When shopping for a gift for an 11 or 12 year old, things start to get a bit tricky. Kids this age are saying goodbye to their childhood and hello to their teen years. For the most part they aren’t interested in ‘toys’ anymore, but there are some exceptions and we have found them for you.
Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 11 and 12 year old children.
If you have an eleven or twelve year old who claims to be too old for toys, have a look at some of the fun stuff that we found. It’s even hard for parents to keep their hands off some of these toys.
Ultra Stomp Rocket are a silly and fun outdoor activity that most kids will love. They are kind of pointless, but very fun to use.
Since almost every kid (that I know at least) loves Minecraft and LEGO, it’s pretty genius that someone thought to put them together to make LEGO Minecraft Sets. There are four sets in this series so far and you can’t go wrong with any one of them .There is a pretty good chance whoever gets this as a gift will be extremely happy.
Who doesn’t love remote control helicopter? It can be a bit hard getting one that is good quality and that doesn’t break down after a couple of uses. This one is pretty durable, just don’t get it caught in anyone’s long hair (trust me).
Five Crowns would make a great stocking stuffer for a child who is into card games. Five Crowns is really fun and easy to learn and to play so it’s a great family card game. It doesn’t take a lot of thought or expertise so it is perfect for when you are tired but still need something to do.
Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow is a cool gift for someone who is into the Hunger Games. I’ve had my eye on this bow for a year now and just can’t understand why no one has taken the hint and gotten it for me already. I think I’ll just have to buy it for myself under the pretence of getting it for the kids.
Artistic or Creative
For artistic kids an easy gift is a really good quality art set or a sketching set, these sets have everything a budding artist might need and they look very grown up and serious which is important for kids in this age range.
Another option is a good scrapbook kit that has lots fun projects that kids can do to help develop their creativity. Who doesn’t love to scrapbook?
Twelve is actually the perfect age to introduce a guitar to a child who is showing some interest in music. By age 12 kids are able to handle a full sized guitar either acoustic or electric and so you can pretty much get any type of guitar at any price range and aren’t limited to ‘Kid’ guitars anymore. If you aren’t sure where to start a guitar that is a great price by a reputable company is this Bullet Strat by Squier. It is a nice budget guitar that is perfect for kids.
If you want to spend a bit more and get a guitar that is a fantastic beginner electric guitar, have a look at the Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster. It will last for years, have great resale value and it is easy to play and maintain.
A lot of parents love to start their kids on an acoustic guitar because they don’t have to worry about getting an amp and a cable and it tends to be a little cheaper than electric. If you are looking to get a good quality starter guitar then check out the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar. Its cheap, well made and great for beginners.
One thing that would make a good educational present for a child in this age range is a good quality microscope. My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is an authentic, scientist-grade, biological microscope that is solid entry level microscope (not a toy). It has real optical glass lenses that have 40x, 100x, and 400x magnification, to view slides or solid objects through a 10x eyepiece, which also functions as a magnifying glass when removed from the eyepiece tube and turned over.
LEGO Mindstorms would be an amazing gift to receive. If you aren’t familiar with LEGO Mindstorms it is basically a set where you build programmable robots using the LEGO build system. The robots that your kids will build are able to be programmed to walk, talk, think, and do lots of other stuff. If you want to get your kids into robotics and programming this is a great way to do it. Mindstorms isn’t cheap (around $350) but it is a very cool product that will teach your kids a lot about robotics, engineering and programming without them every realizing it.
If you want to get your kids into robotics but don’t want to spend LEGO Mindstorm type money you could try OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot. This is a very affordable solar powered robot that can be transformed into 14 different robot modes . The robot kit includes accessories and parts that make the robot move on land and water. Kids will also learn about solar energy and gears.
There are also lots of great science kits that would be good for an 11-12 year old (there are also lots of bad ones so read reviews before buying), you can get general science kits, chemistry kits, physics, kits, DNA testing kits one that we like is the Thames & Kosmos Crystal Growing Kit. This lets kids grow four chemically different crystals each with different properties, including potassium alum crystals that form regular octahedrons, rapidly growing sodium sulphate crystals, long needle-shaped sodium acetate crystals, and plaster which is made from gypsum crystals.
A really good choice for a gift for this age is a board game because kids at this age can get pretty competitive. It is also an age where children start becoming more independent and emotionally distant from parents, so a good board game is a nice family activity can be something that you do together. There are so many great board games available beyond the classic games of Monopoly and Scrabble. These are our favourite board games for ages 11 and 12:
- King of Tokyo is a fun, easy to learn, quick (usually around 30 minutes) dice and card game that is best described as Yahtzee with monsters. In the game you are basically one of 6 Monsters trying to take over Tokyo. There is a lot of luck (and some strategy) involved so anyone can win.
- Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game is a Euro-style (less luck conflict and drama than American style games) that has a moderate length game play, (usually around an hour). Each player is a Lord of Waterdeep who is vying for control of the city by who hires adventurers to complete tasks on your behalf. The more quests your adventurers complete, the better you do.
- The Settlers of Catan by now I think almost everyone knows about Settlers, if you don’t you should. It is super fun and you will love playing it. The point of the game is that players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. I know it sounds kind of boring but it’s so fun to play. The board changes in each game so it makes all the games a little different from the next.
- 7 Wonders has a pretty short play time of around 30 minutes and the point of the game is that you are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World and you are trying to gather resources, develop commercial routes and build military supremacy.
Any series by Rick Riordan (The Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus)
Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Artemis Fowl (series) by Eoin Colfer
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon) by D. J. MacHale
Coralline by Neil Gaiman
The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Almost anything from Basher Books