Our STEM Toy Gift Guide: 15 Of Our Tot-Tested Favorites
It’s never too early to introduce children to the wonders of science, tech, engineering and math. In this article, we look at what exactly STEM toys are and share our favorite picks!
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.
Benefits of STEM toys
- Encourages critical thinking and problem-solving
- Helps build confidence
- Hones fine motor skills
- Provides an experience that allows children to engage, rather than observe
- Improves memory
- Teaches the principles of math, science, engineering and technology
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.
Scroll down to discover our favorite STEM toys.
The best STEM toys for kids age 3 to 8
Stacking and building possibilities are endless with this 50-piece block set. Made from sustainable rubber wood this block set encourages creativity as well as the development of math, fine motor and language skills. Age recommendation: 3 years +
Want to help your tot sharpen their fine motor skills while learning the basics of Workshop 101? The Tenderleaf Toys Table Top Tool Bench is just the size tots need to start working on their next project! It goes great with the Moulin Roty Tool Set! Age recommendation: 3 years +
A fun way to learn the foundations of mathematics this toy is designed to teach equations, counting, color matching, spelling and more. Age recommendation: 2 years +
When it comes to understanding how to engineer buildings, bridges and ramps, activity toys like Tender Leaf Toys’ Blue Bird Service Station is the perfect introduction. Age recommendation: 3 years +
A fun way to introduce the Solar System, this puzzle not only builds fine motor skills but also allows a child to familiarize themselves with the planets and their orbit in an interactive way. Age recommendation: 3 years +
3…2…1… blast off! While the Hape Four Stage Rocket Ship will encourage imaginative play, it will do double time introducing your tot to the concept of space exploration! Age recommendation: 3 years +
A wonderful alternative to screens, the Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller is an interactive way for kids to listen to engaging stories! Suitable for use with headphones (thank goodness!), the device lets your tot choose the hero, setting, second character and object of their story and then voile: story time! Age recommendation: 3 – 8 years
Inspire your budding engineer to create his own ball runs. A great way to develop problem solving skills and encourage an early understanding of basic STEM concepts. Age recommendation: 3 years +
This hands-on children’s calculator is will explore the basics of math in a fun, visual way. Allow your child to create and solve simple math formulas. Age recommendation: 2-6 years
Water play is always a hit at any age but this set will encourage your child to use their imagination to create their own waterway structure. A great way to promote investigation and experimentation. Age recommendation: 3 years +
Learning a second language has been shown to help increase a child’s ability to retain information, build empathy and hone communication skills. Habbi Habbi makes it interactive and fun to learn Spanish and Chinese with their book and electronic reading wand set!
The perfect toy for developing early numeracy and literacy skills. This handmade toy is also a fun way to learn number recognition, counting and tracing.