Are you searching for toys that aren’t just fun, but educational too? If so, these STEM gift ideas could be exactly what you need.
What is STEM?
But first, let's take a moment and talk about why STEM is such a big deal.
So why is STEM important?
STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
According to ID Tech, the number of STEM jobs between 2017 and 2027 will grow 13 percent, compared to 9 percent for non-STEM jobs. Positions in computing, engineering, and advanced manufacturing will lead the way.
Further, compared to the median earning for all other types of jobs in the US ($19.30), STEM-related jobs pay really well (a current average of $38.85/hr).
Why is STEM important?
It's important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives.
So anything medical, computer-related – essentially, it's everywhere around us, and we take it for granted. For example, it's the very foundation of food production, manufacturing, healthcare, computer-based fields (like cybersecurity) and so much more.
Basically, with technology increasing by leaps and bounds in our lives and the ever-growing need for medical innovations and innovations in general, STEM careers will continue growing at higher rates than non-STEM careers will.
That means that our kids need to have STEM education. They need to know coding and so many other skills that we didn't.
In order to help our kids, STEM needs to be where the kids are. STEM opportunities need to be right there in front of our kids so they learn these increasingly vital skills.
The benefits of STEM toys
While there are a lot of educational toys out there, not all of them are designed to boost STEM skills. So, why are STEM toys considered more educational?
STEM toys introduce your kids to the skills needed for STEM activites and careers. Benefits of STEM toys include:
- Problem solving
- Cognitive development
- Overcoming challenges
- many more
In the long term, STEM toys will also help your child to learn more about specific core subjects. So, by the time they start learning these subjects in school, they’ll already have a good grasp of the concepts.
There are a lot of STEM toys available on the market and not all of them offer the same educational and fun element as others. So, if you’re looking to invest in this area, here are my recommendations for the vest quality and variety available:
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STEM Gift Ideas for Kids
Learn design thinking, problem solving, engineering and more by inventing and remixing robot constructions.
Simply snap Cubelets magnetic faces together to start building. Pair with the free companion app to remote control or change the way your Cubelets behave with Personality Swap.
Cubelets allow your child to play with the big ideas behind better thinking while learning new skills.
This is a toy that grows with your child – I love that! Cubelets are basic enough for young kids but have enough programming features to keep teenagers interested.
With Cubelets, kids learn skills such as:
- cause & effect
- critical thinking
- design & engineering
- computer science basics
- parallel programming and more!
Aimed at children aged 6 and over, this awesome science kit teaches the basics of science in a fun, hands-on way. Featuring 11 unique activities, your kids will have hours of fun carrying out mind-blowing experiments!
Help them create an explosive color-changing volcano, a stunning test tube sunset and watch in amazement as they change the color of grapes! It’s dynamic science at its finest and all of the experiments can be carried out right at home.
Teach your kids all about Geodes with this exclusive kit from National Geographic. Featuring 10 high-quality geodes, the whole family can enjoy cracking them open to reveal the hidden crystals inside.
The geodes range from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a ping pong ball, and all have been mined from numerous sources. Every geode is different too, so you’ll never know whether you’re about to crack open a calcite, amethyst, quartz or fluorite.
As well as the geodes themselves, the kit also comes with a beautiful 16-page learning guide. This teaches kids how they are formed and the different varieties that can be found in nature.
The Crayola color chemistry set for kids is jam-packed with playful experiments exploring a favorite subject—color!
50 creative science experiments will come to life with this Color Chemistry set. Real Crayola Scientists designed these educational activities, including 16 experiments kids can complete out of the box with the Crayola art supplies.
After they’ve worked through erupting volcano, glow worms, and many other experiments, there are 36 other science-inspired ideas to test.
This Amazon exclusive K’Nex 100 model building set comes with a staggering 863 pieces and is for kids 7 and up. The K’Nex connectors and rods can be put together in a variety of ways, enabling kids to create a huge range of shapes, structures, and figures.
What sets this kit apart, is the fact it comes with numerous moving pieces too. So, the structures your kids create can actually move, making them much more exciting than your average model building sets. The instructional booklet shows you how to create 100 different models.
This kit has outstanding developmental benefits, helping to enhance key areas such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.
This incredibly cute robot will teach your kids key STEM skills in a fun, interactive way. They will learn screen-free coding in a matter of minutes, using an easy remote programmer. Suitable for children as young as 5, Botley grows with your child and can be used for many years to come.
Included with Botley, you’ll find a 77-piece activity kit including coding cards, a remote programmer, 27 obstacle building pieces and detachable robot arms. There’s also a great starter guide and numerous coding challenges included.
This awesome robot is a Toy of the Year finalist 2019, and it offers endless fun and learning opportunities.
MudWatt is a bio-energy pet that runs on living microbes and offers long-term fun and learning. Kids maximize their MudWatt's power by experimenting with different soils, different foods from the fridge (like Gatorade), and different temperatures.
Along the way, they learn about renewable energy, sustainability, microbiology, electricity, and more.
As your microbes grow, the LED blinks faster and faster! The free MudWatt Explorer App lets kids measure the blinks to discover their MudWatt’s power level and microbe population.
Kids track their MudWatt’s growth over the course of two weeks, and unlock a fun and educational comic! If apps aren't your thing, there is also a calculator spreadsheet for tracking your data manually.
I love that this is a continuous science project. Once it’s done, it turns into a mud powered clock. We love that as Shewies multiply, they unlock comic book levels!
An ideal STEM magnetic construction set, GeoSmart enables fun learning at home. Featuring bright colors, 30 strong magnetic pieces and a patented double-safety system, GeoSmart offers unsurpassed safety and durability for endless creative play!
GeoSmart Flip Bot is a finalist for the TIA 2019 Construction Toy of the Year!
This kit is a really fun activity for kids to solve a mystery using forensic science! It has two different mysteries and each one will probably take somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half.
Compare evidence, ask questions and make observations using different senses.
- Solve 2 exciting mysteries with 8 activities
- Match fingerprints, DNA, test powders and liquids and decode secret messages
- Each activity will have you acting and thinking like a real forensic scientist
- Includes baking soda, citric acid, flour, suspect cards, ph strips, filters, cups, markers, bags, decoder, cylinder, test tube, cap, painting and more
- Recommended for children 8 years of age and older
Introduce your kids to Cozmo, the creative coding robot.
Built with advanced AI, Cozmo can recognize you, remember your name and evolve with you the more you play with him. He loves to play games, whether it’s memory match, lifting up power cubes or Quick Tap.
The coding aspect is simple and easy to use. He’s one of the most advanced STEM robots on the market and offers exceptional value for money.
As you can see, there is a great range of STEM toys for children. Whether you’re hoping to teach them coding, or you’re looking for a model building set that will aid in their core development skills, there is something on the list above to suit you.
STEM toys are fast gaining in popularity and it isn’t hard to see why. Helping to teach your child today's essential skills, these toys will set them up for a bigger, brighter future.
Tell us in the comments: What STEM activities or toys have you used in the past? What do you think of STEM toys? What items or ideas are catching your attention today?