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Every year I say that my STEM Gifts for All Ages gift guide is the biggest one to date and this cone continues the trend. With the huge number of STEM focused products on the market, there’s no shortage of products designed to foster curiosity and get our kids interested in these subjects but which ones are worth your money and will provide real educational experiences to foster growing interests?
Luckily the teacher in me can distinguish between items that provide worthwhile STEM learning experiences versus those that masquerade as them. The best STEM gifts for all ages provide hands-on experiences that make learning fun and this list of items for toddlers through teens represent the best STEM products that exist.
It contains items that emphasize mathematical processes involved in building, scientific discovery through experimenting, learning about electronics via circuitry, and toys and apps that demystify computer programming. The always popular subscription box model also brings educational STEM opportunities to your doorstep and this year I’ve featured the best STEM subscriptions for various age groups .
STEM gifts are broken down by age group for preschoolers (3-5 year olds), early elementary ages (ages 5-7), tweens (8-12 year olds), and teens (13+). I also have a great giveaway from Bitsbox so keep reading to see how you can enter to win a box that will teach your elementary student how to code.
Best STEM Gifts for Kids of All Ages
Toddlers & Preschoolers (ages 2-4)
Heads Talk Tails Walk by ThinkFun ($14.99)
In this delightfully silly game, players try to match hidden animal head tiles to the correct body tails. If you don’t make a match, you will have to walk and talk like your mismatched tile! This fun game of sounds and movement promotes memory, matching, and image recognition skills. Best for ages 3 and up
Amazon STEM Club Toy Subscription ($15.99 for your first box, $19.99/month after plus free shipping)
Get a new handpicked STEM toy to your door every month thanks to Amazon Toy Experts who curate toys that encourage an understanding and exploration of STEM subjects. Even the youngest ages will learn simple concepts related to counting, building, and cause and effect as precursors to skills like logic, creativity, and problem solving. As tempting as it might be to turn your kids loose to create. instructional booklets for parents lets you join in on their learning. Best for ages 3-4 but also available for ages 5-7 and ages 8-13.
MagnaTiles Glow in the Dark Set ($29.99)
MagnaTiles of any kind are addictive playthings that combine math, science, and creativity but the glow in the dark version is even more fun! This set contains 16 glow in the dark shapes that includes 4 small squares and triangles (equilateral, right, and isosceles) that can be played with on their own or combined with other sets to teach math, science, spatial, and tactile skills. Best for ages 3+
LEGO DUPLO Submarine Adventure ($19.97)
There’s no end to creative play with the Submarine Adventure Building Kit! This open-ended set inspires play under the sea thanks to a submarine that blows bubbles, 2 diver figures, and a 3 animals (a whale, clown fish and a seagull). It’s perfect to play with in the bath or pool or on land.
Ara the Star Engineer ($15.95)
Featured in last year’s Early Elementary and STEM Gift Guides, this book is back because it’s too good to leave off! Ara the Star Engineer shatters every stereotype we might pass along to our kids about who engineers are, what they look like, and the kinds of things they do in a darling picture book written by an engineer mom after her daughter said, “Engineers are boys.” Through her book, Google engineering program manager, Komal Singh, inspires kids – especially girls and children of color – to explore STEM as it follows a 6-year old girl, Ara, on a quest to build an algorithm to solve a big problem (suspense!). During her adventure, Ara is helped by a diverse set of real-life women engineering leaders of color — a Tenacious Troubleshooter, Code Commander, Prolific Problem Solver, Intrepid Innovator. The book aims to teach basic problem solving & computer science concepts in a whimsical manner but also includes an attached mini-booklet that provides a deeper dive into tech thanks to online activity sheets with hands-on tech activities. Great read-aloud for ages 4+
Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
Thinking Putty Puzzle ($29.99)
ThinkFun collaborated with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty® to create Thinking Putty Puzzle, a mind-stretching logic game. Players stretch, pull and knead the putty to solve 60 sticky challenges. Players use the putty to connect various starting and ending points without overlap. It comes with six vibrant putty colors, including an exclusive, custom ‘Binary Blue’ shade. Best for ages 8+
