2020... What a year!?! Nothing we expected is happening. But if there is one thing we can rely on, it's that KIDS LOVE PRESENTS! And they especially love gifts that last longer than a 15 minute play session. Like STEM gifts & STEAM gifts. And that's where this gift guide comes in. Gifts loaded with STEM & STEAM and fun toys & games that make them think don't get shoved to the back of the closet within a week. And that's exactly what we need in 2020...
To help you navigate shopping this year (because again, 2020...) I've pulled together my master shopping list of all the amazing STEM & STEAM Gift Ideas for Kids. I love playing with toys and seeing what’s new, especially in the world of STEM / STEAM. I just know that this MIT mom / engineer and kid approved list full of STEM toys, books, games, science kits, and more has something for the kiddos in your house. All of them loaded with science, technology, engineering, art, or math and designed for fun!
Books are one of our favorite gifts for kids because there's always something just right for every type of reader and maker kid. Here are some of my favorite activity, picture, non-fiction, and chapter books with a STEM spin.
Maybe you're looking for a gift that keeps on giving long after the day they unwrap it... STEAM Explorers is perfect!!! Think digital magazine meets online project portal in a safe, kid-friendly environment. (No more worrying about what might be hidden in that YouTube vid!) All engineer, teacher, and mom approved. And most definitely KID APPROVED!
Engineers learn from their mistakes, especially the epic ones. And so can your kids with this fun and funny walk through engineering mishaps. They'll read and do a partner project filled with topics like light reflection, earthquakes, and more.
Mini Masterpieces is an art activity book inspired by the masters. From painting in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night to circle-infused art inspired by Kandinsky, this book is a fun journey through art history.
Sure you can just Google or Wikipedia something when you want to learn about it, but there's nothing like flipping through a book instead. This updated encyclopedia is gorgeous and will keep kids reading and learning as they flip through the pages.
This book full of open-ended creative projects for kids is a total winner. Art Start's author, Rachelle from TinkerLab, has a way of making art both fun for kids and easy for parents to set up. It contains ideas for every week of the year.
It's out! The latest in every girl scientist's favorite series is ready for holiday shopping! My young scientist has loved this series for the cute characters, stories that engage, and science inspiration, too.
Need something that will occupy the kids and fire up their brain power? This book full of lots of puzzles, logic questions, visual exercises, and more has been fun for our whole family! We leave it on the coffee table for random time-filling fun.
This escape room-themed game is filled with challenging puzzles to solve and makes a great game-night addition to any house. Kids will learn problem-solving skills while having fun!
Love Monopoly but don't have the time? Big Money has all the upsides like real estate domination, money management, and dice, without the all day committment.
Strategy games are great for kids! They love planning their path and will especially love role playing with their favorite Disney villains. Each villain has a different strategy, making this game fun no matter how many times you play.
Dog Crimes is the newest sibling to one of our family's favorite games, Cat Crimes. The goal is to figure out which dog committed a crime, like digging up a plant or eating your dinner. Rounds start simple and advance as kids learn the process. It's perfect for quick game play while waiting.
Here's another cooperative game to keep the peace in the house! players work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from completing their wicked potion before the sun rises. It's a great gift for Hocus Pocus fans or to introduce your kids to a story you love.
Pictionary Air is a cool tech gadget upgrade to a favorite family game. Using the included smart phone app, any drawings players make will appear on the live feed video on the screen. It has all the fun of the original with added challenge and laughs of removing paper to draw on!
Work together to save the world by cracking the secret codes. Each player has a part of the code but needs to communicate with the others to get all the numbers they need. It's a great game for family game night!
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is another LBCB family favorite cooperative game. Help Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Ron beat their foes with magical spells. With every round, the young wizards learn more skills, get the help from favorite wizards, and race to make magic.
Got an origami-love in the house? Then this brain teaser game is definitely perfect! Figure out how to fold the paper to make a black and white square as shown in the challenge. There are 100 different levels that progress as you learn how to beat them.
