Gift giving can be difficult, especially when the recipient is a young boy. Nobody wants to be that lame parent, relative, or friend who gives bad gifts! Not to worry, because whether you’re looking for an educational gift, a toy for the backyard, or a gift the whole family can enjoy, the following guide will provide you with lots of ideas on what to get for Christmas and birthdays for boys ages 7-12. Look online for more information about the specific products mentioned.
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Handpicked Gifts For Boys Aged Nine To Twelve
Boys aged 9-12 enjoy mental stimulation. The swashbuckling board game Catan Junior is great for learning strategy. If he likes science fiction: Star Wars Folded Flyers will teach him how to make 30 different paper starfighters. If he’s more into fantasy: he can create 12 different creatures with Paper Flying Dragons. Teach him about alternative energy with the green snap circuits kit by Elenco. He’ll be able to build over 125 different projects (great for bonding with Dad).
2017’s Most Wished For Gifts For Preteen Boys!
Gift Ideas for 7-Year-Old Boys
There aren’t just one or two items on his wish list. Simply put, boys at this age want everything! One of the best things about buying for this age group is that you have the opportunity to teach as well as entertain. These days, most popular toys are learning tools in disguise. Before you make a purchase, consider what your 7-year-old shows interest in – does he like to read? Build things? Explore the outdoors? Based on his interests, the list below should put you on the right track this birthday or Christmas:
- If your youngster likes to build contraptions and figure out how things work, consider purchasing a science kit like Elenco’s SC-300 Physics Kit. It’s a lot more exciting than Legos! Easy and full-color instructions along with hands-on materials will give him a fun way to learn about electrical circuits.
- Are you concerned that your 7-year-old isn’t getting enough exercise? This Christmas or birthday, surprise him with something that will give him hours of fun – and a great workout! A new twist on the skateboard, the RipStik Caster Board is easy to use and will get him off the couch. For a motorized option, your best bet is the Razor E100 Electric Scooter (it only goes 10mph, but make sure he still wears a helmet!).
- If he’s an amateur cyclist, why not buy him something exciting for his bike? BikeBrightz are the latest (and safest!) bicycle trend. These bright lights add style to any bike and ensure that your 7-year-old is easily seen when riding in the dark.
- Your little boy might not be excited about unwrapping a book, but if you pick the right one he’s sure to love it. Kindle a love of literature by surprising your 7-year-old with one of the following:
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal Iggulden
- For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever by Marc Aronson
- 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) by National Geographic Kids
If you’re looking for an inexpensive gift, start a family game night and surprise your 7-year-old with a game the whole family can play together. Some great examples include Boochie (a very interesting twist on ring toss), Spot It (involves matching and speed), and a remote control helicopter (great for boys and their fathers to play with outside).
Gift Ideas for 8-Year-Old Boys
What’s the easiest way to be the coolest mom, dad, or relative in the neighborhood? By surprising your 8-year-old boy with an awesome gift on this Christmas or birthday. Kids this age love to be surprised – but with today’s access to the World Wide Web, things aren’t as easy as they used to be. Keep reading for some surefire ways to make your little boy’s eyes light up when he unwraps his next gift.
If he’s already into sports, you could by him brand new equipment like a baseball glove, skateboard, or goggles. Make sure when buying athletic gear to pair the gifts with any safety items required (like a helmet!). Athletic gear and video games are sure to make him smile, but keep reading for some rather out-of-the-box ideas.
Outdoor toys are great for this energetic age group. Do you have trees in the backyard? How about installing a new tire swing or mini zip line? Specific ideas for outdoor gifts include:
- Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit
- Round-and-Round Nylon Rope Outdoor Swing by HeartSong
- Slackers 40′ Zipline kit
If your little one is more of a brainiac or if you’re looking for an educational gift, go online and check out these two companies: LittleBits and Fat Brain Toys. You’ll find tons of science and engineering kits that are sure to give your boy hours of learning and fun!
Kids like to have what’s current. Instead of a normal Lego kit, opt for the Hobbit Lego Building Kit. He’ll be able to recreate battles from the big screen. Instead of a traditional chessboard, opt for Star Wars Chess. Knowing how to play chess comes in handy when you’re older and is a great tool for teaching strategy.
