If you’re looking for STEM toys for kids to keep your little ones entertained and learning all at the same time, you’ve come to the right place!
While I’m all about finding new and exciting STEM projects my daughter and I can work on together on weekends to help build her creativity and critical thinking skills, the reality is that we don’t have the time to engage in as many DIY activities as I’d like to. It often feels like there’s always something else we have to do – or somewhere else we have to be – and on the days we aren’t running here, there, and everywhere, I’m not always up for making a massive mess at the dining room table!
The good news is that there are heaps of STEM toys for kids that aren’t just fun to play with, but also encourage higher level thinking skills while also exposing children to the foundations of STEM education.
We’ve curated 22 STEM toys for kids of all ages below, and made sure to include options your children can work on independently along with ideas you can enjoy together as a family.
What Is STEM?
Simply put, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but STEM education goes above and beyond simply teaching these 4 subjects to kids. It’s a multifaceted approach to learning that develops a child’s problem solving and critical thinking skills while also encouraging creativity, communication, and teamwork. STEM toys for kids are designed to combine lessons from all 4 subjects.
Why Is STEM Education Important?
Science, technology, engineering, and math are the foundation of so many important jobs in the workforce, yet research continues to show that only a small percentage of students show an interest in – and have the skills needed to pursue – a STEM-based career. By exposing children to the foundations of STEM education early on – and continuing to build upon these principals and interests throughout their schooling years – educators hope to see an increase in new graduates who are qualified and passionate about STEM-related jobs.
What Are the Benefits of STEM Toys for Kids?
- Encourages higher level thinking
- Instils creativity
- Prepares kids for advancements in technology
- Encourages innovative and creative thinking
- Provides opportunities for failure in a safe environment
- Exposes children to career paths they may otherwise not consider
11 STEM Toys for Kids Aged 3-5
3 Bees & Me Jumbo Flakes Building Toys
If you’re looking for something a little more innovative than your typical building set that will grow with your toddler, this is a great STEM toy to consider. Whether your child is sorting and counting the flakes by color, creating basic figures, or developing their fine motor skills by building more advanced structures, this is a great set to invest in.
Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy
This is a great toy to introduce little kids to coding while building their problem-solving, planning, sequencing, and critical thinking skills! By connecting the different segments together, kids will learn how to program the Code-a-pillar to go forward, left, right, etc. Each segment lights up and the motorized head lights up and makes fun sounds to make this extra fun for little coders!
CoolToys Monkey Balance Cool Math Game
This interactive math game teaches basic counting and beginning math skills. It’s a multi-dimensional learning toy designed to improve retention through multi-level math games.
ETI Toys Engineering Building Blocks Set
This is a fabulous independent activity for kids under 6! With over 100 construction pieces, kids can let their imaginations run wild as they build trucks, helicopters, and robots while simultaneously developing their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
ToyVelt Construction Take Apart Trucks
This building toy truck set comes with 3 take apart trucks, a toy drill, 2 screwdrivers, and screws. Kids have to figure out how to match the pieces together to stabilize each truck during assembly, which helps develop their problem-solving, fine motor, and hand-eye coordination skills.
Meland Marble Run
This is one of my favorite STEM toys for kids under 6 as it’s something you can enjoy together as a family! While it takes quite a bit of patience to build each structure, this toy is a great way to build a child’s creativity, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills, and it’s SUPER fun to see your hard work come to life!
Jumbo Nuts and Bolts Set
There are tons of great nuts and bolts sets out there to help children refine their fine motor skills and develop the muscles in their hands and fingers, but I particularly love this one as it canbe used in so many other ways. Use this set to teach kids about colors, shapes, and sequencing, and create simple addition and subtraction exercises for non-stop fun!
Velcro Brand Blocks
This is another one of my favorite STEM toys for kids under 6 as I think it’s a genius and creative spin on traditional building blocks. With a few different designs to choose from, kids must use their critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills to assemble each design. This is a great toy to develop a child’s fine motor skills, and to teach cause and effect.
Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center
This 146-piece set is a great way to introduce STEM learning to you child. Use this set to teach your kids how to sort and count, help them map out designs, and challenge their critical thinking and math skills, or just let them drill and play!
No list of STEM toys for kids would be complete without Magformers. You’ve likely already heard of this set of magnetic tiles, but for those who aren’t in the know, this is a great set to build a child’s imagination skills through independent play. It also comes with an idea booklet to challenge little learners!
Learning Resources Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run
Another one of my favorite STEM toys for kids under 6, this marble run set is a great way to get kids interested in engineering while testing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. With 15 magnetic foam pieces and 10 activity cards, kids can create a marble run on any upright magnetic surface for hours of fun!
11 STEM Toys for Kids Aged 6-12
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game
This award-winning STEM toy teaches spatial reasoning and planning skills, and will appeal to kids interested in engineering and building. With 60 challenge cards, kids must build and position towers such that the marble falls from the Start Position to the Target Tower. This is something your kids can enjoy independently, but it also makes a fun family activity!
If you want to get your kids interested in coding, this is a super cool toy to invest in! This friendship bracelet allows kids to connect with their friends via bluetooth, and they learn to write their own custom code to program their bracelet to light-up, buzz, etc. when their friends are near and/or for other functions.
Kano Computer Kit – A Computer Anyone Can Make
If you have a computer enthusiast in your home, this ‘make your own computer’ set is sure to be a hit! No technical skills are required as kids use the step-by-step guide to build their own computer, learn to code, and make art, games, and music!
Shifu Plugo Count
This is another STEM gaming kit for kids that’s sure to be a hit with your little ones! Suitable for kids aged 5 to 10 years, this set turns your iPad in a hands-on learning system that takes your kids through story-based challenges they need to solve with a combination of numbers and arithmetic operators. This is a fun way to help kids build their auditory, visual, and tactile senses as well as their critical thinking, logical reasoning, and math skills!
Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Craft Kit
This kit teaches kids how to turn ordinary bricks into 10 different machines that can spin, swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. You can combine multiple machines to make all sorts of chain reactions, making this a unique and awesome toy for the Lego lover in your life!
Snap Circuits PRO SC-500 Electronics Exploration Kit
This set boasts over 500 stem projects in one set, and is a great introductory toy to teach kids about electronics. The pieces snap together easily on the plastic grid that comes with the set, and the components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices. Perfect for kids 8 and older, this is definitely one of my favorite STEM toys for kids!
4M Tin Can Robot
4M offers lots of fabulous STEM toys for kids 8 and older, and this one is one of my favorites. Grab an old pop can and work with your child to transform it into a moving, functional robot! It’s heaps of fun, and the instructions are easy to follow.
Be Amazing Geyser Tube
Have you ever seen the viral Diet Coke & MENTOS experiment by Steve Spangler? It’s AWESOME, and this set will allow you to re-create it with your kids! This is a great STEM activity to enjoy with children of all ages, and you can experiment with different quantities of MENTOS to see the impact is has on your geyser!
ThinkFun Code Master Programming Logic Game and STEM Toy
If you’re looking for educational board games you can enjoy with your kids, this is a great option to consider. With 10 maps and 60 levels to solve, kids learn programming through logic while also developing their critical thinking skills.
POWERUP 2.0 Paper Airplane Conversion Kit
This is another one of my favorite STEM toys for kids as it provides hours of outdoor fun for the whole family! This toy combines origami, physics, and STEM learning and teaches kids the principals of flight and aerodynamics. It’s super fun, too!
K’NEX Education Swing Ride Building Set
If you’re looking for STEM toys for kids that can be enjoyed as a group either in the classroom or during a playdate, this is a great set to consider. Kids can create a fully functional swing ride as well as a boom ride and ferris wheel with this set. Perfect for kids in middle school, this hands-on STEM activity promotes creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and team work.
I hope these STEM toys for kids help you find fun and engaging ways to instil a love for learning in your children while also helping to build their creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills!
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