The links in this best STEM gifts for kids post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. Some items below were provided for review purposes.
STEM is a field with more jobs than people to fill them so toys that foster curiosity are always popular. As a middle school computer science and engineering teacher, parent a high schooler in engineering programs, and now a daughter in college who is pursuing engineering as a career, I’m pretty discriminating when it comes to STEM gifts.
When my kids were growing up, I always looked for products that would provide high quality hands-on learning experiences that were age appropriate. I wanted my kids’ curiosity to be sparked through engaging activities that would give them those ah-ha moments or pursue answers to questions that developed in their minds. Just as I looked for products that inspired, developed curiosity, and provided hands-on experiences that make learning fun for my kids, I continue to do the same for you and your loved ones.
Best STEM Gifts for Kids
This guide contains the best STEM gifts that emphasize mathematical processes involved in building, scientific discovery through experimenting, learning about electronics via circuitry, and toys that demystify computer programming.
My STEM gifts guide is broken down by age group. There are gifts for preschoolers (3-5 year olds), early elementary ages (ages 5-7), and tweens (8-12 year olds).
Best STEM Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Stomp Rocket Dueling Rocket Launcher (currently $19.99 on Amazon, regularly $29.99)
Stomp Rockets were always a favorite when my kids were this age because they loved being able to send rockets flying through the yard. Just set up the base and stomp to see the rockets fly and get children moving and learning. With the Stomp Rocket Dueling Rocket Launcher, 2 can stomp at the same time for friendly competition to see who can get their rockets to soar higher and longer. No batteries are required for this fun toy that teaches STEM-based principles such as gravity, motion, and force and provides hours of fun. Various rocket sets are available. Best for ages 3+
Solar System poster from Home Room/325 ($72)
The wonder and mystery of the galaxies are explained in this beautifully illustrated 20”x30” poster made of heavy nontoxic paper and ink. It comes ready to hang and is a wonderful addition to any space. Home Room/325 started by creatives and designers, showcases visual images as an effective learning tool. Home Room/325’s mission is to improve the lives of children through education and nutrition, with every purchase made from the collection fighting childhood hunger.
Little Passports Animals Wild (FROM $24.95/MONTH)
Animal loving explorers will love receiving a new science-based adventure every month through a Little Passports Animals Wild subscription. Every month kids will unpack a new box that features lift the flap facts, activities, and hands-on games that teach about animals and habitat sand engage physical learners through a variety of fun hands-on learning experiences. The firest activity kit is an Amazon rainforest adventure. The box includes a pop-up playset with lift-the-flap surprised featuring fascinating animals in the rainforest’s four layers, the Rainforest Romp game, a 3D pop-out macaw, jaguar, emperor tamarin, and poison dart frog to use with the enclosed playset, and a matching game, maze, and other activities filled with rainforest facts. Best for ages 3-5 Get 20% off sitewide with the code November20 during the pre-Black Friday sale
GLOW IN THE DARK MOON AND STARS ($12.99)
I had originally wanted to include the Moon in My Room from Uncle Milton but when I saw the price of $85, it felt a little much for this age group who could be just as happy with a set of glow in the dark moon and stars. $12.99 buys you 1 moon room decor and over 1000 pieces of glowing stars that glow blue when the lights go off and create a dreamy sky for young ones to fall asleep under each night.
