Development of Ten Year Old Children and Play

The ten year old at play

Boy with helmet cycling on his bike on footpath
Elisabeth Schmitt / Getty Images

The ten-year-old's motor skills are now well developed and he is an excellent cyclist, skater, and swimmer. Many also show great skill at sports such as baseball and soccer.

Ten-year-old boys and girls love to watch TV. They follow their favorite sports teams and know all the details of their favorite TV programs. They are also beginning to be aware of popular singers and groups. While they may enjoy having an MP3 player with a few age-appropriate artists, they aren't yet obsessed with popular music and culture. Ten doesn't like practicing her musical instrument alone, though she may enjoy playing or singing with a group.

Ten-year-olds are becoming skilled at favorite video and computer games. Parents should be cautious about age-appropriate video games. Focus on racing, skill, or sim games and avoid teen-rated video games with violent themes. Ten will love a beginner-level digital camera to take pictures of family and friends. Some who have computer experience will be able to upload and play with digital photos on the family computer.

Suggested Toys for Ten-Year-Olds

  • Bicycle
  • Skates, scooters, sleds, jump rope
  • Tools and materials for building outdoor forts, clubhouses, and treehouses
  • Board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles
  • Action figures, dolls, or trading card collections
  • Scrapbooks, paper projects
  • Science, nature, arts, and crafts kits
  • Spy toys
  • TV or DVD player; age-appropriate video games
  • Inexpensive digital camera
  • Books about animals, sports, school life


Ten-year-old girls cope with cliques, as an insider, an outsider, or both, on a daily basis. At ten, girls are very possessive of their friends and can be demanding and jealous. They are constantly getting mad at or not speaking to a same-sex friend, usually because the other girl was friendly to someone else.

Girls begin spending the night with each other, sharing secrets and being best friends. Because exclusion and put downs are so common, parents need to keep a sharp eye on girls' friendships and cliques.

Most girls aren't really interested in boys at age ten, though some will begin to have crushes on popular boys. Girls and boys play together well in groups or team sports at age ten.

Ten-year-old boys have an easier time with friendships. Boys' relationships tend to be based on mutual interests rather than close, personal feelings. Ten may have a few best friends and casual relationships with other boys on a team or in clubs such as Scouts.

Boys are seldom interested in girls at age ten, except to tease them or scare them. Many boys claim to hate girls at this age. Some will have a 'girlfriend' but are very casual about it.

Ten-year-olds have good ability to sense the emotions of others and to read facial and body language. At ten, acceptance by the peer group is a critical step that seems to have a strong effect on the next level of development. Poor peer acceptance at age ten is a strong predictor of behavioral and emotional problems in adolescence.

Ten-year-olds do feel very close to their parents, siblings, and extended family. Both boys and girls are happy to spend time with family in activities and outings. They do have frequent squabbles with siblings, fighting especially with younger siblings. They get along better with an older sibling but may get their feelings hurt from criticism, teasing, or exclusion by their older brother or sister.