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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.
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!
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!
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:
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!