Best learning kits for teens

Education

Expandable learning kits are those that can be “built on” with additional components or more advanced modules.

Which learning kit is best?

Many parents turn to learning kits to help teens take a step outside the textbook or away from the screen and introduce educational concepts in approachable ways. With the rise of STEM education, it’s easier to find learning kits for teens that cover subjects such as coding, chemistry, robotics, or biology, just to name a few. With so many options, choosing the right learning kit for your teen comes with a unique set of challenges.

To help make your choice a simple one, we’ve assembled this buying guide on learning kits for teens. We’re sharing key features to compare, and we’re including a few recommendations. Our top choice, the Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit, is ideal for teens who are interested in learning how to program.

Considerations when choosing a learning kit for teens

Age range

It’s recommended to buy a learning kit for teens that’s age-appropriate. It seems obvious, but it’s important to be aware of the major differences between kits marked “for ages 8 to 13” and “for 13 and above.” Kits in the first category are almost always too simple to engage even 13-year-olds.

Subject matter

There are countless subjects that learning kits for teens cover in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Whether your kid is into climatology or coding, there’s definitely a kit out there for them.

Some parents select kits to foster their kid’s affinity for a certain subject or area. Other parents utilize learning kits to help kids gain a deeper understanding of subject areas that are more challenging.

Features of a great learning kit

Number of projects

Generally speaking, the more projects or experiments a learning kit offers, the more expensive it is. Many parents and teens gravitate toward multi-project kits for their versatility and replayability factor. With that said, it’s important to note that single projects that are highly involved and time-consuming (such as building a robot) may be just as expensive as some multi-project learning kits.

Real-life applications

Some learning kits place a high focus on real-life applications. These kits take on a variety of forms, ranging from building a drone to coding a gaming app. Many parents hold these learning kits in high regard because they’re considered just as educational as they are fun and engaging.

Creativity

There’s usually a touch of creativity in learning kits for teens. In many projects or experiments with these kits, teens are given a problem to solve. The solutions aren’t so straightforward, and in some cases, there’s more than one solution. Creativity comes into play when troubleshooting and problem-solving, which only adds to the fun.

Learning kit price

Budget-priced learning kits mostly include single projects and cost $10 or less. Learning kits that offer a wide variety of experiments and projects cost $25-$50. The most expensive options, many of which focus on coding and robotics, run between $100-$250.

Learning kit for teens FAQ

Q. What happens if my teen doesn’t like the learning kit we bought?

A. It’s not unusual for learning kits to be hit or miss with teens. In some cases, it might not be appealing either because it’s too easy or too advanced. In other cases, the learning kit might not focus on subject matter that interests them. No matter the reason, parents are encouraged to try another type of learning kit.

Q. Can learning kits for teens be used without supervision?

A. Most learning kits for teens are intended for independent play. However, some kits may require adult supervision, namely chemistry kits that could get messy with various substances or ingredients.

Learning kits for teens we recommend

Best of the best

Elegoo’s UNO Project Super Starter Kit

Elegoo’s UNO Project Super Starter Kit

Our take: Top choice for kids interested in learning programming, and bonus points for being Arduino-compatible.

What we like: Soldering-free kit includes LEDs, stepper motor, and 7-segment display. Comes with a free PDF with more than 22 tutorials.

What we dislike: Requires some background knowledge to enjoy it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Thames and Kosmos’ Chemistry C500 Science Kit

Thames and Kosmos’ Chemistry C500 Science Kit

Our take: An old-school approach learning chemistry through exciting hands-on experiments.

What we like: Comes with beakers, goggles, and a full-color guide. Experiments cover solids, liquids, and gases.

What we dislike: Calls for certain accessories or chemicals that aren’t included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sphero’s Mini App-Enabled Programmable Robot Ball

Sphero’s Mini App-Enabled Programmable Robot Ball

Our take: Learn to code with this charming little droid that is programmable through an app.

What we like: Pre-programmed to enjoy a few basic games. Can be programmed using JavaScript once the app is downloaded.

What we dislike: Occasional reports of compatibility issues with certain OS and device updates.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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