Stem toys have been growing in popularity quite rapidly in recent years for all the best reasons. Click here to read more about what STEM toys are. These activities, toys, and games can help develop the skills your child needs to achieve success in the STEM fields later in life.
STEM education relates to education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and the activities these toys provide can range from experiments using science kits, to building a cool fortress with LEGOs or other building blocks, as well as anything in between. Things like soap and perfume making sets, invention kits, or remote-controlled robots also qualify.
We’ve listed our fifteen favorite STEM toys below, so take a look!
No assembly required
Wonder Workshop Dash
Modular Robotics Cubelets Robot Blocks
Glowing reviews from parents
Awesome Science Experiments for Kids
Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100
LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
Makey Makey Invention Kit
Grows with your kid
Learning Resources Botley
AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope
Carry case included
ROCK ON! Geology Game with Rock & Mineral Collection
ThinkFun Rush Hour
Helps build coordination
Educational Insights Design & Drill BrightWorks
Boosts memory skills
The Learning Journey: Match It! Memory and Mathematics
LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train Building Set 10558
|18 months-5 years|
Allows experimentation and exploration
Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
You won’t often come across toys that can entertain the whole family, but Anki Cozmo is one of those rare cases. This robot is one of the most popular toys of its type thanks to its ability to entertain as well as teach engaging and kid-focused coding lessons through play.
Meant for kids aged between eight and fourteen, this little guy often manages to get the parents and younger kids interested as well. It’s clear from the moment you set your eyes on it that Cozmo is a pretty advanced little robot. He can remember the names and faces of each family member, and express hundreds of different emotions despite only being the size of a mouse.
Nowadays, learning to code is as much of a part of your kid’s education as conjugation of verbs, long division, or Shakespeare. Toymakers seem to have gotten the hang of this fact, so lately, we’ve seen all kinds of implementations of teaching code into toys. There are code-teaching apps as well as physical robots and gadgets meant to bring coding into the real world.
Wonder Workshop Dash is aimed at kids aged between six and eleven, and it is a stack of spheres, measuring six inches in height. It is easy to use and can be programmed almost limitlessly, provided you’ve got the know-how. With an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master learning curve, it will not intimidate the younger kids, while giving the older ones enough of a challenge.
When it comes to robot-themed toys, the market has become quite flooded over the past few years. However, there are still some toys in this category that have something new and different to offer, such as these Cubelets from Modular Robotics. The main reason we like them so much is that they just seem to work in the way that you would expect out of the box.
Basically, each of the cubes does a specific unique thing, and when combined using the built-in magnets, they can form something quite exciting and new. Inside the pack, you get twelve Cubelets, some printed materials, and a micro USB charging cable for the rechargeable Cubelet.
A book on a list of toys? What is this madness?! The reason this book found its way onto our list is that it comes filled to the brim with fun scientific experiments for your little one to engage in and learn all sorts of concepts and experimental methods. Behind each activity, there’s an explanation of why and how each of the projects works.
Parents love this STEM book. Most of the reviews we read talk about how valuable yet straightforward the activities were for the children and how much fun they were for the parents to take part in as well. The book also provides prompts for you to discuss the concepts with your child so that you can have a pleasant conversation about science-related topics.
This toy will allow your kid to use some basic principles of programming and electronics to build their own gadgets. There are over a hundred guided builds possible, but once your child gets the hang of things, they will be able to create their inventions and go beyond the instructions. A fully colored instruction manual is included as well as over thirty electronic pieces. No tools or soldering required, just snap the pieces together and enjoy this fun, low maintenance project that your kid can use without supervision.
The set is intended for kids ages eight and up, and it offers an opportunity for valuable hands-on learning. The guided projects include a flying saucer, musical doorbell, and other exciting gadgets.
If you think LEGOs are perfect just the way they are, and no innovation is necessary, you’re probably not alone. However, the people at the Danish company have decided to try out some new things for the new generation of LEGO fans. Although there will always be room in the toy chest for the legendary plastic blocks, there’s a new tech-focused spin coming from the LEGO Boost line. The idea is to not only build the robot but program it to perform a variety of tasks as well.
