Bonding with pals is paramount at this age, so gifts that are best enjoyed with others are tops.
Ten year-olds are oh so mysterious. And oh so opinionated. And, so, when it comes to gift-giving, the odds can feel like they’re stacked against you. Should the pressure feel too overwhelming, go with the gift card, the guaranteed winner, and let them pick for themselves. ‘Tis a win-win.
Hold the cringe: Just because your memories of fanny packs happen to coincide with a ghastly phase for your bangs doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the return of their popularity. (Include a can of Aqua Net for the full retro gift experience.) $16.99
Part Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, part Yahtzee, every Rory’s Story Cubes set includes three cubes that combine to serve as prompts that’ll have your favorite creative coming up with a fresh tale with every roll of the dice; for even more mash-ups, combine a bunch of sets.
Give that game of catch a cool new spin with Djubi (pronounced joo-bee); swap your old ball and mitts for these netted rackets and specialized ball that can sail up to 100 feet away using the attached launch hooks. The deep net makes catching easy, and the ball floats, so this set is as fun in the pool as it is on land.
Some old-school games are so flawless in their old-schoolness, it’s hard to imagine how they could possibly be improved. Take Capture the Flag. You run, you hide, you chase. So simple. So perfect. So totally contingent on daylight. BUT what if you could do it at night, using glow-in-the-dark pieces? Upgrade!
If you’re on the hook for a splurge-kinda gift (we’re looking at you, Grandma), and the giftee is a gamer of gung-ho proportions, the Nintendo Switch system is the perfect present. It comes loaded with more than 1000 games and combines the power of a home system with the mobility of a handheld, allowing gamers to play anywhere and with anyone.
Ahhhh, Fortnite. The multiplayer shooter game in which a scrum of online players jump out of a flying bus onto a weapon-strewn island and brawl until one becomes the last person standing is well nigh ubiquitous. And who wouldn’t want to immerse themselves in a futuristic version of Lord of the Flies? Free->$42
This manga-inspired game has players face off with tops that burst into pieces during battle, and includes launchers, the Star Storm Beystadium, and two right-spin tops. Kids will know what this means.
How do you think Tom Cruise got to be Mr. Mission Impossible? Secret agent super-spies need training. Enter the Play Monster Chrono Bomb, which lets kids turn the living room into a string “laser field” obstacle course, making for hours of gymnastic-esque entertainment.
Just when you think we’ve hit Peak Slime, along comes this kit of slime-tastic accessories that includes charms, foam balls, slime storage containers, fruit, flower, and animal shapes, clay, paint, pearl powder, sequins, and more glitter than you can shake a stick at. (Or ever, ever get out of your rug.)
You might assume they’ve outgrown Legos, but intricate sets like this one reignite the fire. This James Bond Aston Martin DB5 replica of the iconic sports car comes with cool details like a radar tracker, telephone compartment, passenger ejector seat, and front-wing machine guns that can be deployed by turning the number plates, raising the rear window’s bulletproof screen, and pulling back the gear stick. That is not your mother’s—or little brother’s—Lego set.
Speaking of upping the cool factor on your Legos, LIGHTAILING makes awesome add-on light kits for various Lego sets, including Ship in a Bottle (linked here), Architecture London Skyline, and Harry Potter Howgwart’s Castle. They’ll give new life to old sets, and, far more importantly, keep kids occupied for an impressively long time.
With their super cool prints and thoughtful, comfy design, these high-performance undies will have the guys on your list (secretly) stoked. What they’ll have to say about getting underpants as a present in public, of course, is another story altogether.
Hold your roll, it’s a card game, people! And it’s pretty hilarious. This family-friendly, Russian roulette-style game involves taking turns picking cards; an Exploding Kitten card will knock you out of the game, but such a fate can be dodged with Defuse Cards, which distract the kittens with laser pointers, kitten yoga, and catnip sandwiches. If this sounds like ridiculous amounts of fun, that’s because it is. Even for dog people.
The future is here! Our children may never need to learn to drive a car, but flying a drone? These make for delightful playthings, and this model can take cool video, hover, and has a one-key return home function, making it ever so slightly more difficult to lose.