15 STEM games that your kids will actually love


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Much like parents, we’re always on the lookout for gifts that can keep kids engaged, improve creativity, and – Shh, don’t tell them Make them learn something. STEM games are a great way to get your kids to code, build, and learn more about the real world, all while having fun. Putting an educational twist on playtime doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Check out some of our favorite toy gift ideas that fall squarely into the STEM space – namely STEM. From a cool robot factory to magnetic building blocks and even a chocolate pen for budding chefs, here are our suggestions for the best STEM toys to give your kids a try. These hands-on educational games and activities will have young children build, mix, and explore to help light the spark in them. We wouldn’t blame you for wanting to play with them yourself.

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Kids who love candy (and who doesn’t?) will appreciate this Gummy Candy Lab set. Not only will they learn different chemistry concepts, but they’ll eat delicious foods in the process. The kit comes with everything they need to make the candy, including a plastic mold, carrageenan (natural gelatin), cherry and lemon flavors, and storage bags. Maybe if you’re really nice, they’ll share.

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The fun and challenging K’nex set will keep these budding engineers busy for hours. The best part? The end result is a massive 3-foot-high motorized Ferris wheel that will provide more entertainment for endless hours. This set is recommended for ages 9 and up, but keep in mind that younger children will likely need some adult supervision to help them with the more complex pieces.

educational insights

If you’re looking for coding games, Artie teaches coding line by line… by drawing lines on paper. Kids program this expressive robot friend to doodle designs with three color markers loaded in its back. It has built-in tutorials and an easy-to-follow guide so kids can jump right in after opening the package – and seeing something happen on the paper gives you instant gratification. He teaches five coding languages: Blockly and Snap! and JavaScript, Python, and C++.

Artie can also sense colors and follow lines, is remotely controlled, and has a ‘Shelf Sensor’ to avoid falls off tables.

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National Geographic collections are a great way to get kids interested in science. Even if your child is not completely interested in geology, he will be fascinated by these sparkling geodes. Kids get to open each geode to see the crystals inside. The kit also comes with an educational guide, so once you open the geode, you can learn about the different shapes of the crystals. And who doesn’t like smashing things with a hammer?

educational insights

Circuit Explorer is similar to a Lego game, but this STEM skills game teaches the basics of how a circuit works in programming. Children learn that they need to connect the lines on the side to complete a circle and make objects light up or move. Choose from three different combinations with rocket ships, Mars vehicles and space stations, or mix and match parts to create your own monster machine. They can even communicate with Lego bricks.

Puzzle Games

There is a whole world of Lego for education, and you won’t find it in the gaming arcade. The Lego Learning System contains sets filled with hundreds of bricks and instructions to guide students along several lessons – each set targeting different ages of children. These teaching sets are designed for the classroom, but anyone can purchase these educational toys directly from Lego for hands-on learning at home. (And there are guides for teachers to help parents, too.)

Our favorite is the Spike Essential Learning Kit for Grades 1-5, which includes some tech pieces like the light matrix, color sensor, and motor. Kids also use an app to program their creativity. With 449 bricks and 40 lessons, the set teaches computational thinking, design engineering, physics and math skills – all told through the story of the adorable Lego characters. If you want something cheaper without the technical and programming parts, but still want to keep the physics and math lessons, check out BricQ Motion Essential Kit $120.

Thames and Cosmos

Thames & Kosmos makes some of the best DIY engineering toys that are often hard to find. (We look at you, candy claw machine And the Mega Cyborg Hand.) But here’s a fun gem we still see widely available: This weird, wavy, inflatable arm-tub man has a blower that lets kids experiment with air pressure, air flow, and aerodynamics. Air basketball. air cannon. Air tube man. Suitable for ages 8 and up, we stress “up” because it’s clear you’ll want this for your desk. (There is no judgment here.)

Thames and Cosmos

Making your own robot does not require programming skills. This is the Kids First Robot Factory from Thames & Kosmos, which is good for introducing kids to basic engineering concepts. The guide is an illustrated storybook that guides youngsters through building eight different battery-powered robots. With this building toy, kids can also make their own primitive tools, and as they go through the story they learn why each robot moves in its own way.

3 slaves

Here’s a different twist on a DIY robot. Kids can build anything their little minds can imagine out of plastic with this 3D printing pen. 3Doodler Start Plus is slim and light, making it easy for little hands to hold. With a 30-minute charge, this pen melts plastic sticks so kids can draw in any shape, but the nozzle and melted plastic aren’t hot – so they won’t burn their little hands. (And I tested it out; you can put its tip on your skin and draw on your finger. I had no worries about giving it to my kids.) Draw directly on paper or on a table and the plastic design will pop right out.

Comes with 72 threads and activity guide with 10 new projects. To raise the level of learning, there is a $9 Edu Stem Accessory Kit With more activities.

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Do you want something more delicious? Draw it in the kitchen with chocolate using Skyrocket’s Chocolate Marker. The heating tray keeps the chocolate sticky as your battery-powered pen absorbs the sweet stuff in the cartridge. Draw, all, repeat. This fun pen comes in different colors, and little hands will enjoy the ease of filling in the molds. You can also draw the shape you want on wax paper and it will cool within 10 minutes. Sure, this activity is more of a creative art – but there are chemistry lessons that you can teach with cold confectionery. This makes desserts a science!

KiwiCo

There are easy ways to get kids to be cunning even if you’re not the skilled type. I sign up for KiwiCo Crates, which are hands-on learning activities in a box. Packed with a few science and engineering lessons, it comes in the mail and caters to different age groups. I’m a longtime subscriber to my kids, and love the quality of the items. But it’s not just for the little tikes; There are boxes for all ages – even engineering boxes for adults. Subscriptions start at $18.50 per month, but you can also shop at the KiwiCo store or purchase items individually.

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If you are stuck trying to find ideas for screen-free activities, well, just look at the old school screen. Light Bright is back. The machine has been scaled down a bit but it still has the pegs I liked to screw it into the holes. May all this creative thinking and pixel art inspire the programmer of tomorrow’s games.

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This cute robot for age 6 and up teaches basic programming, has different challenges and is screen-free without the need for a phone or tablet. Botley can detect objects and move around them, follow repeat commands, navigate obstacle courses, and follow a black line that your child designs. And with the included 77-piece activity set, there’s plenty to keep the kids busy.

Blockaroo Games

Even babies as young as 18 months can learn STEM with magnetic foam makers. Soft blocks connect easily and rotate so you can build creatures with head, wings, elbows and other body parts. And don’t worry about the clumps getting dirty because they are dishwasher and shower safe.

My 2-year-old son never gets tired of them after a year, and my 5-year-old still plays with them too creating all kinds of vehicles and creatures. It is always profitable to have a game with a good shelf life, and you can expand this educational STEM game with many fixed chests.

Magformers

I really like this engineering brain training game. There are many courses going in the direction of magnetic building blocks, but I personally liked Magformers for how they were designed and the options for different types of box sets, so they could easily be expanded for different age groups. My advice: get a starter set with wheels, so the kids can give their creativity some speed. Some models can even be controlled by remote control.

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