Over the past 5 years, I’ve spent nearly 250 hours building, playing with and reviewing STEM toys.
That’s a little more than a month and a half of work gone into learning as much as I can about what makes the best STEM toys for kids of all ages.
It shocked me when I started adding up the hours as I worked on this article. I knew I had spent a lot of time, but I didn’t realize it was quite that much.
Luckily, I enjoy it. Most of the toys and kits are fun – even for a big kid like me. It’s allowed me to spend some fun quality time with my children. And I’ve been able to share the joy with other families by letting them play and give feedback on STEM toys as well.
I’ve put my expertise into researching the options available for this article – to help you find the best STEM toy for your kid.
What Makes The Top STEM Toys Great?
A STEM toy bridges the gap between learning and paying, introducing your kid to STEM concepts they will use throughout their life. The best STEM toys for kids incorporate learning science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in fun and engaging ways. It is a great introduction to learning how things work, developing life skills, and strengthening physical and cognitive skills.
However, the best STEM toys have certain features in common. Click on each heading to learn more.
Top STEM Toys & Top STEM Gifts Compared
Best STEM Toys For Kids Reviewed
Top STEM Project Toy For Older Kids: Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit
STEM is meant for kids to get in there and build – and Snap Circuits are all about learning by doing!
The Elenco Snap Circuits Junior kit is the perfect toy for any elementary schooler who loves building projects. Budding engineers will have lots of fun with these exciting projects that teach them about electronics.
Designed for children eight years and older, there are more than 30 electronic parts to snap together on the board in the basic set. The engineering toy features a music box, photo sensor, flashing light, speaker, adjustable-volume siren, a slide, and a press switch to create over 100 exciting engineering projects.
Instructions are easy to follow with images and instructions on what the parts do and step-by-step instructions on building the circuits. A child can start working on a project immediately; the pieces snape together, so they don’t need any tools.
The STEM toy is perfect for homeschooling or any child interested in electronics or the challenge of discovering how things work. The educational toy inspires creative thinking, focus, attention to detail, and hands-on experience and promotes teamwork. The color-coded pieces are real circuit components that work when connected.
You can combine the engineering kit with other themed Snap Circuit kits for more open-ended creative play. This STEM toy comes with everything needed to successfully build working circuits – an excellent alternative to screen time.
Top STEM Toy For Preschoolers: Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks And Boards
The classic Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards is the perfect STEM toy for toddlers to enjoy open-ended play. There’s no instruction manual – kids just naturally grab the age-appropriate pieces and get to work!
The wooden blocks in various shapes and colors ensure hours of fun for children, inspiring them to assemble colorful animals and patterns.
The educational toys encourage interaction and hands-on imaginative play that helps develop brain and important skill levels for ages 3 to 6. With 120 colorful blocks and five double-sided boards, children can make linear patterns, count the pieces, sort blocks with color recognition, and build fun puzzles. Youngsters can create their unique designs or follow the patterns on the boards.
Your child will learn basic geometry without even knowing it. In that way, it is one of the best math toys for younger kids developing math skills.
The building blocks and boards encourage planning and goal setting, patience, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills. A wooden tray stores the blocks and boards neatly for next time.
Top Pick For Older Robot Lovers: Ruko Smart Robots For Kids
The Ruko Smart Robots is the perfect STEM toy on the gift list for boys and girls 4 to 9 years old interested in robots. Kids don’t need basic coding skills to program 1008 Carle. He isn’t an intricate coding robot but an app-enabled programmable smart robot that young kids can manage.
Carle is made from durable ABS material that is non-toxic, skin-friendly, and safe for kids to hold and play with. The face is a cute LED display of emojis; the 56 actions, including emoji and music, are programmable in 200 consecutive actions.
The app-enabled robot features 14 voice commands, eight dances, five adjustable volumes with the remote control, and recording unique sounds and messages. Following Carle’s dance moves is a fun exercise, and with the Bluetooth playback, kids can listen to music, have Carle tell stories, or swing his arms. A touch-sensitive sensor on the robot’s head allows Carle to respond with expression when kids stroke the head. When it’s bedtime, Carle goes into sleep mode.
