Encourage the young STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learner you know this holiday season with this list of 20 gifts that are sure to draw and hold their attention all-year-round.
1. Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar
Get them started early! Designed for ages 3-6, this best-selling toy helps build a foundation for young minds to understand computer science later on in life.
2. Dash the Robot
Created by the Wonder Workshop, Dash the robot is described as a child’s “first real robot friend.”
Customizable via a series of apps that encompass “every age group, learning style, and play style,” Dash grows with a learner as they do while giving them their first experience in robotics.
3. Robot Turtles
This physical board game “sneakily” teaches kids ages four and up programming skills while playing with friends.
The game is a fun way for kids to learn the fundamentals of coding.
Tynker is a cool gift option because it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
By signing kids up for a year-long subscription, kids are engaged every day with daily missions, self-paced courses, and custom projects that inspire kids to become coding masters. And did we mention there’s a Minecraft server?
5. Raspberry Pi
For kids who are already interested in programming, Raspberry Pi is a great gift option. A tiny and affordable computer board, it was specifically "developed to encourage and aid the teaching of programming and computing.”
Encouraging savviness in environmental science is not only a great way to encourage smart play, but also a great way to develop the future’s leading minds in the subject.
6. Deluxe Root Viewer
This deluxe root viewer helps kids to conceptualize how plants grow as they cultivate their own healthy snacks— not to mention the fact that gardening has been proven to be a therapeutic task!
7. Volcano Making Kit
It’s a classic toy for a reason! Volcano making kits put kids in charge of learning about nature’s most fascinating phenomena.
8. The Big Bag of Science
Including over 70 activities, this “big bag” includes experiments that help students better understand the world around them.
Activities answer questions like how do magnets work? What is the composition of water and more.
9. Child’s First Microscope
Another good way to help students understand the world around them is to help them take a closer look.
This microscope from AmScope is a renowned and affordable beginner’s compound microscope with 52-pieces of included accessories.
10. Uncle Milton Virtual Explorer Space Expedition
Combine space and the trend of virtual reality with this exploration kit.
"This interactive 4-in-1 experience combines exciting virtual reality and augmented reality technology with hands-on planetarium activities and real STEM learning as you travel through our solar system,” reads the product’s description.
11. Cash n Carry Wallet Money Learning Play Set
More affordable and more realistic than the typical cash register set, this play wallet looks and feels like the real thing with play money, credit and bank cards.
The pretend wallet is a good way to teach young learners financial literacy skills as they interact with the world around them.
12. Osmo Pizza Co. Game
A modern alternative to the pretend wallet, this slightly pricier game allows kids to run their own pizza shop with the combination of an app and physical items, like pizza toppings and pretend money.
13. Mindware Brain Box Math
This 55-card game helps children improve geometry, fractions, weights and measures, graphing and percentages skills while boosting their memory.
Combining the conceptualization of patterns with the beauty of art and design, Fractiles is a gift that can help any learner above the age of 6 improve their geometry skills.
"Designs range from simple to complex; spend tireless hours discovering new levels of play and design with the easy to manipulate magnetic pieces that stay put, yet slide easily on their specially textured board,” reads the product’s description.
15. Educational Insights Math Slam Game
Designed specifically for early learners, this “slam game” uses encouraging audio and music to help children learn math basics—either solo or with a friend.
16. STEM Simple Machines Kit
Help the budding engineer learn all simple machine mechanisms with this kit.
The inclusive kit can help kids build over 60 working models that "cover the subjects of levers, the wedge, the wheel and axle, the screw, the inclined plane, the pulley, as well as the more advanced gears and linkages."
17. Roominate Amusement Park
Roominate sets require children to use modular pieces to create their worlds with countless possibilities that encourage open-ended play as much as they encourage young engineers.
This amusement park set includes 282 pieces of "walls, furniture building pieces, columns, wheels, axles, motor, lights, doll, pet puppy, screwdriver, stickers and more."
18. K’Nex Education Forces, Energy and Motion Set
A great gift for any classroom or large family, this set allows 12-16 students work together to build up to four automobiles at a time while understanding "concepts related to forces, energy, and motion" and exploring "Newton’s laws of motion, inertia, speed, friction, and more."
19. Goldie Blox and the Builder’s Survival Kit
Featuring the world’s first girl engineer character, this set includes a storybook that helps guide play and spark creativity in all young engineers—including girls!
20. ImagAbility Wedgits Imagination 25-Piece Set
Usable by children as young as three, this building toy set inspires hours of open-ended play while helping children nest, stack, link and overall conceptualize the basics of engineering skills.
Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor