With Christmas fast approaching and my little guy well and truly immersed in “toddlerhood” I’ve been doing a ton of research on the best STEM toys for toddlers.
Right now, my 18-month-old’s favorite toys include balls, Thomas the Tank, Fat Cat and Hot Wheels, and he certainly doesn’t need any more of those… So for the coming year, I’d love to get him a variety of STEM toys.
If you’re unfamiliar with STEM toys, let me explain. STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” And STEM toys are toys that focus on encouraging kids to develop skills in those 4 disciplines, but in a fun way.
That’s where STEM toys for kids are awesome sauce! Before I had my son, I was a behavior therapist, so I know that the best way for toddlers to learn is through play. And what better way to do that than with toys that are specifically designed to teach them about STEM subjects.
So without further ado, here’s what I’ve come up with!
Top 10 Best STEM Toys for Toddlers 2017
1. Grippies Magnetic Building Set
My 18-month-old is fascinated with magnets (heck, I’m still fascinated with magnets and I’m 33 haha!) so I know he’ll adore this Grippies Magnetic Building Set.
There are 30 pieces in the set, and each individual piece consists of a magnetic rod and ball with a unique texture. In addition to the engineering knowledge that the Grippies Magnetic Building Set helps toddlers gain, the various textures encourage tactile exploration.
Evidence suggests that tactile exploration is the single most important factor in developing tactile discrimination (i.e. the ability to perceive the shape or texture of an object.)
2. Nuts and Bolts Building Toy
I’m sure my husband is going to love playing with this Nuts and Bolts Building Toy as much as my toddler probably is!
It contains a complete nuts and bolts toolkit, along with various-sized building pieces, wheels, a ratchet, etc. The Nuts and Bolts Building Toy is excellent for building fine motor skills, problem solving and building STEM skills through constructive play.
There are no limits to what toddlers can build with this set – the only limit is their imagination 🙂
3. Magnetic Block Tiles Set
More magnets! I first came across this Magnetic Block Tiles Set at a Parade of Homes I recently attended. My toddler was fascinated with them, so I knew a set would be finding their way into his Christmas stocking this year.
The Magnetic Block Tiles Set contains 24 pieces including triangles, quadrangles and blocks. They’re made with non-toxic plastic and contain a powerful magnet which allows toddlers to create structures that aren’t going to immediately topple over 🙂
This set is great for developing fine motor skills and fostering an interest in engineering. The bright colors also help toddlers learn color recognition in fun, interactive way.
4. Jumbo Nuts & Bolts Set
It’s bright, it’s colorful and there are a ton of different pieces to dump out onto the floor – what toddler wouldn’t love this Jumbo Nuts and Bolts set?
This set is perfect for learning color recognition and matching shapes and sizes, but it also does an amazing job at developing fine motor skills. The pieces are large enough that little fingers can easily grip them, but small enough to be challenging.
In addition, the Jumbo Nuts & Bolts set helps to improve hand-eye coordination and memory (I can almost see my toddler’s brain ticking over as he tries to remember how to screw the nut on.)
5. STEM Building Discs Set
Ok, let’s be honest – I’m looking forward to playing with this STEM Building Discs Set almost as much as I’m sure my toddler is. How much fun does it look?
The STEM Building Discs set comes with 120 interlocking pieces that snap together, allowing kids to build whatever their imagination dreams up.
I feel like these are exactly what a STEM toy for toddlers should be – they help to foster everything from hand-eye coordination to fine motor skills, from cognitive development to problem-solving, and they do it in a fun, colorful way!
6. Leapfrog Pre-K Activity Book
I’m an avid reader and thankfully, my little guy loves books too, especially interactive books like this Leapfrog Pre-K Activity book.
Leapfrog is a trusted name in kids educational toys, and this book is no exception. It covers all the STEM bases and teaches kids 16 pre-K STEM skills in a fun, engaging way, including singing and talking.
If your kid loves stickers (and let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t love stickers?) then you’ll love that the Leapfrog Pre-K Activity book includes 25 reward stickers, along with tons of activities that can replayed over and over again.
7. Toy Tool Set
A classic favorite for kids, this toy tool set is a STEM toy that will provide hours of entertainment and learning opportunities for any toddler.
Toddlers always want to be just like mommy and daddy and this toy tool set is perfect for that! I have this set and all of the tools are almost exact replicas of the real thing. They’re of a high quality, especially for the price.
The toy tool set is a great way to teach object recognition, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and foster an interest in engineering.
8. Skoolzy Pipe & Joint Construction Set
Another construction set that does a great job at teaching STEM skills to toddlers is this Skoolyzy Pipe & Joint Construction set.
The 30 piece set includes 4 types of interlocking tubes and wheels that can be used to create anything from a robot to a flower – anything your budding engineer can dream up!
The pieces are all jumbo sized and they’re a great way to help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
9. Peg Board Set
I’m a big fan of wooden toys for toddlers, so naturally I was going to be drawn to this Skoolzy peg board set.
The set contains 30 brightly colored wooden pegs that can all be nested into one another. The Skoolzy peg board set is perfect for teaching basic math skills such as counting, addition and subtraction, as well as color recognition and enhancing fine motor skills.
The Skoolzy peg board set also comes with a handy drawstring bag for easy clean up and transportation.
10. Shockproof Binoculars
Growing up in Australia, I loved going out to the bush with my Dad and spotting various birds and animals. A love of wildlife is something I hope to foster in my son, so these shockproof binoculars are the perfect STEM toy.
They contain a high-quality lens that magnifies x8 for sharp, clear images and because they’re built with a strong plastic and rubber casing, they wont shatter if they’re dropped.
A high-quality pair of a binoculars is always a cherished gift, and encourages a love of science, exploration and the great outdoors. (Not to mention treasure hunts, hide and go-seek, cops and robbers, etc!)
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