Birthday Gift for 12yo boy

I need a gift for a young boy. He’s going to 12 in a few months, but he’s a pretty severe learning disability. It’s not the hipster parents undisiplined kiddo type disbility, but the real deal. He tries really hard at school, but is realistically only up to around third or fourth grade in most subjects.

Anyway, I’m looking for something that will challenge him. Maybe a model with some very clear instructions or a budding scientist kit. Something that appeals to a nearly teenager, but is understanable to an nine year old.

Anyone got any ideas? If it’s a genius idea, the price isn’t really an issue.

My dad gave me a chemistry set when I was about that age. I made ammonia that I put under my sister’s nose when she was sleeping. That was a hoot!

In any case… I think you are on the right path. Something that will make him think. Model cars were a favorite and they come in different skill levels. As a suggestion the easy ones are boring. Challenge him.

You need to talk to him and his parents and find out what he is interested in.

Buy him a copy of Minecraft.

One of his problems is that’s he’s incredibly withdrawn. It’s a classic problem with anyone in the Autism spectrum. His Mom and Dad barely know what he likes!

I have thought about a “break your own geode” kit. What kid doesn’t like smacking a rock with a hammer?

Lego Mindstorms are for kids 10+

Seconded! Admittedly, it doesn’t have the ability to be wrapped and opened, but Minecraft appeals to a huge range of ages and abilities.

If I were 12, I think the thing I’d want most in this world would be the Net Nanny password.

model kit? does he live in 1950

maybe a videogame

Devil sticks (also called fiddle sticks). Very neat if you can find them. 2 sticks you hold and you learn to do tricks by throwing up a third stick using only the two sticks you are holding.

I think a PS4 would make any boy happy at that age.


If he has shown any interest in music, an electronic keyboard might be a good gift. If you do this, his parents will surely appeciate it if you get him one that accepts a headphone plug.

You beat me to it, April. My son is gifted/Asberger’s. He loved Knex when he was a kid.

Yep…I second the idea of a quality model kit.

Also Knex or a robotics kit is a great idea.

Personally, I’d shy away from any sort of video games or the like…

You mentioned that he’s “withdrawn” - would some sort of classes be appropriate? Acting might a bit emotionally challenging…but how about a martial art? or what about golf lessons? Something that gets him out of the house with something to do that focusses on physical rather than mental activity might work well?

Might be a bit too complicated… he gets frustrated pretty quickly. And I know I said price wasn’t a problem but thing ain’t cheap!!

I teach sixth graders. Kendamas are extraordinarily popular for kids all the way through their teens (and adults). The new fangled ones these days are a lot more sophisticated than the simple cup and ball of our youth.

I wouldn’t get one smaller than that.

And he can look them up on Youtube to learn tricks.

Polymer clay and a book of about techniques and basic projects. There’s a Klutz book and ones that go to all levels.

Radio Shack used to have a series of electronic kits. These were a circuit board with quick connects-lights, buzzers, etc, a supply of different types of wires, a place for batteries, and a book with instructions for simple circuits you can build.

Old-fashioned LEGO blocks. They come with detailed instructions.

Maybe a puzzle book like word search or sudoku.