The best STEM toys for little learners
It’s never too early to introduce children to the wonders of science, tech, engineering and math. They’ll have so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning!
In a world that’s evolving at an increasingly fast pace, a growing number of educators and parents are highlighting the importance of STEM education. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – subjects that equip young minds with the ability to think critically, make sense of complex information and solve difficult problems. These skills are essential for young people to be successful in our modern society.
STEM toys can introduce young children to these important concepts from a young age in a fun and engaging manner. But how can you tell STEM toys that are truly beneficial apart from second-rate versions made by companies who are just trying to make a buck?
According to a report released by market-research firm Technavio, educational toys can be divided into three categories: academic, cognitive thinking and motor skills. Good academic toys include math and science kits, as well as language-learning toys. Cognitive-thinking toys include puzzles, activity sets and construction sets. And examples of toys that build motor skills are workbench sets, building blocks and shape stackers.
The most important thing to look for when choosing a STEM toy is that it requires children to think, interact or manipulate ideas. They should be actively engaged in learning rather than being passive observers. Here are 12 of our favorite STEM toys.
Stacking and building possibilities are endless with this 28-piece block set. The well-adhering cork surface and beveled edges make them suitable for even the youngest of tots. From 12 months.
Move the weather meter, slide the thermometer and turn the dials to learn all about the weather. Ages 3 and up.
The Cubetto Playset teaches kids about coding without the use of computers or screens. It includes an interface board, 16 blocks, a world map and an educational story book. Ages 3 to 6.
The Electro Dough Kit is fun for the whole family! Follow the recipe to make your own conductive dough, create simple circuits, and watch your creations buzz and light up. Ages 4 and up.
Build a multi-colored brick castle with five watch towers on your own or as part of a team. When you’re done, put the castle in water for 30 minutes to dissolve the glue and start all over again! Ages 5 and up.
Arckit is a freeform architectural modelling system. Your aspiring architect can click-and-connect the 85+ modular components to create a vast array of structures. Ages 6 and up.
Unleash a series of powerful natural disasters within the safety of your own home. The kit contains everything you need to create a snow blizzard, an erupting volcano and a whirling tornado. Ages 8 and up.
Big kids will learn all about how wireless electricity works as they make their very own wireless bike lights that flash as they ride. Ages 8 and up.
Build your own Copernicus Robotic Arm from pre-cut wood pieces and plastic hydraulics in under an hour! Ages 12 and up.