My favorite gifts are ones that keep on giving. I’m always looking for items that can be used in more than one way or hold JustaBXgirl’s attention for more than a few days. Just like most littles, she can easily be distracted by what’s new and exciting. I look for things that will keep her engaged past the “new car smell” season and items that can help her grow in skills, learning, and life. Here are a few of my top picks for this season’s STEM gems. In case you’re wondering what I consider a STEM gem it is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) toy that doesn’t feel like a learning toy. It is something that allows your little to create, participate, and play with items that interest them outside of the academic realm but leaves them in a position to level up academically and talent-wise.
Botzees – You have seen how much fun JustaBXgirl has with Botzees on our social media. Now is the time to get your own. Amazon is having a great sale and this is a wonderful way to introduce our little builders on how to bring their creations to life. They’re learning to code and getting an intro into robotics and simply having fun. JustaBXgirl just looked over my computer and asked what my post was about. When I shared the topic, she asked why Botzees was included (the only item she could see). She shrugged and said, “all I do is build and play on it, how is that a learning toy?” If that doesn’t make it a STEM Gem then you tell me what would? All she cares about is that she can create something and make it move. It isn’t a lesson to her but it sticks with her and makes her happy and smarter!
Doodlematic – “Mommy, I want that,” is what JustaBXgirl bellowed at me the first time she saw Doodlematic. Being able to create her own video game seemed magical to her and let’s face it, it is a little magical. When I was a kid, I can’t imagine even wanting to make a video game much less having the ability to do so with some markers. I was just happy with whatever the latest and greatest that Atari released. Today’s littles are a bit savvier and the reality is that Doodlematic makes it simple. Everything is color-coordinated, avatars, settings, obstacles and goals each get their own color so it helps littles learn to problem solve and plan. It also comes with three booklets that helps them grow their games over time.
Modarri Mix & Match – I’ve yet to meet a child that doesn’t enjoy playing with cars. This takes the simple game of rolling a car around to a new level. It gets littles thinking and learning about mechanics and engineering of the car itself. What I love about this series is that the cars are fun and colorful. And they can be mixed and matched with each other. That makes them fun to collect and you know we love collectibles. A lot of times we don’t think about these types of toys as STEM but remember how I define gems. Our littles learn how to build these models and make them work and they have fun while doing it.
Magformers – Another classic toy. I’m sure you have at least one set, (probably more), at home right now. And I bet that you have just as much fun playing with them as your little does. Do you think about the educational factor? When playing with Magformers we get lost in a game of pretend and building not realizing that we are actually engineering. We are using the science of magnets to build and reinforce our structures. Add in all of the different sets and that leaves so much more educational opportunities. Take the police officer set. It is a great opportunity to discuss community helpers.
Ooze Labs Soap and Bath Bomb Lab – Science and self-care, that’s what this set says to me. JustaBXgirl was a mad scientist for one of her Halloween costumes and this is an ideal activity for her. She loves mixing “potions” and making creations. She also loves lounging in a tub with bath bombs fizzing in the background. Now that she can read instructions on her own these types of activities are so much more fun for both of us!
Vendees Surprise DIY Dispensers – Did you see how much fun JustaBXgirl had unboxing one of the Vendees sets on our Instagram? These have a number of elements that littles love. Everyone loves to unbox toys these days. That surprise element is key these days and Vendees does it in a really fun way. And making your own lip balm makes JustaBXgirl feel a bit like a mad scientist and a beauty guru.