When embarking on preparing children for elementary school and the future, parents believe that replacing playtime with literacy and numeracy learning is the optimum way to get their children’s minds developing early.
However, studies have shown that earlier play-based learning, obtained from simply playing with a toy, is ideal for building preschoolers’ problem-solving, critical, and creative thinking.
Furthermore, the School of Education suggests that the toys more likely to develop creative problem solvers are STEM toys.
With STEM toys for kids, you are not only potentially piquing your child’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; you are providing them with STEM skills that will benefit them in a competitive world.
With that in mind, here is a list of the best STEM toys that preschoolers (children aged 3-5) could use for early play-related learning.
Magformers Maggy’s House Magnetic Play Set
- The original and authentic Magformers. Build with 20 squares, 2 triangles, 8 rectangle and 2 right angle isosceles triangle. Add a LED light, stairs, balconies, walls and more to create your dream house.
- Perfect for brain development, critical thinking and education.
- Step-by-step educational idea booklet with follow along ideas and instructions.
Engineering toys for girls are less available in the market than those created for boys. This is why the Magformers Maggy’s House Magnetic Playset comes in as a toy we particularly love.
It comes with 33 colorful magnet tiles and other colorful pieces used to build and decorate your child’s very own toy houses. It can also transform into a gender-neutral toy set for kids interested in building their own dog house despite being created for girls.
While playing with this magnetic playset, kids gain an introduction to engineering concepts and stand to expand their fine motor skills and problem-solving skills.
LeapFrog Count Along Register
- Count on big learning fun with a singing register pal that counts, talks and sings—20 checkout items included! Requires 3 AAA batteries (included for product demonstration only; replace for home use). for ages 2 and up.
- Counting and imaginative role play combine with a register pal that comes to life with 50+ fun phrases and educational songs. Spunky, singing register has plenty of numbers, counting and role play skills in store.
- Set up your store! Place food items on a table or shelves, give your customers their coins, and invite them on a shopping spree! Shop for milk and eggs. Scan the carrots. Insert the correct amount of coins or swipe a shopping card.
With colorful pieces and a cash register with a gleaming smile, LeapFrog Count Along with Register, ideal for children three and four, is a great learning toy choice for children with curious minds.
By playing with the talking and singing cash register, children in their early years ring up on basic math skills – and stand to have so much fun playing a pretend shop owner. Playful comments accompanied by a beeping sound make this fun register pal come to life. It is an engaging toy that encourages imaginative role-play while adding learning to the cart as your child explores counting and colors.
CreateOn 123 Chalkboard Magna-Tile Structures
- The fun activities and colorful, attractive artwork presented on each magnetic tile makes for an attractive teaching, reviewing and practicing tool that will captivate your child for hours.
- Get ready for your child to have tons of fun learning numbers with addition and subtraction problems. STEAM and problem-solving skills as he or she plays.
- This magnetic building set also helps young learners build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills as they solve problems and learn numbers.
Your child can never have too many Math toys, and that is why in addition to all the great choices on this list, gifting your child with the CreateOn 123 Chalkboard Magna-Tile Structures would be the best decision you can make to help your little ones familiarise themselves with basic math.
The educational set comes with magnetic pieces loaded with colors, attractive artwork, and fun activities for a great math teaching, reviewing, and practicing tool that will captivate your child for hours.
But the learning does not stop there. Young learners can also build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills as they solve problems and learn numbers with this magnetic tile building set. With the Magna-Tiles Chalkboard 123 number set by CreateOn, little hands over the age of 3 years old will be able to learn a lot in a fun, frustration-free way.
