Not a 'little kid' any more but not yet a teen, being 10 is a time of transition. And that means toys need to work a bit harder to engage a 10-year-old's attention.


Good choices include creative and construction toys that need patience and independent thinking, and anything with an extra level of extended play, from code games with passwords to 'proper' science experiments, to stop-motion animation kits.

Board games are always a good choice – look for ones that require speed of thinking or elements of strategy and planning – and electronic gadgets that work with apps to create special effects or trigger interactive play are pretty much certain to be a hit.

To save money on toys check out our Black Friday toy deals, Yoto Player Black Friday deals, Tonies Black Friday deals and Jellycat Black Friday deals, to keep updated on the best toy sales.

How to choose toys safely

  • Look for the CE symbol as this is used by manufacturers to show the toy meets all the relevant regulatory requirements
  • Also keep an eye out for the British Toy and Hobby Association's (BTHA) 'Lion Mark' – although this is voluntary it means that the toy has to meet safety requirements to be a member 
  • Pay attention to the age suitability of the toy
  • Avoid toys with loose fabric, hair that sheds easily or small parts that detach easily as these can be a choking hazard
  • Check toys over time for sharp points or edges. If they have become dangerously worn considering getting rid of them or having them repaired if possible

Here's our pick of the the best toys for 10-year-olds…

1. 5 Second Rule, £19.99

– Great for quick thinking and family fun

5 Second Rule Core Classic Buzzer _

Age suitability: 10+ | Best for age: 10+ | Batteries: 3 x AAA (not included)
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A fast-paced game where you race to name 3 things associated with a seemingly easy topic, such as 'things that go with chips'. Do it before the timer runs out, and you can give the buzzer a satisfying smash. Have a mind-blank, and the alarm will go off. Comes with 326 question cards, electronic timer, 6 playing pawns, 6 pass on cards, 6 switch cards and instructions. For 3 players or more.

Why we love it: This is a fun game for friends or family and there are so many question cards included, you'll never play the same game twice. Our child tester Arthur, 10, said, "I loved it – it's so much fun! I found it exciting and challenging and smashing the buzzer was great. It's a game that I would want to play every day." His mum Eve was impressed too: "This game has everything that we look for as a family," she said. 'It's easy to follow, simple to set up, has clear instructions and can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. A game that you can get straight into playing over and over. "

Available from: Amazon and Argos

2. Nerf Ultra Select, £63

– Great for active target-shooting fun

Nerf Ultra Select

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 8+ | Batteries: 6 x 1.5V C (not included)

What it is: A battery-powered blaster that holds 20 darts in total, with 10 designed for distance (up to 120ft) and 10 designed for accuracy. Alternate between the 2 using a switch on the blaster. Protective eyewear is recommended but not included.

Why we love it: Nerf's latest blaster shoots out darts super-super-quickly and accurately, thanks to its motorised function, though they can be bit "stingy" if your human target gets too close. "I really like this, even though it can sometimes hurt," said our child tester Emilia, who's nearly 10. "I enjoyed shooting things in the house and garden and running around trying to shoot my dad. It shoots from far away and is super good as the bullets shoot out quickly after each other. I want to get another one so me and my dad can shoot together!" Keep in mind this is a big battery guzzler (and the batteries are not always easy to find).

Available from: Very, Bargain Max and Argos

3. Ticket To Ride: Europe, £39.99

– Great for logic and strategic thinking

Ticket to Ride Europe game

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 10+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A strategy board game where you draw 'tickets' to European cities and race to build a train route connecting those cities before your rivals can build theirs – or block your path and send you round the long way. Comes with ticket cards, train pieces and a rulebook. For 2 to 5 players.

Why we love it: This low-fi game takes a while to play and requires a little getting used to (the rules aren't complicated but there are quite a few to grasp) but, once you get the hang of it, it's enjoyably challenging, especially if you employ a little cunning and block other players' routes. "This game was really hard when you start but when we got a little into it, it started getting really fun," said our child tester Emily, 9. "I really enjoyed it a lot."

Available from: John Lewis and Amazon

4. Razor Power Core E90 Electric Scooter, £180

– Great for looking cool in the park

Razor Power Core E90 Electric Scooter

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: 1 x 12V (included)

What it is: A 9kg 2-wheel electric scooter with anti-slip footplate, easy-grip handles, brake and acceleration that can zoom along at up to 10mph. Can be ridden for 80 minutes without needing a charge. Some assembly required.

