Top Gifts for 8 to 12 year olds: science, imagination & strategy

As my children get older capturing their interest can be challenging so I look for presents that will inspire them and use their imagination and expand their world.  The gift ideas below for 8 to 12 year olds are top science, imagination and strategy gifts that are sure to please.


Little bits starter kitCalled “Lego for the iPad generation” by Bloomberg TV  littleBits are an amazingly fun gift for anyone over the age of 8.  Using magnets these electronic modules snap together and allow you to build whatever your imagination can come up with depending on what’s in your set.
A littleBits Teaser Kit is $29 or if you’d like more options for creating things a littleBits Starter Kit is $89 with additional modules available if you’d like to add on later.  These toys use imagination, strategy and technology to learn electronics.


Each module does something whether it’s light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors and when put together with other modules they become a circuit.  There is great community support and encouragement to build simple and complex projects.

  • Projects can be found on the website with varying degrees of difficulty.
  • Users are encouraged to send in projects as well and share with the community.

Your tween will love this gift and so will you!


If traditional Lego is more your thing you’ll be encouraged to find more and more Lego in stores this year. The Hobbit is a big favorite. We really like An Unexpected Gathering which is based on Bilbo Baggins’ home Bad End.  It comes with great figures: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Dwarfs Balin, Dwalin, Bombur and Bofur.

Equally as hot for kids is the new Minecraft Lego. This super popular building video game is now available in Lego! Kids love to create their own world and these flatter Lego bricks are ideal for sparking the imagination. Comes with two buildable Micromob characters: Player and Creeper.  This is a must have for any Minecraft player, makes the unplugged days bearable to the most dedicated player. Lots of fun!


In March Lego has a sale going on including Free Exclusive LEGO Star Wars Republic Frigate with $50 LEGO Star Wars order.  Valid March 1 – 31st and FREE, FREE Shipping on orders of $75 or more. Valid March 1 – March 15

Little bits kitIn addition to building sets you can get great Lego themed presents like this great LEGO® Kingdoms Chess Set.  We bought one for a birthday present and it went over great with the birthday boy.  You build the figures and then you can challenge your child or friend to a game.


If you have a pet lover the Friends series from Lego is an excellent gift for girls. Heartlake Vet is a great addition to the collection with a place for animals to come and get checked out by the vet. The price is $45 and there are lots of smaller animal kits like Olivia’s Newborn Foal for under $15 to expand the set.

Discovery Box
The Large Wooden Discovery Box for Collecting Nature’s “Treasures” is just about the coolest present you can buy a kid.  First of all it comes with great science treasures including over 30 rocks, fossils, and shells and also leaves room for your child to add their own found treasures, adding to the collection. There are options for boxes of different sizes, this one featured is $149.


If you have great suggestions for gifts for 8 to 12 year old kids or have your own review of the gifts above, please add your comments to the section below.  Check out my other great gift ideas for kids 9-12 or for younger kids gifts for 6-8 year old kids and gifts for 3-5 year old kids.

LEGO® Star Wars™: Introducing the Yoda Chronicles