STEM building blocks

23 Hands-On STEM Toys For Kids

What’s the hottest topic that schools and parents can’t stop talking about?

 

The answer is STEM TOYS.

 

You’re probably wondering, what on earth is STEM, and why is it important for my child?

 

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

 

Children need to have exposure to STEM toys because they provide kids with experience on how to implement a set of directions, use problem-solving skills, and gather or evaluate evidence to make decisions.

 


Quick Links: (23) Hands-On STEM Toys For Kids


 

Since STEM has become so popular, many toy companies are coming out with AMAZING toys that kids can play with to enhance their skills in these subjects.

 

I have broken down the 23 Best STEM Toys for Kids for each subject, so finding an educational toy based on your child’s interests will be easy!

 

Two things that I want to note before we dive in:

1. A parent needs to be involved in playing with these toys to give your child the best learning experience. Your child may need help reading, understanding, and implementing the directions at first before they can try it alone.

 

2. Some of these toys don’t fit into just 1 category. Some STEM toys could be in several groups, and I will make sure to discuss that if it does!

 


Science Toys

 

Science has many different subcategories, like biology, chemistry, physics, and more. The following toys will open up the world of science to your child and teach them about the fascinating forms of the subject!

 

1. Outdoor Explorer Bug Catching Kit

 

I never, ever thought I was going to be a mom that would buy a bug catching kit for my kids. Well, I was wrong!

 

Bug catching kit for kids

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My son is obsessed with insects. He will pick up spiders, flys, ants, and well, you get the drift. So, I figured why not get him a bug catching kit so he can inspect these little guys without having actually to use his hands.

 

I don’t want the little bugs to get crushed, so getting this kit will keep these critters alive. This is a catch and release toy; we don’t intend on keeping any of these bugs :).

 

Age Level: 3+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. They will get an up-close and personal view of insects that they catch with the binoculars and magnifying glass. The best part is, is that they can use tweezers or a net to capture the insect, so they don’t have to use their hands.

 

2. Your child can learn about insect habitats, depending on where they find them outdoors.

 

3. This toy comes with a compass, so they can understand how to use one as well as learn about directions.

 

4. It doesn’t just have to be about bugs! Kids can look at plants, rocks, or anything outdoors.

 


2. GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope 

 

I have recently become obsessed with the Irwin Family and their show Crickey! It’s the Irwins. When I saw that Bindi Irwin’s voice talks on this microscope, I knew I had to add it to my list.

 

STEM Microscope for kids

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The best thing about this microscope is that there are spots for both eyes to look at the pictures instead of having to close one eye, which I think is helpful since kids are just learning how to use this tool.

 

Age Level: 4-7 years old

 

How this toy helps your child learn:

 

1. This microscope has 100+ facts about animals, plants, and everyday items so your child can become an expert in these areas!

 

2. Taking a look through a microscope at these animals, plants, and objects will give your child a close-up view to see fascinating qualities in each picture.

 


3. Crayola Color Chemistry Set

 

So there’s another term out there in education land called STEAM.

 

The only difference between STEM and STEAM is the A for Art. 

 

The Crayola Color Chemistry Set focuses on both science and art with it’s 50 different experiments that you can try, including making your own colorful volcano, bouncing colored bubbles glow in the dark worms, and of course, slime!

 

 

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Age Level: This toy does say that it’s for 7+, but my daughter was doing the experiments with us at age 3.

 

I will advise that some of these activities can be quite messy! Place an art tray down to help with the cleanup.

How this toy can help your child learn:

 

1. This toy helps your children learn about mixing colors to create a new color! Kids can discover how to combine two colors to make a new color.

 

2. By doing experiments like the erupting volcano, your child will learn how mixing certain elements can cause a chemical reaction.

 


4.Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden

 

We love using our Insect Lore kits! We have both the Butterfly Garden and Ladybug Land.

 

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden STEM toy

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My kids look forward to using the Butterfly Garden each year! We make it a part of our routine every day to check on the caterpillars to see their progress.

 

Age Level: 4+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. They will get to the life cycle of a butterfly see up close! How cool is that? They will learn how a live caterpillar turns into a chrysalis and then transforms into a beautiful butterfly!

 

2. Your child will be able to take care of butterflies by providing them with nourishment.

 

3. They will learn why it’s important to let the butterflies go in their natural habitat, and they can also learn about flowers that could provide them with nourishment outdoors as well!

 

RELATED: 20 Proven Plants that Attract Butterflies (2019)

 


5. My Body Anatomy Science Kit

 

The health teacher in me had to include this toy on the list!

 

Our bodies and our health is the most crucial thing in our lives, so why not teach our kids about body systems early on so they can learn how to keep their bodies healthy?

