cartoon for bounceback parenting a child sits talking with an adult

The Perfect STEM Gifts for Middle Schoolers

Science. Technology. Engineering. Math. It’s these four fields of study that give us STEM. However, one website describes STEM as, “so much more than four fields of study, though. It has become a short-form label that includes a diverse set of 21st century skills and characteristics – ways of thinking about (and solving) the problems that we all face as global citizens. We can break down STEM-related skills into three categories: fundamental skills, practical skills, and advanced skills.”

When looking for those perfect STEM gifts for middle schoolers, remember that you are doing so much more than looking for an activity to keep a child busy; you are helping your child create fundamental skills that are transferrable across careers and throughout life; problem solving, logical reasoning, critical thinking, creativity, communications, and resiliency.

Equipped with that perspective, let’s dive into a broad cross section of STEM gifts for your child. This post contains Amazon affiliate links to relevant products, should you purchase through them Bounecback Parenting will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Awesome Stem Gifts for Middle Schoolers:

Keva Structures 200-Plank Set

It might seem simple enough, a several dozen simple-looking pieces of wood.  In fact, these specifically designed pine planks require no glue or fasteners, just gravity, natural stability, and your child’s unending imagination.

This toy is meant to teach young builders the principles of physics, leverage, geometry, proportion, architecture, engineering, and weight distribution. All this from the 200 pine planks that come with a 24-page booklet with building inspiration.

Did we mention the best part of this activity?  No batteries!

MindWare Science Academy

MindWare brings learning about environmental issues in easy, fun, and safe ways. This kit allows your child to create “a chemical crime scene lab, identify microscopic water creatures, plan a portable pollution buster, learn a polluted water survival trick and even decode secrets in the soil” using the full-color step-by-step instructions.”

MindWare isn’t limited to this single kit. In fact, many STEM streams can be delved into with their Crystal Jewelry Lab, Eco Forensics Lab, Gross Body Lab, Robot Lab, Rocket Lab, Slime Lab, Squishy Ball Lab, and Volcano Lab kits.

Parents identified a recurring concern with this STEM gift that is easily managed using the proper steps – making a mess. Follow the instructions and everyone will be happy with this great gift idea.

Thames & Kosmos Chemistry Set C1000 Kit

Thames & Kosmos brings another winning educational product to your kitchen table where your child will set up their own chemistry laboratory to experiment and discover their own STEM leanings. Your child will require the appropriate supervision when handling and mixing the chemicals but the process is completely safe. 

All materials and tools are made from high quality resources giving your child the best learning experience they can have. With chemicals included, your child can begin their experiments right out of the box. Remember, it is important that you learn alongside your child to ensure they understand the safety steps so they are prepared to broaden their experiences and experiments as they grow in their own comfort.

Snap Circuits LIGHT Electronics Exploration Kit

Many of us learn through hands-on learning. This electronic exploration kit is intended for young engineers who learn by doing.

Snap Circuits LIGHT Electronic Exploration Kit lets your child build over 175 projects made up from more than 55 circuits, each creating a new learning opportunity. This hands-on activity serves as a solid introduction to electronics by using working circuits and fiber optics. One unique feature that this activity offers is the chance for your child to connect with their iPhone or Android phone and watch different circuits react.

This STEM gift comes highly recommended with one reviewer describing the kit as strong and smart. She said, “While the setup is simple, nothing about this kit is dumbed down. With words like “conductors” and “diodes” woven into the instructions, our kids picked up on the technical terms right from the start—though they did need some initial guidance to introduce them to the concept of circuits. We found that following the instructions was particularly important for them to understand the kit fully.”

IcoSoKu Brainteaser Puzzle – 3D Puzzle – Block Puzzle

Most of us are familiar with Sudoku. Afterall, the early versions came out in the 1800s. What we have grown accustomed to made its first appearance in 1979. The IcoSoKu puzzle puts a new spin on the classic past time.

This simple looking activity is packed with thousands of games that challenge your child’s math, logic, and strategy skills. It’s a puzzle that can be assembled and taken apart countless times.  But unlike the flat tabletop puzzles we are all familiar with, the IcoSoKu Brainteaser Puzzle is a collection of triangular pieces designed to connect a series of dots that are to equal a given number. 

For your math loving child, this makes a great STEM gift choice. With every puzzle having a solution, there are endless hours of enjoyment. Your child can also engage others in timed challenges to step up the competition.

STEM with your child

There are so many options available for your STEM inclined child. Whether they are leaning towards science, technology, engineering, or math you can find the perfect STEM gift.  When searching for the perfect gift, remember to consider their ages and abilities as well. And, of course, doing the activity with your child helps to build you relationship, and that’s what we all strive to achieve.

Alissa Zorn stands near a pond with an orange shirt on wearing a black button down over that.
 | Website

Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.