The 2nd Annual Raising Nerd
Mega Holiday Wish List (Part 2)
How about a second pre-Thanksgiving helping of Nerd-inspiring, creative problem-solving toy goodness? In Part 1 of our Mega Holiday Wish List, which we considered the shopping appetizer, we recommended more than 60 STEAM Gift toys priced under $20 to satisfy any Nerd’s curiosity and passion for discovery. In today’s edition of our annual gift guide, we cover dozens more STEAM toys in the $20-$50 range. Once again, we’ve segmented toys by age group to help make your online browsing easier.
STEAM Gift Ideas for Little Nerdlings (3 & Under)
Build and Play Take-A-Part Toys Vehicle Set (Ages 3+) – he coolest easy build and play take a part toys! Your little mechanic will keep busy for hours with this easy to assemble build and play construction vehicle building set. A great STEAM Gift.
KEVA Connect Starter Set (Ages 3+) – Building with KEVA Connect hones the skills needed to be an effective problem solver. It combines creative thinking and critical thinking for a total mind workout. Your imagination is the only limit to what can be created with KEVA planks and connectors from MindWare.
Dinosaur Construct and Play Set (Ages 3+) – These take apart toy dinosaurs will keep your Nerds busy for hours. Watch as they build, use tools and create stories with these educational toys. The Dinosaur Kit includes 106 pieces and comes fully assembled so kids can open the box and start playing immediately. They will soon get to work deconstructing the dinosaurs and putting them back together again.
Rainbow Counting Bears with Matching Sorting Cups – The counting BEARS with CUPS & bear DICE make for fun toddler games. Kids will become masters at this kids color sorting activity as well as mathematics. Watch as they grow, learn and play at the same time.
Spin ‘n’ Sort Spout Pro – Spin ‘N’ Sort Spout Supports STEM by Introducing Children to Sorting, Constructing and Putting Physics into Play With Spinning Gear Movement.
Tobbles Neo – Little hands can’t get enough of the stacking, toppling, spinning, balancing, wobbling, tilting, and wiggling! Another welcome invitation to timeless play.
Design & Drill Activity Center (Ages 3+) – Kids power up their imaginations and build coordination skills as they drill chunky, kid-sized bolts into a sturdy activity board. Includes 120 chunky plastic bolts, reversible power drill, screwdriver, combination wrench, 2 drill bits, and 20 easy-to-follow design activity cards.
Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone – Encourage your child to explore the different notes that sound out at the balls fall upon the keys. Or, slide out the xylophone for a quieter version of the game.
Green Toys Rescue Boat with Helicopter and Construction Vehicle 3-Pack – Scoop it! Mix it! Dump it! Just another earth-moving, earth-saving day at the job site. Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic with no BPA, phthalates or PVC, these pint-sized vehicles are just right for little Nerdy hands.
Robot Engineer Kit and Storybook (Ages 3+) – Read the funny story of two inquisitive kids, Ty and Karlie, and build simple, non-motorized models of the robots they construct and fix during their adventure to an automated candy factory! A great STEAM Gift.
Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar – Code-a-pillar inspires little learners to be big thinkers by encouraging them to arrange (and rearrange) the easy-to-connect segments in endless combinations, sending Code-a-pillar on his path. There’s no end to the combinations kids can make–mix up the segments and put them back together to send Code-a-pillar in a different direction every time.
Dynamo Kid’s Domino Set (Ages 3+) – There are endless possibilities for 3-D thinking and engineering development! Designed to engage kids in early STEM development, these dominoes encourages problem-solving and keeps little engineers coming back for more fun!
Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Building Set (Ages 3+) – This geared construction set enables kids to create custom designs that actually move! Simply select your pieces, snap them together, and give it a spin to set your design in motion.
STEAM Gifts for Emerging Nerds (4 to 7 Years)
Aqua Maze Marble Run – Marble Run Toys are great for kids to learn important science and engineering concepts and develop fine motor skills while having fun!