This particular kit offers five specific options that can be created using the instructions, including a Multi-Tooled Rover and a cat named Frankie, among others. However, it’s possible to combine the pieces in any way you like to create unique designs.
This inventive kit plugs into your computer and turns any object that you have lying around into something digitally interactive. That might sound a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that it’s a cool tool and has some serious educational potential. It extends your mouse and keyboard into any object in the real world, as long as that object can conduct a bit of electricity, and as it turns out, pretty much any object you can think of can do that.
There’s a ton of applications of this for kids who are willing to explore, and the only real limit is your child’s imagination. That might sound cliché, but when this tool is concerned, it’s more accurate than ever.
Coding has been a growing trend in STEM education over the past few years, so if you’re looking to introduce your little one to coding while they are still very young, Botley the Coding Robot from Learning Resources is probably a great choice.
Botley will teach your kid to code without using real-world, screen-free play, thus promoting problem-solving skills and critical thinking. It is easy to use the remote programmer which will transmit your kid’s commands and set Botley off on his course. He can detect any objects in his path using his intelligent AI.
The set includes a starter guide, twenty-seven pieces for building obstacles, six double-sided tiles, and forty coding cards. It’s an easy and fun way for kids to gain access to coding and keeps providing a challenge as they grow.
This kid’s microscope is a perfect fit for any elementary-school-age scientist or for anyone who wants to have a simple but powerful lens at home. It comes with everything your kid needs if they are interested in pursuing scientific endeavors, making it a perfect starter microscope for any child.
The case is very well organized, with every piece having a dedicated place, which is useful if your kid tends to lose things or forget to pack them. It’s essential to curb your expectations, though, since this is not a professional high-grade device. It’s a step ahead of being a toy, and if you have more serious applications in mind, it might be worth looking into more expensive products.
This game will help your little one begin their Geology journey by letting them learn about the classification of minerals and rocks. Up to six players can take part in one of the five levels of play. At least one rock is included from each of the three classes – sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Aside from that, you’ll find polish, smooth stones like agate, rose quartz, jasper, and more.
All of this makes identifying and sorting the rocks a real treat, primarily since the identification guides are simple and easy to follow. This excellent kit is packed with fun and education and will let your child explore and learn a lot about the world around them.
Here’s an interesting idea – an updated, more hands-on, and (arguably) more fun version of Tetris. This game will ask your child to use his strategic mind to complete a series of challenge cards, up to forty of them, by aligning the cars correctly on the traffic grid and safely moving their Ice Cream Truck through the traffic.
The challenges increase in difficulty as they are completed and range from beginner to expert as one moves forward through the game. It is intended for kids aged five and up and initially meant as a single-player game, but nothing’s stopping you and your kid from putting your heads together to try to solve some of the more challenging problems.
Your preschooler can get imaginative and build neat light-up creations with Design and Drill BrightWorks from Educational Insights. The idea is to insert the transparent bolts into the light-up board using the kid-friendly, 100% safe power drill. There are twelve included patterns they can follow, or they can make up their creations. Once the bolts are in place, it’s time to turn on the activity board and marvel at your child’s creation.
The kit includes eighty bolts, two drill bits, a light-up activity board, and a power drill. The toy will engage your child in creative play and help them build on their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It requires a total of six batteries, three AA for the drill, and three AAA for the activity board.
This cute little set introduces math skills to preschoolers using concepts like basic addition and subtraction and number recognition. By matching the answers, your kid will gain an essential understanding of the fundamentals of math, while being aided by helpful clues provided by the pictures.
The game will help your kid improve their memory skills by asking them to remember the location of puzzle pieces and requiring them to match the pieces up and form the correct answer. It’s a fun and engaging way to boost their memory actively.
It’s also possible to make this game a collaborative experience and get involved in the game yourself. You’re not likely to learn much unless you’re really, REALLY bad at math, but you can have some quality time with your kid.
