Gift Guide 2017: STEM Toys for Kids

December 7, 2017

1:30 pm

These days kid’s toys offer more than just moving pieces around the board or driving them around a sandbox. Today, parents can help their kids get a head start in STEM and have fun doing it together.

This holiday if you are looking to buy something educational and fun, here are 7 STEM toys that will peak your child’s curiosity about robotics, drones, coding, and much more.

Flybrix

The best part of building something with legos is destroying it and starting over. With Flybrix, you can do just that. Developed by MIT, Caltech and UW Madison alums, the company’s cofounders Amir Hirsch, Robb Walters and Holly Kasun put their heads together and built something for young minds. Flybrix is the first ever crash-friendly, rebuildable drone made of LEGO® bricks to give kids (and us curious adults) a chance to build, fly, crash and rebuild their creations while honing STEM skills in the process.

Kids can build a drone in less than 15 minutes, fly it, break it, and start again with their next creation. Kids can control the drone through the app and enjoy 10 ready-to-play games design to practice controlled flying and strategic building. Price is $149 for the Quad Starter Kit, $189 for the Basic Octocopter Kit and $249 for the Deluxe Octocopter kit.

Circuit Conductor

 

Back in science class, your teacher may have asked you to rub a balloon on your hair to illustrate how positive and negative charges work. Well there’s no balloons with this toy, but with the Pai Circuit Conductor, kids can build circuits with 12 different electrical function blocks and special insulated wires where they can unlock new challenges through progression. The kit pairs with a free app to teach kids about electricity through interactive games and stories, and they can scan circuits to learn more and view the current electrical flow in real-time. Price: $70

Dot Creativity Kit

If you’re looking for some fun from a tiny robot that looks like it came out of Monster’s Inc., this is it. Dot is one quirky robot that comes to life and is ready to play and teach kids about robotics.

The robot comes with the Dot Creativity Kit that includes project cards, stickers and accessories, that can keep the kids entertained for hours. Kids can choose from games like robot-enabled Duck-Duck-Goose and Hot “Dot”-ato, or customize Dot with stickers and costumes, construct a mood lamp or code a personal room guard to alert against pesky sibling intruders. Through its multiple sensors, the robot can interact with your child through different sounds and answering questions. Price: $80

Augie

 

This robot reminded me of a mini version of EVE from Wall-E, and it’s just as adorable. Augie is the first kids’ robot that supports augmented reality, coding, and construction play. Kids can learn how to code the robot’s movements, make it pick things up, and even record their own funny sounds. Through the fully-immersive 3D teaching app it offers 60 augmented reality tutorials to cover coding basics, from sequencing to variables. The robot helps children advance their critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as introduces play patterns that teach them about artificial intelligence and robotics. Kids can play alone or with friends and design their own game. Price: $200

Ocean Pets 

If you think Legos are fun, try putty shaped animals coming to life with Ocean Pets. Using their special nontoxic, food-safe, putty and ocean templates, kids can create ocean-shaped animals and bring them to life through the augmented reality app. Kids can simply scan the designs and watch them come to life in a virtual aquarium. Kids not only learn about the ocean and its inhabitants, but they can turn any room into an underwater wonderland. Price: $20

Cue

This robot has a witty personality that it will make kids to adults LOL. Cue is Wonder Workshop’s latest robot  that inspire learning and creativity and help kids learn to code along the way. Cue has four quirky avatar personalities to choose from or you can customize the robot to make it your own and see how its personality and actions change with each interaction. Kids can communicate with Cue through text messages where the robot will send silly answers, crazy memes and jokes. Kids can unlock Cue’s secret to coding for any skill level by easily switching between block and JavaScript programming and create their own custom interactive robotic experiences. Price $150

Lighted Drone

Learning to fly a drone is no easy feat, and it’s good to start out your kids with something manageable. With the Lighted Drone by the Sharper Image, flying day or night is an option. Fiber optic LEDs create this futuristic blue-green glow that light up this drone and with the 6-axis gyro it can do 360° rolls and flips at the touch of a button. The drone can be flown indoors or outdoors, and up to 164-ft. flight range, it has two speed modes, auto hover and flies for about five minutes. Price: $70

Find more TechCo gear and gadgets for kids on TechCo

Stay tuned for the rest of our guide throughout the season. We’ll be covering holiday guides for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the DIYer, cannabis, entrepreneur, STEM, and various others.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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