It seems as if today’s world gets more competitive by the day.
If young students aren’t receiving a quality, well-rounded education complete with a firm foundation in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math), they’ll soon be at a great disadvantage when it comes time for college admission and job searching.
STEM kits are designed not only to educate but also to challenge, boost creativity and fundamental skills, inspire children to greatness, and encourage self-motivated learning beyond the school setting.
But before this can happen, you have to know what to look for and where to find them.
Where can I find STEM kits for elementary students? STEM kits are widely available for purchase or borrowing through libraries, homeschool groups, online retailers, big box stores, and monthly subscription services. Look for kits that will hold interest, improve skills, are age appropriate, and provide a challenge.
Learning and developing skills that will aid children later in life doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom.
You can provide plenty of supplemental tools in the form of toys that will help your elementary student build upon knowledge already acquired and advance to more complex subjects and skill sets, all while having fun.
STEM kits are the best way to do this, but many parents have no idea where to find them. No worries! That’s what you’ll learn here.
STEM Kits for Elementary Students
Once you start actively searching for STEM kits, you’ll begin seeing them practically everywhere.
In addition to checking with the resources highlighted here, consider asking your child’s teacher and other parents if there are local options specific to your area.
What to Look for
Obviously, you’ll want to check for quality before making any purchases.
Steer clear of any kits that appear cheaply made with thin plastic or any that look like you could recreate them for free with household items.
How much should you expect to pay? Find the answer here.
Kits That Will Hold Their Interest and Improve Skills
If a STEM kit doesn’t capture your child’s attention and hold his or her interest, it’s money down the drain.
Obviously, you should consider what subjects your child enjoys, but also contemplate in which subjects he or she needs to improve.
Then look for a kit that will subtly incorporate all of those skills while still being fun and engaging.
For example, if your child is into robots but could use some help with fine motor skills, a robot kit that not only utilizes programming and coding skills but also requires actually constructing the robot from individual parts would be ideal.
It would capture and hold his or her attention and help to improve core, beneficial skills.
Take a look at the Elenco Teach Tech Mech 5 Robot for instance.
Once your child has fully assembled the parts (220+), this awesome robot can be made to move forward or backward, spin, kick, lift, throw, draw, and more by attaching various coding buttons to the inner coding wheel.
Fine motors skills? Check. Programming and coding skills? Check. Fun? Absolutely.
Appropriate for Their Age Group
Simple STEM kits designed for younger children are fantastic in their own right (check out these amazing kits for preschoolers), but they are a sure-fire way to dampen older children’s enthusiasm and lose their interest.
Look for kits recommended for your child’s age range. Anything too far below or beyond that will likely be a waste of money as they will fail to engage interest and teach anything of value.
Slightly Beyond Their Skill Level and Knowledge
STEM toys should definitely be entertaining, but they should also provide a challenge so children will be encouraged to push their boundaries as far as learning is concerned.
A kit that only reviews skills and concepts already mastered really won’t teach anything new; it will only entertain.
Look for kits that are slightly beyond your child’s skill level so that actual learning and understanding of more complex ideas will be guaranteed.
If your child is particularly adept in certain areas, don’t rule out kits designed for much older students or even kits for adults.
You’ll be surprised at your child’s capabilities when he or she is intensely interested in a certain subject or field.
Also consider looking for the increasingly popular STEAM and STREAM kits (learn how these differ from standard STEM kits in this article), particularly if your child has an interest in the arts or could use improvement in communication skills.
The Best Places to Find STEM Kits for Elementary Students
With technology such a huge part of our everyday lives, traditional resources, like libraries are all too frequently overlooked.
However, your local library can be a fantastic place to not only stock up on a few good books but also to borrow STEM kits.
That’s right. Many, if not most, libraries today have all kinds of STEM kits available to rent free of charge. All you have to do is ask.
You might be required to leave a deposit, but it will be refunded to you upon return of the kit.
Homeschool Groups or Co-Ops
It’s not uncommon for homeschool families to form local groups or co-ops as a way to encourage one another, provide peer interaction for the children, and to share resources within the community.
Even if you are not homeschooling, it may be worth the time to contact a local homeschool group to see if they would be willing to allow you to borrow or rent STEM kits occasionally.
Of course it’s no surprise that Amazon carries a huge selection of STEM toys.
With literally thousands of options (typing “STEM kits” in Amazon’s search bar yields more than 8,000 results!) all in one place, you’re sure to find plenty of kits to keep your child learning for a long time.
One of the most popular STEM kits is the Snap Circuits Light Exploration kit.
Designed to teach basic electronic fundamentals in a fun, exciting way, this kit includes all of the snap-together, color-coded, numbered components needed to make over 175 different projects featuring working circuit boards.
Kids can learn to:
- Power an LED light and switch.
- Have fun making their own infrared detector.
- Create cool, spinning patterns with a strobe light.
- Customize a light show using an iPod or MP3 player.
- Launch a glow-in-the-dark flying fan.
- And so much more – 175+ projects.
Although not quite as well organized as Amazon, Ebay shouldn’t be overlooked as a potential resource, especially if you prefer to buy gently used items rather than pay full price for new ones.
Best Buy and Similar Stores
Best Buy and other large retailers specializing in electronics typically have a fairly good selection of STEM toys and kits.
You’ll find a wide variety of STEM kits for little ones all the way through adults focusing on engineering, electronics, programming, coding, robotics, and more.
This is an excellent place for top-quality STEM and STEAM kits.
You can shop by age group, topic (alternative energy, astronomy, engineering, computers, etc.), or product type (robots, brain teasers, experiments, etc.).
For hard-to-find or specialty kits, this store is where to go.
For science lovers, Scientifics Direct is worth a look. They carry all kinds of science-based toys, gifts, and kits.
Everything from chemistry experiments, drones, engine kits, model kits, telescopes, robots – you name it, they’ve got it.
If you’re committed to providing your elementary-age child with lots of brain-boosting toys, a STEM subscription service is the way to go.
With most of these options, you simply choose your subscription type (basic, deluxe, etc.), and sign up!
Each month a new box filled with everything your child needs will be delivered right to your door.
Some subscription plans send multiple kits in every box, and some only include one. Most plans are around $20 per month or so – that’s hard to beat in terms of value.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular:
- Genius Box
- Creation Crate
- Green Kid Crafts
- Groovy Lab in a Box
- Pod Pi
- Steve Spangler Science
- STEM Discovery Boxes
Last update on 2021-04-14 at 18:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API