15 STEM Gift Ideas for Building Kids' Ingenuity and Creativity

Spark curiosity and inventiveness this holiday season with these 15 mind-boosting gifts for kids.

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November 04, 2019

When it comes to shopping for Christmas, I look to strike a balance between the just-for-fun toys and the ones that stretch my kiddos' brains and originality. The great thing about these gift ideas is that they are toys that hone STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills and artistic abilities while also being a blast to play — a win-win for parents and kids.

I've found that these double-duty toys are the kinds that my kids will continue to pick up and play with, building, rebuilding and customizing, long after other toys have lost that "hottest toy of the season" stigma in the playroom. Shop our favorite picks for igniting little minds and imaginations.


Classic LEGOs — always a much beloved STEM gift — get a very cool and creative update. Your kids can build a pop-up book featuring two classic fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.

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Let your little chemist get to work with this experimentation station. Complete with all the test tubes, beakers, flasks and petri dishes needed, she can conduct 40 experiments with the included chemicals and common kitchen ingredients.

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Head to the stars and explore the basic science behind rocket propulsion. Your kiddo will get to build and personalize a rocket that soars up to 30 feet in the air with a smart combo of baking soda and citric acid.

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Expand your child's mind all year long with a subscription box. Each month features a different theme to explore — science, history, animals, geography or fantasy — giving her a fun, hands-on learning experience. The box includes everything needed to complete the project, plus step-by-step photo instructions, as well as a reading book and keepsake.

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Perfect for early math learners — five- to nine-year-olds — this 100-piece building set embraces STEM skills and creativity. The activity guide leads your kids through 10 building challenges or allows them to come up with their own original creations.

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Art meets science in this clever combination. Kids learn how crystals are formed, and then, they get to grow their own. Taking it one step further, they're then able to add their crystals to three mini dioramas to create their own little worlds.

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While waiting for his letter to Hogwarts, your wizard can build his very own wand. Wave it in front of a tablet to perform spells and create creatures and sweets in more than 70 creative challenges that help him learning coding and computer skills — as well as a little magic.

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Whether your child needs help fine-tuning or building confidence in his art skills, this classic book is a wonderful gift. It guides kids through drawing more than 400 things — from trains to airplanes, elephants to dinosaurs and so much more.

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For your little engineers, Battat's Take-Apart vehicles are a must have. This toy crane truck is rated for kids three and up. It includes a toy drill and nuts and bolts for repeated deconstructing and rebuilding.

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What kid hasn't watched Star Wars and dreamed of having their own R2 unit? Now, she can build her own droid and use the connected app with easy block-based coding to take it on more than 22 missions.

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Help adorable rabbits hop safely home by avoiding foxes and mushrooms all while learning problem-solving skills, spatial insight and planning. This travel-friendly game comes in a compact case so your kids can take on the 60 challenges when heading to visit family during the holiday break.

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The next Coco Chanel has to start somewhere. For your fashion lover, grab this 50-piece design kit, complete with sketch paper, a mannequin, fabrics and trims, to get her style ideas flowing. Next stop, the runway.

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Send your kids into orbit with this hand-controlled indoor drone. Scoot hovers in the air while you put your hands up to guide him around the room. Not only is flying him kid-friendly, but he's also made with a bendy shell to withstand bumps into the wall or an inevitable crash.

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Snap Circuits has multiple sets that help kids expand their knowledge of electricity, engineering and circuitry. We love this arcade version that allows them to build more than 200 projects, including 20 build-and-play games. Move over, Pac-Man.

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Liven up her bedroom with a pillow she can customize to her heart's desire. Featuring four different designs from which to choose, the kit includes everything needed to color the pillow. If she messes up or just wants to color it again, no worries. Throw it in the washing machine, and the pillow goes back to a blank slate.

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