Conduct Dough Lights (Ages 3+) – The perfect STEAM Gift. Harness the power of science to turn soft-dough designs into glowing works of art. This unique kit is a safe and fun way to introduce the basics of circuitry to young and bright minds.
ROCK ON! Geology Game with Rock & Mineral Collection – Nerds Rock and now this geology game will prove it! Designed to spark kids’ interest in Rocks, Minerals, Geology and foster a love of nature that can last a lifetime.
Staxis (Ages 6+) – Unlike many board games and table-top puzzle sets, Staxis is a great way to help children think outside the box. The 3-D arena of play demands children conceptualize future moves in an abstract way to achieve a strategically sound victory.
Magnaflex Critters and Vehicles Flexible Magnetic Construction Set (Ages 4-15) – Magnaflex high-quality, flexible magnetic strips let you build anything you can imagine. Bend and connect Magnaflex strips magnetically and use their unique shape to zip or stack them together. Create cute & crazy critters with the help of the included instruction manual, or use your imagination to invent animals, vehicles, wearable accessories and more!
Automoblox SC1 Chaos and HR5 Scorch 2-Pack – Because these vehicles come apart, you can create tons of customized vehicles with parts from several cars! Make colorful vehicles, longer vehicles, or whatever you want!
Twangled (Ages 6+) – Get TWANGLED! wangled from MindWare is the cooperative game that will have you and your friends laughing, thinking, stretching and communicating as you get yourselves into and out of a twisted and tangled situation.
MasterChef Jr. Cooking Essentials Set and Pizza Cooking Set (Ages 6+) – Practice, patience and precision are what make Master Chefs! Your Nerds will hone their culinary skills and add their own spin to the recipes provided or even develop and test their very own!
Portable Sewing Machine (Ages 6+) – Your Nerd can become the ultimate tinkerer and maker with this real sewing machine.
Skeleton Floor Puzzle – The foot bones connected to the leg bone, the leg bones connected to the knee bone whats the knee bone connected to? Nerds will have no trouble working out where all of their bones fit together when they practice putting them in place on this life-size skeleton floor puzzle.
HEXBUG Nano Space Discovery Station (Ages 3+) – Your Nerds will travel to another galaxy as they step aboard the HEXBUG nano Space Discovery Station.
Ozobot: Guardians of the Galaxy Starter Set (Ages 6+) – Ozobot puts you in command of the galaxy’s favorite dynamic duo. Getting started is simple: pull out your markers and draw lines and color codes. Then watch your Guardian bring your drawings to life. Use color codes to complete over 20 drawing activities and keep Rocket and Groot of trouble, learning the basics of coding as you go!
Lite Stax (Ages 3+) – Light up your world with these unique building blocks glow brilliantly with colorful light as you stack them, bringing your designs to life.
My First Fractions Puzzle (Ages 3-12) – This puzzle introduces counting and the concept of fractions using brightly colored wooden puzzle pieces that include numbers and shapes.
ScienceWiz Cells Under a Microscope (Ages 5+) – Explore the world of biology in this Cells Activity Kit. Featuring a forty-page science book and kit, Nerds will learn the fundamentals of staining onion cells, preparing a leaf cell, staining and viewing cheeks cells, identifying parts of the cell, and so much more!
STEAM Gift Ideas for New Nerds (7 to 12)
Steve Spangler’s Super Size SICK Science – Ahh, the sweet smell of science. With this STEAM Gift, you can invite your Nerdy friends over to share in the wonders of science with the Sick Science Super Size Kit. This set takes them through numerous chemistry experiences that they will swear are magic. You will get to explore acids, bases, and indicators that will amaze your friends and family. Have fun and hone your brain too.
Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration – This award-winning game captures the real-world science, technology, and challenges of planetary exploration. The Xtronaut board game, 2 – 4 players, gives Nerds the chance to develop space missions, build authentic rocket systems, and explore the solar system.
