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“I think my kid could use more toys…” is not something you’ll hear on the lips of most parents. That is, unless “toy” is paired with a word or phrase like, “developmental,” “learning,” or “keep-them-occupied-for-more-than-10-seconds.” Enter STEM and STEAM toys. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, STEM stands for the academic development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (and STEAM additionally includes “art”).
STEM stands for the academic development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (and STEAM additionally includes ‘art’).
Now it may seem a little crazy to be already thinking about your child’s future career (especially when your 3-year old may have the lofty goal of becoming a PJ Mask character when they grow up), but introducing STEM concepts through hands-on play with toys when kids are young can help set a foundation as they grow.
As Dr. Mae C. Jemison, an American physician and NASA astronaut, noted “the majority of scientists say they developed their passion for science by age 11.” So it’s never too early to introduce STEM into your little one’s life. Below, we’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite STEM and STEAM toys.
STEM Toys for Preschoolers+
Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
Beaty and Roberts' rhythmic storytelling and unique illustrations make these some of our favorite books to read aloud. Parents and kids will find lessons within the pages of these STEM-themed stories: Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist.
For the parent who feels like they've exhausted all at-home activity options, KiwiCo delivers age-appropriate subscription boxes monthly for hands-on learning. Designed by childhood development experts and educators, KiwiCo's STEAM activities make it easy for parents to offer their kids something new and engaging each month.
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Your child can build, break, and rebuild to their imagination's content using these vibrantly colored geometric magnet tiles.
Watch your child build their engineering, science, and problem-solving skills with a marble run. Great for when you no longer have to worry about them putting marbles in their mouth.
The Black Toy Store
These robot dolls are a perfect combination of problem-solving and storytelling. There are different challenges or “missions” that allow kids the freedom to use their imagination and critical thinking skills.
Fat Brain Toys
Art and mathematics come together in Spirograph, a timeless toy originally developed in the 1960s, but still fun for kids today.
Etsy | Deckerrd Seeds
A lesson in patience as well as science, set your kids up with their own garden to observe the scientific magic of watching (and tending to) life as it grows.
STEM Toys for Babies & Toddlers
Fat Brain Toys
This new "spin" on a stacker can help babies and toddlers learn hand-eye coordination and early engineering skills.
Pottery Barn Kids
Babies and toddlers can work on their visual and spatial perception as they hammer the balls into the box and watch them roll out.
Crate & Barrel
This creative take on the popular Montessori rainbow stackers adds another element of play with a pull-string for little ones to cart around.
Part-keepsake, part-learning toy, this shape-sorter puzzle can be personalized with your own photos.
In addition to building engineering skills through blocks, this train set incorporates numbers to encourage counting.
Another counting toy, this award-winning educational wooden puzzle is a fun way to introduce young children to math concepts.
The Black Toy Store
Thinking beyond foam numbers and letters, these pipe building bath toys introduce kids to science and engineering concepts at bath time.
Etsy | My Gifted Education
Sensory and STEM come together in these wooden balancing blocks. Available in three color schemes; rainbow, natural wood, and pastel.
This post was in partnership with KiwiCo but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.