Best learning kit for teens


A teenager works on a learning kit.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which learning kit for teens is best?

Whether your teen is taking up an educational hobby or just supplementing what they’re learning in school, learning kits are a great way for them to study  the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Modern STEM education combines learning with fun, and learning kits do it in ways that engage teens’ full attention and wrap it up in affordable packages.

If your teenager wants to learn computer programming, for example, take a look at the Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit. It’s a great place for novice coders to start learning about computer programming because it is compatible with Arduino IDE, an open-source computer hardware and software platform that is easy to use and an industry standard.

What to know before you buy a learning kit for teens

Subject matter

Learning is enhanced in every way when the subject interests the child. This is even more true when kids become teenagers and begin to think about what fields interest them and what areas they might like to work in. Learning kits for teens primarily focus on STEM, reflecting the emphasis on those subjects today. It is a good idea to start at a broad level, like science, then look at subspecialties such as chemistry, physics, geology or meteorology.

Age range

Always use whatever age guidelines the manufacturers suggest for their learning kits as just that — suggestions, not hard-and-fast rules. Generally speaking, the better your teen’s grades in STEM courses, the more they will want advanced learning kits.

What to look for in a quality learning kit for teens

Real-life applications

Look for learning kits for teens that are hands-on, with real experiments and real projects. One of the key ideas behind learning kits is to take learning beyond lectures and note-taking. Lessons are reinforced when teens see tangible results from projects that they have tackled and successfully completed.

Number of projects

Eager teens will go right through one project or experiment after another. Look for learning kits for teens that have enough different projects to enable teens to determine if they want to learn more in one particular area or if they want to move on to explore something else. The experiments will eventually run out for even the largest kits, so keep an eye out for learning kits that have additional modules available to take your teen deeper into a favorite subject. 

How much you can expect to spend on a learning kit for teens

As little as $10 buys a teen learning kit with one project. Most good learning kits for teens cost between $25 and $50 and have a good number of projects and experiments. From $100 to $200 is where you find learning kits that are more advanced for teens who are starting to focus more deeply on things such as programming, coding and robotics.

Learning kit for teens FAQ

Should your teen be following a recommended pace of learning?

A. One of the beauties of learning kits is that individuals proceed at their own paces. There is no rush to finish, and students sometimes like to do an experiment over again. Don’t rush your teens or try to slow them down. Let them find the level of engagement that interests them the most.

Aren’t teens too old for learning kits?

A. When children and adults are engaged in positive ways with learning, age makes no difference. Learning kits provide the kind of hands-on experience teens will soon be calling on as they move into higher education and, eventually, a career.

What’s the best learning kit for teens to buy?

Top learning kits for teens

Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit

Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit

What you need to know: This expanded starter kit is a great place for novice coders to begin learning about computer programming.

What you’ll love: UNO boards are the brains behind almost every electronics project. This kit’s UNO board is compatible with Arduino IDE, an open-source computer platform based on the notion that computer hardware and software should be easy to use. This is the upgraded starter kit with the 9V power supply module. It includes a tutorial, LEDs, a stepper motor and a seven-segment display.

What you should consider: To get the full value of what this set has to offer, your teen needs to have some basic computer knowledge and a real desire to learn.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top learning kit for teens for the money

Thames Kosmos C500 Chemistry Science Kit

Thames & Kosmos C500 Chemistry Science Kit

What you need to know: This throwback intro-to-chemistry kit is all about hands-on learning of the basics.

What you’ll love: This kit includes beakers, test tubes, lab goggles and 28 experiments for your teen to learn about how solids, liquids and gases react. The experiments are dramatic, from color-changing litmus paper to fizzy and foamy reactions and special invisible ink for sending secret messages. The experiment manual is 48 pages of full-color instructions that are easy to follow.

What you should consider: You need to purchase additional chemicals to be able to conduct all the experiments.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Thames Kosmos Structural Engineering Bridges and Skyscrapers

Thames & Kosmos Structural Engineering: Bridges and Skyscrapers

What you need to know: This learning kit offers hands-on demonstrations of how structural engineering concepts are used to build bridges and tall buildings.

What you’ll love: Learn physics concepts of force, stress, load, tension and compression and how they are designed to work together in building huge structures. Use all 280 pieces and follow the instructions to build 20 different projects.

What you should consider: Structural engineers designed the anchor pins from assembled projects to be hard to remove.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.