November 25, 2021

STEM gifts that won't break the bank

In recent years there's been a strong (and much needed) push to get kids interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines. Who knows, you might have a budding Marie Curie or Nikola Tesla in your midst! That's what these gifts aim to do --- spark what will (hopefully) be a lifetime interest in STEM.Unfortunately, many educational and STEM oriented toys are pretty dang expensive. So, here's a few educational toys that won't drain your bank account.

Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. (Amazon, $20.97)

I'm biased on this one because I absolutely love these Snap Circuits sets, which teach kids all about electronic circuitry without having to get involved with soldering or any of that nonsense. Instead, as you might have guessed from the name, the individual elements snap together. Elenco makes tons of different sets for every age, so if your little engineer likes it, there's plenty more where that come from.

Crayola Color Chemistry Set (Amazon, $15.00)

Crayola is pretty much synonymous with childhood so not surprisingly they have loads of fun educational toys beyond just crayons. The Color Chemistry set boasts 50 experiments your kids can try out from the classic erupting volcano to glow worms, and dozens more.

4M Salt Water Powered Robot Kit (Amazon, $10.99)

Another nifty idea, this time from 4M, who (like Crayola) have tons of fun sets like these, but this one is pretty unique in that it uses salt water (instead of solar or battery power) to power a little robot. You supply your own tin can to use as the robot's body, so it also teaches a little bit about reuse and repurposing of items too.

Scientific Explorer Veterinary Science (Amazon, $20.99)

When it comes to educational toys, the bulk tend towards mechanical or engineering type activities. That's why this set from Scientific Explorer caught my eye, as I don't think there are too many toys about veterinary science. This set allows your kids to simulate x-rays, learn how to suture and make casts, and learn about animal anatomy and health.

Playz My First Coding & Computer Science Kit (Amazon, $29.95)

Here's an interesting toyset that teaches kids some basics of computer science --- without a computer. My First Coding Kit teaches binary codes, encryption, algorithms & pixelation through puzzles and activities.