It's a given that in order to succeed children will need to have a firm handle on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. But, if your kids are like most, sitting down for extra lessons in STEM probably does not sound like their idea of a good time. Fortunately, for children and their parents, STEM learning does not need to involve boring workbooks at the kitchen table. There are plenty of toys available that will help kids get a dose of STEM learning under the guise of having fun with a really cool toy.
There are so many options available that it is possible to find a toy STEM-based toy that aligns with interests your child already has. Here are just some of the great options available to get your kids learning skills to help them succeed while having so much fun not only won't they notice, but they will ask for more!
Magnatiles: If we could have only one toy in our house it would be Magnatiles. These magnaetic tiles can be stacked up to several stories high, used to make pyramids, and can be used to make everything from caves to castles. Magnatiles are great for open-ended play but there is also an idea book for inspiration. Solid, clear, and Ice tiles can be combined in limitless ways to build and create. They can also be used to with other toys to create "houses" for figures and bases for marble runs.
HABA Secret Code Mystery Game: Try telling kids that math can be fun and chances are they will roll their eyes. But, invite them to play a game involving spies, treasure, and laser beams, and they might not even notice they are learning math in the process of solving the secret codes they need to crack to win the game. Mathematical problems can be made more or less complicated for younger or older children.
How Does Your Body Work? Body Experiment Kit: Lakeshore Learning's new Gifts for Growing Minds collection is full of toys that help parents learn STEM skills through play. Is your kid fascinated with his own snot or stomach noises? Use that to your advantage to get kids interested in science through five body-centered science experiments. Science has never been more personal.
Modarri Cars: So many kids love playing with toy cars: they are familiar, good for open-ended play, and just plain fun to zoom around. Modarri cars are highly customizable and allow kids to engineer the final design of the car by mixing and matching parts. Kids can test the cars' suspension on these homemade tracks (https://modarri.com/diy-toy-car-track-ideas). Add ramps to infuse more learning into playing with these cars.
Build & Imagine: Many children love playing with figures in imaginative play. Build & Imagine allows kids build their own personal doll house, with a coastal community theme complete with beach house, marine rescue center, day at the beach activities. Kids learn mathematical and engineering concepts while playing with magnetic tiles, diverse figures, and tons of accessories.
Ozobot: Does your child ever ask for his own robot? The good news is that there is on available for a very affordable price. Ozbot is a great first robot for a few reasons. First, it can be played with on an electronic device or a non-electronic surface so that kids can use it however they best like playing. Second, it uses a simple color coding system that makes coding accessible to children just starting to show an interest in coding. Third, Ozobots can be used to play games, structured activities, or for open-ended learning - disguised as fun of course!
Tegu: Does your child love building blocks? Tegu takes this staple of childhood and adds a new element - magnets! Tegu blocks can elevate the building experience by allowing little builders to build in entirely new and unexpected ways. They are a great "next step" toy for kids that love building. They are also a great way to teach kids about magnets as they observe the blocks attracting or repelling each other.
Project Mc2: There are four adorable new role models for kids who know that "Smart is the New Cool." Each of these diverse dolls comes with its own science experiment ranging from a lava lamp, to a glow stick; a volcano to a skateboard that can be performed over and over. These dolls show you don't need to choose between being fashionable and smart. Girls and boys will love the Ultimate Lab Kit filled with everything your child needs for a mini-lab and a book with science experiments that can be performed with simple household items. Extend the experience by watching Project Mc2 on Netflix and watching the cool kids lift fingerprints with churro mix.
Three Little Pigs Problem Solving STEM kit: It's never too early to each kids about STEM. If your child enjoys fairytales get them involved in a classic story with Lakeshore Learning's Three Little Pigs set that incorporates figure, blocks, and more to encourage children to build a house that the wolf can't blow down.
Invite your kids to play with a toy involving STEM skills and get them learning while having fun. Don't tell them.