When it comes to your child’s education and development, no cost is too high, right? Well, maybe that’s not quite true.
If it were, more kids would be enrolled in fancy, posh private schools that charge an arm and a leg each year.
It is true though, that most parents truly want what’s best for their kids and are aware of the growing use of STEM curriculum in the classroom.
What many parents aren’t aware of is the option of using STEM kits at home to further encourage intellectual growth and reinforce what kids are learning in school.
Economically, are they really doable for the average family? Are they worth it, or is the price simply too high?
How much do STEM kits cost? STEM kits can cost as little as $20 or less or be priced well over $40, with some advanced model costs exceeding $1,000. Many of the popular kits are typically between $20 and $40, though prices are dependent on quality, targeted age, and complexity.
You might be surprised to discover that STEM kits are generally priced fairly and are more affordable than you realized.
As you read through the following, you’ll learn average prices for STEM kits, see what factors tend to influence the price, and take a look at several examples of popular kits.
Average Prices for STEM Kits
Perhaps we should clarify what STEM kits are exactly before discussing prices so that we’re all on the same page. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
STEM kits are specialized toys and project kits designed to teach one, several, or all of the STEM subjects in an interactive, fun way.
By presenting learning opportunities in an engaging, enjoyable manner, STEM kits encourage children to develop critical skills in a variety of subjects simultaneously.
Many STEM kits and toys are priced around $40, though many are closer to the $20 mark.
For a quality kit, you can generally expect to pay between $20 and $40.
However, you can certainly find some kits that will be closer to $10 and some that are much more than $40.
It really depends on several factors: quality, targeted age, and complexity.
The same holds true for the growing-in-popularity STEAM (adds art) and STREAM (adds reading and art) kits, which you can learn about in our article “STEM Vs. STEAM Vs. STREAM.”
Factors That Affect the Price
The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” is certainly true of many children’s toys these days and generally applies to STEM kits as well.
Kits with thin, cheaply made plastic pieces will usually be rather inexpensive.
This isn’t to say that all inexpensive kits are a waste of money, however.
Some STEM kits aimed at preschool age children (read this article for more information) are under $20, yet have terrific customer reviews for quality and learning experiences.
Just be aware that occasionally a “bargain find” may not be the quality you were hoping for.
Some STEM kits are superbly made and capable of performing far beyond the toys from yesteryear.
However, the quality and technology incorporated in the kits will be reflected in the price.
Generally, you’ll find that STEM kits designed for younger children are less expensive than those created for older children.
This is because the kits for older students are often designed to teach more advanced technology, programming, robotics, and electronics, all of which require more intricate, expensive parts to work optimally.
STEM toys and kits for younger children usually are of the building or science experiment variety and therefore do not require complicated parts or electronics.
Often these kits contain a variety of simple parts for children to build or design with or use common household items, as in the case of science experiments.
STEM kits that are rather simplistic by nature are usually less expensive than those that focus on programming and coding skills or call for complex parts such as computer chips or circuit boards.
Simple STEM kits, such as magnet kits, crystal-growing kits, and basic building toys are typically in the $15 – $25 price range.
More complex kits, such as programmable robots and engine-building/design kits can be much more expensive, often $60 and more.
(The super advanced models can run over $1,000!)
Examples – STEM Kit Costs
Let’s look at several examples of STEM kits aimed at different age groups so you’ll have a good idea of exactly how much bang for your buck you can expect for value-priced, mid-priced, and pricier options.
Stem Kits for Preschoolers
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Value Priced – Rainbow Toyfrog Star Flex Create
This colorful kit contains more than 70 flexible, grooved pieces that children can interlock together easily to construct whatever they imagine.
With five different shapes in six bright colors, design options are endless, and kids will love developing their engineering, logic, and reasoning skills as they play.
Mid Priced – Brickyard 163 Piece Construction Blocks
This STEM kit includes six building tools, sturdy building pieces, and a detailed building guide with instructions for 42 designs.
Of course, with all the wheels, nuts, and bolts, freestyle build should be encouraged as well.
More Expensive – Little Genius Starter Kit
This more expensive set is an interactive learning adventure designed to work with an iPad (not included).
Skills such as phonics, letter recognition, drawing, and problem solving are taught through innovative technology.
Children are encouraged to work at their own pace as they use the Osmo game base and iPad to work through different levels, puzzles, and challenges.
STEM Kits for Elementary and Middle Schoolers
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Value Priced – Green Science Solar Rover
Children learn about harnessing the power of solar energy with this STEM kit.
Everything is included, except for an empty soda can, to build one solar-powered car that actually moves when placed in direct sunlight.
Mid Priced – Ciro 12-in-1 Solar Robot
This 190-piece kit includes the gears, shafts, tires, plates, and parts necessary to construct 12 different solar-powered robot models.
When placed in the sun, models can crawl, roll, or float, depending on the model constructed. Children can then disassemble their model and build another version.
More Expensive – Snap Circuits Light Exploration
Mastery of basic electronic fundamentals has never been more fun to learn.
This kit includes all of the snap-together, color-coded components needed to make over 175 different projects featuring working circuit boards.
STEM Kits for High Schoolers and Beyond
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Value Priced – ROKR Wooden 3D Marble Run Kit
Specially designed for teenagers and adults, this 227-piece kit is not your ordinary marble run.
Complete with gear wheel lifts, slides, a crane lift, and three exits, this STEM kit requires users to assemble wooden pieces from seven laser-cut wood sheets to create a puzzle-style marble run that resembles a piece of art when completed.
Mid Priced – ELEGOO Mega 2560 Arduino Starter Kit
Arduino is ideal for anyone interested in electronics and/or programming.
It’s an open-source electronics platform with boards capable of reading and interpreting input (data) and transforming the information to an output, such as operating a motor or controlling LEDs.
This kit comes with a controller board and an expansion board, plus a ton of wires, controls, sensors, pins, and chips.
Users can track movement, detect water levels, create an RFID lock, and a host of other projects by following the instructions on the included CD (35 lessons).
More Expensive – Playz V8 Combustion Engine
With this kit, older children (and adults) can engineer a real, working model of a four-cylinder, V8 internal combustion engine.
After assembling all of the parts (more than 270), including cranks, exhaust valves, pistons, pulleys, lights, belts, and a fan, users can enjoy watching this realistic model come to life, complete with authentic sounds.
Except for three AA batteries, everything needed to complete this kit from start to finish is included. Once complete, users can take it apart and start building it all over again.
In a Nutshell
STEM kit prices can vary a great deal, but for around $30, you can find a well-made kit designed to teach certain targeted skills at an appropriate age level.
Generally expect the quality, and complexity of the kits to increase along with the price, but as long as the child is learning, the higher cost is worth it.