STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. STEM toys can encompass everything from a marble maze to an edible chemistry set. Perfect for a holiday gift or throughout the year as a birthday present, these are some of our favorite STEM-tastic gifts that kids of all ages will love. While these toys encourage a love of math and science learning, most of them can be used for general playtime and fun!
1. Dig Into Fossils – This set includes Dig Into Fossils book and storage bag as well as five fossils. The perfect gift for a budding paleontologist. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
2. The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book – Recommended for grades 3 and older, but my son received this book when he was 5 and loved it. With The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book, all you need to do is gather a few household items and you can recreate dozens of mind-blowing, kid-tested science experiments.
3. The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes – This big (10″ x 12″) book comes complete with 40 sheets of flight-tested, ready-to-fold paper, printed on both sides in a variety of 20 colorful patterns, including leopard print, wood grain, hot rod flames and lose-it-on-the-lawn grass. It’s everything you need to rule the skies. Recommended for ages 7 and up.
4. Monsters Under Bridges -This guidebook playfully introduces youngsters to a panoply of monsters that inhabit the areas around, atop, and under the bridges of the Pacific Northwest. Each spread features an individual or group of monsters with tidbits about their habits as well as the geographic area or bridge and its design. Recommended for ages 4-7.
STEM Gifts Girls Will Love
1. Stir It Up Chemistry Lab & Kitchen Experiments – Recommended for ages 8 and up, kids can cook up some cool chemistry experiments in your kitchen with the Nancy B. Chemistry Set! Non-consumable, basic chemistry set enables junior chemists to safely explore simple science principles
2. GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine – GoldieBlox is a toy company that offers a series of interactive books + construction toys starring Goldie, a curious girl with a love of engineering. Goldie’s stories encourage girls to build, developing the spatial skills that are fundamental to engineering. While the story unfolds, girls get to build what Goldie builds. Recommended for ages 6-9.
3. Roominate Chateau – Girls can build their very own unique structures with the Roominate Chateau! Using the included building pieces that easily snap together, girls can tap into their imaginations to design two‐level structures, bunk beds, balconies, a house on wheels, and other endless possibilities. Electrical circuits enhance designs so girls can watch their creations come to life with real movement, including spinning windmills, carousels, lamps, and more. Recommended for ages 6-12.
4. Design & Drill Flower Power Studio – Learning fun blossoms with this colorful design studio especially for girls. Grows kids’ hand-eye coordination, patterning, and problem-solving skills. Power drill, 60 bolts in 5 brilliant colors, 6 designer plates, and activity guide store neatly in the flower-shaped activity board. Recommended for ages 3-8.
Messy Fun STEM Gifts
1. Fire and Ice Prehistoric Volcano – Create your own prehistoric, erupting volcano! It’s easy to make with a few simple household ingredients. Make a land volcano or fill the volcano mold with water, freeze it, and create an ice volcano that erupts and lights up. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
2. Candy Chemistry – Kids can explore chemistry as they cook up candies and chocolates in the kitchen. Perform a number of sweet experiments and learn important physical science principles related to candy and cooking. Discover why sugar crystallizes to make rock candy. Learn about specific heat and the phases of matter by molding chocolates. Use a thermometer and learn about heat and temperature while boiling sugar. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
3. Big Bag of Science – With wit and humor, the lab booklet offers step-by-step instruction for each experiment and explains the science behind the process. The book helps your child and you, the adult assistant, explore cool scientific processes, like why the materials in baby diapers are absorbent, how compasses use magnets to work and what makes us burp. Recommended for ages 8 and up, but can be used by younger kids with adult help.
4. My First Mind Blowing Science Kit – My First Mind Blowing Science Kit provides the tools your little Einstein needs to create their very own science lab at home. This beginner’s science kit allows young scientists to perform several amazing safe and fun science experiments that range from erupting a color-changing volcano to creating a sunset in a test tube. Recommended for ages 4-8.
STEM Gifts for Preschoolers and Little Kids
1. Tegu Magnetic Blocks – Tegu has reinvented the wooden block in a way that brings new life to a favored classic. By safely embedding magnets into each piece, Tegu Blocks become curiously attractive for both kids and kids at heart. Defy gravity and push your imagination in ways never before possible. Recommended for ages 6 months and up.
2. Three Little Piggies – Little kids will love this game. Little Piggies is a perfect brain game for young children. It features three big puzzle pieces that are easy to hold, and kids will be intrigued by the way the pigs fit inside the houses and look through the windows. The game includes a story book with images and booklet with 48 challenges. Recommended for ages 3 and up.
3. Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! – Vibrant, spinning gears set imaginations in motion. GEARS! GEARS! GEARS! is a child’s introduction to the world of construction and movement. Bright colors and easy-to-assemble pieces encourage children to create moving masterpieces. There are so many ways to build and open-ended components mean there are no wrong ways to build. The set contains 95 sturdy pieces that snap together, challenging your child’s creativity. Recommended for ages 3 and up.
