Well, it is that time of year again when we all turn towards finding presents for loved ones. Some people are so easy to buy for (and I’ve already bought for them!) and others are… Well, let’s say I’m hoping for some inspiration. And a wishlist or two.
With inspiration in mind I’m hoping you might like some of these ideas for the STEM-loving kids in your life (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
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This is a great board game for ages 4+ which provides a fun introduction to computer programming. And the bonus is that parents don’t need a degree in computer science!
These 2D shapes magnetically attach to one another to make 3D shapes, which I love! There’s the opportunity for so much learning, and you can make really cool buildings too. There are lots of brands of magnetic tiles, and I chose this one to include because of the recommendations. Some other tiles seem to have problems with the magnets being polarised, but that hasn’t been said about Magna-Tiles.
3.IQ Link UK/US
I got this last year for Christmas and I love it! There is a booklet with patterns in which you copy and then fill in the remaining spaces with the leftover pieces. The main problem I have is keeping Bunny away! She loves it too. It says it’s for ages 8+ but Bunny (age 3) is able to fill in the pieces for the easy level once we set it up for her. The pieces remind me of fruit Polos so I wouldn’t leave anyone small alone with it. It’s hard enough not to try them myself!
My brother loved K’NEX when we were little and this set gives you instructions and pieces to build all sorts of simple (lever, wheel and axle, pulley etc) and compound machines. I love the focus on engineering, which I never really realised when we played with K’NEX as kids. This set is recommended for ages 9+ and includes a teacher guide.
Snap circuits allow you to build electronic circuits by clicking parts in and out. This set has 80 pieces which can make over 750 circuits. I get excited thinking about it! Snap Circuits make other sets too so you could start with a smaller one or add to a collection over time. Electronics are so fun!
6. Laser Maze UK/US
What about if you’re just not that into lasers? Maybe you’re a little more old-school and Newton is your favourite scientist. I’m sure he’d have loved Gravity Maze! Forget the apple falling on the head, this has marbles, towers, logic and fun for everyone aged 8+.
There are so many science kits out there. I’ve found a bunch made by a company called Koontz, which enable you to build something and then explore how it works. I love a bit of engineering so this is right up my street, and I bet you could find a kid who would love to build a Jet Car, Safe, Periscope, Clock, Kaleidoscope, Chaotic Pendulum (that’s my pick!), Combination Lock, Catapult…
Number Jumble is a game for 2 players where you have to arrange 16 tiles into a 4×4 square such that adjacent tiles always have at least one number in common. Prime Climb involves using mathematical operations (+, -, x and /) and prime numbers to travel round the board to reach the centre first and win. I really want this game! I know they had some stock issues around Christmas time last year so if you want to do some prime-climbing yourself make sure you buy early.
This is another game on my wishlist. We love games in our house and so anything where I can exercise my brain while playing gives me an added bonus! It has aspects similar to Bananagrams (US), building a crossword-style grid, and adds in multiplication practice as you have to make multiples of the number shown on the die. There are 5 different game styles included in the instructions.
I hope this has given you some ideas for mentally-challenging Christmas gifts for those kids (or adults, I’d love to get most of these!) in your life who love the STEM subjects. Happy shopping!