The purchasing event this year is upon us. Since shipping delays cause chaos during the holiday season, it is best to buy now. The best STEM toy encourages the kids in your life to develop their interests, skills and creativity. But why should we limit ourselves to science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Let’s say “STEAM TOYS” and include the art as well. We have put together the best Black Friday STEM toy deals. We plan to update this story regularly as more great deals emerge.
Best buy, Kohls
Both my kids played with this sturdy table that has room inside to store the big bricks. This is a great toy for toddlers who are not yet ready for anything too small or cumbersome and it will encourage their inner architect. The legs lock in place for play and can be folded away when finished.
When your kids are old enough (Lego suggests 4 years and up), there are few toys that offer such unbridled creativity. This classic set contains 1,500 pieces in total with four base plates and a range of colored bricks that can be built into everything your little ones can imagine.
This range of cute animal figures comes with special non-toxic washable markers so your kids can develop their art skills by drawing designs on them. When bored with the current look, they can simply wash the colors off in the sink and start over. My daughter loves these and spends hours writing new designs and playing with them.
Interesting rocks can be found almost everywhere, and budding geologists will get a kick out of this National Geographic tumbler, which turns rough rocks into dazzling gems. It comes with some rough stones, gravel, a sieve and jewelry options. It’s a bit noisy so you may want to keep it outside. Target also offers a 30 percent discount on a variety of other National Geographic science activities and kits.
Children as young as 5 years old can start learning about coding with the Botley robot without the need for a monitor. Botley can move in six directions, light up and make sounds. This set also includes obstacles and tiles to provide various challenges. It is important to note here that this is the older model and not Botley 2.0.
Goal, Amazon, Best buy, PlayOsmo
Osmos’ innovative set that blends the digital and physical world is featured in our best STEM toy guide. Children mount their iPad or Fire tablet on the special stand and participate in educational puzzles and games by interacting with pieces on a tabletop. Your tablet’s camera captures the action and provides on-screen feedback and sound. Games develop skills such as addition and multiplication, spelling and vocabulary, puzzle solving and physics, learning to draw, basic coding and more. There are fun and imaginative sets for different ages, from preschoolers to 12-year-olds.
Goal, Best buy
For beginners to Osmo, a starter kit is best as it includes a base for your iPad or Fire tablet. The Little Genius Starter Kit is for preschoolers.
One of our favorite family board games, Ticket to Ride challenges you to plot railroads across North America. It is recommended for children aged 8 years and up as there is a lot of strategy involved and some math but it does not take too long to play and is a lot of fun. Ticket to Ride Europe is also on sale for $ 18.
Creating matching groups of tiles to get the maximum score possible from your game board sounds simple, but Azul has enough strategic depth to challenge your kids’ math, planning, and puzzle skills. This is another one of our picks for the best family board games.
Tablet and Kindle deals
For reading, educational apps and games, watching documentaries and more, a tablet can be an excellent purchase for kids. While you can read on tablets, e-readers are more pleasing to the eye and allow parents to ensure that their children read instead of playing. See our guide to the best baby tablets for more options.
A portable tablet with a protective bumper, a one-year Amazon Kids + subscription and a two-year worry-free replacement warranty provide a great deal for families with young children (8/10, WIRED recommends). There are plenty of educational apps and games, videos and books and solid parental controls.
Amazon, Goal, Best buy
If your kids are getting a little old for the “baby tablet” with the rubber bumper, this is an upgrade they don’t mind being seen in possession of. It offers all the same benefits as the smaller HD 8, including teaching content from e.g. National Geographic, Rabbids Coding and LEGO. And there is still a protective case, although it is a little slimmer and has a practical support leg.
This small, lightweight e-book reader (7/10, WIRED recommends) is the perfect size for kids and comes with a folding cover, a one-year Amazon Kids + and a promise that Amazon will replace it if it breaks within two year. It is easy to load e-books, or just check them out from the local library.
Amazon, Best buy
An upgrade to the basic Kids Kindle above, Paperwhite boasts all the same benefits, but also has a backlit screen for reading in low light or at night and the ability to withstand a brief thump in water.
Learning to play an instrument is a valuable endeavor for any child, and this smart app uses the built-in microphone of a smartphone, tablet or laptop to provide feedback while playing. See our guide to the best websites and apps for learning music for more information.
The kids version of Amazon Echo Dot gets a cute animal makeover like a tiger or panda. It is a fully-fledged smart speaker that allows children to ask Alexa questions, play music, listen to audiobooks and even try out educational skills. Like the rest of the Amazon Kids range, it comes with a one-year Amazon Kids + subscription ($ 3 per month after), solid parental controls and a two-year worry-free warranty.
Featuring songs and stories featuring some of your kids’ favorite Disney and Pixar characters, this durable kid-friendly speaker is a great alternative to monitors. Children place a plastic figure, which Woody from Toy Story, on top of the speaker to trigger related content. Additional packages with other character bindings are available for everything from Disney princesses to Sesame Street characters. You can also record your own stories and songs or get grandparents to record so they can read to your little ones from afar. The basic Toniebox starter kit is also on offer for $ 70 ($ 30 off) at Amazon.
This tempting Target campaign allows you to choose three items from a wide selection of books, video games and board games, but only pay for two. There are a few educational opportunities in there and lots of things to encourage creativity and puzzle solving.