Let’s be clear: Your 12-year-old still wants birthday presents. Yes, they’re asking for more independence in all aspects of life and pushing back on parents being arbiters of their taste, but it’s not time (yet) to call it a day and give them cash. Prove to them you still have a head for things they’ll find, well, cool, and grab one of these thoughtful, fun, and useful gifts for your 12-year-old.
Smartphone Charging Wristlet
The average age Americans get their first phone is 10. That’s young, but phones are too much of a useful tool to help educate kids and keep the family in touch. To make sure your tween can keep in touch with you, make sure their phone is charged no matter where they are. This slim, rechargeable battery is tucked into a wristlet, providing a discreet smartphone charge while still keeping all of their valuables (public transit card, school ID, money, etc.) in one place — which we know they have a hard time doing.
Neon Peace Sign
Neon lights are cool — no matter how old you are. And this piece of décor is classic enough that it can grow with your 12-year-old and their space as they both change, from desktops to bookshelves to nightstands.
DIY Fragrance Kit
Tweens like feeling fancy and adult, and you don’t like smelling their B.O. after practice. So here is the perfect solution: a chance to let them make their own special Eau de Pre-Teen. The do-it-yourself kit contains everything you need to craft a new scent with nine separate fragrances — dubbed “head”, “heart,” and “base” — and blend in all-natural perfumers’ alcohol.
I Should Have Known That Game
We all get to immediately consult Google the minute we need an answer — that’s why good old-fashioned trivia is now more fun (and necessary) than ever. But instead of including questions about ancient history and things you’ve never heard of, it contains more than 400 questions on movies, pop culture, and recent events. Example question: does the Statue of Liberty hold her torch in the left or right hand?
Polaroid Original OneStep 2 Analog Instant Film Camera
In a day and age where even the latest technology gets old quickly in the eyes of tweens, there’s one classic that will stand the test of time. If you haven’t noticed (or been on the ‘Gram lately), the retro look of a Polaroid picture is having the ultimate cool moment again.
Bean Bag Chair
The busy life of a preteen can be exhausting. This five foot Sofa Sack comes in 15 different colors and will stand the test of time through the early double digits all the way through college (the last time in one’s life where bean bags are socially acceptable furniture).
Flat Pack Soccer Ball
The Footy flat pack soccer ball takes away all the inconvenience of carrying a ball on any park commute. It fits in your back pocket, comes in a bunch of different colors, and has the cool factor of having 10 Ikea-esque interlocking parts that kids will (actually) enjoy putting together.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.