They’re changing faster than we can keep up, but at the end of the day, they still thrive on our love and guidance. Our teens are on the cusp of adulthood, and they’re developing new interests and personality traits every day. When it’s time to reward and celebrate them, choosing the best gifts for teen boys means considering their individuality, which is more prominent than ever. We’ve gone over some top picks – think evergreen favorites like tech and sports gifts – that your teenage boy will dig, as well as a guide to picking something great.

The Winners

#1

PylePro Portable 7 Pad Digital Drum Kit

If your teen has been begging for a drum kit forever, but you’ve held out in defense of your own ear drums, this just may be the year that you both win out. The PylePro Portable 7 Pad Digital Drum Kit features 25 preset combos, but teens can also customize their kit with every play session thanks to the 215 unique percussion voices included with this pick. A headphone jack means that they can plug in when they play if you need some peace and quiet, so everyone wins! Two pedals are included, which are great for helping them get the real feel of kick drums and hi-hats. It’s space efficient and easy to transport, making it an ideal starter pick for a new drummer.

Developmental & Play Insights PylePro Portable 7 Pad Digital Drum Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#2

Razor MX350 Dirt Motocross Bike

Upgrade Choice

Everyone remembers receiving that one childhood present that made their day, week, month and year. The Razor MX350 Dirt Motocross Bike might just be that legendary gift. There’s no pedaling here, as riders travel at speeds up to 15 mph on the durable motorized bike. Boys who love watching motocross and racing will be ecstatic to receive this pick, which has a blue and silver body with a flashy lightning bolt design. It’s a good single speed learning bike for young users with a hand-operated rear brake that’s simple to operate.

Developmental & Play Insights Sport Squad FX Table Top Foosbal

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#3

COWIN Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best Budget Buy

Music and the teen years seem to pair so well – who doesn’t remember (and still aggressively sing along to) their favorite high school bops? Favorite bands and songs are a big part of kids’ developing identities. Noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones like the ones seen here are great for preventing audio leakage, so only they will have to hear that song they’re way into on repeat for hours, and they’ll enjoy great audio quality. A mic means that they can pause songs and media to take calls, making this headset even more dynamic.

Developmental & Play Insights Giant Tumbling Timbers

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#4

Lightning Reaction Reloaded

Teens will be shocked at how much fun they’ll have playing the Lightning Reaction Reloaded. It’s weird and wild tabletop game, but don’t worry, they’ll be perfectly safe. The four player game features a base with four telephone-style corded handle pieces. When the center button is triggered, players must hold their handle and wait for the red light to turn green, then quickly push the trigger button on their handle.

The last to push gets a mild shock, so there’s incentive to move quickly! This pick is quite literally not for the faint of heart, but there’s four intensity levels, and just about any teen can handle the lowest one.

Developmental & Play Insights Lightning Reaction Reloaded

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#5

Razor DXT Drift Trike

Whether it’s got two, three or four wheels, picks that keep teenage boys on the go are evergreen favorites. He might not be ready for his first car yet, but the Razor DXT Drift Trike can offer serious downhill speed in a design that also masterfully handles tight curves. The welded steel frame has Razor’s legendary durability, and the pro-style soft rubber hand grips have safe pump brakes and offer maximum comfort. It’s essentially a go-kart without the motor, and the maximum weight limit of 198 lbs means it’s a pick they can continue to enjoy as they grow

Developmental & Play Insights Razor DXT Drift Trike

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#6

Razer DeathAdder Elite Gaming Mouse

Razer is known for tech peripherals designed for the love of the game and made with quality and efficiency in mind. Their DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse will be a surefire hit if your teen boy is a PC gamer. It features seven programmable buttons, which can be remapped and used to create keybinds in games and programs in order to tailor his user experience and streamline his in-game performance. It pulls double duty as a hardy standard computer mouse that’s good up to 50 million clicks, so look at it this way: he’ll also occasionally be using it for homework.

Developmental & Play Insights Razer DeathAdder Elite Gaming Mouse

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#7

Revolution 101 Balance Board Trainer

For skateboarders, snowboarders and other athletes, balance boards are often used to build core strength and help optimize their balancing skills. If your teen loves to skate and stay in shape, the Revolution 101 Balance Board Trainer is a great gift.

