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- We spoke to a child psychologist to learn what to consider when shopping for a 10-year-old this holiday.
- Here are some of the best gifts for 10-year-old boys, from a Lego movie-making set to a ropes course.
- Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested.
Age 10 can be tricky for gift-givers. Ten-year-old boys may begin focusing more on hobbies than toys, but play is still essential. Child psychologist Roberta Golinkoff, PhD, author of "Becoming Brilliant," suggests that all ages benefit from gifts that build six skills: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence.
"You want the toy to be 90% child and 10% percent toy," Golinkoff says. "Avoid toys that ask kids to fill in the blanks. Toys should release creativity, not determine it." The best gift, she emphasizes, is time with the adults in their life, whether that's a ski or zoo pass or a game.
The best gifts for 10-year-old boys will encourage age-appropriate development and meet the interests of that individual child. Because interests extend beyond outdated masculine stereotypes, our favorite gifts include everything from sports to arts. And while the newest trending toys are great, some classic toys and games shouldn't be overlooked either.
Here are 21 of the best gifts for 10-year-old boys:
A game that's different every time
Family Scavenger Hunt uses two decks of cards — one for adults and one for kids. That gets families searching in a way that's still challenging for grown-ups. There's a set of cards for an outdoor hunt too.
A challenge for Pokemon fans
Puzzles are both fun and skill building for this age group. This Pokemon Eevee Evolutions Puzzle is a budget-friendly gift idea for a 10-year-old boy. It features a popular Pokemon character and a rainbow of colors that will offer clues on which piece goes where.
A creative comic book kit
A great way to encourage creativity, this comic book kit has everything kids need to make three books. The set includes three blank books as well as stickers and markers. There are instructions with tips for creating comics as well.
A hard-to-put-down graphic novel
Funny graphic novels turned my son from a reluctant reader to an avid reader. "New Kid" by Jerry Craft is a humorous illustrated middle grade novel, yet it tackles some important topics for 10-year-olds. The book follows a seventh-grader in a new prestigious private school, as one of the only students of color. The book received the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature.
A puzzle that can become anything
Jixels are mini puzzle pieces that can be used to create an image one pixel at a time. This 700-piece set includes instructions to make two robots. Jixels is also an open-ended toy and the pieces can fit together to create whatever the child imagines.
A card game with action
Ten years old is a good age for card games. Uno Attack takes a classic game and kicks it up a notch, spitting out any number of cards at random. Kids will love pushing the button and the added suspense of waiting to see how many cards fly out. Classic games are a great gift — and 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Uno.
A mosaic craft kit
Mosaics are like puzzles and crafts in one. This mosaic kit uses real stone tile. Kids can follow a pattern to turn the blocks into a unicorn — though there are other kits available too, including an owl, tiger, and panda.
A building kit with multiple possibilities
Lego Creator 3-in-1 kits allow kits to choose the design to build — and, of course, they can still create their own designs. These smaller kits are also easier to put together in a few hours and reasonably priced. Lego has several options from lions to sharks, but we're partial to this fire-breathing dragon.
A gift that gives back
Stuffed animals have long been a great gift idea, but the World Wildlife Foundation's Symbolic Species Adoption is more than just a plush — this program helps fund the WWF's work to preserve endangered species and their habitats. In return for a $60 donation, you'll be able to gift a plush and a few extras. The program includes popular animals like sloths, lions, and elephants, as well as lesser known animals like a blue-footed bobby and a capybara.
Turn toys into movie characters
This Klutz Lego kit encourages kids not to just build and play with mini figures, but to create a story and share that story too. The kit includes mini figures, backgrounds, and scenery, but kids will need a tablet or smartphone to record the stop motion videos. Golinkhoff says that screen time gifts are okay if there's a social and nonscreen aspect, like creating these videos and sharing them with friends. "There are some apps that can be enjoyed if there are social interactions around the app and it's not a shooting game," she said.
A backyard ropes obstacle course
Inspired by the TV show, this Ninjaline is a suspended obstacle course for kids. The set includes several different types of rings to grab and a slackline to hang it all on. Gifters beware, though, the backyard will need two sturdy trees that are no farther than 36 feet apart.
A book that combines science and cooking
Ten can be a good age to start developing lifelong hobbies, like cooking. This cookbook brings science into the kitchen, making it a perfect gift option both for boys who like science and boys interested in cooking. Reviewers have a lot of good things to say about this gift for older kids, which is an updated version of a book that's been around for more than 40 years.
A Monopoly city to build and play together
"There's a reason Monopoly has been around as long as it has," Golinkhoff said. In the latest rendition of the classic Monopoly game, players build skyscrapers as they make their way around the board. The game adds construction tokens and building levels to the basic real estate spaces of the original.
A Mandalorian set for advanced builders
This large Lego set allows kids to build and play with "The Mandalorian" characters including The Child — better known as "Baby Yoda" — and The Razer Crest starship. Rated for ages 10 years and up, this is a kit for more advanced builders or for kids and a grownup to work on together. While there are a lot of great Lego sets, this one earned the TOYA award for building kits this year.
A motorized building toy
Adding a motor adds another level of play to a classic building toy. The K'nex Imagine Power and Play allows kids to motorize their creations, from helicopters to a robot. It comes with a reusable case — a big plus when purchasing anything with lots of little pieces.
A monthly subscription box
Kids tend to love subscription boxes because they love getting mail — I've gifted KiwiCo crates before and they were a big hit. Doodle Crate sends monthly craft projects. There are other options that may better suit a 10-year-old with different interests, like a crate for building, cooking, or even geography.
A snow scooter that works on hills and flat ground
Unlike a sled, the Airhead Scoot Snow Scooter works on both hills and flat ground, which means kids without hills around can still play with this toy. A snow scooter is like a snowboard with a handle. It could be considered a stepping stone to help learn snowboarding in the future.
A box full of science experiments
Many science kits are one-and-done, but this one from National Geographic has 15 experiments. That's a lot of rainy days it could fill with a volcano, digs, tornadoes, and crystals. The experiments can be conducted with one child or with friends.
A set of adjustable beginner-friendly rollerblades
Rollerblading can be a great hobby for older kids. These beginner skates from K2 aren't flimsy plastic, yet they still offer kid-friendly features like adjustable sizes. Be sure to gift these with safety gear, like a helmet and knee pads.
An arcade they can build
Snap Circuits allows kids to build their own electric creations — this kit includes the pieces for a few different arcade games. STEM toys like this one are an excellent alternative to a video game. The 30 different circuits just snap together, making it appropriate for this age group. The set includes a mini LED screen and a controller.
A classic game made modern
The electronic version of Battleship takes a classic board game and levels up the excitement a notch. Kids can play solo or with a friend to try to sink the opponent's ships and even an airplane. Rated for ages 8 and up, it makes a fun but affordable gift for this age group.
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