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Cool Science and STEM Advent Calendars for Kids

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Today we are sharing some awesome science and STEM themed Advent Calendars for kids. We love these themed Christmas Countdown Calendars and look forward to them every year. This year we tried out some science and sensory themed Advent Calendars so wanted to share them with you. This post includes our direct affiliate partner links to Amazon.

Text that reads Steam themed advent calendars, Which are worth it? Photos of various advent calendars with a kid looking at one.

We have tried our share of Christmas Advent Calendars through the years.

We've done everything from the classic Chocolate Advent Calendars to some awesome toy advent calendars.

We were all a little tired of the kind with cheap plastic toys that just get lost around the house, never to really be played with.

This year we wanted to try some that allowed us to really get something out of them so we decided to try Science, Stem or Sensory Themed Countdown Calendars.

We had some winners and some definite losers. But hey- one kid's loser is another kid's winner, right?!

Let's take a look!

Science Experiment Advent Calendar for Kids

When you look on Amazon, a lot of results come up with you look for Science Experiment Advent Calendars but when we bought ours this Science Experiment Advent Calendar was the only one that was an actual Christmas Countdown with 24 days of actual Science Experiments, intended to be opened one per day.

Here is a look at what you get with this Science Advent Calendar:


Each box has a little image that provides a clue about the experiment inside. The set also comes with a book that has a full color, 2 page spread for each science experiment.

Each experiment's page in the book tells you:

  • The science behind the experiment
  • How long the experiment takes
  • What is in today's box
  • What ELSE you need for the experiment (dish soap, a bowl of water etc)
  • Experiment instructions

Overall as my daughter mentions, the quality of this set was really great.

Based on our experience with this one, I would also buy their other advent calendars in a heartbeat, or give them as a gift:

Great experience with this company overall. Very nice packaging compared to your average advent calendar.

Brain Teaser Advent Calendar

My tween-age daughter loves brain teasers and 3D puzzles so I thought this would be a big hit.

When I bought ours, the only one I saw on Amazon was this All Metal Brain Teaser Advent Calendar, however as I look now there are tons of Brain Teaser Advent Calendars– some with a mix of metal and plastic or other materials.

Here is a look at the one we got.

As we mention in the video, some of the puzzles in this advent calendar shifted out of their spot. This could happen with any advent calendar so I think it comes down to the shipping packaging.

When it comes to the longevity of the contents, these were really thick, good-quality metal.

Both kids and both adults spent a lot of time fidgeting and puzzling with these days after they were opened.

The other thought I had about this countdown calendar specifically, is that if you keep them all together, and eventually you solve them all, you could repurpose them (with your child's permission) as classroom treats, party favors or other small-gift giving occasions. WAY better than yet another pencil!

Rock and Gem Advent Calendar

This is one of those Amazon purchases I wish I had read a little closer before I had ordered.

Some Amazon sellers add and remove duplicate listings constantly, like a game of whack-a-mole when it is obvious that a product is going to get bad reviews.

There are some really nice looking rock and gem advent calendars on Amazon. The one we bought was NOT one of them. In fact, looking through the reviews most of them are pretty bad, except one.

Here is what we learned, and what to look for if you are buying a Rock and Gem Advent calendar for your budding geologist.

  • Check for the brand name. I snapped up this one in a hurry, thinking I was buying a National Geographic brand item. I failed to notice that this was a copycat item. The listing does not say Nat Geo, but the packaging was pretty much scanned and edited to only remove the company name. It even had the yellow rectangle. (Note: National Geographic does have the ONLY well-rated Rock & Gem Advent Calendar right here.)
  • Read reviews. The one we bought didn't have any, which was surely a result of the company removing the listing and reposting it with zero reviews. In fact, the listing we bought from was already removed by the time we opened ours.
  • Don't believe the photos of off brand sets. Ours had a photo of the “contents” and they looked amazing, like something out of a crystal shop. What we got was a pile of rocks probably straight from someone's back yard.

Photo of a rock and gem advent calendar with pretty, sparkly rocks in from of it, compared to a user photo of ordinary rocks. Text says Listing Vs Reality

So the big takeaway is that this specific type of advent calendar needs some careful shopping. Definitely check out this Rock and Gem Advent Calendar instead.

Universe Advent Calendar

With my daughter being interested in rocks, gems and crystals PLUS zodiac type stuff, I took a wild shot with this Universe Advent Calendar.

This one could be cool for the right kiddo but in hindsight it is made by the same company as the nefarious Rock and Gem set we purchased above. This one is accurate to the description and photos, for better or worse.

It is basically a set of clear marble type objects with images of planets inside, each made into charms with wire loops. You might be able to make a bracelet or necklace with them but we didn't try it so i cannot speak to the durability when clanging around on your wrist.

But that said, it could be cool for a kid who likes the topic of space, likes to collect trinkets, maybe make jewelry or a string of beads to hang. It could also be a choking hazard for any kids who put things in their mouths.

We did receive some duplicates in this set but they are pretty to look at. In the photo below you can see what they look like, with a penny at the top left for size comparison.

Photo of galaxy themed marble charms, the contents of a Universe Advent Calendar.

Fidget Toy Advent Calendar

This is another category that really exploded on Amazon this year. There are SO MANY FIDGET ADVENT CALENDARS!!

But I guess I bought ours before they rest popped up. I would not recommend the Fidget Advent Calendar we bought, but maybe your kiddo would like it. I think what we didn't like about it was that some of the items were kinda fidgets, but the rest were like cheap carnival toys. Something you'd get for 10 tickets at Chuck E. Cheese.

Looking through all of the Fidget Advent Calendars now, I think I would have chosen one of these instead:

But if the one we bought interests you, here is a peak:

What's the Verdict on Advent Calendars?

I'm glad we picked a theme to try out this year.

In the end we liked the Science Experiment Advent Calendar best this year. The brain teaser one did stand the test of time and the contents can be repurposed. A different fidget advent calendar could easily have been the big winner.

I'd say in all the years we have done them, LEGO Advent Calendars have been our all-time best buys though. They are worth the money because the items really are played with for a long time to come.

Do your kids have a favorite type of Advent calendar?

Text reads: 5 Steam Themed Advent Calendars. Which are worth it? Kid holding an advent calendar, 4 others pictured.

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