GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of STEM Toys and More!

Image: Cathe Post

I get excited about toys. They are mostly marketed to kids, but as an adult I find myself putting many of the things recommended by other writers on my own wishlist.


Elemental Building Blocks A full periodic table in wooden block form, painted with bright, non-toxic ink. Great for all ages! $36

Image: Lottie Dolls

Robot Girl Lottie doll  Are you looking for an alternative to Barbie for a special kiddo on your list? Go for the Lottie Dolls. My favorite is Robot Girl Lottie (partially inspired by a former GeekMom writer) and her buddy Busy Lizzie the Robot. These dolls are appropriate for young kids and encourage exploration into science and engineering. $19.95


Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Get little engineers building with this 95-piece set. Gears, cranks, connectors, and interlocking base plates provide open-ended construction possibilities. The pieces snap together to create moving action and are compatible with other Learning Resource building sets so you can add on over time. Ages 3 to 7. $23.99


BBOPTM Ball Kids can bounce, roll, even climb inside HearthSong’s BBOPTM Ball. It fits kids ages 6 and up. Sold separately, get two for double the fun. $39.98

Image: Mezco Toyz

Breaking Bad Action Figures Yeah, action figures, bitch! Toys R Us may not like them, but we’re guessing there are a few people on your list that would appreciate having a Breaking Bad action figure displayed prominently. Mezco currently has several incarnations of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, as well as season two’s creepy pink teddy bear. Each one is a limited piece, making it even more coveted than a batch of Blue Sky. $13.95 and up


GeoBlocks Effortlessly learn while playing with classic blocks made from sustainable wood. Each of these 20 blocks provides information about different countries. Stack them to make a map! $31

Image: Patricia Vollmer
Image: Patricia Vollmer

Groovy Lab in a Box This is a unique subscription box experience in that it’s providing themed STEM activities to older elementary school students, ages 8-12, or grades 3-5. I am in love with the concept and potential of this program. The program is available through the company’s website. Prices range from $36.95 for a single box (plus shipping) down to $23.95 per box for a 12 month subscription, with >1 month subscriptions including free shipping. $25


Land of Nod Play Canopy and Cushion Land of Nod has loads of gorgeous play tents, but the ceiling-suspended canopies with giant cushions are a small child’s dream. Windows for peeking out, lovely designs on the canopies themselves, and a safe space to get lost in thoughts make them a great gift for exploring the imagination.  $199


Little People Disney Klip Klop Stable These Little People horses and riders are almost hypnotically fun for toddlers. Hinged back legs let the horses “walk” down the track with the most satisfying clickety clack. Other princesses and their horses are sold separately. Ages 18 months to five years. $45

Littlest Pet Shop Style Set
Image: Hasbro

Littlest Pet Shop Style Set A cute little salon that comes with three exclusive pets: Minka Mark, Kitery Banter, and Sunil Nevla. Kids can decorate the pets and the salon, which comes with a reversible backdrop and customizable wall panels to change the look. Lots of neat little accessories make this a fun set. Ages 6 and up. $39.99


Loopdeloom I love the Loopdeloom because it’s simple and quick to learn how to weave. The instructions are easy to follow and I had my first project done in about an hour. It looks like it’s marketed to children, but adults who want a relaxing and portable craft will enjoy it as well. $29.99

Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin'Rocket Raccoon
Image: Hasbro

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon This version of Rocket is nice and tall at 10″, and he comes ready in his battle stance. His blaster spins, lights up, and plays sound effects while he yells, “It’s Rocket time!” Ages 4 and up. $29.99

Image: Monster Factory

Monster Factory Mythicals Monster Factory’s adorable collectible plush Mythicals line is set to start shipping mid-November (you can pre-order now). Choose from six mythical creatures that stand almost 11″ high. They’re great quality and so much fun. $45

My sons were chomping at the bit to open up our sample Nerf blasters. I had to make them wait until I had a camera available first. Photo: Patricia Vollmer
Image: Patricia Vollmer

Nerf Zombie Strike Blasters Fight Zombies with Nerf’s latest offering of blasters! The Crossfire Blaster is visually appealing with a design that was first seen in last year’s Nerf Rebelle Guardian Crossbow. With a range of over 80 feet, it can hold up to four fluorescent green Zombie Strike darts, easily loaded up front, for quick succession firing. The Fusefire is a disc-launcher blaster, and comes with five glow-in-the-dark discs, which can easily be stored in the front of the blaster. You can purchase additional discs separately. $16.06