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar
- Early coding and problem-solving toy for preschoolers ages 3-6 years
- 1 motorized head and 5 permanently attached segments
- Each segment has a dial for kids to turn to program a path for Code-a-pillar Twist
With more than 1,000 possible coding combinations and a Code-a-Pillar that kids can explore, the Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, a caterpillar robot, is perfect for preschoolers ages 3-6. To move the caterpillar, preschoolers can twist the dials on its segments, creating a sequence and sending it along its preprogrammed path with forward, right, and left movements. Preschoolers can also add exciting lights and sounds! While playing with this great learning toy, your child exercises important skills like problem-solving, planning, and sequencing.
TINKERTOY Super Building Set
- FUN AND COLORFUL – Enjoy interactive fun and excitement with the TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set! This set contains 200 brightly colored classic parts, including spools, flags, washers, rods, and end caps. With 30 models to build, these durable plastic pieces can unleash your kids’ engineering talents as they build castles, houses, bicycles, friendly creatures, and more.
- ADVANCED PRESCHOOL LEARNING – The TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set advances your child’s education with STEAM concepts. The creation of models lets children hone their analytical skills and imaginations.
- FLEXIBLE CONSTRUCTION PIECES – The durable plastic pieces are 100% authentic, safe to use and they are made in the USA. Some rods and connectors are flexible enough to bend into your intended structures, allowing for a greater range of creations. They’re simple to assemble and disassemble, making it easier for your kids to design their own constructions.
The good old-fashioned building set by TinkerToy is awesome for fuelling your preschooler’s imagination and potentially interesting them in engineering. Consisting of 200 brightly colored plastic parts, including spools, flags, washers, rods, and end caps, your little tots can go wild with their imagination, building anything from castles, bicycles, friendly creatures, or even a windmill.
And if they need some ideas on what to build next, the TinkerToy building set comes with a helpful instruction booklet with 30 creation ideas.
The creation of models with TinkerToy is perfect for helping your children hone their analytical skills and imaginations. Other than being great for teaching your child STEM concepts, it is user-friendly. The durable plastic pieces are 100% authentic, safe to use, and are made in the USA.
Additionally, some of the rods and connectors included in this kit are flexible enough to bend into any structure, allowing for a greater range of creations.
Learning Resources Jumbo Magnifiers
- These extra large magnifiers put science into big time view for young children
- Teachers can introduce early scientific exploration and investigation with a tool that real scientists use
- Sized perfectly for small hands
Learning Resources Jumbo Magnifiers enables children to get up close with nature and other intriguing discoveries through a set of magnifying glasses that are easy to hold and shatterproof. Kids aged three and up can use these magnifiers to take a closer look at critters, rocks, and so much more, potentially increasing their interest in nature and science.
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit
- OSMO IS MAGIC: Fun-filled & award winning learning games. Children interact with actual hand held pieces & an iPad, bringing a child's game pieces & actions to life (No WiFi necessary for game play). An Osmo Base is included, an iPad is not included, both are required for game play.
- TEACHING: Little Genius Starter Kit includes fun preschool learning toys that will transform how your child learns. The 4 educational games in the kit will help your child recognize letters and learn phonics (ABCs), develop pre-drawing skills (Squiggle Magic), identify social-emotional cues, and experiment with clothes and colors (Costume Party), and develop problem-solving skills (Stories).
- SKILLS LEARNED: 4 educational games - your child will develop creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, verbal proficiency, empathy, and spatial reasoning. These interactive learning games teach core subjects in the most innovative way possible.
Although it is best to keep preschoolers completely away from the screen, we’ll put in an exception with the Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit because once you get to interact with the game, you will realize the screen time is not that bad. The Osmo starter kit uses an iPad, a reflector, and other pieces that come in the kit to give children a tech learning experience with innovative technology.
All your children have to do is place their iPad or Kindle Fire on a base that comes with the kit, pop on the reflector, and watch their game pieces come to life. The kit comes with shapes used in four learning activities, including ABCs, Squiggle Magic, Costume Party, and Stories.
Each teaches your kids motor-sensory skills, critical thinking, and core subjects. The Osmo Little Genius Kit makes for a perfect holiday gift for children aged 3-5.
