Gift smart this holiday season with these STEM-inspired ideas from Learning Resources! Presenting ten gifts sure to “wow” this year, all with endless discovery possibilities.
These smart toys were recently tried out by a 9-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 5-year-old. While their age range was big, their shared interest in these award-winning toys was even bigger.
Here’s to a magical holiday season full of STEM and wonder!
STEM-tastic Smart Toy Gift Ideas:
- City Engineering & Design Building Set
- Primary Science® Lab Set
- Yuckology Slime Lab
- 1-2-3 Build It!™ Rocket-Train-Helicopter
- Gears! Gears! Gears!® Machines in Motion
- Beaker Creatures® Alien Experiment Lab
- Botley® The Coding Robot
- Geometric Shapes Building Set
- Coding Critters™ Ranger & Zip
- Yumology! Sweets Lab
City Engineering & Design Building Set
There are 89 pieces in the City Engineering & Design Building Set, which makes the combinations feel endless. Skyscrapers? Bridges? Cranes? What were these little engineers going to make?
The box comes with notecards for suggestions on what to build, but after a quick glance, this construction crew got right to work on their own design.
What will this be? It didn’t take long for them to pull it all together! Three cheers for teamwork!
A city of skyscrapers connected by a zipline? Collaboration and ingenuity made this building set a hit!
Primary Science® Lab Set
The Primary Science Lab Set is a classic for a reason, and the kids loved the dropper and tweezers (and examining everything they could find with the magnifying glass). There are beakers that can measure just about anything for any experiment, and real-looking test tubes that made everyone feel like a true scientist. Notecards with suggested experiments are also included, and this group immediately landed on the baking soda volcano.
The little scientists filled the beaker with water and baking soda, but make sure there’s paper towel (they’ve seen this before!).
Then, they filled the test tubes with vinegar…
But make sure to put on those science goggles! Safety first!
The little scientists squirted vinegar from the test tube into the beaker with the eyedropper…
Stand back. Ka-boom! What a reaction!
They just scratched the surface of what the lab set can do, and there are endless ways to explore! Follow the lab set’s suggested experiments or make your own.
Yuckology! Slime Lab
Time for everyone’s favorite – SLIME! This awesome set comes with the tools to assist in making gooey slime, glitter slime, dough, and putty. Sure, we’ve all made slime, but this kit allows the kids to take the lead as mad slime scientists. All the mixers, measure spoons, and measuring cups are all right there for them to figure it out on their own. Genius!
Time to get slimy!
Measure out the glue using the measuring cup, and place it in the Muck Mixer bowl.
The sturdy tools are easy for little hands to hold, as well as clear to read for accurate measurements.
In goes the food coloring…
Insert the Sludge Stirrer to get this slime going! Clockwise and counterclockwise motions really turn their slime into the desired orange color.
Now for the activator!
It’s all coming together!
They sent their creation through the Slime Strainer! Yuckology at it’s finest!
And when they were done? Slime storage containers even come with the Slime Lab. Perfect place for their creations to be stored!
1-2-3 Build It!™ Rocket-Train-Helicopter
This smart toy allows toddlers to build three different kinds of vehicles with just one set. The pieces are big and easy to handle, as well as simple to snap into place. Building and rebuilding is the name of the game with this engineered-inspired toy.
There’s easy to follow directions inside (pictures-only for the younger crowd). The 5-year-old little builder followed the directions for the train. Let’s get the conductor in his spot!
The helicopter was next. Loved the oversized shape of the pieces!
Fine motor skills and imagination were the names of this building game! What a blast!
Gears! Gears! Gears!® Machines in Motion
Just when we didn’t think they could love the Gears! Gears! Gears! sets any more along come Machines in Motion. It’s a building set with boundless chances to bring kids’ in-motion concepts to the land or air. Spill out the pieces and watch the sparks of imagination fly!
There’s a wrecking ball, chains, a pulley, wheels, and of course…gears!
What are the blades for? Is that moving machine going to fly? Can’t wait to find out!
It looks like those wheels need some grip…
Machines in Motion is a must-have for an engineer-minded child. Its open-ended design welcomes trial-and-error, essential in developing problem-solving skills.
