Every year, right around this time, my parents would ask my siblings and I what we wanted Santa to bring us for Christmas. They would pull out the giant Toys-R-Us gift guide and we would sit with it for hours. The three of us would pore over the pages, carefully scrutinizing each and every toy. As we flipped through the pages, we would have lively debates about which toy was the best and which was definitely the worst. Days would go by before we actually sat down to write our lists. As we got out our pencils, we would remind each other to use our very best handwriting so that Santa knew exactly what we wanted.
Now that my children are able to write their own lists for Santa, I find myself doing the same thing as my parents did. I pull out the large collection of toy magazines that have been amassing over the past month and sit them down at the kitchen table. I arm them with different colored markers (so I know who is who) and I encourage them to circle all of the things they would like to receive for Christmas. In true little kid fashion – they circle everything!
I then intentionally leave the magazines out where they can see them each day. They sit together debating the “awesome-ness” of each toy and debate over whether or not it would be fun to play with. Once the circling frenzy has worn off, they start to really focus on the toys that they would love the most. I take note of the toys that they consistently talk about and which ones I hear them discussing with each other. For me, this is the best indicator of what truly belongs on their lists.
We know that choosing gifts can be hard, especially when your child’s interests can be fleeting and fickle. With this in mind, we’ve created several gift guides for you and we’ll be posting them regularly over the next few weeks. We hope that these guides will be able to help you as you decide upon which gifts to purchase for all of the little ones in your world. Hopefully, these guides will also help you come up with a few ideas of your own!
Our Favorite STEM Toys for Kids
Our Favorite STEM Toys for Kids Gift Guide is a solid assortment of gifts from brands that we know, love and have in our own homes. We always say yes to toys that get our kids thinking and these products are really top-notch.
Perfumery is a journey into the intoxicating world of exotic scents. Discover formulas to help you sleep well or to boost your energy. Capture the potions in an array of elegant vials. Surprise your friends with a magical formula that you conjure in your own private perfumery. Dab tantalizing scents behind your ears and experience the lasting effects of the ancient art of perfume.
We absolutely love this crystal growing kit from Thames & Kosmos. The 15 experiments progress from simple to complex, providing the perfect learning experience for new chemists. Grow dozens of dazzling crystals! A full-color, 32-page experiment manual guides your experiments in crystal chemistry.
Grow dozens of dazzling crystals and conduct 15 illuminating experiments with this classic science kit. Experiment with four chemically different crystals each with different properties, including potassium alum crystals that form regular octahedrons, rapidly growing sodium sulfate crystals, long needle-shaped sodium acetate crystals, and plaster which is made from gypsum crystals. Mold fun plaster shapes, including stars, lightning bolts, dolphins, and pyramids, and grow layers of crystals on them. Use dyes to form colored crystals, and mix the dyes to grow a rainbow of custom colored crystals. Display your crystal creations in a clear treasure chest with a locking lid. Mold your own geode — a hollow rock with crystals growing inside — and create a beautiful crystal cavern inside. Experiment with growing crystals rapidly and slowly, and observe how that affects the crystal structures. See if you can grow one giant crystal, and many small crystals on the surface of a rock. Measure how the crystallization of solids out of a solution, and the dissolution of crystals back into solution, affect the temperature of the solution. Learn about the energy of crystallization. Investigate solutions, crystallization, and the chemistry of crystal growing. Learn about the structures and geometries of different crystal shapes. This kit is thoroughly tested and safe: Over one million units of this kit have sold worldwide. A full-color, 32-page experiment manual guides your experiments in crystal chemistry and Earth science.
Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 32 Piece Set includes: 14 Small Squares, 2 Large Squares, 4 Isosceles Triangles, 4 Right Triangles and 8 Equilateral Triangles The original starter set of Magna-Tiles®. These tactile, colorful translucent Magna-Tiles® are sized just right and easy to use, whether creating designs on a flat surface or building in 3-D. Basic shapes are learned through play. Magna-Tiles® develops patterning, shape recognition, building and motor skills. Use them for guided activities or hours of open-ended fun and exploration. They will work well alone or together with Magna-Tiles® Solid Colors to build windows, skylights, etc. www.magnatiles.com
Help the tiger in trouble at the beautiful but powerful Jungle Falls! Rush to the riverside and find the tiger stranded in rough waters. Wade in and help Olivia build a dam to stop the waterfall before pulling the tiger to safety. Then head up to the cliff-top hut to cool down with a drink and some fresh fruit salad in the company of the friendly chameleon. Later you can explore the jungle caves together. Who knows what treasures you will find! Includes Olivia mini-doll figure, a tiger cub and a chameleon. Includes Olivia mini-doll figure, a tiger cub and a chameleon Accessories include driftwood, glasses, fruit salad plates and a precious gem. Features a cliff with stairs, waterfall with dam function, cliff hut with table and stools, trees, flowers and a flexible vine. Slide the dam across and stop the waterfall! Rescue the stricken tiger cub stranded on the driftwood!