Even though we haven’t personally tried Shashibo, this mysterious magnetic puzzle box intrigues us and seems to have Rubik’s Cube level addictiveness. Shashibo may look like a cube but the internal magnets give it the ability to transform into over 70 shapes when you gently fidget, twist, and let the magnets guide you. It can be used by itself or combined with others to build larger shapes, sculptures, and structures. Best for ages 6+
Balance Beans by ThinkFun ($19.99)
It may sound intense to teach your 5-year-old about algebra but ThinkFun teaches pre-algebra concepts, critical thinking skills, and logical reasoning in the most fun way. Balance Beans will appeal to both boys and girls who are challenged to balance their beams with bean pieces in this seesaw logic game. There are 40 beginner to expert challenges so when one level becomes too easy, your child can take on the task of mastering the multi-level challenges that become increasingly difficult. Best for ages 5+
Bitsbox Subscription Box ($24.95/month for Basic)
Hooray for a subscription box that teaches real coding! Each month Bitsbox sends a box with a mix of coding projects, ranging from simple to more advanced. Kids start with the code from the materials in the box and then customize it to make it their own. Bitsbox apps run on any computer, tablet, or phone with a web browser, so kids can see and share their creations. Other materials that come with a monthly subscription include an Apper-Keeper to keep Bitsbox materials organized and easy to use, coding super cards featuring app projects to inspire and guide you, Grownup Guide with information about the month’s new coding concepts and commands, and also stickers and chart to track progress. Get $20 off your subscription purchase of 50+ with the code SAVVY until November 23. Best for ages 6+ but tweens will enjoy being able to complete the more advanced projects independently.
Science Junior Subscription from Little Passports ($18.95)
Packed with activities to spark curiosity and make abstract scientific principles tangible, Science Junior is the perfect gift to engage ages 5-8 in STEM learning each month. The subscription includes hands-on science experiments and projects, trading cards that highlight fun scientific facts, and patches that go on the backpack you get in your first month’s subscription that match the monthly theme. Science Junior themes include Weddell Seals, volcanoes, music, chimpanzees, deep sea exploration, wetlands, rockets, and more to make this mail your kids will look forward to getting each month. Best for ages 5+
There’s no shortage of STEM products that aim to teach kids computer literacy skills but I’ve always been impressed with Wonder Workshop’s Dash & Dot teaches coding through robotics in a fun way. Wonder Workshop makes made age-appropriate learning a priority through products that provide engaging hands-on learning and now through Wonder Workshop Classroom, the company has created everything teachers need to teach coding and robotics in their classrooms or at home with the family and siblings. Best for ages 6+
Invasion of the Cow Snatchers by ThinkFun ($29.99)
Called the most fun new STEM toy for boys and girls, ThinkFun’s Invasion of the Cow Snatchers features a fun magnet maze logic game with 60 challenges at different levels, from beginner to expert. It’s perfect for kids who love to problem solve through fun games and enjoy challenges. Best for ages 6+
Bird Tape Measure ($12.99)
This darling bird tape measures is cute, functional, and a great way to teach kids practical measurement skills thanks to a 10 foot tape measure that pulls out from its beak, an angle finding eye to find angles quickly, and a angle that helps keep things level. There’s also a caribiner in a contrasting color that ensures that your Bird Tape Measure is always nearby. Comes in blue, red, or green. Best for ages 6+
Mission Rocket with Launch Site by Playmobil ($59.99)
A new generation will be inspired to pursue space exploration to Mars when play time involves the Playmobil Mission Rocket with Launch Site. There’s a maintenance platform to help get the rocket ready for launch, space for two astronauts to strap in for blast off as they head towards mars, and a transport container and space capsule that detach from the rocket to be docked into the Mars Space Station (sold separately). Liftoff comes to life thanks to working lights and sounds that power a countdown timer, thrusters, and space communication when you include 2 AA batteries with this gift. Best for ages 5+
