Struggling to find the right gift for the science enthusiast in your life? Not sure what to get that budding mathematician? Hung up on what to do for that “artsy” friend? AIPT Science has put together a series of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) focused holiday gift guides covering a broad range of fields, for the young and the young at heart.
Our series kicks off with gifts for babies and toddlers (0-3 years), but we’ll be exploring ideas for early learners (about ages 3-10 years old), tweens and teens (10 to roughly 18 years of age), and adults (18 to 99+ years). AND maybe, if you’ve been good all year long, we might even have a “special edition holiday gift guide” for that cryptid enthusiast you hold dear.
Holiday Science Gift Guide for Babies and Toddlers
You might think that babies, toddlers, and preschoolers don’t need much in the way of STEAM exposure, but nothing could be further from the truth. No, we don’t mean throwing math formulas at them or having them build a computer from scratch.
Littles learn best about the world through play and discovery. Giving them a taste of the STEAM world through age appropriate toys can stimulate their brain and get them started down the problem solving path. Here are a few things for little ones to pique their natural curiosity.
Baby Scientist book series – Dr. Laura Gehl and Daniel Wiseman
These short books are not only cute and vibrantly illustrated, they’re also board books that your little scientist will love to look at in a few short months! With four titles, Baby Paleontologist, Baby Oceanographer, Baby Astronaut, and Baby Botanist, your child will be well on their way to finding their future in science. You can get them at HarperCollins website, or find them at online retailers. (0+ months)
Baby University book series – Chris Ferrie
This book series has a huge library for babies, and a few for older kids. You’ll find titles like Quantum Physics for Babies, ABC’s of Biology, Newtonian Physics for Babies, and My 100 First Mathematics Words. There’s even a book written like classic favorite Goodnight Moon, called Goodnight Lab. You can find them in most bookstores, or read more about them here. (0+ months)
Explore ‘N Grow Busy Gears – Playskool
Books are fun, but who doesn’t want toys? Bright colors, lights, and sounds will engage those fine motor skills as they learn to snap gears in and out of place. A simple push of the button and they start spinning to the music and lights. There are 11 stackable gears with fun patterns that are sure to keeps kids entertained. Busy Gears is an Amazon exclusive. (12+ months)
Match and Roll Shape Sorter – Melissa and Doug
What holiday gift guide for kids would be complete without a shape sorter? This toy helps kids work out their dexterity while learning about shapes, color, and sorting. There are a lot of shape sorters on the market, but this one rolls, which will give littles the chance to crawl and chase. Teaching about angles, sides, and curves can help them with early shape recognition, and give them a jump on grasping mathematics. (12+ months)
Rock-a-Stack – Fisher-Price
Though advertised as for 18+ months, the bright, colored rings of this classic stacker can be fun for little hands that enjoy grasping, rolling, and banging. The top ring is a rattle, which can captivate younger minds. When they’re ready to start stacking, they’ll be well on their way to learning sequencing, an early math skill!
Even more fun can be had when baby learns they can roll and spin! To our delight, a new, giant version of the stacker came out just in time for Christmas. You can buy them at just about any big chain store, or get them online. (18+ months)
Duplo – Lego
Building with Lego is great for any age, but it isn’t all just for fun and games. Duplo blocks are great for developing a plethora of skills, such as hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness, and they can set the foundation for engineering and physics. Though there are sets of Mega-Blocks that can be fun for chunky little hands, Duplo, with its smaller sizes, is better for working fine motor skills and problem-solving.
With a variety of sets and characters available, toddlers can build just like their older friends and family members. Find them at most retail stores or online. (1.5+ years, however character sets tend to run 2+ years)
One Two Squeeze – B. Toys
Blocks are a classic toy for little babies. This set is colorful, squeaky, and chewable- meaning your sweet babe won’t get sick or wind up with splinters in their mouth. They’re also a tactile treasure hunt, with various textures for chubby little fingers to feel.
Each block has a different animal, and they’re numbered one through 10. And they stack, of course! If you’d like a bigger set, there are other options from B. Toys with different shapes or textures. (6+ months)
Dino Dig Sand & Water Table – Step2
There’s no better time to start teaching kids about flow, buoyancy, and cause and effect. They’ll be interested in digging for dinosaurs, understanding how waves are made, and learning about elevations and land features with this double sensory table that features volcano, beach, and ocean. This table is small enough it can be used indoors or outdoors, but large enough to comfortably allow more than one child to play at a time.
Some Step2 products can be found in local retail stores, but selection can be limited. Online retailers might be more reliable. (2+ years, but who are we kidding? We’d still like to dig around in it.)
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