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STEM is a field with more jobs than people to fill them so toys that foster curiosity are always popular. As a former middle school computer science and engineering teacher and parent of sophomore 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), tweens (8-12 year olds), and for the first time, teens are also included in this list!
Best STEM Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Back Off! I’m Doing Science Shirt from Svaha USA($10)
*woman owned business*
I absolutely love Svaha USA for so many reasons. Founded by Jaya Iyer, Svaha is a woman owned business passionate about STEAM themed clothing for women and kids that proves brainy is beautiful. The SVAHA website is a one-stop shop for all geeky STEAM-themed apparel and accessories that includes anything from science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Back Off! I’m Doing Science shirt is absolute perfection not only because of the saying but also because of the price. You’ll want to grab a shirt for your science loving 2, 3, or 4 year old before shirts at this clearance price sell out and while you’re on the site, be sure to shop their dresses because most have pockets!
SPACE CAPSULE SWING FROM STEP 2 ($149.99)
Spark curiosity for the universe and explore astronaut dreams with this kids swing. With an exciting design that accommodates one or two children at once, the opportunities for adventurous pretend play are limitless. Created with the needs of little ones in mind, there are openings on either side with large handles that make it easy to hop in and out. The two blue-tinted porthole windows are perfect for observing surroundings while swinging through the galaxy. This spaceship swing features a unique dual design that allows it to be hung using the included rope for a classic, swinging experience, or placed on flat, level ground to transform it into a space-themed kids playhouse. Best for ages 3+
MY FIRST MATH DICE FROM THINK FUN ($15.89)
My First Math Dice is the perfect game to build pre-kindergarten Math confidence and counting skills. Children will be delighted when they roll the big chunky dice and rewarded as they collect the colorful counter chips onto their towers. Along the way, they’ll be introduced to important early math concepts like recognition of numerals, more than/less than, and basic addition. With 3 different games included, My First Math Dice is ideal for endless hours of home learning. Best for ages 3+
Silicone Watering Can and Pot from BraveJusticeKidsCo. ($24.99)
Whether you’re planning a warm weather winter getaway or just want to bring some fun new toys into your home for bath and water play, the Silicone Summer Beach Set from Woman and BIPOC-owned BraveJusticsKidsCo is a great addition to any home with kids. This new-to-me company provides affordable, safe, and educational premium silicone toy products that I wish existed when my kids were little. I love that these durable, eco-friendly, and BPA-free toys encourage little ones to blend learning and fun with modern toys that spark curiosity and creativity while also enhancing their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive skills. Best for ages 18 months and up
Best STEM Gifts for Early Elementary Ages
Codey Rocky from MakeBlock ($89 and get $10 off your first order with the code save10)
Enter to win Codey Rocky at the end of this post!
For elementary ages that are interested in learning to code, Codey Rocky from MakeBlock makes it easy and fun right out of the box. Codey Rocky uses MakeBlock’s free mBlock coding software that consists of drag and drop blocks which are perfect for beginning programmers. This robot features 10 built in electronic modules that express emotion on the screen, which makes coding Rocky more engaging. Codey Rocky can also be customized with the addition of LEGOs you already have at home. Best for ages 6+
This set teaches early elementary ages math and science through art. Kids will learn how to mix colors through capillary action and optical illusions. Explore symmetry by making folded paintings and make paper flowers bloom Make 2 pointillism paintings by filling up preprinted pictures with the dot brush. Experiment to see colors “walk” from cup to cup. Color in 6 optical illusion designs for 3 wooden spinning tops. Each activity comes individually packed to keep materials organized and comes with an experiment card that explains how to do the experiment and the science that makes it work. The set also includes all the paint, supplies, materials and tools needed for each activity. Best for ages 6+
STOMP ROCKET RACERS- DUELING SET ($29.99)
We’ve always been big fans of Stomp Rockets and now Stomp Rocket Racers encourage children to experiment with speed and force to race their car the farthest. Stomp Racers are 100% activated by kids and STEM.org Authenticated™. The Dueling Set lets 2 kids launch cars at the same time for some real life lessons in physics and aerodynamics. Kids can decorate the cars with the included stickers and Stomp Rocket Racers make for a fantastic, easily portable gift. Best for ages 5+
Give the gift of hands-on science thanks to this collection of Elmer’s Squishies. You’ll get everything you need to make your own surprise glow-in-the-dark squishy toy-in only 60 minutes. Just mix the ingredients (including glow-in-the-dark glue pens), pour them into the mystery mold, and after an hour, pop out your mystery character and play. There’s even an included UV light to super-charge your character’s glow. Each Squishies kit has 80 mystery character possibilities so each Mystery Mold is a collectible and complete surprise. I appreciate that there are Elmer’s Squishies Secret Solutions refill packs so Mystery Molds can be reused to create even more characters!
