Looking for some really great holiday gifts for your kiddos that won’t just end up as clutter by the end of the day? Here’s some of our all-time favorite educational gifts, plus some that are on the list for giving this year (good thing Jack and Alex don’t read this blog!).
Makey Makey: We got our Makey Makey kit when it was still a Kickstarter campaign and we’ve just started playing with it. This is just amazingly creative stuff and the possibilities are endless for kids to create.
“MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between.”
Snap Circuits: I think this was Jack’s all-time favorite Christmas present ever. I was so impressed by the kit and all of the amazing things he could make with it. I was also impressed with how much he learned about electricity, and how much his little (then four year-old) brother learned by watching and playing along with him. We got the 300 project set, but it’s also available in larger and smaller sizes and a few neat alternate sets.
Electronic Playground 50-in-one: This is one of Jack’s big Christmas presents this year and I’m so excited about it. He loves science and inventing/tinkering, and this is very well reviewed.
“Have you ever wondered how those finger-touch lamps really work? Discover the answer to this question and more on the 50-in-1 Electronic Playground. The “playground” is a kit of easy-to-build projects that will teach you how more than 50 electronic circuits work including those in a finger-touch lamp, voltmeter, alarm, electronic keyboard, transistor radio and more. No tools or soldering required! Components just snap onto the built-in breadboard. A great way to learn about voltage, current, resistance and more, the playground comes with an easy-to-read 76-page illustrated instruction manual.”
Jelly Marbles – Clear Spheres Kit: From Steve Spangler Science, this seems like a really good kit to get into the crazy weirdness that is water beads.
“Place these tiny, solid spheres in water, and in just a little while you will have your own Clear Spheres. These superabsorbent spheres are the newest craze around the Spangler Science offices! What starts out as a 3mm pebble, quickly becomes an approximately 20mm ball of jelly! Similar to our Water Jelly Crystals, these spheres absorb a lot of water, plus they maintain their spherical shape when they are done growing. Want colored Clear Spheres? Just add our True Colors Color Mixing tablets to the water and you’ll have your own colored Clear Spheres. We’ll even provide one of our popular Mini-mixing Trays to perform amazing feats of color mixing with our Splash of Color experiment! Not only are these super absorbent spheres fun, they teach a valuable lesson about the power of polymers. In fact, Clear Spheres are an example of amazing Hydrogels… superabsorbent polymers that are saving the environment. Recommended for children ages 6 and up.”
Erector 3 Model Set – 110+ Parts: This seems like a really great gift under $10. This is another for Jack, who is a huge LEGO lover. Erector sets are highly recommended as the next step for LEGO kids, and this one seems like a nice, small set to find out how well he likes them. There are oodles of larger sets for kids to start out with something bigger, too.
Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kit: I was happily surprised to find this reasonably priced soldering kit for kids.
“This kit is a must for the beginner. After practicing your soldering techniques on the special area of the board, you’ll be ready to assemble this European siren with flashing LED’s. This a soldering iron and wire cutters. Requires one 9V battery. This kit requires soldering. Recommended for ages 10 and up.”
Quercetti Tecno Building Toy: This is one on my list for five year-old Alex this year.
“Create three dimensional structures or intriguing images by screwing unique shapes onto the special white board. Includes two types of screwdrivers, allen wrenches and traditional wrench as well as screws, nuts, bolts and a variety of basic shapes. Encourages developing fine motor skills as well as imagination. Ages 4 years and up.”
Qwirkle: This matching game for all ages has over 400 reviews and a perfect rating, which has it on my possible gift list for this year. It’s also currently about half off its retail price on Amazon, which is another plus.
“An addictive strategy game in the tradition of Sequence, Scrabble, and Othello, the Qwirkle Board Game from MindWare has a simple, straightforward premise: match tiles and win points. But the real joy of the game lies in plotting and scheming your way to victory. Winner of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and a Mensa Select National Competition Winner, Qwirkle is destined to be a family game night favorite. This game is designed for ages six and up and for two to four players.”
MindWare Q-Ba-Maze Marble Run Maze: This is one of my front-runners for Alex, since he loves to build and he’s obsessed with physics. We love marble runs, but a lot of them are poorly reviewed because of poor construction, and this one has extra building prospects.
“Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 is a unique system of colorful cubes that interlock to form a marble run. The big difference? You can create marble maze sculptures in the form of animals, geometric shapes or any other design! Configurations are unlimited, allowing for unpredictable action when steel balls travel the various routes. It’s a live demonstration of probability, physics and art, all in one! Big Box includes 72 cubes in five different colors and 20 steel balls. Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 cubes are not compatible with original Q-Ba-Maze cubes.”
American Science and Surplus: I always get at least some stocking stuffers from this oddball science surplus site. Some of the stuff is really junk, but you can find neat parts like alligator clips, motors, kits, litmus paper, pipettes, geodes, etc. to make all sorts of silly and scientific fun.
My gift possibilities for the girls will have to wait, in case they read this. 🙂
I’ll post more great ones later! That’s a start! What have been your kids’ all-time favorite gifts?
Note: I am not affiliated with any businesses linked in this post. In the past, I was an Amazon affiliate program member but I am not any longer and I have removed links that go to Amazon. I receive no compensation for any products purchased as a result of this post. 🙂