It can be a real challenge finding the right toys for kids. Do you buy the new trendy thing or maybe the latest video game? We have a suggestion – shop STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Get them coding, constructing, engineering, experimenting, exploring…

“Kids are naturally curious,” said Margaret Glover-Campbell, program director at MindFuel. “As I mom, I know that when they are engaged and immersed in play is when they learn the most.”

Here are seven great options when it comes to toys and games that focus on science and technology for ages 6 – 12.

  1. For the engineer in the making, Pathfinders design and technology is a British Columbia company that sells forest-conscious untreated wood toy kits inspired by the greatest inventors in history. Hands-on and interactive, kids can construct and create Leonardo da Vinci’s designs or build a robotic arm.
  1. Bloxels by Mattelis one of the coolest new toys on the market this season, kids can design their own custom video game and learn the basics of coding at the same time. It works like this: kids will use bloxels (think pixels) on a board to customize and design objects like game levels and characters. When the object design is complete and ready to be loaded, they’ll take a picture with a phone or a tablet, upload it and make it live, then voila! Their own custom video game level and character is born and they learned the basics of coding in the process. Watch the video here.
  1. Kids who love Minecraft will be thrilled with this set that lets them craft their own real computer! The Piper Computer Kit comes with all the necessary parts, plus Piper’s revolutionary learning system that teaches kids engineering and programming through a combination of engaging storyline, physical building, and Minecraft gameplay.
  1. Turn the whole world into a keyboard! What’s MaKey MaKey? Make + Key = MaKey MaKey. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Kids use their wildest imagination and turn everyday objects into touch pads and combine them with the Internet. It’s a simple invention kit for beginners or experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between.
  1. The littleBits Gizmos and Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox. Motors, wheels, lights, switches, servos, buzzers, even a remote control — snap it all together to spark creativity and fun. Want to invent a remote control race car? Do it. Create an automatic bubble-blowing device? Go for it! This new and improved second-generation kit comes with 16 electronic building blocks, detailed instructions for a variety of projects, and all the accessories and tools you need to unleash the inventor within.
  1. Meccano’s Meccasaur is a programmable robotic dinosaur (need we say more?) Kids will love it because when the dinosaur is built and programmed the dinosaur becomes interactive and will respond to petting, yes or no questions and will stomp and roam around, roaring it walks.
  1. National Geographic’s Geodes and Crystals Science Kit is a rock collectors dream. This kit contains real geodes, which are naturally forming volcanic rocks that contain crystal formations. Kids can crack them open with this kid and discover the minerals and crystals that are inside. By discovering these hidden gems it promotes appreciation for nature and geology. Comes with a full colour educational learning guide.