STEM Kits are an amazing tool when looking for STEM Projects for kids. When I first started doing STEM projects with my children, I often found myself scrambling to find all the items and tools we needed. Not to mention trying to find inspiration! With quality STEM kits everything is in one place, making life so much easier! STEM kits come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, there really is something for everyone. Here I’ve gathered up my favourite STEM Kits, including what’s in my DIY STEM Kit.
The Best STEM Kits For Kids
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STEM Kits come in a variety of different forms. Some are more focused on one aspect of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). There are definitely different skill levels required for different kits, although I have found it is better to err on the site of a little older and provide extra adult assistance rather than too young or low in the skill level requirements. Those just get boring for the kids. It’s important to read up on each one to see if it covers the aspects of STEM that most interest you or your children. I’ve broken down my list into three sections: monthly STEM kits, project specific kits, and how to build your own STEM kit. Note that most of these STEM kits are for elementary aged students and up.
Monthly STEM Kits
I really love monthly STEM Kit programs. If you are new to this concept, you purchase a subscription and each month a box full of experiments and project pieces arrives at your door. They are incredibly convenient. There are some amazing STEM kits out there and we’ve tried so many of them over the years. A few stand out as big winners in our books.
We love a great chemistry experiment and MEL Science delivers in a BIG way! Their projects are incredibly fun and exciting. Imagine those awesome chemistry sets we used to be able to buy. Or those cool lab experiments we did in high school and university. The MEL Science boxes have everything you need to conduct fascinating chemistry experiments and labs. The best thing about their boxes is that they explore reactions and science and include lessons to really develop children’s scientific knowledge. You can also immerse yourself in their VR educational experience or attend live sessions with their scientists. MEL Science is a huge hit with my tweens and teens.
Got younger kids? MEL Science also has a box program for kids as young as 5 years old called MEL Kids that has more of an engineering focus. Kids get to build the coolest things including a bellow for a forge, an old fashion music box, a rocket launcher, and even a cannon! If your kids are too young for MEL Science or have an interest in Engineering, definitely check out MEL Kids too. We are obsessed!
GROOVY LAB IN A BOX
Groovy Lab In A Box – This is one of our favourite monthly boxes in our homeschool. It comes with everything we need to do the activities and I love the challenges that encourage kids to take the concepts even further. On top of that they include a “beyond the box” section on their site which includes even more activities, videos and articles on the topic of the box. This creates a full unit study on the subject, all delivered to your door each month. I featured their Earthquake Box and States of Matter box on STEAM Powered Family.
Creation Crate – For older STEMists and kids interested in circuits, programming and circuitry, Creation Crate is amazing! We did the first challenge and second challenge and they are so much fun. I love that they have structured their STEM kits so each month builds on what was learned the previous month. It provides a wonderful, year long learning program for your tweens, teens and even tinkering adults (best for 12 years old and up). Just be warned it does get much more challenging as you progress through the boxes. This is a true learning program for your older kids.
STEM Kits and STEM Toys
These STEM kits tend to have specific uses but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal of learning that comes from investing in these kits. Many of these can be used for years, adapting and changing as children grow and learn new skills, which also makes them perfect for a group setting or large family.
Snap Circuits – Our Snap Circuit kits are a huge hit. We started with the smaller sets but now have the Snap Circuits Extreme Kit that will keep my kids engaged through high school level. With their details plans and lessons, kids learn a great deal about building circuits and creating.
MOLYMOD CHEMISTRY MODEL SET
Molymod Chemistry Model Set – Chemistry fans love these kits that combine a little Chemistry with Engineering as you build models of various molecules. It makes for some wonderful hands on learning. A great addition to a subscription to MEL Science!
MOVING CREATIONS WITH K’NEX
Kids LOVE this STEM Kit! Using the much loved K’nex system, Moving Creations with K’nex takes things to the next level by exploring hydraulics and pneumatics with 9 different builds and 18 different STEM experiments. This is a fantastic STEM kit for kids 8 to 12 years old.
GRAVITRAX – EPIC MARBLE RUN FUN!
