1- Nee-Doh Schylling Swirl Groovy Glob
New York features writer and mom to an almost 10-year-old Kathryn VanArendonk says her daughter is into boba and things that squish. Though retailers like Amazon and Target are full of squishies, VanArendonk specifically called out the stress balls and fidget toys from Nee-Doh, which her daughter likes best and which tend to be higher quality.
2- Nanoblock – Kirby Dream Land, Sights to See Collection Series
I recently discovered this teeny LEGO-like building toy at the New York Toy Fair — and fell in love pretty much immediately. Each brick is about the size of an ant (anything tiny is popular with this age group) making the process of building a single Kirby figure painstaking but really fun. There are individual characters — Hello Kitty is coming soon — and giant kits where you can build things like the Eiffel Tower or the Titanic. But for a 10-year-old, depending on how focused they are, this set of four Kirby characters among two trees is probably the sweet spot.
3- 4M Crystal Growing: Experimental Kit
This crystal-growing kit is a hands-on way to teach kids about geology and experimentation (“10-year-olds enjoy science projects,” Stoller affirms). You dissolve powdery compounds in hot water and add seeds according to the instructions, then watch your faceted red, purple, blue, and white stones sprout under clear domes and live on and on and on.
4- Klutz Friendship-Bracelets Craft Kit
Toy Insider senior editor James Zahn, who is a dad to two tween girls, says DIY friendship-style jewelry is as popular as ever. This kit comes with everything a crafty 10-year-old will need to make embroidery floss bracelets they can trade with their friends. It also serves as a flat surface to work on.
5- Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 6: The Complete First Series
This best-selling book series from writer Erin Hunt has spread like wildfire among fourth- and fifth-grade kids. It’s a favorite of VanArendonk’s daughter, though it’s hard to keep up as the books are always checked out of the school library. And my soon-to-be-10-year-old niece is a megafan (she calls it “Lord of the Rings but with cats”) and has already finished reading 70 of the nearly 100 books in the vast Warriors universe; there are a total of seven collections. This box set introduces the first series to young readers. It revolves around four clans of wild cats, fighting over the forest they have shared for generations, and a surprisingly brave house cat named Rusty who joins the cause.
6- Ghost Cube Brainteaser Puzzle
For a 10-year-old who’s already mastered the classic Rubik’s Cube — their fine-motor skills are improving at this age, according to Stoller — puzzle designer Adam G. Cowan presents a new challenge. Unlike the rainbow Rubik’s Cube, the steely-toned Ghost Cube does not involve aligning colors but rather twisting up all kinds of shapes, after which you are faced with the task of returning the pieces to the original cube form. Introduced in 2013 (a relative ingenue compared with Erno Rubik’s invention of 1974), the puzzle is “hours of fun,” according to Beth Beckman, a co-founder of Little Kid Big City New York. “I came across it in a boutique toy store, and my son went crazy for it. He said it was a ‘way cooler’ version of a Rubik’s Cube that was dressed as a mummy.”
7- Math for Love Prime Climb
Leaning on the math skills that 10-year-olds are learning in school, Prime Club gives young players “meaningful practice with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as they move around the board making decisions about which operation will advance them or bump opponents back,” says Maya Smart, a mom, educator, and the author of Reading for Our Lives. The game is designed for two to four players, is fun for adults to play too, and helps kids develop deeper mathematical thinking and the ability to predict several moves ahead.
8- Snap Circuits Arcade Electronics Exploration Kit
Ruka Curate, founder of the Tiny Treasures Nanny Agency, recommends this arcade-themed kit, which is a more advanced version of Snap Circuits that’s great for 10-year-olds. Another option, according to Lindsay Bell, the founder and owner of the Bell Family child-care company, is Snap Circuits Extreme, though it’s more expensive.
9- Pokemon Trading Card Games: Battle Academy Board Game
Pokémon’s popularity has only grown in the last 27 years, making fans out of every generation. Pokémon-related gifts have real staying power, and this, a board-game adaptation of the Pokémon trading card game, is no exception, according to Jackie Cucco, a senior editor at the Toy Insider. “It’s easy to learn and understand, and there are ways to make the game more challenging so it doesn’t lose its play value over time,” she says.
10- Professor Maxwell’s VR Atlas – Virtual Reality Kids Science Kit
This virtual-reality world-traveler kit exposes kids to foreign countries, different cultures, and historical monuments around the globe. “It combines reading in a traditional form with virtual reality to create a total immersive experience for exploration and discovery,” says Chris Byrne, who’s known as the “Toy Guy.” With the help of a smartphone, VR goggles, and an app, the interactive augmented-reality atlas guides kids through games, activities, and videos that teach them about everything from the building of the Colosseum to digging up dinosaur bones.
11- SpikeBrite LED Spikeball Game
Appell told us about this LED version of the popular beach and yard game Spikeball. “This gives the ability to play in the dark,” she explains. The primary objective is to bounce the ball onto the net in such a way that the opposite team cannot return it. Like volleyball, a team is allowed three touches before it must be returned. If the ball isn’t returned, the opposing team scores one point. Play continues until one team scores the designated number of points (and is ahead by a margin of at least two).
12- Impala Rollerskates Impala Quad Skate Skates
In addition to being some of our favorite roller skates for beginners, these skates from Impala were recommended by 10-year-old actress Quinn Copeland as a “really cool” gift for tween girls. “It would be so fun to pick up my skates, put them on, and go for a spin around the street,” she says.
As we draw the curtains on this exploration of good gifts for kids, it is with a heart full of gratitude for the moments of joy, wonder, and boundless imagination that childhood brings. Each carefully chosen gift, whether it be a book that transports them to distant lands, a toy that sparks creativity, or an experience that fosters learning, holds the power to shape their experiences and memories.
In the tapestry of their young lives, these gifts become more than just material possessions. They are the building blocks of cherished memories, the catalysts for learning and growth, and the tangible expressions of love and care from those who hold them dear. They are the vehicles through which children explore the world, discover their passions, and forge connections with those around them.
As you consider the perfect gift for the special child in your life, remember that it’s not just a physical object, but a bridge to their dreams and aspirations. It’s a gesture that says, “I believe in you. I celebrate who you are. I’m here to support your journey.” Whether it’s a gift for a birthday, a holiday, or just an unexpected surprise, the impact it leaves will be immeasurable.
So, as you wrap that carefully chosen present and watch their eyes light up with delight, know that you’re not just giving a gift; you’re giving a piece of their story. You’re contributing to the tapestry of their childhood, woven with threads of love, imagination, and unforgettable moments. And in years to come, they’ll look back with fondness, remembering not only the gift itself but the love and care that accompanied it.
Thank you for joining us on this journey of giving, where every good gift holds the promise of a brighter, more enriching future for the remarkable children who touch our lives. Here’s to the magic of childhood and the joy of making it truly special!