I'm a Bad Mom--What to get a 12 yr. old for his Birthday

Hallboy’s 12th birthday is coming up at the end of this week, and I don’t have a clue what to get him! I would appreciate any suggestions…

–We live in the city. He has a bike and rides it around the neighborhood, but that’s about it.
–He has a GameBoy and a Game Cube, so there’s always a game in a pinch, but I’d rather not encourage him to spend anymore time in front of the idiot box than he does already.
–He’s not much of a reader, but does like science (he loves his Natl. Geographic Kids) and he’s crazy about animals. (Another pet is out of the question, as we already have two cats and a rabbit.)
–He likes the computer, but that’s the same as the Idiot Box.
–He’s absolutely crazy about Bionicles (and building stuff), but pretty much already has every Bionicle on the market. Building stuff is something I’d like to encourage. (He also have the complete Lego, Knex, etc. kits.)
–He’s 12 and absolutely is not into fashion. Shoes? As long as they fit, they’re fine.
–He likes dragons.


Dungeons and Dragons stuff, if he has friends who play and you don’t mind spending about $200 on stuff over the next year or two.

A couple D&D novels and a library card (otherwise, see above re: hundreds of dollars…).

The google ads think you should buy a home drug test kit, but that would be kind of a bummer.

maybe a “young scientist” kit?
–they have simple instructions to build your own electric circuits, or use a microscope and see neat stuff .

Music? Anything from an ipod to a new CD.

Art supplies? To tell you the truth, I don’t know if a boy would like this. Art supplies seem mostly aimed at girls, but I don’t see any reason that a boy couldn’t enjoy drawing or painting. Maybe model-building would be masculine enough.

Does he have a telescope? It would tie into his interest in science, and I don’t know many kids who wouldn’t want one. Good luck!

Not sure which part of PA is the armpit, but could you do something related to the Carnegie Museum? They have a fabulous dinousaur collection, if you haven’t been there, and maybe there’s something in their catalog he would like.

D&D stuff, Ethilrist? Isn’t that like jumping on a highway of crack? I’ve known people who get sucked into D&D at an early age and are still at it into adulthood…

yellowval, he has a telescope that sits on his shelf collecting dust. We live in the city, and…well…it’s nearly impossible to see much of anything outside of the city lights.

Actually, he does like music–Weird Al.

I’m doomed. Doomed, I tell ya’.


Actually, if you’re posting here you don’t just know some, you’ve found their den. :smiley:

What about a musical instrument of a sort? An inexpensive starter electric guitar or a keyboard. Even if you don’t play, the keyboards they sell today can entertain for days at a stretch.

Two good kids magazines are



Muse and Odyssey on the www.cricketmag.com website–everything from Carus publishing is great–all you have to do is pick the age and interest.

My science-geeky kid turns 12 this month too. I got him a robot kit. I got it on Woot!, but I think it’s this brand. I hope he likes it, and I also hope I don’t end up stepping on various robot parts sprinkled throughout the ouse in my bare feet at night, but that just isn’t going to happen.

Wait…I thought you said you were a bad mom. Sounds like you’re raising him right to me!

Get him a 12-year-old girl.

I started D+D in 1979, still meet up regularly with friends from those days and even run the roleplaying club at my School. I’ve played all over the World (and admittedly quite a bit on my computer too!).

Roleplaying teaches team-work, concentration, use of imagination, reading books and arithmetic.
I’ve personally seen it benefit shy kids, domineering kids, insecure kids and non-sporty kids.

A puppy is always the answer to the “what do I get for ____”.


Ooh Ooh! I want a telescope!! :slight_smile:

Here and here are more robot kits from the Robot Store. Hovercraft?? Flying saucer?? Oh, to be a kid again!!

If my mother had gotten me a 12 yr old girl for my 12th birthday… :smiley:

Well, if he really is into Legos and he enjoys his computer you could always get him a Lego Mindstorms set. It allows you to build the robots and program their functions on your pc. The best part is that you have to leave the computer if you want to test out your creations.

At the office, the team that I work with purchased this book about dragons for our project manager and he practically melted when he saw it.

Most boys that I have known enjoy working with art. Since he enjoys building things you could get him a modeling kit. The artistic contribution would be to include a paint set with the gift. My mother used to do this a lot and I found it very relaxing to sit in my room building and painting cars and planes. Looking back the relaxation may have come from the model glue and paint fumes though. So maybe you should get some of that non-toxic paint instead.

Does he enjoy playing any sports? What about rollerblades, can he skate?

There’s always Snap Circuits. We’re getting these for my son’s birthday this summer. The box says ages 8-108.

Every boy deserves a good, solid pocketknife, i recieved a Victorinox Swisschamp from my parents when i was around 12 or so, and i used the crap out of it, all into college, when i broke off the big blade, stupidly i didn’t know about Vic.'s lifetime warranty, or i’d have sent it in for repair/replacement

what self-respecting boy wouldn’t love to have a pocketknife bristling with tools, i used the Phillips head screwdriver (taking stuff apart to see how it worked) and magnifying lens (for burning ants, mainly) more than the main blades when i was young

I was going to say D&D stuff. However, I now agree with a pocketknife, if he’s responsible enough to use it. No taking it to school, etc.