STEM toys and gifts are definitely high on lots of holiday wish lists this season, so we’re rounding up some of the coolest options for big kids and tweens. From cool STEM building sets to STEM subscription boxes, in every single price range (hey, we know that matters), we’ve got you covered.
We’re thrilled to present this gift guide on behalf of our sponsor Ravensburger, whose STEM toy GraviTrax has been entertaining our own kids for weeks now. This super fun marble run and construction set teaches kids gravity, magnetism, and simple physics, all through creative, hands-on play, no screen required.
Here, 11 of the coolest STEM toys and gifts for big kids and tweens that we think will be big hits this holiday season. Happy shopping!
UBTECH UnicornBot Kit (item no longer available)
We’ve seen lots of coding robots for kids here at Cool Mom Tech, but we’re pretty sure we’ve never seen a unicorn. Until now. This cool kit features everything your lucky recipient needs to build and program their very own unicorn. They can make it drive, dance, play, and more, plus program the LED horn.
Designed for 3rd through 5th graders, this cool subscription box is the perfect gift for you math-loving girl. Every month, your budding mathematician will get a box with a fun math activity book, along with stickers, notebooks, and other learning aids to help bring the lessons to life. Plus, you’ll get a caring adult guide to help her get the most of her gift.
We’ve been fans of this fabulous learn-to-code toy since its launch in 2014 and even included it in our top tech toys for tweens last holiday. It truly embodies the premise of a toy that grows with you — start with the basics with younger kids, then as kids gain more skills and get more confident, they can unlock upgrades and find more ways to play through the companion app, or even offline and screen-free.
Kids can build over 85 projects with this one kit from Snap Circuits, a company we’ve loved for years now. By connecting the various building pieces to different electronic circuits to a circuit board grid base, kids get creative while learning about physics principles like electricity and magnetism. It’s a great option for kids outgrowing basic LEGO sets.
This Cool Mom Tech favorite has a brilliant interface that makes use of your iPad — only it requires kids to manipulate items offline in order to complete various tasks. It’s really more than a math toy; while the counting app is a good place to start for computational basics, you can swap out apps to manipulate tangrams (geometry), transform any photo into a line-drawing coloring page (art and creativity), or figure out how to falling balls onscreen into various zones (geometry and physics) in a Cut the Rope style game.
GraviTrax Starter Set
It won’t take long before your kids will have constructed a pretty sick marble run track with our sponsor Ravenburger’s STEM toy GraviTrax. Ready to play right out of the box, kids and kids at heart will have a blast creating the coolest designs, whether it’s from the instructions provided, or in their own mind. And there’s absolutely no screens required, though they do offer a free GraviTrax app integration for kids who want to design tracks on their phone. A pretty cool skill set they get to explore in our humble opinion, which they get in addition to STEM skills like simply physics, magnetism, and gravity. They’ve also got expansion sets and accessories that can be added on for extra learning and fun.
This makes a fantastic holiday gift for big families, or multiple siblings. Just ask Kristen’s kids who have been playing with it together, with only minimal bickering. Hey, it’s not magic, but it’s darn near pretty close. $59.99, Target and Target.com (item no longer available)
Little Bits Arcade Game Hall of Fame starter kit
We’re always excited to see what’s new and fun from Little Bits, and although it’s not new this year, it’s such a smart STEM kit that we couldn’t help but include it in our guide this year. Kids can create their own arcade game with this kit that’s easy to use and construct for kids as young as 8 years old. (item no longer available)
For the kids in your house who are counting down the days until Episode IX, they’ll flip over the Kano Star Wars coding kit that actually allows them to use “the Force” with the wave of their hand. Kids put the kit together, then learn to code and explore the Force like their fellow Jedis.
With the Bolt, Sphero has taken their coding robots to a whole new level. It’s programmable 8×8 light matrix gives kids an endless array of coding and gaming capabilities. They can use advanced sensors to actually track their speed, direction, and more, plus the infrared communication allows BOLT to talk to other BOLTs.
We’ve featured the Tech Will Save Us kits here a few times, and for good reason: they’re an affordable way to get your kids excited about STEM. This Synth kit lets kids build their very own synthesizer, that they can use too make three different synths, as well as control volume, pitch, and frequency. And at under $15 (on sale), it’s a great gift for all the kids you might have on your list.
With the 3Doodler Start robotics themed set, you’ll get the popular 3Doodler child-safe 3D pen, along with instructions and molds to make simple robots, two legged, four-legged and six-legged walking robots. And don’t worry, there are no hot parts. And, it uses low heat BPA-free, non-toxic plastic that kids can turn into super cool 3D designs.
Thanks to our awesome sponsor Ravensburger, whose GraviTrax Starter Set was a huge score for our own kids. We’re pretty sure it’ll be the same for your family this holiday season.