Best Engineering Sets for 10-Year-Olds

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD

Last updated: June 8, 2020

Best Engineering Sets For 10 Year Olds

If your 10-year-old kid is ready to take a breather from their Roblox and Minecraft worlds, maybe it’s time for them to flex their engineering skills in the real world! We’ve brought together the best engineering sets for 10-year-olds which are sure to be fun for any tween and, importantly, highly educational. It’s so hard to pick just one, but if we had to, our pick of the bunch would be the LEGO Technic Land Rover Discovery – the mechanical fidelity of this set is just incredible!

While there’s a place for screen-based learning and entertainment in the life of a tweenager, if you want a totally different exercise for their brain, an engineering-focused STEM toy could be ideal for your 10-year-old. Indeed, some will still let them use their tablets or smartphones to interact with their designs.

Related: Best Engineering Sets for Adults.

1. LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Mechanical Engineering, Construction, Gearing

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LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender 42110 Building Kit, New 2019 (2,573 Pieces)

OK, firstly – a disclaimer! This LEGO Technic Land Rover says “11+” on the box, so LEGO believes it is advanced for a 10-year-old. But, let’s be honest – who hasn’t bought toys for their kids before that are “advanced” relative to their age?! 😅

We believe LEGO Technic is one of the best options for tweens with an interest in mechanical things. The familiarity of LEGO makes the Technic series inherently approachable for most kids, while the complexity level goes up a level.

This 2,573-piece set, while obviously great marketing for Land Rover, is also an amazingly detailed and fun kit for kids looking for a challenge. The finished model is seriously large – 8x16x7 inches! It has working steering, 4-speed gearbox, all-wheel-drive, independent suspension, a 6-cylinder motor and three differentials. There’s even a fully-functional winch!

LEGO Technic Porsche 911 RSR 42096 Race Car Building Set STEM Toy for Boys and Girls Ages 10+ features Porsche Model Car with Toy Engine (1,580 Pieces) We feel that there is really no better way for kids to truly understand mechanical engineering than to construct and then play with scaled-down models of real-life machines. Seriously – how do you explain how gears and a differential work? Compare that to constructing one yourself and then seeing how it works with your own eyes! This kind of learning through play is absolutely priceless!

For something a bit sportier-looking, there’s also the LEGO Technic Porsche 911, or for kids (and adults!) looking for a serious challenge, the Leibherr R 9800 Excavator checks in at an incredible 4,108 pieces! It can even be controlled by an app!

2. LONGER LK4 3D Printer

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Mechanical Engineering, Design, Micro-Manufacturing

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LONGER LK4 3D Printer DIY Kit with 2.8" Full Color Touch Screen, Resume Printing, Built-in Safety Power Supply 220x220x250mm

You might be surprised to see a 3D printer recommended as an engineering set for 10-year-olds. While ‘set’ may bring to mind boxes with building blocks or electronic circuitry, we believe a less rigid definition is called for. The great thing about 3D printers is the incredible variety of uses they can be put to, and we have identified the LK4 by LONGER as a great entry point for budding young engineers!

LONGER is a relative newcomer to 3D printing, and as is often the case, their 3D printers offer great features at a slightly lower price-point than the more established competitors. Features we love about the LK4 are:

  • LONGER LK4 3D Printer DIY Kit with 2.8" Full Color Touch Screen, Resume Printing, Built-in Safety Power Supply 220x220x250mm the intuitive color touch screen (great for kids just starting with 3D printing)
  • the safely hidden power supply (under the flatbed)
  • the heated bed comes with a tempered glass plate – this costs extra with many other printers
  • resume printing after power loss
  • the printer automatically detects when filament runs out and suspends printing
  • LONGER provides a 12-month warranty and 24-hour technical support

All this at a lower price point (at time of publication) than the comparable Creality Ender 3.

We are incredibly excited that sophisticated 3D printers like this are now affordable for creative kids interested in engineering – imagine what your tweenager can create!

3. Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750 Electronics Kit

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Electrical Engineering, Electronics

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Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750 Electronics Exploration Kit | Over 750 Projects | Full Color Project Manual | 80+ Snap Circuits Parts | STEM Educational Toy For Kids 8+

For young electrical engineers, the Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750 Electronics Exploration Kit provides countless hours of projects and experimentation. In fact, there are over 750 projects included!

Snap Circuits are a leader in electronics kits for kids in this age range, and this set is their most impressive in scale and variety. Your little engineer can make sound-activatable switches, a lie detector, AM radio, a rechargeable battery, adjustable light controller and so much more. Your child can even interface the kit to a PC via an interface cable and included software. They’ll be so excited when they see waveforms from their circuit display on-screen!

Importantly, there’s no soldering in these Snap Circuits kits – everything just snaps together. We particularly appreciate that Snap Circuits provides rigorous educational materials, supporting a vigorous STEM curriculum.

4. Clue Master Game

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Critical Thinking.

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ThinkFun Clue Master Logic Game and STEM Toy - Teaches Critical Thinking Skills Through Fun Gameplay

This puzzle game features a stodgy, pixelated dog on the packaging that’ll draw in Minecraft fans, but the addictive board game is fully unplugged. 

Gamers work to properly arrange 9 tokens on some grid using a partial set of clues, and plug the gaps, Sherlock-style, depending on what they think is true or false. 

By solving each puzzle, children develop invaluable reasoning skills, which are vital to success in science, engineering, and math.

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5. Geosmart Moon Lander

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Basic Engineering.

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GeoSmart Moon Lander

Easy to assemble, disassemble, and re-arrange into various configurations, magnetic toys easily foster intuitive play and creative design. 

Geosmart Moon Lander introduces touch robotics to play, as well as remote and motor control, giving children the ability to race their vehicles. But kids require critical thinking to figure out how different parts work as one, and where connections should be made to have the vehicle drive the rover.

6. ThinkFun Gravity Maze

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Basic Spatial Reasoning, Planning Skills, Basic Engineering, Basic Building.

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ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game and STEM Toy for Boys and Girls Age 8 and Up - Toy of the Year Award winner

This is a super exciting logic game that children won’t have enough of. 

It features 60 challenges of rising difficulty, where kids have to construct mazes to make marbles roll down. The game has won several industry awards and is one of the best science gifts for kids aged 8 or older.

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7. Osmo Genius Kit

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Visual Thinking, Problem-Solving, Creative Drawing.

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Osmo - Genius Starter Kit for iPad (NEW VERSION) - Ages 6-10 - (Osmo Base Included)

The Osmo Genius Kit is a unique set of educational games that children aged 6-10 can enjoy on their iPads (or Amazon Fire tablets). It has five hands-on learning games, each of which features physical game items and teaches concepts such as problem-solving, counting, spelling, and creative drawing. It uses augmented reality (AR) to blend the physical and digital worlds in a seamless way that kids find magical!

Speaking of which, we got our eager STEM toy loving robot hands on the Osmo Genius Kit and really liked it! Read our detailed review of the Osmo Genius Starter Kit here.

8. ThinkFun Rollercoaster Challenge

Our Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Basic Engineering, Basic Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

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ThinkFun Roller Coaster Challenge STEM Toy and Building Game for Boys and Girls Age 6 and Up - TOTY Game of the Year Finalist

This rollercoaster game will transform your children into rollercoaster engineers. Gamers create a 3D adventure drive with real drops and loops according to the challenge card they pick. They then send the car hurtling down and pray for success.

ThinkFun RollerCoaster Challenge features 40 challenge cards that range from beginner to pro and, while the game is designed for one player, it may be more exciting playing in teams to overcome the challenges.

What to Get Your Future Engineer

Your kids are never too young to play with science, technology, engineering and math toys, and around 10 years of age, kids can start to surprise us with what they can build. Just look at all the amazing things built by kids this age in Minecraft! Imagine that creativity expressed in the real world via a 3D printer, like the LONGER LK4! We’re sure that your 10-year-old will love any of the options above as a Christmas, birthday or gift for any occasion. Maybe even as a reward for being helpful around the house!

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD
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