The holiday shopping season is getting into full swing and if you are like us, we are looking for that “just right” toy or book for the children on our shopping lists. We thought we’d share the books and toys that we will be giving this year.
By Andrea Beaty
We have loved all the books in Andrea Beaty’s Questioneers series as well as the student characters who inhabit that world. So, we were so excited that her new book, Aaron Slater, Illustrator, would be out in time for the holidays.
The book tells the story of Aaron Slater who loves to listen to stories and dreams of one day being a writer. However, it becomes clear that Aaron struggles more than his classmate to read and to write. When he is asked to write a story and can’t get any words down on the paper, Aaron thinks his dream will never come true. Until he finds a wonderful way to tell his story differently.
With this book, students with learning challenges will find assurance that it doesn’t define who they are and that there are many ways to communicate their ideas.
by Kobi Yamada
Another new book this season is from Kobi Yamada, one of our favorite authors. The Candy Dish tells the story of a little candy dish that provides a special treat every day. This is a beautiful story that focuses on finding wonder in the simple joys and discovering gratitude for the gift of a brand new day. This book is for all ages and although the story is perfect for the holiday season, its message resonates throughout the year.
By Brandon Snider
Building Rube Goldberg machines is one of our favorite activities to do with our students. Reading this hilarious book to our students will definitely be added to that engineering experience.
This new series follows a young Rube Goldberg as he tries to create a brilliant entry for the school’s Contraption Convention. Rube has his work cut out for him because, along the way, problems arise such as a ghostly mystery and a new rival. Will he and his friends get things on track by the deadline to face the judge’s table? This chapter book provides inspiration for children to try their hand with creating a chain reaction device of their own.
By Dr. Arlyne Simon
We love both of these books by biomedical engineer Dr. Arlyne Simon. The main character Abby, is curious and persistent – just what we want our children and students to be. In Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons, Abby, unhappy that her crayons break so easily, sets out to make unbreakable crayons. Using observation and the engineering design process, Abby stays with it until she is successful in creating unbreakable crayons.
In the second book, Abby Invents the Foldibot, Abby uses the same methods of observation and experimentation to finally produce a device that folds clothes. Your students will love following Abby while also learning that you must never give up when things are hard and that, yes, they can be an inventor too.
KiwiCo, formerly Kiwi Crates is a monthly subscription service for kids. Chosen as a Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, Parent’s Choice Gold Award and an Oppenheim Gold Seal Best Toy Award, these kits are a wonderful way to immerse children into age appropriate STEM-based projects. Inside each crate are all of the supplies and instructions that children need to create the project. There is also a copy of “Explore!” magazine which includes comics, games and other suggestions to extend the learning with the project.
Parents can filter the crates by interest and by age to find the perfect crate for their child. Each project was designed by educators, child development professionals and people in the science and engineering fields. Most importantly, they have been extensively tested by real kids to make sure that the crates are age appropriate and most importantly – fun. With this gift, the phrase “You’ve Got Mail!” will provide new meaning and excitement to the youngsters in your life.
No “must have” toy list for children can be complete without Keva Planks. These well-made maple planks are exactly the same size and shape. They require no connecting pieces or glue – you simply stack them. Although the concept is simple, this is truly a toy for all ages. Toddlers through adults can enjoy and be challenged as the subjects of design, art, physics, and engineering are explored with every project. The Keva Planks come in various sizes kits and prices. A few planks in a stocking with the rest of a kit in a box under the tree is a good plan.
With the latest books to savor from some of our favorite children's authors, a wonderful STEM kit subscription that will arrive in the mail and will provide monthly STEM excitement, and the very best building blocks available, we know we are going to see some smiling faces on our children and grandchildren this holiday season.
Have some great ideas for STEM Gifts? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas. We'd love to hear from you!
We hope you Get Caught Engineering as you shop this Holiday Season!
Wendy and Cheryl
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The fees provide a source to support our costs of maintaining a website.