If you have been putting savings away for the longer term and have some extra funds which you would like to take some extra risk on - then I say work yourself out a strategy/plan, get yourself educated and go for it.
If it is individual shares you are interested then work out if you prefer to use fundamental analysis, technical analysis or some of both. You can use fundamental analysis to help determine which shares to buy, and then use technical analysis to help determine when to get into and out of a position.
You say you are prepared to lose $10,000 in order to try to get higher returns. I don't know what percentage this $10,000 is of the capital you intend to use in this kind of investments/trading, but lets assume it is 10% - so your total starting capital would be $100,000. The idea now would be to learn about money management, position sizing and risk management. There are plenty of good books on these subjects.
If you set a maximum loss for each position you open of 1% of your capital - i.e $1,000, then you would have to get 10 straight losses in a row to get to your 10% total loss. You do this by setting stop losses on your positions. I'll use an example to explain:
Say you are looking at a stock priced at $20 and you get a signal to buy it at that price. You now need to determine a stop price which if the stock goes down to, you can say well I may have been wrong on this occasion, the stock price has gone against me so I need to get out now (I put automatic stop loss conditional orders with my broker). You may determine the stop price based on previous support levels, using a percentage of your buy price or another indicator or method. I tend to use the percentage of buy price - lets say you use 10% - so your stop price would be at $18 (10% below your buy price of $20). So now you can work out your position size (the number of shares to buy). Your maximum loss on the position is $2 per share or 10% of your position in this stock, but it should also be only 1% of your total capital - being 1% of $100,000 = $1,000. You simply divide $1,000 by $2 to get 500 shares to buy.
You then do this with the rest of your positions - with a $100,000 starting capital using a 1% maximum loss per position and a stop loss of 10% you will end up with a maximum of 10 positions. If you use a larger maximum loss per position your position sizes would increase and you would have less positions to open (I would not go higher than 2% maximum loss per position). If you use a larger stop loss percentage then your position sizes would decrease and you would have more positions to open. The larger the stop loss the longer you will potentially be in a position and the smaller the stop loss generally the less time you will be in a position. Also as your total capital increases so will your 1% of total capital, just as it would decrease if your total capital decreases.
Using this method you can aim for higher risk/ higher return investments and reduce and manage your risk to a desired level.
One other thing to consider, don't let tax determine when you sell an investment. If you are keeping a stock just so you will pay less tax if kept for over 12 months - then you are in real danger of increasing your risk considerably. I would rather pay 50% tax on a 30% return than 25% tax on a 15% return.