Code ‘n’ Learn Kinderbot
- Interactive robot friend for preschoolers ages 3-6 years
- 3 ways to play: free coding, learning challenges, and “secret codes”
- Input a code to decide where Code 'n Learn Kinderbot goes
If you are keen on having your child learn coding skills, then Code n Learn Kinderbot is the perfect toy to bring loads of coding fun for your little tots. The KinderBot is a robot toy that, apart from enabling your children to study color and shapes, comes with a secret code challenge for programming the robot to move in different directions.
And what kids might find to be the most fun part of this toy is that it offers several journies of discovery and learning through the various levels of coding. First, kids can play around with the buttons on this robot toy to discover what happens as they press different buttons.
The next two additional levels of coding are incorporated with greater challenges to further develop your little ones’ coding techniques. Also included in the kit are “simple machines” such as a wedge and lever. These machines can be programmed to perform tricks.
Primary Science Lab Activity Set
- PRESCHOOL SCIENCE KITS: Foster a curiosity for science by conducting real hands-on experiments
- SCIENCE SET LAB: Visually appealing science tools and easy-to-follow, beginner science activities
- REAL LIFE TOOLS AND TODDLER SCIENCE GOGGLES: Learn the names of science tools and broaden your child's understanding of science terms
If you think your child might be interested in jobs in science when they grow up, and you want to give them an early introduction to what works as a scientist, then having them play with science toys is a safe way to do so.
The Primary Science Lab Activity set is full of colorful and engaging pieces, just what is needed to get your little one interested in their first experiment.
Some of the interesting pieces included in the set are goggles, test tubes, a beaker, a funnel, and more. And if you are worried your child might run out of experiments to conduct or not know what to do in the first place, the set comes with activity cards that show ten different experiments, such as cleaning coins.
Outdoor Explorer Kit
- Every Tool and Inspection Kit Needed: Provide your kids anything they want with this outdoor adventure toys kit; 5x power magnification binoculars, compass, butterfly net, magnifying glass, backyard exploration critter case, whistle, tweezers and bug containers, hat and backpack, 4 5 7 year old boy gifts
- Nature Explorer and Adventure Kit: With a binoculars, kids can see everything in nature more clearly; Compass helps you find your way and find your peace of mind again with the coolest lensatic compass ever; Teach your kids about the basics of drection and how to read maps
- Nature Bug Catcher and Bug Gather Kit: 4 x magnification for examining plants, insects, and rocks; Wonderfully fun for camping trips and outdoor or indoor investigations; Catching the insects you are interested in; Kids don't have to touch the bugs; Kids will enjoy hours of fun studying the fascinating world of backyard critters with the backyard exploration critter case
For many kids, nothing is more exciting than interacting with creepy crawlies that would typically spook the life out of an adult. Suppose your kid is the type to follow bugs around; the outdoor explorer kit is perfect for encouraging their appreciation of nature and perhaps could even stir up a liking for careers such as naturalist or entomologist.
You’ll find all the essential tools in this kit, including binoculars, insect collectors, a net, a flashlight, a magnifying glass, a compass, and even dinosaur and insect toys for fun. There is a child-sized backpack included with the set that can hold everything.
With all the adventure this kit offers, the outdoor explorer could easily be referred to as one of the most adventurous STEM toys for young explorers!
- 🐵【 IDEAL TEACHING TOOL 】Our Monkey Balance Counting toy is an ideal STEM educational game to learn how to count. It is perfect for kids and toddlers learning math between ages 3-5.
- 🐵【 FUN WAY TO LEARN NUMBERS 】Introduces numbers in a fun way to maximize learning and retention for better learning.
- 🐵【 IMPROVE COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS 】Improve Memory, Visual and Spatial processing, Attention and Executive Functions crucial for brain development.
If you want to encourage an interest in maths, yet you know all too well, your child isn’t the type to be impressed by a maths learning session, then you should consider getting their little fingers to interact with Monkey Balance.
