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Gift Guide: STEAM Toys for Girls and Boys

Worry Eaters German Stuffed Toy
Worry Eaters German Stuffed Toy

Little Indiana was provided the following toys for review. Her opinions remain hers and hers alone.

There are so many toy choices:

Building blocks, army men, play doughs, coloring books, pretend kitchens, and costumes. It’s almost overwhelming trying to find the best toys. You know what I mean. Toys that last! Toys that are high quality and have replay value have always been at the top of our list. I suspect they are at the top of your list, too.

So what do you do?

You hunt, you search, you hope for the best. You spend time comparing prices and reviews and, in the end, often feel no better off than you were when you began. But not this year. This year, I am giving you hope. This year is the year that you will find the perfect toys for the little people in your life. How do you do that?

The answer is simple:

You take a look at these award-winning STEM toys from PaperPunk, Magic School Bus, Modarri, and Worry Eaters.

STEAM Toys for Christmas
by Jessica Nunemaker

The stockings were hung by the…oh, no, not there.
For these good boys and girls had them fly through the air.
You see, they were raised with the knowledge that learning is key,
that it wasn’t boring or stuffy, but should fill you with glee.

The parents regarded their children with candor and wit.
Their children were smart, as quick as a whip.
The parents were really quite intelligent, too, don’t you know?
They knew that kids needed toys that would help them to grow.

This mom and dad realized that growing kids needed fun,
to romp and to run and to play in the sun.
When the weather turned cold, they knew just what to do,
they looked for wonderful indoor things to view.
Not bland video games or reality shows, that just wouldn’t do.
They wanted to find ways to stimulate those little minds too.
Sneaky learning, they yearned for, to set their kids right–
on the path with a future that always burns bright.

Their clever kids would not be content to sit still.
They needed action! Creativity! And games that used skill.
They found it alright, it was just what they needed.
Toy companies that provided STEAM learning, unimpeded.
Science, technology, engineering, art, and math, these toys weren’t just toys–
they were tools to their futures, an educational ploy.

No parent should worry that all hope is lost,
that this generation is addicted to cell phones and LOLs,
not when there are glimmers of hope in their midst,
of toy companies that care, making toys that are mixed:
partly math, partly science, there’s tech, art, and engineering in there too,
and it’s wrapped up in packages that aren’t always blue!

This holiday season brings plenty of bliss,
for the smart little boy and the talented young miss,
for parents that care and teach kids to take wing,
with solid backgrounds in math, engineering, tech, and the science of things.

Now, On with the Toys:

STEAM Toys Gift Guide

Pet Portrait Studio by Build and Imagine
Pet Portrait Studio by Build and Imagine
Build & Imagine StoryWalls:

…with the Pet Portrait Studio! Build your child’s STEM skills in spatial reasoning and problem solving with this adorable magnetic kit. The clever design lets kids mix and match walls to craft the perfect layout. From walls, roof, and floor, it’s brightly colored and so much fun–all while playing up those important STEM qualities. Unlike other building toys, StoryWalls lets girls and boys construct everything from the ground, up! The fun images inspire their imaginations. Kids have control over the layout of their story before they ever begin. It might just be the perfect outlet for the budding writer in my family, our six year old son. Clean up is simple with magnetic pieces. Take a tip from this traveling mom: toys like this are wonderful for trips. When you have downtime in a hotel room, they take up little space yet provide endless play for kids aged 4 and up. Find them:

Follow Build and Imagine on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The Magic School Bus Science Explosion game :

Young Scientists Club Magic School Bus Board Game
Young Scientists Club Magic School Bus Board Game
Science is so huge with our youngest right now. As a kindergartner, he is always learning something new–and he never hesitates to share his knowledge with us. That’s where this brilliant game comes into play. It’s actually two games in one. On one side of the board, you have a memory matching game. On the other side, well, if you are familiar with the Young Scientists Club kit, you can check out my previous Magic School Bus reviews, there’s an element of that in here too. Unlike many games for this age that have a goal of reaching the end first, this game has a goal of reaching the end first–so that the player can erupt the volcano! With sixteen science master cards and eighty science theme cards, it’s something that will last. This game is the perfect way for him to show off his favorite facts while brushing up on some new concepts he may not have known. Make sure that Santa supplies the baking soda and vinegar. Find them:

Follow Young Scientists Club on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Modarri Kits:

All 7 Modarri Cars with Hex Tools
All 7 Modarri Cars with Hex Tools
Feel the road. Our six year old loves cars but he doesn’t like cars to like car, he likes the kind of cars that let you customize them, like the cars from the Modarri line. These are beautiful toy cars available in three types: dirt, street, or track. Sturdy and sleek, these cars aren’t going to fall apart into pieces. The brand hails them as “the ultimate toy car.” We would have to agree. Little hands have no trouble switching out wheels or bumpers. With these interchangeable accessories, playtime is always new and exciting! They say you can “interact with real mechanics and feel physics in action.” Yes, these cars have a real suspension system–so when kids drive it with their thumb and index finger, they can test their skills making tight turns. Is that an amazing toy or what? It’s also on the ASTRA List for best toys, an award only bestowed on the best of the best, from the votes of independent toy store owners. Find them:

Follow Modarri on Facebook and Twitter.


PaperPunk Pup
PaperPunk Pup
The folks behind PaperPunk consider it as much an art form as it is a toy. Their products are designed to fold into a toy or a work of art. It’s pretty incredible. I’ve mentioned the PaperPunk Urban Fold before. It’s still a favorite in our home. Now, there’s a sweet, smaller paper-folding kit. Meet: PaperPunk Pup. Isn’t he adorable? He’s even house-trained. Unlike some paper projects, there’s no scissors or glue required with PaperPunk. It’s all about the fold. But don’t worry parents, you won’t need to hover or complete this one. It’s easy to create with its simple, clear instructions, for ages six and up. Now that’s a great stocking stuffer.

Follow PaperPunk on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Worry Eaters:

Worry Eaters Line
Worry Eaters Line
Worries be gone! Worry Eaters are a German toy brought here to the United States by The Haywire Group. With soft, squishy bodies and smile-inducing features, these are more than a simple stuffed animal. Do you have a child that doesn’t like to talk about their feelings? Or maybe you have a kid that’s a constant worrier? Relieve those fears with the adorable little critters known as Worry Eaters. Let your child write or draw his worry, and then place it inside the Worry Eater’s mouth. Zip it up. Let him or her take care of it. For parents, it could be a wonderful tool to get your child to open up with you about their fears. It might be the first year for Worry Eaters in the States, but they have received a slew of awards already.

Educational Toys for Clever Kids

There you have it. Great toys for those creative kids that just need…

…something more! You’ll find it with this handy list. Do you have one of the toys listed above? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Little Indiana was provided the above toys for review. Her opinions remain hers and hers alone.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Just don’t forget to tell ’em that  little Indiana sent you!

Targeted. Relevant. Affordable! little Indiana advertising.

About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little More than a website, Little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and a book. Look for "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in April 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration.


  1. Awesome job, Jessica! Both the poem AND the guide!

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