BRIO BUILDER STARTER SET (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $27.48 ON AMAZON, NORMALLY $34.99)
The Brio Builder Starter Set has 49 pieces for creative toddlers. With nuts, bolts, a spanner, pliers, and more, there are plenty of tools and pieces for budding engineers to engage in imaginative play all day long. Best for ages 3+
SPIN-A-ROO FROM THINKFUN ($21.99)
Spin-a-roo is a fun, fast-paced sorting and counting game with two ways to play. Early learners will enjoy the sorting game – a race to match the most numbers and colors on their card! Advanced learners will love the counting game – a race to collect the most tokens by counting up and down from one to ten. With a device that makes colorful tokens appear like magic, Spin-a-roo keeps young learners excited about practicing their sorting and counting skills in an engaging way. Best for ages 4+
BLAST OFF BACKPACK ($55) AND LUNCH BOX ($35) FROM WANDERWILD
A new backpack has the power to generate excitement about going to school and who wouldn’t love the Blast Off Backpack from Wanderwild! The fun print features a variety of spacecraft to inspire young STEMinists love of space and exploring. The durable backpack is designed to go to school with students through the fifth grade. It can be used for activities from PreK through 8th. Pick up the matching lunchbox (sold separately) to complete the set so they’ll be ready to blast off to school after winter break. I’m in love with the red trim on the lunchbox! Best for ages 3+
MELISSA & DOUG EXAMINE AND TREAT PET VET PLAY SET (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $25.99 ON AMAZON, NORMALLY $37.99)
Young animal lovers will love pretending to give stuffed pets checkups as they role play being veterinarians. This vet playset helps develop problem solving skills and promotes empathy through imaginative, role play as kids care for pets using instruments similar to those used by veterinarians. Best for ages 3+
ROBOT FACTORY DOMINO FROM HAPE (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $44.89 ON AMAZON, NORMALLY $49.99)
Hape’s Robot Factory Domino set includes two double-sided ball tracks, which feature a normal track and a zig-zag track to teach physics concepts such as potential energy, momentum, and gravity in a hands-on way. With this exciting robot-themed domino set, kids will use stored potential energy to catapult a wooden ball into the air, watch as the momentum wheel turns, and experience the gravity release arm. This wooden toy set contains a tipper car, crazy ball track, tipper arm and series of ramps form an exciting robot production line that you can build again and again. Best for ages 4+
Best STEM Gifts for Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2)
Little Passports Space Quest FROM $24.95/MONTH)
Expand their universe with cosmic activity kits, science-fueled stories, and out of this world posters that come in each Little Passports Space Quest box. The first box, Glowing Galaxies, features all the items you’ll need to explore the night sky. Kids will begin by building a cardstock planetarium that projects stars on to their walls and ceiling, make a mini flashlight projector to guide a rocket, astronaut, comet, or planet around their room, investigate the lifecycle of a star on a gorgeous illustrated 16”x20” poster, and read a story of astronomy in ancient times. Best for ages 6-8 Get 20% off sitewide with the code November20 during the pre-Black Friday sale
Geologic Logic Puzzle by ThinkFun ($21.99)
GeoLogic is a multi-challenge logic puzzle that plays on reasoning and mathematical concepts. This single player puzzle involves creating endless planet combinations by combining the planet Core and 14 different biome tiles to solve 60 increasingly difficult puzzles. Best for ages 8+
Osmo Coding Starter Kit (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $91.08 ON AMAZON, NORMALLY $149.98)
Transform your tablet (iPad or Kindle Fire) into a hands-on coding adventure with Osmo Coding Starter Kit. Designed for ages 5–10, the Coding Starter Kit builds coding skills in progression with 3 hands-on learning games. Coding Awbie uses hands-on physical blocks, coding commands, to control Awbie on a fun-filled adventure. Coding Jam requires the use of coding blocks to learn coding’s creative side while developing an ear for rhythm, melody, and harmony. Young learners will make their beat come alive, learn patterns & loops with over 300+ musical sounds. In Coding Duo, young programmers will solve advanced side-by-side coding puzzles solo or with others, playing at their own level, using teamwork & strategy to unlock new worlds & coding 60+ puzzles. I love that this set includes pieces they can manipulate in the real world with what they see on the screen for powerful learning. Best for ages 5+
Cool Circuit Backpack ($65) from Wanderwild
Young tech enthusiasts will appreciate the cool blue circuit pattern that appears on this dark blue backpack that they’ll love carrying to and from school, after school activities, weekend sleepovers, and other adventures outside of school. Made of water resistant polyester, this backpack features reinforced seams and handles, ergonomic padded straps, a chest strap for security, and fidget tabs for wiggly fingers. This backpack is sure to last and grow with your child.