Why we love it: This is a nice, wide, sturdy electric scooter. We particularly like how long the battery lasts, and the spring-loaded kickstand stand you can use to keep it upright when you stop and get off.

Available from: Argos and Amazon

5. Aquarellum Junior Dragons, £17.99

– Great for concentration and creativity

Aquarellum Junior Dragons

Age suitability: 6+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: An art kit based on using a masking technique on vellum paper to allowing the paint only to 'stick' on selected areas – gradually building up an intricate design. Comes with 4 'magic canvasses', a wooden brush, a palette, 5 washable, non-toxic watercolours, a pipette and a booklet.

Why we love it: The brush and paint are great quality, and the technique produces the most amazingly beautiful paintings. Our child testers were delighted.

Available from: Amazon

6. Sphero Mini App Enabled Robot, £54.99

– Great for interactive coding fun

Sphero Mini App Enabled Robot

Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 10+ | Batteries: 1 x LR44 (included)

What it is: A small (4cm) app-enabled robotic ball which you can 'drive', code, play games with, and even control with just your facial expressions. For the (interchangeable) outer shell, choose from white, pink, blue, green, orange and Soccer (football black-and white).

Why we love it: It's fun and educational and there's masses you can do with it. We particularly like the LED lights: they look amazing when your little ping-pong-shaped robot is whizzing around the place. The app is really well designed, too: simple and colourful, without being 'babyish'.

Available from: Amazon

7. Science MAD Chemistry Lab, £32.99

– Great for scientific investigations

Science MAD Chemistry Lab

Age suitability: 10+ | Best for age: 10+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A kit that contains chemicals and equipment for 100 pretty hardcore science experiments including chromatography, growing crystals, investigating the actions of acids and alkalis – and way more. Equipment includes a spirit burner, test tubes with rack, flask, tubing, googles and 19 chemicals (some of which need handling with care). Comes with a very thorough step-by-step instruction book.

Why we love it: The ambition of this kit blew us away with experiments that are many and varied – and so much more the stuff of real chemistry than any other experiment kit we’ve seen. As one of our testers said, "Wow, there are so many experiments to do. And the chemicals you use are proper SERIOUS and everything!"

Available from: Amazon

8. Robotics Smart Machines Kit, £100

– Great for coding and construction


Age suitability: 8+ | Best for age: 10+ | Batteries: 3 x AA (not included)

What it is: A 230-piece set that allows you to construct 8 different robot models including a human-style model, a stag beetle, crocodile and more. Once built you code the robot's movements on app that's connected to them via Bluetooth, so it does require a tablet or smartphone with iOS or Android. Comes with 64-page step-by-step instructions.

Why we love it: This set offers so much opportunity for learning with both a construction and coding element. It's certainly pricey but once built the robots are pretty advanced, with ultrasonic sensors that enables them to react to their surroundings. We particularly love the crocodile model, which wags its tail and opens its jaws when it senses an object.

Available from: Amazon

9. The Agent Asha Gift Pack, £24.99

– Great for creative role playing and problem-solving

The Agent Asha Gift Pack

Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 9 to 10 | Batteries: None

What it is: Your child's very own spy pack containing an invitation letter to the CSA (Children's Spy Agency), an Agent Asha book, a CSA membership card, a sticker sheet, wall map, gadget cards, news bulletin and 6 STEM-based spy missions to fulfil.

Why we love it: It's a lovely (and clever) combination of spy themes and coding skills – all done with a nice sense of humour. We particularly the section on how to program a farting selfie stick! Can be played entirely offline, although there is a gadget card that unlocks a secret spy tool online.

Available from: Agent Asha

10. Animation Studio, £12.99

– Great for stop-motion creativity


Age suitability: 7+ | Best for age: 9+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A mini (about A4-sized) stage-set box that includes a double sided set, press-out props, gadgets to make and a 32-page director's handbook: essential kit to begin creating stop-motion animation.

Why we love it: This is beautifully designed and presented – and great value for money (although obviously, you'll have to supply the characters in your animation yourself – with puppets or clay figures, for example). The instruction book is wonderful – put together by a UK-based animator, illustrator and lecturer – and full of little gems of animation wisdom and practical filming tips.

Available from: Amazon


About the author

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.



Helen Brown
Helen BrownHead of Content Delivery

Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.