The 10 Best 12 Year Old Girl Gifts
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in September of 2015. No, it is definitely not easy to find the right present for today's sophisticated pre-teens. But don't tear your hair out just yet. We've made it a cinch to pamper your little princess royally. All you have to do is choose something from our varied and exciting collection of gifts for 12-year-old girls. You'll probably be happy to know that several of these have an educational aspect, as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 09, 2020:
We removed the Klutz Nail Style Studio and the Ozobot Evo Robot due to availability concerns and replaced them with the Just My Style DIY Water Bottle and the Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit. Although the tween in your life might feel like they’re growing out of arts and crafts, we wanted to include a couple more creative projects to inspire some imagination and individuality. These two are great gift options because they allow kids to design their own work, fostering agency and self-expression.
November 20, 2019:
Twelve years old is an in-between age: hence the term "tween". These kids aren't little anymore, but they aren't yet teenagers, which makes their preferences difficult to pin down. Some 12-year-old girls are still into toys, while others have their eye on fashion, technology, or academics, and gifts that reflect these developing interests. This is why we've put together such a diverse list of products. You'll notice that in the hopes of facilitating self-expression and curiosity, we've chosen items such as the Craft-tastic String Art Kit and the Klutz Doodle Journal. There are also educational toys like the Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit and Discover with Dr. Cool Geode Kit. In short, you're likely to find something in this list that will please the special 12-year-old in your life.
The Jada Girlmazing Jeep Wrangler is a new addition to the list, added for its stylish, officially-licensed design and ease of operation. The Selieve Walkie Talkies are also new to the list, replacing the KarviPack 22 Walkie Talkies For Kids, which were removed due to complaints concerning function. Similarly, the VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch was added to give families a more high tech option than the watch featured here previously, the Roxy Women's RX1008. The Yellow Scope Acids, Bases & pH Chemistry Kit got the ax due to quality issues.
FurReal Walkalots Cat This may be the best option for kids who are interested in caring for a pet but may not be ready to take on all of the responsibilities that come along with owning an animal. It's an adorable rainbow unicorn-cat creature that actually "walks" on a leash. walmart.com
Tamagotchi on Fairy Today's virtual pets are so much cooler than the ones from way back when. This one has an adorable pink body, a color display, and an app that allows you to access additional features. It requires two AA batteries which, unfortunately, are not included. target.com
Deer Sparkle Mini Backpack It doesn't seem like a big deal, but having a cool school bag can really make a difference in a kid's social life. This pack has everything a girl could want: a cute woodland creature, soft fur, sequins, and enough space to accommodate all of those books and supplies. shopjustice.com
What to Get For The Girl Who Has Everything
Your best bet might be an activity kit or craft supplies that she can explore on her own time or when hanging out with friends.
If you peek into the bedroom of the modern day child, you may be shocked by the number of toys she already owns, and this makes choosing a gift all the more intimidating. With the rise in popularity of elaborate birthday parties that often involve inviting the child's entire class or the whole neighborhood, kids are receiving more gifts than ever. By the time a girl reaches the age of 12, she may have accumulated hundreds of toys and possessions.
If you don't know the child personally, it's always a safe bet to ask mom and dad about their daughter's current obsession, especially because at this age her interests are often changing as rapidly as her growing body. It is sometimes more helpful to find out what a child doesn't need because a tween with a well-known passion for unicorns may already have a room dripping with unicorn-themed toys and décor that she is poised to grow out of.
Wearable gifts, like jewelry and accessories are popular with pre-teen girls as they become more fashion-conscious. If buying something for a tween to wear leaves you fraught with uncertainty, stick with classic colors and styles that aren't trendy. A 12 year old girl is mature enough to take care of pretty gold earrings or a neutral scarf that she can wear for years.
Experience or activity gifts are often appreciated by a tween who is growing out of traditional toys. Tickets to an event or a class can be a good idea, but keep in mind that hectic schedules may prevent her from using them. Your best bet might be an activity kit or craft supplies that she can explore on her own time or when hanging out with friends.
The Terrible Tweens
Most experts define a tween as a person between the ages of 9 and 12. No longer a small child, but not yet a teenager, the 21st century female tween is frequently facing pressures similar to what a teen would experience while undergoing the rapid hormonal changes of puberty. The majority of the tween years are spent as a middle-schooler, an awkward developmental time in our lives that many of us would never want to repeat. School-related stress is known to peak during the middle school years.
By the age of 12, some girls will be chomping at the bit to act and appear more grown up. During this time of tumultuous change, a tween girl may seem eager to leave behind childish things like toys and dolls, but they are still children and will appreciate play time, even if it is only done when their older peers aren't around. Parents should keep in mind that their daughter might want to play with her stuffed animals one day and beg for a cell phone the next. It's important to encourage this time of self-discovery while setting reasonable limits about things like social media so that their daughters don't grow up too fast.
Between peer pressure and all the hormones, the tween years are a classic time for girls to begin butting heads with parents about everything from having a smartphone to participating in family activities. Exploring new activities that you can enjoy together is one way to help alleviate some of the drama.
Gifts That Encourage Family Time
In addition to the social stresses that come with middle school, the difference in academic curriculum from elementary to middle school is often a giant leap. A science kit that reflects what your daughter is learning at school can be a great way to bond while sharpening her laboratory skills, with the added bonus that you will be encouraging her to maintain interest in the STEM fields.
If you want to encourage your child to spend long hours talking to you and not staring at their phone, it might be time to update your board game collection. While your “little kid” board games are sitting on the shelf collecting dust, a fun tradition that keeps families close is fading. Family game night can grow with your family, making it into something everyone looks forward to for a lifetime. Get your tweens and teens hooked on strategy or trivia games, or even some classic card games that you'll actually enjoy playing yourself.
For more active families, trying a new sport together could be the bonding experience that you and your tween need. You can surprise her new sports equipment or active wear as you embark on a new challenge as a family.