The Best Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
They're hard to shop for, but we've got you covered.
Ask any 10-year-old boys or girls what toys they want, and you’ll be met with a disgusted eye roll, a huff, and a demand for the latest iPhone. Choosing toys for 10-year-old boys and girls that actually pass muster is no easy feat because the very word (toy) is a huge turnoff. The best gifts for 10-year-old boys and girls treat them less like solitary children in need of entertainment and more like socially adept mini-adults, which is what they should be becoming as they enter what developmental experts call “middle childhood.”
The notion is to empower 10-year-olds to create and share, ideally with their friends, while celebrating their newfound agency. Is that as tricky as it sounds? Not really. There are great birthday gift options, even for 10-year-olds who seem to have everything.
The main caveat to be aware of with 10-year-olds is that these pre-pre-teens are often developing specific interests (or obsessions) and starting to focus on defined strengths. Given that, it’s critical to meet these kids where they live rather than just getting them a new and shiny toy, which may be of no particular interest despite the novelty factor. Given that, our list of best gifts for 10-year-olds should be filtered through an understanding of an individual child’s interests. Which means: You need to cater to your audience. Here are our editors’ picks for the best gifts for 10-year-olds in 2022.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The Best Gamer Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
The ultimate screen-free brain twister: A smart cube that is tricked out with a microprocessor, accelerometer, Bluetooth LE, sound, and LED lights. Kids scramble it however they want, and helpful guiding LED lights on each side will help them solve the puzzle. If they'd rather do it on their own, they can turn off the LED lights.
The Best Creative Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
Snap Ships is a building system for building aircrafts of various shapes and sizes, and all sets and pieces are interchangeable. This specific battleship is armed with CL-ARM rockets, a stealth drive for secret missions, and a railgun with hyper velocity. Because of course you need hyper velocity.
Incentivizing hunting for rocks is a genius way to keep a ten-year-old occupied and engaged with the outdoor world for hours. This Hobby Rock Tumbler from National Geographic can turn even sad jagged pieces of concrete into soft shiny jewels with its four step sanding process and polishing sponges. The alchemy of this tidy, quiet, machine is an excellent incentive to keep a
Get your ten-year-old hooked on the meditative practice of soap stone carving with this beginner’s kit from Studio Stone Collective. This British Columbia built kit is an ideal introduction to soap stone and wood carving thanks to its user-friendly safety file, sand paper, and polishing wax. On top of the self esteem boosting of creating a beautiful finished product this bear and wolf kit will deliver hours of therapeutic repetitive filing and shining.
We do everything on our devices. And this digital crayon is best in class. It works on all iPads (2018 and later) and lets kids mark up PDFs, take handwritten notes, or draw a masterpiece. It weighs less than an ounce, works on tons of apps, and gets up to 7.5 hours of active writing time.
Kids this age love to journal. So encourage self-expression with this endlessly creative kit. Kids personalize a 70-sheet spiral journal with stickers, frames, and gems, and use they use the blank pages inside to record their ideas, thoughts, and solutions to world problems.
A Lego kit for the ages, quite literally. This is an intricate 910-piece set that allows kids to create buildable, posable tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, and pteranodon skeleton models with displays stands. And it's a set that requires concentration, focus, and dedication, all skills that 10 year olds should be able to master.
Because of this kit's spinning loom, kids make unique bracelets and can change the thickness, looping style, thread quantity, and color combinations ad nauseam. Meaning, they can get as creative as they want. And friendship bracelets never, and we do mean never, get old.
Yes, this can be used for remote learning or note-taking. But it's also a pretty fantastic drawing pad for artists. It's a 32 page dotted grid notebook that can be used endlessly; you just wipe it clean when you're done. As for what's in it? Save it forever using cloud services like Google drive, Dropbox, Evernote, box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, or email using the free Rocketbook app.
So your kid dreams of working at Pixar? Get him or her ready with this insanely cool kit, which has everything kids need to create and share their own animated movies. They can animate using LEGO bricks, clay, paper or random toys. The kit includes a great HD USB camera with microphone; a 60-page animation activity book with printable activities; a mini stage with background; and stop-motion software with time-lapse features, sound effects and backdrops.