To the Bat cave, Robin! The Joker is using his crazy catapult to smash the Bat cave! Can the heroic crime fighters race to the scene in the Batmobile and lock him up in the prison cell before he wins? This Easy to Build set has all you need to develop your child's building skills. Create a world of iconic super heroes and villains, from the giant archway to the cell for holding bad guys. It also makes an ideal gift! Includes 3 minifigures: Batman, The Joker and Robin; Features the Bat cave, The Joker's catapult and the Batmobile. Bat cave features an entrance, jail and phone; Batmobile features Easy to Build car base and flames. Weapons include Batman's Batarang, The Joker's giant mallet, Robin's staff and dynamite. Easy to Build elements are perfect for developing building skills; Includes age-appropriate building instructions.
The Build ’n Play Fab Mansion by Mega Bloks Barbie lets you design and build a gorgeous mansion for Barbie and her sister Skipper. Arrange and customize this posh estate’s luxurious suites to suit your style. With fancy rooms like a master bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, and outdoor patio, you can live out fabulous stories with the Barbie and Skipper mini fashion figures. Relax under the patio umbrella, whip up a tasty treat in the kitchen, or have a nap in the beautiful canopy bed. Change your fashion figures’ looks by choosing from dazzling clothing and accessories, like handbags, hair bows and more. Combine with other Mega Bloks Barbie playsets to expand your mansion and build a whole world of fabulous fashion fun!
“And for my next trick”…This fantastic magic set includes ten professional caliber, yet easy-to-master, tricks for beginners! Young magicians will improve their confidence and fine motor skills as they amaze family and friends with exciting tricks and illusions! “Secret Silks”, “Magic Number Prediction”, Egyptian Prediction are among the ten classic tricks included. Say the magic word and this fabulous set can be yours! Melissa & Doug toys are designed to nurture creativity and imagination. From classic wooden toys to creative crafts, pretend play, and games, Melissa & Doug's products inspire exploration and enrich children's lives in a way that's as engaging as playtime itself! Since the Company's founding more than 25 years ago, Melissa & Doug has consistently delivered innovative children’s products with a commitment to uncompromising quality, safety, service and value. Well-designed, durable playthings should be accessible to all, and Melissa & Doug strives to foster wonder and a lifelong love of learning in children throughout the world.
How do you get girls to build and inspire the next generation of female engineers? Engage them with a story, challenge them with a problem-solving purpose, use colors, materials, and shapes that delight girls! This Awesome set combines two gifts in one! PARADE FLOAT: In this much-anticipated sequel, Goldie's friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Ruby and Goldie build something great together, teaching their friends that creativity and friendship are more important than any pageant. DUNK TANK: In GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank, Goldie has to find a way to get Nacho clean. The only problem is: Nacho hates water and loves being a dirty dog. After many tries to get Nacho clean, Goldie finally comes up with the perfect contraption. As kids read along, they help Goldie build a dunk tank (and learn about hinges and levers) to get Nacho clean so everyone can go to the carnival on time. Between both sets includes: 12 Design Templates, 2 Story Books, 40 Axles, 18 Blocks, 14 Spacers, 1 Ribbons, 9 Wheels, 4 Characters, 1 Band, 1 Bouncy Ball, 2 Targets
With this hands-on kit and tour guide, kids enter the twisted world of the human body! Complete with removable squishy vital organs as well as representative skeletal, vascular and muscular systems, kids explore the complex inner workings of the human body and literally see how they all go together! Includes: 12-inch plastic human body model, Nine removable squishy vital organs, Skeletal, vascular and muscular systems, Forceps and tweezers, Tray to organize your organs.
