She’s not quite a teenager yet, but your little girl isn’t quite as little as she used to be. Although she’s growing more independent every day, she still looks to you for toys and games that encourage her to stay sharp, learn new skills, have fun, and play well with others. The best gifts for 12 year old girls encourage them to get creative, stay active and showcase their developing personalities, and we’ve put together a list of 15 picks that are easy to love. We also took a look at her current developmental needs, so take a peek – there’s something here for everyone.

The Winners

#1

Mont Marte Calligraphy Set

Best Overall

If she’s into expressing herself with artistic flourishes, a calligraphy set is a great way to help your girl learn an classic skill that lends a special touch to her projects. This Mont Marte Calligraphy Set uses 20 ink cartridges instead of a traditional well, making the writing process easier on young learners. Five classic nib grades are included, allowing her to make strokes ranging from extra fine to extra broad.

She can add some color to her calligraphy with yellow, orange, pink, green and brown ink in addition to traditional black and blue, and the accompanying instruction booklet will help to walk her through the learning process with pictorial lessons that take things letter-by-letter. It’s a skill that encourages creative thinking and the continued refinement of her hand-eye coordination, and this starter kit makes mastering the basics simple.

Developmental & Play Insights Mont Marte Calligraphy Set

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#2

Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike

Upgrade Choice

Staying active is an important part of being healthy at twelve, a time when a lot of kids begin playing outside less frequently. Riding a bike continues to be a great workout that offers her an independent mode of transportation, making this Panama Jack Beach Cruiser by Huffy a great pick for her now. It has a sweet retro design which includes white-walled tires, a woven wicker basket, a colorful pastel teal and yellow frame with white accents, and floral Panama Jack panels that add a feminine touch.

It’s a single-speed bike, which is great for kids who are still mastering a smooth, consistent ride, and braking is as easy as pedaling backwards. This bike also features Huffy’s patented Perfect Fit Frame, which has seat and handlebar placement that’s further back in order to encourage full extension of the legs while riding.

Developmental & Play Insights Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike

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#3

Cat Mini Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Best Budget Buy

Great audio makes enjoying her favorite movies, shows, tunes, and games a lot more fun, and a cute speaker is an easy sell for twelve-year-old girls, who are all about personalizing their space. Cat lovers will be especially fond of this adorable Cat Mini Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, which features a sweet orange tabby kitten with big yellow-green eyes and a white belly. He’s not just cute, though, he’s also an impressive sound machine that offers richness and clarity in a compact, Bluetooth-friendly package. Her speaker can sync with her phone, MP3 player, or laptop for great sound quality with no wires. It also features a microphone, which means she can also take hands-free calls or record her own audio using this device.

Developmental & Play Insights Cat Mini Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

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#4

Kate Spade Lunch Tote Bag

Fun, trendy accessories are well-loved picks at twelve, a time when girls are eager to express their changing personal style. She’s also growing up, and nicer investments like this Kate Spade Lunch Tote Bag give her an opportunity to show responsibility and care for quality belongings. The coated linen exterior of this tote features a pale pink background with a sweet painted strawberry pattern accompanied by a shiny golden zipper with a signature Kate Spade pull tag, and the white linen exterior wipes clean easily.

The tote opens from the top, and features a secure handle for simple, travel-friendly carrying. It’s perfect for her school lunches, snacks, or stashing her essentials for an overnight. The flat base design of this pick also means it stands upright easily to prevent spills and leaks.

Developmental & Play Insights Kate Spade Lunch Tote Bag

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#5

Sphero SPRK+

Toys that teach kids about programming and robotics are great picks for twelve-year-old girls, who often show interest in STEM but may lack hands-on learning opportunities. Sphero’s SPRK+ is a rolling robotic companion designed to help kids learn the basics of JavaScript through educational activities and games. When they’re just starting out, kids can draw a path for SPRK+ to follow through the Sphero Edu app, which is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome and Kindle.

