The ultimate STEM gift guide for small and big kids

27 Nov 2020884 Views

Image: © klavdiyav/Stock.adobe.com

Looking for some gift ideas for the STEM fan in your life? We’ve got you covered while still helping you support small and local businesses.

Whether you’re getting gifts for curious creators, budding space explorers or gadget enthusiasts, there are plenty of options out there.

This will be a Christmas like no other and local retailers have been under undue strain due to ongoing restrictions. With this in mind, this year’s STEM gift guide pulls ideas from Irish shops, designers and businesses to help you give them support during your Christmas shopping.

While we focused on gifts for those who love all things STEM, these Irish retailers have plenty of other gifts on offer, so be sure to check them out. Also, as stock levels are always changing, be sure to check out other Irish retailers if an item is temporarily out of stock.

Since a lot of people are also shopping online this year, be sure to check out our tips to stay safe while shopping online and give yourself plenty of time to allow for deliveries.

For budding scientists

For the young scientists in your life who want to dip their toes into experiments, this Stepping into Science kit (€39.95, Mimitoys) is the perfect gift, with 25 fun experiments in five key areas: nature, physics, chemistry, air and water, along with a guide book.

A kids' science experiment box with a lot of accompanying items spread out on display.

Stepping into Science Kit. Image: Mimitoys

Kids who want to know the science behind certain weather phenomena might like the Horrible Science Savage Storms set (€15.99, Toys & Games) to create their own experiments.

To wow them with the magic of science, this plasma ball (€24, Designist), powered by USB cable is perfect.

And what science lover, big or small, doesn’t love slime? The Galt Slime Lab (€17.99, Art & Hobby) will allow kids to create their own glow-in-the-dark slimy alien, bouncy putty ball and gummy bug.

For space lovers

While some kids will want to focus on experiments on the ground, others might look to the skies for inspiration. If you’re looking for a stocking filler for a space-obsessed child, this space projector torch (€6.50, Toys & Games) will be the perfect way to let them lie underneath the stars.

Creative kids who love all things space-related will love this Playpress Space Station Build and Play set (€17.61, Jiminy Eco Toys), and those who want to mix their love of space with science experiments might like this Galt Space Lab set (€16.95, The Learning Lab).

We couldn’t not mention the wonderful Lottie Doll on our STEM gift guide list and Astronomy Lottie is available now from the company’s site (€24.99, Lottie Dolls). However, there are plenty of other Lottie dolls available at many Irish retailers.

A Lottie doll standing next to a small telescope. Behind her is the packaged version in a box.

Astronomy Lottie: Lottie Dolls

Many members of the Silicon Republic team have become a little bit obsessed with jigsaw puzzles over the last few months, so we can confidently say that they are the perfect rainy-day activity. For space lovers, this one from Djeco is a vibrant 200-piece puzzle (€16.95, Mimitoys).

For engineers and robot lovers

For kids who lean more into the electronics and engineering side of STEM, this Snap Circuits SCB-20 Beginner Electronics Discovery Kit (€29.95, Cogs The Brain Shop) can make learning electronics easy and fun. It also includes extra safety features for younger engineers from the age of five. Another option would be the Electronics Learning Circuits set (€64.95, Mimitoys).

A small electric circuit set laid out in front of its own box.

Snap Circuits Beginner set. Image: Cogs The Brain Shop

Alternatively, this Geared-Up Gadgets set (€20.95, Mimitoys) will help kids build five fun gadgets and learn about gears and transmissions, making it a great introduction to engineering.

The SR team are also big fans of robotics so if someone in your life is like us, this DIY Robotic Arm (€49.99, Art & Hobby) will be ideal. For a slightly younger robot-loving audience, the Robot Face Race (€29.95, Cogs The Brain Shop) will be a great game to play over the festive season.

Books and cards

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If you’re looking for the perfect STEM book for your young reader, there are a few great options out there from some excellent Irish bookshops.

Shooting for the Stars: My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut by Dr Nora Patten (€17, Dubray) will teach children about space travel, astronaut training and life without gravity, while taking them on Patten’s own journey.

The Great Irish Science Book by Dr Luke O’Neill and illustrated by Linda Fahrlin (€24.95, Gutter Bookshop) explores all elements of science, from vast galaxies to microscopic atoms.

A colourful book entitled The Great Irish Science Book

The Great Irish Science Book. Image: Gutter Bookshop

Another great book for space explorers, Dream Big: An Irishwoman’s Space Odyssey by Niamh Shaw (€13.49, O’Mahony’s), takes the reader on Shaw’s journey as she dreams of going to space.

While this one is definitely for an older audience, Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s The Science (€24.95, Books Upstairs) is the second entry on this list from Dr Luke O’Neill. Covering a wide range of topics, this book is a great present for those who are interested in complex topics around science but are seeking accessible answers.

If you’re looking for a STEM-themed Christmas card, we’ve got you covered there too, or rather Twisted Doodles does. Whether it’s Santa trying to figure out the naughty and nice list while adhering to GDPR or a nod to Schrodinger’s cat, you’ll find a range of humorous Christmas cards from an Irish designer.

Gadgets for grown-up geeks

While there are plenty of new phones, tablets and headphones on the market for grown-up tech addicts, we wanted to add a few other ideas to inspire you.

For wireless headphones or earphones, One Sonic is an Irish tech brand with a team of audio experts behind it. Its products are also reasonably priced, with its BXS-HD1 True Wireless Stereo Earphones costing €59.99.

For a more cost-effective stocking filler, Sony’s new XB01 Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth Speaker (€22.99, Currys) is a great wireless speaker that comes in a range of colours and is splash-resistant.

A small oval shaped blue speaker with a turquoise Sony logo on the side.

Sony SRS-XB01 Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Image: Sony

Building puzzles is not just for kids. When we stumbled upon this miniature house 3D puzzle, we couldn’t resist adding to the list. The Robotime Simon’s Coffee Shop (€49.95, The Gadget Store) is the perfect gift for the slightly bigger kids in your life who love to build things.

For someone who already has all their devices, a power bank might be the perfect gift. This Wireless Suction Power Bank (€19.95, The Gadget Store) holds onto your phone so that you can carry both around as one device. It also has four USB ports including USB-C and micro-USB.

Another gadget for someone who already has all their devices taken care of is this Bamboo Flip Alarm Clock (€49, Designist). It has a sleek design and the alarm can be turned off by simply turning the device over. It also works with a built-in rechargeable battery, which makes it portable

Finally, while this is more of an anti-gadget gift, it might be exactly what you’re looking for during the festive season for the tech-obsessed person in your life. The Quality Time Anti-Signal Pouch (€18, Designist) will fit up to eight phones and blocks all phone signals with its RFID fabric.

All prices correct at time of publication.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com