Birthday gift ideas for a 12-year-old

Updated March 29, 2017

Buying a gift for a 12-year-old is notoriously difficult. Often referred to as tweens, preteens are maturing faster than ever. Stuffed toys or childish games are likely to be snubbed by a 12-year-old in favour of technology or a more mature gift. It is important to get the balance right, a gift should recognise that they are growing up but should not be too mature.

Music Player

Music devices such as iPods and MP3 players come in a range of styles and prices to suit all personalities and budgets. Many 12-year-olds are discovering new music and finding out what they enjoy listening to. Pre-load a music device with their favourite music, or present the gift with an iTunes gift token so they can have fun picking out their own songs to upload.


Buy a book on subject a 12-year-old has taken a particular interest in at school such as ancient Egyptian history or volcanoes. Nurture their talent for a subject by giving them the opportunity to learn more about it.

Beauty Basket

Although lots of 12-year-old girls are starting to take an interest in their appearance, many parents still consider 12 too young to wear make-up. Instead create a beauty basket filled with products that acknowledge her maturing but that are age appropriate. Items such as bath bombs, lip balm, shampoos and conditioners will be well received by a 12-year-old girl for her birthday.

Magazine Subscription

Both girls and boys enjoy reading magazines about all matter of subjects from science to pop culture. Subscriptions can be bought for most magazine titles and a child can have his or her favourite one delivered to their door for six or 12 months, or even longer.

Concert Tickets

Spend quality time with your child by attending a concert or a musical theatre performance together. Present the tickets as a surprise in a related book or CD case.

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About the Author

Based in Manchester, U.K., Natalie Baker has been a freelance beauty and fashion writer since 2009. Her work appears in the beauty pages of "The Detour Magazine" and online at Just Makeup Artists. Baker is experienced in both television and print journalism, and holds a Bachelor of Arts broadcast journalism from Salford University.