Science toys have come a long way from old school science toys from back in the day to focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Today’s toys have kids coding and building their own robots before they even enter preschool.
STEM toys, also known as STEAM toys (A for arts), are fun, easy to use and have engaging concepts behind them and are a good way to encourage innovation from a young age.
So, what is the best age to introduce your child to STEM toys? If your kid has a habit of taking apart Tupperware drawers, then it is proof enough that you should introduce your child to these STEM toys. Your child is a natural-born engineer. And as a parent you can help nurture their creativity with STEM toys.
STEM toys are a welcome addition to any toy library for your future scientist to build up their STEM skills. The toys come with usual microscopes, experiment kits and cool kits, blending science, art, and coding. Below, we’ve put together some recommendations and picks of the best STEM toys for each age group:
Best STEM Toys for Toddlers,
STEM toys for toddlers come in a range of inexpensive blocks to pricey electronics. However, for your child to learn from them, they don’t have to be fancy. According to child development experts, the toys should be, interactive, age appropriate and of interest to your child.
Interactive toys range from assembling a face on Mr. Potato Head, hosting a tea party for stuffed animals to racing matchbox cars. The idea behind the toys is to encourage the process of making or building something and then taking it apart to rebuild. This helps kids actively understand how things work.
Buy STEM toys that are safe and developmentally appropriate for kids under 3 years to play with. Age recommendations are there for a reason.
Even if you invest in the best STEM toys in the world, but your child doesn’t have any interest in them, it won’t be of much value. Look for toys and games your child has interest in. For example, if they love blocks, look for toys on building and construction.
You can buy your child all the STEM toys in the world, but they’d be of no use if your child doesn’t want to play with them. See the kind of toys your child shows more interest in and follow their lead.
When shopping for STEM toys for toddlers, keep it simple. Look for toys that are larger than your child’s mouth and encourage, putting things in order and sorting.
This includes the following STEM learning toys:
STEM Toys for Preschoolers, 3- to 6-Year-Olds
The focus of STEM education is to prepare kids for a future within an ever-challenging landscape. Kids need experiences that encourage learning and adapting through creative problem solving and critical thinking.
Both are important in STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math. The toys further focus on inviting kids to explore, manipulate, and imagine. A good quality STEM toy is an integration of all three. Below are 9 preschool STEM toys designed specifically for young kids.
The caterpillar toy encourages kids to explore hundreds of possibilities. When kids twist the dials, they are actually programming movements.
Whereas older kids can dial in sequences that code the critter to navigate around obstacles and paths. The early coding toy features lights and sound effects, also, which appeal the children.
Wonderhood Building and Play Set
Wonderhood building and play set is the perfect toy for encouraging creativity in building. The toy comes with colorful and washable plastic panels that can be connected with the help of connectors. Kids can design all kinds of variations of the building.
The activity guide that comes with the STEM toy includes stories that add a literary element to the toy.
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit
The toy is a one screen-based game where the fun begins when you place the tablet that comes in the kit and pop the reflector.
The colorful manipulatives can be used to make designs and pictures, costume characters and role-play in stories. The animations on the screen engage preschoolers in critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The little monkey can be used for finding numbers and quantities that balance out in an entertaining way. The difficulty level increases with every challenge, teaching math concepts ranging from basic number recognition to equivalence.
Kidtastic Junior Engineers set
Kids love taking things apart and putting them back together. This toy encourages preschoolers to screw together their own toys, for example, a helicopter, motorcycle, truck, a train and three different dinosaurs. The toy comes with seven child-safe screwdrivers so several kids can join in on the fun.
Jarrby STEM Kit
The junior erector set can be used to make all types of creations using sturdy plastic pieces, that are not possible with other types of construction toys. The plastic pieces also come with a durable vinyl bag for easy clean up and carrying around. Parents can download an “idea sheet” to construct vehicles, animals, and letters.
Primary Science Lab Activity Set
If you want to introduce your kids to the work of scientists early, the Primary Science Lab Activity Set is the best place to start. The tools and equipment are durable, colorful and designed for small hands. The lab set comes with goggles, test tubes, a beaker and a funnel. The activity cards in the box detail how to perform ten different experiments, for example, watching celery turn colors and cleaning coins.
Outdoor Explore Kit
The outdoor explore kit is especially for kids who have a knack for exploring the outdoors. The kit comes with smaller versions of a compass, magnifying glass, flashlight, net, bug collectors, binoculars, dinosaur, and insect toys. The explore kit also comes with a child-sized backpack you can load everything in – perfect for young explorers!
STEM Toys for 3-Year-Olds
As kids grow older, they gravitate towards reading, talking, and creating stories around the objects they read about. Therefore, it is good to have objects at home that they can explore and relate to, for example, toy kits for building bridges and skyscrapers.
Below are some gender-neutral colorful sets that will encourage kids to build from the ground up.
STEM Toys for 4-Year-Olds
Stimulating kids minds and teaching them about different STEM fields, neither must be boring nor overwhelming. Educational toys make learning science more fun.
What’s more, kids can spend time playing with their favorite kits while also developing problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination and understanding basic science topics.
STEM has become increasingly popular among educational institutions and home settings. Especially for little ones who are attending preschool to introduce them to technologies and concepts that they will eventually learn.
The STEM toys help nurture special skills, including math skills as the child grows older. This also leads to building serious interest in the subjects when it is time to select higher education studies or similar.
STEM Toys for 5-Year-Olds
STEM toys for 5-year-olds encourage the kids to engage in activities to stimulate their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Science and building kits and coding robots are all examples of STEM toys that promote age-appropriate STEM leaning.
When introducing STEM toys, the rule is to introduce them to each of the concepts in order from concrete to abstract. For example, building blocks should be introduced before abstract coding activities. Below are STEM toys appropriate for 5-year-old to get started on the STEM fun!
STEM Toys for 6-7-Year-Olds
Kids at this age can quickly grasp complicated topics and there are many incredible educational toys for 6- to 7-year-olds that will help encourage learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
A child at this age better understands STEM, therefore, introducing them to STEM toys will foster their hunger for science, technology, engineering and math.
STEM toys for 8-10-Year-Olds
Learning should never feel like a chore. STEM toys make learning fun and improve kids’ math skills and science knowledge, while challenging them with puzzles, robots and games. Below are some STEM toys that are applicable to what your 8 to 10-year-olds are learning in school.
The list goes from robots that will get your young programmers imagination stirring to games challenging kids with trivia questions from subjects including, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
With STEM toys, learning can never be boring! Introducing STEM toys early on encourages children to become well-versed with the sciences at a very early age.
Simple toys like building blocks and magnetic toys are best to begin with to promote learning and engagement, while also encouraging critical thinking skills.