Welcome to our Very STEM Gift Guide! I am so excited about some of the products I’m sharing this year – I feel like STEM toys have really come to a point where they are so accessible, and so much fun that you can find a STEM related toy that will capture the interest of just about any child! Although STEM toys are a relatively new concept, I really feel like the idea is about as tried and true as they come. Kids may not have been building robots in their own homes, but tinkering is something that comes naturally to all children. It’s how we learn about our world, it’s how we satisfy curiosity – so many of our technological advances have been made by people who loved to take things apart and put them back together. And now we see some major companies building on this natural curiosity and making it simple for kids to get their hands on toys that allow them to discover, build, create and play. In this year’s guide we have some amazing STEM toys for preschoolers – something that’s been hard to come by in the past. There are also more and more sets being geared towards young girls, reminding them that science is for everyone, and some amazing new kits for older kids who have outgrown science experiments and are looking for real-life tech. Read on to see what our favorite STEM toys of 2016 are!
BoseBUILD Bluetooth Speaker Cube – This is hands down one of my favorite items in our guide. BOSEbuild Bluetooth Speaker Cube is a first attempt by Bose to reach out to developing minds and get them involved in the technology behind sound, and I think they really have a near perfect product for the recommended age group (8+). You can read our in-depth review of the BOSEbuild Bluetooth Speaker cube here!
Nancy B Science Club Kits – This Educational Insights line is meant to inspire a love of science in all children, although I think the packaging is especially appealing to young girls. The kits in this line cover everything from chemistry to hydroponics, so it should be easy to find a kit that speaks to your child’s individual interests. For budding scientists the Nancy B Science Club line alos offers some great gear like microscopes and field journals. We checked out the Nancy B. Science Club Garbage to Gardens Compost Kit and the Nancy B. Science Club Way To Grow Hydroponics Kit. Both were a hige hit in our home, with tons of hands on activity to keep the kids excited and engaged!
Learning Resources STEM activity sets – One thing that’s been a real struggle in years past is finding a STEM toy made for preschoolers. There are plenty out there, but in our experience they require too much adult help, and wind up ultimately being frustrating for children and parents. That’s why I really love these STEM activity sets from Learning Resources. The concepts explored in each set are very basic, perfect for introducing science to children as young as five. Each set features colorful, chunky pieces that are not only durable, but enticing for younger kids. Learn about buyouncy with a colorful submarine in the Sink or Float Activity Set, or discover the science of motion by racing colorful toy cars in the Force and Motion Activity Set.
Lincoln Logs – This may not be the kind of toy you expect to pop up in a STEM list, but as they celebrate 100 years of building Lincoln Logs continue to inspire children to create, build and explore in some of the most basic was. My boys have been playing with Lincoln Logs since they were as young as two. We love celebrating Lincoln Logs 100th anniversary this year with their 100th Anniversary Collectors Tin! With over 100 pieces and a great place to store a them when they’re not being used, this makes a great gift!
Thames & Cosmos Remote Control Machines – Custom Cars – Another great choice for older kids, this kit allows children to build their own custom RC cars from 10 different options, then race them around the house! We love this toy because the kids not only enjoy building their cars, but then get to enjoy racing them around as well. My son loves to go back and reconfigure his car, then see which designs make it across our first floor fastest!
Build & Imagine Career Dolls – These magnetic wooden dress up dolls come complete with 12 different mix and match career outfits and two magnetic backdrops so that children can unleash their creativity with fun imaginative play that reinforces the importance of girls in STEM related careers. Ages 4+.
Nabi Compete Kids Competitive Fitness Tracker – If you’re looking to encourage your kids to stay active through the winter the Nabi Compete is the perfect gift. A fitness tracker that works alone or with friends to reach new goals, compete in races, earn achievements and unlock rewards the Nabi Compete is a fun piece of kid friendly, wearable tech – and at only $29.99 it’s perfect for younger kids too! Check out our review of the Nabi Compete! Ages 6 + $29.99 – $39.99
The Future Architect’s Tool Kit – Complete with a hardcover workbook and essential architects’s tools this kit is designed to introduce children in a fun and imaginative way to the world of architecture and design. Perfect for young artists, budding engineers or any child who love to dream and create. Barbara Beck, an architect herself aims to teach children what goes into the process of designing and building a home by taking them along with a young architect named Aaron. Children can use the included tools to design their own perfect home, then challenge themselves to build homes for a cast of quirky clients listed in the book! This nicely packaged kit includes a hardcover workbook, graph paper, architect’s scale, pencil and a drafting eraser. See our complete review of The Future Architect’s Tool Kit here! Ages 8 +, $29.99