If you think buying a gift for a 10 year old is tough, try being a 10 year old. “At the age of 10 years, children are really beginning the transition into adolescence but are young children in heart and mind still,” Dr. Syeda Amna Husain, M.D., FAAP, of Pure Direct Pediatrics told Scary Mommy of the unique developmental dichotomy experienced by children at this age. “Open communication is very important between parents and the child at this time as the social pressures to fit in begin, along with increasing schoolwork and piling extracurricular activities.” TL;DR: It’s tricky being 10. And, as such, your 10 year old might be a tough nut to crack when it comes to picking out the perfect present.
With this in mind, we picked the brains of Dr. Husain and several other experts to find the toys, games, kits and more best-suited for 10 year olds — gifts that both adults and kids will love since they are geared specifically toward this age of development. Here are a few ideas based on the expert insight we gleaned.
“At this age, children can think more abstractly and form more organized thoughts. Their attention span is longer, and they’re able to work for long periods of time on activities they enjoy,” explained Dr. Husain. “For this reason, I think toys like science kits for your science buff can be a great addition.”
With over 1,000 rave Amazon reviews, this 52-piece AmScope kit features all the things a kid could need to experiment their heart out. The sleek carrying box houses the starter microscope which features a rotating turret that provides six different levels of magnification. It’s the perfect gift for a budding scientist.
The science you taste is the science you remember! This food science chem kit is an insanely awesome gift for a 10-year-old kid who’s due for an infusion of fun. With this kit, kids can roll up their sleeves and dig into over 40 different experiments. From jelly candies, rock candies, and chocolates to lollipops and beyond, your favorite kid will get addicted to figuring out how different ingredients and temperatures create different treats.
This science kit was designed with gals in mind and it’s a perfect gift for your favorite curious 10-year-old! It includes a 28-page lab notebook that will teach basics about chemical reactions, molecular motion, and temperature. It contains three beakers, safety goggles, a thermometer, a time, and plenty of chemical reagents to bubble up, and she can play around with up to 19 different science experiments.
Arts & Crafts
“It’s important to help your child develop creative outlets to cope with the emotional feelings that are intensified,” Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR, and founder of Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services, LLC told Scary Mommy. So, Dr. Warburg recommends gifting your 10-year-old with arts and crafts projects such as origami, woodworking, tie-dying, jigsaw puzzles or, really, anything that gives them an outlet for their emotional energy.
Origami is always in style for gifting. This gorgeous set includes 60 perfectly-sized origami papers. Your recipient will love taking on the challenge of creating shapes, animals, characters, and more. This gift set includes illustrated instructions but the maker of this kit, Creativity for Kids, also has video instructions available for streaming online!
We are so into it! Has your kid ever been gifted something so unique? Thought so. This wooden ferris wheel set is unlike any other art kit on the market. Wooden toys are always great for gifting, but the creation aspect of this ferris wheel toy is so different. Plus, once it’s assembled, the recipient can wire it up so the wheel will turn. The kit includes everything needed to build, paint, and put the ferris wheel into motion.
Ten is such a fun age! This tie-dye kit is perfect for gifting the 10-year-old hippie at heart. The dyes included (14 of them) work best with natural fabric fibers like cotton, wool, or rayon. The kit includes everything needed for the ultimate groovy dye session, from ties and dyes to gloves, instructions, a drop cloth, and of course, the bucket!
“Children at this age also do well with goal-oriented activities, so board games are good toys that the whole family can enjoy. I’m always a fan of bringing back family game nights!” said Dr. Husain.
Gift Catan Junior Edition to your favorite kiddo so you’ll have a fellow player for life. It’s the same fun of the original, just slightly less complicated for youngsters. Prepare for swashbucklers, hideouts, a Spooky Island, and a very mysterious Ghost Captain.
The classic mystery game, Clue, makes for a super fun gift for an adult to give to a 10-year-old! Even if the recipient needs to learn the rules for the first time, chances are you can just jump right in and start playing. This version includes a new character (Dr. Orchid), but players will still need to figure out who murdered the host of a millionaire’s mansion!
One of the silliest (so duh, one of our fave) games on the market for kids is Spontuneous. Let it rip with this board game that inspires belting out tunes from start to finish. It’s the perfect gift for the aspiring American idol or choir junkie. Here’s how the game is played: Once you hear a word, you “spontuneously” burst into song and sing the first thing that comes to mind. And yeah, you basically just keep doing that to make your way along the treble clef-shaped board.