If your child is on the artsy side, indulge him with a big art set so that he can decorate the house with his drawings. If he likes to read, by him a series like Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (image at upper left) that features characters beginning a journey at a young age. He’ll be able to identify with them.
|Image||Name||Rating (out of 5)||Price||Ideal for Ages||Why does this make a good gift?|
|Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit||4.8||$45.92||8+||This introduction to circuitry and electronics includes enough parts for up to 300 projects (way cooler than Legos). |
Instructions are easy to follow; no tools necessary; projects include doorbell, radio, and burglar alarm.
*This award-winning kit is a perfect father/son activity.
|Ripstik Caster Board||4.7||$50.00||8-12||It’s like a skateboard and a snowboard combined – the RipStik features a pivoting deck, kick tail and nose, spiked traction pads, 360-degree ABEC-5 bearing casters, and concave deck design. |
*Weight limit: 220 lbs.
*Available in different colors.
|The Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal Iggulden||4.7||$5-$17||7-12||A bestseller for boys and young men, The Dangerous Book for Boys covers essential skills like fishing, skipping stones, building a tree house, flying paper airplanes, and locating which direction is north – it even delves into the ultimate mystery (females). |
*Makes for lots of great father/son activities.
|Spot It (card game)||4.8||$11.47||7||Spot It is an award-winning card game that the entire family can enjoy; game includes five ways to play; appropriate for 2-8 players; develops speech-language skills, focus, visual perception skills, and fine motor skills; includes 55 cards and travel tin.|
|Harry Potter series by JK Rowling||4.6||$49.69 (boxed set of books 1-7)||8-12||If he likes to read, take him on an epic wizarding journey with JK Rowling’s insanely popular Harry Potter series. |
The novels begin with young characters with which he will be able to identify.
Themes include: the power of love, good VS evil, and the value of good choices.
|Slackers 40' Zipline Falcon Series Kit with Seat||4.4||$71.99||7-12||Turn your backyard into a thrilling ride with Slackers’ 40’ zipline. Thorough instructions make for a quick set up; speed is smooth, safe, and consistent with gradual stop at the end (no brakes necessary).|
Parents' opinion: there’s simply no better starter zipline for the price.
*Weight limit: 200 pounds.
|LEGO The Hobbit 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army||4.8||$39.99+||8-12||If he’s into Legos, surprise him with a specialty set like one of the many Hobbit-themed packages. |
The “Mirkwood Elf Army” kit includes 6 Lego figurines with assorted accessories and weapons.
Orc VS elf battle features rotating joint, tree-splitting “ambush,” detachable wall and flick missile, ladder, weapon rack, and exclusive Warg (wolf).
|Marvin's Magic Junior Lights from Anywhere Tricks||3.8||$19.99||8-9||Lights from Anywhere will teach him fun magic tricks he can use to dazzle friends and family; promotes dexterity and imagination. |
Parents’ opinion: requires practice and showmanship. Help him build confidence by encouraging him to do magic shows for friends, family, and guests.
|Firevision Sports Football||4.6||$8.99||10||This ordinary-looking football is anything but: using microprism technology, the ball glows a brilliant red or green to any players wearing the corresponding Firevision goggles. To those not wearing goggles, the ball is all-but-invisible in the dark. |
*Red and green Nerf Firevision Sports Frames sold separately ($10.28).
*Perfect evening activity.
|Spy Science Intruder Alarm||3||$10.75||10||Learn about electric circuits with the Spy Science Intruder Alarm by 4M. Build a door buzzer that will surprise anyone who tries entering your room. |
A cool and fun project for kids; kit contains detailed instructions, alarm casing and plastic platform, accessories, electric buzzer, metal pegs, trigger string, electric wire.
*Requires 2 AA batteries; great for keeping sisters out of his room.
|Quiddler (card game)||4.8||$9.17||8-12||Quiddler is a fun word game the whole family can enjoy. |
Challenging for all ages and quicker than Scrabble, the kids won’t even realize the game is educational; Quiddler promotes spelling and vocabulary skills.
|The Original Stomp Rocket: Ultra 4-Rocket Kit||4.2||$17.99||7-11||Safer than fireworks and more fun than the Junior Stomp Rocket, this bad boy fires missiles up to 200 ft. (20 stories) high. |
Missiles are kid-powered with a “stomp” launch pad; includes for 4-tipped missiles; no batteries needed; easy assembly.
