The Best STEM Toys Under $100
Nick’s Picks for Educational Toys 2017
It’s that time of year when I get to share my favorite educational gadgets, gizmos, and toys. I’m sticking with the format of three different price ranges, but don’t worry this year’s list does not include any repeats from previous years. Just don’t overlook last year’s choices as theyare still among the best stem gadgets (and some of my favorites) out there.
Be sure to check the other two posts of this series:
- The Best STEM Toys Under $25 (coming soon)
- The Best STEM Toys under $50
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Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst
Last year I shared Gever Tulley’s TED Talk “Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do” as one of my 5 TED Talks for Educators. A few days later, Matt Brocchini reached out to me to share what he and Gever had been working on. Their company, Tinkering Labs, operates under the idea of “challenges, not instructions.” I was hooked immediately. The kit consists of a collection of seemingly random parts: springs, bolts, rubber bands, an assortment of wooden pieces, and two electric motors. It also comes with a set of 10 challenge cards. My 8 year old daughter and I couldn’t stop attempting to improve our “machine that draws curvy lines.” It’s an open-ended, challenging, and fun way to encourage true critical thinking and creative problem solving. The Electric Motors Catalyst is one of my absolute top picks for STEM Toys.
You may have guessed from my other posts that I’m a big fan of using robotics to teach other skills. BeeBot’s durable and simple design is perfectly designed for even pre-school students. Kids program BeeBot with four arrows (forward, back, left, right) and a “go” button. Sequencing, estimation, and problem solving are just some of the benefits of playing with this fun STEM Toy.
Turn any TV into a computer for under $100. The ASUS CS-10 Chromebit is a candy-bar-sized computer that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. It runs on the latest ChromeOS and has thousands of apps available through the Chrome Web Store. The Chromebit works with most Bluetooth keyboards. Adding a bluetooth keyboard will push your total purchase just over $100. I recommend the Logitech K400 920-007119 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard with Keyboard for TV Connected Computer.
Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
I featured littleBits color-coded, magnetic, electronic building blocks in a previous educational toy roundup. This time, the makers of these powerful yet user-friendly blocks have joined forces with Star Wars to make the Droid Inventor Kit. Kids can build realistic Star Wars droids with included droid parts and 20 sounds straight from the Star Wars films. Perhaps my favorite part of this kit is that ability to reuse and rearrange bits along with household materials to invent new droids.
Bridge digital and physical learning with meeperBOT. meeperBOT is brick building platform (works with Legos, Mega Blocks, and others) on wheels that are powered by dual motors and controlled via iOS or Android app. It’s a powerful platform providing endless possibilities for inventors of all ages.
Airblock: The Modular and Programmable Starter Drone
This one is priced over $100 but I had to include it as I’m often asked about affordable drones that promote learning — and I found a great one! The Airblock consists of 6 propeller blocks that connect magnetically so they can be easily rearranged into different formations. You can turn a drone into a hovercraft in seconds. Control your creation with a tablet or phone, or program it with drag & drop graphical coding.
What are your favorite educational toys?
Got a favorite STEM Toy $50-$100? Please share it in the comments below or on Twitter..
You Might Also Like Nick’s Picks for Educational Toys 2016
I only recommend products that I personally use or know their value, so you’re in good hands. Purchasing products through some of the links above may result in me receiving a couple of bucks. It helps offset the cost of hosting this site, but it’s certainly not enough to buy a pony. I do however appreciate your support!
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