Most learning experts agree that children learn best through play; providing them with the right toys can improve this process even more. Toys that are STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) certified have been reviewed and approved by educators for play-based learning. Here's a rundown of our picks for the best STEM toys to give to curious kids.
Best biology experiment
Insect Lore Butterfly Garden
The metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly is one of nature's most captivating miracles. Kids can become a part of the transformation with this kit from Insect Lore that provides everything from live caterpillars to a butterfly enclosure. Even the insect food is included in this complete set.
Best use of marbles
Gravitrax Starter Set Marble Run
Children learn about engineering, gravity, magnetism, and kinetics as they construct different marble tracks for races, challenges, and trick shots. Not only is it educational, this set from Gravitrax promises hours of entertainment for kids ages eight and up.
Mattel Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game
Aspiring game designers will love the Bloxels video game set. Here, children are given a set of small colored blocks that can be used to design backgrounds, landscapes, characters, and gameplay features. These objects can be digitized through the Bloxels apps to construct a real digital video game that kids will design, build, and play.
Best for preschoolers
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad
If your little ones have just begun learning their letters, this is the STEM product for them. The Little Genius Starter Kit comes with handheld pieces that can be used in conjunction with the iPad to create letters, shapes, and a variety of educational games. The set encourages tots to learn about letters, phonics, and vocabulary.
Best for young astronauts
4M Water Rocket Kit
Here's one that even adults can enjoy. The water rocket kit comes with materials and instructions for kids to build a real water-powered rocket that shoots 90ft into the air. Everyone will enjoy watching it blast off over and over again, learning about physics, pressure, and motion at the same time.
Best creative potential
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors Set
Let young creative minds run wild with Magna-Tiles, a building set that works through magnetic energy. Kids use the geometric shapes to construct three-dimensional buildings, robots, animal shapes, or anything else they can imagine.
Best for learning to code
Bit Coding Robot
Got a young coder on your hands? They'll love the Bit Bot - a tiny robot that can be coded to complete different commands and actions. Children as young as six can code the bot using only pen and paper, while more advanced coders can use the Ozoblockly programming editor to create more specific commands.
Electronic engineering FTW!
Elenco Snap Circuits Jr.
Teach children all about electricity, currents, and circuits with the Snap Circuits electrical building kit. Little engineers can experiment with moving parts, lighting, photo sensors, and sounds as they build and play.
Play and learn
Support your child's natural curiosity and learning capacity with STEM educational toys like these. We love the Butterfly Garden because it's an interactive way for children to observe the wonder of nature at work. They can become a part of the biological process while learning about animal life cycles.
If your kids gravitate more towards engineering and outer space, check out the 4M water rocket, which will surprise and delight children as they learn how to build and launch it. The smallest of tots, on the other hand, may prefer an interactive learning toy like the Little Genius Starter Kit. No matter your child's age or interests, there's a very cool STEM toy on this list for them.