Product & Book Reviews

Your Ultimate STEAM Gift Guide for Finding the Perfect Nerd Gift – Part 1

STEAM Gift

The 2nd Annual Raising Nerd
Mega Holiday Wish List (Part 1)

Hey, parents, looking for a great STEAM Gift for your Nerd this holiday season? You’ve come to the right place.

If you were with us for last year’s Raising Nerd Mega Holiday Wish List, then you are already familiar with our sophisticated search algorithms, metrics, and filters used to zero in on only the very best and most Nerd-worthy, STEM/STEAM-activated gift ideas to help inspire your creative Nerds.

Although we’ve not had the pleasure of personally sampling and reviewing every item on our 2017 list, we’re Nerd parents and have a good idea what qualifies as sure-fire brain-building, imagination- and curiosity-stoking fun. To help other time-strapped Nerd parents find the perfect Nerd gifts (and stocking stuffers!), the RN team poured over foot-high stacks of catalogs from our snail mailboxes, browsed dozens of product sites, peeked at several other respected sources’ recommendations, waded through way too many Amazon customer reviews, and meandered down way too many rabbit holes hunting for the very coolest STEAM gifts.

Our 2017 Wish List is so MEGA that we had to split our main list into three! Today is just Part 1 – items available for $20 or less. On Wednesday, we’ll have Part 2 – items available in the $20-$50 range. And on Thanksgiving Day, we finish off our main Wish List with bigger ticket items from $50 on up.

In addition to solid online research, you’ll see a few toys on our list(s) that we’ve already reviewed for the blog along with a few others from last year’s list that were so awesome and relevant that they deserved a return engagement. In general, you may consider everything you find on the list, including our upcoming Stocking Stuffer (on Cyber Monday) and Books Editions (early December), to be rated at least 4 out of 5 Nerds on the Nerd-worthiness scale. Oh yeah, if all Santa’s elves were Nerds, these are the only kinds of gifts they’d make every year!

Finally, you’ll see this year we’ve made things even easier for our parent shoppers. We’ve divided the Wish List by both price range and age group. Now, without further delay, we present Raising Nerd’s 2nd Annual Raising Nerd MEGA Holiday Wish List.

Happy holidays and happy Nerd shopping, everyone!

STEAM Gifts $20 & Below

STEAM Gifts For Little Nerdlings (3 and Under)

Design & Drill Robot (Ages 3+) – Preschoolers can snap together their robot’s arms and then practice drilling multicolored bolts with the kid-friendly screwdriver. A great Nerd Gift for the future Tinkerer!

Learning Journey Puzzle Doubles – Glow in the Dark Space, Sea Life, and Wildlife – These 100-piece puzzles give you double the fun. After you put the puzzle together, turn off the lights and the puzzle glows in the dark! Additionally turn the puzzle over and you have a coloring activity.

Boon Building Bath Pipes and Cogs Water Gears – And you never thought leaky pipes could be so much fun. But these pipes & gears attach easily to the wall to create a bath time scooping and pouring extravaganza. They suction to the wall so the water goes back in the tub, not on the floor.

STEAM Gift

Gardening Tools with STEM Early Learning Guide (Ages 3+) – This great kids garden tool set will help your Nerds discover the world and go outside and play! Perfectly-sized garden tools for their hands, which lets them enjoy outside play and grow a home garden!

Teach My Preschooler the Solar System (Ages 3+) – Teach your preschool Nerd all about the universe with this interactive Solar System book, poster, 10 flashcards and a 20 piece ‘puzzle within a puzzle.’ 

Learning Resources 1-2-3 Build It – Car, Boat, Plane Set of 49 features 6 shapes in a rainbow of colors allows Nerds to explore patterns and shapes with this soft foam puzzle.

Jumbo Nuts and Bolts Set with Backpack12 Complete Plastic Nuts and Bolts Set – 24 Pieces – Includes 4 different shapes to create games and activities that make learning fun!

Leapfrog Count and Crawl Number Kitty This kitty is designed for purrrfect push-and-play counting fun! Press the keys in Number mode to hear number names 1 to 20 and cat-tastic counting rhymes and explore the keys in Music mode to play meows high and low, hear silly sounds or make original melodies. Push Kitty along to hear a fun counting song, plus the original ditty, ‘Tummy, Whiskers, Tongue and Paws’

STEAM GiftSpin and Learn Color Flashlight – This fun and engaging flashlight comes with over 50 sing-along songs, music, sounds and fun phrases.

Quercetti Kaleido Gears (Ages 3-12) – This simple yet highly educational toy is great to encourage your child’s creative skills, hand-eye coordination, and develop fine motor skills and hand dexterity.

