So, you have a preteen in your life, and you’re not sure what to get them for their birthday, the holidays, and beyond. We get it. Finding a gift suitable for a 12-year-old can be tricky since the gift receiver is caught between childhood and teenage years. Maybe they’re asking for the latest Apple Watch or a new iPad, but they may not be ready for the responsibility of such a big-ticket item. Plus, we gift kids items that encourage them to extend their childhood when possible.
If you’re currently asking yourself ‘what is the best toys for a 12-year-old,’ wonder no more. We can’t help you with all the ‘talks’ you’re about to have with your preteen (so many talks), but we can help you with toys.
While searching for the best toys for a 12-year-old girl and the best ones for a 12-year-old boy, we found that what’s old is new again in many cases. Some of the hottest toys for 2022 are ones we played with in our youth, from LEGO to crafting sets to Lite Bright. Oh yeah, Lite Bright is back and it’s still really fun.
Need a toy that says, ‘I know you’re not a kid but you can still have fun like a kid?’ It’s a tall order that can be fulfilled with our list of the newest, coolest, and best toys for 12-year-olds.
1. Gel Blaster STARFIRE with Glow-in-the-Dark Gellet System
BEST FOR OUTDOOR PLAY
The new Gel Blaster STARFIRE with Glow-in-the-Dark Gellet System is a kid-friendly alternative to paintball, with the rechargeable blaster shooting glow-in-the-dark water Gellets that will disintegrate on impact. The biodegradable Gellets leave behind a glow-in-the-dark trace, making this a fun toy for playing with at night. We also like that the Gel Blaster uses a USB-C charging port and can provide five hours of play after only one hour of charging time.
2. Cra-Z-Art Shimmer ‘n Sparkle 8-in-1 Lite-Up Designer Nail Studio
BEST NAIL STUDIO
For kids that want to have fun with their nails, help them create their own aesthetician studio with the Cra-Z-Art Shimmer ‘n Sparkle 8-in-1 Lite-Up Designer Nail Studio. The set includes everything kids need to create over 100 unique designs, including nail polishes, stickers, glue, gems, and a dryer that will make kids feel like pros.
Cra-Z-Art Shimmer 'n Sparkle 8-in-1 Lite-Up Designer Nail Studio
$49.99 27% Off
3. Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Millennium Falcon 9″ Large Vehicle & Figures
BEST FOR STAR WARS FANS
Read More: The Best Gifts For Star Wars Fans
Star Wars fans will enjoy playing with the new Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Millennium Falcon. At 9” wide, the Millenium Falcon has several cool features worthy of a galaxy far, far away, including rotating cannons, a cockpit that opens, retractable landing gear and more. There are even sound and light effects that are motion activated. The force is strong with this toy.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Stranger Things Upside Down Remix
Pop culture fans who love Stranger Things and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will flip upside down for this remix collaboration that features Eleven and Leonardo. Both figures have multiple points of articulation and come with their own accessories. Cowabunga up that hill.
Read More: The Best Retro Toys To Buy Now
5. LEGO Avatar Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls
BEST LEGO SET
It can be difficult to find an age-appropriate toy for a 12-year-old, which is why we are always grateful to LEGO. The toy company has sets for every age, including this preteen-friendly LEGO Avatar Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls. The newly released set includes 1212 pieces to help Avatar fans create their own mini Pandora.
6. Woobles Penguin Crochet Kit
BEST FOR CRAFTERS
The hugely popular Woobles Crochet Set made a big impression on the sharks on Shark Tank and continues to be a favorite among new and experienced crafters. This beginner set is great for kids ages 12 and up and includes all the tools and instructions necessary for creating tiny, cute crochet animals. SPY received a sample of the kit and we loved the user-friendly instructions and how relaxing it was to enjoy a fun and stress-free crafting activity.
7. Bittle Robotic Dog by Petoi
Read More: The Best Robot Toys for Kids
The Bittle is geared towards kids ages 14 and up, but for 12-year-olds with previous experience with robots, we think they would also enjoy the robotic dog. Kids will enjoy constructing their own robot dog and then using the Petoi app to complete basic coding practices to control their plastic pup. A great STEM toy, this robot dog uses AI to learn how to see, listen and sense the environment around it.
8. Lite Brite Stranger Things Special Edition
BEST RETRO TOY
Read More: The Best Retro Toys To Buy Now
If the popularity of The Office, Gilmore Girls and Friends among preteens and teens have taught us anything, it’s that older pop culture favorites are hot again. It only makes sense for the retro Lite Brite toy to team up with Stranger Things, the ultimate retro series, for a chillingly cool collaboration.
9. NERF Roblox Sharkbite: Web Launcher Rocker Blaster
COOL TOYS FOR 12-YEAR-OLDS
NERF continues to release toys that kids and preteens love to use. One of their latest models combines the company’s much-loved blaster model with the hugely popular Roblox series. Kids can pump to fire the included rocket and they’ll be excited to learn the blaster comes with a unique code for redeeming a special edition Roblox virtual item.
10. Ironheart MK1 Funko
BEST FUNKO TOY
Funko is constantly dropping new and exciting toys for the ultimate fans and we love their latest figure, which honors Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Celebrate the highly anticipated movie with the new Ironheart MK1 figure.
11. Valor Kick Scooter Toy
Scooters offer an excellent alternative to bikes for venturing into the great outdoors since they are typically much less expensive and easier to store. Help your child burn off energy and get to their friend’s house faster with the Valor Kick Scooter Toy. The scooter has an impressive 220-pound weight capacity and we like that it can easily fold to fit inside a backpack.
12. Sounds Fishy: The Fast-Thinking, Bluffing Family Board Game for Kids
BEST FOR FAMILY NIGHT
Bring back family game night with the new Sounds Fishy: The Fast-Thinking, Bluffing Family Board Game for Kids. Designed for large groups of four to 10 players, the trivia game asks players to give their answers to real questions…but are the answers real or made up? Bluff your way to a win on a board game that the entire family will enjoy.
13. USPS The Great American Mail Race Board Game
BEST EDUCATIONAL TIE-IN
Another excellent game night addition is the newly released USPS The Great American Mail Race Board Game. Kids will have fun racing across the country and learning about geography while their mail truck, plane and spaceship visit real places like Ding Dong, Texas. Really!
14. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera
AWESOME TOYS FOR 12-YEAR-OLDS
If you want to help your child express their creative side without access to social media, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera is an excellent gift. Available in several fun and funky colors, the kid-friendly design of the camera makes it great for young photographers. The small pictures are perfect for decorating lockers, trapper keepers and more.
15. Thames & Kosmos Structural Engineering Bridges & Skyscrapers Science Kit
BEST STEM TOYS FOR 12-YEAR-OLDS
Encourage aspiring engineers with the Thames & Kosmos Structural Engineering Bridges & Skyscrapers Science Kit, which includes over 320 interchangeable building pieces that allow kids to build 20 unique models of bridges and skyscrapers. The STEM-friendly, award-winning kit will help kids learn about tension, compression, load and more.