Holiday gift guide: last minute gift ideas for STEM lovers

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By Devin Wu, Dorcas Adewale, and Carolina Corcuera

The holiday season is right around the corner.  If you’re currently in the process of searching for gifts, we’ve compiled an array of STEM-related gifts for you to check out. Hopefully, this list will prove helpful as you finish up your last minute shopping. 

1) Rubik’s Cubes (Prices vary / Age: 7+) 

Most variations of the Rubik’s cube aren’t too expensive, so if you’re trying to keep within a budget, it’s a good choice. In addition, they are known to help improve your mental capabilities, including your focus, memory, problem-solving speed, patience, and cognitive skills. Maybe it’ll help a certain someone finish their math test in one period!

If your friend is an avid Rubik’s cube collector, you could get them more intensive Rubik cubes, such as the windmill or Axis V2 cubes.  Just make sure you get one that they don’t have yet!

A more interesting but extravagantly expensive version of the Rubik’s cube is the GoCube. Whether the gift receiver is only just getting into cubing or is quite serious about it, you might want to look into this high-tech, Bluetooth device that will connect them to cubers around the globe. Not only does the free affiliated app teach you how to solve a cube, but it tracks your stats, allows you to compete with faraway players (in VS mode, leaderboards and live competitions), and has mini games where you can use the cube as the controller. GoCubes can be purchased through the company’s official website or Amazon. The price for the GoCube ranges from $50-$100. 

2) ROKR 3D Wooden Puzzles (Prices range from $20-$150 / Age: 12+)

Although these complex wooden machines are both beautiful and entertaining, they are extremely complicated to put together. Their delicate, carefully-engineered designs are highly challenging to complete, making them particularly good presents for people who are interested in design, architecture, or engineering. ROKR’s highly diverse collection ensures there is something for everyone. Designs vary from gear towers to intricate music boxes, functional, wind-up vehicles to multiplex marble slides, and steampunk robots to solar-powered space rovers. They can also add a whimsical touch to one’s room! There’s a Christmas sale going on right now, offering 40% off on all sales, so head over to their website if you’re intrigued!

3) Gardening Kits (Prices range from $30-$100 / Age: 10+)

If you have a friend interested in plants, biology, or horticulture, you could perhaps get them a gardening kit. Plants can clear the air of pollutants like dust, making them a useful gift! Studies show that caring for plants has been proven to lower your stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, the presence of plants eases your mind and influences you to be more compassionate, so you might also want to give it to someone who is angry all the time!  Not everyone has a backyard that they can grow plants in, so indoor garden kits can prove very helpful. Some of these gardening kits also come with LED lights, which are worth the extra cost for gift recipients who don’t have a house with an abundance of sunlight. Some gardening kit suggestions include Deluxe Herb Garden Grow, Hydroponics Growing Starter Automatic Adjustable, Ingarden starter set, and GrowLED LED Indoor Garden. These are just a few examples but there are an endless variety of options to check out! 

4) Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera (Prices range from $59.99 – $69.99 / Age: 8+)

This cool gadget is perfect for beginners getting their hands on their first camera. Itr is a great choice for anyone that enjoys the classic Polaroid-type photos. Simple and easy to use, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 comes in a variety of different colors, from grey, to purple, to pink, to blue, and is an affordable option for those who do not want to break the bank. Features such as the close-up shooting and auto-exposure mode make this camera a practical and ideal choice this holiday season. You can find it online on websites including  Target and Amazon.

5) Anker PowerCore 10400mAh 2-Port Power Bank (Price: $23.99)

If you are looking for a last minute stocking stuffer, look no further than the power bank, an underrated, yet extremely useful gift that any recipient would definitely appreciate. When looking to purchase a power bank, it is important to look at two features: charge capacity and reliability. The Anker power bank holds over ten thousand milliamps of charge, and has great reviews for an affordable price. It’s handy when you are low on battery and do not have time to find an outlet, making this gift choice a great option for this holiday season. 

6) Beats Studio3 Wireless Over-ear Noise Canceling Headphones (Price: $180 / Ages: 8+)

Beats headphones have always been a popular option amongst those that aren’t fans of airpods or galaxy buds. This is a great gift for anyone you know who likes to shut off the rest of the world and get lost in the music. The noise cancelling option allows you to block out any external noise. This function allows for a premium listening experience by consistently using audio calibration to find external noise to block out while you listen to your music. The Beats headphones have a longer battery life in comparison to airpods, and when the battery is low, 10 minutes of charging can provide up to 3 hours of listening time. They come in various colors including forest green and sand dune. These headphones are available at Target, Best Buy and Amazon. Treat someone to this valuable gift for the holidays. 

We hope that this gift guide will help you in your quest to find the perfect gifts this holiday season! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Artwork by Sophia Park