If you’re looking for amazing non-gender stereotyped toys that will get little minds buzzing with potential, look no further than STEM toys.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and STEM toys are designed to get kids thinking. These toys sneak learning into play and focus on logic, problem-solving, creativity and experimentation. They are amazing buys for boys and girls alike! But where to start if you want to buy a STEM toy that will really inspire your kids? Here’s our guide to the best STEM toys for kids of all ages.
Read on for the best STEM toys for all ages from babies through tweens!
1. SmartMax Magnetic Discovery
SmartMax is a magnetic construction set with oversized pieces. It lets young kids safely explore how magnetism works. With several different set options, kids can construct vehicles, animals, ball runs, buildings, or even their own chair! These blocks can hold 60x their own weight so get creative.
Every child (and adult!) I’ve ever met loves to play with Magna-tiles. These colorful translucent magnetic tiles develop math, science, building and spatial skills. Younger kids will enjoy building with them on a flat surface while older kids can build in 3D. Make your own light box (by building with these tiles and having electric tea lights light up your creation) and a whole new world can be created as well. They’re great for solo or multi-child play. I recommend getting a 100 piece set, maybe even two sets…
3. Learn Coding Without Screens: The Learning at Home Set
Ages: 3yrs +
If you want to get your kids into coding but don’t want them spending a lot of time looking at screens, what’s the solution? The Learning at Home Set by Learning Beautiful is an assortment of beautiful materials for children to learn coding without screens. Developed at MIT, this carefully designed set includes timeless Montessori-inspired learning materials and a handbook to guide kids 3 to 9 years old through over 30 lessons. The set covers a wide range of topics, including sorting algorithms, binary trees, binary codes, encryption, patterns, mapping and more. It’s all made with natural materials and is ethically sourced and manufactured in the USA.
4. Mega Bloks Build N Learn Math Builder Set
This Mega Bloks Build N Learn Math Builder set has all the great qualities of traditional Mega Bloks but also has the huge bonus of adding in math skills! Math themed blocks have number, symbol and equation decorations. What a great way to introduce math to kids early.
5. Lite Brite Magic Screen
Anyone else have a Lite Brite as a child? This toy has been around a long time but it’s still a goodie! Kids create art masterpieces using coloured pegs. There are picture templates provided or they can use their imagination. Once the creation is complete, light it up using one of the four different light effects. The new Lite Brite runs on batteries and is compact making it a great travel toy.
6. Emido Building Blocks
Blocks can be frustrating for young builders when they easily fall over. Not Emido Building Blocks! They snap together easily making building more enjoyable and holding the creator’s attention much longer than five minutes. These durable building blocks can form colourful, whimsical configurations.
7. Marble Race
I just bought a second-hand marble run for my kids. Best. Purchase. Ever! They love constructing new tower designs and watching the marbles roll down their creation. I like that this set has translucent pieces so kids can watch the marbles from top to bottom.
8. Dueling Stomp Rocket
These kid-powered Dueling Stomp rockets can soar up to 200ft in the air! Kids don’t even realize they’re learning about trajectory, force and motion while also getting some exercise in! Stomp Rocket has several different kits but this is my favourite as kids can play solo or have a friendly competition with Mom and Dad.
9. No Stress Chess
When my 6 yr old said he wanted to learn chess I wondered if he was too young to understand it. This No Stress Chess set makes learning chess easy. There’s a deck of action cards that are used along with the board. The cards tell you which piece to move. Beginners learn the rules and movements of each piece this way. As they get the hang of it, you can alter the game until they know the rules and strategies and the cards are no longer needed.
10. Fort Boards
Is your family room a constant disaster due to fort building? If so, this Fort Boards toy is right for your family! Panels that are 8in x 8in connect to make creatively shaped forts. With 20 square feet of surface area, kids can build a fort in the shape of a rocket, castle, or camping tent. Once a week has passed and their fort is old news, just pack up the panels in the box. The kids can create something new for next weeks adventure!
GoldieBlox toys are designed to get girls building (and boys like them too). Think Rosie Revere Engineer in a toy kit! Each set includes instructions and pieces for making either a mini working Zipline, Dunk Tank, Spinning Machine, Clubhouse, the list goes on and on. All of the sets are compatible and with hundreds of online videos, the options for building are endless.
12. Nickelodeon Slime Making Kit
Kids are going goo-goo for slime right. If you want to make your own slime at home we have this handy slime recipe which costs under $20 to make a huge batch but if you want to make it super easy for the kids to make, this Nickelodeon Slime Making Kit is a great start. Experiment by changing the measurements of ingredients to see how the texture changes. Just be careful Mama, Slime flies when the kids are having fun with this Science kit!
13. Snap Circuits Jr
Snap Circuits Jr snaps together electrical parts to create more than 100 projects including a flashing light and a siren with adjustable volume. This set will give your child a solid introduction to how electronics work. And there are add-on sets you can purchase as your child masters the engineering techniques, including a light discovery kit.
14. K’Nex Education – Bridges Set
This K’Nex Education set enables kids to build 13 different models of real-world bridges. Hands-on experiments can then be conducted. This takes the old make a bridge out of toothpicks and glue experiment and enables kids to build over and over again!
15. Osmo Genius Kit Game System
The Osmo Genius Kit Game System is an award-winning game system that works with an iPad. The Genius kit comes with an Osmo base and five games including Numbers, Words and Tangrams. Additional games can be purchased separately. My son loves the Coding Awbie game. I love that that the games are all learning based, fun and interactive. Kids can play together or on their own.