 

Body Systems Puzzle

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Age Level: 4+

 

How this toy can help your child learn:

 

1. This set allows kids to match up the correct body systems together. Your child will learn about the skeletal, nervous, circulatory, and digestive systems.

 

2. Discuss what different organs of the body are in the digestive system with your child, so they can see what happens to their food once it’s eaten!

 

3. Talk about the skeletal system and how their bones grow strong with proper nutrition. Depending on how old your child is, you can talk about specific bones in the body so they can start learning them.

 

4. Explain how blood flows through the body through the circulatory system and show your child where their heart is. Ask them to try to find their heartbeat! They will be fascinated.

 

5. Introduce the nervous system to your child by asking them where they believe their brain is. You can talk about how the nervous system is the control center for our bodies!

 


6. Mega Crystal Growing Lab

 

My daughter is so intrigued by gems, rocks, and crystals. This is one of the gifts on her list, and I can’t wait to see her eyes light up when she makes these beautiful crystals!

 

National Geographic Crystal Growing Kit

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Age Level: It says 8+, but I will work alongside my daughter with this even though she’s 5, I think she will love this. I think the recommendation is for 8+ because you have to wait a few days before the crystals appear, which may be hard for some kids.

 

How your child will learn from this toy:

 

1. Your child will learn what ingredients they have to combine to create 8 beautifully colored crystals! It even comes with a light-up crystal holder so that the crystals will look amazing in the dark!

 

2. They will learn about the crystal specimens of quartz, calcite, fluorite, rose quartz, and amethyst.

 


Technology

The technology section will be your child’s favorite section by far. To be honest, it’s my favorite too!

 

I am amazed at how cool and advanced these technology toys are. When we were kids, the closest thing to a technology toy that I was a Tamagotchi! By the way, did you know those are back on the market and more advanced?

 

A lot of technology toys also include engineering, which makes it even better, in my opinion. Check out the latest, best technology toys below!

 

7. Kano Computer Kit

 

Hands down, this is one of the coolest toys I have seen yet on the market! You get to build a computer, learn how to code, and play games on it, what more could your kids ask for!

 

Kano Computer STEM activity

 

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Age Level:  6+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. They get to build their own computer by putting the parts of the system together (engineering).

 

2. Kids can learn how to code with the 100+ different coding activities and apps available to play.

 

3. The activities also include music and art, which makes it a STEAM toy.

 

4. It has capabilities to use the internet, search videos, and write stories, so your child will get a chance to learn how to use the Internet to search, make sure there is an adult to supervise :).

 

 


8. Anki Cozmo

 

My nephew has a Cozmo and has learned an outrageous amount about coding from using a tablet to get him to do cool things.

 

From what I hear, Cozmo has quite the personality.

 

Age Level: 8+

 

Want to learn about some of the tricks that Cozmo can do? Check out this video

 

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9. Fisher-Price Smart Cycle 

 

Usually, when we think technology, we don’t think of being active, that’s why the Fisher-Price Smart Cycle is AWESOME!

 

active learning fisher price cycle - best learning toys

 

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*You can download the app to play the game on a tablet or your TV. Please note this toy doesn’t come with a tablet*

 

Your child will play along with the game by pedaling and steering the bike. What I like about this toy, too, is that it’s an excellent first step in learning how to ride a tricycle. Since it’s stationary, it’s safe, but kids get the idea of how to move the pedals, so when they are introduced to the tricycle, it will be easier for them!

 

Age Level: 3-6 years old

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

A. There are a few different games on the app that the kids can play.  There are different levels that kids can choose to play that focus on letters, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reading, and writing. Sit alongside your child while they are playing to be a part of the learning process because they made need help identifying the answer.

 


10. Code-a-Pillar

 

The Code-a-Pillar is such a great toy to open up the world of coding to your child!

 

Twist Code a Pillar STEM toy

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It comes with 5 segments that stay attached. There are different arrows and music switches on each segment, so kids can learn how to program the caterpillar to go in a specific direction!

 

Age Level: 3-6 years old

 

How your child can learn with this toy:

 

1. Your child will have to choose the right sequence of arrows to arrange on the caterpillar to try to get it to find the correct path to the finish point (which works on sequencing, critical thinking, and problem-solving). The old version came with two dots for a way for it to follow, so that may be something you want to try with your kids!

 

2. Your child will learn about different directions (straight, left, and right) and why those specific arrows are important to coding the caterpillar to reach the target destination.

 


11. Botley: The Coding Robot 

 

If you don’t want to spend the money on the Cozmo, Botley is a fabulous alternative jam-packed with coding fun!

 

Take a look at this video to see how Botley works and all the fun things you and your child can do with him.

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Age Level: 5-8 years old

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. Your child will gain coding skills by learning how to use the remote to program Botley to be able to do specific things like moving forward, backward, spin, follow lines, go through an obstacle course, and more.

