It’s almost back-to-school time, but for kids, curiosity extends beyond the classroom. STEM subscription boxes are a great way to introduce your child to new concepts, make learning fun, and encourage exploration when they show an interest in something.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Sometimes, you’ll also see STEAM, with art added into the mix. STEM subscription boxes have exploded in popularity, along with the emphasis on equipping kids with these important skills so they can thrive in an ever-changing world.
No two STEM subscription boxes are quite the same. They all cover different niches and styles of learning. Let’s take a look at some of the best options, so you can find the perfect one for your child.
Table of Contents
- Best Overall: KiwiCo
- Best for Interactivity: MEL Science
- Best for Fun Themes: Loop Lab Box
- Best for Coding: BitsBox
- Best for Engineering: Groovy Lab in a Box
- Best for Electronics: Creation Crate
- Best for Robotics: GoBox
- Best Variety: STEM Discovery Boxes
- Best for Career Ideas: Club SciKidz
- Best for Sustainability: Green Kid Crafts
You can’t beat KiwiCo when it comes to overall excellence. They offer STEAM-themed boxes for a variety of age groups, all focused on the intersection between fun and learning. The company offers a variety of unique crates for different age groups and interests, from early childhood up through high school.
Older kids might explore engineering and design with a “Eureka Crate,” while elementary students can try the science and engineering projects in a “Tinker Crate,” for instance, and there are many more. As kids grow older and develop more specific interests, the crate options grow with them.
The approach for MEL Science is a combination of a classic subscription box with high-tech remote learning options. Choose from three options (a basic box for ages 5 and up, a physics box for ages 8 and up, and a chemistry box for ages 10 and up), and each box contains all the ingredients and equipment needed to do each experiment at least twice.
Plus, there’s gear included for VR learning and live science lessons! The interactive features allow any smartphone to turn into a “portal” for learning, with high-tech lessons, videos, and other additional learning materials.
Geared at slightly older kids (around age 8 and up), the Loop Lab Boxes from Mad Science give kids a chance to learn science in a fun, hands-on way. Each monthly box has a clever different theme—like “energized science” or “spy science”—and features multiple experiments, along with guides for kids to learn the theory at the same time as the applied science.
Each experiment is designed to be safe enough that minimal adult supervision is required for kids of the appropriate age group. It’s a great way to encourage hands-on and increasingly independent learning!
Bitsbox is truly a STEM box for modern kids: a coding and tech kit for kids ages 6-12 to get their first chance to learn about this useful skill. Each box introduces new concepts and projects for kids to learn about tech, and they don’t need to be familiar with anything in advance.
Every month, kids can apply their new skills to build real apps that they can then play on! The deluxe box also includes some fun bonus materials, and there’s even a digital-only version for families looking for a budget option that still includes the core learning.
With two options (one for ages 4-7 and one for ages 8 and up), the quirky STEM-themed Groovy Lab in a Box is particularly good at providing challenges that promote critical thinking, innovation, design, and engineering skills. It even is produced in partnership with Popular Mechanics to teach important engineering concepts at an age-appropriate level.
Each box features a “challenge” that engages kids in the full scientific process, a “lab notebook” to guide them along, and more activities and materials to help kids understand how to apply their new knowledge beyond their first project.
Unlike some boxes, the Creation Crate subscription boxes are specifically designed to build on the lessons from previous projects in a progressive build of skills. Instead of simply sending an all-levels themed box each month, subscribers get boxes sent in a specific order, reflecting an ongoing curriculum of eighteen levels of increasingly challenging projects.
Each box comes with the components needed to assemble an electronics project, from lamps to games and more. They’re supplemented by a multimedia guide and online electronics lessons for both theoretical and hands-on learning.
If your kid is interested in literally working on a robot, then the GoBox is the box for you! It starts out a little pricier, as the cost of the actual robot core has to be factored in. Then, each month, subscribers receive a new robot sensor or actuator and a new “mission” or project for kids to tinker with, learning all the while about robotics, electronics, coding, and more.
While working on each project, kids can learn about a wide variety of concepts, then apply them to real-world work. As each challenge grows a little more complex, even beginners can grow their knowledge from the bottom up, resulting in a solid understanding of the fundamentals of coding just by learning to control a homemade robot!
The STEM Discovery Boxes offer a broad range of options, geared mostly at kids ages 7-12, to introduce them to a huge number of scientific disciplines and concepts. Boxes include three new projects with every monthly delivery, challenging them to learn new ideas with hands-on experiments that range from the basics (chemistry, physics, etc.) to more specific (electronics, hydraulics, and more).
Every box comes with plenty of supplies to run the experiments and build the projects, all at a safe and age-appropriate level. It’s a great way to give kids the chance to develop their own skills in a way that’s also fun for the parents helping them!
For kids who are already thinking about a future in science, these career-themed boxes from Club SciKidz Labs are perfect! It’s a subscription box from the same folks behind Club SciKidz, a popular STEM-themed camp for kids based out of the Atlanta area.
Each box is centered around a specific STEM career and the related science(s), packed with experiments and supplies, an activity guide, a notebook full of inspiring quotes and mini-experiments, and more. Plus, past boxes are available to order, so you never have to feel like you’ve missed out.
Green Kid Crafts offers a unique box designed for kids ages 3-10 to experiment with age-appropriate science and art projects, with a focus on the environment, sustainability, and nature. Every box has between four and six individual STEAM projects, plus a mini-magazine for enhanced learning.
The company also focuses on sustainability in the themes of each box, the projects themselves, and its business practices. Green Kid Crafts also partners with One Tree Planted to plant one new tree for every box shipped. The boxes also frequently contain recycled and sustainable materials.
Supplementing your child’s interests with a STEM subscription box is an excellent way to encourage his or her love of learning, as well as providing fun activities you can do together. If your kid is more into cooking or reading, there are subscription boxes for those subjects, too!