How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM Stuff #giftguide [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math]

I very firmly believe that children learn from play. They learn how to play, they learn what they like to play, they learn about real life from play. In our family, we have a daddy engineer who loves to pass on [genetically and environmentally] his love for all things electrical and technological. The boys, especially our oldest, eat it up like candy. So, for us, we're very intentional about creating an environment of play in which they can fill up their knowledge banks and become more excited about the creative process. This is a collection of things [free and otherwise] that we've introduced to our kids and loved. I just couldn't help sharing! Enjoy! 

Snap Electronics
Our kids started on these when they were pretty young [three or four years old!] and we did have to replace a few pieces that broke, but my goodness, this stuff is FUN. You can build circuits that make sound effects, make lights blink, make the fan spin and fly up in the air, and sooo much more. This kit gets two thumbs up from each of our kids. You can find them at

LEGO Subscription Service [Pley]
This is the new kid on the block -- a monthly subscription to Lego. You create a playlist of kits that you would love to build and back and forth shipping is free! You build a kit, send it back when you're done and get the next one on your list. Brilliant!! My kids got their first set in the mail yesterday and already put together the coolest monster truck with shocks and a working steering mechanism. The first Lego set is free, so you should definitely check it out! Visit to learn more!

Robotics [Ev3]
Have you heard me rave about the LEGO MINDSTORMS kit yet? This stuff is cool. Pete saved his allowance money for quite a while and we matched his funds so he could finally snag one of these. His first project was a cute little robotic doggy that did tricks! I've been more than impressed with the things he has made these parts do. Two thumbs up from everyone!
Available at [watch for sales]!

Magic School Bus
We snagged this entire series of DVDs back when the kids were four and two. They've been watching them ever since [especially on long road trips]! It's amazing how many principles of physics, chemistry, electronics, biology and other STEM topics are covered in these episodes. It is so fun you really don't know how much you're learning. Not even a drag for the adults to listen to. :) Definitely two thumbs up from kids and parents in this house! Available for a pretty good deal here at

Sometimes, instead of a bedtime story, we pull up a Mythbusters episode on or Brilliant and hilarious. We've been watching these together since the kids were pretty young. Two thumbs up all around. Everyone LOVES it when there's a good explosion.


Wild Kratts
This is a show we discovered in a hotel room this summer while traveling with daddy. I remember watching it when I was a kid, but it's a lot more hip now. The Kratt brothers are trying on creature power suits and rescuing animals and stuff! It's pretty educational and definitely entertaining. Check out videos at!

Wild Kratts

A free online intro to programming tool for kids who love to tell stories and be imaginative! Pete started using this before he could read and continues to enjoy checking out other kids' projects and re-mixing them to serve his own purposes. The sky is the limit here! Check it out and see what you think at!

MIT App Inventor
For the more advanced reader [2nd grade?] -- another interesting way to explore coding and programming. There are tutorials that lead you step by step toward creating your own simple android apps! Pete went through a phase and isn't using this much anymore, but mentioned it in his thankful-fors tonight, so he hasn't forgotten about it! Check it out at!

For the creatives and artists among us, this online designer will let you create 3D objects that are ready for printing! Seriously. You can have your cake and print it too. Pete went through a phase where he loved this, then moved on to SketchUp. Check it out and create a free account at

This software is incredible. My dad used it to sketch out his entire dream house plan including floor joists and gutters and even electrical outlets. Pete uses it to build houses just for fun, with swimming pools in the backyard and crazy roof-lines. If your child has an interest in design, check this out at

MIT YouTube Channel
Another super fun way to learn and gain inspiration is by watching videos made by inventors at MIT like this demonstration of a robotic cheetah. Crazy right? There's a whole lot more awesome to be found right here.  

This is just a sampling of the fun we've discovered! There's more to be had -- it's just important, we think, to whet the appetite and your kids will be learning for a lifetime.

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