2. They will use problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills if they aren’t doing it correctly, to try to figure out what to do to make Botley do the things they want him to do.

 

3. Learn about the hidden features of Botley and see how they can use those features to have even more fun learning how to code him to do those secret features!

 


Engineering

Engineering toys will allow your kids to practice critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. If you ask me, that’s pretty amazing!

 

The best thing about these toys is that they are open-ended toys, which means that you can do hundreds of different activities with these toys, so most likely, your child will never get bored playing them time and time again.

 

12. Magnetiles

 

Every time we go to the Science Center in our city, my kids immediately gravitate to the Magnetiles. I don’t blame them either; they are fun for adults too!

 

Magnetiles are the number one toy on my list for Christmas this year for my kids.  To get the best out of learning how to construct buildings, cars, or patterns, this set is the best. It’s not as expensive as the 100 piece set, and it includes wheels to create moving objects, which caught my attention!

 

Magnetiles engineering stem toy

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Age Level: 3+

 

How this toy can help your child learn:

 

1. There are no instructions or examples of how to build certain things with Magnetiles. Kids have to use their imaginations and think about how they want to create specific structures.

 

2. Not every structure or pattern your child builds will work; they will have to use problem-solving skills to correct those issues to make something that works.

 

3. Magnetiles introduce 3D shapes (mathematics-geometry) to your child. You can help explain what these 3D shapes are to them and discuss some other real-life objects that match the shape you both created.

 


13. Marble Run

 

I think what I love most about STEM toys is that kids don’t even know they are learning while playing. It’s incredible watching kids play, create, and think.

 

My son got this marble run set for his second birthday, and my kids have been obsessed with it, so has my husband!

Marble Run STEM engineering toy

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Age Level: 3+

 

How this toy can help your child learn:

 

1. You can work along with your child to create different structures each time you play with this toy to see if the marbles can go through the path. There will be times that you have to reconstruct, which works on problem-solving skills.

 

2. Coming up with different courses and doing marble races can be so much fun!

 


14. Snap Circuits For Beginners

 

If you look at any best STEM toy lists, you will always see this Snap Circuits toy come up! That means it is pretty awesome.

Snap Circuit Beginner STEM toy

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My kids are younger, so I was intrigued by the beginner kit because it’s a little less intense. But, if you have an older child, there is a Snap Circuit Classic version available.

 

Age Level: 5+ (The regular version of Snap Circuits is 8+)

 

How this toy can help your child learn, take a look at this video


15. littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

 

Can’t get to Disney World to make your own Droid in the new Batu Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios?

 

That’s okay, this version is a lot cheaper, and your child will learn more from it anyways 🙂

 

Invent and code Droid Toy

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Age Level: It does recommend that kids 7+ should play with this, but with adult help, younger kids can start learning with it!

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. This Droid building set is a building (engineering) and coding (technology) toy. Kids will be able to learn how to put pieces together to create their own Droid so it can work to do some 22+ amazing activities using the free app.

 

2. If you click on the link above to check the price of this toy, you will see a video you can get creative and make your Droid by putting other objects on top of the initial programming that you need to make it move! Make sure to check that out will help build imagination and creativity!

 

Want to see more? Check out this video!

 


16. Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

 

This article lists several robots. How do you choose? Well, think about what your child may like best and what their interests are!

 

What’s different about this toy is, is that it’s a LEGO set, which some kids just LOVE playing with LEGO’s.

 

LEGO Boost Build, Code and Play Stem Toy

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Age Level: 7+ Due to constructing with the little parts to build the robot, I believe this is a perfect starting age for this toy.

 

How your child can learn with this toy:

 

1. There are 5 different models (Robot, Guitar, Cat, Auto Builder, and M.T.R. 4) that your child can learn how to build (engineering) to make these robots move!

 

2. Your child can use the free app to code their robot (technology)! Each model has fun and exciting features to keep your kids engaging in learning over and over.

 


17. Educational Construction Building Blocks

 

My son got these blocks for his birthday, and we have already used them so many times.

STEM building blocks

 

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They come with tools and screws that are easy to assemble so that kids can do it on their own.

 

Age Level: 3+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. Kids can use their imaginations and get creative with what they decide to build with these blocks. It comes with an instruction booklet on how to make certain things, but many things can be created without using the book!

2. Your kids will have to use critical thinking skills to decide where each block should go to design their object.

 

3. Fine motor skills will increase by working with rachets and screws to build each design.

 


Math

 

Playing with math games and toys will get your child excited to learn about the subject!

 

While playing with these math toys, your child will learn number recognition, counting in number order, addition, subtraction, and word problems!

 

I struggled in math as a kid, and I know some of these games would have benefited me!

 

 

18. Sum Swap Game

 

Think about when you were a kid, would you like to learn about math doing worksheets or by playing a game?

