STEM Toys for Kids Sorted by Age

Posted by Kristen Ladiges on

Parents and teachers have been whispering for years, and finally developmental science backs it up: children learn better when having fun. STEM toys, teaching science, technology, engineering, and math, accomplish just that: challenging kids to figure out how things work in an engaging and stress-free environment. Rather than sleepily listening to a teacher all day, kids are out of their seats building hypotheses and testing theories, engaging with complex concepts in new ways that move miles past rote memorization and into making new discoveries. STEM toys are designed to provide age-appropriate challenges for kids to overcome, catering to kids’ unique interests. Grouped by year, these toys support kids from before preschool to the end of elementary school.

STEM toy robot built by hand for older kids

STEM toys for 2-year-olds

You might think 2-year-olds are too young to consider a STEM career—and you’d be right. However, they are never too young to learn to pair problem-solving with creativity and that’s the goal of STEM toys for toddlers and younger children. With Haba’s Brain Builder Peg Set and Cat and Mouse Brain Builder Peg Set, kids use a picture on a pattern card to build what they see from a set of wooden blocks held together with pegs, teaching them cause-and-effect and encouraging cognitive development. Haba’s Palette of Pegs turns arranging and matching into a game and is good for free play.

STEM toys for 3-year-olds

The SmartMax My First Vehicles makes an appearance again among suggested STEM toys for 3-year-olds, and it is joined by My First Engineering Ferris Wheel by EduToys. Not only can kids build a Ferris wheel to be ridden in by the characters provided with the kit, but they can also do so using a battery-powered screwdriver that is both safe and fun. Power tools: Not just for adults anymore. 

STEM toys for 4-year-olds

Kids can build fine motor skills along with 10 simple boats—that really float—with the Thames & Kosmos Kids First Boat Engineer kit. As kids build the boats, this winner of a Parents’ Choice gold award tells the story of two young engineers and their family’s robots. Learning Resources is another company that has won awards for its Coding Critters toy range that teaches kids the basics of coding using storytelling, creative thinking and interactive toys for a screen-free learning experience.

STEM toys for 5-year-olds

We can’t speak for all children, but we know that robots are an area of fascination for many of them. When they have mastered a basic range of motor skills, they can begin to enter the realm of mechanical engineering with simple robot-building kits. With Thames & Kosmos Kids First Robot Safari, Robot Pet Shop, and Robot Factory, they can build everything from narwhals and baby llamas, to French bulldogs and turtles, to a bunch of decidedly wacky robots, all motorized and powered by AA batteries (not included). Parents, we won’t blame you if you indulge in a little robot-building after the kids are in bed.

STEM toys for 6-year-olds

There comes a point in nearly every kid’s life when their urge to experiment turns them more into mad scientists than budding engineers. Luckily, there are STEM toys that will channel those urges in an educational direction while still ensuring a good time for the young ones. Once again, it’s Thames & Kosmos to the rescue with a series of DIY kits—Rainbow Gummy Candy Lab, Gross Gummy Candy Lab, and Super Duper Bubble Gum Lab—that give kids the opportunity to explore the science of polymers as they concoct colorful and edible creations in a range of colors, shapes and sizes.

STEM toys for 7-year-olds

It’s a short leap from building robots to exploring basic electrical engineering via circuitry with Snap Circuits from Elenco Electronics. Each Snap Circuits kit follows a basic rows-and-columns base grid to create finished projects that function like actual circuit boards. Elenco offers a wide range of Snap Circuits kits from beginner to advanced for various ages and abilities from basic boards to arcades with build-and-play games.

STEM toys for 8-year-olds

As proof of their popularity, robots make another appearance on our suggested toy list, this time courtesy of SmartLab’s Tiny Robots. This miniature robotics kit fosters hands-on STEM learning about robotics, gears, axles, movement, balance and more. The natural world is also a source of curiosity for kids and we offer a variety of STEM-focused toys for them as well in the form of crystal-growing kits. They can choose crystals of all sizes and colors with shapes from unicorns to trees to hedgehogs to capture their interest. 

STEM toys for 9-year-olds

When the children in your life are looking for a more challenging robotics project to occupy their time and their brains, introduce them to the Thames & Kosmos My Robotic Pet Tumbling Hedgehog. The kit comes with 172 pieces, and when the adorable robotic pet hedgehog is complete, it will not only respond to sounds, but it will also tumble, roll, spin around, bristle its spines and more. Not quite the same as an actual pet hedgehog, but certainly easier to care for. 

STEM toys for 10-year-olds

Kids who are ready for more complex ways to pass the time will likely love Thames & Kosmos Architectural Engineering kit. Winner of a Parents’ Choice Award, this comprehensive kit allows kids to build more than 20 models of real-world buildings and other structural elements. They can begin with simple structures like arches and domes, and before they know it, they’ll be erecting replicas of the London Eye, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera House, all while learning about the real-world applications of architectural design, modern building materials, scale modeling and more. 

No matter the age of a child or student, our learning store has a range of STEM toys and activities to suit their unique interests and developmental level. Being a student of STEM has never been so much fun!

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