Super Saxoflute Customizable Musical Instrument (Ages 2+) – Connect the pieces to make twists, turns, and bend for a wacky fun flute that no one has ever seen before. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Stack Up! (Ages 3+) –An award winning game of tower building with three play levels so it will grow with your child. Players work together to stack 12 blocks before the Block Smasher arrives and topples the tower.

Jr. Astronaut Helmet with Movable Visor, Boots, and Gloves (Ages 3+) –

Sky Star Night Light with TimerHow impressive it would be when you bring a colorful starry sky to a birthdays, festivals, family gatherings or any other occasions. Naturally,it’s also wonderful night lights for kids.

Skoolzy 30-Piece Pipe and Joint Construction Set (Ages 3+) – Watch your child entertain themselves and spend countless hours with this fun pipe & tube building toy.

STEAM Gifts For Emerging Nerds (4 to 7 Years)

SoundForest: Elementary Music Creation App for iOS (Ages 4+) – Instantly compose awesome music loops with this mini music maker that allows you to instantly compose a song using a collection of musical creatures. Compose a loop by tapping animal instruments and mix them into a hypnotic tune.

Littlecodr – Kids Coding Game -This Nerdy card game for kids and kids at heart introduces coding and computer programming. Using simple action cards, kids get to program their parents or friends to do crazy things while they learn concepts like coding and logic, linear thinking, prototyping and debugging.

Fat Brain Toys Offbits – Infobit and Offbits Vehicles – These sets of uniquely designed nuts, bolts, and springs for building all kinds of fun, robot-like characters and vehicles. Encourages fine motor skills, visual-spatial skills, planning, creativity, critical-thinking, problem-solving, imaginative play

STEAM GiftMathlink Cubes – Help your Nerd master their math skills with these geometric cubes that link together on all sides to create complex patterning activities.

Ozobot Construction Accessory Kit (Ages 6+) –Create challenges and DIY activities, or even design your own games to share with all your friends and the amazing Ozobot community. Comes with 4 construction extensions, 2 DIY skins, 6 blocks, 1 pop-out sheet, 1 accessory sticker sheet & 1 block sticker sheet. Ozobot sold separately.

STEAM GiftZing Stickbot Studio Pro (Ages 4+) – Create , Animate and Share! With Stikbot, your Nerd can utilize green screen technology to become the next Spielberg.

Creativity for Kids Big Creativity CanThe possibilities are endless! Creativity Can promotes self-expression and encourages people of all ages to imagine and invent using a hands-on activity.

ALEX Toys Future Coders Robot Races Coding Skills Kit – Your Nerd can hone their coding skills as they become the robot and race to solve each challenge. This interactive game teaches early coding logic by asking kids to map their path from point A to point B

Ultimate Dino Dig: T-RexExcavate a genuine dinosaur bone, dinosaur tooth, and dino poop fossil and add them to your rock collection! Construct a 3D tyrannosaurus rex skeleton model after carefully digging up your collectible fossils like a real paleontologist. This hands-on activity kit fosters a love of science and history while teaching kids about fossils the fun way!

I Sea 10 and Sum Swamp Game by Learning Resources – Your Nerd will develop fluency in early math skills as they play these colorful math games.

STEAM Gift

Tiny Polka DotSixteen easy-to-learn games help kids fall in love with numbers!

Peaceable Kingdom: The Memory Palace Cooperative Story Telling Game for KidsPlayers explore their imaginations and test their memories while creating silly stories about 27 different animal tokens.

Giant Magnetic Solar System – This full-color, realistically-detailed magnets brings the solar system to life in your Nerd’s bedroom.

STEAM GiftCreativity For Kids Glow ‘n’ Grow Terrarium (Ages 6+) – Now your Nerd can experience the wonder of nature with the Grow N’ Glow Terrarium! This kit allows you to craft, plant, water and grow your own terrarium tabletop garden. Comes with everything you need for two full plant life cycles!

Sunprint Paper Kit (Ages 6+) – The SunPrint Solar Paper lets you makes beautiful pictures by placing objects on the paper and exposing it to the sun. The paper undergoes a chemical change when exposed to sunlight. With this paper you can also demonstrate UV blocking sunscreen by smearing sunscreen on plexiglass and exposing the paper to the sun. Use different strengths of sunscreen and see how the image has changed.

Curious Chef  17-Piece Measure and Prep Kit (Ages 3+) – Is your Nerd the next Top Chef? Make sure they’re ready for their Food Network debut with this superb collection of flawless kitchen tools.

