch Lady series, for younger readers. Krosoczka’s latest book is his first for older children. This is author’s memoir about his own life, growing up with the addict mother. Although 12 years is the lower end of this book’s age range, this story might be interesting for younger children who may see themselves in this book. The author was raised by his grandparents and had to go through the attempts to make sense of his own life. It took him time and when he became a teenager, he has begun to understand his family, as well as the art he turned to as the way out. The book is written from the teenager’s point of view and it surely works for children thinking of that idea of identity and looking to find themselves. As Goldstein believes, when someone is struggling, something he or she is good at, like art, can be a perfect way out. She adds that the author used letters, drawings, as well as photos from the ‘80s and ‘90s, the time when he grew up. All these create a great mixed-media experience. This book is great for children who like graphic novels, as it is a way for them move on to heavier work with more serious content. Even though it is hard, but it is something, that many kids experience themselves.

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Fake Blood, by Whitney Gardner

Fake Blood, by Whitney Gardner

Here is another graphic novel, which is much lighter in content, called Fake Blood. The story takes place in Spoons, Oregon (a little nod to Folks, Washington. The place where Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer, takes place). The book is about AJ, who is crazy about Nia, who is obsessed with vampires. In order to get Nia’s attention, he decides to become a vampire. However, he soon finds out that Nia is a vampire slayer, and he is putting in jeopardy his entire plan and, in fact, his life. As Goldstein says, this novel fits in with the idea of identity. It also speaks for children who feel that they are not enough, as well as feel that they need to be more than who they really are. In fact, it tells kids that they do not have to pretend being someone they are not, and that they are actually great as they are. Moreover, this book is really funny.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang

Our next suggestion is a fairy tale called The Prince and the Dressmaker. It tells a story about Prince Sebastian. He and his family live in Paris, and his parents are searching for the bride for their son. However, Sebastian has his alter ego and would rather wear dresses and be Lady Christalia. Fortunately, he has a best friend Frances, who is a dressmaker. She shares the prince’s secret, but for her, it means giving up all of her own dreams and plans aside to protect her best friend. As Goldstein says, this book is full of tolerance and fabulous fashion, like fancy outfits and rainbow-like colors. According to her, this book is a joyful fairy tale that also deals with the subtleties of gender identities.

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Crush (Berrybrook Middle School Book 3), by Svetlana Chmakova

Crush (Berrybrook Middle School Book 3), by Svetlana Chmakova

Crush is the third book in Berrybrook Middle School series, written by Svetlana Chmakova. Each book of this series tells the story of a particular student. The third one is about Jorge, a nice boy who plays baseball and has a very simple life. But all of a sudden he becomes nervous about a girl named Jasmine from the school’s drama club. According to Goldstein, the book describes all usual middle school stresses like rumors and peer pressure, but it is really placed with gentle humor. Telling about the stresses, it at the same time, gives the reader the relief from them. And children love this series. This graphic novel was illustrated by the author, and was noticeably influenced by manga style, which makes it noticeable and instantly appealing to children who enjoy reading manga. And, as Goldstein says, this book is a perfect gift for kids who only read manga.

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Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How To Fight Back), by Andrea Curtis and Peggy Collins

Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How To Fight Back), by Andrea Curtis and Peggy Collins

This suggestion is a nonfiction book. It teaches children about product placement, kidvertising, and branding. It also teaches them to push back against it and to effectively resist. As Goldstein says, nonfiction, having a good design and lots of illustration, can be a really appealing format, as well as a fun book to plunge into. Moreover, it is a neat way to make children into self-advocates, as well as activists who will not be fooled or duped into eating harmful junk food.

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The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Our last suggestion for this age group is this unique and deep fiction book. As Goldstein says, this book is heavily illustrated to make it appealing to children who are not necessarily read books of this type. This mutual work of two authors is called The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. It tells the story of the elfin historian, who goes on a mission of delivering a peace offer to the goblin kingdom. However, the goblins do not know that he is there to spy. The series of misunderstandings causes an international crisis. This book consists of short chapters, illustrations, and collages drawn in woodcut style essential for understanding the story. According to Goldstein, the book discloses the ideas about how historical chronicles are written and how people, who should actually be finding common things between each other, eventually get divided. However, the book itself is beautiful. It is funny and has a really appealing format.

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