Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here. Millions will be spent in the next few days on holiday presents for kids. A few weeks ago, I asked for STEM gift suggestions and promised I would create an updated list if I heard from enough of you. And I did, so I am. Here goes:
Babies and Preschoolers
Hilary Graham suggested plush microbes from ThinkGeek. Hilary and Marianne Mara both noted that author Chris Ferrie has a series of science themed board books for babies.
Another blog subscriber said they bought their 3-year-old the Fisher Price Code-a-Pillar for his birthday and that he really likes it.
Vicki Davis, from Healthcare IT Leaders, won the prize for the most suggestions and the most detail. She said she wished that she was a little girl again so she could play and learn with these amazing toys. She provided age range, costs, and where to buy each item – her complete and detailed list is in the comments on my previous post. I’ve broken it out by age groups here.
Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set lets budding inventors create whatever they want with a colorful set of interchangeable gears. Children learn about complex systems and creative problem solving.
GoldieBlox has construction toy and storybook sets that feature a girl engineer character. These have been award winning products.
My daughter, Ann, with a “hint, hint” in her comment said the Classic Builder Pink Set from Baby First looks like hours of fun. The hint is for either an upcoming birthday or Christmas present for my grandkids.
My StarBridge Advisors colleague, David Muntz, said his wife is giving their 8-year-old granddaughter a coding camp experience. Sounds like fun to me!!
Jennifer Dennard, founder of #healthitchicks, is a leading proponent of developing women in IT. She said she will be purchasing Ozobots for her entire family. These little robots teach kids to code in creative ways. Both of her daughters use them in their respective STEM classes in elementary and middle school. Even her husband has said he’d like a few to play with!
More from Vicki –
Scientific Explorer Ant Lab Gel Station is an ant farm that is a great way for kids to start learning to observe the natural world around them.
Dance Code featuring Disney Princess Belle is an Amazon Exclusive. Dance Code empowers kids to create choreography for the ultimate dance partner. This innovative play experience introduces early coding techniques in a fun way.
LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit is a NAPPA Silver Award Winner where kids can design and build 10 amazing moving machines.
Mega Fossil Mine is a kit from National Geographic that lets them dig up real fossils.
SmartLab Toys Ultimate Secret Formula Lab allows kids to explore the secrets of science.
Elenco SCL-175B Snap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery Kit gives kids a hands-on introduction to electronics so they can make real working circuits and devices. Another award-winning product.
Many of the suggestions for elementary ages are good for middle school ages as well.
Jared Johnson, a Digital Health Top 100 Influencer, suggested Makey Makey, a circuit board that allows kids to connect electrodes to conductive materials like bananas and use them as game controllers. His ten-year-old loves it.
One more from Vicki –
Makeblock Starter Robot Kit is a way for kids to get started in the exciting world of robotics. They’ll learn beginning electronics and programming.
Finally, there was basic advice from Louis Schwartz for the younger children, “Read to them every day.” I couldn’t agree more on this one. I have become the “grand aunt” with a tradition of buying a new book each Christmas for my six grand nephews and nieces back in my hometown of Minneapolis. And of course, I try to add to my own grandchildren’s libraries each year. So far I’ve found Andrea Beaty’s book, “Rosie Revere, Engineer” that I think my five year old granddaughter will like. Beaty has also written “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Ada Twist, Scientist”.
I hope these ideas can ease some of your shopping stress this holiday season. Here’s to the kids and our future STEM workforce!
Thanks to all who so graciously offered suggestions. Happy holidays!