Physics comes alive in this action-packed series of experiments centered around a specially-designed "stomp-on" rocket launcher with three foam rockets. Launch water- and air-powered rockets to learn about action and reaction forces. Build a balloon-propelled rocket, boat and race car. Play a game to try to hit target "planets" with the foam rockets. Explore the physical principles of gravity and inertia. Learn about air pressure. Read up on the different vehicles humans have used to escape Earth's gravitational pull.
Rev those engines and wait for the green flag to drop with the Super Race Set by Mega Bloks Hot Wheels! Build up to eight mini-cars with the assorted pieces then put the sweet speedsters to the test in an epic raceway showdown! Mix and match the pieces to create your own customized cars to blaze around the track or combine to build endless possibilities of customized super racers! Ideal for kids aged 5 and up.
Revolutionary Threadless Sewing Studio. It's never been sew easy! Now girls can magically sew with no thread. The Sew Cool Sewing Studio is the safe and easy way to create beautiful stuffed characters and accessories. Just design, stitch, and decorate. Unlike ordinary Sewing Machines, the Sew Cool Sewing Studio is designed specifically for girls aged 6-years of age and above and creates a seam without any thread! Its unique threadless sewing is the perfect way to learn new creative skills and get great end results. Girls can start their own threadless sewing revolution with the Sew Cool Sewing Studio.
Based on the bestselling children's book The Dangerous Book for Boys, this kit presents chemistry every kid should know through fun, engaging, and impressive experiments and activities. Learn about atoms, elements, and the periodic table by building simple models. Experiment with compounds, mixtures, solutions, and suspensions. Discover ionic and covalent bonding. Perform chemical reactions involving acids and bases, indicators, salts, and electrochemistry. Explore examples of important metals, metalloids, and nonmetals, and then conduct chemistry experiments with them.
HearthSong® Exclusive - A flutter of brilliantly hued butterflies take flight to transform our bestselling Connectagons construction concept into something enchanting. Each wooden piece has slotted sides that connect to create untold, free-form sculptures in any direction. The set includes 50 butterflies, plus 12 snowy white flowers. For ages 4 and up. Size: Pieces measure approximately 3''.
How big can you "BILD"? Activate your imagination with OGOBILD, the only construction set you can kick, spin, and throw! Pod kit creates large, light-weight structures. Add a simple bed sheet for play-fort fun! Part Play-Fort. Part Giant Construction Toy. Take 12 bouncy rubber balls with 12 sockets each, add 30 interchangeable 24 inch connector tubes and what do you get??? The OgoBild POD. A brilliant combination of active and constructive play. Build your own fort, dome tunnel, cube, ball, sculpture.... The flexible ball and tubes make the giant structures super safe. The connectors stay connected so you can toss, bounce or roll your giant creations!!! Experiment with different OgoBild attachments. OgoBild provides hours of dynamic inventive play.
Create, construct and spin away with the B. Bristle Block Spinaroos. This collection of soft bristle blocks are made with small hands in mind and fit easily together to create a limitless combination of shapes. Twisty bases attached to some blocks add movement and fun to each creation. A reusable plastic bin stores blocks when not in use, reducing clutter. The set includes a booklet of building concepts for hours of imaginative fun. Recommended for ages 2 years to 6 years.
Create Working Electronic Circuits Snap Circuits Jr comes with over 30 components to create 101 different electronic projects. The pieces, which include snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music integrated circuit, and a speaker, snap together easily on the included plastic grid--no soldering required. Each piece is numbered and color-coded to make identifying them easy. These components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices. With its easy-to-follow instructions, Snap Circuits gives your child a hands-on education in how electrical circuits work to run the everyday devices that they're familiar with. They'll also gain valuable lessons in building and in following instructions. The project manual includes large color illustrations and simple directions for each project. The projects include a sound-activated switch, a musical doorbell, a voice-controlled lamp, a flying saucer, and a light police siren. With these projects, children will experiment with things like electric switches, integrated circuits, digital circuits, fuses, and the transformation of circuit sounds into other sounds. Includes: Plastic snap-grid, 32 electrical components, and 1 project manual.Recommended for children 8 and older.
Back from Extinction! The K’NEXosaurus comes to life with this “classic” K’NEX building set, complete with motor for ferocious tail-thrashing and foot-stomping. Classic Building Experience. This set contains all full-scale (or “classic”) K’NEX pieces – the same kind that inventor Joel Glickman came up with as he was fiddling with straws at a wedding reception almost 25 years ago! All K’NEX parts and pieces are guaranteed for a lifetime of fun – we want to be around for amazing building experiences with your kids and theirs!!