Looking for some educational gifts this year that your kids will actually enjoy? Fear not. We’ve collected nine gifts for kids to inspire an interest (or further the interest they already have) in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Some, like the do-it-yourself computer kit, will have them actually engaging in STEM pursuits for themselves. Others, like the Robot Turtles card game, will teach them the basics of STEM thinking without them even knowing.
The View-Master from your childhood? It hasn’t disappeared, it’s just gotten a facelift and a technological boost. Satisfy your nostalgia with this kid-friendly Virtual Reality starter pack that you might want to keep for yourself. Just like the View-Master you had, but with a compartment for a smartphone inside to put your kids (or yourself) right in the action. What better way to get kids to appreciate technology than to get them using it?($24)
For when your kids want to play with something that doesn’t involve a screen, Robot Turtles is a fun and educational card game that includes coding logic. Made for kids ages three to eight, the game involves moving the turtles around the board following instruction cards that teach kids about sequential thinking and other coding concepts without them even realizing they’re learning. ($25)
Kind of like an “experiment of the month club” for kids, the MEL Chemistry Set is an educational subscription that sends three exciting (and safe) chemistry sets per month straight to your kids. The first set is the Starter Kit which includes two experiments and all the equipment you’ll need for the next sets. After that, you’ll receive three new experiments every month to work on with your kids. For further learning, kids can check out MEL’s free, corresponding app. ($74 for the Starter Pack, $36 monthly after that)
An impressively personalized book that teaches kids about space. Your child plays the main character who gets lost in outer space and has to find their way back home. No, not just to Earth—to your actual house. Thanks to some pretty cool tech and personalization, this book truly guides your kids back to your address. When you order, fill in their name and address and choose the character you’d like to represent them. Then, the book will include a satellite image of your neighborhood on one of the last pages, when your child finally gets back home, plus a personal message from you on the first page. ($30)
For when Legos just aren’t doing the trick anymore, try Cubelets. These robotic building blocks connect using magnets, letting kids combine different blocks for different functions. There are three types of Cubelets, sensor blocks, action blocks, and thinking blocks. Each individual Cubelet has a function, too. Adding different Cubelets together gives your robot the ability to do different things, like drive, spin, light up, and more. Simple enough for kids as young as four, but with more advanced capabilities for older kids, Cubelets is pretty adaptable for any child interested in creating something awesome. ($160 for six, $330 for twelve)
While this is not an advanced robotics kit, it is a system of pre-made pieces and storybook instructions to get kids as young as six interested in hardware. Plus, with a Raspberry-Pi based software platform, this kit from Kano gets kids writing bits of code to play games when they’re finished. ($100)
This hardware kit specifically designed for kids includes 12 different projects, including a bubble blowing machine, wireless doorbell, lamp, and more. Plus, it comes with instructions for even more inventions. This kit includes all the bits and accessories your kids will need to design, create, and start all over. It’s the “ultimate invention toolbox” for kids. ($200)
A coding challenge subscription box for kids, BitsBox can be bought as a monthly gift or a one-time box. The box includes tons of physical elements to get kids interested in the coding tasks inside, like app trading cards, books, toys, and stickers. In the app book, kids search for the app of their choosing, then use the code from the book on the BitsBox site to create the app for themselves, changing the code as they so choose. ($30 per month)
A pop-up book that works to inspire an interest in how electronics work. The book shares an illustrated look at the basics of computing, how coding works, and how computers talk to each other. Plus, the book includes links to sites for further info and related games. ($15)
Photo via Flickr