Science & Technology

10 STEM Toys to Give Curious Kids in 2018

Toys and wrapping paper go together like milk and cookies. But toys that help you learn about science? Those are in a whole other category. Here are our top picks for STEM toys — that's science, technology, engineering, and math — that'll help little scientists chase their passions and older kids engage in hands-on learning.

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Nintendo Labo Variety Kit

If you've ever been wowed by the high-tech toys available to kids these days while at the same time lamenting the loss of old-fashioned blocks and building toys, the Nintendo Labo is your gift. You need a Nintendo Switch, but if you have one (or if it's on your kid's wish list), the Nintendo Labo is a great way to bring those electronic games into real life by challenging players to build actual toys out of cardboard pieces. There are several versions, but the variety kit brings the most diversity with instructions on how to build a working piano, a fishing reel, and a motorcycle.

Buy it here.

Crayola Color Chemistry Set

Calling all mad scientists: this massive set comes with supplies and instructions for 50 different experiments, ranging from classics like erupting volcanoes and DIY slime to more unusual projects like glow worms and bouncing bubbles. And because it's Crayola, you know it's gonna be colorful. The set was designed by real scientists as a way to teach kids real lessons about science. Buy it here.

SmartLab Smart Circuits

You never want to give a gift that's too complicated to put together, which is why electronics kits are so daunting. Luckily, the Smart Circuits set is equal parts simple and interesting. That's according to Wirecutter, which named it the year's best electronics kit for kids after it got a rousing thumbs-up from their testing panel. It comes with 50 projects that are easy to put together, thanks to clear instructions that give children explanations of the electronics principles at work. Buy it here.

Möbi Numerical Tile Game

This charming tile game helps kids learn important math skills without realizing it. Up to six players, kids and adults alike, can use the 162 included tiles to create simple math equations and connect them in crossword-style grids. The first one to connect all their tiles wins! Best of all, the tiles come in a cute blue whale pouch that's easy to take with you. Buy it here.

Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool

If you've got a bug-crazy kid to buy for, this simple bug-catching tool might be the perfect choice of gift. It's got a quick, one-handed operation that lets you harmlessly trap creepy-crawlies inside of a clear viewing box. Once you've got 'em, you can get up-close and personal with them thanks to a 5x magnifying lens. You can even get the tool in a six-pack, in case you have a bunch of entomology lovers on your list.

Buy it here.

Kikkerland Solar-Powered Rainbow Maker

Whether you're learning about the electromagnetic spectrum or you just think they're pretty, everybody loves rainbows. Attach it to a window, and this solar-powered device revolves a real Swarovski crystal to refract light and shine rainbows all over the room. Buy it here.

SunFounder Nano DIY 4-DOF Robot Kit

Meet Sloth. It's the walking, kicking, dancing robot you can make with this easy-to-use SunFounder robotics learning kit. Kids use a visual programming language to teach Sloth new tricks, but there's no need for previous programming experience. That makes it a great introduction to coding and robotics. Buy it here.

Hoyle Sharks Are Wild Card Game

If there's one animal that gets a bad rap, it's sharks. But guess what? Sharks kill fewer people than cows, crocodiles, or even mosquitoes. Kids ages 4 to 6 can celebrate these toothy cuties with Sharks Are Wild, a card game that teaches them sequences and numeral identification with adorably illustrated playing cards and fun coins. If you've got older kids in the bunch, great — it comes with two levels of difficulty and is designed for up to four players. Buy it here.

Mova Globe

These gorgeous globes are one part geography lesson, one part magic. That's because they rotate in the presence of ambient light, thanks to a solar cell hidden inside. The globe rotates freely inside of its acrylic shell, so they're also pretty fun to pick up and roll around in your hands. For kids who love geography, go for a traditional globe; if you've got an outer-space fan on your list, there are globes of Jupiter, Mars, and the moon available too.

Tinkering Labs Electric Motor Catalyst STEM Kit

For a more low-fi form of engineering fun, try wood on for size. Designed for kids ages 8–12, this kit comes with more than 50 pieces made for building everything from cars to robots. In case that wasn't enough, creative "challenge cards" pose ideas for new creations: Build a machine that draws curvy lines! Make a ride for one of your toys! It's a great way to give aspiring engineers hands-on experience. Buy it here.

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Written by Curiosity Staff December 14, 2018

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