As the Owner of a STEM education company, I frequently get asked for my recommendations for the best STEM gifts for kids. Welcome to the third annual Best STEM Gifts for 2022! If you missed previous years, check out 2020 and 2021 as well, there’s tons of cool STEM gifts there too! Below are my top picks for STEM gifts for kids this year. To me the best STEM gifts are those with staying power, are tons of fun, and are gifts that kids use again and again. All of the following STEM gifts have been tried and tested with my own kids and others’, and have earned my top recommendations! Here are the Best STEM Gifts of 2022:
1. STIIX – $34.95
Earning the number one spot on our list in 2022 as the Best STEM Gift is STIIX. STIIX, and acronym for Solving Technicalities with Imagination, Innovation, & eXcitement, creates engineering kits across a wide array of topics; the classic egg drop, build a catapult, prosthetics, and dozens more STEM challenge projects! Founded by an engineer and educator, STIIX kits are my top pick for any STEM minded kid (or adult!) on your list. Here’s why:
- Since there are so many different projects to choose from, you can pick a kit that matches the interests of your child. For example my kids have been learning about electricity in our homeschool science lessons, so the make your own flashlight project was the perfect fit!
- Everything your students need to complete the activity is in the box! As my kids get older (they are currently 9 and 7), I am increasingly on the lookout for products that help them build their STEM skills independently, and STIIX is perfect for this. Upon opening the STIIX kit, literally every single supply you could possibly need to complete the project is in there. No supply runs needed, it’s all conveniently there for you.
- Not only is everything in the box in terms of supplies, everything is also there for students in terms of the engineering design process and project implementation. This is the biggest reason why STIIX is a great gift, as like I mentioned before, students can do everything on their own and figure it out themselves – the ultimate test for any inquiry based activity! The first project my kids tried was the flashlight project. I opened the project page on the STIIX website for them on my tablet, and they were able to 100% take it from there. My kids watched the videos on the project page, which provided a step by step introduction to the project and how to build it. The differentiator with STIIX kits is that the product page also contains videos to explain the science behind this specific project (ex: showing how circuits work using the actual flashlight they just built) AND a video to show career connections. As the Owner of Career In STEM obviously STEM career connections are important to me 🙂 I have not come across other STEM subscription kits that are as effortless as STIIX.
2. Code Master – $19.99
Second on the list of Best STEM Gifts for 2022 are logic games. Since my kids were little we have been playing games of all kinds as a fun family activity. When I started homeschooling in January 2022, games have become an essential learning tool in my house! I love logic games first and foremost because they are fun. When you are having fun you are relaxed and happy. And every good teacher knows that the best learning happens when kids are relaxed and happy! Our favorite STEM themed logic game is Code Master which retails for $19.99. This is the first single player logic game my family ever tried, and it is my favorite on this list. The game consists of a series of 60 levels. Each level contains a coding sequence that students must build to get their figurine across the board and into the portal. Each level gets progressively harder, challenging and sharpening students’ computational thinking skills every step of the way. It is also addictive – passing one level beckons you to try the next! My 7 and 9 year old are both able to play independently, and we use this game as an essential part of our computer science training.
3. Young Eagles – FREE!
For the first time ever we have a FREE option on our Best STEM Gifts list! As you may have heard, STEM workers are desperately needed across the country, with the fields of aerospace and aviation being among the most needed sectors. If you have flown anywhere lately, you are likely familiar with the delays and cancellations plaguing the industry, largely due to an acute shortage of pilots. According to United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, America produces only between 5,000 and 7,000 pilots annually, but 18,000 are needed each year.
If you have a child or teen on your list who is even remotely interested in flight, aviation, electronics, or transportation, this gift is not only FREE but will make memories that will last for a lifetime. And perhaps even launch their future (highly lucrative) career as a pilot! Available to anyone ages 8 and up, the Young Eagles program by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an absolute must. Events are held across the nation throughout the year. Simply go to the Young Eagles website, enter your location, find local free Young Eagles flights, and sign your child up! (Note: There are fewer Young Eagles flights offered over the winter months. If you don’t see any upcoming events be sure to check back often!) My son went on his first Young Eagles flight last month and it was definitely an experience of a lifetime. He wants to be a pilot now and has already started the free pilot training course that all Young Eagles get access to after their first flight!
4. Makedo Discover – $45
We all know that no matter how cool the toy is, kids usually end up liking the box most! Leveraging this natural tendency and innate creativity of kids, the Makedo Discover kit is another must have STEM gift for children ages 5 and up this holiday season. The Makedo Discover Kit includes all the tools your kids need to collaborate and make just about anything from up-cycled cardboard – costumes, vehicles, forts, creatures, and anything else they can imagine – “an immersive, hackable world of your own making is at your fingertips”. We first came across the Makedo kits at our local makerspace, and it quickly became a must have tool for home too! Unlike other STEM tools that require frequent supply purchases and refills, I love that there is a never-ending supply of building fodder, as recyclables are always accumulating at our house! I also love the open-ended nature of Makedo, and the effortless integration of STEM – angles, physics, civil engineering, materials science – all as you learn like real STEM professionals: by doing!
5. Career In STEM® Explorer – $199
I started the Career In STEM® Explorer system in 2017 based on my experience as an inner city middle and high school science teacher. My students had no idea what they wanted to be. And think about it – how do you know what you want to do until you have DONE it? The truth is, you won’t, and I couldn’t find a fun and easy way to help my students learn about STEM careers – so I made one, and Career In STEM was born!
I know God has given each and every one of us tremendous talents and gifts, and it is my mission to help students across the USA discover STEM, dream big, and build a future they love. Thus, just in time for this holiday season, the Explorer system is now available to individual families! Previously only available to schools and organizations and used by over 3 million students to date, now your family can now have access to the world’s easiest STEM career exploration system too! This is truly a gift that keeps on giving, as every student (ideal for students ages 10 and up) in your household gets LIFETIME ACCESS for just $199! Few gifts are able to grow, adapt, and change as your kids do – see free previews and full details here. Get your kids a gift that will put them on the path to their future STEM career, today!