Our own miniature geniuses participated in randomized trials to test the effectiveness of this year’s must-have STEM toys.

The children studied were at risk for becoming nerds, but not yet enrolled in AP classes. The results of the 2018 Must Have STEM Toys trial showed a short-term trend in boredom reduction that diminished over the 27-minute study period. Some self-reported behaviors did show improvement: Children in the group showed signs of critical thinking and problem solving skills that may help them be accepted to the MIT class of 2027.

Gifts to Inspire Future Scientists

1. UnicornBot for enchanted coding  $94.99

2. First Robot for tiny engineers  $44.90

3. LittleBits because this is the droid you’re looking for  $72.97

4. AI Robot for kids who aren’t getting a puppy  $43.95

5. Acrylic Prisms for light splitting fun  $34.45

6. Zometool Creator Kit for very early career scientists  $28.99

7. Timepiece Laboratory Kit to make your kid tick  $29.95

8. Liquid Reactor Super Lab for bubbling creations without blowing up the house  $24.97

9. Bigshot DIY Digital Camera for homemade optics  $99.99

10. Human Anatomy Models for pre-med fun  $137.00

11. Reindeer Popper for learning the dynamics of ballistic motion  $15.99

12. Phone Microscope for taking a closer look  $14.95

13. Mechanical Horse Animation kit for every kid who wants a pony  $69.95

Books to Inspire Future Scientists

1. Hidden Figures for older kids to inspire and empower  $7.48  [And for younger readers]

2. Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant for little kids who like to solve big problems  $9.08

3. Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future for kids who dream big  $6.99

4. Awesome Science Experiments for Kids who are curious  $13.49

5. Bugs for kids who stop for ants  $17.99 POP-UP

6. The Book of Chocolate for hungry readers $12.59

7. Newton’s Rainbow for kids interested in the world around them $17.09

8. The Book in a Planetarium for kids to play with science $36.00 POP-UP

9. John Deere, That’s Who! for kids who make cars out of match boxes $17.09

10. Voyager’s Greatest Hits for kids to go where no one has gone before $13.29

11. The End of the Wild for kids who escape to the woods $7.99

12. Finding Wonders for kids who love science, art and poetry $6.21

13. Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs for kids who dream of a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex $18.75 POP-UP

Prices accurate as of 12/11/18


2017 Gifts to Inspire Future Scientists

2017 Nerdy Science Gifts for All

For hundreds of other gift ideas, visit our Pinterest board. It’s stuffed full of STEM gifts for kids of all ages.

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Thanks! Great list! Bought two of the items on this list for my younger kids, as well as a few other sciencey gifts for my teenager (my 13-year-old checks his wrapped presents with a geiger counter, rather than shaking them…).

Helen Bird says:

Then I will include a geiger counter on next year’s gift guide! 

Do let me know the sciencey hits. 

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