Sam's Toy Box: STEM toys

BySamantha Chatman via WLS logo
Friday, December 13, 2019
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Consumer Reporter Samantha Chatman is opening the toy box she has the hottest toys of 2019.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you're scrambling to figure out what to get your kids for the holidays you are in luck. Consumer Reporter Samantha Chatman is opening the toy box. She has the hottest toys of 2019.

Toy expert Laurie Schact has spent several months trying out thousands of toys to come up with a list.

Coding Critters (Learning Resources)

-Meet the Coding Critters - kids' first coding friends!

-These interactive pets introduce preschoolers to critical thinking, problem-solving, and other STEM skills with the help of fun playsets, storybook coding adventures, and two interactive modes! And it's screen free.

-Each critter comes with a full-color, 20-page storybook packed with multiple coding challenges .

-Ranger's 22-piece coding playset includes a house, a slide, a tennis ball launcher, and more.

-Code Ranger to play fun games, such as hide and seek or fetch a ball from the tennis ball launcher.

-In addition to following along with the storybook's coding challenges, you can design your own code games.

-The Coding Critters also double as cute interactive pets. Press Ranger's nose to activate play mode, where you can feed, pet, and take care of your new puppy robot pal. You can even make him dance and sing a silly song.

-Ages: 4+

- MSRP: $39.99

-Available: Amazon

Artie 3000 (Educational Insights)

-Say hello to Artie! This coding/drawing robot puts kids in control.

-The easy-to-use drag and drop programming can be used on a Mac, PC, or tablet.

-As kids tell Artie what to draw next, they learn left-brain skills like basic programming, geometry, and math, while engaging the right side of their brains to create cool, colorful designs.

-The WiFi-enabled drawing robot comes with 4 modes of play: pre-programmed shapes, games, art for coloring, and freeform coding.

-It also comes with quick-start, FAQ instruction cards, 3 project cards, a built-in programming interface, and 4 washable colored markers.

-Ages: 7+

-MSRP: $69.99

-Available: Amazon,

Amazing Rescue 50-piece set (Magformers)

-Click and create your own adventure with Magformers

-Amazing Rescue 50-piece set!

-Design and create your own fire adventure.

-Build a fire station and fire truck, add wheels and fire accessories.

-This 50 piece set comes with 24 magnetic pieces, two characters, emergency vehicle accessories, and so much more to keep the city safe.

- Ages: 3+

-MSRP: $59.99

-Available:, specialty retailers

Confectionary Science (Alex Brands)

-Scientific Explorer brings fun to science with these engaging hands-on activity kits that encourage learning and exploration.

-Kids can satisfy their sweet tooth while learning science facts.

-They can make and decorate a sugar skull to learn about sugar density

-Young scientists can also make rock candy, gummy gems, and chocolate lollipops.

-The food ingredients are not included.

-Age: 8+

-MSRP: $9.99

-Available: Walmart, Fall 2019

Gumball Machine Maker (Thames & Kosmos)

-Super sweet stunts! Build your own gumball machines and learn physics lessons in the process. A turn of a handle dispenses one gumball at a time out of the clear storage globe and down the track.

-The gumballs land in a collection cup and can easily and sanitarily be returned to the globe for another run. The track segments can be moved around on the base to create an almost limitless number of different gumball machines.

-As the gumballs roll down the track, they perform cool stunts and tricks. Stunts include a pulley lift, pendulum, funnel, trampoline, variable-slope ramp, pinball launcher, and domino slide.

-Each segment of the track teaches a different lesson in mechanical physics, allowing users to explore topics including simple machines, force, motion, momentum, gravity, Newton's laws, energy transfer, and more.

-Trial-and-error experiments teach in a fun, hands-on way: Will your gumball successfully make it to the end of the track, or will you have to reengineer your gumball machine to make it work?

-The kit works with standard machine-size, 16-mm (5/8-inch) gumballs and includes a small supply of gumballs to get started.

-Age: 6+

-MSRP: $39.95

- Available: Amazon,

Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab (Crayola)

-Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab contains everything young scientists need to explore color like never before - with a new arctic twist.

-The Color Chemistry Arctic Lab includes 50 new winter-themed experiments including 15 different experiments ready to go out of the box.

-Ideal for the holiday season, each of the 50 new experiments infuses color and winter themes, from snow that grows on trees, to color-changing window cling snowflakes and more.

-Ages: 7+

-MSRP: $24.99

-Available: Amazon, Target, Walmart

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