The Best STEM Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
We'd never encourage kids to play with fire just for fun, but this chemistry set teaches them stuff like how to extinguish a flame with invisible gas. So yes, it's fun. Plus they make bubbling lava or have chemicals change colors. It comes with a beaker, test tubes, a graduated cylinder, lab glasses, dropper, funnel, and stirring rod.
The next time your kid declares that biology is boring, sit him or her down in front of this microscope and have them look at a drop of juice with 20x and 50x magnification. The set comes with 10 prepared slides, and everything kids need to create their own with the included blank slides and covers, tweezers, and eye-dropper.
Chemistry comes to life, quite literally, as kids build molecules from plastic atom models that connect using magnets. Then, kids use the app to scan in their creation and identify the molecule using image recognition technology. Kids build propane, acetone, formaldehyde, and table salt molecules, among many others.
Kids put their problem-solving skills to work by using blocks with snaps to build and understand electrical circuits, home security, overhead lights, and an infrared controlled lighting system. It's quite literally a home-run: All 53 projects are based on the stuff that happens in the home. Kids use the color- and number-coded blocks to learn how power gets to your home, how power travels inside the walls, and what happen when you flip on the living room lights.
The Best Collaborative Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
The ever-popular board game gets a superhero twist. This time, Thanos, Hela, Ultron, Taskmaster, and Killmonger face off against Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Black Panther, and Captain America. The goal: To fulfill one's dark destiny.
Hive is a two-player game that develops strategic thinking skills. The goal is deceptively simple: To surround your opponent’s queen bee while trying to block your opponents from doing the same to you. Hence, planning, plotting, and critical thinking.
One of the most insanely fun games we've ever played. It's competitive dodgeball, coupled with a matching game. The goal is to collect matching sets of oversized cards while also dodging three-foot tall inflatable burritos. If you get hit, you lose points. Up to six people can play.
The Best Tech Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
It's nearly impossible to go wrong with a Bluetooth speaker, and this one comes in a variety of tween-approved colors. The fully integrated metal carabiner attaches right to their backpacks. It's got 10 hours of playtime and is actually waterproof.
A great gift for music lovers: An easy to use smart controller that teaches kids how to DJ. They can play tracks from smartphones or PC/Mac using a variety of DJ apps, or they can can mix music stored in iTunes. There's even a Transition FX functionality to help them match phrases and smoothly transition between songs.
Speaking of birds, this drone has 13 minutes of flying time, and a powerful-enough camera to capture 5MP photos and 720p HD videos. Because of its EZ Shots functionality, it's great for beginners just figuring out how the camera works. Plus, it's a coding toy: Kids use the Scratch programming language via the app to program the drone to perform stunts.
The Best Active Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
A simple, analog, tool like the M-3 NH Compass from Suunto can create a lifetime of skills if coupled with some fun activities (like using an external compass to build an internal one and always know which way is north in your hometown) will really do your ten-year-old a solid in terms of finding their way around in the world. The M-3 has proven reliable and well built and could be the only compass your ten-year-old ever owns because of its long life span.
It's time your child ditches that scooter and steps up to the skate park with a skateboard. Toy Machine is a legendary brand, and its complete will get your child started with a 7.75-inch seven-ply deck. We also like the ABEC-5 bearings, a marked upgrade from the industry standard, that will have him or her zooming through the bowl and bombing hills at mach five.
Navigation is a nearly completely lost art thanks to our daily interaction with omnipresent GPS devices in our lives. Give your ten-year-old the gift of serious spacial awareness—a gift they will appreciate for the rest of their lives—with this excellent book from NYC-based writer Hans Aschim. One part age appropriate young adult history of navigation, one part activity book, by the time your ten-year-old finishes its pages they will have more navigation skills than most of their friends’ parents.
This 57-foot long Slackline Kit from Flybold includes a training line that can be rigged above the slackline to help your child maintain balance as they learn to navigate the challenging line—maximizing fun for new users. The polyester line has a 300-lb limit leaving plenty of heartiness for parent users as well and the included foam wrapping tree protector means you won’t feel guilty setting it up in a public park.
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