Holiday Gift Guide for Girls who Love STEM

The holidays are almost here and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the budding scientist, engineer, or coder on your list, we’ve got some suggestions sure to light up their eyes AND minds. 

Experiences
CAGIS Virtual Membership

Ages 7 – 16

Gift the gift of experience!  A one year membership with the Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS) involves fun, hands-on activities led by experts.  You can select from different options:
 
CAGIS Chapter Membership ($50; $20/sibling):
-Monthly field trips with hands-on activities led by STEM experts (virtual for the 2020-2021 season)
 

CAGIS Virtual Membership ($200; $50/sibling):
-Weekly live virtual events with fun, hands-on activities led by experts in science, tech, trades, engineering, and math, and a certified teacher!
Join us on Saturdays to extract DNA from a strawberry, make a mobile app, make glow-in-the-dark slime, and more!

Available here

Tools
Binoculars

All ages

Binoculars are a fun gift for kids who like to explore.  You can use them for birdwatching and animal observation, or star-gazing, since they’re easier to handle than a telescope.

Many options with different price points are available.  Younger kids may benefit from a lighter pair with lower magnification like these.  $20

Older kids may prefer something more substantial like this pair. $50

Microscope

Ages 9+ with parental supervision

A microscope is an amazing tool to consider for a young scientist. My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope comes with a series of eye pieces up to 400x magnification and tools like forceps, slides, and petri-dishes to support scientific investigation. Parental supervision recommended. $120

Available here

Ages 8+

We can also recommend this inexpensive pocket microscope.  It’s small enough to bring anywhere and can be used to examine plants, insects, or rocks, with 20x-40x magnification. $13

Available here

STEM Games

Quercetti Rami Code

Ages 4+

This game uses push buttons, levers, and marbles that roll down tracks to teach basic computational thinking, logic that can be applied to coding and binary numbers.  With no loose parts, it’s a great game to bring along when you’re on the go.  

Available here. $45

 

Dr. Eureka

Ages 8+

This game of speed, logic, and problem solving involves solving challenges by moving coloured balls between test tubes to look like the images on the cards.  It has a remarkable range of appeal from very young kids to teens; even adults will enjoy this one.  $28

Available here 

 

Turing Tumble

Ages 8+

When we asked parents what their favourite new STEM games were, they raved over Turing Tumble, a game that involves building a mechanical computer powered by marbles.  It is a fun way to learn the underlying concepts of how computers work; how “a bunch of simple switches connected together in clever ways can do incredible things.” $95

Available here

Books
The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs

Ages 5+

Can you tell the difference between the songs of a House Finch and a Goldfinch?  This delightful book will give your young naturalist a guide to twelve common North American birds with recordings of their songs.

Learn to recognize the calls of the House Wren, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Great Horned Owl, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, American Crow, Song Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Killdeer, American Robin, and Mourning Dove. $20

Available here

If: Ball; Then: Catch

Ages 5-8

This picture book introduces some of the logic, reasoning, and structure used to program robots with a charming story about a robot dog. $18

Available here

52 Amazing Science Experiments

Ages 8+, with parental supervision as appropriate

Not a book, but a pack of cards, each with a simple and fun activity or experiment to try.  This deck will provide fun inspiration for scientists at home.  $10

Available here

Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide

Ages 8-12

“Did you know that the brachiosaurus was the tallest dinosaur that we know of today? That the kosmoceratops had fifteen horns and hooks on its head? That the spinosaurus is the only known dinosaur to spend most of its time swimming?”  Budding paleontologists will love the Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide, packed with fun facts about dinosaurs.  $27  (Note: Volume 2 is now available for pre-order, and will be released on Dec 1.) 

Available here

Dreaming in Code

Ages 10-14

Dreaming in Code tells the story of Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852), a STEM pioneer known as the world’s first computer programmer.  Perfect for history buffs and aspiring software developers. $27

Available here 

Counting on Katherine

Ages 5-9

As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count.  She went on to become a gifted student, then famous mathematician and physicist.  This book tells her story, from early childhood to her groundbreaking work calculating the course of moon landings and, in turn, saving lives and making enormous contributions to history. $24

Available here 

Girls Think of Everything

Ages 8+

Have you ever thought of something that could make your life easier or better?  The girls and women in this book did, and turned those ideas into reality.  Girls Think of Everything describes ingenious inventions by women and girls that have made our lives better. $26

Available here 

STEM Activity Kits

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits are a fantastic way to learn about electronics.  No wires or soldering required – these components snap together safely and easily to build electrical circuits that power a light bulb, a fan, or a more complex project.

Ages 5+

Beginners can start with the Elenco Snap Circuits Beginner Kit (ages 5+). $35

Ages 8+

Kids who want a greater challenge can try the Snap Circuits My Home Kit to build and power a model house ($90) or the Snap Circuits Green Energy Kit to learn about renewable sources of energy ($120).

Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

Ages 6+

Explore slime, chromatography, pH, and more with the Ooze Labs Chemistry Station.  This kit includes the chemicals and equipment to try 20 different experiments!  A fun kit for your future chemist. $55

Available here

 

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Home Pack

Ages 12+

Can you do biotech at home?  Yes, you can, with the Amino Labs Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Home Pack.  Learn to extract DNA, grow friendly bacteria, make bio-art, and engineer bacteria, with detailed instructions and illustrations to help as you progress.  $112

Available here

Computing

Micro:bits

Ages 8-14

The micro:bit is an inexpensive pocket-sized micro computer that can be programmed by connecting it to a laptop or desktop.  It has many input and output features including an LED light display, buttons, and sensors.  The kit comes with a quick start guide to start the experimentation.  You can also find projects and instructions at the micro:bit website. $27

Available here

Raspberry Pi 4 kit

Ages 12+

Make your own desktop computer with the Raspberry Pi 4 kit.  Aside from a monitor, this kit includes everything needed to build your computer, including a beginners guide. $170

Available here

Other Fun Stuff

Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich

All ages

Have you ever thought about what astronauts eat in space?  Now you can eat like an astronaut with this freeze dried Astronaut ice cream sandwich.  So delicious, and so much fun for your planetary explorers!  $7

Available here

Orthoceras Tower Sculptures

All ages

“Orthoceras” was a celaphopod (a type of marine animal) that lived in the Devonian Period, 390 million years ago.   These tower sculptures feature striking fossils of the long shell found on this species. $30

Available here

Of course, you could also check out some trilobites, ammonites, or even petrified wood.  Starting at $5.

Available here

CAGIS is not receiving payment or sponsorship from any of the products or stores listed above.  These items were identified by parents as toys, books, and kits their STEM-loving girls enjoyed.  All images are used with permission from the products and/or retailer.