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With a budding chemical engineer in the family, I’m constantly looking for new and fun toys that will encourage both kids to explore the world around them. The term STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is super hot right now, but it can feel intimidating to teach our kids those concepts. Have no fear, there are fantastic STEM learning toys and kits available that will make the the concepts more accessible for our kids (and us).
Pssst. Bookmark this page and come back on Thursday or Black Friday for some great coupon codes for some of the vendors below!
Best STEM Gifts For Kids of All Ages
For Preschoolers to 7 Year Olds
Little Passports Early Explorers Subscription: My kids love getting packages in the mail and I bet yours do too. Little Passport recently introduced their new Early Explorer subscription geared towards kids 3-5 years old. Each month your preschooler can explore the world based on themes such as oceans, dinosaurs, food, and music. Little Passports also offers gift options which makes it easy for grandma to surprise the kids.
CYBER MONDAY DEAL: Get 40% off New Monthly Plan Subscriptions at Little Passports with Code BLACK40. 12/1, 8:00am EST – 12/2, 11:59pm EST
Magna-Tiles Building Set: Our preschool playcenter had a huge box of these and it was a hit with all the kids. Jaxson played these magnetic tiles every time we visited. Use them to build 3D cubes, pyramids and other geometric shapes. These are great for all ages, but their size and bright colors will definitely appeal to the younger set.
Thames and Kosmos Little Labs Bubbles Science Kit: After seeing his sister’s chemistry set, Jaxson wants his own science kit. We’re fans of Thames and Kosmos kits because the products are high quality and the kids contain almost everything we need to complete several science experiments. These are great beginner kits for a parent-child activity with your preschooler! Make sure you check out the other T&K Little Labs kits.
STEM Toys for 8-13 Year Olds
National Geographic Laser Pegs Space: Think of Laser Pegs as Legos that light up! These Leg0-compatible building blocks come with LED-enabled blocks that will send colored light through the entire design. The Space kit contains pieces and instructions to build 24 different models. If your kids already have Legos, then the posibilities are endless! I have a feeling my husband will enjoy the Laser Pegs as much as my kids. Other themed kids are also available.
BONUS: Save 15% at National Geographic online store with the code MR21092. (This offer expires 1/31/15 at 11:59 p.m. PT and can be modified or canceled at any time. Offer excludes donations, digital products, magazines, Genographic kits, Cafe Press merchandise, 10th Edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World, Around the World in 125 Years 3-volume Collector’s Edition book from TASCHEN, and Weekend Photo Workshops. Discount will be applied at checkout. Cannot be combined with other offers; not valid on previous orders. Applicable for online orders only. Prices not valid in the National Geographic UK Online Store or Road Less Traveled Store.)
Groovy Lab in a Box: Can you tell I’m a fan of subscription boxes? My kids are inundated with gifts at Christmas (thanks to my parents and sister), so spreading the gift love throughout the year makes sense to me. Geared for kids ages 8 and up, these kits contain supplies and instructions for fun, hands on experiments. Groovy Lab in a Box is also great for homeschoolers or if you want some extracurricular STEM activities for your kids.
CYBER MONDAY SALE: On December 1 only, you can get 35% off your first month’s subscription. Just use code CYBERSTEMIST at check out. Hurry, this is a one-day sale!
littleBits Electronics Base Kit: We tested the littleBits kit last year and the kids loved how easy it was to create circuit combinations and attach them to a motor, light sensors and more. The kit has instructions on how to use household items (like paper) to create moving components. This is a great starter kit and allows for open ended exploration.
HEXBUG VEX Robotics Ant: Design and build your very own giant Hexbug ant! The kit comes with detailed instructions, wheels, bump sensors and gears. After you build the ant, you can control it via a remote control or program it. Once your kids master the Ant, try out the Robotics Spider.
STEM Learning Toys for Ages 13+
Laser Maze: We got a first glimpse of ThinkFun’s Laser Maze game earlier this year at the US Science and Engineering Festival. It was available for purchase then, but both kids have been asking for this logic based game. With over 60 challenges to complete, you must arrange the pieces correctly to make bounce the laser off the mirrors in the correct manner. We also love Thinkfun’s Rush Hour Jr. for preschoolers and Gravity Maze for older kids.
Thames & Kosmos CHEM C1000 Chemistry Set: This is the set my father bought Sophia for her birthday. She’s already marked which experiments we’re going to do together. With professional quality equipment and detail instruction book, kids can investigate chemistry in your kitchen by experimenting with sugar, honey, fatty acids and more. It’s recommended for kids 14+ but Sophia should be able to manage with some help from me. This is a great kit for homeschoolers too!
MaKey MaKey Kit: I saw this kit in action a few weeks ago and feel in love. It’s seriously awesome. The kit turns everyday objects into touch pads. Which means you can create a piano made out of bananas or your own game controler with just pencil and paper. Both kids and adults will love it!
Which one of these items would your young scientist love?