It’s that time of year – shopping for holiday gifts is the task at the top of everyone’s to-do list. When you’re searching for gift ideas to suit a curious child, it’s helpful to enlist some expert advice. That’s why we asked our resident mom (and iCAMP co-founder) Lulu Keszler for her thoughts on hot ticket items kiddos would love to unwrap during the 2022 holiday season.
What’s more, since this is coming straight from her desk at iCAMP, each of these suggestions will be STEAM-centric and entertaining enough that your child won’t realize they’re still learning while school is out.
Dive in to the 2022 iCAMP Holiday Gift Guide:
Magnatiles are a construction toy set built with geometric plastic magnet tiles, this toy is all the rage for little builders and artists, alike. You can purchase the classic 100-piece set or individual scenes ranging from dinosaur dioramas to life in the city. The varied geometric pieces will challenge your child’s engineering skills while giving them everything they need to create their own contraptions, structures, and characters.
Lulu says: “Magnatiles are a staple in my home and at camp! They encourage imaginative play, engineering, fine motor skills and even cooperation! Whether your kids are building Elsa’s castle, the Paw Patrol lookout, or a house for your dinosaurs – the possibilities with Magnatiles are endless!”
(Mom tip: Don’t forget the storage bin. Clean up has never been easier!)
A high-tech gadget that will appease even the most advanced of kid geniuses, the Tello Drone will challenge your child’s aviation and programming skills at the same time. This drone can fly up to 99 feet in the air and can be programmed to fly on its own through an app that supports the Scratch coding interface (just like the one we use at iCAMP).
The “wow” factor is strong with this one – but your child will also learn more about how code interacts with the real world while managing the aerodynamics of their drone.
Lulu says: “Although we don’t have one of these at home yet, these fun little drones are everyone’s favorite at camp! Use an ipad or a phone to control the Tello, which is surprisingly durable. These little guys can also be programmed for autonomous flight!”
(Mom tip: Build an obstacle course with things you have at home – like hoola hoops or chairs – and have your child program the drone to fly through it on their own!)
No STEAM-centric holiday gift guide would be complete without a chemistry set – and that’s exactly what the Yellow Scope Kits bring to the table. This isn’t your childhood chemistry set, however. Yellow Scope Kits are updated for 2022 and come with the ability to perform dozens of experiments that introduce and test young chemists on concepts like molecular motion and chemical reactions.
Lulu says: “Yellow Scope sells a number of different kits for budding young scientists! Learn about the science of color, chemistry, DNA and more! Each kit includes multiple experiments that your child can work on on their own.”
Certainly one of the cutest entries in iCAMP’s 2022 holiday gift guide, this tiny mouse gives younger kids a chance to learn core coding concepts in a screen-less environment. The Code & Go Robot Mouse comes with a maze board that children can design to create obstacles between their robot and the cheese it desires.
Simple buttons on the mouse then correspond to coding instructions your child can design and execute to solve the puzzle. By the end of their first play session, your child will begin to understand how computers read and understand code by doing it themselves!
Lulu says: “Learn to code without a screen! The Code & Go Mouse introduces kids to the concepts behind coding in a fun and interactive way.”
Why stop at just one present when you can give your child the gift of STEAM-powered play all year round? Lovevery Play Kits are delivered every two months and each individual kit caters to a specific age group and comes with a specific theme designed to engage and teach young learners vocabulary and basic physics.
This is a great gift idea for a new parent as the kits can age up with their child and make it easier for them to supply their kid with new and engaging educational toys as they grow up.
Lulu says: “Lovevery is a subscription-based play kit company that has curated each box to meet the needs and curiosities of a specific age group. Though the boxes can be on the pricey side, the content of them are really great for young learners! The toys come in beautiful colors and look great in every playroom!”
(Mom tip: Introduce only one new item at a time in order to keep your child interested in each one. My older kids love helping my little one with some of the activities and it becomes a nice way for them to all play together!)
Practically everyone has a foundational memory of building a fort with their siblings or friends as a child. Back then, all we had were blankets and pillows. This holiday, give your child the gift of better building with the Make a Fort Building Kit. This kit comes with 124 durable and reusable pieces that can be arranged however your young builder pleases.
When kids come together to build a fort, they learn teamwork, delegation, design, and engineering – especially when you give them supplies like the Make a Fort Building Kit to work with.
Lulu says: “This is a great way to get kids’ imaginations going! Forts can be put together in a number of different ways and can even be colored in!”
(Mom tip: This is a great activity for both inside and outside and also a fun thing for siblings to do together!)
Chess is a great way to encourage your child to think critically and strategically – so why not turn their favorite tablet into an interactive chessboard and meet them halfway! Tacto Chess uses physical figurines on a specialized app downloaded on the tablet. What’s more, the Tacto Chess learning mode provides specific scenarios where they can practice strategies that will make them master chess players in no time.
Lulu Says: Want your child to play chess? The Tacto Chess set lets you turn your ipad into an interactive chess board, where kids get to feel the pieces in their hands while simultaneously being able to play against a computer or take lessons!
(Mom tip: The company sells other Tacto sets, which are all great, interactive fun!)
If your little learner loves to listen to stories, the Yoto Player should definitely be a part of your holiday shopping list. This handy little device is powered by audio cards that your child can place into the speaker all on their own. The cards range from educational nonfiction to classic children’s literature. The Yoto Player also includes a sleep trainer, night light, and a clock – making it the perfect bedside companion.
Lulu says: “My kids absolutely love this! They all love books and reading and stories, and this is a fun way for them to listen to stories on their own. There is a large selection of books ranging from Eric Carle books to Disney stories to Roald Dahl and many, many more. There are even cards to record your own stories on!”
(Mom tip: Reading books and listening to audiobooks is a great way for kids to learn about the world around them and also build their vocabulary. There are also a number of non-fiction/educational cards available.)
- Tonie Box – This is a great alternative to the Yoto Player if you’re looking for more options.
- 3D Wooden Puzzle Marble Run – A classic marble run toy with a modern twist, great for both kids and adults.
- DIY Chess – This chess set allows your children to paint and personalize their own pieces.
- DIY Video Game – Teach your child to code their own retro arcade games on a handheld device!
- Make Your Own Computer – Take your child’s love for electronics one step further with this DIY computer kit.