A twelve year old boy is, technically, no longer a kid but not yet a full-blown teenager. They have already learned and mastered the various developmental tasks expected of children 0 to 11 years of age.
For some, they may already be considered as young teens. Given that puberty is that stage of life where the individual must make the successful transition from being a child to becoming a teenager, toys and playthings play a major role in the accomplishment of the different developmental tasks expected of twelve year old boys.
Choosing the best plaything to give to a kid this age is especially challenging. Nevertheless, we have listed herein our top 20 toys for 12 year old boys to help you narrow down your choices to include only those that will be beneficial in continuing the physical, cognitive, mental, social, and emotional development of 12 year olds.
Our Top 3 Picks
- SnapCircuits Electric Kit
- Electrical Circuits
- Owi Solar Robot
- Solar Powered
- Darice Art Set
12 Year Old Boys and Their Development
Child development experts already label this age between 12 and 14 as young teenage years. Technically, they are no longer kids but are already budding teenagers and as such this period is often characterized by a lot of physical, mental, social, and emotional changes springing forth from the hormonal changes that signal puberty. Sadly, these hormonal changes can be quite intimidating to kids of this age and thus, may have an impact in the development of a healthier self-concept.
Boys undergo changes in the depth or hoarseness of their voice, grow facial hair, and begin noticeable changes in both their penises and testes. By the time he reaches 13 he would have added 4 inches, on average, in his height and put on weight because of the rapid development of muscles. By the time they reach 13 boys will have already overtaken their peers of the opposite sex. By this time, boys are generally stronger than girls.
These physical changes can produce a variety of issues that stem from the different rates of individual development. For example, some kids mature a lot earlier than most making them taller, more agile, and more muscular than others. They are often regarded as very popular and are almost always given leadership roles. Unfortunately, physical growth does not necessarily equate to commensurate cognitive, emotional, and social development. There is a mismatch between others’ expectations and the boy’s actual capabilities. If the child feels he is lagging behind his peers, this can be a major source of anxiety.
Energy Level at this Age
Fueled by their rapid physical growth and development, 12 year old boys have tons of energy. They actively engage in sports and physical activities as well as in pastimes and hobbies that allow them to spend this energy in a more constructive manner. They also love displaying their skills and talents and as such are often very active in school plays and other scholastic and extracurricular activities.
Growing Familiar with Responsibilities
On the cognitive side of things, 12 year old boys enjoy being given the opportunity to make their own decisions as well as to take additional responsibilities that will help them strengthen their sense of identity, especially in terms of being an almost near-grown up. Their problem solving skills are already advanced and are now in the process of advancing their reasoning skills that border on logic and critical thinking. They are particularly adept at using counterfactual reasoning as an essential element of divergent problem solving. Kids of this age already have the capacity to contemplate about the different possibilities and or options based on hypothetical concepts and abstract thinking. Twelve year old boys are more than capable of imagining a variety of possible outcomes in any given situation. This helps them in making more accurate planning.
Maturity, Influence, and Peers
By this age, kids can already show an increased ability to tolerate frustrations. They are more patient and are able to understand that sometimes they simply cannot get all they want. Unfortunately, because they are still in the process of building and establishing their own independent identity, it is not uncommon that twelve year old kids will make poor judgments on certain occasions, become more liable to making sudden impulsive decisions, and engage in arguments or challenge the opinions of others. These should not be taken as something that is negative since the boy is still in the process of discovering his true identity. This involves becoming less emotionally-dependent on his parents. A 12 year old boy will already start taking and following through on the different decisions that he makes. More often than not, his principles will be associated with those held by his friends although the family’s influence will be influenced by his parents’ guidance and values.
Influence Continued: At this age, boys will quickly start to reflect on what they see, or mimic what they see others do. This is normal but is also something you want to consider before encouraging too much time behind a screen or in-house. Activities in the home are still great for them, but a working balance is crucial.
12 year old boys are known to mimic fighting-style movies and tv programs in particular. This is also known to lead to rough housing with siblings or other kids. In the end, the parent must monitor their son’s behavior and activities.
Arguments and disagreements will be inevitable among peers. This opens the door for competitiveness, which makes team based, activity based, challenging activities ideal. These toys can be in both the indoor and outdoor categories.
12 year old boys are more likely not to need t the intervention of an adult when disagreements are in the air. The process may take some arguing and loud pitched voices, but eventually, they will come to an agreement. 12 year olds are also of the most sound sleepers. Good luck getting them up after that.