Little Passports Science Junior (FROM $24.95/MONTH)
Early elementary aged kids will love launching new science, engineering, and math discoveries with hands-on activities and challenges that come each month in their Little Passports Science Junior box. The first box that arrives comes with everything they’ll need for their very first scientific expedition to Antarctica, including a welcome letter from pen pals Sam and Sofia, full-color magazine packed with activities, puzzles, and stories, a Weddell seal craft to play with and display, an Antarctic board game, and colorful stickers and collectible trading cards to share. Best for ages 5-8 Get 20% off sitewide with the code November20 during the pre-Black Friday sale
Math Wizard and the Fantastic Food Truck (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $51.99 ON AMAZON, NORMALLY $99.99)
Math Wizard and the Fantastic Food Truck focuses on teaching kids geometry through cooking using different shapes for fun, self-paced learning at home. Players become chefs who customize dishes using several available kitchen appliances — and a dash of magic, their special ingredient to complete their dish for a magical reaction from their customers. Unique customers appear in various stages across Spellbarow Port, each with different food preferences and a variety of exotic dish requests–from pizza to sushi, sandwiches, pastries and more! Fantastic Food Truck features two games and the box contains: 1 Playmat, 1 Food Truck Manual, and 58 Geometric tiles. Available for iPad and Kindle Fire. Best for ages 6+
LITTLE PASSPORTS KITCHEN ADVENTURES (FROM $24.95/MONTH)
There’s no better way to practice chemistry than by cooking! Mixing, boiling, and cooking transform ingredients right before your eyes and no one can argue that the end results are delicious. Encourage a love of cooking and chemistry with Little Passports Kitchen Adventures. This subscription box allows kids to explore cooking traditions from around the world. With each month’s box, kids will get a kid-friendly kitchen tool and family friendly recipes that encourage young palates to try new flavors. Kids will build practice skills as they help shop, measure ingredients, and follow recipes. Kitchen Adventures is a great way to spend time cooking, learning, and playing together as you explore cities such as Rome, Crete, Beijing, Paris, San Salvador, Barcelona, Addis Ababa, Osaka, and more. Best for ages 7+ Get 20% off sitewide with the code November20 during the pre-Black Friday sale
HOT WHEELS TRACK SET WITH 3 CORKSCREW LOOPS (CURRENTLY $47.17 ON AMAZON, REGULARLY $58.99)
Physics concepts like gravity, potential energy, and kinetic energy aren’t intimidating when kids are having to practice concepts through trial and error with the Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set. The unique corkscrew design sends cars flying around the track and as they try to conquer the triple loop. This interactive, skill-based set drives problem solving as kids try to launch cars without them crashing. This set is great fun for one or two players and connects other Hot Wheels for more car track fun. Best for ages 5+
KIWICRATE (3, 6, 9, AND 12 MONTHS AVAILABLE STARTING AT $23.95/MONTH OR $18.50/MONTH FOR 12 MONTHS)
Full of high-quality materials and kid-friendly instructions, KiwiCrate is a fun way for ages 5-8 to explore art, science, and engineering. Each box contains explore! Magazine that includes comics, experiments, games, and more plus all the materials needed to inspire kids to see themselves as scientists, artists, creators, and makers. Best for ages 6+
Best STEM Gifts for Tweens (ages 9-12)
Hacker Cybersecurity Coding Game ($29.99)
Can you outsmart cybercriminals? Defend the world from cybercriminals by joining the white hat hacker team Oblivion! Play the role of a coder, hacker, and security engineer in 120 beginner to expert challenges. Program your agents to collect data chips while avoiding viruses and alarms. As you discover how a hacker can damage your programs, you will learn how to secure them from future attacks. This cybersecurity coding board game involves reasoning, planning and critical thinking skills, as well as programming principles. It includes a Game Grid, Control Panel, Challenge Booklet, 2 Agent Tokens, 9 Movement Tiles, 13 Revolving Platform Tiles, 5 Double-Sided Transaction Tiles, A Transaction Link Token, 3 Data File Tokens, 2 Exit Point Tokens, A Virus Token, Alarm Token, 2 Lock Tokens, And A Solution Booklet. Best for ages 10+
Lunar Outpost ($34.99)