Beaker Creatures® Alien Experiment Lab
This curious crew was way into conducting out-of-this-world experiments. A quick look through the 20-page idea book, they decided on some real hands-on investigations, using the tools from the Alien Experiment Lab. This intergalactic kit also includes two new beaker creatures, adding to your child’s growing creatures collection. This poster will help them identify all the Alien Beaker Creatures.
Moment of truth time…who did we get? One of our scientists lowers the reactor pod into the water.
Look at those bubbles. They wonder who is lurking below!
Time to take the alien out of its pod…
Hello, Blizzerk! Yes! You are a color-changing Beaker Creature. Let’s put you on ice to see you change! Into our petri dish you go. Blizzerk, you are about to get slimed.
The crew had some slime left from the Slime Lab. They packed the Slime Extruder with purple slime to give Blizzerk a gooey bath.
Through the Slime Strainer, it goes!
Next up in the Alien Experiment Lab lineup? The little astrophysicists wanted to do a nebula experiment. They took whole milk and filled the petri dish, and then added food coloring to the middle.
They dipped a cotton swab into soapy water they had mixed in the kit’s beaker and touched it to the surface of the milk. Whoa!
Let’s add another color and see what happens…they won’t mix!
Explorations abound with the Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab!
Botley® The Coding Robot
And now for the robot who needs no introduction! Botley was a major hit right out of the box. There were lots of curious questions as they unpacked this screen-free coding wonder, but it did not take long for the kids to get Botley up and running (and spinning, and going backward, etc.)
This toy is a true wonder. The little coders couldn’t get close enough on the floor, trying to watch and listen to Botley as he moved about.
Obstacles in Botley’s way? No problem! They coded him to push it all to the side.
Botley was a huge success. He even whistled for the kids when they stepped away for a few minutes…Botley caught (and maintained!) everyone’s attention for a long while!
Geometric Shapes Building Set
The sky was the limit when it came to the Geometric Shapes Building Set. There was a need for instructions or directions with this set…the kids just spilled out the bucket and created!
No restrictions to linear creations – the set offers curved connectors, as well. Dimensions galore!
Shapes can 2-D or 3-D.
These little engineers loved to make their own creations without any direction. What to build next?
Coding Critters™ Ranger & Zip
It was time for the crew to get their code on in the cutest way imaginable – with Ranger and Zip! The Coding Critters are the perfect way to introduce simple coding to younger children and it’s 100% screen-free. Punching in a few commands on Ranger’s back prompts him to do what you tell him!
Let’s go fetch the ball under the tree!
There’s a storybook that’s easy to follow, complete with suggestions on ways to code.
Time to go find Zip. They coded Ranger to follow the paw prints. He’s near the fire hydrant!
There are magnets in their noses, so when the kids coded Ranger to pick up Zip, they stuck together!
Down the slide, he goes! If you don’t feel like coding, there’s even a “play” mode on Ranger where you can feed and play with the robot dog, or even make him sing!
Yumology! Sweets Lab
Sweet science! This Yumology Sweet Lab was a delicious success. A quick trip to the pantry and fridge made it easy to come up with recipes that were sure to delight. Within the kit are popsicle molds, a kid-safe chopper, an eyedropper, a freezer-safe shape mold, and measuring tools. There’s also recipe cards with no-bake, delectable creations. The kids decided on three recipes: frozen fruit juice shapes, popsicles, and cookie bonbons.
First, they started with frozen fruit juice shapes recipe. They measured out fruit juice to freeze in the shape’s mold.
Fine motor skills are put to the test as the kids filled the mold.
In the freezer, they go… can’t wait to taste those!
After a few hours, the juice candies popped easily out of the tray…and were delicious!
The kids popped them into some juice to alter the flavor. Would the juicy gems change the liquid’s color?
Next, came the popsicles. The Sweets Lab has great measuring cups, so they measured out the water, following the directions for the powdered juice.
As an added skills challenge, each popsicle mold is a shape. The kids matched the shape with the tray, then the mold to the tops!
They poured in the goodness, and in the freezer, it went.
Lastly, the cookie bonbon recipe! The kids loved the idea of using the chopper so we grabbed cream sandwich cookies out of the pantry, and got to smashing!
Drop a cookie into the cup and push down. The smasher makes it into crumbs!
Mixing with cream cheese, the kids poured the smashed crumbs into a bowl.
Forming little balls, they kicked back and enjoyed the “treats” of their labor.
Have a STEM-sational Holiday!
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