STEM is a real buzz word in education at the moment, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – these are deliberately grouped because they’re essential for the development of critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. But when it comes to toys – STEM toys are the ones that get the minds buzzing! They’re the kind of toys that involve experimentation, creativity, building or collecting things and they’re the BEST kind of toys for Christmas because they’ll keep kids playing and discovering the whole year long. I’ve rounded up the best STEM toys for Christmas 2018 that are perfect for gift ideas for boys and girls. Check out our environmentally friendly toys below too! Lots of brilliant ideas for Christmas.
First up is a super cute robot! I love that it’s called Tobbie- suits him perfectly! But the best thing about this robot is you build it yourself! Once built, it can roam around or follow you and interacts with you a little like a pet! He has his own emotions and even sounds alerts if you forget to play with him! With fun sounds and effects and LED eyes, it’s a robot that’s very satisfying to build and great fun to play with.
Ages 8+ – Tobbie is a perfect gift for those that are inquisitive or budding engineers!
If you have a child that loves coding or is interested in computing – then the Boson Kit is the best STEM toy for Christmas. The DFRobot Boson Kit is a set of coding-free electronic building blocks for young inventors. What I like about it is the Boson modules are divided into four kinds, easily identifiable by colour: blue ones are for inputs, green for outputs, yellow for functions, and pink for power. There’s no coding or soldering necessary to use Boson — just connect the blocks together, and you’re good to go. What’s also great about this kit is it’s a perfect starter kit and there are an impressive variety of other kits that you can add as the child becomes older and more experienced. The other selling point of Boson is the compatibility of the modules with other things. You can connect Boson modules to Lego bricks, screw them onto things, place them on a fridge with magnets, or velcro them to a wall! Boson modules can even make paper move! Boson is much more reasonable than other coding kits I’ve seen on market and starts at £54 and can be used for children aged 6+. The possibilities with Boson are endless and I really love the youtube videos available which spark imaginations with fantastic ideas that you can create with your Boson Kit.
I’ve seen a fair amount of Science Kits for kids and often I find they’ll a little disappointing. But the Stepping into Science Kit is a real gem of a STEM toy. It contains 25 fun experiments focusing on 5 key areas: nature, physics, chemistry, air, and water. The experiments included are original and introduce kids to the Science method as well as making them go wow! Kids can build a barometer, see how water climbs and watch plants sweat. Or they discover how a magnifying glass enlarges, how sundials tell time, and how a motion picture works. There’s even instructions on how to build a soap-driven boat! It includes a 48 page booklet which explains everything in detail and although it states from 5 years old, there are some experiments included that my 10 year old also loved.
HAPE Pallina is a great game for kids of all ages but is a real game of skill – it’s much harder then it looks! It takes a steady hand and plenty of concentration to set it up and get the balls to stay put so the setting up of the game is as much fun as actually playing it!! If you remember Ker Plunk then this game is similar but easier to play (the kerplunk sticks would always get stuck!) Pallina is well made and a beautiful toy too – you won’t mind it sitting on your living shelves! It’s a good game to develop fine motor skills and build strategy too!
The Space Journey subscription box is a fabulous STEM present idea. It gives children aged 4-10 everything they would need for a successful space mission. They get their very own mission log book, astronaut passport, photos, stickers space suitcase and an interesting fact card, as well as a cool new souvenirs such as space sunglasses or real astronaut food every month. We’ve trialled other subscription boxes and this one is very high quality with a gorgeous suitcase to keep everything in but it also makes a brilliant play item for their explorations. Every month, kids receive a personalised letter from their fluffy friends like Geo the owl and Atlas the pup, and each month they will learn about a different planet. Our kids loved the solar system map and loved stamping the astronaut passport and updating the log book with information. This is a really fun way to learn about the solar system!
This is a marble run like to other! Firstly, it’s well built and of excellent quality. Secondly, it takes skill and precision to set up (although this is suitable for children aged 4 upwards) which makes it a fab STEM toy as it develops your building skills. Lastly, the Medieval-themed Quadrilla Marble Run will ignite your child’s imagination thanks to its unique features, such as its watermill, rotary tower and drawbridge. It’s a lot of fun to place numerous marbles into the rotary tower and twist the flag to release them one by one!
I love that this 12 in 1 solar and hydraulic robot kit is a great way to teach children about alternative energy sources whilst also having fun. As the name suggests, there are 12 different animals or robots to create such as an elephant, scorpion, forklift and buggy, using a mixture of solar and hydraulic power. Totally the best thing for parents is that this kit DOES NOT REQUIRE BATTERIES!! Amazing! This is a present that will provide hours of enjoyment both from the building, creating and playing with the finished product at the end!
