35 Best Gifts for 12
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Pre-teen birthdays, Christmases and holidays get even better with these cool ideas!
With 12-year-old girls on the cusp of their teenage years, it can be hard to figure out what they like. By now, they have their own tastes, their own styles and they know what interests them. But that's also what's great about buying gifts for kids this age — they like to tailor everything to their own vibes, so getting them gifts they can personalize with their own creative twists will always win the day.
That still leaves a lot of options. The Good Housekeeping Institute helps narrow down the search by soliciting feedback from actual tweens on different toys and gifts throughout the year. (The ones with the best feedback go on to win Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards.) From those picks, we add some trendy items-of-the-moment to come up with this list of the best toys and gifts for 12-year-old girls.
Our top picks for the best gifts for 12-year-old girls in 2023:
This year, 12-year-olds love fidget toys, cute items for their rooms and anything and everything DIY!
Looking for more great gifts? Shop these other Good Housekeeping guides:
Gifts for 12-Year-Olds | Gifts for Tween Girls | Gifts for Teen Girls
Yes, these look a little...blobby, but man are they comfortable! The bubble shape actually gives users a foot massage as they walk. Users report using them in the shower, and say that they love how they don't make feet sweaty. They also come in eight different colors.
Yes slime is still a thing, and this kit will have her stretching and twirling jars of fluffy slime before dressing them up with included add-ins. It comes with seven different colors of slime, plus things like charms, confetti and dots to mix into them. Users were surprised at how not-sticky the slime is. Ages 10+
Hook-and-loop crafts head into the third dimension with this kit, which lets them create a fuzzy friend that can sit on a shelf or a dresser. It comes with everything they need including a mesh form, eyes, a heart charm, yarn and a loop, and you can also get a koala or a panda in addition to the penguin. Ages 8+
This chair impressed the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute because its fabric was so low-maintenance and easy to clean — a boon for those living with messy tweens. And testers found them comfy and not too squishy, so they'll love sitting in it to read or do homework.
RELATED: The Best Bean Bag Chairs, According to Expert Testing
Two-layer necklaces are in, and in this case that means double the opportunities for personalization, with a name on one strand and a birthstone on the other. You can also get this in different metals, with two names or with a name and a heart charm instead of a birthstone.
Signs, reminders and motivational notes get even brighter with this sign. It comes with three neon pens that really glow when the frame is illuminated. The whole thing is powered by batteries, so you don't have to worry about hanging it near a plug.
Give them a jewelry box that helps them show how their accessories as uniquely theirs. This case comes with their initial on the front, and then opens to reveal seven ring slots, four adjustable compartments, places for stud earrings compartments and three necklace hooks, plus a small mirror. And yet it zips up so small, it can be used for travel.
When they need something to do with their hands, this is sure to do the trick (and get a smile while they're at it). Beads are suspended in a gel, and kids have the soothing sensation of pushing them around to augment the background picture. They can even print their own backgrounds. Ages 5+
Cookies and Pop Tarts and cupcakes — oh my! This kit comes stuffed with ideas and supplies to make 18 adorable, food-themed plushies. And the step-by-steps are so easy to follow, no prior sewing experience is necessary.
Alone or in a group, these knot pillows add a touch of sophistication to a tween bedroom — and also work as a good back pillow. The velvety fabric is fun to touch, too. You might even wind up getting a few for yourself?
When it comes to bracelets, more is more! This set comes with 16 bracelets that they can combine, stack and recombine to make a different look every day.
This is the kind of card game you can keep in a drawer or a backpack and break out whenever there's a lull in the action. It's very easy to learn, simpler to play and the art on the cards is so cute, she'll find the game irresistible. And all for less than $10! Ages 8+
This kit comes with more than 1,100 pieces that'll let them personalize their walls, lockers and other personal spaces. It comes with pictures, cutouts, letters, stickers, quotes and foam squares, along with other items that'll let them make it just the way they want to look. Ages 10+
If the holidays have her full of energy and she loves to make things, you can set her loose with all the crafts and activities in this book, courtesy of the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute. It has everything from holiday cookie recipes to DIY projects — make your own advent calendar, anyone? — to fun facts about the history of Christmas, like why we decorate trees. Ages 8 – 12
Nee Doh is a social-media sensation, and, after giving one a squeeze, it can be easy to see why: These kitties are fun to squish and stretch in your hand, like a stress ball. This set comes with three mini cats in random colors, and they also look good sitting on a desk when they're not in use. Ages 3+
This book is dedicated to the most important person in a tween's life: themselves. It'll have them making charts, graphs and other infographics inspired by their lives by challenging them to chart their dreams, count the smiles they see on the street, make lists of their favorite meals. Along the way, they'll learn about how to visually represent data along the way. Ages 8 – 12
A bag with colorful, sequined rhinestone confetti? Yes, please! This can be worn around the waist or across the body, but either way it'll have her looking like a party.
It can be hard for grandparents and tweens to find areas of common interest, but this gets them on the same page, literally. Writing prompts and conversation-starters makes it easy for them to figure out what they should write to each other, and when they fill it up they'll have a treasured keepsake. Ages 8+
You get two markers in one with this set: One end has a fine tip for details, while the other has a larger tip for coloring in bigger areas. It comes with 40 colors plus a colorless blender, so their creativity will know no bounds. This set has developed such a following online, it's earned more than 11,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
Friendship bracelets are fun and all, but this kit lets them really get intricate with their designs. Good Housekeeping Institute testers loved planning out their bracelets before they made them, and parent testers remarked that it was easy to use, too. Ages 6+
Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.
Rachel Rothman (she/her) is the chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees testing methodology, implementation and reporting for all GH Labs. She also manages GH’s growing research division and the analysis of applicants for the GH Seal and all other testing emblems. During her 15 years at Good Housekeeping, Rachel has had the opportunity to evaluate thousands of products, including toys and cars for GH’s annual awards programs and countless innovative breakthroughs in consumer tech and home improvement.
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44 Best TikTok Gifts of 2023Our top picks for the best gifts for 12-year-old girls in 2023:Our top picks for the best gifts for 12-year-old girls in 2023:Gifts for 12-Year-OldsGifts for Tween Girls Gifts for Teen Girlsgives users a foot massage as they walk. her stretching and twirling jars of fluffy slime before dressing them up with included add-ins.lets them create a fuzzy friend that can sit on a shelf or a dresser.its fabric was so low-maintenance and easy to cleanRELATED: double the opportunities for personalization, three neon pens that really glow comes with their initial on the front,kids have the soothing sensationo make 18 adorable, food-themed plushies.add a touch of sophistication to a tween bedroom 16 bracelets that they can combineyou can keep in a drawer or a backpack and break out whenever there's a lull in the actionmore than 1,100 piecesall the crafts and activities in this book, courtesy of the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute. fun to squish and stretch learn about how to visually represent data colorful, sequined rhinestone confettiWriting prompts and conversation-starters makes it easy for themOne end has a fine tip for details, while the other has a larger tip for coloring in bigger areas. testers loved planning out their bracelets