Lunar Outpost is a cooperative board game where players work as a team of astronauts to build an outpost on the moon, which can include a starter base, habitat colony, research center, or a manufacturing facility. Players have twelve rounds to build the inner and middle “rings” of their round outpost. On each round, players will have to contend with a special event, ranging from power surges, meteorite strikes, oxygen leaks, and more. If the team can build four inner ring base modules and six middle ring modules before time runs out, their mission is a success. Best for ages 10+
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SCIENCE ADVENT CALENDAR (CURRENTLY $39.99 ON AMAZON, REGULARLY $44.99)
During each day of December, tweens will open a door revealing an exciting science experiment, gemstone, or fossil to add to their collection. Behind 13 doors are National Geographic experiments from their science kits/ Tweens will love hiding/revealing a secret message, making a test tube glow, floating coins, growing a colorful crystal tree & much more. There are 11 fossils and gemstones this advent calendar, including carnelian, chevron amethyst, snowflake obsidian, gastropod, geode, tiger’s eye, and more! A storage pouch is also included for their new collection. The final piece in this collection is a stunning pyrite (fool’s gold) specimen kids will unearth from a mini dig brick, just like a real geologist! Best for ages 8+
GRAVITY MAZE BY THINKFUN ($29.99)
We love marble runs, especially Gravity Maze! This gravity powered logic maze features colorful, translucent towers designed to test your visual perception and reasoning skills. Each challenge requires players to carefully to build a path that will successfully carry your ball to its target. There are over 60 challenges that range in difficulty for lots of creative building time that will challenge the mind. Ages 8+
ELENCO SNAP CIRCUITS MY HOME PLUS (CURRENTLY $66.32 ON AMAZON, REGULARLY $129.99)
Snap Circuits kits were favorites in our house because they’re a hands-on way of teaching the fundamentals of electricity and circuitry. Elenco Snap Circuits My Home Electronics Building Kit teaches electricity, building circuits, how power flows through our homes, and how they interact with various green energy technologies. Snap Circuits uses building blocks with snaps to build the different electrical and electronic circuits. Each block has a function including switch blocks, light blocks, battery blocks, different length wire blocks, etc. These blocks are colored and numbered to make them easy to identify during the building process. Tweens will have hours of fun creating up to 53 different circuit projects and learning about how electricity powers our everyday lives. This Snap Circuits Plus Home engineering set for kids also includes motion warning, house of features, doorbell recording home, and electronic wonderhome builds. The color-coded and detailed instruction sheets provide step-by-step directions on each project, making learning both easy and fun. Best for ages 8+
2022 Holiday Gift Guides
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES
- Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
- College Students (inspired by my first year college student!)
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-tween)
- Best Subscriptions for Kids, Teens & Adults
- Gifts for Teachers
- Gifts for People Who Love Their Dogs (inspired by Goldie and Murphy, of course)
FAVORITE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES FROM LAST YEAR
Need other ideas? Here’s a look at last year’s gift guides :
- Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-tween)
- Best Age Appropriate Advent Calendars for Kids
- Fair Trade Holiday Gifts
- Gifts for Unplugged Family Fun
- Gifts for Teachers
- Gifts for People Who Love Their Dogs (inspired by Goldie, of course)
- Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun
- Gifts for Outdoor Adventures
- Gifts for Gadget Lovers
- Best Subscriptions for All Ages
- Gifts that Give Back
- 9 Gifts that Make it Easy for Families to Give Back
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 and all opinions are my own.
Note to PR: The period for accepting items for age specific gift guides has ended but I am happy to accept items for review to consider for specialty guides. Please be specific about the products you’d like me to consider reviewing in your pitch and thanks for understanding I’m on a short deadline to get most gift guides wrapped up before Thanksgiving and do not have the bandwidth to return samples during this extremely busy time of the year.