A Geek’s Guide to STEM/STEAM Holiday Gifting

by Aeryn Lynne

Are you a fan of STEM toys? Did your world right itself the moment you heard of STEAM? Maybe you haven’t heard of either yet? This gift guide is going to give you a heads up on some truly awesome, and affordable gifts that will help your child build more familiarity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Your child doesn’t suddenly need to be the next Tony Stark to survive their adulthood, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that these five subjects are going to play a major role for everyone. Not only as careers, but their entire livelihood. It would be a great thing if our future adults knew exactly how the technology around them works.

It’s astounding how quickly children adapt to computer tech, as if it’s a natural extension of themselves. Kit, at 6 years of age, is thoroughly engrossed by Minecraft, Pokemon GO and Youtube gaming videos. Henry, at 2 years of age, is a master at turning on Netflix to watch Paw Patrol, Pokemon, Larva, and more recently, and much to Chachi’s consternation, exactly one episode of Beyblade. When he’s not watching Netflix, he’s dancing up a storm with the TV’s Karaoke app (which has the Pokemon theme song as one of the options, omg.)

Baby’s First STEM Toy

We all know your child is among the brightest. And here’s an awesome STEM gift that will leave them bright eyed and giggling profusely.

HEXBUG Cuddle Bot

It’s squishy. And it moves. Kit has an older model inch worm HEXBUG that Henry just loves to smash around. It makes me wince at the abuse. I’m entirely amazed at how well the little remote controlled bug has taken multiple beatings from a 2 year old and keeps on happily ticking. This newer HEXBUG Cuddle Bot is made with baby hulk smashing in mind, and it’s all kinds of cute too.

Let your child get a handle on eye/hand coordination and targeting, as well as texture, all the while having immense fun.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNfF4zogqh0

This HEXBUG Cuddle Bot uses eight tiny legs to move around and vibrate on whim. It's uncontrollable action will leave your baby guessing on where it'll go next, which is more than half the fun!

HEXBUG Cuddle Bot - vibrates and moves with tiny legs.

STEM/STEAM Gifts For Kids of Any Age

Encourage a Love for Art and Adventure with VTech Kidizoom Action Cam

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It’s so very awesome when you can combine art and technology. Having your children express their artistic nature in photography with a [easyazon_link identifier="B00ZZGJH9Y" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]VTech Kidizoom Action Cam[/easyazon_link] that you won’t worry about when it, or your child, takes a tumble, makes for stress-free fun. In fact, you might even start encouraging less-careful play, which will help develop a sense for adventure.

This camera will handle bumps, falls, and even water (when encased properly.) Let no element stand in the way of your child exploring the art of photography and videography.

This camera comes with the ultimate accessories for sport action play. If your child love to bike, or skateboard, there is an included mount that can work on a multitude of equipment.

There is also a waterproof case for their next swimming adventure!

Level up on STEAM with the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch

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Do you have little grabby hands trying to see what your smartwatch is doing right now?  Wearable tech is here to stay, so consider getting a [easyazon_link identifier="B00ZCZV0I4" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch[/easyazon_link] for your child to get more familiar to a touchscreen at their wrist. It's a great way to learn all the intricacies of time and dates, and also get a chance to explore their artistic sense with photography/videography.  

Family's First Robot: Sphero SPRK

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[easyazon_link identifier="B01ARW6N56" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]Sphero SPRK Edition App-Controlled Robot[/easyazon_link]

Explore the life of a C-based coder, by programming SPRK to do as you please. This little robot moves the way your child wants it to, through use of a bluetoothed connection on your smartphone or tablet.

It's perfect for beginners, and offers challenges for all skill levels, making it all kinds of fun for even the most experienced of programmers.

If you want something a little less intense, there is the BB-8 Sphero that help enhance your childs’ movement, and targeting with body gestures.

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[easyazon_link identifier="B01L3P5F2I" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]Special Edition BB-8 App-Enabled Droid with Force Band[/easyazon_link]

This baby will convince your child that they've tapped into the force, having control over their BB-8 through body gestures. How fantastic is that??

Learn How to Code

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This is more a gift for a parent that is rocking the STEM/STEAM lifestyle. It's a helpful book for a parent to gain focus on how to take even the most basic knowledge of coding and pass that know-how to their child.

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[easyazon_link identifier="1553632540" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]Computer Coding Made Easy[/easyazon_link]

This book suggests for a slightly older age group than Kit, but he loved every minute of learning how to code in Python. Especially with his Chacha following along (learning new things himself, which is always a bonus.)

Is Kit ready to build his first app with this knowledge? No, but if that’s a dream, he’s already got a good foundation to learn from. And, the fact that he would come ask Chacha to learn a new coding lesson was all kinds of amazing to see.

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[easyazon_link identifier="1553632745" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]Coding With Scratch Made Easy: The Basics, Projects and Games[/easyazon_link]

I would not be surprised if SCRATCH becomes a standard learning platform for kids to learn code for gaming and applications in the near future. SCRATCH was built to encourage kids to think creatively, while adopting logic based rule sets by MIT and resides on their servers as a free online tool today.

Kit is truly enamored with the drag and drop functions to build simple animations (with Chachi's help right now.)

Some of the newer features include the ability to make the Powerpuff Girls fly!

Go the STEM Distance with a Telescope

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[easyazon_link identifier="B00DS5RL24" locale="CA" nw="y" nf="y" tag="geewitsty-20" cart="n" cloak="n" localize="y" popups="n"]Scientific Explorer Vega 30 Telescope with 30x Magnification and Metal Tabletop Tripod[/easyazon_link]

Depending on where you live, there’s a chance that your child will only be able to focus on the moon at night (like here in light-polluted Toronto,) but daytime viewing in National parks, and rural areas will be just as exciting.

We have a beginner/basic telescope that is all kinds of awesome to watch different variations of the moon, and can sometimes pick up planets when they're closer to Earth. Kit loves to go outside with us to view, but it can also be frustrating for him. One slight budge and the scope is all out of focus for him, and he's usually too eager to wait for me to reconfigure the lens for his height.

Kit having his own telescope means that he's in control of finding and focusing on objects, both in the sky, and on land.

STEM / STEAM Gifting FTW

I love finding new STEM / STEAM related products for both Kit and Henry to enjoy. I would love to hear your favourite toys that your kids are playing with right now!

 

Part of Geek with Style Holiday Gift Guide 2016

 

Disclaimer: Some of these products were provided for review purposes specifically for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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2 Comments

  1. Amanda December 7, 2016
  2. Kwame December 7, 2016

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