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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Why teach STEM and use STEM Kits?
The most important reason I love STEM kits is that it makes it easy for me to put together lessons and activities for my kids. In most of these kits, everything is provided. Just open the box and start exploring!
But maybe you are also wondering, Why STEM? Well STEM teaches incredible problem solving and critical thinking skills for all ages. It covers many core subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) in an inclusive way that aligns with how these skills are applied in the real world.
STEM Kits come in a variety of different forms, for all grades, abilities and interests. 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 interests your children or aligns with your lesson plans. These kits all feature a lot of innovation and fun projects, but only if you and your kids find the particular theme interesting.
I’ve broken down my list into three sections: monthly STEM kits, project specific kits, and how to build your own STEM kit. Plus, I have included STEM kit ideas for preschoolers to teenagers. STEM is important and fun for students of all ages!
Monthly STEM Kits and Science 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.
Creation Crate – Has long been one of our favourite STEM subscription programs. We have been fans of theirs for over 5 years and over that time they have only gotten better and expanded to offer so many amazing courses. The key difference with Creation Crate is that it is truly an educational tool and STEM curriculum. Each box builds on the previous lessons leading to subject mastery.
Their programs offer something for elementary school students to teenagers, and cover everything from programming to circuitry, advanced electronics and coding, engineering to robotics, and even a new chemistry program.
Creation Crate Courses include:
- Electronics Course – Creation Crates most popular subscription box is their Electronics Course teaching circuitry and programming (C++). With this program kids, 12 years old and up, build 18 of the coolest projects and gadgets. From Infrared Security Systems to Mood Lamps, each project has an epic cool factor that teens will love.
- Creation Crate also has an Electronics Expansion Challenger Course. If your child is more advanced and requires a tougher challenge, these are the perfect option for you. Build an obstacle avoiding rover bot or create your very own bluetooth speaker. These advanced kits will teach your child more advanced concepts in coding and circuitry and keep feeding that passion for learning STEM.
- Chemistry Course – This brand new course is for 10+ and includes 20 scientific method driven experiments that explore chemical reactions,
- Engineering Course – Build your own biomechanically controlled mech leg that you control using the motion of your fingers. This engineering course for 12+ teaches key concepts in electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering.
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 experiment kits have everything you need to conduct fascinating science 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!
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 STEM 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.
We love Osmo! It is a fantastic educational STEAM program for elementary that provides a high quality, gamified learning experience that kids love. It is a great way to get kids practicing important skills such as working with money, coding and more. But since they are doing it in such a fun way they don’t even realize how much they are learning and mastering the concepts. It is brilliant!
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. Driven by their curiosity, Snap Circuits offer the chance for learners to do their own passion driven experimentation and exploration, and learn through discovery.
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.
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!
Robot & Coding STEM Kits
We recently discovered these fantastic project kits from Let’s Start Coding that teach coding skills to kids. With the Base kit, which we have, kids will also learn circuitry. With Let’s Start Coding, kids can start with block coding, then advance to C++ just like the pros use. It also includes over 100 free project lessons. Our favourite kit was Code Rocket, which is the perfect kit for my space loving kids!
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
Baking Soda and Vinegar can open up an entire world of chemistry hands on learning with so many creative 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!