4. Tot Tube Playset -Children will love racing cars down the ramp and watching them fly out of the unique Tot Tube. Easy to put together and easy to take apart for storage. Props up against a couch, chair, or other piece of furniture. The Tot Tube tunnel track provides hours of fun for children who like to watch things race. Can also be used with small balls. Ages 18 months and up.
STEM Puzzles and Mazes
1. MindWare Q-Ba-Maze – Q-Ba-Maze is a unique system of colorful cubes that interlock to form a marble run. The big difference? You can create marble maze sculptures in the form of animals, geometric shapes or any other design! Configurations are unlimited, allowing for unpredictable action when steel balls travel the various routes. It’s a live demonstration of probability, physics and art, all in one. Recommended for ages 5-20.
2. Trucky 3 – These 3D truck puzzles keep little wheels turning! First, kids will load them up with their color blocks and wheel them around as toys. Later, they’ll discover they’re irresistible brainteasers that engage them again and again. Recommended for ages 3-8.
3. Science Wiz Cool Circuits – Cool Circuits Junior is a puzzle set that pleases the eye, while engaging the mind. Game comes with one light-up game board, 8 3-D puzzle pieces, 6 orange barriers, 40 puzzle challenges, and a solution book. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
4. Amaze N Marbles – Amaze ‘N’ Marbles 60 Piece classic wood construction set is a fantastic educational toy that provides hours of fun while combining basic learning skills with coordination and organizational skills. Made of all natural wood, this 60-piece construction set will have you creating endless maze combinations for the marbles to roll through. Recommended for ages 5-12.
STEM Stocking Stuffers
1. Be Amazing Toy Energy Stick – Do you think you are electric? This Toy Energy Stick lets kids explore the differences between insulators and conductors. Hold the energy stick in your hands and see if it lights up and makes noises. Great tool to teach the science of electricity. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
2. Backyard Safari Magnifying Glass – Kids can get a closer look at nature with this easy-grip handle magnifying glass. Its pristine, clear-plastic magnifier lets you view nature up to four times closer while its special carabiner hook lets you easily attach it to your pack for perfect portability. Recommended for ages 4-8.
3. Crazy Bubbles – If you thought all bubbles were round, then you’re in for a BIG surprise! Square bubbles, cubic bubbles, spiral bubbles, saddle-shaped bubbles, wormhole bubbles, parabolic bubbles – Discover a whole new world of bubble-making that’s highly enlightening and tons of fun for the whole family. Recommended for ages 5-12.
4. Fold ‘N Fly Paper Airplane Kit – Make a high-flying airplane fleet using colorful paper and stickers. Keep your edges crisp with the included folding tool. Kit makes eighteen airplanes and contains eighteen printed papers, stickers, folding tool and easy instruction booklet. Recommended for ages 6 – 10.
STEM Subscription Clubs
1. Little Passports – Give kids the gift of adventure with a subscription to Little Passports. Monthly packages will arrive in the mail filled with letters, souvenirs, stickers, activities & more. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about geography and cultures around the globe. Select from 3 different adventure plans to find the one that’s right for your child. Recommended for ages 3-12.
2. Growin’GEERS – The Home Membership, Introduction to Engineering Kit, is designed to get your child thinking differently about engineering and problem solving. It is made up of engineering tools and a card game to introduce a variety of different engineering disciplines. Get access to all of Growin’GEERS quests and content for 1 full year to use at home as a family fun learning activity. Recommended for ages 7-12.
3. Tinker Crate – Discover and learn about science, engineering, and technology through fun hands-on activities. This monthly subscription offers materials and inspiration for awesome science and engineering activities delivered right to your door. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
4. Junior Explorers – Junior Explorer monthly adventures include both a physical and digital component for hours of fun. Mission kits include lots of fun and natural science learning that gets kids excited to explore a new habitat. Recommended for ages 5-11.
STEM Fun for Kids of All Ages
1. Snap Circuits – A favorite in our house, Snap Circuits makes learning electronics easy and fun. Just follow the colorful pictures in our manual and build exciting projects such as AM radios; burglar alarms; doorbells and much more. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
2. The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab – Ms. Frizzle and her students take Young Scientists on a wild ride with The Magic School Bus as they explore the fascinating world of engineering. Young scientists are asked by Ms. Frizzle to solve all kinds of fun and unique problems that lead to discoveries in the fields of chemical, electrical, mechanical and even civil engineering. Recommended for ages 5-10.
3. Lego Chain Reactions – Fascinate your friends by completing an ordinary task in an extraordinary way. Kids learn to build 10 LEGO machines that can swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. Then connect, rearrange, and experiment with the machines to create a chain reaction. Recommended for ages 7 and up.
4. Remote Control Machines – Kids can build their own motorized vehicles and machines and control them with a wireless remote control unit. A unique six-button infrared remote allows you to control three different motors simultaneously, moving each of them forward or in reverse, with easy-to-activate touch sensors. The three motors can be combined to make complex vehicles and machines in numerous configurations limited only by your imagination. Recommended for ages 8-15.