Coding Kits & Toys
“The key at this age, developmentally, is the right level of written instructions — and the incentive to follow them to complete a high-interest project is just as key,” explained board-certified child educator and teacher Nancy Poznansky. Foster this with a gift that teaches coding, so that your kid gets to see how cool the results can be when you follow directions (i.e. watching a robot retrieve cubes).
And if you want to really impress the kiddo you’re gifting, consider an Amazon STEM Club toy subscription and select the 8-13 age option. This subscription features gifts handpicked by toy experts, designed to inspire future engineers and scientists. Each mailer will include toys that highlight principals of physics, chemistry, and engineering! It costs $19.99 per box and you can cancel at any time.
This cool gift combines logic of coding and gameplay and it actually teaches programming basics. Code Master contains 10 maps, over 60 levels to solve, 12 guide scrolls, 20 tokens, and an instruction book that also contains the solutions. In this game, the avatar will travel through worlds in search of crystals. But through each level, only a specific coding sequence will help move you along. And if a player makes it all the way to the portal? Bill Gates, basically.
Stress levels will run high in this cool, colorful game by Think Fun that brings the legit dilemma of traffic jams to life. Don’t worry though, you’ll be giving the gift of tuning up those reasoning and planning skills. With this game, each player will have to refer to the coded challenge cards (there’s 40 of them), adjust the cars accordingly, and then see how long it takes to get the red car out. It’s a great gift and perfectly sized to take on the road!
This solar robot creation kit includes 190 pieces that when assembled, will power up via the sun. A creative 10-year-old can build 12 different types of robots, from Puppy Bot to Row Bot! The included, detailed instructions empower young minds to build a bot, disassemble, and then do it again. The included solar panel piece will rev up the robot.
Gifts That Encourage Empathy & Understanding
“At 10, children become much more aware of the wider world and social responsibilities. They are less cynical than teenagers but will be clear-sighted and see through something that is phony or unrealistic,” shared Presidential Award-winning child educator Nino Trentinella from Rainy Day Sunny Play.
Give a gift your favorite 10-year-old will remember and treasure forever. Wonder by Stephen Chbosky is the actual perfect movie (based on the book) that tells the story of Auggie Pullman… and it’s unforgettable. Auggie was born with a facial difference that makes him stand out in his regular school, but after starting up at a brand new school, he’s stunned to find out his new fellow students are just so interested in his extraordinary face! It will really open up the mind of any 10-year-old and give them all the feels.
This social-emotional learning game contains 52 essential conversations which inspire social, emotional, critical thinking, and vocabulary skill development. EI is a thing (Emotional Intelligence, hello!) and kids who are naturally more empathetic or even considered sensitive will feel like they’ve hit the darn jackpot receiving this super cool niche gift. This game is just about the best way to break down communication barriers, especially between kids and adults!
Here’s another great conversation-starter game. Containing 100 talk triggers, this Our Moments deck is a lighthearted, fun gift to give a kiddo who wants to get to know everyone just a little bit better. This deck is easy to take on road trips or be packed away for longer waiting room visits. Listen closely to each answer, because you just might discover a lot!
Outdoor Toys and/or Sports Gear
“Tweens tend to be sedentary as academics become more serious and time-consuming, so intentionally integrate physical activity and nature into their weekly routines, either alone or with friends,” Dr. Warburg told us. “Try to incorporate aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities. Activities in nature have mental health as well as physical benefits.”
Get ready for the “No way!” and “Dope!” screams when this gift is unwrapped. This EzyRoller will enable any lucky 10-year-old to kick back and pedal forward, at full speed ahead! While the kids are drifting around, parents will feel thrilled that they’re burning up so much energy. Kids can keep their hands free on these wheels, too, which means outdoor ball sports will never be the same again.
This outdoor game is the perfect gift for a 10-year-old to open at the start of the party! Up to 20 players can glow and go all through the night with a classic game of capture the flag. Pick teams, mark your territory, hide the orb (aka flag), play, and… WIN!
These long-range walkie talkies feature 22 channels and a three-mile range! Ideal for outdoor exploration, long-distance play, or even some vacation control, this set of walkie talkies will only deliver crystal clear sound. There’s even a squelch function to lose the background noise. There’s also a clip on the back of each walkie talkie, so it can easily hang off of a pocket on any outdoor adventure. Bonus: The intelligent alarm system will ensure no one wanders away out of range!
Well if this isn’t the best excuse to run around outside, we don’t know what is! This set of four laser blasters will ensure hours of outdoor fun. Any action-loving 10 year old will grab their favorite friends, siblings, or parents so they can test out and master the pistol, shotgun, submachine, or rocket-style laser settings. The blasters light up and vibrate while shooting up to 130 feet. Such a thrill!
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