The 15 Best STEM Games and Toys for Kids
You know you’ve hit the parenting jackpot when toys and games function as both a fun experience AND a learning opportunity. That’s exactly what toys that include STEM concepts do. We believe in empowering kids with knowledge, support, tools, and resources that will help them become the best kid (and best kidpreneur) they can be! So STEM toys and games fit right in with our mission to keep kids engaged, confident, creative, and having a blast.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and refers to educational experiences that focus on developing these critical academic and life skills. Many schools and organizations have begun integrating STEM-based activities into their curriculum and so it’s no surprise that the toys and games market is following suit.
STEM toys, crafts, games, and clubs have been steadily popping up all across the world as a way to offer kids hands-on ways to dive deeper into subjects that are generally more technical. STEM-based toys and games allow kids to learn while being creative, having fun, and gaining applicable skills that could positively benefit their future and career.
Case in point: according to the US Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17% while other occupations are growing at 9/8%.
Though STEM focuses on those four academic disciplines, activities and toys that offer engaging STEM elements help kids gain additional skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, spatial reasoning, and innovation.
Whether they are learning how to code, assemble a robot, build structures, man a science experiment, or putting together a puzzle, there is a STEM toy for just about any kiddo, regardless of their age.
We’ve compiled a list of the 15 best STEM toys for toddlers all the way through to teenagers. These are toys that are highly rated by consumers and testers alike and are safe, interactive, and a ton of fun.
Ages 1 - 5
Fat Brain Dimpl Digits
This simple, colorful toy is a sensory delight for little fingers and minds. One side has embossed numbers on squishy silicone bubbles and the matching word in English. Kids can flip it over for the words written in Spanish as well as corresponding dots to feel and count. Teaches fine-motor skills along with counting and encourages bilinguality.
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body
With this sturdy wooden figure, kids can have fun learning about anatomy, including the skeleton, circulatory system, internal organs, and more. The 24-piece set includes anatomically correct magnets for boys and girls, a wooden stand, and storage box. Kids can easily visualize and learn about anatomy while also engaging in imaginative play and improving their hand-eye coordination.
Fisher-Price Code ‘n Learn Kinderbot
Designed exclusively for young children in mind, this futuristic toy teaches the basics of coding while also providing different built-in activities and challenges to help them learn counting, colors, and shapes. With the simple press of a button, kids can “code” a path, telling the robot which direction to go. They can also use the included machine accessories to create additional challenges for the robot and expand their play.
Leapfrog 100 Animals Book
The educational toy makers at Leapfrog bring you this all-in-one interactive book that features animals from 12 different environments and habitats. By touching the pictures on each page, your child will hear fun facts about their favorite animals as well as hear the sounds they make. Learning songs are also included as well as the ability to learn in either English or Spanish. This little book feels good in small hands, is colorful and bright, and introduces them to science concepts in a kid-friendly way.
Osmo Little Genius Starter KitThis ingenious kit is both a game and toy all in one and integrates hands-on play with the technology of an iPad or Fire tablet. Kids will learn shapes, letters, and phonics through the use of 36 different silicone “sticks and rings” and the guided lessons and stories. The various games and activities also help kids develop additional skills such as empathy, creativity, and imagination.
Ages 5 - 10
Plus Plus Learn to Build Super Set
This educational building set includes 1,200 pieces (including 4 base plates) with a variety of colors. It is intended to aid kids in creating amazing flat or 3-D structures, scenes, and mosaics. The unique pieces connect easily to the next in any direction allowing for endless possibilities and explorative play. The kit encourages fine motor skills, teaches shapes and patterns, reinforces the learning of numbers and letters, and introduces kids to engineering and design.
GeoSmart Mars Explorer
This magnetic construction set allows kids to build motorized creations that light up and go places! With a patented safety system, the magnets are contained within a double welded-inner core and are sturdy and durable. This toy is limitless in its creativity and expands a child’s ability to bring cool contraptions to life. The Mars Explorer intills critical thinking skills, fine-motor skills, and sparks interest in science and space exploration.
ThinkFun Roller Coaster Challenge
This award-winning logic game includes 60 challenges of increasing difficulty and is a fun brain teaser puzzle. Players choose a challenge to try and build a roller coaster track with the included parts . When the car rides successfully on the track from start to finish, the player wins! Kids will love the thrill of solving the challenge and improving on their coaster-building skills. This game introduces kids to skills such as reasoning, planning, and critical thinking and can encourage teamwork as well.
Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
This popular toy teaches kids how to level up their computer science skills using block-based coding to perform a variety of activities and challenges. Kids can change and customize their droid’s personality, reconfigure it to make it perform new tasks, or simply use the remote control to bring it to life. The toy comes with 22 missions and challenges in the app so that kids can teach their droids new skills while THEY learn new skills, too.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze
Another hybrid toy/game from ThinkFun, the Gravity Maze challenges kids to select a challenge card (60 in all) and set up the included towers to match the challenge/shape on their card. Additionally, kids must determine where to place certain pieces so that a marble can fall from the start position to the target tower, giving them a win. Kids sharpen their mind, and their science and engineering skills, all through fun gameplay.
Elenco Teach Tech Mech-5 Robot Coding Kit
By incorporating creativity and problem solving, this build-it-yourself robot teaches kids the fundamentals of robotics and coding. Additionally, the robot is powered with renewable energy such as water, wind, or sun so there are no batteries required (and kids get to learn about green energy). This toy is mighty appealing to any kid who enjoys tinkering and using their hands to build and make creations come to life.
ThinkFun Hacker Cybersecurity Coding Game
This high-quality game asks kids to outsmart cybercriminals and defend their world from them by joining a white hat hacker team (the “good” guys). With 120 challenges from beginner to expert, kids program agents to collect data bhips while avoiding alarms and viruses. In the meantime, players take on different roles as either the hacker, engineers, or coder and learn core programming principles.
DIscovery Extreme Chemistry Kit
Banish boredom and transform your kitchen into an amazing science lab with this interactive chemistry kit. Included in the set are 20 science experiments ranging from litmus tests to creating liquid ice and slimy worms. Perfect for any young mad scientist, the kid also encourages kids to work together, predict reactions and results, and make connections about chemistry and the world around them.
K’nex Architecture Eiffel Tower
This awesome architectural building set helps kids think outside of the box and develop spatial awareness and dexterity skills. The 1,462 included parts include connectors and rods that easily snap together and can be configured into limitless moving designs of all shapes and sizes. The manual provides step-by-step instructions for how to build an authentic replica of the famous Eiffel Tower that any kid would be proud to display. As a bonus, this kit is compatible with other K’nex building sets.
Elenco FM Radio Kit
This affordable DIY radio kit features instructions that teach kids to assemble a working FM receiver with electronic auto-scan. While building the radio, kids will gain a better understanding of the basis of working with printed circuit boards as well as the functionality of an FM radio and its components. Note that you will need to purchase a basic, inexpensive soldering iron for this kit.
Real World Money Lessons for Kids & Teens
While not a game or toy, Real World Money Lessons is a fantastic, fun way to teach children and teens about money. After numerous requests from parents and teachers for more in-depth coverage of the latter topic, the Toren brothers have put together the perfect money-management-for-kids publication. Whether used as a stand-alone tool or as a companion to the original Kidpreneurs book, this book will provide your kids with an education on money that will put them miles ahead of even most high school graduates.
Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas
The philosophy behind the Kidpreneurs book is simple. The future of our children begins with us! Most people say, “It’s never too late.” The Torens say, “It’s never too early.” The benefits for an early introduction to the basic principles and infinite rewards of entrepreneurship are massive.