 

I know, I would answer a board game for sure!

Sum Swap Board Math Game For Kids

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Age Level: 5+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. This game works on essential addition and subtraction problems so early learners can start learning how to figure out these math problems.

 

2. On the board game, there are even and odd written on the rocks, so kids can start understanding what numbers are even and which ones are odd.

 

3. Children can learn several ways to figure out an addition or subtraction problem by either using paper and pencil to come up with the answer or using their fingers.

 


19. Monkey Balance Math Game

 

I have this toy on my 21 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers list as well!

 

What I love most about this toy is that you can use it for years! You can work on number recognition, counting out items, balancing items, and you can create an addition/subtraction game using the numbers and monkeys!

 

Math Monkey Balancing Toy

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How this toy can help your child learn:

 

1. For young learners, focus on first learning the numbers by talking about 1-2 each time you play with the toy.

 

2. If a child knows their numbers, start adding in the monkeys by putting a number on one side of the balance and that amount of monkeys on the other side, counting the amount out loud.

 

3. Give your child a flashcard and have them find the correct number and count out the right amount of monkeys on the scale.

 

4. For preschool and older: Pick two numbers to add or subtract together. For example, if you pick an 8 and 2. Have them count out 8 monkeys and 2 monkeys. You can talk about adding them together or subtracting 2 to come up with the solution!

 

See this toy in action below!

 


20. Cash Register

 

We have this cash register, and I couldn’t tell you how many games we have played with it! A few examples are pretending to shop for groceries and having their own lemonade stand to figure out how much change they would give someone back.

 

Cash Register STEM Toy for Kids

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Age Level: 3+

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

1. Your child can learn how to add, subtract, multiply, or divide numbers using this cash register!

 

2. They will get hands-on experience with coins and dollars, so they understand what each coin name is, how much it is worth, and how to read dollars to see how much it’s worth.

 

3. Kids can practice giving change back to someone by pretending to play store with the cash register!

 


21. Power Pen Word Problems

 

Being able to read/listen to a word problem and finding the solution is a critical skill to have, and it will be something that your child will do once they are in school!

 

Power Pen Word Problems STEM Toy

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*IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS ACTIVITY DOES NOT COME WITH THE PEN YOU MUST BUY IT SEPERATELY!

 

POWER PEN LINK CLICK HERE!

 

Age Level: 6+

 

How your child will learn from this toy:

 

1. The Power Pen pack comes with 106 different word problems that you can work on with your child! These word problems are engaging and about different math facts that 1st-grade students would need to know.

 

2. Your child will enhance their reading skills by trying to read the passage themselves. If they can’t read it themselves, they will be able to recall the information that you have read for them to answer the questions.

 

3. They will use critical thinking skills to be able to solve the problems and find the solution!


#22 Mini-Erasers

 

In my opinion, mini-erasers can be considered a toy! Kids love to play with them, they are really cute and can be used for many math activities!

 

I get most of my mini-erasers from Target. They usually have a great selection of different characters or themes, especially during the holidays! But, Amazon does have a wide variety as well.

 

Math manipulative mini-eraser worksheets

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE 10 FRAME WORKSHEET!

 

In the second picture, you see I have the worksheet in a reusable folder. These folders are excellent because you can use a dry-erase marker and do activities repeatedly without having to print out 20 pages!

 

Reusable dry erase folders for teachers and parents

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From experience, make sure you wipe off the dry erase marks that you make on the folders after you are done using them. Sometimes, it’s tough to get the marks off if you leave them on there.

 

GRAB YOUR FREE CHRISTMAS TREE MATH WORKSHEET HERE!


#23 Teaching Time Clock

 

A lot of times, when people think about math for kids, they think about number recognition, counting, addition, and subtraction.

 

Let’s not forget about the importance of learning how to tell time! That’s a life skill that we use EVERY DAY!

 

teaching time clock for kids to learn how to tell time

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To start, teach your child about each o’clock (1:00, 2:00, 3:00 etc.). Once they start to grasp that concept, you can make it more challenging by showing introducing how to count by 5’s.

 

The clock has a few different features. It can just tell the time that your child picks or it will ask them to find a specific time by moving the hands on the clock! It’s really the best tool to give your kids hands-on experience on how to tell time.

 


Final Thoughts and Conclusion

 

By choosing to purchase a STEM toy, your child is going to learn essential life skills at an early age.

 

There are tons of toys out there, trying to pick the right toy can be challenging because you want your child to like the toy and be able to use it for years to come.

 

By reading my article, 23 STEM Toys for Kids, you will learn about all the educational toys that your child won’t want to put down. 

 

I would love to hear about any STEM toy that has worked for you and your family! Every child learns differently, so certain toys may work for some children and not others.

 

If you need more ideas on how you can help teach your children with these toys, please comment below! Happy shopping!