The 8 Best Gifts for 12-Year-Old Girls

Creative gifts that are fun and memorable

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They’re not quite teens, but 12-year-old girls often come with just as much personality and ideas as their older counterparts. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a 12-year-old girl, it’s important to find something that speaks to her interests and unique personality.

A great gift should also be age-appropriate, with no mature content or potentially dangerous components, follow recommended safety precautions, and have some educational value. Parents and girls alike will both love a gift that allows her to explore her interests.

Here, the best gifts for 12-year-old girls.

Our Top Picks
A great way to create tangible pictures that will last a lifetime.
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This hardbound book is great for sketching on the go.
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Best Sneakers:
Vans Old Skool at Amazon
She'll love these vintage-inspired sneakers that are super trendy.
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This kit comes with everything needed to create Japanese mochi balls.
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These twinkle lights add a little ambient light to any space.
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This lightweight fleece comes in blue, pink, and gray.
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Best School Supplies:
Fiskars Gel Pen Set at Walmart
Taking notes is a lot more fun when the notes are bright and colorful.
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It adds a little extra sparkle and protects her phone.
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In This Article

Best Overall: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

Fujifilm Instax

Middle school is filled with the time of sleepovers, best friends, and coming into a unique personal style. What better way to celebrate the life of your 12-year-old than through physical memories? These days most of our photos are digital, but a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera is a great way to create tangible pictures. A click of a button will create miniature sized Polaroid-type photos your child can hang or frame to create beautiful wall art. The camera comes in blue, pink, lime green, and white, and is light enough to throw in a backpack for adventures. The camera also has a small selfie mirror and a constant-firing flash. The automatic exposure measurement helps create perfect photos every time.

Overall, owners love the old-fashioned feel of this camera, saying that although it doesn’t take DSLR-level photos, it’s a fun way to commemorate an event and create memories that will last a lifetime. Note that the film for this camera can be a little expensive, so that's something to keep in mind.

Best Sketchbook: Pentalic Sketch Book

Pentalic Sketch Book

Whether your pre-teen is a budding artist or just likes to doodle, the Pentalic Sketch Book is a great way to encourage and cultivate her artistic side. This 11 x 8.5-inch notebook contains 110 blank bright white pages made from 70-pound paper. The hardbound book is great for sketching on the go, and the black textured embossed cover looks important and high-end. The lay-flat binding makes it easy to draw and doodle, and your child’s artwork won’t bleed through from one page to the next.

Reviewers say that the Pentalic is a great sketchbook for any future artist. The high-quality thick pages are perfect for any type of pen or marker, and though you cannot rip the pages out it, it’s easy to quickly flip through the sketchbook. Overall, the Pentalic is a great gift for the artsy pre-teen in your life.

Best Sneakers: Vans Old Skool

Vans Old Skool

No matter what style your 12-year-old is exploring these days, the Vans Old Skool sneakers are a super on-trend choice that she's sure to love. These vintage-inspired sneakers have a canvas upper and rubber sole with additional padding for all-day comfort. They come in a multitude of colors, including solid tones and patterns such as floral and camouflage. Though the style is reminiscent of ’90s skate shoes, they’re tailored and streamlined for all occasions.  

Vans Old Skool sneakers are comfortable and fit true-to-size. Plus, Zappos offers free shipping and returns within 365 days, so you will be protected if your 12-year-old needs to exchange sizes or styles.

Worried about keeping her new shoes clean? The canvas upper can be cleaned with a shoe cleaner or you can throw them in the wash (just don't put them in the dryer).

Best for Foodies: Carley Sheehy DIY Mochi Ice Cream Kit

This DIY Mochi Ice Cream Kit is the perfect surprise for your burgeoning foodie. A little unexpected and a lot of fun, this DIY kit comes with everything needed to create Japanese mochi balls at home. Each set comes with sweet rice flour, potato starch, matcha green tea and cocoa powder, a dough cutter, and a silicone mochi mold, so you can transform your favorite ice cream into a chewy rice cake. The kit will make up to 32 pieces of mochi, but your pre-teen can reuse the tray with additional ingredients to make even more. Not only is this mochi kit delicious, but it’s a great hands-on activity for the whole family.

Owners say the DIY Mochi Kit may be messy, but it’s loads of fun. It’s easy to use (even for the novice chef in your life) and creates adorable, delicious mochi everyone will love.

Best Bedroom Accessory: Urban Outfitters Mod Clips String Lights

No middle school girl’s bedroom is complete without a set of string lights, which is why we love these Mod Clips String Lights. Not only do these twinkle lights add a little ambient light to any space, but they also have mini clips to display your 12-year-old’s favorite photos and prints. Each strand is 7.5 feet and made of copper and resin. They’re perfect for stringing behind a bed or above a desk or a reading nook, and emit just enough light to add a soothing glow. For less than $20, this is a great accessory to accompany an Instax Mini or on its own.

