Every year I hand-pick an assortment of homeschool-friendly products that would make great Christmas gifts. This year I'm focusing on STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. See also the previous years’ recommendations: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2012 | 2013
NOTE: Amazon links are included for quick and easy ordering. If you find something that you like, please purchase directly through my links so I can earn a small commission for my efforts. Thanks!
Plush Numbers in Backpack - Children love hugging the 3-dimensional soft and friendly plush number friends! Embroidered dots on the back of each number help kids link quantity to shape. Magnets on the side of each number allow creation of multiple-digit numbers. The ten numbers 0-9 are machine washable and manufactured in compliance with CE international safety standards for all ages. Even includes a carrying case! Recommended age level is 1 month and up.
Learning Resources Primary Science Mix And Measure Set - A set of 12 chunky, colorful tools contoured for little hands to explore and compare measurements. Scale, bowl, 3 spoons and 6 cups help young learners visualize equivalent quantities in different formats. Activity Cards introduce children to measurement and guide them in making mystery goo, puffy paint, slime and more. For ages 4-6.
Periodic Table Building Blocks - This set of 20 solid wood building blocks from ThinkGeek features all the elements of the periodic table, complete with each element's name, symbol and atomic number! And even though they're building blocks, they're not just for babies! Students can use these when learning the elements, and chemists of all ages will love them. These quality hardwood blocks are made in the USA and should last a long time. Today they're building blocks; tomorrow they'll be a great science manipulative. A set of building block elements is actually quite appropriate when you think about it, since chemical elements are the building blocks of the universe! For ages 2 and up.
The Magic School Bus - Chemistry Lab - This Magic School Bus-shaped kit contains a Chemistry Lab complete with non-toxic science supplies, 51 colorful experiment cards, a data notebook to record observations, and three plastic trays to hold all components. Make sticky ice, use litmus paper, measure pH, perform chromatography, make bubble sculptures, wake-up fungus, create slime, form a bouncy ball, learn about density, produce a milk rainbow, plate copper, explode a volcano and much more! Kids will also love The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab! For ages 5-12.
Stomp Rocket - My boys have always liked building and launching model rockets (a hobby inherited from their dad), and we never thought much of "stomp rockets" until we saw a demo at a university science fair. We were surprised to see how well they worked! If you're not into building model rockets as a hobby but would still like to have fun with rocket science, Stomp Rockets are the next best thing. Stomp Rockets can be used to teach distance, trajectory, force, motion, etc. in an exciting way! For ages 3-8.
Deluxe Roominate - Roominate is the DIY wired dollhouse building kit that gets girls excited about STEM. Create and design your own dollhouse, and then wire it however you choose! Add REAL energy with light, an elevator that works, and machines that move. See more ideas on the Roominate website, along with pictures of what other girls have made! Roominate teaches hands-on problem solving and circuits to inspire the next generation of female technology innovators. For ages 6-12.
4M Math Magic Kit – Amaze your audience with number tricks, speed calculations and funny math tricks. Kit includes a keychain calculator and everything you need to do more than15 tricks, puzzles and games. Perfect for math enthusiasts and magicians! For ages 8+.
Think Fun Math Dice – In this captivating 3D math game, players try to get closest to the target number by creating different equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, even powers. You won’t believe how much fun math can be! For ages 8 – 15.
K’NEX Education Investigating Solar Energy – Go green and bring STEM concepts to life while enhancing your understanding of renewable energy. Build six different models with this 128-piece K’NEX construction set that runs on solar energy (a sunny windowsill will work). Designed originally for the classroom, it will provide a hands-on experience of building a working machine from scratch, while learning real world math and science concepts. The set comes in a good-sized tub for easy storage. Building instructions and a teacher’s guide aligned to National STEM Standards are included. See also: K’NEX Education Exploring Wind and Water Energy. For ages 10 – 15.
Thames and Kosmos Gyrobot-Gyroscopic Robot Kit – Did you know that gyroscopes are used in countless devices? From smartphones, tablets, and video game controllers to airplanes and space telescopes! With this experiment kit, young engineers can experiment with and learn about the physical science principles of gyroscopic devices and the indispensable role they play in our lives. Seven motorized projects include the gyroscopic robot, a balancing personal vehicle, a gyro horizon (or artificial horizon), a gyrocompass, a balancing game, a tightrope walker, and a flight simulator. A full-color, 24-page, illustrated experiment manual provides step-by-step assembly instructions and scientific explanations. For ages 10 – 15.