This is one of the best STEM kits for toddlers available on the market today. LEGOs remain relevant through the years, due to their ingenuity and high quality, even though there are new types of STEM toys coming out every day. This particular set features three wagon bases, a dog, ten numbered bricks, and a variety of different-colored blocks that can allow them to have fun while learning about counting.
The blocks can be made into a building, a dog house, a tunnel, or whatever your child can think of. The set is perfect for kids between the ages of eighteen months and five years. Notably, LEGO Duplo toys have been in our lists before, and we’d like to point out here that any LEGO set you choose will probably not be the wrong choice.
If you’re looking for something to encourage your little one into learning more about STEM concepts in a way that is accessible and fun, this is the kit for you. My First Mind Blowing Science Kit from Scientific Explorer provides an impressive number of different activities offering high returns for the money invested.
It can teach your child the basics of engineering, science, and math in an engaging and fun way, by allowing them to carry out experiments like growing gorgeous crystals or making a volcano that changes colors.
All experiments require adult supervision, but older kids should be able to complete some of them without much help. Step-by-step instructions are provided for each experiment, as well as a detailed activity guide for parents.
The intent and purpose of STEM toys has always been to teach something and make the knowledge immediately applicable. Lately, this has been ignored by some major manufacturers who, for marketing purposes, have been focusing more on making their toys have as many fancy gimmicks as possible. However, there are still toymakers, old and new, who understand the basic idea behind STEM educational toys.
When you’re looking for a good STEM toy, always consider how active your child will be in using it, and how much they will be involved rather than being a passive observer. An excellent academic toy will encourage your kid to think, test concepts and hypotheses, and manipulate them. So be careful about toys that look very advanced on the surface, but don’t have much to offer underneath the shiny exterior. Robots, for example, can be wonderful STEM toys if they teach valuable skills. If not, they end up being a vanity item for your child to brag about in school.
Consider the age of your child as well when picking out your toys, as younger children may want to focus more on motor skills, while older kids can start tackling more abstract and advanced capabilities like critical thinking, logic, creativity, problem-solving, as well as things like collaboration and patience.
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to STEM toys is their creative aspect. It’s essential to look at what a toy can offer your child not only from a scientific standpoint but from an artistic one as well. We try to look for toys that unlock the creativity within your child and fuel their capacity for art, thus expanding their horizons and creating more room for scientific thinking.
Before a toy can be ingenious and developmentally beneficial, it needs to be easy to use. Even though many of the toys on this list will prove challenging for your child to master, they shouldn’t prove challenging to understand and start using. We’ve tried to focus on toys that have instructions that are simple and easy to follow, guiding your little one through the process.
We know that anything you end up spending your money on should have more to offer then what is advertised. In the case of STEM toys, that means they not only have to be excellent in teaching scientific concepts, but they have to do a great job in building your kid’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Absolutely! Even though toddlers are not going to understand the principles of thermodynamics or long division, they can learn some integral concepts of STEM fields like sorting, balance, counting, and more. Plus, as we mentioned earlier, STEM toys also often teach essential hand-eye coordination and motor skills, so there’s a definite value in purchasing a toy like this for your toddler.
This shouldn’t discourage you from buying them STEM products. On the contrary, it should probably give you more of an incentive to do so. We all know kids are easily put off by things that seem difficult or uninviting at first glance. That’s precisely why it’s a good idea to familiarize your child with STEM concepts using entertaining toys. Always try to keep learning fun, and you’ll be amazed at the things your child will take an interest in.
Games and toys that develop your child’s interest in science, engineering, and math at a young age are the best possible way to encourage problem-solving, critical thinking, and planning. By providing your little one with as many opportunities as possible to play with STEM toys, you will open their young mind to these essential concepts.
The list is before you of what we thought to be the best toys in this category on the market today, and it’s now up to you to consider it and take your pick. Good luck, and may your child be a prosperous little scientist!