*Great for contests.
|Pranklopedia: The Funniest, Grossest, Craziest, Not-Mean Pranks on the Planet! |
By: Julie Winterbottom
|4.6||$7-$10||11-12||This unique prank encyclopedia covers “not mean” pranks that adhere to an ethical code – it even includes advice on what to do when a prank goes wrong.|
*Parents opinion: Great fun for kids with some learning mixed in; the perfect way to encourage reading.
|Salt Water Fuel Cell Motorcycle by OWI||3.9||$18.59||8-12||He may be too young for a real motorcycle, but what about one he can build? This science kit includes everything he needs to construct a fully operational mini-motorcycle – and it runs on salt water!|
The motorcycle’s “engine” revs into action when water, saline, and metal combine.
*A great way to teach him about clean energy.
|Electric Paper Plane Launcher by 4M||2.8||$10.35||12||Challenge his imagination with 4M’s electric paper plane launcher. This unique machines uses spinning motors and plastic discs to launch paper planes at speeds up to 30 mph; detailed instructions included. Design your own planes and watch them soar! |
*Requires 2 AA batteries.
Gift Ideas for 9-Year-Old Boys
Are you stuck on what to get for Christmas for your 9-year-old boy? Does he already own too many video games? Does he like gadgets but already has broken helicopters lying around the house? If so, buy him a remote control boat (works best if you live near a pond or lake). It won’t break as easily as a remote control helicopter and will entertain him for the whole afternoon. The most popular model out there right now is the Radio Ranger RC Fishing Boat with RC Fishing Pole. At about three feet long, this impressive boat can actually catch fish! Check on YouTube for some amazing videos of the toy in action.
Now that your boy is a little older, he is capable of understanding more complex toys. A few specific examples include:
- Lights from Anywhere by Marvin’s Magic: Most boys of this age like learning how to do magic tricks. For his 9th birthday, surprise him with a magic kit. This will give him something to practice. Next time there are guests at the house, he can put on a little show (a great way to encourage confidence).
- MythBusters Science Kit by the Discovery Channel: It includes many componenets that can be used in school projects. He’ll like it even more if he’s watched the show MythBusters on TV.
- Beyblades are another hot toy on the market right now. With different types to collect, speed and defense stats, and the ability to battle other players, this has all the elements of the next toy craze! On the plus side, boys think they are AWESOME – which makes you a cool gift giver this holiday season or birthday.
- Contraptions by Keva: this building set is a lot cooler than Legos! Turn your 9-year-old into a junior engineer and watch him build crazy ball track structures including funnels, chutes, ramps, and other unique contraptions.
The genre of YAL (young adult literature) is exploding with options for this age group. If you’re trying to get your child to read more, consider buying him some Choose your own Adventure books. This type of novel puts your boy in control of the action. He’ll make decisions about what the characters should do, completely changing the storyline. A different approach to reading, this might just be the start he needs to really enjoy literature.
Gift Ideas for 10-Year-Old boys
As your young boy’s athletic and mental capabilities continue to increase, it’s important to provide him with learning tools and challenges. If Christmas or his birthday is coming up, why not buy him something that will accomplish one or both of these tasks while at the same time giving him something fun to do at home or with his friends?
Instead of a normal building kit or vide game, check out these toys for indoors:
- National Geographic Oceans Laser Peg Kit: with the ability to build 6 different models, your boy will have lots of fun creating different ocean animals including a tiger shark and manta ray. All models are made from pegs that light up impressively.
- World Tech Toys RoboKid Disc Shooting Robot: If there was a list of things all 10-year-old boys like, robots and shooting stuff would be on it. This RC robot can walk in four directions and shoot discs from his mouth. Furthermore, you can make the robot dance to music and program sequences of up to 12 actions (all via remote).
- If your 10-year-old is into spy gear, he’ll love Science Museum’s Top Secret Intruder Alarm. With this kit, he’ll learn about electricity and be able to build an alarm for any door (probably his bedroom). This is especially beneficial for boys who want to keep their sisters out of their bedrooms!
