Scott Hanselman

The 2017 Christmas List of Best STEM Toys for kids

December 9, '17 Comments [29] Posted in Reviews
Sponsored By

In 2016 and 2015 I made a list of best Christmas STEM Toys for kids! If I may say so, they are still good lists today, so do check them out. Be aware I use Amazon referral links so I get a little kickback (and you support this blog!) when you use these links. I'll be using the pocket money to...wait for it...buy STEM toys for kids! So thanks in advance!

Here's a Christmas List of things that I've either personally purchased, tried for a time, or borrowed from a friend. These are great toys and products for kids of all genders and people of all ages.

Piper Computer Kit with Minecraft Raspberry Pi edition

The Piper is a little spendy at first glance, but it's EXTREMELY complete and very thoughtfully created. Sure, you can just get a Raspberry Pi and hack on it - but the Piper is not just a Pi. It's a complete kit where your little one builds their own wooden "laptop" box (more of a luggable), and then starting with just a single button, builds up the computer. The Minecraft content isn't just vanilla Microsoft. It's custom episodic content! Custom voice overs, episodes, and challenges.

What's genius about Piper, though, is how the software world interacts with the hardware. For example, at one point you're looking for treasure on a Minecraft beach. The Piper suggests you need a treasure detector, so you learn about wiring and LEDs and wire up a treasure detector LED while it's running. Then you run your Minecraft person around while the LED blinks faster to detect treasure. It's absolute genius. Definitely a favorite in our house for the 8-12 year old set.

Piper Raspberry Pi Kit

Suspend! by Melissa and Doug

Suspend is becoming the new Jenga for my kids. The game doesn't look like much if you judge a book by its cover, but it's addictive and my kids now want to buy a second one to see if they can build even higher. An excellent addition to family game night.

Suspend! by Melissa and Doug

Engino Discovering Stem: Levers, Linkages & Structures Building Kit

I love LEGO but I'm always trying new building kids. Engino is reminiscent of Technics or some of the advanced LEGO elements, but this modestly priced kit is far more focused - even suitable for incorporating into home schooling.

Engino Discovering Stem: Levers, Linkages & Structures Building Kit

Gravity Maze

I've always wanted a 3D Chess Set. Barring that, check out Gravity Maze. It's almost like a physical version of a well-designed iPad game. It included 60 challenges (levels) that you then add pieces to in order to solve. It gets harder than you'd think, fast! If you like this, also check out Circuit Maze.

818Ly6yML

Osmo Genius Kit (2017)

Osmo is an iPad add-on that takes the ingenious idea of an adapter that lets your iPad see the tabletop (via a mirror/lens) and then builds on that clever concept with a whole series of games, exercises, and core subject tests. It's best for the under 12 set - I'd say it's ideal for about 6-8 year olds.

81iVPligcyL


Sponsor: Check out JetBrains Rider: a new cross-platform .NET IDE. Edit, refactor, test and debug ASP.NET, .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin or Unity applications. Learn more and download a 30-day trial!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb
Saturday, 09 December 2017 07:56:35 UTC
Great ideas! Can you still get referrals if I buy from amazon.co.uk?
Matt Brooks
Saturday, 09 December 2017 08:50:36 UTC
I think you have a (slightly hilarious) typo:

I love LEGO but I'm always trying new building kids.


Graeme Christie
Saturday, 09 December 2017 10:43:00 UTC
These all look like a lot of fun!
Most of them seem to be intended for 8 years and up. Would you have any tips for slightly younger children?

My son is six and a half, he is a quick learner with good fine motor skills but a limited patience with things which do not work out in the first few tries...
Sunday, 10 December 2017 12:33:36 UTC
The College Football Playoff semifinal will be played on Monday, Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. No. 2 Oklahoma will play No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl 2018 Live Stream. Find the date, time, location and TV channel information below.
Sunday, 10 December 2017 18:41:37 UTC
Minecraft is a wonderful learning tool. A couple summers ago I taught a coding class using Minecraft to my daughter and her friends (even some of the parents stayed and learned some coding!) It was a blast to see the kids make a one line change and then pigs start dropping a diamond, then followed by them changing it to 100 diamonds and then 100000000000 diamonds followed by an integer overflow error which was a great teachable moment.