There’s no better way to learn about crystals than to grow them yourselves. Budding geologists will love this deluxe kit that features the ability to grow crystals in 8 different colors in silicone growing chambers that make them easy to remove and display. It also includes 5 real crystal specimens (quartz, rose quartz, fluorite, calcite, amethyst), light up crystal display stand, stir stick, magnifying glass, STEM learning guide, and instructions. Best for ages 8+
Domino Maze ($29.99)
Experience all the thrills of a classic domino run – now with an added twist. Domino Maze puts your reasoning skills to the test as you navigate your way through 60 different dynamic challenges including pivots, blockers and stairs! Best for ages 8 and up
Tweens (ages 9-12)
Build and rebuild endless robotics creations with a single kit that allows tweens to build doodling robots, power electric model cars, add motors to LEGOs and more! This is a perfect introduction to engineering for tweens that features over 50 real parts, challenge cards to assist in robot building, wood, electric, motors, hardware, and more! Best for ages 8+
Avengers Hero Inventor Kit ($149.95)
Code your own superpowers? Yes, please! I can’t think of a better way to inspire Avengers-loving tweens to learn about coding than with the Little Bits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit that includes everything tweens need to build and customize an interactive electronic Super hero gauntlet. Electronic building blocks, LED Matrix, authentic Marvel sound effects bit, plastic pieces, stickers and battery provides pieces for hours of TEAM learning thanks to 18 activities for kids to build, play, and code. Add authentic Avengers sound effects or record your own hero battlecry as you bring interactive super hero gear to life with this fun kit. Agengers Hero Inventor Kit is an easy introduction to coding that can lead to more advanced programming like loops and logic. Recommended for ages 8+ but I think ages 10+ would be able to complete projects more independently and use the free step by step video instructions
There’s a difference between passive and productive screen time and Toy of the Year (TOTY) nominated Gravitrax allows tweens to use their phone as a tool to build their own marble runs or with the help of the free GraviTrax app for iOS and Android devices. While kids can certainly build through unplugged and experimental play using the starter set, the app allows them to test their run, use blueprints to build the actual system, and experience the race with different balls, various camera perspectives, including the marble’s point of vice using the Virtual Reality feature (VR headset not included). Builders can also add expansion packs (starting at $9.99) on to their set to create more epic tracks! Recommended for ages 8+ but even better for older ages who have their own phones to use the app to test runs
Snap Circuits Bric: Structures ($28.88)
Snap Circuits Bric: Structures provides budding engineers with the chance to create endless combinations of circuitry. Simply snap together the bricks to wire up construction builds with Snap Circuits lights, sounds, moving parts, and 3-D circuits. Mix and match building bricks to create elaborate structures that kids can create circuits to illuminate lights on a skyscraper or make the gears on a drawbridge move. The enclosed full-color idea book comes with 20 illustrated projects to put the 20 Snap Circuits parts, 75 bric-2-snap adapters, over 140 compatible building bricks to work. If your tween is more into games, check out Snap Circuits Arcade ($45.79). Recommended for ages 8+ but I think best for ages 9+
Discovering Physics Laws ($27.45)
Future engineers and scientists get a head start on learning about complex physics concepts in hands-on ways thanks to experimental assemblies like an inertia test platform, sharpening wheel, rocket launcher, and rubber band car you can build. Building these items helps tweens learn about basic Laws of Physics. They can also read the enclosed 12 page booklet of theory and facts and 4 pages of experimental activities illustrating physics concepts. There’s even a 2 page quiz for you Tiger Parents out there who want to be sure your kids are really learning through play! Seriously though- don’t make them take the quiz! Nothing will make them run the other direction from physics than an at-home assessment! Recommended for ages 8+ but I think best for ages 9+
Wooden Ferris Wheel Building Kit ($24.99 and save an extra 5% from Amazon)
Learn about a classic carnival ride with this DIY wooden building kit that involves a 3D puzzle, motor, and circuitry. It includes all tools and materials necessary to complete this mechanical structure that actually moves. The kit also comes with paint if you want to add some color to your carnival creation. Recommended for ages 6+ but I think best for ages 9+.