Instead of a skateboard or a football, check out these toys for outside:
- Razor Ground Force Powered Ride-on Car: This sleek go-kart can reach speeds of 12mph – quick enough to entertain your 10-year-old without being dangerous (I’d still wear a helmet, though). The go-kart runs smoothly and quietly so it won’t disturb the neighbors. Operation is easy with acceleration and braking controlled by hand. The machine runs on a rechargeable battery.
- Firevision Sports Football (image at upper right): Although it may look like an ordinary football, this toy is anything but. It glows vibrantly with red lights – but only for players wearing Firevision goggles! Your boy and his friends will spend hours playing catch and trying to figure out how it works (a great toy for evening/nighttime).
Gift Ideas for 11-Year-Old Boys
Right in the middle of the “tween” years, your boy is no longer a child but not quite a teen. If you’re stumped on what to buy him for his birthday or for Christmas this year, look no further than this guide. You will certainly find something amongst the examples below that will satisfy him.
- Leave the easy stuff like school supplies and clothes for the relatives that don’t see him much. If he likes to clown around (what 11-year-old boy doesn’t?), he’ll love Pranklopedia by Julie Winterbottom. An encyclopedia for pranks, this gag book covers funny, gross, crazy, and most importantly not mean pranks. Don’t worry, your boy will learn the art of pranking while adhering to an ethical code – there is even advice on whom to prank and what to do if a prank goes wrong!
- His friends and his siblings will all be overjoyed when your 11-year-old unwraps the Ultra Stomp Rocket. Much cooler than the junior version, this bad boy shoots missiles up to 200 feet into the air and will leave your boy fascinated.
- If he’s not already a boy scout, he probably needs to learn some survival skills. Rich Johnson’s Ultimate Survival Manual is perfect for an 11-year-old. Not only is it full of highly useful information for surviving out of doors and in emergency situations – it’s also funny! As a bonus, parents will enjoy reading it too.
- Nerf guns are a classic. But with the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18 your boy will be a champion in Nerf battles. Don’t worry, the foam darts are completely safe and can be used inside as well as outside.
- Are you looking for a gift that your 11-year-old can enjoy with the whole family and not be bored doing it? Quiddler might be your answer. It’s a word game that moves much quicker than Scrabble. Your 11-year-old won’t even realize it’s educational.
Gift Ideas for 12-Year-Old Boys
One more year and he’ll be a teenager (isn’t that scary?). Boys at this age like to be impressed – they like to look at something, think its cool, and figure out how it works (girls included!). With this in mind, check out the following awesome gifts:
- Six in One Solar Robot Kit (image at left): With this kit, your 12-year-old can build his own robot while learning about solar technology. With 6 different models to choose from, he won’t get bored with this gift. And the best part? No batteries are required.
- Salt Water Motorcycle Kit: he’s too young to ride a motorcycle, but what about building one? This kit includes everything your youngster needs to build a working motorcycle (not actual size, of course!). The machine runs on a fuel cell – when saline, water, and metal combine, a chemical reaction occurs that creates the power this motorcycle needs to rev into action. This little machine is a great way to teach your boy about science and clean energy.
On the safe side: some gift-givers don’t like to risk disappointment. You can always choose from sure-to-please gifts like music gear, tickets to a sports game or concert, favorite books, sports equipment, and video games. But if you want to buy a more unique gift, check out the following:
- Tap Shower Radio: it looks like a mini water facet, but is actually a radio! Gadget and music lovers will enjoy this creative way to listen to music in the shower.
- Electric Paper Plane Launcher: This one-of-a-kind machine employs plastic discs and spinning motors to launch paper planes. The missiles can fly up to 31 mph. He’ll have fun designing different types of paper planes to see which type flies the furthest.
The Internet is definitely the best place to look for gifts for boys. Websites like ThinkGeek, Fat Brain Toys, and Wicked Uncle feature lots of unique items that boys will love. Click here to watch a video about the top trending toys of 2017. Click here to find out about the best tech toys for any age. Click here to read our response to the question “Do gifts spoil children?”
Looking for gifts for girls? Click here to views the best gift ideas for girls aged 7 to 12