MARBLE GENIUS – MARBLE RUN SUPER SET (150 PIECES) ($69.99 / ON SALE: $54.99)
Give your child the gift of imagination and exploration with Marble Genius. The marble run sets encourage problem-solving skills, creativity, and innovation as you design and construct your own unique action-packed maze. All marble sets are designed to be challenging enough for adults, but easy enough for kids of all ages. It’s perfect for families looking for a fun, stimulating activity because there’s something for every level of difficulty. Best for ages 5+
STOMP ROCKET STOMP & CATCH ($29.99)
Stomp Rocket Stomp & Catch is a great way for kids to burn off extra energy while using their gross motor skills running, stomping, and throwing rockets for independent play or with friends. The set includes four rockets, a net for catching them, and a launch pad and stand, adding heightened excitement to this STEM-oriented game. Kids launch rockets in the air and attempt to catch them in the net. It’s easy to launch, fun to catch, and 100% kid-powered! Best for ages 5+
Best STEM Gifts for Tweens
Go on an adventure to learn the secrets of the universe without leaving your house thanks to Feel the Force. This book will have young scientists unlocking the world of physics to see how the same physical laws which govern the wider universe are also at play much closer to home. Learn about motion, forces, gravity, energy and much more with your superb science guides Sherlock Ohms and furry friends Hattie and Ratley. The adventures continue with simple experiments you can do at home – no science lab required! Best for ages 8+
Magnetic Marble Run ($35.29 for 75 pieces or $62.23 for 150 pieces)
This STEM marble maze for kids and adults can be built on any vertical magnetic surface like the fridge, lockers, whiteboards, workbenches & more. Each track and trick has its own unique properties – just move them around to adjust or add exciting new pathways. The secure snap-fit connectors eliminate frustration to keep you creative, with detailed instructions highlighting how to use each piece, and a Learning Guide that teaches about physics and engineering! This wildly creative super puzzle includes 42 tracks & connectors, 17 trick pieces & 15 marbles for infinite building combinations and endless amounts of creative fun. Best for ages 10+
RUBIK’S CUBE ($14.99)
Old school fidget toy or challenge for puzzle solvers? Rubik’s Cube is honestly both and the new magnetic Rubik’s Speed Cube features a stronger core with a mechanism designed to make it faster, smoother, and more reliable than ever. This means you can now turn and twist faster with no more frustrating snagging or popping core. It’s perfect for speed Cubers, beginners, & advanced players alike. Best for ages 8+
Scratch 3 Programming Playground ($22.49)
Scratch, the colorful drag-and-drop programming language, is used by millions of first-time learners worldwide. Scratch 3 features an updated interface, new programming blocks, and the ability to run on tablets and smartphones, so you can learn how to code on the go. This book serves as a playful introduction to coding where readers make versions of games they already love such as Snake, Asteroid, Breaker, Basketball, and a Mario-style platform game. Each game includes easy-to-follow instructions with full-color images, review questions, and creative coding challenges to make the game your own. Want to add more levels or a cheat code? No problem, just write some code. Best for ages 10+
Your tween may think the best gift for them is the gift of Minecraft but this year give the gift of screen-free Minecraft with this magnetic puzzle logic game that’s perfect for taking on the go or playing at home. In this game, the ender dragon is trying to prevent players from traveling through the worlds of Minecraft by placing 40 increasingly difficult challenges in your path. The goal is to solve challenges and advance on the journey, using your most powerful weapon—your brain! In this mind-bending game of deductive reasoning, players use positive and negative visual clues to place magnetic Minecraft weapons and armor on the Crafting Table in the correct arrangement. When your arrangement includes all the Clue Patterns on the Challenge—you win! Best for ages 8+
By the creators of the New York Time’s bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series, this irresistible collection of chapter books shares the real lives of five extraordinary women throughout history. It contains five individual, historical fiction chapter books, each exploring the life and times of an extraordinary woman in global history, as she overcomes challenges to pursue her boldest dream. Readers will meet Ada Lovelace—a nineteenth-century pioneer in computer science; Madam C. J. Walker—an early leader in the African American beauty industry; Dr. Wangari Maathai—an environmental warrior and Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya; Junko Tabei—a champion in mountaineering who became the first woman to summit Mount Everest; and Alicia Alonso—a prima ballerina and remarkable creator in the world of dance. Each stunningly designed chapter book features at least ten full-color illustrations from a female artist, as well as bonus activities in the backmatter to encourage kids to explore the various fields in which each of these women thrived. Best for ages 8+