The minimalist design of this pick is very trendy right now, and the maximum weight limit is over 400 lbs, so it’s good for just about any kid or adult. The platform of the board features cushioning which makes it comfy with or without shoes, and it won’t scratch up floors if used inside.

Developmental & Play Insights Pica Toys Wooden Solar RC Car

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#8

Yamaha Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best Overall

Whether your teen has been dabbling for a few years or trying guitar for the first time, the Yamaha Acoustic-Electric Guitar features everything they need to get off to a good start. Not only does this set come with a durable spruce and mahogany six-string, it also comes with a strap, soft body case, picks, extra strings, and a convenient guide to playing. It has a built-in pickup, which means that it can be plugged into an amplifier for rich electric sound, and a digital tuner is included to help them get their tuning just right.

Developmental & Play Insights Yamaha Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#9

Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone

Teen boys who love the latest tech gadgets will be sure to dig into this durable, GPS-controlled drone from Holy Stone. It’s an ideal pick for a first drone for teens, as operation is simple, including launches and landings.

The GPS instinctively begins returning the drone to home base when the battery is low or the signal is weak, protecting the device and preventing inconvenience. The first person view camera lets them see the action firsthand, but they can also capture awesome pictures and videos to share with pals and use in projects.

Developmental & Play Insights Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#10

Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR Camera

If your teen’s interest in photography goes well beyond Snapchat, a starter set of great camera gear can help them begin to pursue their hobby in earnest. Nikon is one of the most trusted names in cameras and camera equipment, and this bundle offers their D3500 DSLR camera as well as a variety of accessories. A tripod, wide angle lens, strap, quick charger, polarizer, macro lens and more are included in this dynamic set. It’s a great pick for a teen with an artistic eye, who will relish the opportunity to practice photography with instant digital results and hone his skills through experience.

Developmental & Play Insights Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR Camera 

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#11

Spikeball Pro Kit

Volleyball is a lot of fun, but not every backyard has room for a regulation-size net. Spikeball Pro Kit is one fun alternative that’s new to most teens, making it both an active, social gaming activity and a learning experience that’s fun to bond over.

A round net is mounted on five durable legs and suspended just above the ground. Players must spike the ball into the net and keep it bouncing to stay in the game. The tension of the net can be adjusted in order to alter the difficulty of the game, so as they make the journey from beginner to expert, the challenge level remains. There’s even a free Spikeball app where parents can find other players and pickup games in the area!

Developmental & Play Insights Spikeball Pro Kit

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#12

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V building set

Big or small, LEGOs are fun – there’s a reason parents find themselves sitting down to build their own creations, even as adults. Building sets are especially great for offering logic boosts to teenage boys, and this NASA Apollo Saturn V building set isn’t just a fun project, it’s also a sleek displayable model when it’s constructed. At just under 2,000 pieces, it may be their biggest LEGO undertaking to date, but it’s more than three feet tall when displayed. Like most LEGOs, it’s also compatible with the rest of the LEGO play system.

Developmental & Play Insights LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V building set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#13

SKLZ Quickster Soccer Trainer

If you’ve got a current or future soccer star in the house, chances are good he relishes opportunities to practice his skills. The Quickster Soccer Trainer is an awesome pick when outdoor space is available at home – it sets up easily in the yard, and the dual net design helps them improve their rebounds, settle faster, and pass more efficiently.

Both setting up and breaking down take only minutes, and the entire unit weighs less than 15 lbs, so most teens will be able to put it together and maintain it on their own. It’s also easy to transport, so bringing it to a friend’s house or outdoor play area won’t be an issue.

Developmental & Play Insights SKLZ Quickster Soccer Trainer

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#14

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con

Nintendo has been a fan and family favorite for three decades when it comes to home gaming entertainment. The Nintendo Switch, their most recent console release, follows with their tradition of being non-traditional. The console extrapolates on the less-popular Wii-U’s controller-as-a-handheld concept, making the system playable both with a TV in home and on the go on its own.

This set features fun red and blue Joy-Cons (that means joystick controllers, for the uninitiated) that set it apart from the standard switch. They can play classic Nintendo games and new releases, so it’s a pick the whole family can enjoy.

