The hottest STEM toys this holiday season

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The holidays are a great way to equip the laboratories of our little scientists. There are a bunch of toys on the market that encourage children to pursue learn about STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Here are some ideas for your shopping list — and they won’t break your budget.

Robots are more popular than ever, and give children of all ages experience with robotics technology. The Fisher Price Code-A-Piller ($60), recommended by TechAgeKids.com, is a programmable toy for children as young as age three. The 4M Tin Can Robot, on Amazon.com’s top STEM toys list, is $12.99, and recommended for children ages 8 and up. And Anthony Pelaez, the Director of Innovation at Tampa’s MOSI, says the Makey Makey circuit board, which retails for around $50, is wonderful for older children. It connects your computer to anything conductive; you can create anything from a banana piano to a game controller.

Building sets combine engineering, technology, math and art. Amazon.com’s top STEM toys list recommends the K’NEX Swing-Ride Set. It is around $30, and best for kids ages eight and up. Sets for younger kids boost fine motor skills and problem solving.

Science sets allow kids to construct, engineer, explore and experiment. Also on Amazon’s list, the Scientific Explorer: My First Mind Blowing Science Kit is for children ages six and up, and costs $10. Pelaez says microscopes are a great idea. The INFINIVIEW LCD Digital Microscope connects to a TV for big screen exploration! It’s a bigger investment at $130.

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