Today, I am sharing Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) STEM gift list for 2018. I like PLTW’s gift guide because it is developed by an organization that develops STEM curriculum for students across the US. Here you will find a mix of educational toys, games, and kits that will pique your child’s interests and get them involved in hands-on learning in a fun and playful way.
Cat Crimes™, $12.99, Ages 8+
Ginger, Sassy, Mr. Mittens, and the rest of the crew help promote logical deduction, reasoning, and visualization.
Elegoo MEGA 2560 Starter Kit, $59.99
“We use this to go beyond block coding. There are several labs included as well as several sensors that give students the chance to see how to prototype circuitry and begin to understand parallel and series circuits. There are code labs included to help guide students through the coding process.” – Brian Bobbitt, PLTW Engineering
Pepper Mint in the Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure, $39.95, Ages 8+
Pepper Mint and her treehouse help kids learn about pulley systems and electric circuits.
Smithsonian® 150X, 450X, 900X Microscope Kit, $24.99, Ages 8+
“I am recommending this toy because most kids aren’t exposed to the use of a microscope until their high school biology course. For just $24.99, a child could start exploring the world of life science at home at a young age. It is important to me that all children are encouraged to be curious, and what better way to foster their interest in science than by giving them the tools to practice at home! This microscope comes with 36 additional accessories including specimen vials and prepared slides.” – Ashley Cosme, PLTW Biomedical Science
Wiggle-Bots, $7, Ages 5+ (with adult supervision)
Wiggle-Bots encourage kids to create a design – and then iterate on that design to create something completely new.
Makey Makey Classic, $49.95, Ages 8+
“This gift is a great way to introduce students to basic electricity and connections. Through this activity, students can learn about conductors and insulators as well as how to create closed circuits. Many students learn how it can be used to create a video game controller.” – Brian Bobbitt, PLTW Engineering
Shadows in The Forest™, $24.99, Ages 8+
This game promotes exploration of light and shadow physics concepts, as well as critical thinking and collaboration.
Programmable LED Nametags, $9.80
“Programmable LED nametags are a great introduction to wearables and mobile technology. They connect to a computer via an included USB cable, and the required software is loaded on the name tag, so it’s easy to install and intuitive to use. The software inspires amazing creativity!” – Scott Bawden, PLTW Gateway
Laser Chess™, $39.99, Ages 8+
This twist on an old classic helps promote exploration of light and reflection physics concepts, as well as general STEM learning.
Snap Circuits®, $20 and up
“Students really get interested in creating circuits. We use this before we get into any robotics at all to show students different circuits, different control methods, and the different components of a circuit. All come with a manual including diagrams along with a summary of outcomes that should happen. This gift is a great way to introduce electricity and troubleshooting.” – Brian Bobbitt, PLTW Engineering
About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.