Ask any 1o-year-old what toys they want, and you’ll be met with a disgusted eye roll, a huff, and a demand for the latest iPhone. And that’s why choosing gifts for 10-year-old boys and girls is no easy feat. The best toys for 10-year-olds 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 development experts call “middle childhood.”
The notion is to empower 10-year-olds to create and share — with their friends, ideally — while celebrating their newfound agency. Is that as tricky as it sounds? Not really. There are great 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 new 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. The terrarium will make some kids very happy. The owl crafting kit will appeal to others. As an adult, it’s on you to cater to your audience — which is kind of fun if you make a project of it.
Best Toys 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.
We dig this product line, which was created to make kids feel more confident about the sciences. This specific set lets them do stuff like make bubbling lava or have chemicals change colors, and comes with a beaker, test tubes, a graduated cylinder, lab glasses, dropper, funnel, and stirring rod.
Teach children to play slightly more complicated -- and considerably more fun -- board games with this entry-level strategy game.
Disney’s hit role-playing board game features the sorts of cards and deep character skillsets associated with sets popular in the adult nerd community. What makes Villainous impressive is that it is remarkably easy to play despite having a pretty thick rule book. That means kids get hooked playing Captain Hook, which is good news because the game is legitimately fun for parents.
Why not get the 10-year-old in your life the thing they actually want? And will deeply appreciate?
The Nintendo Switch is a remarkable gaming product. It’s easy to play, boasts remarkable graphics, and has a game catalog worthy of its excellent interface. Kids can definitely fall down a screen time hole with this one, but not all of the games are a waste of time. Super Mario Maker 2 and Stardew Valley are both engaging and thoughtful. Kids might take a minute to get momentum, but they’ll be amply rewarded for the time they inevitably invest. Untitled Goose Game is also superlative, but might inspire some bad behavior.
Elevate any campout or sleepover with this ultra-sleek headlamp.
Yes, it’s meant for hard-core outdoor pursuits. And yes, it’s just as great for sleepovers. The headlamp has up to 40 hours of battery life, and even has built-in red night vision. For when the zombies attack.
Just when you think your kid's outgrown Legos, they prove you wrong. This two-in-one is a creepy, haunted fairground with a digital ghost world that shows itself when viewed through a smart device.
Kids can build this set old-school, or pair it with the Lego app for some serious paranormal activity. Either way, it’s a very cool, and very creepy, building experience.
Gifts for 10-year-olds need to have a certain cool factor, and this portable drum set fits the bill.
Kids will love the chance to play seven different kinds of drum sounds, parents (and neighbors!) will love that there’s also a headphone jack if the built-in speaker gets to be too much. If your kiddo has a play date, he or she can easily roll-up the kit into its travel pouch and share the drumming love. There’s a rechargeable battery and players also have the option to connect the set to computer and create music or play games.
This killer and killer-affordable STEM set teaches kids all about what it takes to build bridges.
Aspiring engineers can build nine working bridge models such as a suspension bridge, a truss bridge, and even a standalone house. Detailed instructions make this set easy to follow, and because there are so many build options, it doesn’t get old.
Quite possibly one of the best and most innovative rainy-day crafting kits we've ever seen.
If your kids prefers another critter, there’s plenty to choose from. He or she pushes pins right into the pre-patterned foam bases and creates their own string masterpiece, either based on the pattern one pictured or something else entirely.
As with Legos, kids can create endless robotic objects with this one single kit.
Not only does this kit produce some damn fine-looking toys, but it lets kids build multiple robots with one kit. They build robots with 10 challenge cards, wood, electric motors, and hardware.
Kids who love Harry Potter can build a wand that responds to their movements.
If you download the app, kids can wave their wand and cast spells, make music, and hear sounds. Plus, by building the wand, they learn to code. It’s like their own personal Ollivanders.
This coding robot arrives ready to go, and kids can code either through the app, or by using a color code marker.
Kids push a button, and Evo goes to work. It has existing tricks, like following kids around, and learns new tricks either through the OzoBlockly code or with color and markers.
If you have a kid who'd like a terrarium, you probably already know. And if you do, this is a great one to get.
Kids get to assemble this set themselves, in the process building a visually appealing ecosystem that doubles as a night light (not that they need one).
Defining friendships is a favorite pastime for ten-year-olds, and this toy lets them make bracelets to their own exacting specifications.
Add this one to your “gifts for 10-year-old girls” list, although it would be a hit with crafty kids of all genders. Kids simply loop different threads on the nubs of this machine and crank the handle. It will spit out a perfect bracelet every time. It comes with some suggested designs, but adventurous kids can get really personal and make custom designs to share with their friends.
Kids this age love putting their own touches on their room, and this bestselling kit lets them express themselves on their windows when they run out of wall space for posters.
This is a well-stocked kit that can make 12 different suncatchers with paints kids can mix to make their own colors. They can also flex their own creative muscles by creating their own designs.
This Nerf set is great for kids who want to practice their marksmanship and compete against their friends in a different way.
This set comes with three different targets a clip-on sight, so it’s great for kids who want to play in a more low-key way that they might’ve in their younger years.
These binoculars weigh as much as a phone (meaning, barely anything) and turn couch potatoes into intrepid explorers.
The binoculars magnify things eight times. That’s enough for most kids. Plus, they’re handy, portable, and easy to use one-handed.
The latest, and longest, Avengers movie has ignited fan frenzy in a major way. And diehards will love this intricately detailed of the articulated power gauntlet is inspired by the Avengers movie.
The gauntlet inspired by Avengers: Endgame is an electronic fist that is full of power. When it’s turned on, the power gauntlet’s six Infinity stones pulsate with glowing light.
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