Be a rockstar (or maybe a rocket scientist!) this holiday season and in the new year with this list of the best STEM gift ideas currently on the market! Why give a STEM gift? They are engaging and educational-- teaching kids new skills, how to be critical thinkers, and helping them gain confidence, all while having fun! Make sure to read to the end for an inexpensive gift for any child or classroom!
As educators AND engineers, we are always on the lookout for products that really promote the ideas and processes of quality learning. Whether you are buying gifts for friends and loved ones, or adding to your classroom STEM supplies, here are the items that made our list.
*Click on the pictures listed below to purchase through Amazon affiliate links.*
Fun for all ages! This little SPRK+ robot connects to an app to allow the user to drive it, change its color, and do some basic to advanced programming! Watch the short video on a few of its capabilities here. The applications are endless with using the SPRK robot! Oh, and they have a BB-8 model too with added features sure to excite any Star Wars fan.
With the SPRK robot, interactive learning in the classroom is taken to a whole new level. We have incorporated the SPRK+ in our classroom by creating challenges such as the mazes shown in the graphic above. Students take measurements of distance and angles and calculate speeds to program the robot to navigate through the maze! This is a great reviewing tool that makes for a fun and memorable experience for the kids! More lesson plan ideas can be found here.
Cubelets are robot blocks that are snapped together to createa robot with many capabilities. As written on Amazon, "They're proven to engage different types of learners, fostering confidence, imagination, and a love of learning that will help prepare children for an increasingly complex world."
This Kit has everything your child needs to design and explore programming and hardware concepts while having a blast inventing! It comes with instructions for 8 different inventions and thousands more can be found online. LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit is intended to help kids design and create inventions using whatever they have on hand. Protect your piggy bank and make a moving entrance sign with easy snap-together blocks for hours of fun!
This simple tool can be the inspiration to pursuing a child's dreams as they explore the sky! Every child should experience the wonder of looking at the moon and planets through a telescope.
8. STEM Books!
Books are wonderful gifts for even the youngest future STEMists. We recommend books that get kids inspired to pursue STEM and some great ones that teach STEM concepts as well. Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist by Harry N Abrams teach offer encouraging tales of aspiring STEMists. For the perfect introduction to robots with preschoolers, get your hands on this inexpensive yet invaluable golden book- Robots, Robots Everywhere! And what is more fun than reading a story before bed? How about reading a story with a fun math problem to go with it. The Bedtime Math series is packed with math riddles and challenges with 3 levels of difficulty to not only add a new dynamic to stories, but to teach how math is everywhere and can be fun too! Last but not least, for more advanced tinkerers, Electronics For Kids is a fantastic tool for diving into the world of electronics and circuitry. It builds upon simple concepts with hands-on experiments and projects, making learning come to life!
The Dash and Dot Robot Wonder Pack is an engaging way to learn programming with a variety of fun capabilities. These little robots can hear sounds, sense your movement and have a dance party with you in control!
This Estes Model Rocket Set is a blast whether you are learning the basics of rocketry or just to have fun. At 3 feet tall, the "Amazon" is no small rocket and can reach heights of 650 feet! The smaller rocket included in this kit has a more effective aerodynamic design and can reach heights around 1,150 feet! We have used model rockets for years in the classroom to demonstrate concepts in forces and motions, and Estes has been proven to be a reliable brand year after year.
K'NEX building sets provide limitless open-ended play for any little tinkerer. There are multiple kits on the market that are for more advanced engineering designing too. Start with a basic set to build their future!
The Makey Makey Inventor kit is also a useful classroom tool, serving as a platform for understanding programming and circuitry. Students use the engineering design process and some creativity to design their own video game controllers, ideally for a game they created using a program such as Scratch!
Winner of the Parent's Magazine Best Toys Award in 2015, Goldiblox Craft-Struction Box "gets it" when it comes to engineering and play! The female engineer character is a great rolemodel for little STEMist girls as she presents and a problem and helps you solve it with hands-on construction and real-world engineering concepts.
18. Osmo Coding Game
Subscription kits are the gifts that keep on giving. Engaging activities and information all in one box that arrives every month are a life savor for parents always in search of stimulating activities for their children. There are many options out there, but our favorites are: Tinker Crate (a product of Kiwi Crate) and Steve Spangler's Science Club. Click the links to explore what they may offer the little engineer or scientist you are shopping for!
Need a gift for your classroom or kids for a low cost, but where the reward is priceless? We have you covered there too! We have compiled 2 months worth of daily STEM activities during the week days of the winter break. Crush the boredom and add in tons of fun (and learning) with this Winter Break STEM Challenge calendar.
We hope this list helps you cross some things off of your holiday To Do List! Nothing is better than the gift of your time, so as you celebrate the season, we wish you the best of times with those you are gathered with!
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Best wishes on everything inbetween from your friends at Vivify!
*This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.*