Holiday Gifts for the STEM-Minded Student

Holiday Gifts for the STEM-Minded Student

Okay, we admit it–we talk about STEM a lot.

But that’s because science, technology, engineering, and math are so closely tied to careers in manufacturing and the skilled trades. No matter whether you’re in the classroom or out, STEM skills and education have lots of value.

And while we could talk about STEM skills in the classroom all day, sometimes it’s fun to deviate from the standard path and talk about honing your skills when you’re out of school.

One way to focus on STEM skills outside of the classroom is with toys and gadgets, which is appropriate given the time of the year. If you’re looking to get yourself a little gift for the holidays, or if you’re just trying to do some last-minute shopping for the STEM-minded student in your household, we have a few good ideas.

Check out a few of our suggestions for holiday gifts for the STEM-minded student (some adapted from the Tribune-Review):

  • Make: Electronics (and a parts kit): Understanding electronics, wiring, and wiring diagrams is a great way to get a start in skills that can help you with a career in manufacturing or the skilled trades. Make’s book provides a great introduction to electronics, and parts kits like the one here allow you to experiment with different circuits. Electronics can be fun, too!
  • The Book of Totally Irresponsible ScienceDon’t worry–despite its title, the science in this book is actually pretty responsible (with proper supervision). The book contains instructions for 64 fun science experiments that can be done (most with common household items), and is a lot of fun. From film canister rockets to giant soap bubbles, this book contains enough fun to get any student interested in STEM.
  • RoominateFor the female child in your household, Roominate is a great option. It’s what the creators call a “wired dollhouse building kit,” and allows young kids to build customized dollhouses with any number of unique features, from household wiring, to cars, to custom room designs, and more. Great for anyone who might want to be an engineer, Roominate allows those using it to explore STEM in a modern version of the classic dollhouse.
  • Smithsonian Motor WorksEven if you’re not sure that you want to be a mechanic or automotive engineer, Smithsonian Motor Works is just plain cool. It allows you to build a real, working 4-cylinder model engine, and see every stage of motor operation. A great building exercise, and a really fun way to see how simple motors work.
  • RomotiveThe final gift in our list of suggestions, Romotive is a robot that uses iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc.). Romotive allows you to custom program the robot, and can be controlled from anywhere. This serves as a great introduction both to robotics and program, which are great skills to have for a career in any STEM-related field. It’s very simple to use, and very fun!

The holiday season may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean that fun toys and gadgets like these are going to go out of style any time soon. As you can see here, it’s certainly possible to have lots of fun with STEM skills–so don’t think that math education has to stop with the classroom!

STEM education today is more important than ever, and toys and gadgets are always fun. So why not have a little fun while you (or your child) learns valuable skills?

photo credit: Ric e Ette via photopin cc