Ravensburger Science X Electronics and Circuitry Activity Kit – Make a burglar alarm to protect your things. Construct a loudspeaker for your music. Assemble a reading lamp and a flashlight. Construct a plant watering monitor to tell if a plant needs watering. Create and send Morse code messages from your own unit. Become an electrical engineer and build eight awesome gadgets that really work! For ages 10-15, imported from Czech Republic.
LEGO Research Institute – If Mom is a scientist and money is no object, you will definitely want to get her this LEGO set! The Research Institute has everything that you need to explore the world below, around and above us! Created by real-life geoscientist Ellen Kooijman (alias: Alatariel) and selected by LEGO Ideas members (formerly known as CUUSOO), this collection of scenes depicts three varied professions within the world of natural science. Help the paleontologist study the origin of dinosaurs with the magnifying glass, map the skies with the astronomer and her telescope, and assist the chemist as she carries out experiments in her lab. This set includes building instructions as well as a booklet containing information about the creator and an introduction to each of the professions featured in the set. There’s a whole world of exciting professions out there to explore – build and role play them to see if they suit you! Includes 3 female minifigure scientists: a paleontologist, an astronomer, and a chemist. This set is extremely popular but it’s a limited edition that’s highly collectible and really hard to find!
Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter With HD 2 MP Camera - My husband actually won one of these at a conference, and he was so excited about it that he was like a little kid at Christmas. :) So if your husband/dad likes gadgets and wishes he had his own spy copter or drone, I'm sure he will love this too. Note: You will need to buy a Micro SDHC memory card, because it doesn't come with one.
Snap Circuits SC-750R Student Electronics Training Program – If Dad is into electronics, he will love doing this with the kids. The Model SC-750R is an in-depth exploration of electronic components, ideal for use in homeschooling (middle school and high school), to teach students the basic principles of electronics. The Student Guide for the SC-750R includes 138 pages of educational curriculum, essential in covering all topics related to electricity and electronics including real world applications. The teacher guide is meant to prepare educators for proper introduction of Snap Circuits and guide them through each chapter with quizzes for students to test their knowledge. Topics covered include: Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors, Motors, Integrated Circuits, Switches, Series Circuits, Parallel Circuits, Batteries, Relays, Transformers, Digital Recording, 7-segment Displays, SCRs, Analog Meters, Diodes, FM Radio. For ages 8 – 15. You can also buy the Student Guide, Teacher Guide, and Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750 Electronics Discovery Kit separately (but then you just won’t have the handy storage case).
Bosch PB360S Power Box - This is an awesome radio, rugged and geeky at the same time! I keep thinking it looks like something from Portal or Portal 2! It measures about 14 inches square, and the power cable is 6 feet long. It's meant to be a jobsite radio, but we have ours inside the house right now. It's great for the family room, basement, garage, workshop, outside gardening or playing in the backyard. You can even take it camping or on picnics. You won't want to carry it around a lot, because it's quite hefty, but it won't get knocked over that's for sure. Bosch has really engineered this radio well. The 360-degree stereo sound quality is excellent, with good bass and plenty of power even when running on the lithium-ion battery (not included). Its weather-resistant design keeps out moisture and dust. With its protective aluminum/rubber roll cage, this radio is practically indestructible. Plus it's much more than just a radio! The built-in digital media bay has a powered USB port and SD/MMC card slot for compatibility with digital memory card devices, as well as two auxiliary inputs for MP3 players and CD players. (Small devices like cellphones or MP3 players can be safely cradled inside the compartment which has a flip-up cover to keep out dust and moisture. The Power Box will even charge your cellphone!) The Bosch Power Box 360 also comes in a deluxe version (Model PB360D), which includes a SIRIUS satellite radio port, 4-way GFCI power outlets, a remote control, and backlit control panel.
AcuRite Color Weather Station with Forecast/Temperature/Humidity – Plan the day with confidence using accurate weather prediction information right from your own backyard. The AcuRite Color Digital Weather Station uses patented Self-Calibrating Technology to provide your personal forecast of 12 to 24 hour weather conditions. Self-Calibrating Forecasting is generated from weather data measured by a sensor in your yard – giving you the most accurate forecast available for your exact location. The backlit LCD screen includes indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, moon phase, barometric pressure with weather trend indicator, time and date. Intelli-Time clock automatically updates itself for Daylight Saving Time. Display stands upright for tabletop use or is wall-mountable. The outdoor sensor features powerful wireless technology, a weather-resistant design, and an integrated hanger for easy mounting. Or step it up a notch with the AcuRite Wireless Weather Station with Wind and Rain Sensor.
If you're still not sure what to get, you can never go wrong with an Amazon Gift Card! They come in cute tins with a choice of denominations, as well as E-mail, Print-at-Home, Greeting Card, and Facebook versions.
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