The Piper Computer kit is pricey but for the right kids it is a really good option for learning.
Kevin McKenzie
Sunday, 10 December 2017 21:07:43 UTC
Congratulations for you both! Looking forward to next ones!
Since you commented, maybe its time to a new Podcasd episode, I simply loved the ones with your wife, she's way smarter than you and this is hard to be!
Monday, 11 December 2017 08:44:24 UTC
I think Lego Boost should be on the list. You can start learning scratch from 3-4 years old with it.
Rune
Monday, 11 December 2017 14:10:37 UTC
I'll add the Dash programmable robot to this list. My 6.5 year-old son is getting one for Christmas. He's really enjoyed programming via code.org and this has a similar block-style programming app available for it.

The Lego robots looked great, but this has no pieces to keep track of/lose.
Brian Vallelunga
Monday, 11 December 2017 21:50:50 UTC
SKROTPRÆMIE
FOR DIN BIL

Vi modtager alle slags biler: Personbiler, Varebiler, Skrotbiler , Skadede og defekte biler, 4×4-hjuls, Biler uden afgift, ATV’er Leasingbiler Motorcykler mv. www.skrotpriser.com Danmarks Højeste Skrotpræmie 2017
Monday, 11 December 2017 21:51:23 UTC
SKROTPRÆMIE
FOR DIN BIL

Vi modtager alle slags biler: Personbiler, Varebiler, Skrotbiler , Skadede og defekte biler, 4×4-hjuls, Biler uden afgift
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 08:12:56 UTC
Ralph
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:37:42 UTC
@Brian Vallelunga

The Dash looks great, I just wish it had Windows 10 support like the Lego Boost. Still, it's good to have multiple options for multiple situations.
Mike C
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 20:28:13 UTC
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 07:57:46 UTC
These toys are looking cool. Thanks
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 07:58:40 UTC
wao its amazing and cool for my kids
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 11:10:15 UTC
The concept of PIPER computer kit is really innovative for kids and even this is the best gift for them in Christmas. Such kind of toys are very helpful and increase knowledge level in kids.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 20:32:37 UTC
Thank you so much for Sharing this article Awesome post People also like this information
Friday, 15 December 2017 00:22:38 UTC
Got this "Doc" for the four year old (it's aged 4-8) recently. Very simple concept. You program the path the robot should follow to reach a destination. Especially like how it teaches to learn from mistakes. It also comes with cards for the instructions, so you can lay out a program (forward, forward, turn left, pick up, turn right, forward, ...) and "debug" is by switching out cards etc ... Not sure who enjoyed it most though :-) Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JXJa-gItFc
Aaron
Saturday, 16 December 2017 22:04:38 UTC
I bought the Piper kit last week for one of my grands for ~$160. Soon after it became STEM toy of the year and today when I went to buy it for a second grand I found the price had more than doubled!
I don't know if I can support a company that will ramp up the price of a product based on popularity. If it is truly popular, keep the price reasonable and more will buy it and you still will make a lot of money.
Matt
Saturday, 16 December 2017 22:04:38 UTC
I bought the Piper kit last week for one of my grands for ~$160. Soon after it became STEM toy of the year and today when I went to buy it for a second grand I found the price had more than doubled!
I don't know if I can support a company that will ramp up the price of a product based on popularity. If it is truly popular, keep the price reasonable and more will buy it and you still will make a lot of money.
Matt
Sunday, 17 December 2017 15:14:24 UTC
Very nice collection of cool and amazing toys. Thanks :)
Sunday, 17 December 2017 22:04:45 UTC
Perfect. I followed the 2015 and 2016 lists and did not buy it.

I want to buy it for my son. STEM Toys is one of the great gifts to give each other at Christmas.

Catherine Aqui
Catherine Denvers
Monday, 18 December 2017 10:45:48 UTC
I really love this list, it gives me some ideas for Xmas.

Diaz.
Diaz
Monday, 18 December 2017 10:54:14 UTC
Thanks for the list, it helps very much but i still have a question. Do you buy it all on Amazon?
Andre
André
Monday, 18 December 2017 12:01:51 UTC
Hi Scott, this customed Pi seems to be very fun to play with, i wish it would be available in France.
But its not the case yet.

Cheers, Sam
Samuel
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 03:25:31 UTC
What else are the sites you can find an option to buy these kind of legos, other than amazon?
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 06:17:00 UTC
this is very lovely for my Inner child :)))))
Friday, 22 December 2017 05:44:27 UTC
Well an exhaustive list for sure. I have seen them or Amazon global store as well. For kids sure they are great learning resources. Amazon is the best this days.

Good collection overall.
Friday, 22 December 2017 11:04:50 UTC
Thanks a lot for this list of toys ! I have an idea to buy a toy to my son now :)

Regards, Melanie
Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.