As they begin to grasp the basics, they can move on to using scratch blocks before graduating to writing their own JavaScript from scratch to power this cool pocket bot. It’s a handy, dynamic, and potentially lucrative skill for her to have – programming encourages logical thinking, and an early start can lead to a lifelong interest for some girls.

Developmental & Play Insights Sphero SPRK+

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#6

COWIN Noise Cancelling Headphones

When she wants to jam to her favorite tunes but needs to be discreet, noise-cancelling headphones are the answer. The COWIN Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphone is Bluetooth-compatible and comes in a deep purple hue that’s great for twelve-year-old girls, plus it provides clear, high-quality audio that will allow her to enjoy the full depth of her favorite music, movies and shows.

The soft ear pads fit around her ears to keep sound in without squeezing, and their wireless design makes them a lot more convenient and comfortable than traditional earbuds. Like all wireless devices, they must be charged occasionally, but these headphones offer an impressive 50 hours of playtime in Bluetooth mode which prevents frequent low battery from being an issue.

Developmental & Play Insights COWIN Noise Cancelling Headphones

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#7

Ravensburger GraviTrax Marble Run Set

Experimenting with scientific concepts like kinetics, gravity, and magnetism encourage critical thinking. Hands-on projects like the Ravensburger GraviTrax Marble Run Set are especially great for encouraging her interest, allowing her to build cool stacked racetracks out of the set’s 122 pieces and experiment with the kinds of marble motion she can create.

As she builds with her GraviTrax system, she’ll improve her spatial reasoning and use her planning skills to create a run that can power the marble from start to finish. The set comes with a clear set of instructions which are great for helping beginners get started without frustration, but the simple-yet-insightful design of this toy will have her working on her own and learning from her efforts quickly.

Developmental & Play Insights Ravensburger GraviTrax Marble Run Set

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#8

3Doodler Powerpuff 3D Pen Set

Art and technology combine to offer the best of both worlds with this kid-friendly 3D printing pen. The 3Doodler uses non-toxic colorful plastic rods to allow kids to render their very own three-dimensional creations. It’s a durable, safe handheld tool with no hot parts exposed, so she won’t get burned while she’s designing – the extruded plastic is made to soften at low temperatures, so her creations emerge at a safe temperature, too. 

This set has a fun Powerpuff Girls theme that’s great for fans of the trio, including a branded pen, four packs of BPA-free plastic rods in the Girls’ signature pastel color scheme, and molds to make PPG characters and accessories with her pen. It’s a device that encourages her to think creatively while introducing her to a new kind of tech in an accessible, age-appropriate way.

Developmental & Play Insights 3Doodler Powerpuff 3D Pen Set

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#9

Betrayal At House On The Hill

Play that’s social and gets them thinking is ideal at twelve, and board games like Betrayal At House On The Hill are ideal for offering age-appropriate cognitive challenges that are served up with a side of creepy fun. She and her friends will investigate a spooky haunted house that’s packed with monsters and exciting secrets to discover.

Every play-through of this intriguing game goes differently, so it never becomes monotonous and no one player ever has a significant advantage – in fact, it’s a cooperative game designed for up to six players, so it’s good at encouraging kids to work together in a group. This pick isn’t for the faint of heart, but girls who are horror enthusiasts will dig right into the eerie game.

Developmental & Play Insights Betrayal At House On The Hill

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#10

Yard Games Premium Kubb Game Set

Kubb is a classic Swedish backyard game which encourages strategic team play and keeps people of all ages active. Although there’s strategy involved, there’s very little learning curve for new players – the objective is simply to topple your opposing team’s kubb blocks and king kubb using your tossing dowels to secure victory. The Yard Games Premium Kubb Game Set is made of sturdy, shock-absorbent rubber wood that’s appropriate for play on any surface.

It comes with a handy carrying case that makes it convenient to bring along to barbecues, beach trips and campsites, and a book of rules are also included to make life easier for players who are new to the game. It’s a great set to break out during a birthday party or outdoor gathering where young teens are present, as it doesn’t require a lot of athletic skill and helps all the kids to feel involved.

Developmental & Play Insights Yard Games Premium Kubb Game Set

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#11

Escape Room - The Game

Games that require critical thinking and logic to progress successfully offer cognitive boosts as well as opportunities to be social, both of which abound when she’s playing Escape Room: The Game. Four exciting escape rooms are featured in this tabletop game, including a nuclear countdown, virus escape, Aztec temple, and prison break.

Three to five players have an hour to escape from each room using the hint cards and chrono decoder to investigate, work together and break free from their confines. It’s a cooperative game, which is great for encouraging kids to strategize as a group and makes use of their individual strengths to achieve a common goal.

Developmental & Play Insights Escape Room - The Game​

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#12

Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit

At twelve, crafty girls are ready for projects that require a little more focus. This Yarn Tree from Craft-tastic isn’t just fun to make, the result is a cool jewelry tree that can be used to display her favorite necklaces, bracelets, and rings. She can also stash hair ties, headbands and bracelets on her yarn tree, which is created by wrapping the brightly colored embroidery floss in the kit around the sturdy cardboard tree model.

Once the tree is wrapped, she can bend it into her desired shape and dress it up with her favorite jewels and gems; if she’s not one for collecting baubles, it also makes an engaging craft project for purely decorative reasons.

Developmental & Play Insights Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit

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#13

UBTECH Mythical Series: Unicornbot Kit

Learning to assemble and program her very own robot is an engaging process that boosts your twelve-year-old’s critical thinking abilities. It’s even more exciting when that robot is a cool purple and white unicorn that moves, lights up, and responds to her input. The UBTECH Mythical Series: Unicornbot Kit
features 440 pieces which snap together to construct her mystical new friend, whose horn has programmable changing colors that she can choose.

 Once it has been assembled, her unicorn is powered by app, and can be controlled using an Apple or Android device. Unicornbot uses the simple Blockly coding platform, which is kid-friendly and makes learning how to control their bot frustration-free with a simple, colorful drag-and-drop interface that’s easy to pick up but takes focus and logic to master.

Developmental & Play Insights UBTECH Mythical Series: Unicornbot Kit

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#14

OMAX Digital Microscope

Tools that facilitate STEM exploration outside the classroom can drive your twelve-year-old-girl’s scientific curiosity in a big way. The OMAX Digital Microscope is the real deal, offering 40X-2000X magnification, a built in 3MP camera that can connect via USB to her laptop, and the capacity to perform oil immersion, which can increase the numerical aperture of microscope lenses to allow even greater refractive capability.

 It’s a serious investment that could easily find a place in a high school, college, or even professional science lab, which makes it an excellent pick for high-achieving science students who take their interest in STEM quite seriously. The photos and video this microscope can capture make incredible additions to her projects and presentations, and they also make it simple to look back at her research for comparison.

Developmental & Play Insights OMAX Digital Microscope

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#15

Peanut Butter and Jelly Earrings Trio

Gifts that are fun and stylish are often favorites with 12 year old girls, who love expressing their identity through what they’re wearing. This trio of mini peanut butter and jelly-themed post earrings is has a quirky twist; it comes with three earrings instead of pairs, so she can mix and match open-faced strawberry jelly, grape jelly and peanut butter sandwiches. They’re not huge or heavy, so they’re still wearable if she has multiple ear piercings, they won’t weigh on her earlobe or be uncomfortable during wear, and the hypoallergenic surgical steel posts make them great picks for teen girls with sensitive skin.

Developmental & Play Insights Peanut Butter and Jelly Earrings Trio

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How to Pick the Perfect Gift for A 12-YEAR-OLD Girl

Consider Their Developmental Stage

Though she’s on the cusp of her teenage years, your twelve-year-old girl is still a kiddo at heart. Her play is taking a different form now, however, and toys for 12 year old girls may start to mean “tools” – ways for her to pursue her favorite sports, hobbies and subjects. Physically, she’s growing taller and gaining weight, and staying active can help to prevent weight gain issues during the start of puberty. If she has a favorite sport, it’s a great time to encourage playing with gear gifts, but scooters, bikes, and skateboards also offer a good workout and a chance for group socialization.

