Variety of shapes and sizes helps develop fine motor control. Set includes a small family of teddy bears that kids love. Pieces kid-safe, non-toxic, and free of harmful chemicals like lead, BPA, and phthalates.
Play is intended to be open-ended, so the set doesn't come with instructions or a guide book.
Set includes 30 round pegs and a flexible foam board. Pieces are colorful and color die can be used to encourage sorting and pattern games. All pieces fit inside a lightweight drawstring bag for easy portability.
Foam pegboard might deteriorate over time. Overall quality isn't as high as some parents expected.
Kids can swap out parts to explore the different systems of the body. Both boy and girl doll are included. Muscles, skeleton, and organs are clearly depicted. Aids in developing fine motor control. Fun supplemental tool for science class.
Dolls are anatomically correct, which some parents may not be prepared for. Magnets do not stack on top of one another.
Twenty-piece kit offers 11 activities that represent basic STEM principles. Experiments are easy to setup and don't take long to see results. Can be enjoyed for individual or group play. Great introductory science kit.
Adult supervision definitely helps. You may find yourself supplementing the kit with ingredients from your kitchen.
Booklet contains 101 fun circuitry experiments. Sound effects included, which helps bring working models to life. Creates fun, usable objects like a photo sensor, flashlight, and adjustable-volume siren.
This toy does not deliver a comprehensive understanding of electronics concepts. Rather, it provides an intriguing introduction to circuits.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Children have a natural curiosity and easily learn through play. Toys built on STEM principles (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) give children the opportunity learn about science and math while having an absolute blast.
If you want to buy a STEM toy for that special kid in your life but are having trouble deciding which one is best, you’ve come to the right place.
Read our full guide to STEM toys, and when you're ready, head to our product recommendations to see our favorites.
If you’re going to buy a STEM toy for a child, you most certainly want one that’s appropriate for the child’s age. And of course, you want a quality STEM toy that will hold its own through many usages, making your expenditure worthwhile.
High-quality STEM toys might cost a bit more, but they'll last longer. It's worth shelling out a little extra on a toy that your child will use for years. If you buy a low-quality toy that breaks after a few months or even a few usages, you really aren’t getting your money’s worth.
Before you buy a STEM toy, look at the age range specified by the manufacturer.
Our expert, Aimee, gives this advice about choosing toys. "It is important to make sure they are age-appropriate. Avoid choking hazards, toys that are too complex for younger children, and toys that are too simple for older children."
Some STEM toys can be enjoyed for years, as they have a wide range of applications both simple and complex.
For example, a child might use LEGO bricks to build a simple house or car at age five. That same child might use that same set of LEGOs to build the Tower of London or the Millennium Falcon at age 12.
Not all STEM toys have the longevity that LEGOs do, and that’s okay. But if you’re interested in a toy that will appeal to multiple age ranges, consider a timeless STEM toy like LEGOs.
Take away the hype and the fancy acronym, and STEM toys are simply educational toys with a focus on the sciences rather than the arts. Here are some of the most common varieties.
These help teach children about coding and range from the very simple to the highly complex.
You can find kits for building your own robot.
These contain everything required to perform basic chemistry experiments.
Building toys (such as LEGOs, K'nex, and Meccano) can provide an introduction to basic engineering.
Anything educational that has to do with space could be classed as an astronomy toy, from telescopes to model solar systems.
You can find some excellent electronics and circuitry toys for kids.
Some toys, such as bug-viewing kits and anatomy models, encourage an interest in biology.
Q. Do STEM toys encourage just one skill at a time, or can they foster a range of skills?
A. Some buyers look at STEM toys and try to figure out exactly what they'll teach their child and how, but it's not always that straightforward. Many STEM toys encourage a range of skills at once. For instance, LEGO bricks teach kids about building and engineering, but they also encourage math skills from an early age, since children will have to count the number of pips on a brick to differentiate it from others.
Q. Do children need adult supervision when playing with STEM toys?
A. Depending on the toy and the age of the child, some adult supervision may be required. For instance, some chemistry sets require an adult present to keep an eye on things. However, independent play is important for child development, so look for some toys that are safe for kids to play with unsupervised.