Teens (ages 13+)
CreationCrate Subscription ($29.99/month)
If you’re looking for a subscription box that combines hands on learning in electronics with online courses for your teen, Creation Crate is for you! Each month you’ll get an electronics kit with a C++ project to teach a new lesson in electronics and coding plus access to an online classroom. The online classroom is where teens will learn how to put everything together and write code for the month’s project. The first four months of projects start with a mood lamp, memory game, distance detector, and LED dice game. Projects become increasingly challenging as teens learn new commands and components and are a great way to get hands-on experience with C++ and components learned in real tech careers. Best for ages 13+
If you have a teen who loves building as much as the finished product, Eureka Crate is the perfect gift for them. This subscription box provides them with an engineering project that will get them designing and making as they explore the science and technology behind the design. Projects include an Articulated Desk Lamp that involves materials science and mechanical equilibrium as they make a cool cantilevered lamp that uses pulleys and springs to make it adjustable, wiring up an electromechanical pencil sharpener with automatic pencil detection that teaches electric motors and torque, and also a wooden ukulele. Who wouldn’t want to build their own four-string concert ukulele as they explore sound waves? These projects are SO cool that you might be tempted to grab the box from the mail before your teen gets home from school! Best for ages 16+
Inspired by real life mechanisms, this Waterwheel Coaster 3D puzzle is like a real rollercoaster that features a ball that can be rolled along a wooden lasercut track in this 3D wooden puzzle marble run set. Creating the wooden puzzle is a great challenge that will take your teen a few hours but teaches the ability to plan and build a structure like an architect or engineer would. Best for ages 14+
Deluxe DIY Both Bomb Kit ($44.95)
Practice some in-house chemistry with this deluxe bath bomb kit that has everything you need to make 12 bath bomb cupcakes with 100% essential oils. Each deluxe kit comes with Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit PLUS Geranium, Marjoram, Peppermint, and Lime essential oils, a printed recipe card to make perfect bath bombs each and every time. This deluxe kit also includes pre-measured baking soda, corn starch, citric acid and Epsom salts, plus supplies like gloves, spray bottle, a dozen cupcake mold liners, and a reusable mold set. Not into bath bombs? Check out this Lip Balm Making Kit ($39.95) that features natural and organic ingredients. Best for ages 13+
This summer we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and you can keep a love of space science alive with the NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Set, developed in cooperation with NASA in celebration of the historical event. It features a highly detailed replica of Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar module, plus a depiction of the lunar surface, complete with crater, footprints and a U.S. flag and will inspire future planetary and space scientists to keep looking towards the sky to help us achieve future space goals. Best for ages 13+
Women Scientists Perpetual Calendar from Blackbird Letterpress ($24)
This letterpress printed die cut perpetual calendar measures 8.5” x 8.5” and features notable women scientists Patricia Bath, Annie Easley, Gerty Cori, Jane Cooke Wright, Rachel Carson, Mary Agnes Chase, Mary Jackson, and Mary G. Ross. It moves to display days of the week, months, and date numbers to use every year and includes information about each scientist on the back. Best for ages 13+
Clockwork Dreams Pegasus($24.99)
Learn about mechanical engineering and gears as a power source thanks to the Clockwork Dreams Pegasus. This CNC cut wood kit uses cams, gears, ratchets, and cranks to make the toy move when its assembled without glue. Once assembled, just turn the crank and watch it move! Best for ages 13+
It may seem like a nerdy gift to buy a teen a calculator but if it’s something that will help them out in math, science, and engineering classes, the Casio fx-CG50 makes a great gift. This graphing calculator features a high-resolution LCD display with over 65,000 colors, natural textbook display, picture plot technology, 3D graphic capability, build in conic sections, and more! While you may not have wanted this as a gift when you were in high school, this will be an appreciated gift for a teen who is taking advanced math and science classes and will be taking the AP, SAT I/II, PSAT, NMSQT, and ACT in the near future. Fx-CG50 is permitted for all major exams and approved for AP, SAT I/II, PSAT, NMSQT, and the ACT! Just be sure that if you get this as a gift, you also have your teen affix a Mabel’s Label to it so it can be returned them when left behind.
Win a BitsBox to Teach Your Elementary Aged Student to Code!
BitsBox is providing one Tech Savvy family with a box to help your child learn to code. The first subscription will contain a dozen coding projects, ranging from simple to more advanced, and a binder to keep them organized. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES:
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Outdoor Adventures
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
- Dog Lovers
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own.