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Breaking the mold: STEM gifts for this holiday season

The solution is not to spend less, but to spend better. Choosing the right toys and making them fun for children while developing STEM skills

Christmas is a time for gifts. Whether you are Santa Claus or the Three Wise Men, December 24 or January 6 and whatever age you are, we all like to give and be given presents.

However, in moderation. Some studies reveal that children receive up to 10 times more gifts than they need, causing some of them to be relegated to the drawer. The solution is not to spend less, but to spend better. Choosing the right toys and achieving with them something simpler than it seems: that children have fun while learning .

The option of educational toys is not new, but more and more alternatives are emerging to develop #STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, so necessary to meet the needs of the labor market, especially among women. 

If your children, nephews, nieces, nephews or relatives are of a certain age and have an interest in programming and technology, we collect (based on a Twitter thread that has had an excellent reception) some of the gifts that can make you happiest and that are not always found in department store catalogs. 

1. Arduino. It is an open source electronics creation platform, which is based on free hardware and software, flexible and easy to use for creators and developers. This platform allows the creation of different types of single-board microcomputers that can be put to different types of use by the maker community. Customized kits can be made according to the child’s tastes. 

7. Cloqq. This is the acronym for «Crea Lo Que Quieras», a social fun-learning initiative developed by Everis for children to give free rein to their imagination.

Designed so that any child from 8 to 16 years old can participate, no matter what previous knowledge they have or where they are. Everyone, including parents, can participate and enjoy the activities offered by CLOQQ through innovative educational solutions such as Scratch, Arduino, Raspberry Pi or MIT AppInventor, among others. 

8. Stembyme. Developed by Telefónica, it is a platform based on MOOC courses (massive, open and free) with the objective of producing significant learning in a short period of time and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in young people from 14 years of age in Ibero-America.

Microbit. An alternative to Arduino. It is an easy, fun, highly recommended and shock resistant option. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing. 

3. Rastberry PI. If they are already tech savvy, a Raspberry PI with some add-ons can be a great gift. There are millions of projects online, you can find out about one that is related to your interests and buy everything you need specifically for it.

4. Zowi. It is a friendly arduino bq robot, programmable. You can also assemble it yourself if you have a 3D printer and some free time.

5. 3D printer. Although they are still an investment, they are becoming more affordable. Thousands of 3D designs are available in the Thingiverse community. Another option is to give a printing pen as a gift, such as 3Doodler, ideal for ages 6 and up.

6. Dash & Dot. This may be the best option for the youngest, since it allows children as young as 3 years old to learn the programming language, and can continue to develop until they are 10 years old. It is a friendly, highly intuitive robot that can be operated from a tablet or smartphone. 

9. #CodeLikeaGirl. Sometimes there is no better gift than a good training course. Such as the one offered for free by Vodafone in Madrid and other locations, which lasts 26 hours of programming and where you will have the opportunity to program your own web page.

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