TMNT Blimp

Playmates TMNT Blimp In the words of my son, the TMNT blimp is “fragile, but still fun.” It inflates to 30″ long and can carry all four turtles + a pilot. $25.99

Playskool Heroes Marvel Super Hero Adventures Spider-Man Crane Capture Track Set
Image: Hasbro

Playskool Heroes Marvel Spider-Man Crane Capture Track Set Spider-Man defeats Electro in this preschool set featuring a Spider-Man figure on a motorcycle, a flat plastic Electro figure, and a playset with a crane. It works together with other Playskool Heroes Action Figure Racing launchers and vehicles. Ages 3-7. $19.99


Plush Treehouse with Animals This is an adorable playset. Five beanbag forest animals fit into a plush carrying-case 12″ treehouse. Great imaginative play for ages 3 and up, perfect to take as an on-the-go toy. $24.99

Image: Gamewright
Image: Gamewright

Rory’s Story Cubes MAX If you enjoy regular Rory’s Story Cubes, check out the MAX version. These larger cubes are great for large groups or for those with poor eyesight or coordination. Roll the Cubes and begin your story, working each image into the tale. Or use them for brainstorming, creative writing, problem solving, or foreign language learning. The uses are limitless. $19.99


Slackline Slacklining is a great way for kids to build strength, confidence, and balancing skills while having fun. The two-inch-wide nylon webbing extends up to 50 feet; an extra training line to hold on to makes it ideal for slackliners of varying skill levels. Ratchet tensioning is simple to use and to set up. Includes protective tree pads, instruction manual, and carrying bag. For up to 800 lbs. total weight. $69.98


SpruKits Build your own poseable action figures with SpruKits. There are Sprukits for all ability levels. Some take 15 minutes to build and some take 2-3 hours. Everything necessary is right in the kit. No cutting, gluing, or painting is necessary. Characters available in SpruKits include DC Comics characters, Halo Universe characters, and Nicktoons LBX characters. $9.59-34.99

Image: Tegu

Tegu Magnetic Wood Blocks Sustainably sourced and made from FSC-certified Honduran hardwoods, these magnetic wooden blocks will delight your teen and your baby alike. With magnets completely encased in the wood, stick these babies together in any combination to make your own delightful sculptures. Ranging from very simple sets to more complex systems, there’s something for every taste and price range. Price Varies

Electricity & Magnetism. Photo credit: Thames & Kosmos
Electricity & Magnetism. Photo credit: Thames & Kosmos

Thames & Kosmos Electricity & Magnetism Electricity & Magnetism is an experiment kit with block-like circuitry bits you can snap together. A booklet provides sample circuits that teaches the basic principles of electricity and magnetism, of course. After that—or before, if you’re not the type of read instructions manuals—you are free to play and create your own circuit designs. $44.99

Robo-Beetle. Photo credit: Thomas & Kosmos.
Robo-Beetle. Photo credit: Thomas & Kosmos

Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines DLX The Remote-Control Machines DLX is a set of building blocks to construct remote-controlled robots. While there is a certain charm to having building sets of only one type—say, Lego—so that all your sets are interchangeable, I was surprised by how much I appreciated the change of scenery. It was a whole new experience thinking in terms of the pegs and holes design of Thames & Kosmos versus the interlocking bricks design of Lego. $113.48

GGSW Ultimate Amazement Park Playset
Image: VTech

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Amazement Park Engage in all kinds of great racing play with this extra large playset from VTech. It has three different course options, sound effects, and lots of different vehicles (sold separately). This is a nice, big playset for any little car lovers. Ages 18 months to five years. $59.99

Image: VTech

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch An oversized smartwatch for kids that holds up to 800 photos and 6 minutes of video. The watch comes in several colors and has a voice recorder and some built-in games, but the basic camera is the real draw here. Age 4+, but great for preschool children. $59.99

Image: WowWee

WowWee Toys MiP Robot MiP is an awesome little robot that uses GestureSense technology for precise control with hand movements. You can also control MiP from your smartphone, and its two-wheel design is so well-balanced and smooth that it’s stunning to watch in action. MiP has several different modes for play. It’s ages eight and up, and this is one adults will love, too. So. Much. Win. $99.99


Zoomer Dino Zoomer Dino is a next generation interactive toy. This creature responds to motion. He can get angry, chomp his jaws, roar, and chase. His eye color changes with his mood. Pull his tail and he’ll rampage! You can tame this touch-sensitive Dino, teach him to perform tricks, follow you, even dance. He balances perfectly. Charges with a USB cable. $105