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Boys this age can be notoriously difficult to buy gifts for.

They’re not little kids anymore: they’re starting to develop their own unique interests and leanings, so getting them a stuffed animal or toy car isn’t the answer. Some might be really into building things, others might love gaming, and still others might really love to read.

We’ve rounded up 30 spectacular gifts that boys this age like best, so you’re certain to find something weird or wonderful that’s sure to make them smile.

1. Motion Control Drone

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Drones are really, really cool. Everyone knows this, and if you want to be the world’s greatest parent/uncle/sibling, a gift like this will certainly bring you to the top of the list. Or near it, at least.

Unlike other drones, this one has a mouse that looks—and operates like—a standard computer mouse, so it’s a lot easier to use. The drone can fly, spin, and flip like a dream, providing hours of outdoor entertainment.

2. Walkie Talkies

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With a range of up to 3km, these walkie talkies are perfect for a kid to communicate with a best friend who lives nearby, or for parents to keep in touch when he’s off adventuring on his own. They’re super user-friendly, ideal for camping trips and staying in touch at outdoor events, and have 9 hours of use on AAA batteries.

3. Football School: Where Football Rules the World

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It can be difficult to encourage pre-teen boys to read, but if they’re interested in sports (especially football), this book may be the perfect answer. Packed with great science and fun facts, it’s as informative as it is entertaining. The cartoons will have him laughing so hard, he won’t even notice that he’s learning all about history, maths, and geography at the same time!

4. Fifty Pranks to Freak Your Friends

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If there’s one thing that ten-year-old boys around the world know well, it’s that playing pranks on friends is hilarious.

This tin contains a hardback instruction book and a bunch of little props that can be used to shock, horrify, and otherwise prank friends and family members. This one might be great to give to a relative you don’t get to see very often, unless you want them to turn around and prank you too.

5. MindWare Brainbox All Around The World

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If you’re shopping for a whip-smart kid who loves trivia, look no further. This fast-paced game encourages kids to memorize details on large cards, and then quizzes them about what they’ve seen. This particular Brainbox is all about the World, so cards will share details about a particular country: which countries it borders, what popular foods are eaten there, which languages are spoken, etc.

Also available in Nature, Science, World History, and more!

6. Waboba Moon Ball

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This isn’t an ordinary bouncy ball by any stretch of the imagination.

The slightest bounce makes the Waboba Moon Ball fly up into the sky, defying gravity and leaving people awestruck. It makes a fun popping sound when it lands, and is amazingly fun to play with, whether outside or in the basement on rainy days.

7. Sticky the Poo

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If there’s one thing the average pre-teen boy likes more than pranks, it’s anything to do with poop or farts.

This sticky, poop-shaped stress toy… well, it’s sure to make them laugh a whole lot, while grossing everyone else out exponentially. The kid can channel his inner monkey and toss this emoji-style to their friends, or splort it against a wall, where it’ll stick until he stops laughing hysterically and throws it somewhere else.

8. Remote Control Machines: Custom Cars

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Remote-contro anything is pretty awesome, but being able to design and create your own custom, remote-control cars is spectacular.

This set comes with an 80-page guide/instruction manual for building ten different types of remote-control vehicles. Kids can learn about acceleration, speed physics, and gear ratios, and then experiment with their creations to see which work the best, and why.

9. Self Balancing Scooter/Hoverboard 2

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Those of us who grew up with Back to the Future always dreamed of owning something like this. Now, we can live vicariously through our kids/nephews while they zip around on one. These scooter/hoverboards run on batteries, and have built-in LED lights for added safety.

Note: Although they can hold up to 265lbs, you’re buying this for a kid. Not for yourself.
Don’t be the jerk adult who borrows something cool and then breaks it.
Don’t be that guy.

10. Brain Food

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Some kids have a lot of difficulty focusing or sitting still for longer periods of time, so pliant putty like this is perfect for helping them focus. It has a great texture that can be squished and kneaded to burn off excess energy, and “fidget” toys like these have been proven to improve concentration.