Gravitrax – Gravitrax is the best marble run system ever! It is an expandable system from Ravensburger where you explore engineering, math and physics to create some epic marble runs. Start with the starter kit but can expand, add and build with the many expansion packs. This system is incredibly fun and easy to use, and the kids just LOVE it! By far the BEST Marble Run kit we have ever played with!
NOTE: This year (2020) they have released a brand new 186 piece Obstacle expansion pack! You can find that kit exclusively at Target.
Robot & Coding STEM Kits
littleBits – The littleBits kits are a fantastic way to bring in some engineering and circuits activities into your child’s life. Their kits are incredibly well built and thought out with a huge wow factor. The kids will be so proud of the things they build with these kits. All while learning important STEM skills.
Mindstorms – Robotics and LEGO combine for some fantastic learning opportunities with Mindstorms. One of the great features of Mindstorms is all the educational workshops and programs available around the kits. There are even programs where teams build robots and compete in challenges.
Sphero – Sphero is a fantastic tool for learning coding. Kids can be challenged to program Sphero to do various tasks or complete obstacle courses. We are absolutely in love with all of our Sphero products, they are offers some amazing capabilities that will really take your STEM program to the next level. You can learn more about our Sphero here.
Nintendo Switch and LABO
Labo for the Nintendo Switch is an incredible STEM kit for kids. We have been blown away with the projects and how much fun they have been to build, and how excited my kids get building with Labo and then using their Switch to bring their builds to life. An exceptional STEM kit! For more on Nintendo Switch educational games, check out our resource here.
Artie 3000 is a powerful STEAM bot that teaches kids coding while making art. This super cute bot that promotes creativity not only with art creation but also with learning coding. From beginning coders to more advanced, Artie 3000 is a really cool Art Bot for our STEAM enthusiasts.
For younger kids, a fantastic new coding bot is Botley 2.0. This little guy is very intuitive and will have even kids as young as 5 coding screen free in no time. Music, light and movement, it’s all here to help launch a love of STEM and coding in kids.
Want more Coding Toy recommendations? Check out our top coding toy recommendation list here.
BUILD YOUR OWN STEM KIT
The great thing with STEM is that you can build your own STEM kit and even project specific kits. In fact, you will discover over time that you will naturally start building up tools and resources for STEM work. One of the things I love about buying monthly kits is that so many of the items go into our STEM bin to be used for all sorts of things in the future. If you are considering building your own STEM kit, first consider what kind of work you are most interested in doing. STEM is a vast field, the only limitation is your imagination.
A great launching point is to build a Tinkerspace or Makerspace. This can be done on almost any budget and for all ages, at home, in the classroom, or anywhere kids gather, learn and grow.
Check out some of our circuit activities for inspiration. Our Circuit Bugs are immensely popular, and Squishy Circuits are always fun. Looking for a magical moment? Build a Lumos Wand that lights up like magic! Or dive into your pantry and build a battery out of Lemons, Potatoes or Pumpkins.
Chemistry and Experiments
Kitchen and Candy Science
Kitchen science can be a huge motivator for kids learning science. Some of our favourite kitchen science projects include Gummies, Gummy Mummies, Lava Toffee, Kendal Mint Cakes, Geodes, Rock Candy and more. Check out this link for a ton of Candy Science inspiration.
Whatever passions your children have, research some activities, pick your favourites, then start building your own STEM Kit based on what you need for those activities. Over time you can build and expand it to include new interests and passions.
Some basic items we always have on hand for our Build Your Own STEM Kit:
Recycle bin materials
Containers ( various styles and sizes – disposable cups, plastic bags, Tupperware type containers, containers with lids, etc.)
Batteries (Our little 3V batteries get so much use! But we keep an assortment on hand.)
Wire – We keep an assortment of different wire types around.
Tool kit (scissors, rulers, tape, glue, etc.)
Microscope and magnifying glasses
Test tubes and beakers (not necessary, especially for younger kids, but we LOVE using ours to lend to the true scientist experience!)
Tablet or Computer
Anything else that will help you explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math!