10 Holiday STEM Gifts for Girls 2022

10 Holiday STEM Gifts for Girls 2022

10 Holiday STEM Gifts for Girls 2022

Bringing Joy and Inspiration
By: Linda Kekelis

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

 

1. Challenge stereotypes with building toys. LEGO toys are fun and build spatial skills. I especially appreciate open-ended toys like the classic LEGO sets and wooden blocks where girls create their own designs instead of one-and-done projects where they just follow directions. For younger girls, DUPLO building sets and Bristle Blocks are easy to push together and pull apart for building and expressing creativity.

For more ideas to spark a child’s interest in STEM, check out the STEAM Playbook created by the Genius of Play in partnership with the National Girls Collaborative Project. Every play idea includes tips for making the activity simpler or more complex. Projects, which include making rainbow milk and creating a marshmallow sculpture, are easy to set up and use materials you can easily find around the house.

2. Inspire a love of reading and STEM. A Mighty Girl offers an expansive collection of science and technology books about girls and women who love STEM. I found inspiration in The Bug Girl written by Sophia Spencer with Margaret McNamara, which tells the true story of a girl who was bullied for loving bugs and who found support from the entomology community of scientists. For more books that celebrate creativity, persistence, and the joy of figuring things out, check out the Best STEM Books K-12: 2022 by the National Science Teaching Association. For recommendations that build on your child’s interests, ask your child’s science teacher or the children’s librarian at your public library for their suggestions.

Reading together is a special way to foster the love of reading and connect with your child. You don’t have to stop reading aloud when your child is older. Some of the most memorable moments in my family involved reading aloud when my son was in elementary and middle school. The books grew more advanced, and our connections remained strong and tender.

3. Bring joy to math. Math anxiety can hold back children and adults from learning and using math in our everyday lives. It doesn’t have to be. One of my favorite reads on overcoming the fear of math is Family Math: Facing the Mathephant in the Room, a blog by Rebecca Honig and Françoise Lartigue. For books that weave math into meaningful stories check out the Storytelling Math Project based at TERC. I especially appreciate Look Grandma! Ni, Elisa! by Art Coulson that makes math approachable, features diverse characters, and weaves in repeated tries and multiple solutions.

What better way to practice math than while measuring and transforming ingredients into tasty creations. Set a play date to make family recipes and celebrate your family’s heritage. Invite relatives to share their favorite recipes. You can find STEM cooking and baking projects at Bedtime Math. For Bedtime Math founder, Laura Overdeck, “math was an ingredient in everyday fun activities around the house. Her mom introduced her early to baking, which was a yummy way to count and use fractions.”

4. Watch media and deepen a child’s interest in STEM. Watch a show with your child and talk about its message and characters. With young children, check out The Eggventurers, a new animated show about a crew of eggs who build Rube Goldberg-style contraptions to solve problems. This show is co-produced by Debbie Sterling, the founder of GoldieBlox and can be found on the GoldieBlox YouTube channel and the YouTube Kids app. For background on the development of this show, read Debbie’s inspiring personal story. With older girls, check out Mission Unstoppable which airs Saturday mornings on CBS and is hosted by Miranda Cosgrove. Nicole Small, CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, shares, “We invested in Mission Unstoppable, a collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Litton Entertainment, to feature trailblazing women on the cutting edge of science…We hope that by spotlighting these amazing female role models in media, we will change the narrative and inspire young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers.”

Photo credit: Girls Who Build
Photo credit: Million Girls Moonshot

10. Think big and support girls 365 days a year. With the Million Girls MoonshotSTEM Next Opportunity Fund is re-imagining who can engineer, who can build, who can invent. It is inspiring the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in STEM opportunities by 2025. Learn more and lend your support to this cause. Spread the word to role models, educators, and families. Encourage a girl to explore STEM opportunities like the Million Girls Moonshot Flight CrewMake a donation and join the movement.