This putty container’s small size makes it ideal as a stocking stuffer, or to keep tucked in a backpack (or the car) for whenever it’s needed.

11. Airzooka Air Gun

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Amusing AND educational, this air gun poofs a harmless ball of air across a room with a simple trigger pull. Great for kids to use—they can irritate their siblings from several feet away—and also teaches them about shockwaves and “domino effect” displacement.

Who said learning about science can’t be fun?

12. Frankie Goes To Hollywood T-shirt

See reviews and pricing on Threadless

Nothing to do with the 80s band, this kid-sized T-shirt features the iconic image of Frankenstein’s monster, played by Boris Karloff. Even better, it shows said monster (let’s call him “Frankie”) blowing a huge bubblegum bubble the size of his own face.

Perfect for a young, subversive goth in training.

13. Slimeball Dodgetag

See reviews and pricing on Fatbrain Toys

What’s better than dodgeball? Dodge TAG… now with added slime.

This gloriously disgusting game is great for active kids who love to play outside. They can strap on the Ninja Turtle-like slime vest, and pelt each other with gross green booger balls.

Best of all, those balls don’t stick to anything other than the vest targets, so you don’t have to worry about scraping them off walls, out of hair, off the dog, etc.

14. Radio Control Tarantula

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An arachnophobe’s nightmare, this appallingly delightful beast is 7” of hairy terror on 8 legs. Its eyes light up as it crawls across the floor, and the best/worst part? It comes with an egg sac-shaped remote control.

If the boy you’re shopping for loves spiders, creepy-crawlies, and making his siblings scream in terror, you have a winner here.

15. Kangaroo Mystic Emoji Ball

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A fun, modern take on the Magic 8-Ball, this emoji ball offers answers to all pressing questions. The recipient can ask any simple query, shake the ball a bit, and receive answers ranging from “LOL, FOR SURE” to “ASK GRANDPA”, or even “NOT A PRAYER”.

The answers arrive in modern language that kids can relate to, and parents can defer to it too. It’s a win-win all around.

16. Thames & Kosmos Forensics Fingerprint Lab

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Are you shopping for a boy who loves mysteries? Help him cultivate his sleuthing abilities with a kit like this, which will teach him how to lift fingerprints from a variety of different surfaces. He’ll also learn why fingerprints are important, and how they can be used to solve crimes.

Just don’t borrow his stuff, or he’ll know it was you. You’ve been warned.

17. Wham-O Hamper Hoops

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It can be difficult to get kids to be more active, and even more difficult to convince them to do their chores. This handy “toy” encourages both!

It hangs over the back of any door, and allows boys to toss (or slam-dunk) dirty clothes through the hoop, into the detachable laundry bag below.

Now, they just need to learn how to operate the washing machine…

18. Bit Coding Robot: Spider-Man

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It’s never too early to help cultivate a child’s strengths. Whether the young man is a budding engineer or artist, this superhero coding robot can help him strengthen his STEAM skills. Kids learn coding basics by using markers to draw lines and colour codes, so they learn while they play! Spidey comes with a DIY stickers, a Venom skin, and more.

19. Junior Metal Detector

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If the young man is fascinated by history and archaeology, he’d probably love a metal detector built just for him. As powerful as a full-sized adult model, this child-sized detector bleeps when it encounters iron, aluminum, brass, gold, silver, and steel.

This is just perfect for kids who live in areas rich in history. (You can also keep them occupied for hours by throwing handfuls of change in the backyard and letting them loose out there.)

20. Pranklopedia

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Practical jokes are so much fun to explore for kids this age, and the ones in this essential pranking book embody harmless fun at its best.

It has recipes for fake vomit, snot, and poop (of COURSE), how-to guides for short-sheeting the bed, and ideas for freaking out family members.

This one might be ideal for a nephew or cousin unless you want to find yourself pranked on a weekly basis.

21. LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit

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This is not the kind of LEGO set that we had when we were kids.

840+ building pieces—including motors, tilt sensors, and lights—can be assembled to create 5 different models, including a functional robot, and a guitar.

Note: this does require a separate tablet or mobile phone, so make sure to check the specs to see what’s needed, so it can be played with immediately.

22. Laser X 88016

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Most ten-year-old boys have an abundance of energy that they need to burn off, and laser tag is one of the best ways for them to do just that. This two-player set can let kids blast one another up to 60m away, with fun light-changing effects that let them know when they’ve hit their target.

Runs on six AA batteries per pack.

23. Mountain Bicycle

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If the kid has all the fake poop and other prank toys he could ever dream of traumatizing his family with, send him outside to play. With 18 speeds, heavy tire treads, and durable rims, this bike is ideal for navigating rough terrain and neighbourhood streets alike.

Might be a good idea to get him a helmet while you’re at it.

24. Diggin Slimeball Slinger Novelty

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One can never have too much slime in one’s life, apparently.

This slingshot is great for developing hand-eye coordination, and the slimy snot balls it launches won’t stick to anything other than slime targets. It goes well with the slime dodgeball set mentioned earlier, but is also a fabulous stand-alone gift.

25. PlayStation 4 Slim

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When in doubt, there’s always gaming.

There aren’t many pre-teen boys who don’t love gaming, and there’s no better way to make sure they stay parked on the couch for hours than with the best PlayStation version released yet. This set includes a wireless controller, 500GB PlayStation system, and a Blu-ray disc of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Want to be his new hero? Get him this.

26. Fold N Fly Paper Airplanes Kit

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Some kids like their entertainment to be a bit more analog and hands-on. For them, toys they can make themselves are the way to go. This paper airplanes kit has two-sided patterned paper, a folding tool, and easy-to-follow instructions to make 18 different paper airplanes. It even has stickers so those planes can be customized in countless different ways!

27. Star Wars Kites

See reviews and pricing on ThinkGeek

With a gift like this, you can tell the kid to “go fly a kite!”, and mean it in the best way possible. Comprised of a fiberglass frame and nylon sail, you can choose between the Death Star, R2-D2, the X-Wing, or the Millennium Falcon. Your young Star Wars fan can LARP to his heart’s content while these things swoop and dodge, safely away from any power lines.

28. Flashing LED Baseball Cap

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What’s cooler than a baseball cap? One that lights up.

Made of durable, comfortable cotton, it’s available in four different colours and can be adjusted to fit any head size. Add a CR2016 lithium battery, and it can glow for 72 hours straight. The kid might be a bit too young to go to a rave, but at least he’ll stand out among his teammates during those late-night Little League games.

29. Robotic Arm

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If the boy already has a Makeblock Starter Robot Kit, you can surprise him with this amazing robotic arm add-on pack. Controlled by remote, the hand on the end of the arm can open 3” wide, so it can pick up and grip countless different things. It’s easy to assemble, and is wonderful for any kid who’s eager to learn more about robotics.

30. Vortex Aero Howler

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It’s a running joke that the definition of “boy” is “noise with dirt on it”. As such, there may be no better gift than a football that literally HOWLS as it flies through the air. After all, aren’t sports much more interesting when there’s noise involved?

Of course they are.

The toy also comes with a handy launching stick, which allows players to hurl the ball much further, and with greater accuracy than just tossing it by hand.

Hopefully this list has helped to take a bit of stress and guesswork out of shopping for that pre-teen boy on your list.
Kids have so many different interests, and it’s great to be able to cultivate and support those interests as they arise. We never know where they’ll lead, right? Today’s prank fiend could be tomorrow’s comedy writer, an avid gamer could become a brilliant UX designer, and a young detectorist could grow up to be a superstar archaeologist.

Fuel their minds, their creativity, and their sense of wonder, and the sky’s the limit as to where their dreams can carry them.

Did you read our article on boys’ year by year development stages?