Universe & Space

22 STEM Gadgets & Toys for Kids

Robot

Robots are teaching kids how to code, build, and think – and this generation of kids will soon be creating the next generation of robots and working with AI.

#1. mBot

Makeblock created the mBot, which lets kids build and customize their robot and then program it however they like. They start with the base kit and then customize their creation with the base kit and then customize their creation with audio devices, extra sensors, lights, mechanical pieces, and motors in the add on packs that extend the capabilities of the bots. The app works to build programs for the mBot with a drag-and-drop language similar to Scratch 2.0.

#2. OzoBot

The new Ozobot Bit is tiny, but tons of fun; kids command their bots using custom block-based programming editor, OzoBlocky, which is similar to Tickle App, Scratch, App Inventor, Hopscotch, or Tynker, and a Javascript preview mode is coming soon. Kids can load programs into the bot using light, so plugging in cables isn’t a thing.

#3. Cubelets

Cubelets let kids make Robots of anything they can build with legos. There are three kinds of cubelets that work together to make working robots : sense (inputs), think (process and modify information, and act (outputs) cubes (along with the power of cubelet). They are magnetic, so they hold together easily, and they are modular, so they are easily substitutable.

Games

The best of today’s board games are aimed squarely at teaching kids to think logically and critically.

#4. Rush Hour

This single player game has brightly colored car and truck pieces that snap onto the board and slide back and forth. The goal is to slide the red car out of the traffic jam from within various preset challenge configurations, and different challenge modes mean any player will still like the game.

#5. Robot Turtles

This is a board game that teaches kids to think like programmers without electronics or screen time. It is fun for both kids and adults to play, and the rules of playing are inspired by Logo programming language.

#6. Gravity Maze

A cousin of Laser Maze, which is also awesome, this is a logic game that demands players plan out their steps in advance as they design chutes for falling marbles to land on a target.

Electronics

These toys are showing kids how electricity works and ensuring that they know how to build circuits and prototype designs.

#7. LittleBits

LittleBits are readymade, magnetic, modular circuit that easily snap together. They provide all of the benefits of working with circuits without solder or wires, which makes the process so much easier for beginners. LittleBits is excellent about publishing new projects for users nearly every day and there is an active online user community.

#8. Snap circuits

These aren’t new, but they’re still awesome. Kids can learn about the fundamentals of circuit design and electronics by snapping together basic components like power sources, capacitors, switches, wires of different sizes, and resistors on a flat surface to prototype their designs like engineers.

Coding

Kids are now learning to cide and communicate with computers as they learn to communicate with other people.

#9. Piper

Piper combines Minecraft and Raspberry Pi to teach kids how a computer works, the basis of hardware, how to code, and how to think critically and solve problems. Kids build the computer and then play with a Minecraft storyline as they make things happen on the screen; the system itself is a Raspberry Pi 3 Project Board with a high definition LCD display, 1 GB RAM, and a 1200 MHz Quad-Core CPU.

#10. LittleBits Arduino Coding Kit

Second bite for LittleBits, but they deserve it for the Arduino Coding Kit which make something that can be intimidating simple to understand. It comes with 8 sketches for beginners, including a basic Etch-a-Sketch build and a Mouse Control, and there are thousands of other projects in the online Arduino community. This kit is compatible with other LittleBits kits, too.

#11. Osmo Coding Kit

Osmo is another one that appears twice, because it’s that awesome. The coding kit features physical blocks that stick together magnetically; your child uses them interactively with an iPad to control their character within the confines of a video game.

#12. BitsBox

BitsBox is a monthly subscription box that comes with cards and other goodies that teach kids how to code with JavaScript to create apps they can play with.

Building/Engineering

Learning to engineer your own ideas is ideally a natural part of childhood now; these toys and gadgets are making that a reality.

#13. Mola 2 Structural Modelling Kit

This elegant kit teaches elements of structural mechanics such as leveling, load, stress, and tension through hands on model building. You can use the kit to model world famous landmarks like Japan’s Art Tower Mito.

#14. Roominate Wired Building Kits

The dollhouse of today is completely wired, letting your kids build circuits, panels, and walls, and light and power their building. It also comes in pieces so your child designs it from the ground up.

#15. Goldieblox invention mansion

Goldieblox is already famous for creating cool engineering toys geared towards girls, and the Invention Mansion is this year’s “anti-dollhouse” offering. Your kids builders modern dollhouse from a selection of more than 350 pieces, and it can feature anything, including a ZipLine, axels, a secret trapdoor, building boards, and levers.

Maths

Math aficionados are creating toys like these with the aim of helping kids love math instead of fearing it, preparing them to use it throughout their lives.

#16. Osmo Number, Pizza Parlor, Newton.

Osmo offers lots of cool math options, including numbers, which teaches math via interactive video games, and Pizza Parlor, which has users making change and filling orders.

#17. Deluxe Trilingual Sequence

This game of strategy and logic is perfect for kids of all ages and is entertaining enough for adults to play without being bored.

Lab Science

Scientific Explorer Crime Catchers Spy Science Kit
The science kit allows your kids to start their own version of CSI, minus the rotting bodies and plus accurate science. Kids can run DNA, match fingerprints, decode secret messages, and test powders and liquids as they solve crimes.

#18. Crystal Growing

Growing Crystals is cool, but it also teaches kids about the geometry and structure of crystals and geology more generally.

#19. Drones

Putting new forms of transportation in the hands of kids ensures newer and better forms of transportation in the future.

#20. Airblock

This drone was recently crowdfunded, and it’s now available to the public. It is a modular, magnetic drone that you can build in multiple ways – and when it falls and breaks, no problem! Just rebuild it. Flying time is a bit short, so get an extra battery.

#21. Flybrix

Flybrix lets you send your legos into the wild blue yonder, and they are totally easy to use. Fly them indoors using your smartphone or a controller you can buy to do with it. Kids who use this will quickly learn how to create the most aerodynamic structures.

#22. Parrot Swing Minidrone

This is a heavier duty outdoor drone that can really go fast. Control it with a smartphone or controller and see how high you can get it to go before it chokes out.