Amazing Christmas present ideas for the best 12yo Nephew in the world.
November 13, 2014 2:21 PM   Subscribe

My nephew has had a shitty shitty year and I want to spoil him rotten for Christmas. I want to get him the awesomest of awesome presents. The sort of present that will use often & he can show off to all his friends and have them be jealous. Bonus points if that present is something he can't get in Australia but I can in the US.

I have a budget of around $100-$150, lower priced gifts are fine too as I can always buy him 2 or 3 things,

He already has a basic mobile phone and my not so subtle questioning has found out he doesn't really want an upgrade to it.

I would rather it was something he will use than go "Yeah that's nice & it sit on a shelf".

He likes science and learning things, tennis & sports in general, bike riding & usual 12 year old boy stuff.

We had great fun with the whole mentos/coke thing & more recently making plastic bags explode with bicarb & vinegar. His mother isn't science minded though supportive she would not be good at helping him so he would have to be able to work things out for himself.

No computer games suggestions as my husband has that end of things sorted out.

If you are not sure if something will work on Australian voltage suggest it anyway over the years I've gotten handy at working that stuff out.
posted by wwax to Shopping (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I was that age I had a pocket microscope that was AWESOME. Great for a kid who likes science and nature.
posted by Specklet at 2:27 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


You can get drones pretty cheap. As a twelve year old boy myself (not really), that would appeal to me quite a bit.

Makershed and Adafruit have good selections of fun stuff to mess around with, as does DealeXtreme. (Makershed & Adafruit are much more curated, but DX is cheaper and has way more stuff.)
posted by ernielundquist at 2:43 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Get him a Raspberry Pi. That is a very small computer that can be used for a variety of projects. I think 12 is the perfect age and in fact, the Raspberry Pi was designed to teach kids computers. There has also been a huge uptake by hobbyists who use the board to control various bits of homemade electronics. The range of intriguing projects is stunning. Should be about $35 of your dollars plus a bit more if you don't have an old keyboard/monitor etc. hanging around.
Www.rapberrypi.org


posted by PickeringPete at 2:48 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm with ernielundquist, drone drone drone! They are surprisingly affordable and can be a lot of fun. This one isn't terribly expensive, about $65, if you wanted to spend about $300 you could get him a Parrot drone which is really well reviewed and more robust. I mean, it can fly and livestream to his fucking phone. That's kind of awesome at any age.
posted by kate blank at 3:03 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Cheapest gopro in the US was about $129 at walmart I think (it's like $189 in Aus). Seems like it'd be easily within a 12yo's ability to use properly, and super hardy.
posted by trialex at 3:38 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


A drone is pretty great. A telescope might be a fun gift as well.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


How about a telescope and an accompanying book about the universe that will help him make sense of what he's seeing?
posted by orange swan at 4:27 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Please throw in a bunch of weird american candy cereal. We don't have marshmallows in cereal here and a paltry selection of frosted/chocolate stuff and I know that when they got mentioned in media I was always curious.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


This looks kinda cool: Kinetic Sculptures

or this: Strandbeest kit

The Usual Disclaimers.
posted by doctor tough love at 6:53 PM on November 13, 2014


This is a "build your own computer" -- for $150 (minus monitor). It looks pretty cool :).
posted by elmay at 7:07 PM on November 13, 2014


Drone!

You can get a pretty decent drone with a camera on it for < $100.00.
posted by bondcliff at 7:14 PM on November 13, 2014


How about a subscription to MAKE magazine?
posted by Sophont at 7:32 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seconding much of the above. I'm also going to suggest a toolkit. I got my boys one each when they were 12 or so. Put the stuff in it that a kid would need to take their world of things apart (and check with the parents about their feelings on sharp stuff of course)

I wouldn't bother with a pre-assembled toolkit as those are mostly chaff.

Here's what I'd put a kids toolkit
(**I've gone quite inexpensive below because, you know, kids. But it's all stuff that should come in handy should he get the urge to take that old vacuum cleaner apart (one of my favorite pastimes as a kid))

Screwdriver assortment and some pliers I found here is great for a kid. Bonus: hex drivers



Small hammer


Scissors (these are awesome and cheap)


Small bench task light


Some allen keys


Tape measure


Cloth tape (nobody appreciates how often one needs such a thing)


A small multi tool (makes a kid feel very cool- again- parents should be consulted about sharps- but I teach my kids the three rules: cut away from yourself, never force, and keep it sharp)


Wire strippers


Crescent wrench.


Other items to consider
Duct tape
Safety pins
Zip ties
X-acto knife
Metal File
Folding saw/Coping saw
Rivet gun/Rivets
Multimeter (if he's into electronics)
Soldering iron

I don't think the above is very expensive but it's a great start. I'd add a paint mark to each tool to delineate it as his alone.

Oh! I almost forgot. He'll need a cool bag to put it in. A million different variations but this one is cheap and great:


Tell him I said happy birthday (regardless of the efficacy of my suggestion)
posted by asavage at 9:11 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ach! I had links for all of the above and royally screwed it all up. Mods?
posted by asavage at 9:16 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here you go:

Screwdriver kit

Hammer

Scissors

Allen Keys

Tape measure

Cloth measure tape

Multi tool

Wire Strippers

Crescent Wrench

Tool Bag

Phew! That's enough of my l33t skillz tonight.

Sorry about that.
posted by asavage at 9:26 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


A Leatherman would have rocked my world when I was a kid. And I never had enough drill bits. I would suggest a cordless drill and a bunch of drill bits would be good in the toolbox.
posted by boilermonster at 12:16 AM on November 14, 2014


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