If you’re looking for a fun Science subscription box for kids of all ages, then hands down The Curiosity Box wins. It has 4 activities and 2 collectable items such as conical flasks and molymods that can be used in future boxes and for future experiments. The experiments included were not the usual run of the mill experiments either, we made our very own bone and a gruesome glowing mixture with raining and floating drops of blood! The box contained real chemicals such as Iodine which really wowed my little scientists and there were plenty of oohs and aaahs when we changed the colour of the liquid with Iodine. This box kept my little inquisitive bunch busy for a whole afternoon (they are aged 4-10) and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone as a thoughtful gift idea that will keep on giving throughout the year!
If you need a present idea for a child that like building or lego, then Strictly Briks are the perfect idea. They develop a child’s imagination by allowing them to build vertical buildings with lego – like a garage or house – the possibilities are endless. Strictly Briks are compatible with all the major brick brands such as Lego and Megablocks so they are a brilliant addition to any sets of these bricks that you may already have. The base plates can be stacked vertically to build some amazing creations, you can also make your own toy storage from them and use them to display figurines and models. The base plates can be stacked using your own bricks or you can use Strictly Briks spacer bricks which are available to buy as part of other packs. A great STEM toy for little builders!
This is a Science Kit for younger kids (aged 5+) and involves dissolving the ‘bath-bomb’ like pods (extra sets can be purchased for this when they run out) in the reactor to reveal collectable creatures to identify. It’s a lot of messy fun and comes with a proper ‘grown up set Scientific Lab’ so younger kids can feel like real chemists even though it’s also colourful and chunky for little hands! Once the pods are used up, you can continue the experiments with other household items or continue with your own bath bombs. For our full review of the Super Lab – see here…..
If you’ve never come across Rosie Revere before – what a delight this book is! It’s a perfect book for aspiring engineers but also gets across the important message of ‘perseverance wins out’! Rosie Revere dreams of becoming a great engineer. She creates wonderful gadgets and gizmos – but only when no one is watching! Not only an amusing book, Rosie Revere is beautifully designed, making clever use of colour, pattern and white space; children will love exploring all the wacky details of Rosie’s imaginative creations on every page. This book is a big hit with my daughters and it’s brilliant to see a fantastic, witty, strong girl character in children’s books!
This fun gadget is an educational DIY science kit but also an environmentally friendly toy too and all of the parts are included to make your very own air powered car. All you will need to help you build it is a screwdriver, ruler, hammer, scissors, permanent marker and some tissue paper. Once it is built, simply fill up the engine by pumping air into the bottle and once full, let go! This car can race around and reach rapid speeds, travelling up to 50 metres in only 35 seconds. There is no need for batteries so this is a winner for parents! This Air Powered Car is a great STEM toy to get your children interested in science and DIY this Christmas.
This is such a clever book! With beautifully vivid illustrations of bones and skulls, meet a whole host of amazing skeletons and learn about what makes each one unique, from how to tell a gorilla from a human to how to recognize a turtle just from its skull. The book contains lots of lift the flaps to discover each skeleton’s animal owner, and find out amazing anatomy facts along the way! It will encourage those interested in medicine/biology to look deeper into the subject. This is large hardback book with so much detail and includes proper scientific terms and names (exoskeleton, coelacanth), and a look at the different bones in bodies, from wings to teeth to legs. But, that said, there is not too much text on a page and plenty of illustrations and loads of flaps with hidden information and guessing puzzles to keep you reading. ‘Who Owns These Bones ‘ is brilliant book for kids interested in Biology.
This is a great robot kit with great play value as it contains 4 different robots to make including a cricket and a trailer. The guidance is 8 years plus but our nearly 8 year old needed a little more guidance for adults so this is more of a kit to be enjoyed together. A battery is needed for this but only one AA battery which provides it with four different speeds. We liked that the four different modes were entirely different, for example there is a walking mode and a crawling trailer mode too.
This funny and fascinating guide is bursting with brilliant facts about the atomic ingredients that make up everything around us. The illustrations are quirky and colourful and segment the facts beautifully to help them not be overwhelming. This is like a very cool visual periodic table – it really brings the elements of Chemistry to life, The Element in the Room is nothing like a dry text book that just dishes up the facts but something really fun that really helps children engage with tricky subjects of materials and elements.
Timeline: Science Museum is a card game played using 109 cards. Each card depicts an event on both sides, with the year in which that it occurred on only one side. It’s a fab, fun way to learn some of the key Science inventions and give kids a great grounding in both History and Science.
For younger kids, these are great blocks that are multi-purpose and guarantee a whole host of different play ideas. The blocks help children learn different colours and shapes. You can also use them to help understand the relationship between different numbers and the size of the blocks. On top of all that, you can also use them as building blocks! They are a lovely wooden colourful set which can withstand all that a baby can throw at it!
I hope you find the perfect gift amongst our STEM toys. If you’d like more advice for Christmas gifts, you can see our other gift lists here……
*The items in this gift guide were gifted items but all thoughts words and love of STEM toys are completely my own. I have only included toys that would make perfect gifts and that we genuinely love.*
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