Nick’s Picks for Educational Toys 2017
Getting to play with the latest educational gadgets, gizmos, and toys is one of many professional perks that I am lucky to have. I’m sharing my good fortune by again selecting my favorite STEM toys in three different price ranges. This year’s list does not include any repeats from previous years, however last year’s choices are still among the best stem gadgets (and some of my favorites) out there, so be sure to check them out.
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Sphero has been featured more times than any other gadget on this site. It was part of my 2016 STEM Toys Roundup, 5 Awesome Tech Gadgets for Teachers & Students, Teaching with Star Wars, and as an Hour of Code Resource. Now I’m happy to include a new version of Sphero, the Sphero Mini, in the under $50 category. This mini rolling robot is roughly the size of a ping pong ball, but it packs a lot of punch. Program it with a bit of code, use it as a video game controller, or drive it with your face.
Ages 8+$49.99More Info.
This robot caught my attention with the unique way it maneuvers while balancing on two-wheels. A deeper look revealed that it can be controlled with hand gestures and voice commands as you work your way through seven engaging games. Controlling the MiP via app gives you more control, and the ability to battle other MiPs in boxing and laser tag.
Ages 8-15$49.99More Info.
Making stop-motion animation is nearly as popular as Minecraft among many of today’s students. Combining the two is a perfect way to tap into students’ interests while engaging them in some truly creative digital storytelling. With a free app, a phone/tablet holder, four figures, a movie stage, four backgrounds, mini-figures, and props, this set provides a multitude of options.
Ages 8-13$33.85More Info.
Engino makes a series of well-designed construction kits for all ages. From high quality parts to 3-D online directions, these kits rock! While they have many great options to choose from, the influence of educators is quite evident in the Discovering STEM series. Bridge building has been one of my favorite engineering activities for students ever since I coached Science Olympiad several years ago. It’s a challenging and engaging way to make engineering fun.
Ages 8-15$32.95More Info.
I’m a big fan of toys that engage pre-schoolers in engineering. Kids First has a series of engineering kits that feature colorful, chunky building pieces, storybook manuals, and age-appropriate directions. The automobile kit is my favorite, providing instructions for building ten different models.
Ages 3-6$44.90More Info.
What are your favorite educational toys?
Got a favorite STEM Toy $25-50? Please share it in the comments below or on Twitter..
Check Out Nick’s Picks for Educational Toys 2016
I only recommend products that I personally use or know their value, so you’re in good hands. Purchasing products through some of the links above may result in me receiving a couple of bucks. It helps offset the cost of hosting this site, but it’s certainly not enough to buy a pony. I do however appreciate your support!
If you find better prices on any of these items, please share in the comments below.