My oldest niece turned 10 over the summer, and with a new decade comes a new gift buying challenge. Since I start thinking about what to get people for the holidays starting in September, I’m at the top of my gift idea game now. But she had thrown me off.
So, to combat that, I had her in mind while making this list. I thought, what would she like, but I also considered what gifts, games and kits would allow her – and other 10-year-olds – to use what she’s learned in school. Not only did I compile a list of products packed with fun, but I found what provided the biggest educational value to this age group, getting them to not just use what they’ve learned but apply it too.
Let’s get to that list then. In no particular order:
This is supersized mousetrap at its best and most fun! With each inventive assembly your child designs, they get to unleash chaos in the best way. With each new configuration they discover, choosing between a 6’ tall tower or a platform, they’ll be able to explore what happens with every obstacle they place, perform experiments about the concepts they learned in the classroom and watch the chain reactions as they occur.
One of my favorite parts is that the Chaos Tower will grow with them. Get this for them while they’re in elementary school and see them continue to explore up through high school when they take physics and have a new, more advanced view of gravity and the laws of motion.
Why get one robot when you can have 14? More is always better after all. This robot can be rebuilt into 14 different fun and silly versions that move and operate in different ways. From a wagging tail to running beetle, even a surfer, this solar powered robot is an exciting way to teach the principles of solar energy. It also has some cool features including adjusting the solar panel to change direction, retractable head that can be stored and transparent housing to get a look at the gears.
Aside from my overall love of alternative energy – especially solar energy – I love the versatility of it. 14 different models to build! That’s a lot. And they’re divided into two different levels of difficult, so your little one can master one set than kick it up a notch and take on the harder builds. It’s a great way to avoid getting bored too quickly of a toy, since it’ll keep presenting new challenges.
OR 8+ with adult supervision
Need a new parent/child activity? Cause this is it! When I was little, my dad loved to show me pinball and play with me because of the nostalgia he had from his youthful days at the arcade. It’s time to take that feeling to the next generation by building your own personal, playable game of pinball as a family.
Follow the detailed instructions to build the game. Nailing in over 100 nails leaves plenty of opportunities to develop memories along the way. And then you’re in for hours of friendly competition. This game is a great one for a family tournament – with a healthy dose of trash talk.
Don’t tell my dad, but I got him this kit for the holidays and I’m going to suggest he take it over to build at my sister’s house so he can do it with the grandkids. I can already see this getting passed through the generations, becoming a new heirloom.
I’ll say this first just to get it out of the way: this thing is really cool, like really cool. It’s an oversized robot you can interact with WHILE WEARING! And it works for both right-handed and left-handed children (so us lefties aren’t left out). This awesome robot hand is fun to build, creating a project kids love to show off. Then it’s fun to play with: it has precise controls, powerful gripping strength and hydraulic controls.
It’s a highly unique learning tool, exposing children to hydraulics and providing five different experiments to complete with the built hand. Don’t forget to also try the challenge of gripping different things of all different sizes.
As you can see, I’m very excited about this one. I got to take it to my sister’s house to have my nieces and nephews test it out. They loved it, to put it mildly; my one nephew really wanted to keep the hand once we all built it, but I wouldn’t let him. It’s now sitting out for display on my bookshelf.
Unlock the stars with this telescope that’s great for beginners and your trick to discovering the universe above us. The TK1 provides great views of the moon, and depending on the time of year, the planets. The kit comes loaded with accessories so you can sharpen the view and navigate the stars you’re gazing upon. It’s easy to operate, even without any experience, and doesn’t require a smartphone to magnify the view.
When you break it down, this telescope is a fantastic value and is geared to make it easy as you take your first steps into astronomy. It’s a great supplemental to classroom astronomy classes, which don’t seem real until you see it for yourself. When my oldest niece first learned about astronomy, my brother-in-law got her a telescope. It definitely helped her with the material. That had been a few years ago. If it was now, I’d have pushed him to look into this one.
To Wrap it Up
Fun and games don’t sound like they mix with learning and school, but I’d say this list definitely combines them. Whether it’s robotics, physics, astronomy or a family activity, this list has some of the best ideas for holiday gifts.
If I had to pick, I think my favorite off this list would be the Mega Cyborg Hand Kit, but I’m biased there. I literally have it displayed among my favorite books (that’s a place of honor). It’s a giant robot hand! But that’s far from the only amazing product on this list.
If you haven’t quite found the perfect gift yet, don’t worry. We have 100s of kits, robots, projects, toys and other goodies to choose from in our 10+ age category.
If there’s something else you’re looking for, check out our gift guides for older kids and teens.