Best Learning Kits for Teens

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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Buying guide for best learning kits for teens

Whether you'd like your teenage son or daughter to excel in school or they are just searching for a challenging new hobby, a learning kit is a great solution. These affordable products are fun, engaging, and educational, and they can help prepare young adults for success in life beyond high school.

The best learning kits focus on an aspect of science or technology that already interests your teen, whether it's chemistry, biology, coding, or robotics. The kit should be age-appropriate and versatile enough to keep your teen engaged by offering multiple projects.

If you keep reading, you will discover how a learning kit for your teen can help them have a better chance for a brighter future. You will also find out what features to look for in a quality kit. If you'd like some quick recommendations for top learning kits for teens, consider the options we spotlight on this page.

A STEM-based curriculum is rooted in real-life situations that a person may encounter in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. A good learning kit helps develop a practical understanding of these topics.

Key considerations

Age range

When looking for a learning kit for a teen, you have to be careful not to accidentally purchase something that is too young for the intended user. If a teen gets a kit that has "For ages 5 to 12" emblazoned across the box in primary colors, there's a good chance it will never be opened. Even something that is designated "For ages 8 to 13" may be pushing it. You want to purchase something that is clearly manufactured for an individual who is no longer a child and definitely does not want to be considered one.

Subject matter

Learning kits focus on the sciences, from geology to coding. There’s something out there for your teen regardless of which science they’d like to explore. Just make sure to consult with them first and know their interests before buying. If you purchase a climatology learning kit for your son or daughter and they are into robotics, you will most likely be making a return in the near future.

Alternatively, a suitable learning kit might focus on a topic that is giving your child trouble in school. For example, if your student is struggling at school with earth sciences, maybe getting that climatology kit wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

Did you know?
According to the Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at a faster rate and offering a higher income (up to 26% more) than non-STEM occupations.
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Features

Number of projects

If you purchase a learning kit for a teen with only one project, it had better be a doozy. If not, the kit may only last a day or two, and your teen probably won't learn much from completing it. In most cases, you want a versatile learning kit that provides the option to build a number of items or perform a number of experiments. The exception is a learning kit with fewer projects that are lengthy in nature. Any kit where something is grown, whether it's crystals or plants, would be an example of this.

Expandability

Some learning kits are starter kits that have components or more advanced modules that can be added at a later date. The benefit of a kit like this is that it can literally grow with your teen.

Real-life applications

If your teen can build a video game, a drone, or a doorbell camera from scratch, that will definitely make an impact on their learning. The ability to create something with everyday applications day will help them see how science is used in everyday life. What’s more, it will help them develop confidence. If you get the right kit, you won't ever hear, "Yeah, but when am I going to use this in real life?"

Encourages creativity

While it is essential to learn how to follow an extended series of detailed instructions to accomplish a specific task, it’s just as important to have a little flexibility. The best learning kits offer specific experiments and projects that can later be modified by the individual after they understand the basic concepts that are involved.

"Learning kits for teens make great holiday and birthday gifts."
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Learning kits for teens: prices

Inexpensive: It is entirely possible to purchase a learning kit for under $10. However, these kits usually include only one project. The parts may not be durable, and there’s a chance the kit would be too simplistic for your teen.

Mid-range: This is the sweet spot. From $25 to $50, you can find learning kits for teens that offer a larger number of projects or experiments. These are not one-and-done kits. The individual components are often more durable, and depending on the type of kit you purchase, it may be expandable.

Expensive: You can find some pretty nifty learning kits in the $100 to $200 price range. These are recommended for serious teens who have already found success with projects in the mid-range area. Typically, these learning kits focus on coding, electronics, or robotics.

Did you know?
If your teenager is interested in electronics, the right kit could teach them how to build a video game or a robot from an assortment of components.
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Benefits

  • Learning kits cover all aspects of science, from biology to technology. If your teen has an interest in any field of science, chances are there's a kit for them. The right learning kit could spark a curiosity that sets your teen off on a bright career path.
  • “Play” isn’t reserved for little kids. Learning while playing with a kit made for teens fosters creative thinking and helps students develop a level of confidence that might otherwise be unobtainable in a traditional classroom setting.
  • These kits are great fun, and fun is important. Individuals who do not engage in enjoyable activities run a greater risk of suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
  • A learning kit allows a teen to progress at their own pace. When a student doesn’t feel rushed, latent talents that may have otherwise gone unrealized could be discovered. Sometimes, you do not know what you truly love until you get a chance to discover it on your own.
The best learning kits provide direction on how to dive deeper and take the next step if a teen is intrigued beyond what the kit has to offer.

FAQ

Q. Why would I choose a learning kit when I could purchase a book instead?
A.
There has been a great deal of research done on learning, and hands-on activities are shown to be one of the most effective modes of learning. For example, a person who listens to a lecture about electronics might only retain 5% of what they heard. A person who reads a book about the same topic might retain twice that, about 10%. But a person who builds a motion-sensing alarm could retain 75% of what they learned when building the device. Learning by doing is simply a more effective strategy for retaining information.
 

Q. Aren't learning kits just for little kids?
A.
No. A huge misconception about "growing up" is that we require less play time as we mature. It is essential to have hobbies and activities that we enjoy, no matter what age we are. As long as the learning kit engages the teen in a positive or challenging way, it’s beneficial.
 

Q. Are learning kits dangerous?
A.
While there are learning kits that contain potentially hazardous elements such as chemicals, electricity, or sharp objects, as long as the directions are read and followed and the materials are handled properly, they should not be dangerous. However, if a teen misuses kit materials or a younger child wants to be challenged with a kit that is recommended for older users, a responsible adult should supervise.
 

Q. My teen is not into science and technology. Would a learning kit still be appropriate?
A.
Although science is the primary focus of a learning kit, the best kits encourage creativity and innovative thinking. While there will be no knowing for sure until they try it, the right learning kit could be the key that opens a whole new world of wonder for your teen.

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