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Ideal Birthday Gift Ideas to Buy for a 10-Year-Old Boy

Updated on February 20, 2014

How to Make a Boy Happy

I currently have a ten-year-old son, so I know a few things about what he and his friends like and what they don't like. Ten is an age of transition: half the time he wants older privileges and half the time he's content with young distractions. Gifts at this age reflect this desire to be two things at once. If you're the parent of the boy in question, you have a good sense of what he'll like, but if you're buying a gift for someone else's son, it's understandable that you'd be unsure.

Naturally, keep in mind that there is no sure present. Every child has his likes and dislikes; anyone promising you a guarantee is lying. That said, here is a list of gifts that my son would go for. This list reflects a balance of interests, as he's a well-rounded young man.

The Hardy Boys

So, we'll start with the reading. He may not be overwhelmed by getting books for a gift, but chances are, he'll appreciate it later.  Reading isn't just good for him, it's good for his parents, too (nothing is quieter than a kid who is wrapped up in a good book!).  Do you remember reading the old Hardy Boys books? Remember that feeling you had when Frank and Joe were close to solving a mystery? I remember being thrilled to discover who was behind the haunting at the old mansion or who was responsible for the kidnappings.  It was impossible to put those books down.

Franklin W. Dixon has brought The Hardy Boys back to life in a big way. This extensive series still features Frank and Joe, but has modernized the settings and dialogue. The reading level of these books is perfect for most 10-year-olds, and boys will love the action and excitement of solving mysteries alongside the legendary brothers.

PUGG Soccer Goals

We have the 6-foot PUGG goals in our own backyard, and we couldn't be happier.  Even if the boy in question isn't a natural athlete, these goals invite exercise and encourage him to get outside.  The biggest plus for the PUGG goals is that they are extremely portable.  Unlike the steel frame goals (which we also had once upon a time), the PUGG goals fold quickly into a carrying bag for easy transport or storage when the weather gets too cold or you need the yard for a neighborhood cookout.

Don't be fooled into thinking that the PUGG goals must be flimsy because they're lightweight.  I had suspicions when we first set them up, but after easily staking them into the ground, I couldn't move them with my hardest kick.  Considering I'm over 200 pounds, I like to think I can pack a wallop.  These goals are sturdy and affordable; a boy will have these goals for years.

Video Game Console

Yes, this is an expensive gift, but if you're looking for a big "wow" factor for a 10-year-old boy, it doesn't get any better than this. Many families have a Wii, but the reality is that most boys would rather be playing an XBOX ONE or a Playstation4. The games on these platforms are more visually exciting and have much more of an emphasis on action. We have an XBOX ONE and a 360 in our house, so I know how much fun it can be. When deciding on which to buy, keep in mind that many people agree that XBOX's online community far outshines Sony's. All of my son's friends are on XBOX, but you might want to stealthily figure out where your son's friends play online. While there is a monthly charge for playing online, he and his friends can play as a party even on snowy or rainy days, so he'll always have a friend "over" even when he can't.

Joke Books

This isn't really reading, so don't worry about overwhelming the boy with books.  10-year-old boys love telling bad jokes to anyone who has a moment to listen.  Honestly, they'll tell bad jokes to anyone who doesn't have a moment to listen, too.  I think there's something developmentally appropriate about big joke books at this age; my son has an uncanny ability to memorize even the most long-winded of humorous anecdotes (his grandfather doesn't help...he teaches him a new one every time he sees him).  Humor is a necessary survival skill, and if cultivating a life-long interest means subjecting mom and dad to some feeble jokes, so be it.  You're pretty much guaranteed that he'll chuckle at this gift.

Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun

So you might have reservations about this one, understood.  The reality is that every single 10-year-old boy wants a BB gun.  if you're the parent, then you can make this call.  Obviously, if you live in a congested area and have no elbow space whatsoever, this might not be a good idea.  That said, I know of people who have set up styrofoam-based targets in their basements, so a large yard is not required.  Ten years old is a fine time to teach responsibility, and this gift is one way to do that. 

If you're not the parent of the ten-year-old, you absolutely need to check with his parents before making this purchase.  Otherwise, you can commit that major faux pas of gift-giving for a child, overstepping your bounds.  Regardless, the boy will require some supervision, and mom and dad will have to be on board for that.

A Pitch Back

While conventionally associated with baseball, pitchbacks today can afford a multi-sport opportunity for kids.  We have one of these in our backyard, too, and this is one gift where it pays to spend a little, as less expensive pitch backs wear out fast.  Boys can practice pitching or kicking a soccer ball or even shooting a basketball with these, and the great thing is that they don't need a partner!  No friends are required, which means that your son can train for the season all afternoon if he's up to it.  My son will often throw dozens of pitches at a time, all of which would be impossible without a pitchback, as no kid in the world is throwing at a chain-link fence that many times.  There isn't a question in my mind that much of my son's throwing accuracy is the result of long-term usage of a pitchback.

Spinning Rod and Tackle Box

Isn't it funny how often people complain that kids don't get outside enough, but those same people aren't willing to set good examples for doing so? When you were ten, you most likely loved to go down to the local pond or stream, throw a worm in, and wait through the afternoon for possibly no reward. Boys still love to fish, but they have a shortage of people to take them. My son received a new fishing rod and tackle box from his grandfather this month, and he is beyond thrilled to try them out. If you're the parent, check your state's requirement for licensing and go out with him at least every couple of weeks through the warm months.

As a bonus, fill the tackle box before he opens it up. His eyes will be as big as frying pans when he gets a look at the multitude of lures waiting for his cast.

A Weather Station

This might not appeal to you in the least, but 10-year-old boys are at that age when things like weather seem wonderfully mystifying. Most weather stations come with a module that is placed somewhere on the exterior of the home, and the boy has the main console in his room. He can get readings of interior and exterior temperature, humidity, wind chill, air pressure, and heat index, depending on the model. He can even get a visual indication of what to wear for school that day, based on the readings. 

This gift is unique enough that he's unlikely to have it already if you're buying blindly, and it reinforces a love of learning about the world around us.

Clocky Alarm Clock

This one might seem strange, but there isn't a 10 or 11-year-old boy in existence who wouldn't thoroughly love this gift.  The Clocky Alarm Clock actually can jump off a nightstand (3-foot maximum jump) and run around the room to wake up a groggy boy.  It keeps veering here and there and beeping like a crazy R2D2 until the boy can catch it to turn it off.  It has a 1-time only snooze function before it starts running wildly again. 

This might seem like a cruel punishment to you and me, but any boy would be thrilled with the novelty of this gift and the thrill of the hunt.  He's almost guaranteed to be the only one among his friends with such an unusual alarm clock.


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