Owners say the Mod Clips String Lights are a fun way to add a touch of light to any space. This stylish string light will allow your 12-year-old to display her favorite photos of friends and family anywhere she wants.

Best Clothing: Patagonia Girls' Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover

Every girl’s wardrobe needs a comfortable, cozy pullover, and you can’t go wrong with the Patagonia Girls' Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover. This lightweight fleece comes in blue, pink, and gray, and is the perfect accessory for fall sports or walking the dog. The jacket is available in sizes ranging from XS-XXL and comes with Patagonia’s “Ironclad Guarantee” that backs all of their products with a lifetime warranty. It’s made from recycled polyester double-faced fleece and features a four-snap stand-up collar for chillier days. The binding at the sleeves and hem provide extra warmth when the seasons start to change.

The Patagonia fleece is a must-have for nearly every middle schooler. Not only is it warm and fashionable, but it's well-made and will hold up long enough to be passed down to younger siblings.

Best School Supplies: Fiskars Gel Pen Set

Taking notes in math class is a lot more fun when those notes are bright and sparkly. The Fiskars Gel Pen Set comes with 48 assorted gel pens to make long schooldays a little more colorful. The pens contain acid-free ink and have various tip sizes ranging from 0.8 mm to 1.0 mm. Each set comes with glitter, pastel, metallic, neon, swirl, and standard pen colors for scrapbooking, journaling, and more. The easy-flowing ink makes writing and doodling a breeze—perfect for diaries or coloring books.

Owners say the Fiskars set is a great value and provides everything your 12-year-old needs to take the most colorful notes she’s ever seen. Some reviewers mention the pens dry up quicker than they’d like, but for less than $20 for 48 pens, they’re affordable to replace as needed.

Best Phone Accessory: Case-Mate Apple iPhone Twinkle Case

If your 12-year-old is anything like most middle schoolers, her cell phone is her most prized possession. The Case-Mate Twinkle Case is a great way to protect your investment and add a little extra sparkle to your pre-teen’s phone. This eye-catching case is made for Apple XRs (but Target also sells the same case for other phones as well) and is made with glitter foil suspended in clear resin. The case has metallic buttons and is compatible with wireless charging, so your kid won’t have to remove the case to use a charger. The case comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects and is not only attractive but built to withstand falls and scratches.

Owners love that not only is the Case-Mate pretty, but it’s protective too. If your 12-year-old is always on her phone, protect it with a case she’ll love.

What to Look For in Gifts For 12-Year-Old Girls

Recommended Age

You have to walk a fine line to get the perfect gift that isn’t too babyish or too mature. A good way to start is to check out the age recommendations on gifts, especially toys. You can also consider what she is interested in and her skill level, then decide on a gift that will help her advance in that area.


This is a great opportunity to talk to the 12-year-old girl in your life about taking care of her gifts appropriately. While none of the gifts on our list have obvious safety concerns, they can be broken or made unusable if not handled with care. Take the time to set expectations about how she should handle her new gift, especially those that are fragile.

Educational Value

Learning doesn’t have to only happen inside the classroom and finding a gift that will spark her interests is a great way to incorporate education and skill building into her fun. Think about the things that she loves to do (or wants to learn), then choose a gift that will allow her to practice. You can also look for a local class or club that will help her perfect that skill.


12-year-old girls love to create, whether it’s in a science lab or at an art easel. Consider art supplies, new tech, or a kit that will help her make and enjoy her very own creations. These can be tailored to a hobby that she already has or a way to explore something new.

This is also a great way for girls to build self-confidence. “Letting them publish their work—with monitoring—is great,” says teacher and literacy coach Alicia Drozd. “Allow them the chance to create and put themselves out there.”

  • What do you do for a 12-year-old girl’s birthday?

    A 12th birthday celebration is an important milestone in a girl’s life, the last year before she leaves her tween years behind and enters adolescence. An extroverted 12-year-old who enjoys the spotlight might want a big party, whereas a more introverted 12-year-old might prefer to celebrate her birthday at a favorite restaurant with just the close family, and no singing birthday waiters involved. Ask her what she would prefer. 

  • What do you get a 12-year-old girl for Christmas?

    A 12-year-old is technically a tween, but her tastes and preferences will depend on her individual personality and stage of development. As always, look for a gift that celebrates her hobbies and interests. If you want to buy her something to wear, keep in mind that she will probably have a rapidly evolving sense of style that can make picking the right styles challenging. Play it safe by sticking with accessories such as a personalized nameplate necklace or a charm bracelet that she can add to over the years.

  • Is 12 a teenager?

    A child who is the age of 12 is considered a tween in modern parlance. This refers to a kid who is no longer a young child but who is not yet an adolescent. Age 13 is considered the official start of one’s teenage years. 

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