Developmental & Play Insights Nintendo Switch Joy-Con

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
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#15

Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX Bike

If your teen follows BMX, there’s a good chance that their dream bike is a Mongoose. They’ve been a leading industry name for almost four decades now, thanks to their extra sturdy, extra cool bike offerings. The Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX Bike is specifically designed for older kids and younger teens, made for riders between 4’8″ and 5’4″, so you can feel confident that your child is riding safely. It features an aluminum u-brake and cast aluminum mag wheels with sealed bearings that look slick as they ride.

Developmental & Play Insights Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX Bike

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

How to Pick the Perfect Gift for A-Teenage-Boy

Consider Their Developmental Stage

From a developmental standpoint, our teenage boys are starting to look very much like grown men – through both textbook knowledge and personal experience, though, we know they still have a lot of growing up to do. They’re still developing mentally, especially in terms of logical decision making, and while they’re likely to feel more secure socially as they progress past their early teen years, they’re still finding their way and figuring out how to negotiate new interpersonal dynamics introduced by their transition into high school.

The best toys for teen boys feel less like toys, frequently taking the shape of tech gadgets that will let him enjoy his favorite tunes, movies and streamers, as well as sports equipment and games that will get him together with buddies and out of the house. Staying both physically and mentally active at this stage are two great ways to help them dodge obesity and depression, both of which teens can be especially vulnerable to due to hormonal changes.

Entertainment vs. Education

As your teen gets older, their scholastic curriculum – particularly in terms of science and math – will intensify. They’ll be less likely to need gifts that are specifically educational, so save that money for lab fees, equipment, school supplies and field trips that can add up quickly. Logic puzzles that feel fun and not educational are a good way to offer them mental stimulus without feeling like their workload is being compounded. Entertaining toys and games are great now, offering him a chance to cut loose. They’re especially good when they can be shared with others, as too much solo screen time isn’t great for developing teens. About two hours a day maximum is ideal.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Since physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any age, it follows that gifts that get your teen moving are good for them. If they’re not particularly active, sporty outdoor gifts that call for a few friends can be great inspiration to get moving, as opportunities to socialize are valuable to teens.

Even though it may seem like your teenage boy is constantly in their own world, they’re more cognitively able than they’ve ever been. Fun games and puzzles that offer an age-appropriate challenge will encourage them to develop logic and reason, two skills that teens are still working on perfecting. They’ll be learning something, but it won’t feel that way in practice.

Socialization is the be all and end all for teens. They’re pulling away a little bit, eager to fit in, and are likely to be more interested in time with their pals than time at home with parents(go figure!). This can feel challenging to parents, but it’s an independence we shouldn’t curb within reason – it’s how our kids learn to feel safe and secure in the world on their own. Games, toys and activities that provide opportunities to socialize are sure to be quick favorites.

Digital vs. Manual

Our teens are already interacting with a lot of screens in their day to day life. That’s not necessarily good or bad, but providing them with ways to entertain themselves that aren’t strictly digital can help to discourage screen overuse. Limiting them to two hours of recreational screen time a day is reasonable, which means there’s plenty of room for them to enjoy age-appropriate video games, tablets and other tech gifts. Manual picks like sports gear and games encourage healthy activity and time with friends, and building kits offer boosts to logic while they have fun – both are also great choices.

Wrapping Up

Although he’s almost grown and not afraid to show it, your teen boy still looks to you for wisdom, warmth and the security of home – of course, cool presents never hurt his feelings either! Picks he can share with pals, use to learn new skills or get serious use out of at school and home are all great gifts for teenage boys, and knowing his unique interests and hobbies will help guide you in the right direction.

Quick Decision

PylePro Portable 7 Pad Digital Drum Kit – Best Overall
If your teen has been begging for a drum kit forever, but you’ve held out in defense of your own ear drums, our best overall pick may be the great choice that you both win out.

Razor MX350 Dirt Motocross Bike – Upgrade Choice
Boys who love watching motocross and racing will be ecstatic to receive our upgrade choice pick.

Cowin Noise cancelling  headphones – Best Budget Buy
Great for preventing audio leakage, so only they will have to hear that song they’re way into on repeat for hours, and they’ll enjoy great audio quality.

GIFTS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY

Looking for the best gifts and toys for 12 year old boys? Looking for a special pick? Take a peek at our top choices

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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