For many of us, the run-up to Christmas means extending the festivities earlier into the month, and what better way to ramp up the excitement than with an advent calendar? If you’re finding yourself in a busy scramble trying to get everything sorted in time, taking a few moments respite to indulge in a surprise treat is also a fun way to press pause on the frenetic pre-Christmas rush.


And with so many to choose from - in addition to the time-honoured chocolate variety – we thought we’d bring our favourite advent calendars for STEM together in one list.

Why not treat yourself, a friend or family member to one of these 2022 advent calendars and enjoy a science-filled Christmas countdown this year? Read on for our choice of the best advent calendars for STEM. Or, check out the best educational toys or best science toys.

Discover more about STEM:

The best advent calendars for STEM

National Geographic gemstone advent calendar

Unleash your inner geologist with this National Geographic gemstone advent calendar. There are 24 windows to open daily in the lead-up to Christmas, each with a different gemstone to collect. Gems include agate, green aventurine, hematite, obsidian, sodalite, tiger's eye and blue calcite, and the calendar even comes with a drawstring bag to keep your gems together.

On the final day, a challenge awaits: you'll need to dig out your specimen from the surrounding matrix. Then, when you're done, either use the gems as a study aid - or why not turn them into jewellery?

Electronic Games electronic advent calendar

The Electronic Games advent calendar from Eight is ideal for gaming enthusiasts. Behind each window is an electronic component that allows you to build 24 different electronic games. Once built, you can immerse yourself in the world of retro electronics, and indulge in games like Whack A Mole, Ping Pong and Code Breaker, then impress friends and family with your knowledge about the electronics behind each game.

This fun science advent calendar is a wonderful learning tool (or a welcome way to procrastinate), but don't worry; it comes with a clear and concise instruction guide.

Shocking science advent calendar

This Shocking Science advent calendar contains 24 boxes, each hiding an experiment or magic trick from the fields of physics, illusions, robotics and chemistry. A few of the experiments will require you to add common household materials, for example, a bowl, glass of water, plate, or jar, but everything else is included in the calendar. The advent calendar comes with a thorough 52-page instruction book, with each step in the experiment clearly explained.

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Jurassic World Dominion Advent calendar

This 24-day advent calendar contains around 30 pieces, including 19 different dinosaurs, a human to keep them all in line (...or be eaten), gates and a pen. Among others, there's a triceratops, dimetrodon, velociraptor, ankylosaurus, quetzalcoatlus and tyrannosaurus rex.

Retro Radio Advent calendar

Ditch the chocolate and switch to an advent calendar which gives you the satisfaction of building your own radio, in time for Christmas Eve. Each day, unlock and install a new electronic component that all together makes up a fully working FM Retro Radio. Ideal for STEM, or purely for nostalgia, this build-a-radio would also make a great gift.

The Crazy Scientist Advent calendar

From the same company as the Shocking Science advent calendar further up our list, this Crazy Scientist advent calendar contains 24 science experiments for you (or the kids) to do at home, and learn a little something along the way, too. The experiments cover topics within the three core sciences; biology, chemistry and physics, plus mechanics, optics and magnetics. No prior knowledge is needed, so you can just crack open the boxes and get stuck in with the help of the fully illustrated book.

Electronic Sounds advent calendar

We've seen retro gaming and retro radio, but how about build-a-synthesizer? Like the other offerings from Eight, this advent calendar contains a component behind each door that allows you to build your own, fully working electronic synthesizer, with no soldering required. Along the way, you'll learn what each of the components does and how to mount them onto the circuit board. Sound!

The Mandalorian Advent Calendar

Even though The Mandalorian came out in 2019, Baby Yoda is still everywhere. And with the next season due to land in February of next year, we can expect a lot more in the coming months. This advent calendar contains mostly stationary items, including pens, stamps, bracelets, stickers, pins and mini notepads among other things.

Slime advent calendar

Who doesn't love slime? This tactile advent calender contains 12 tubs of scented crystal slime, and 12 tubes of accessories to give your slime some added crunch. You can mix and match, and the accessories include things like mini fruit slices, leaves, candy, ladybirds, flowers and smiley faces. Although, this may be one to avoid if you have thick pile carpets; because there's no way that slime will be staying put in the pots...

Looking for more STEM gifts?

We hope you’ve found something useful in our round-up of the best advent calendars for STEM. If you’re keen to keep the momentum and grab yourself a new toy (or perhaps snag yourself a deal in the sales), check out our selection of cool gadgets on the market right now.

More STEM gifts for adults and children:



Holly SpannerStaff Writer, BBC Science Focus

Holly is the staff writer at BBC Science Focus, and specialises in astronomy. Before joining the team she was a geoenvironmental consultant and holds an MSc in Geoscience (distinction) from UCL.