With all the talk I’ve been doing on the blog about the importance of fostering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills, I felt I absolutely had to include a STEM themed gift guide. Kids can also do most things they can do on a full-fledged computer, including browse the Internet, watch YouTube videos and send an email. Kids love to take things apart and put them together, but when it comes to electricity the results can sometimes be rather shocking. Kids have short attention spans, so when you’re trying to introduce them to something you need to know it’s going to work first time. This kit sidesteps that – it’s a set of pre-build modules that snap together magnetically to create devices, so kids can easily follow the instructions.
Adults of any age can get their own Kano kits, but these are squarely targeted at kids six to 15 years old, which includes everything they need to assemble their own DIY computers, that is, everything except a computer monitor. Why we love it: GoldieBlox building kits come with a storybook about the kit that encourages girls to invest in the story behind their project. At the same time, I was spending my non-parent hours just building fun robots absorbing the Make movement.
Why It’s Great for Kids: Understanding what are littleBits and how they work will tell you why this set is perfect for youngsters. However, one of the things I really love about hot wheels is the idea of the kids going crazy with them, building all kinds of unique and interesting tracks down the stairs, under the table, and etc. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are just for kids; contributor Nola Taylor Redd has JPL’s posters matted, framed and hung in her living room.
And with three different levels of challenge (wee ones, little kids, and big kids), there’s something for everyone.” This is a great way to change up story time at night and encourage math skills in kids that are excited about the subject as well as those who need some help getting excited. One of the challenges for parents wanting to introduce kids to electronics is that we’re all a bit rusty, if that! My only caution is to be careful of small marbles that can be a choking hazard to young kids who still like to put things in their mouths, including younger siblings who may be nearby.
From simple building bricks to cool geometrical formations, construction toys offer children a sound foundation on which to build their education. I’m an adult and I had a blast running through all the tutorials, so I imagine kids will feel the same way. There’s a preview for one of Ethan’s instructional videos too, which is a nice way to see what the kits are all about.
LittleBits makes it so. The littleBits building blocks are color-coded circuit components that you can attach to each other, and you don’t have to know any electronics to create cool stuff with them. The kit comes with 15 electronic building blocks (as littleBits calls them) including a light sensor, slide dimmers, wireless components for connecting a creation to a smartphone app, electric motors, wheels, and all the cables a kid needs to start building one of 12 gadgets outlined in a step-by-step instruction manual.
Short Circuits Book 1 – This kit is my favourite kit for getting kids into working with real components; resistors, LEDs, diodes, transistors as well as introduces kids to real circuit diagrams. Anyone who has a kid with Legos knows that the time playing with kits is too costly to be the only way they play with them. And now, thanks to a new kind of large-scale building kit, kids can get plenty of hands-on experience creating their own structures, machines, and inventions, learning about design and architecture and engineering at the same time. Several kids can do it together if you buy extra battery packs from an electronics shop.
With bits as inexpensive and varied as the $5 power source and the $19 light wire, and kits geared toward specific interests like the $249 smart home set and the $159 music synthesizing pack, there’s something for everyone and every wallet, adult and children alike. Unlike most edutainment toys, each EEME project combines the entertainment of building with explicit teaching and learning. To access the pen’s reading features, kids simply need to touch the words in specially printed picture books to hear them spoken out aloud. The age range on this set is actually 8 – 14 years but our son got his first Erector set at age 4 and loves building these creations with his dad.
Each project kit is paired with its own online curriculum to show the kids how to build the project and, more importantly, teach them how the project works. Written by a high school science and math teacher, this guide will help school-aged kids explore scientific topics with themed chapters broken down into accessible experiments of varying difficulty levels. You’ll find sets for building a stunt ramp, garage, Batcave, police station and so much more.
With more than 60 color-coded modules, there’s nearly an infinite amount of hacking, programming, and playing that kids can do with this easy-to-use playset. Like the monthly project, each feature project is also paired with its own online curricula to teach the kids how the project works. Fans already have plenty of ways to get popular online subscription kits full of fun pop culture merchandise, but if you or your kids have been itching to kill the summer boredom blues with fun science projects in your home, you also have a number of options to choose from.
Beyond that, the flexibility of the multiple tracks allow for unlimited building options that will flex your kids’ engineering muscles. The pen doesn’t write on any other paper or surface apart from the special paper provided in the workbook, which means you don’t have to worry about kids using it to scribble on walls. The topics that the kids are doing at school or what they’re interested in at the moment are good starting points. Idea being kids as young as six can learn something about the hardware before they get to use it.
Each set comes with 5 unique building blocks which can be stacked in so many different ways – it’s pretty much possible to create anything! Lego is also in the teach-kids-to-program game, but be warned: The Lego programming kits take a lot more supervision and instruction than a kit that is designed to work right out of the box. Why we love it: Kids get the chance to learn about space exploration while building awesome robots and inventions. As a new parent, I started researching edu resources available for kids these days.