Roller Coaster Challenge Logic and Building Game – Buckle up and get ready to twist and turn your mind as you attempt to solve 40 exhilarating roller coaster challenges. When you think you’ve constructed a successful ride, give your car a little push and watch it glide down the track. Your mind will bend in loops as it stretches to solve the leveled challenges.
Coding Board Game: Rover Control and Robot Repair by ThinkFun – Learn advanced programming concepts through fun gameplay in this 40-challenge game where two Rovers have been sent to explore Mars. The trouble is, the Rovers are programmed to travel on color and most of the pathways were left colorless in a dust storm.
Marbleocity Dragon Coaster – A STEAM Gift perfect for your Nerd. Build your own working roller coaster model made of real wood! The Dragon Coaster is full of dips and turns with some engineering and physics thrown–so once you build your coaster, you can run marbles through it!
Sequence Numbers – Test your math skills in this number version of SEQUENCE. The cards have the equations….the gameboard has the answers. Have fun learning math!
Aftershock! Earthquake Lab – Can you stand up to the destructive force of the EARTHQUAKE? Earthquakes are one of the most destructive forces in the entire world. This is your chance to put your creations to the test! EARTHQUAKE simulator gives you everything you all need to build tons of different buildings. The variable-lock girder system offers young engineers endless possibilities for their structural experimentation.
Constellations – the Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky – Have fun learning about the night sky and constellations, stars and star types, and real science.
Science Academy Eco Forensic Lab – Get ready to be a planet saving detective! This science kit makes it easy, safe and fun to learn about the hidden dangers facing our planet. Your Nerd will create a chemical crime scene lab, identify microscopic water creatures, plan a portable pollution buster, learn a polluted water survival trick and even decode secrets in the soil!
Photosynthesis Strategy Board Game -The green strategy board game! Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy and take your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full Bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun’s rays.
Snap Circuits 3D Illumination and Arcade Electronics Discovery Kit – This has STEAM Gift written all over it. Snap Circuit 3D Illumination will drive you up the wall, literally. With new Snap Modules you will be able to go vertical with your circuit building by securing your Snap Boards together in a myriad of configurations.
Fraction Formula – It’s a race to “1” with this 4-player fraction game. Draw a card and find the corresponding fizzy fraction tile. Drop the tile into your cylinder. “Hold” if you think you’re as close to one as you’ll get without going over or draw another card if you think you can get closer by adding another fraction tile. The player who gets closest to 1 wins the round.
Elementeo Chemistry Card Game – Elements have their own personalities: Oxygen becomes Oxygen Life-Giver, Sodium becomes Sodium Dragon, and Iodine becomes Iodine Mermaid. Oxygen Life-Giver can rust metals, Copper Cyclops can shock cards around him, and Helium Genie can lift element cards in balloons. Students create compounds, play with elements, and explore the world of science like never before.
Hit the Habitat Trail – Follow the stone trail through the earth’s habitats. Learn about our environment and discover ways to improve it. Answer a knowledge card question correctly and collect one “Habitat Card”. The player with the most “Habitat Cards” at the end of the trail is the winner.
Wind Power 2.0 Experiment Kit – Electricity Generating Turbines. Build wind powered generators to energize your electric vehicles and charge your rechargeable batteries. The wind spins the turbine, which turns an electric generator, which in turn charges your rechargeable AA batteries
Discovering STEM: Levers, Linkages and Structures Building Kit – A STEAM Gift essential. Become a master engineer and learn how levers can be used for increasing an applied force or changing the direction of motion and how they integrate with structures. Build 16 working models such as a seesaw, a movable weight scale, a wheelbarrow, a parking gate, a toy with moving figures, a panto-graph and two types of linkages and 8 structures.
SoundMoovz Motion-Activated Musical Bands – Become a creative genius with this motion-activated electronic device that plays cool music and special effect sounds as you move! Experience the excitement by moving, dancing and creating unique musical beats – it is truly awesome! It’s the next musical sensation of the new age
Merge Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Goggles (Ages 10+) – See the virtual world in a whole new way with these kid-friendly Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality goggles.
