Ready to start your holiday shopping? This year there are more STEM-inspired gifts than ever!
While there are far too many choices to provide a comprehensive list, we’ve tried to give an overview of what is new this year, and what parents we’ve spoken to are looking for.
Tight on space or have too many toys? Some clutter-free ideas:
- Memberships – give the gift of experience with a family membership to the Rochester Museum and Science Center, The Strong: National Museum of Play, or the Seneca Park Zoo.
- Magazine Subscriptions – kids love getting mail, why not send them something monthly to keep the excitement going all year. RocketSTEM, Make:, Cricket Media (several great choices for all ages CLICK, ASK, MUSE, DIG, and FACES), National Geographic for Kids, and Kids, Code, and Computer Science magazine are among some of the choices available. Even the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has their own magazine: Engineering, Go For It (eGFI).
- Redbox or Netflix gift certificates or subscriptions to access the many STEM inspired films and series that are now available. Follow up with materials to do these 20 STEM activities inspired by kids movies.
- Toy subscriptions – services such as Pley let you order a set, play with it, return it and get something else. Repeat all year long!
Spin off their current favorites:
- Do your kids love the popular TV series Shark Tank as much as mine? STEM Center USA was the focus of a recent episode, a company that focuses exclusively on innovative STEM products.
- Look around at what they play with the most. Is there another level that will enhance their play?
- Do they like carving? Take it up a notch to 3D carving. Inventables has a great selection for the makers on your list.
Great ideas for Girls:
Did you know that today’s elementary school girls are actually more interested in pursuing a STEM career than their male classmates are? (souce: Fortune) And yet, there is still a great disparity in the field (see our recent blog on this topic). Toy manufacturers are responding to this increase with STEM-inspired offerings specifically with girls in mind. Some highlights:
- The folks over at Mighty Girl always put together a great holiday list, and they didn’t disappoint this year. Building Her Dreams: Building and Engineering Toys for Mighty Girls focuses on classic building, construction and engineering toys, while the Holiday Gift Guide has a broader variety, with selections broken down by age group and category.
- Goldiblox has a wide range again this year, from a line of real-life hero action figures to award-winning construction toys, this company focuses on maintaining the natural curiosity that many girls have, and giving them playthings that nurture their interest in building and engineering.
- At Project MC², where “smart is the new cool” they have apps, videos, games and plenty of gear for girls of all ages.
- Roominate is another girl-inspired, girl-led company focusing on inspiring and encouraging girls to pursue their interests in engineering by teaching girls through play.
Looking for lots of ideas to browse?
STEM Wish Lists: Many major retailers have caught on to the STEM interest and now have their own guides available with tons of choices in every price range
- The Ultimate Maker’s Gift Guide
- Amazon STEM Toys
- Kids, Code, and Computer Science has a nice list of Video Game gift ideas
The Classic Building Blocks:
No holiday STEM list would be complete without a Lego mention. Legos are a holiday classic for many families. While you are shopping for new sets or accessories to complement what you already have at home, take a few minutes and join the Lego Club (FREE!) which gives ideas and inspiration to your builders throughout the year. Since most STEM-enthusiasts already have a healthy collection of Legos at home, we’re going to suggest our favorite accessories.
- Brick Separator – these make great stocking stuffers!
- Base Plates – you can never have enough of these
- Lego Storage Systems – many ideas, for any size collection!
- Lego Slippers – sadly these are only available in France this year, but this item is sure to be a hit among parents. Who among us hasn’t felt the agony of a stray Lego underfoot? Hopefully our 2016 Wish List will be able to announce that they are available on our side of the pond.
Whether you are planning on battling the crowds on Black Friday, or going with the tech-friendly Cyber Monday, we hope we’ve given you a few new ideas. Please share with us your own finds and suggestions!