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HI everyone!  So, today’s gift list is centered about the STEM theme.  As a former elementary school teacher I had to get on this one!  STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is the focal point of most school district’s current curriculum.  The point of STEM toys is to introduce children to these important concepts and to allow them to explore and learn through play.  So, here are my top ten favorite STEM toys of 2015 that you might put under your tree (and then learn how trees grow and are involved in the process of photosynthesis lol)!

1.Mine for Fossils Science Kit ($29.95)- The Mine for Fossils Science Kit from Discover with Dr. Cool lets your child become a paleontologist in their own backyard. The digging brick contains 10 amazing fossils to uncover and examine. With the full-color adventure guide (included), your family will identify and learn about each fossil, paleontology, and earth science. Then, dive into the activity booklet for 10 additional games, mazes, and challenges to solve. (6-15 years)

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2.   Learning Resources Primary Science Magnifier & Tweezers ($7.80)- My little LOVES playing with this super cool magnifier and the tweezers help with his fine motor skills!

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3.Learning Resources Primary Bucket Balance ($14.98)- Explore volume and compare solids and liquids with this sturdy bucket balance. Graduated, clear buckets can hold solids or up to 400 ml of liquid. Easy-pour spout on removable buckets takes the mess out of measuring liquids. Lids can be used as platforms. Built-in drawer is perfect for storing weights. (3 years and up)

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4.Geode Explorer Science Kit – Crack Open 7 Amazing Rocks and Find Crystals! ($29.95)- Formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, geodes can contain a world of crystals including quartz, calcite, or even amethyst – which minerals will your child find? This science kit gets the adventure started with all you need to start a rock and mineral collection. (6-15 years)

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5.The Learning Journey Match it! Counting ($10)- The Match It! Series features a wide range of award-winning educational titles. Each product in the series features self-correcting puzzle sets that introduce children to a specific educational topic or skill. The brightly illustrated puzzle cards engage children in the learning process in an entertaining way. Match It Counting includes 30 self-correcting puzzle pairs. (3 years and up)

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6. Thames & Kosmos Glow Stick Lab ($19.99)-Make your own glow sticks in three colors using non-toxic phosphorescent substances and a special glow stick tube with a built-in ultraviolet light. Experiment with different glowing chemicals from around the house. (3 years and up)

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7.  Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science ($20.49)- Explore the invisible and amazing power of magnets with 33 engaging experiments and games. This science experiment kit contains many magnets of different shapes and sizes, and a variety of other components with which you can explore this classic scientific subject. Experiment to determine which materials are magnetic and which are not. Learn about magnetic poles and magnetic fields. Discover how Earth behaves like one giant magnet, and how we use compasses to take advantage of this phenomenon to determine which way is north. Conduct a series of experiments to learn first hand how magnets behave and interact under different conditions. Make invisible magnetic fields visible using iron filings in an enclosed transparent box. Build an electromagnet to learn how electricity relates to magnetism. Finally, have some fun with what you have learned by playing some games with magnets. The full-color, 48-page manual guides your experiments with illustrated step-by-step instructions. (8-15 years)

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8.  Clifford The Big Red Dog Kitchen Science Kit ($16.20)- Clifford and his friends love exploring the world around them and with this exciting kit they are learning all about KITCHEN SCIENCE! Emily Elizabeth, the narrator in the colorful 20-page manual, guides young scientists through captivating experiments with catchy titles such as test tube explosion, making slime, crystal star, crystal art, milk glue, colored celery, waking up fungus, fungus eats bananas, fungus in a tube, sticky ice, upside down trick, crystal garden and exploding volcano. Young Scientists will feel like real scientists when they use the included colorful lab tray, measuring cup, test tubes and funnel to perform their experiments! Join Clifford and his friends on an adventure into the world of science! (36 months-10 years)

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9. Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! ($34.99)- Vibrant, spinning gears set imaginations in motion. GEARS! GEARS! GEARS! is a child’s introduction to the world of construction and movement. Bright colors and easy-to-assemble pieces encourage children to create moving masterpieces. There are so many ways to build and open-ended components mean there are no wrong ways to build. The set contains 95 sturdy pieces that snap together, challenging your child’s creativity. Children discover something new every time they play. (36 months-7 years)

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1o.  K’NEX Education – Elementary Math and Geometry ($26.16)  -This one is AWESOME for teachers.  From the manufacturer:  The K’NEX® Education Elementary Math & Geometry set allows students to build, investigate and explore geometry concepts, vocabulary, and structures in a 2-D and 3-D world. The students live in a 3-D world, so it makes sense for them to connect with geometry on a 3-D level. K’NEX® allows them do just that! The teacher’s guide, designed as a resource, provides a glossary of key terms and definitions and includes Vocabulary Card masters to support instruction and understanding. (grades 1-3)

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Enjoy and encourage learn through play always!  Please add your own STEM toy favorites in the comments!

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