Kids Hack Labs' Top 10 STEM Gifts - 2020

I reviewed a number of sources and put together a top 10 list of STEM toys. My criteria was not scientific but I kept the following in mind:

  • engaging

  • offline

  • ease of use

  • mix in price and target age

Give your child the gift of STEM. These gifts are a great compliment to Kids Hack Labs' Coding and Science programs.

Code Rocket by Let’s Start Coding

Age: 8 - 12

Price: $58 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

  • Follow 21 different coding projects of varying difficulties or code your own project

  • Simplifies coding and clearly demonstrates how the child's coding is impacting the rocket

  • Builds an interest in coding while teaching computational, critical, and creative thinking skills

Gears! Gears! Gears! Robots in Motion by Learning Resources

Age: 5 - 9

Price: $53 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

  • The robotic building set works with other Gears! Gears! Gears! building sets

  • Build robots with moving parts

  • Follow instructions or build your own design

  • Explore, understand and experience how gears function

  • Builds an interest in exploring while teaching creative thinking skills

Botzees by pai Technology

Age: 4 - 11

Price: $100 cdn

Purchase: Best Buy

  • Combines augmented reality, coding, and creativity

  • Build and code the robot

  • Code the robot to move and make sounds

  • Code your own motion patterns or follow instructions

  • Child can navigate the robot

  • Builds an interest in exploring and coding while teaching creative thinking skills

Gravitrax Obstacle Set by Ravensburger

Age: 8+

Price: $150 cdn

Purchase: Walmart

  • Works with other GraviTrax building sets - other sets range in price

  • Build a marble run out of 100+ pieces

  • Build your own design or follow plans

  • Builds an interest in exploring while teaching critical and creative thinking, spatial reasoning and design skills

Energy and Circuits by MindLabs

Age: 8+

Price: $20 usd (approx $26 cdn)

Purchase: MindLabs

  • 1 - 4 children can play together remotely or in the same room

  • Circuit-building game that uses physical cards and a digital app

  • Construct the circuits with cards and they come to life via the app

  • Includes 22 sets of cards

  • Builds an interest in engineering and circuits while teaching creative thinking and problem solving

Design & Drill Space Circuits by Educational Insights

Age: 5 - 8

Price: $66 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

  • Space themed circuit-building game

  • Use problems solving skills to construct a circuit that satisfies a mission

  • Builds an interest in engineering and circuits while teaching creative thinking and problem solving

Hydraulic Gearbot by Pathfinders

Age: 14+ (younger children with supervision)

Price: $66 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

  • Build a hydraulic catapult from die-cut plywood

  • Once built, objects can be launched

  • Builds an interest in engineering and physics while teaching spatial reasoning critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, iterative design, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills

Synth Wave Kit by Tech Will Save US

Age: 12+

Price: $70 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

  • Build a musical synthesizer and record your music

  • Experiment with electronic music by interacting with various controls

  • Builds an interest in engineering and circuits while teaching creative thinking, problem solving and incorporating art

Moon Mission: The Epic 400-Year Journey to Apollo 11 by Kids Can Press

Age: 10 - 14

Price: $19 cdn

Purchase: Amazon

"This riveting narrative told from the astronauts' points of view offers a unique approach to the story behind Apollo 11's successful --- though nearly disastrous --- 1969 moon landing."

  • Detailed book that explores the history and technology of space travel

  • Includes "mystery" sections that document examples of science, technology, engineering and math challenges of space travel

  • Builds an interest in aerospace engineering

Project Crates by KiwiCo

Age: 1 - 14+

Price: $100+ (prices vary by item and subscription)

Purchase: KiwiCo

  • Purchase single projects or a subscription to a project of the month

  • Project themes range from Science, Art, Geography and Early learning

  • Each project requires the child to construct something

  • Builds an interest in exploration and engineering while teaching resilience and problem solving

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