21 of the best gifts for 12-year-old girls, including cool accessories and an outdoor obstacle course

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five girls standing at table experimenting with paper chromatography kit: best gifts for 12-year-old girls

  • Tweens have a wide range of interests, including sports, outdoors, art, tech, science, and style.
  • We rounded up 21 of the best gifts for 12-year-old girls that they will enjoy and use.
  • Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested.

As 12-year-old girls prepare to transition from middle childhood to their teenage years, naturally, their interests will evolve. But that could mean different things to each person, according to Dr. Sid Khurana, a child psychiatrist and medical director of Nevada Mental Health. 

"There are social-emotional functioning and cognition [changes]," Khurana said. "They [were] focused [during the previous phase] on working hard, being industrious." Now, it's more about friendships and peer-based activities. 

"Depending upon their interest in music, art, or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), getting them gifts they will value, enjoy, and spend time with can be very meaningful," Khurana said.

Mendi Baron, CEO of Moriah Health and a licensed social worker, sees tweens at this age looking for outings and hobby-related gifts, but also those based around self-care, travel, and social connection. 

For gift ideas, Khurana suggested sophisticated board games that involve strategy or experiences such as coaching sessions or event tickets. He recommends gifts that help limit screen time, which has been associated with mental and physical health issues. Gifts that foster social understanding should also be considered. 

Here are 21 of the best gifts for 12-year-old girls:

A no-slip sports headband

halo headband with blue tie dye print is one of best gifts for 12-year-old girls

Halo II Headband, available at Amazon, $15.95

The Halo II Headband features grip technology so it stays put and fits comfortably under helmets, allowing the wearer to focus on cycling, running, or whatever activity they're engaged in.

A waterproof speaker

a round-shaped blue waterproof speaker

 S-Storm Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, available at Amazon, $49.99

This portable, floatable wireless speaker pumps out music whenever, wherever. They can use it on the go while walking to or from school, waiting for a ride after sports practice, hanging with friends, or any time the mood strikes. It has a clip so that it doesn't get lost.

An adventure course for their own backyard

girl in green shirt crossing the slackers ninjaline, which is a great gift for a 12-year-old girl

Slackers Ninjaline 36-Foot Kit, available at Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Nordstrom, from $99.98

Turn a backyard into a challenging obstacle course. No, a tween won't become a martial arts expert, but this activity kit can help them develop skills like concentration and strategy. 

A better grip for her phone

who run the world? girls pop socket with silhouette pictures of women

Who Runs the World? Popsocket, available at Popsockets, $15

A Popsocket increases comfort and stability when holding a phone, and it doubles as a kickstand when placed on a table. This one is a tribute to female empowerment and 50% of net product sales are donated to the Malala Fund.

A box with STEM projects delivered monthly

girl standing at table with kiwico wooden trebuchet launcher and ping pong balls laid out

Kiwico Tinker Crate Monthly Subscription, available at Kiwico, from $19.95

The Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription box that includes engineering projects such as building a hydraulic claw, catapult, and robot. Focusing on STEM learning, each box contains the parts, instructions, and a magazine with additional activities.

An old-school camera

lavender fuji film instax mini camera surrounded by photos

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera, available at Target, $59.99

Sure, their phone has a camera, but the creative possibilities of an instant camera allow them to really experiment. Because it takes time to compose and film is finite, each shot will be more special.

A popping stress reliever

ombre pop it fidget toy in pink, blue, and yellow
Urban Outfitters

Tie-Dye Go Pop! Game $10, available at Urban Outfitters, $10

Pop fidget toys help channel nervous or excited energy, much like a stress ball. You'll find a variety of similar products, but this one has a unique tie-dye/ombre design that is soothing to look at.

Jewelry with a secret

three silver rings with gems embedded in morse code
Rockin' Tots

Rockin' Tots Little Secrets Ring, available at Rockin' Tots, $65

Don't think of this as jewelry, but as a sophisticated update to the friendship bracelet. Each ring contains a secret message (of your choosing) encrypted in Morse code. It could be a special note from a parent to child, or get two — one to give to their friend — as a symbol of friendship.

