Do you have a student maker, budding engineer or a child that is really into inventing? It can often feel impossible to find a gift that simultaneously intrigues them, challenges them and is fun. We have created a 2020 holiday gift guide to share ideas on what to give them this holiday season.
With many children learning remotely from home this year, it is so important to keep their mind engaged with hands-on activities. These kinds of activities develop critical thinking skills, pattern recognition, allows for exploration, builds a growth mindset, strengthens fine motor skills and brings concepts to life for kids. In keeping with a hands-on emphasis, the gifts listed below are (mostly) screen time free.
Legos are the original STEM toys and a classic holiday gift. Whether you are gifting a box of Duplos (for younger children), classic Lego pieces, a Creator Kit, a Robotics Kit or a Coding Set this toy is always a hit. Children of all ages learn problem-solving, communication, collaboration, engineering and design with Legos. The creativity and imagination that goes into building with Legos helps students in all aspects of their education, best of all, they are learning through hands-on play.
A personalized “Invention Box” is a fun way to challenge your student maker while letting their imagination run wild. A trip to your local hardware store is all you will need to do to get this gift put together. Find a box, preferably one with a lid, and start filling it with gizmos and gadgets from the hardware store. Plastic tubes, bits of wood, different types of tapes, light switches, clamps, string – the options truly are endless. Fill your “Invention Box” full of these prototyping materials and then wait to see what your child’s imagination comes up with.
This award-winning magnetic building set is fun for all ages. From the youngest children who are learning shapes, to older children that are learning about 3D structures—this toy brings these concepts to life. Magna-Tiles encourage creativity, allow kids to explore science concepts (with magnets), develop fine-motor skills and teach critical thinking.
A popular classroom engineering challenge is to build a marble maze. In the classroom, a marble maze can be made of anything from paper plates to carboard cutouts. Marble mazes are an excellent engineering tool and really challenge students’ problem-solving techniques. Finishing the maze and watching the marble race down the track is a gratifying experience for children. There are marble maze kits available for children based on age and skill level.
STEM Subscription Box
STEM subscription boxes are very popular. Each month a box is delivered to your door and it contains fun activities that focus on a central theme—i.e. robotics, chemistry, plant life cycles. The activities are tailored by age and provide a hands-on opportunity to dig deeper into concepts. See 12 STEM subscription box options here.
As a company that regularly utilizes 3D printing technology in business and as an education tool with our 3D Academy, we had to include a 3D printer on this list. This is an ultimate engineering gift. Between learning how to use a CAD program and your first successful print, there are so many engineering lessons and skills built in. A 3D printer is a way of bringing designs to life—whether you are creating jewelry, ornaments or replacement parts—the design options are truly endless.
There are a number of at-home 3D printer options available on the market today, and we suggest reading reviews to find the option that will work best for the gift recipient.
We hope that these STEM toys have sparked an idea to help you find that perfect holiday gift for the young student maker, budding engineer or future inventor in your life.
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.