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 kicked off with gifts for babies and toddlers (0-3 years), explored ideas for early learners (about ages 3-10 years old), and discussed what to get for those tweens and teens (10 to roughly 18 years of age) in your life. Today’s installment is all about 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 adults
Let’s face it, adults are hard to shop for. They’re mostly at a place where if they see something they like, they save up and get it for themselves. Adults can also be very particular about what they like and can even refuse to try new hobbies or upgrade their wardrobe. It’s not like there are a whole bunch of companies out there creating STEAM toys specifically for adults.
What’s a shopper to do? We’ve got a few ideas to hopefully help! Good luck, and, remember: If all else fails, find a good book, a rad coffee mug, or a fun t-shirt they’ll enjoy.
Cookie cutters for science – Bakerlogy
Baking is a science! Why not bake some cookies to show your work? Bakerlogy has a huge assortment of cookie cutters that you won’t find in just any old shop. Science and medicine, the natural world, and arts and culture are just a few of the topics you’ll be able to search under. For those of you on the naughty list, there are even special cutters shaped as sexual anatomy under the “mature” category. Find them at the Bakerlogy website or on Etsy.
Cooking for Geeks – Jeff Potter
Do you have a nerdy science friend that looks to experiment in the kitchen? Does your pal keep inviting you to join them for dinner, but they aren’t quite the seasoned cook, yet? Well, Cooking for Geeks is a perfect gift for both! They’ll learn about processes in cooking such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and get a better understanding on how they impact the foods we cook. Hear from researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more.
Coloring books for science enthusiasts – various
Coloring has become a common way for a lot of adults to relieve stress. Why not buy your dear friend a coloring book based on science? The Infectious Disease Colouring Book is just one of hundreds on the market today. While it may be labeled as a “gag gift,” there’s proper scientific identification of the parasites and diseases you’ll find inside.
If gruesome coloring isn’t exactly your friends’ forte, there are loads of other topics to choose from, just search around online and in book shops near you.
Personal Museum – Engineered Labs, Mini-Museum
These handheld museums are perfect for any desk or bookshelf. Both have various objects embedded within; bits from space, slivers of gems, dinosaur bone, etc. The periodic table of elements museum has a little sliver of each element inside – well, except the radioactive ones, of course. There’s also a version with historical artifacts that include woolly mammoth hair, metal from Apollo 11, and more. They state that each bit is authentic, though it would be hard to verify.
Regardless, they make for some pretty great conversation starters, and showcase your loved ones’ enthusiasm for science. You can find them at their websites, Engineered Labs and Mini-Museum.
Science-themed jewelry – Boutique Academia
Does your beloved enjoy accessorizing? Give them something shiny and bright — like a mitochondria necklace! With lots of different options from across the range of scientific fields, there is something for everyone. You can find these lovely pieces at select museum shops, and online at Boutique Academia. Look around for other sellers, too, there are several online with different types of jewelry available.
Science-themed board games – various
We included board games to the tweens and teens gift guide, but there are some games that may be a bit more suited for the older crowed. Terraforming Mars, for example, says it’s 12+, but most reviewers say it’s complex and lengthy. That doesn’t mean younger people won’t enjoy it, it just may be difficult.
Another option is Wingspan, a 14+ game where you play as a bird enthusiast and work to attract the best birds to your aviary. Reviewers have been calling that one the new generation of “gateway games” — simple enough for non-gamers to learn, but with enough depth that seasoned players will still enjoy exploring it.
Home decor – various
Perhaps your loved one has been dreaming of something to dress up their dining room, like that Sputnik chandelier. Maybe they just want to nerdify their restroom with that colorful periodic table shower curtain. There are home furnishing options for everyone, from those with a “refined taste in art” to a more eclectic aesthetic.
The featured Mitosis watercolor print comes from Sandra Black Culliton on Etsy, but you can find tons of different ideas to fulfill your friends Christmas wishlist.
AIPT Science is co-presented by AIPT and the New York City Skeptics.
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