Rocket Lander Game – Discover the thrill of commanding your own Rocket landing! In Rocket Lander you control a group of bold rockets exploring the vast world and outer space. Embark on an epic mission to settle and build the greatest rocket station with this three-dimensional space hosting an X,Y and Z -axis that explore data literacy at any age.
STEAM Gift Ideas for Big Nerds (12 and Up)
The Chart of Cosmic Exploration – Probe the solar system from Mercury to Pluto with this stellar schematic of space exploration! From the Luna 2 in 1959 to the DSCOVR in 2015, this color-coded chart traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of lower Earth orbit and successfully complete its mission—a truly astronomical array of over 100 exploratory instruments in all.
Organ Attack! Card Game (Ages 10+) – The Awkward Yeti presents: OrganATTACK, the Family-Friendly Game of Organ Harvesting! OrganATTACK seamlessly blends medically accurate terminology with immature potty humor, creating a semi-educational and intensely-gut-busting experience. In the fast and fun game, players use affliction, Immunity and other tactical cards to inflict or repel disease and bodily harm.
Tesla Magnetic Statue – The ultimate STEAM Gift tribute. This Nikola Tesla Magnetic Statue, made of high-quality resin, is a scale replica of the one in Silicon Valley that produces free wi-fi. This 6 1/2-inch version won’t help you with your wi-fi needs, but it does have a neodymium magnet inside the lightbulb, so mini Tesla can hold onto all your pins, paper clips, or thumbtacks.
Compounded Board Game – Compounded is a game about building chemical compounds through careful management of elements, a fair bit of social play and trading, and just a bit ok luck. In Compounded, players take on the roles of lab managers, hastily competing to complete the most compounds before they are completed by others – or destroyed in an explosion.
World’s Fair 1893 Game (Ages 10+) – The World’s Fair of 1893 in Chicago was a spectacular international exhibition that showcased many great achievements in science, technology, culture, and entertainment. Acting as organizers of the fair, players work diligently to increase their influence throughout the fair and obtain the grand exhibits that will be put on display. The organizer who has earned the best reputation when the fair begins will emerge the victor.
Spaceteam and Spaceteam Triangulum Expansion Pack (Ages 10+) – This fast-paced, cooperative shouting card game has you working together to repair your malfunctioning spaceship. Coordination with your team is crucial as you try to escape an impending black hole. Success is seeming just out of reach as you encounter one complication after another. Your only hope is to work together with your Spaceteam to repair the ship before it’s too late.
Circular Reasoning – A 2016 Mensa mind games winner, this modern take on a classic abstract strategy game is perfect for family game night. The ultimate STEAM Gift idea.
Imhotep: Builder of Egypt (Ages 10+) – Imhotep. The legendary architect of the Egyptian monuments. His awe-inspiring structures and brutal tactics earned him divine status among ancient Egyptians. Can you match his ruthless determination to build the most revered monuments?
Bears vs. Babies Card Game (Ages 10+) – Stitch together a Handsome Salmon armed with knives and burritos, or a Pomeranian of Light and Wonder in business attire who can run at the speed of light. Give your creation limbs, weapons, and special hats to help prepare them for the inevitable infant onslaught. In this highly strategic party game, outbuild the babies and other players to win!
Engino Discovering STEM: Structures – Buildings and Bridges (Ages 8-16) – The perfect STEAM gift! Discover all types of forces applied in Buildings and Bridges and how they are designed to provide massive weight support. Build 9 working models such as a Suspension Bridge, Truss Bridge Lower Truss Bridge, House and more.
Evolution – In Evolution, players create and adapt their own species in a dynamic ecosystem with hungry predators and limited resources. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect you from Carnivores, while a Long Neck will help you get food that others cannot reach. With over 12000 different species to create, every game becomes a different adventure. So gather your friends around the table and see who will best adapt their species to eat, multiply and thrive!
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Come back tomorrow when we wrap things up with Part 3 of our Mega Holiday Wish List and gift guide. For dessert, we’ll have a broad selection of STEAM gifts priced $50 and up.