A color laboratory

two girls wearing goggle as they experiment with paper chromatography kit

Yellow Scope Paper Chromatography, available at Amazon and Maisonette, from $39.99

Through a scientific technique called paper chromatography, this kit lets any STEAM-loving 12-year-old learn the chemical makeup of colors in plants, art supplies, candy, and more. One kit includes hundreds of experiments — enough to keep them busy at their homemade lab.

A book of famous stories of mental health

serena williams spread in the perfectly imperfect stories books
Uncommon Goods

"Perfectly Imperfect Stories" by Leo Potion, available at Uncommon Goods, Amazon, and Target, from $16.29

As a child ages, so do their struggles with anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues. To help them with these feelings, this book contains stories of how 28 famous personalities — such as Frida Kahlo and Michael Phelps — lived with and overcame their challenges.

A set to elevate their senses

a box labeled le labo with holds fragrance set
Le Labo

Le Labo Fragrances Discovery Set, available at Le Labo, $30

As 12-year-olds begin to develop their senses, smells become more personal. Let them discover what they identify with, through this five-pack of unique fragrances.  

A Lego filmmaking kit

three lego mini figures including a jewel thief, police officer, and figure carrying skateboard

Klutz Lego Make Your Own Movie Kit, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lego, from $19.68

Create a Hollywood set with Lego and a phone. This kit includes 36 Lego Minifigures and props, background scenery, and a book that teaches stop-motion animation. All a tween needs to do is set it up, come up with a story, and call, "action." 

The bedroom sanctuary essential

a red uber chill mini fridge on top of desk beside a computer monitor

Uber Chill 6 Can Mini Fridge, available at Amazon, $48.31

Whether it's a place to do homework or hang out with friends, the tween bedroom is a sacred space. Khurana said girls in this age group are "increasingly independent" and having their own room is a step toward that. Help them make it comfortable with this mini fridge that fits six beverage cans or small snacks. 

A quirky but essential bike accessory

bike bell that resembles a silver, blue and purple disco ball

Electra Disco Small Ding-Dong Bike Bell, available at Trek, $15.99

This bike bell that resembles a disco ball is a simple way for any 12-year-old to add personality to their bike. But it's the safety function that's more essential to parents.

Home economics, evolved

young chefs club subscription pack including cooking tools and recipe
Lily Alig/Insider

America's Test Kitchen Kids: Young Chef's Club 6 Month Subscription, available at America's Test Kitchen, $16.99

This is no ordinary food box subscription program. Instead, through the culinary arts, kids can learn about science through cooking, as well as kitchen tools and ingredients that may not be as familiar. Each kit comes with recipes, activities, games, and more that turn your kitchen into a classroom.

A personalized necklace

a silver necklace with pendant that is the name alex in cursive

JWLGANG Name Necklace, available on Etsy, $15.99

Whether it's their name or a word that's important to them, immortalize it with this custom necklace that's simple but classy. 

A sketchpad for the inner artist

a sketchpad with purple planets and green shapes bordering the top
Erin Condren

Erin Condren Out of this World Kids Large Sketchpad, available at Eric Condren, $14

A large sketchpad and a fresh set of markers, pencils, and pens should satisfy any budding artist — it's their creations that they (and you) will cherish most. But if that's not enough, pair them with additional art supplies in a small gift basket to complete the gift.

A breakfast upgrade

two mint green dash appliances: a mini waffler maker and mini griddle

Dash Mini Waffle Maker and Griddle, available at Amazon, $24.99

This mini waffle maker and griddle lets them prepare a hearty meal without the hassle of pots, pans, or skillets. Besides waffles, it can also make biscuit pizzas, pancakes, cookies, sandwiches, and whatever a tween mind whips up.

A karaoke mic that plays music too

gold karaoke microphone
Uncommon Goods

Karaoke Microphone Speaker, available at Uncommon Goods, $50

Got a tween with a knack for singing? This microphone is a great way to throw an impromptu karaoke party. We can't be held responsible, however, if your tween decides to host a singing battle with their friends.

A hair towel

smiling woman with long dark hair using pink aquis hair towel

Aquis Original Hair Towel, available at Amazon, $20

Regardless of age, wrapping a bath towel around your head is an annoying chore. Instead, use this microfiber hair-drying towel that reduces frizz and damage.

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