The robot toy promotes STEM subjects creating an interest in robotics from an early age. The educational toy promotes interaction, patience, focus, creativity, logical thinking, and wondrous entertainment. The remote control uses 2 AA batteries; batteries aren’t included in the package. The battery life lasts about 2-3 hours, and charging takes 2 hours with the USB charging cable.
Best Robot Toy For Preschoolers: Laradola 5-In-1 Construction Robot Toys
The Lardola 5-In-1 Construction Robot toys are perfect for kids who want to build their own robots. It’s the perfect STEM toy gift for toddlers to elementary schoolers interested in robots, transport, and building toys. With more than 30 construction styles, children can transform a super robot into different vehicles for fun adventures.
Most kids value the challenge of developing their engineering skill level. The STEM toy inspires boys to connect the magnetic pieces patiently into the giant robot or five smaller vehicles. With the magnetic forces, assembly is easy for 3-year-old toddlers and older. It’s not just a feeling of accomplishment when kids complete the toy, but more hours of fun play ahead of them. Kids love the sound and light functions that make the robot seem alive. Two AA batteries are needed and not included in the purchase.
Easy to clean, the toy has smooth edges to avoid little ones scratching themselves and is made with ABS plastic and non-toxic materials. Although kid-friendly, adult supervision is recommended with younger kids; the smaller pieces could be misplaced or become a choking hazard for kids younger than three years old.
Best STEAM Toy Set For Creativity: Shuttle Art Tempera Paint Sticks For Kids
The 32 Tempera Paint Sticks set is the ultimate STEAM toy for creativity. Your child can paint masterpieces without the mess of water and brushes. With a simple twist, the sticks are ready for use.
Whether your child is an artist or not, a child likes to express their creativity with doodling and drawings. The Tempera Paint Sticks are always at hand and work great on multiple surfaces, including paper, canvas, wood, glass, walls, mirrors, or ceramic.
The set with 32 vibrant colors features 20 classic vivid colors, six dazzling neon colors, and six luminous metallic colors. The beautiful colors stimulate color recognition in a young child and will inspire creativity in all ages.
Made from non-toxic materials, the toy is safe for toddlers and older kids. Easy grip, the round barrel twists to open and close, and the paint’s creamy texture ensure a smooth effect. There is no smudging or messing on clothes, and the paint crayons dry within seconds. Washable with soap and water, it cleans easily on non-porous surfaces.
The Original STEM Building Set For Children: Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Clear Color Set
The Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Clear Color Set is the original 3D magnetic building kit, the ideal starter set for kids three years old and up. Fun for children, the STEM toy promotes tactile skills, spatial awareness, and fine motor skills. It’s a great building toy for science, math, engineering, and creativity.
Perfect for open-ended play, kids create flat or three-dimensional structures. Your budding scientist learns about gravity, magnetic principles, and glow-in-the-dark properties. The Magna-Tiles promote basic concepts and math skills when kids build patterns, shape puzzles, create number graphing, or simple addition sentences. Creativity has no limits, and the STEM toy’s properties allow kids to expand their imagination by using different building surfaces from floors to windows, a light table, magnet boards, or against the fridge.
The 32-piece set includes two large squares, 14 small squares, and a variety of triangles (4 right, eight equilateral, and four isosceles). Each colorful tile is translucent, and the brightly colored tiles are in different sizes and shapes for more challenging fun. The magnetic tiles are sturdy and durable with their spoke-like design, metallic concern rivets, and smooth edges. Made from 100% non-toxic food-grade ABS plastic, the tiles are safe for kids. The STEM toy meets or exceeds safety standards established by ASTM, CPSC, CPSIA, and EN71.
Best Value STEM Toy For Kids: Brickyard Building Blocks STEM Toys
Inexpensive, interchangable, and great replay value – our value pick has them all!
The Brickyard Building Blocks STEM toys ensure hours of building fun for little engineers or playdates in the holiday season. It’s the perfect toy to get kids excited about the basics of engineering and inspire them to create amazing things alone or with friends.
With 163 pieces, there are enough blocks, tools, wheels, nuts, and bolts for four to six kids to play together. Playing together develops teamwork, social interaction, and communication skills. Recommended for kids 4 to 8 years old, the instructions feature 42 designs ranging from beginner to advanced level. From novices to experienced builders, everyone can play, and skills grow with more advanced challenges.