Don’t worry, 12 year olds can be the most appreciative and thankful age group, especially when it comes to understanding. Give them their space, and they will appreciate that.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Toys for 12 Year Old Boys
Choosing the top 20 toys for kids, especially young boys who will soon enter adolescence, is never easy simply because they are almost at the transition point between childhood and adulthood. But this is also what makes it quite exciting as the choice of the best toy should reflect a clear understanding of their developmental needs. As such, our team of researchers had to scrutinize every toy by making sure that it is not only age-appropriate but also, and more importantly, developmentally-appropriate.
Additionally, we had to read through hundreds of reviews and feedbacks from customers who may have an issue or two about the plaything. For the most part we had to examine whether these issues are dealbreakers or are simply a matter of opinion. We then had to look at the overall quality and safety of the product. If it has received recognition from a particular award-giving body, then, we took that into consideration. Of course, we had to include the toymaker’s reputation as this can mean a lot.
Out with the kid stuff
At this age, boys are transitioning into young teens, and will rapidly lose interest in the kids stuff they were one thrilled to have. They will quickly learn to reflect on their own choices and wants rather than take suggestions from you (the parent). That is fine. You can still buy them toys, but ignore the kid stuff as they now do. Their toys will now be bigger, heavier and perhaps more hazardous. They will be a lot more conscious about what you get them, and will even start to feel insecure about what they play with and what they have, so make sure to consider this, we have.
Toys take on a slightly new meaning, and purpose
We have to consider the fact that these toys will now serve to a degree as a social status icon. At this age, boys will consider their toys a part of their identity and they will affect their confidence in social situations. If a child does not like their toy at this age, but feels as if they are obligated to use it, that can reflect in their social behavior and they will be less compelled or confident to interact with peers. Get them something they can show off and be proud of. A new bike, challenging puzzle, or sports stuff is perfect.
Balance of Safety & Fun
At this age, it starts to become more difficult to balance safety with fun, as boys will start to prefer exhilarating excitement over calm play time. You will start to notice them pick up on activities that require bikes, balls, running, falling, jumping, and more rough play than ever before. This means you really need to consider the brands of toys you go with as this will determine the quality. Quality includes safety features as well, and fortunately, most reputable toy manufacturers put this high on their priority list. Don’t go for a cheap bike made of cheap, heavy material. That will not lead to a good outcome should your 12 year old boy fall over trying to race his friends. The same goes for sports toys and all other items, such as science learning kits, which quickly become more realistic, and less fake. Meaning, a science kit with electrical currents will start to have actual electrical currents, and you don’t want to go with a flimsy kit. Always keep in mind brands, and consider who’s reputable and known for quality. Your boy may forget to sya thank you, but he will certainly be thankful.
Preferences of a 12 year old Boy
Preferences aren’t so much that then they are the boy’s loyalties. What he likes, usually has to do with what he’s decided upon at an earlier time, and that will stick with him. I.E. If your boy prefers Mongoose bikes over any other brand of bikes, this is likely to stick, so why not consider his preference? He probably won’t change them anytime soon. If he doesn’t like toys with hundreds of pieces, he’s probably not going truly appreciate a gift of one that has more than a few parts, even if they are of the highest rated toys for the age group. We made sure to consider the brands and types of toys 12-year-old boys generally prefer, according to consensus.
Twelve year olds are at a crossroads of human development. Just a few more years and they will already be entering the mature world of adulthood. It is for this reason that kids of this age must have the correct toys to help them master the different developmental tasks. Our list of the top 20 toys for 12 year old boys should serve you well in identifying the best one for your own child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my 12-year-old boy not use his toys that I get for him?
A: You may notice some toys taking up space in the closet or storage without ever being used by your boy. This is normal, and happens. At this age they are picky, and may even change their minds on liking a toy if they find out their friends don’t. Bear with them, and pay attention to what they play with more, and get them more of that same type of toy.
Q: Is it normal for a boy at this age to become overly frustrated with the toys he has?
A: Well, frustration comes at any age with toys, but at this age they are becoming much more energetic, and tend to have less patience. Let them learn the ropes, and try not to intervene (too much) as that will make things worse.
Q: My boy’s toys go missing and he claims to not know where they went. Is he hiding them, or what?
A: At this age, a boys social life will change, and he will go about making more friends and socializing more. This includes lending toys to friends in hopes to impress them, giving toys away or trading them off. You can regulate this to a degree, but try not to get too much in the way. It helps to accept their decisions for minor things like this.
Q: Is it normal for toys to become broken more often at this age?
A: Absolutely. Your boy will be a bit more rough with toys, and may even take them apart once in a while. This is their new found energy, and curiosity at play.
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