Inspire a love of STEM with science kits and books! These 12 STEM ideas make great gifts for hours of STEM fun, learning, and discovery. What will the kids in your life explore, make, create, and innovate?
Are you already thinking about holiday gift ideas for the young people on your gift list? Science and engineering kits and books make great gifts at any time of the year. With quality STEM kits and books, kids of all ages can explore, invent, experiment, and make discoveries! Plus, they will be learning and building important 21st-century skills at the same time.
Many of our STEM kits are great for school projects and science fairs and also perfect for fun, at-home, curiosity-driven learning and exploration. Whether you are buying for your children, family, or friends, a gift of STEM is one you can feel good about.
13 STEM Gifts You’ll Feel Good about Giving
The 13 STEM gift ideas highlighted below offer hours and hours of exciting science and engineering exploration, perfect for kids to do independently at home:
The BlueBot 4-in-1 Robotics Kit is one of our top picks for kids who like to build. The BlueBot robot has a good-sized chassis and rugged wheels, and there are four different robot models kids can assemble using guided directions at Science Buddies. Each robot has a different sensor-based behavior: Motion-Activated Guard Robot, Speedy Light-Tracking Robot, Zippy Line-following Robot, and Obstacle-Avoiding Robot. The BlueBot kit offers room to grow, too! For advanced students looking to integrate computer programming with their robots, these projects offer inspiration for next-level exploration using Arduino. (Learn more about the four BlueBot kit projects.)
With the Raspberry Pi Projects kit, kids build their own Raspberry Pi computer and then explore computer programming with a series of eight activities that blend coding and electronics. They’ll use Scratch, a drag-and-drop coding environment, to write programs for interactive games and toys, including a drum set, a musical keyboard, a carnival-style game, light-up art, and more! The kit works with Python, so after kids do the eight guided activities, they can continue to use their Raspberry Pi kit for new coding adventures. (Note: if you already own a Raspberry Pi, a Circuit Building Kit for Raspberry Pi is available.) For some extra inspiration, see how this student used the Raspberry Pi kit to create a light-up star.
With the Crystal Radio Kit, kids build their own AM radio and then experiment to see how many stations they can pick up. This radio doesn’t use a regular battery or plug, which makes the crystal radio a fascinating science project! After building the crystal radio, kids can decorate it to personalize it and make it their own. The crystal radio is something kids can continue to use for years!
The Electronics Sensors kit features electronics components and sensors that can be used with more than 10 different science and engineering projects at Science Buddies. Outside of school, this kit provides lots of open-ended fun for kids interested in electronics. After exploring how sensors work with projects like Green Technology: Build an Electronic Soil Moisture Sensor to Conserve Water, Avoid the Shock of Shocks! Build Your Own Super-sensitive Electric Field Detector, and Is It Ripe Yet? Build a Circuit to Detect Ripe Produce, students can use what they learn to design and build their own sensor-based solutions for real-world use. The reindeer tree ornament shown below is an example of the kind of creative project kids can do using the kit and their own ingenuity. This reindeer was designed as a light-up water sensor for a tree!
The Bristlebot Robotics Kit is an introductory robotics kit that is perfect for kids ready to build their first robots. With this kit (and craft materials you provide), kids can build three different kinds of wiggling, wobbling robots. Step-by-step directions are available for the ArtBot, Brushbot, and Bristlebot robots. Or, kids can design and build their own unique Junkbot robots using recycled materials. (The kit contains electronics components to make four robots, two Bristlebots and two of the other robot styles.)
With the Electric Play Dough Kit, kids combine the fun of classic dough building with introductory circuits. Using homemade conductive and insulating dough, kids experiment to light up “squishy circuit” creations with colorful LEDs. Once kids master simple electric play dough circuits, they can move on to more challenging 3D structures like the frog shown below! Multiple resources at Science Buddies help students learn more about circuits using electric play dough. (See our winter-themed examples for extra inspiration!)
The Candy Chromatography Kit is excellent for a budding young chemist. With the materials needed to learn about and use paper chromatography, kids can experiment to see what color dyes or pigments make up the colors of hard-shell candies, markers, leaves, flowers, and more!
With the Microbial Fuel Cell Kit, kids explore what it takes to turn mud into electricity. There are multiple alternative energy science projects kids can do using the microbial fuel cells (MFCs) in this kit, but the Turn Mud into Energy With a Microbial Fuel Cell project can be a good first project. (Note: after setting up the two fuel cells, it will take a number of days for the power to build. Tracking this change each day and watching for the blinking LED is part of the fun!)
With the Spherification Kit, kids use molecular gastronomy to turn liquids into jiggly spheres that pop in the mouth. With this kit, kids can make their own custom-flavored juice balls, similar to popping boba, for fun treats and be learning about food science and chemistry at the same time! Along the way to mastering the spherification of juice balls, kids will probably make some wiggly, stringy, juicy worms, too! That’s part of the fun! (For a closer look at the steps involved in making juice balls with the Spherification Kit, see Boba Spherification: The Science of Juice-filled Caviar.)
With the Gauss Rifle Kit, kids can experiment with magnets and magnetic fields as they use ball bearings and magnets to build a multi-stage Gauss rifle. (Note: this is not a weapon. The Gauss rifle is an experiment about magnetism and momentum.)
With the Bath Bomb Science Kit, kids can explore the science behind making fizzy bath bombs as they explore different recipe options to see how different ingredients and quantities change the fizz factor. The quest to make the fizziest bath bombs is on!
The Advanced Bristlebots Kit is perfect for kids who have already built simple robots, or for older kids who love following a set of build directions from start to finish. The Advanced Bristlebots kit has specialty parts to create either a light-tracking bristlebot or a solar-powered bristlebot. (After building one of these robots, kids can recycle the parts to build the other.)
13. Science Buddies Hands-on STEM Books
You can’t go wrong with a collection of fun STEM books filled with projects for hours of fun at home. Each book in our series of STEM books contains directions for simple science and engineering activities kids can do in a short amount of time and with readily-available materials. (These STEM titles make great gifts for classroom libraries, too!)
For additional suggestions for giving books with STEM themes or storylines, see this list.