Best STEM Gifts for Teens
DIY Retro Classic Game Kit ($19.99)
Practice soldering by putting together this retro classic game kit that features Tetris, Space Invaders, Snakes, Race Cars, and Slot Machines that can be played with buttons while classic background music plays. There’s also a buzzer and a score display at the top of the digital tube. Detailed step by step instructions are provided along with pictures and detailed descriptions. Soldering iron not included. Best for ages 13+
Periodic Table Jigsaw Puzzle ($21.99)
This periodic table of elements puzzle consists of 1000 puzzle pieces and measures 24″ L x 30″ W when assembled. Each element has a unique, informative illustration that accompanies it making it a fun way to learn about the elements and periodic table while putting it together. Best for ages 13+
mBot Neo from MakeBlock ($139 and get $10 off your first order with the code save10)
In just 30 minutes, teens can assemble mBot Neo, read the coding guide, start coding game-based projects, and then play them. mBot is great for teens with and without coding experience because you can begin with drag and drop block based mBlock programming before progressing to python through the same platform. The Coding Project Box series is designed around the mBot Neo coding robot, offering illustrated step-by-step guides and fun gamified coding projects around robotic coding, game development, AI, and data science topics. mBot Neo has a powerful and versatile microcontroller and electronic and mechanical parts. Best for ages 13+
Engineering for Teens ($10)
So you think you want to be an engineer? The job of an engineer is to solve all sorts of complex challenges facing the world while improving our lives through creative, innovative ideas. This Engineering for Teens book gives them a look into what engineers do and how they drive society forward through math and science. Best for ages 13+
DIY Electronic Bluetooth Speaker Kit ($24.29)
Teens know that Bluetooth magically connects phones to Airpods, in-car stereo systems, speakers in the house, and so much more but do they really know the technology behind it? This DIY Bluetooth Speaker allows teens to discover how speakers work while building their own. It contains a LED Bluetooth speaker with remote control and 10 LED lights. Soldering is required for this project so make sure you have a soldering iron at home and your teen knows how to solder or give them a lesson ahead of them assembling this gift. Best for ages 13+
2023 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES
AGE-APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- Gifts for Teachers
- Gifts for Gadget Lovers
- Best Subscriptions
- Gifts for Runners & Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Gifts that Give Back
- Gifts for People Who Love Their Dogs (inspired by Goldie and Murphy, of course)
Codey Rocky Giveaway!
To enter, leave a comment about which STEM gift from the list above someone you know would love to get and why. Use the Rafflecopter form below for extra entries. I will send the winner Codey Rocky when the Rafflecopter giveaway ends. Winner must provide a shipping address in the United States.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES FROM LAST YEAR
Need other ideas? Here’s a look at last year’s gift guides:
- Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
- College Students
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-tween)
- Best Age-Appropriate Advent Calendars for Kids
- Best Subscription Boxes for All Ages
- Gifts for Teachers
- Gifts for People Who Love Their Dogs (inspired by Goldie and Murphy, of course)
- Fair Trade Holiday Gifts
- Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun
- Gifts for Outdoor Adventures
- Gifts for Gadget Lovers
- 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!
Note to PR: I am happy to accept items for review to consider for specialty guides which will publish after Thanksgiving. Please be specific about the products you’d like me to consider reviewing in your pitch and if you’re able to offer a reader giveaway. Giveaway items will be directly shipped to readers upon conclusion of the giveaway. Thanks for understanding I’m on a short deadline to publish gift guides and do not have the bandwidth to return samples during this extremely busy time of the year.