My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage and Tree Hollow – Using the included soil and seeds, plant your Nerds can make their very own fairy garden and watch it grow. Add your own flowers or seeds, too–the possibilities are endless. Maybe even decorate with some stones or other fun things you have.

STEAM Gifts For New Nerds (7 to 12)

STEAM GiftCreativity for Kids Spark!Lab Smithsonian Invent the Greatest Board Game and Inventors Studio – Think it! Explore it! Sketch it! Create it! Try it! Tweak it! Sell it! Use the Spark!Lab invention process and with the tools provided, create your own invention or board game. It teaches critical thinking, research, and problem solving skills through creative and open-ended play. Kids will learn to overcome challenging obstacles while having fun and using their imagination.

View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack, Experience Pack: Discovery Underwater and National Geographic: WildlifeEnter the world of virtual reality with this Nerd-friendly device that will surround you with stunning 360-degree environments so you feel as if you are really there.

Mole Rats in SpaceMole rats in space is the climbing, sliding game of escape created by Matt Leacock for peaceable kingdom. Players work together to help the busy mole rats gather their equipment and make it to their escape pod before the snake invaders get them! Children learn strategy, problem solving, communication and cooperation.

Leonardo DaVinci Kits – Paddle BoatInspired by the genius and drawings in the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, your Nerd can now make a Da Vinci precursor of the paddle boat. Easy Snap-Together assembly.

Ravensburger Ocean Turtles, Realm of the Giants, and Solar System – 200-Piece PuzzleWhile piecing together these colorful floor puzzles, your little Nerd will be inspired by the beauty of the world around them.

STEAM GiftLEGO Ideas Women of NASAExplore the professions of some of the groundbreaking women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with the LEGO® Ideas Women of NASA set.

LEGO Make Your Own Movie – Bring your LEGO minifigures to life with this beginner-friendly guide to stop-motion animation. Ten ‘Mini Movies’ walk you through using your phone, tablet, or computer to make short, funny clips with step-by-step instructions.

Scientific Explorer Crime Catchers Spy Science Kit – Learn the skills to become a Spy, Detective, CSI Investigator or Super Hero! This science kit will have your Nerd following clues and gathering evidence by matching fingerprints, testing powders and liquids and decoding secret messages like a crime scene investigator.

Scientific Explorer Ice Cream Science – Learn how to make your own ice cream! Invent colors and flavors, conduct super cool chemistry experiments, investigate why salt is used in ice cream making and learn how to make ice cream smooth or gritty and how to add fluff to the mixture.

Scientific Explorer Wacky Weird Weather Kit – Scientific Explorer Wacky Weird Weather Kit is an educational make-it-yourself set that allows your child to uncover secrets behind our weird and wacky weather. This set is designed to inspire young scientists to understand the science of storms in order to make a tornado, create a tidal wave, make their own powerful weather effects, create lighting at home, make their own storm front and whip up a blizzard in a test tube.

Kingdomino Strategy Game – 2017 Game of the Year (Spiel De Jahres Winner). This family strategy game will take dominoes skills to a whole new level.

VEX Explorers Discovery Command and Rover (Ages 6+) – Venture to uncharted interplanetary terrain with the VEX Robotics Rover Explorer by HEXBUG. Created with careful detail to mimic an actual real-life space rover, this hands-on snap-together set comes with an action arm that pivots and reaches, interactive features and an astronaut figurine.

Ion: A Compound Building Game – Ion is a simple card drafting game where players select from a number of available ion cards and noble gas cards, with the object I’ve of forming either neutrally charged compounds or sets of stable noble gases!

STEAM GiftSquashed (Ages 6-15) – It’s the 3-D Game that Adds a Whole New Dimension to Board Games. Squashed changes the paradigm of board games by forcing players to think in three dimensions.

STEAM Gifts For Big Nerds (12 and Up)

NASA Space Travel Posters – Dream big Nerd dreams with these fantastic posters that will inspire your Nerd to visit far-off worlds.

4M Crystal Growing Experiment (Ages 10-15) – Learn about beautiful crystals as you watch them grow. The 4M Crystal Growing Experiment teaches kids and adults about the beauty and complexity of crystal growth with stunning results. Simply follow the directions to conduct seven different crystal growing experiments.

Exit – The Game: The Secret Lab – As volunteers for a medical research study, you report to a lab as instructed. But no one is there except for you! Vapor rises from a test tube and you start feeling dizzy. When you wake up again, the door is locked, and you discover a notebook and a strange disk.

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Look for our next installment of great STEAM Gifts for Nerds tomorrow.

STEAM Gifts

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