The educational STEM toy promotes problem-solving, logical thinking, creative thinking, and fine motor skills. It’s the perfect gift for young boys and girls to help boost their social skills, math skills, and cognitive skills. The colorful blocks are made from non-toxic materials and are certified lead-, phthalate-, cadmium-, and BPA-free.
Best STEM Toy For Active Gaming: ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game
With over 50 million sold, the ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game is the best single-player type of board game. The STEM Toy is a mind-challenging game that will fascinate kids from 8 years old. It’s one of the best games for kids who enjoy games, but family and friends don’t want to play.
The logic game features 60 instruction cards loaded with challenges from beginner level to advanced, intricate games. The instruction card shows where to place the start position and the target tower that the marble must reach to win the game. Matching black dots shows the direction to put the two pieces. The rest is up to the child to use their reasoning and logical skills to build a successful maze that works. Test the labyrinth with the marble; it should run from the start tower to the target tower. Each tower piece stands alone on the gird, is stackable, and can lay on its side. Kids can play the 60 challenges or experiment with building unique mazes for a marble run.
The STEM toy is a fun, educational toy for brain development. The child will strengthen their planning skills, spatial reasoning, building expertise, and logical thinking as they strategize and build amazing mazes. The STEM toy combines a marble run and a logic game, which is great fun for children who like engineering and building toys and are always ready for a challenge.
Best STEM Kit For Open-Ended Exploration: IQ Builder STEM Learning Creative Construction Kit
The IQ Builder Creative Construction Kit has unlimited design options and is excellent for social development and team-building exercises. The educational STEM toy is the best gift for kids 3 to 10 years old interested in engineering toys and building kits.
A toy storage box safely stores the 164 pieces, including 40 connecting balls, 88 connectors in different lengths, and five wheels and wheel connectors. Each ball features 26 connecting points for versatile and creative designs. The building set also has 24 cover plates to decorate the geometric designs colorfully.
The STEM learning toy doesn’t limit big thinkers from expanding their imagination. Online instructions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels will inspire kids to start their building projects. The instructions teach a child to make different geometric designs from basics to more intricate structures.
Recommended by child development experts, IQ Builder was inspired by teachers to demonstrate geometry, physics, ad mathematical concepts to students. The educational toy engages students in STEM learning, enhancing brain development, tactile skills, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Although the ABS plastic pieces are kid-friendly, adult supervision is recommended because the small pieces could be choking hazards to babies.
Looking For Science Experiments: Learning Resources Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab
The Learning Resource Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab is the perfect gift for a budding scientist who likes a mystery. Budding scientists can collect the mysterious Beaker Creatures and perform fun science experiments with the 15-piece set.
According to legend, these creatures came from distant planets, and with the Super Lab and chemical reactions, children can dissolve the reactor pods housing the creatures. A colorful bubbling reaction melts the pods revealing one of the mysterious Beaker Creatures. There are 35 Beaker Creatures to collect, including the 24-Carat Creatures.
This science kit includes two reactor pods with creatures, a liquid reactor super lab base, two hydro-plungers, two beakers, a set of tongs, and a stir rod. Two classification cards help kids identify the creatures, and the two mini-posters reveal amazing science facts interesting to kids. The science kit doubles as a lab for experiments revealed by the Beaker Creatures in a helpful instruction manual.
Great STEM Gift For Gradeschoolers: PlayShifu Educational Globe For Kids
The PlayShifu Educational Globe is an app-based globe with more than 1000 cool facts kids can visualize, interact with, and learn. The STEM toy takes a child on a geography journey worldwide that is unique and appealing.
Visual storytelling, animal facts, music, voice interactions, globe puzzles, and quizzes will engage and challenge any child 4 to 10 years old. Students visit monuments, experience cultures, learn about animals, expose to different cuisines, discover inventions, and explore maps in AR (augmented reality). The adventures are intriguing without borders and names on the globe; it’s like a scavenger hunt, discovering and decoding a secret message that teaches kids more about the world.
The smart globe works with the free Orboot app downloadable from App Store or Play Store and is compatible with most smartphones and tablets. The kit includes the 10 inches globe, a passport, stamps, country flag stickers, and a detailed helping guide. The STEM learning toy is an AR immersive experience that makes geography, social science, and environmental science a fun adventure, perfect for homeschooling or the classroom.