Gift Guide: Perfect Presents That Promote STEM Learning
Learning| By Amy Vagne | April 15, 2020
STEM learning helps kids develop problem-solving skills. Use our STEM gift guide to pick a fun present that encourages children’s exploration.
The Best STEM Gifts for Preschool Kids
Young minds are naturally curious about the world, so look for presents that spark their interest and enhance enthusiasm for STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The perfect STEM gifts for preschoolers blend the educational with the enjoyable, and allow for hands-on experience and open-ended play. And they’re so fun kids don't even realise they’re learning!
A maths-rich and open-ended activity that can be used to model topics like symmetry and fractions. Teacher-approved fun and one of the best educational toys for kids in our STEM gift guide.
Wooden blocks are a classic building toy that every child should own. Arranging, balancing and stacking blocks provides endless opportunities for play-based learning.
A seriously cute robotics kit, this inchworm has just 10 pieces and is perfect for little hands (and helps them learn fine motor skills!). There’s a sticker set included so they can exercise creativity in the decoration, too.
Introduce toddlers to human anatomy with this fun magnetic playset. This STEM toy gets bonus points for also developing their hand-eye coordination.
The Best STEM Gifts for Young Primary Children
Give a child the gift of creativity and critical thinking. For kids aged between 5 and 8 years of age, the focus should shift to playful educational toys and STEM activities that fuel their passions and encourage collaboration and communication. Anything that helps hone their technology skills is recommended.
Transform a tablet into an educational hub. This clever device-led activity set teaches problem-solving through games and real-life modelling.
Suitable for beginners (it’s recommended for ages five and up), this interactive project is about constructing a robot toy from scratch. Plus, the cute zebra design makes this a fantastic STEM gift for girls – and boys!
A single-player game that helps develop spatial awareness and strategic thinking. It can be adapted to a child’s ability level. The 5-piece set includes card storage, 40 challenge cards with solutions, 15 blocking cars and trucks, 1 red escape car and a storage bag.
This cool science kit contains everything young minds need to try 20 simple experiments. A great launch pad for more sophisticated scientific concepts.
The Best STEM Gifts for Upper Primary Students
For kids aged 8+, the best STEM gifts encourage deep thinking and connect to real-world applications. This is the right stage to get them hooked on all things tech. Think educational toys, kits and gadgets that introduce kids to learn coding and robotics, as well as build their interest in STEM subjects.
Show us a kid who doesn’t love slime – it’s icky, sticky and totally tactile fun. This is one of the coolest science-related gift items out there. Learning to follow a recipe is a bonus skill.
Budding engineers and nascent physicists will love this clever game that boasts 60 electrical circuit challenges. This game develops crucial STEM skills for everyone from beginners right through to experts.
This STEM learning toy includes everything kids need to build their own ball machine. It has more than 250 pieces, and the finished product shoots balls up and around the arch. The kit is aimed at ages eight and up, but it requires patience and logic — kids will likely need a helping hand from mum or dad. There are two other designs included, so they can deconstruct and reconstruct several times over, all the while absorbing learning about engineering and kinetic motion.
A tiny robotic ball that kids can control via apps. This is great for kids aged 8 and up to begin to learn coding. The future is here!
The Best STEM Gifts for Tweens
As kids get older, they’re looking for DIY STEM learning projects they can tackle independently. Steer clear of anything too academic; they get enough of that at school. The right gift will capture their attention and foster a love for learning, while retaining creativity and playfulness.
There’s hours of fun to be had with this cool robotics kit: two designs are included in the app, but kids can also freestyle, making their own bot creations. The app guides them on the construction and in-built actions, and there’s also a whole section devoted to coding. Buzzbot/Muttbot is geared towards 8 year olds and older — the app’s instructions are clear and detailed, but the first build can be tricky (even for adults!), so be ready to help them work through the steps. Find out more about other cool robots and coding kits.
Are your kids begging for a challenge? Try this coding kit, with 350 snap-together pieces. The end result? An articulated robotic arm that can hold, lift and move objects. In one word: cool. It’s another kit that’s geared towards 8 and up, but like most of the bigger VEX projects, will require some serious patience and concentration. A little assistance from a parent will go a long way.
This go-to gift makes computer science and coding fun as well as educational. Tweens will learn how sensors work and master the art of programming a robot.
The most coveted option in our STEM gift guide for photography/videography buffs, or anyone interested in science and aviation.