From a cognitive standpoint, she’s savvier to conversation and can pick up on double and tonal meanings easily. This may mean a very sarcastic year for you – try not to roll your eyes TOO much. She’s becoming a better problem solver, because she’s more able to think about concepts in an abstract way and apply logic to create a multi-level strategy. Her brain benefits from her pursuit of her hobbies and interests, so encouraging participation with your gift choices is helpful.

Socially, her academics and organized activities are likely beginning to occupy a fair amount of her time, but she still wants and needs to have casual hangs with friends. Making sure that she isn’t spending too much time indoors glued to devices helps to be sure that she’s getting the kind of face time with pals that really helps her grow on a personal level. Gear and games that invite sharing give her a good reason to gather in a group.

Entertainment vs. Education

As she matures and develops more complex hobbies that may continue into adulthood, some of your twelve-year-old’s favorite picks may be equally entertaining and educational for her. Pursuing hobbies like photography and calligraphy will teach her valuable skills with tangible results. Balancing learning and fun is great, but purely entertaining activities are also just fine now, especially when they ditch screens in favor of physical and social engagement.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Keeping your twelve-year-old active is something that should be a priority. Not all kids are into team sports, which is perfectly okay, but spending time in motion is a big part of staying healthy, and they’re hitting an age where many kids stop playing outside. Outdoor all-ages yard games are a fun way to encourage even less sporty kids to play, and bikes and scooters remain a great workout and a well-loved way for them to cruise around the neighborhood.

As her brain continues to mature, she’s using logic to solve problems, understanding more real-world concepts, and is more able to understand the perspectives of others. Maintaining high self-esteem can be a challenge for her now, but pursuing hobbies with tangible results is a point of pride for many kids at twelve. Artistic expression and scientific exploration are both mentally beneficial to her now, and kits that encourage either are great gift picks.

Friendship and acceptance continue to be priorities to your twelve-year-old, who may seem to be pulling back hard on gestures of affection and participation in family time. She’s feeling like she needs to establish a strong social identity, and it’s a time when peer pressure often happens. Having frequent, calm, open discussions about what she sees and hears while socializing can help her feel comfortable being honest, and activities that offer casual, fun, age-appropriate structure can give kids a reason to stay out of trouble.

Digital vs. Manual

Screen time is something a lot of twelve-year-olds hold dear – and that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with it when it’s in moderation (two hours is appropriate), the content is appropriate, and any social interaction is being done responsibly. A more significant part of their time should be spent being active and pursuing productive hobbies, so make sure they have the tools needed to do both.

Wrapping Up

Your preteen girl may not want you to think so, but she still needs you – a lot. You’re not just the one who keeps the mouths fed and the lights on, you also inspire her, reassure her, love her, and provide her with the tools she needs to be a success. In the end, the best gift for your twelve-year-old is the one you pick with her in mind, so use our guidance and your knowledge to make a choice we’re sure she’ll love.

Quick Decision

Mont Marte Calligraphy Set – Best Overall
Our top pick will help your girl express herself with artistic flourishes. It’s a great way to help her learn an classic skill that lends a special touch to her projects. 

Panama Jack Beach Cruiser by Huffy – Upgrade Choice
It has a sweet retro design with colorful pastel teal and yellow frame white accents, and floral Panama Jack panels that add a feminine touch.

 Cat Mini Bluetooth Wireless Speaker – Best Budget Buy
 Makes her enjoy her favorite movies, shows, tunes, and games a lot more fun, and a cute speaker is an easy sell for twelve-year-old girls, who are all about personalizing their space.

THE BEST gift FOR 8 yr-old-girls

Looking for gifts for your 8 year old girl? Look no further. We’ve put together our top choices to guide you to some truly fun and useful picks.

Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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