Education and career opportunities have so drastically changed since the age of computers that it’s difficult to imagine what the jobs of tomorrow might be, making STEM learning a focus of today’s youth. STEM refers to four different academic disciplines that serve as the foundation for many innovative global industries, including: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education refers to teaching and learning in these fields including educational activities across all grade levels from pre-school to post-doctorate. STEM toys are at the forefront for making children more comfortable with the challenges, and solutions, found in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We’ve created a list of our favorite STEM toys for young learners.
STEM Toys for Young Learners
Magformers – Magformers Rainbow Set
Magformers lets kids explore magnetic construction through modular creative play. Perfect STEM toys, each geometric shape contains magnets that never reject, so you’ll always hear Magformers click. They are colorful, sturdy, and a heck of a lot easier to pick up than LEGO. Containing 13 basic shapes, combine these with accessories to build vehicles, houses, and unique creations.
They are durable, fun, educational, the magnetic quality is excellent, and the building possibilities are endless. Within an hour of opening the Magformers box, Athena built a turtle, a heart, a boat, and a microphone. They were the first toy she wanted to play with on Christmas morning and they still haven’t lost their appeal. We build together and separately, using the design outlines and making our own creations. Magformers are at the top of our list for best STEM toys for young learners.
Tinkering Labs – The Electric Motors Catalyst
Tinkering Labs is a unique introduction to engineering robotics circuit building projects for kids and teens. Their kits provide STEM-based challenges to get kids out of a rigid, model-building mindset, and into open-ended creativity. The kits come with challenge cards that encourage kids to build a machine that can scramble an egg, then rebuild a robotic creation into a creature with spinning arms, or construct a robot that will give you enough time to take a nap. The pieces and parts inside are a combination of the everyday and the mysterious. Each kit includes: electric components, wooden components, hardware and connectors, tools and supplies, storage, and extras. The best part about Tinkering Labs sets are that they are designed to be taken apart and rebuilt continuously, providing endless hours of creativity and fun.
For Christmas, Athena got an Electric Motors Catalyst kit and we got another kit for her best friend. They had creation contests against each other and worked on their teamwork skills while building creations together. Admittedly, the parents weren’t immune to the creative fun of the Electric Motors Catalyst kits either. We teamed up with our spouses and challenged each other to unique building contests.
littleBits – Electronic Music Inventor Kit
There are dozens of kits that let children and adults build their own STEM toys. We love the idea of allowing Athena’s creativity to flourish by actively creating toys and being part of the process. littleBits is a system of electronic building blocks that snap together to turn ideas into inventions. With the Electronic Music Inventor Kit, kids build and customize a guitar or drums or even a creation of their own by using littleBits electronic building blocks.
Athena built her own rockin’ synth guitar in less than an hour with the Electronic Music Inventor Kit. Although this kit is designed for children ages 8+, Athena worked diligently with a little guidance to create sweet synth sounds.
With STEM toys, Kids can have fun while developing important skills and learning about the world. STEM toys are hands-on and encourage creativity, exploration, and experimentation. What other STEM toys would you add to the list for young learners?