Kids can control this remote control car with a wave of their hand or the standard controller too. Plus it does all the huge jumps, flips, and spins that full size monster trucks do, too.
Our family has LOVED playing Animal Crossing together on the Nintendo Switch. Kids can create their own island and build, make, and sell goods. Plus there are amazing safety controls they can play with friends.
Toybox has been the greatest addition to our home makerspace! We've loved designing toys, printing pre-designed ideas, even making parts for a cardboard building set. I love the kid-friendly safety features, too.
We love how this bot has both solar and battery power. Plus, this kit isn't just a build once and done type of kit as it can be reconfigured 12 different ways. It's a budget-friendly way to add some electronics to your kid's experiences, but please note it isn't coding controlled.
One of the best pieces of tech we've added to our routine this year has been an iPad. From drawing to coding to learning games to straight up fun, it's been way more valuable than simple screen time.
The Apple Pencil takes an iPad up a notch, especially for creativity. We combine it with apps like Procreate which help us make digital watercolors, collages, and more. There are tons of kid-friendly tutorials out there to help them build their skills.
Harry Potter fans will love this cool trick! This invisibility cloak pairs green screen technology with an iOS or Android app on your phone to take amazing pictures.
Star Wars and LEGO loves totally need this kit in their lives. Kids can build three different droids then code their movement with the drag and drop coding app. This is one of the best new robots out there for kids this year.
Baby Yoda. Do I need to say any more? This animatronic one moves like a display in Disneyland.
Arts & Crafts Kits
Drawing and painting can be meditative while be creative. These zen boards are a neat way to never run out of supplies. Just dip the brush into water to paint on the board. Wave the board to dry and start again.
Every kiddo that uses this art kit gets a completely different result. Because each color of string incorporated is based upon their answers to fun questions about themselves. Love this one!!
Hydro-dip is a really cool process where you use water to transfer printed designs to objects. Have you watched any of the videos on YouTube? This kit makes fun finger-skateboards with the process.
Paper quilling is an old art that gets a fun new spin with this kit. Build creatures, objects, and characters, with just some colored paper, an included tool, and some spinning fingers.
Paper making is so fun! It's a great activity to learn how one of our most basic supplies is made. Plus the end result is gorgeous. This kit has all the tools you need to get started.
Make an adorable koala perfect for displaying with this string art kit. Kids will wind their thread through the nails and then assemble the koala.
LEGOs are a family favorite every year. New in stores for 2020 are some really cool designs like the a rocket that will inspire your space loving kiddo. Or the Hidden Side series that combines the build with an app for extra play time. And we always love the sweet scenes of the Friends series like the new Jungle Rescue kit.
Tinkerers unite! This fun kit filled with lots of loose parts and project ideas will get kids dreaming and building. Plus the included case keeps everything neat between creative sessions.
Sports fans will love designing and building their very own stadium model. It's a perfect gift for showing that STEM shows up everywhere.
This kit is for the younger kids but I had to share because it's a great way to add sensory play to your next building session. The kit comes with building forms to help the playdough stand tall.
This kit brings something totally new and fun to the market. Virtual Reality! Kids can watch Bill Nye do the experiments at the same time they do!
This kit is a great way to bring colorful STEAM into your kiddo's life without having to gather any supplies. The gorgeous chromatography flowers they make will wow.
We're a firm believer in exploring real-world problems through hands-on activities. This water filtration kit makes it easy to learn about clean water.
Kids will love this chemistry station that makes them feel like a real scientist! The experiments are fun and the setup with the interlinking test tubes and vials is even more fun.
This kit is filled with 25+ experiments that sizzle, crackle, snap, boom, and safely explode. Kids will love experiencing the causes and effects while learning about the science behind them.
Eggs are natures gift wrap ;) And kids will get to dig out 12 different dinosaurs from their "fossilized" egg in this fun kit. The kit includes science-filled info cards for each dinosaur, too.