Monkey Balance makes acquiring maths skills entertaining with the help of the cute monkey, which helps them explore finding numbers and quantities that Balance. With Monkey Balance, your kids won’t realize that they are undergoing a maths class session.
Learning concepts such as basic numbers or math symbols recognition is taught through the challenges of this toy.
Wonderhood Building and Play Set: Pet Place
- Award-winning, deluxe building set empowers kids to be the Architect!
- Kids design and build their own custom Pet Day Care, Grooming Center, Veterinarian’s Clinic, and Pet Shop.
- Includes spinning Pet Exercise Wheel, and figurines of Izzy and her dog and bunny for endless imaginative play.
Pet Place is one of the Wonderhood Building play sets that let children build various structures, with children as young as four being able to assemble a creative structure without any help.
To make it young children friendly, Wonderhood replaced regular plastic bricks with washable plastic panels connected with plastic connectors, meant for various building designs.
The best part of this toy is that it comes with a helpful instruction manual filled with plenty of design guides that ditch the standard step-by-step instruction book formatting and incorporate stories for added literacy learning.
Kidtastic Junior Engineers Set
- Hours, Days, Weeks of creative play time for your kids: This is not one of those toys that kids will play with once and never take out again. These innovative take apart kits will become your kids favorite toy on a daily basis. The dreaded “mommy I’m bored" will become a thing of the past as your kids will be engrossed in these toys for a very long time. This pack of 7 take apart toys includes moveable vehicles and dinosaurs that come fully assembled. The Kit includes 192 pieces
- Encourages curiosity & Social Development: This pack of take apart toys with tools includes Train, Helicopter, Truck, Motorcycle and 3 Dinosaurs. Children are naturally curious, and they just love to fiddle and take things apart. This set of learning toys for 4 years olds and older, encourages them to do just that. The pack of 7 toys also includes 7 screwdrivers to encourage kids to play together. No more fighting over whose turn it is. Perfect for twins, playdates or families
- Improve Fine Motor Skills and Eye Coordination: The little screwdrivers will fit perfectly into your child's hand, so they can unscrew the different parts all by themselves. Mom and Dad don’t need to hover over your children as they play. Construction toys for boys and girls improve fine motor skills, logic and problem-solving skills. With this toy, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills are now fun and enjoyable for even the youngest of children
Created for children aged 3-6, the Kidtastic junior engineers set is perfect for kids who constantly use their hands to take things apart and then put them back together.
The take-apart toys that your children can spend hours having creative playtime with include Train, Helicopter, Truck, Motorcycle, and 3 Dinosaurs.
It also comes with seven screwdrivers that encourage cooperative play, where your kids can form part of a team of other children working their way to dismantle and then put together these creative pieces.
What we love most about this set is that it gets kids to familiarise themselves with the technology and engineering that go into building real-life structures.
- [Open-ended STEM Play] Control the coding movement of the robot by placing command cards on a path. Either a path on the maps provided or on a line drawn by the children themselves. The play set comes with 4 sets of command cards, 16 building blocks, and 4 themed maps to provide lots of STEM activities.
- [Sensor, Motor, Robotics] Features camera sensor, motors, LED lights and emoji showing screen! Children can customize their own robot with cute building blocks as well.It greatly develops kids’ creativity, patience, concentration and logical thinking ability.
- [Screenless Programming] With a pen, paper, and the command cards that come in the box, your children can program Botzees Mini! Cause and effect, if/then logic, sequencing, debugging, and more! No screens required!
Botzees is a hands-on coding robotics kit that uses Augmented Reality puzzles to combine creativity, construction, and coding.
Kids can program the Botzees from 130 easy-to-grip colorful blocks or design their own from six predesigned Botzees. The cute robot comes with two motors and one sensor.
A free Android and iOS app makes it easy to teach the robot to move, drum, dance, make sounds, and light up.
With drag-and-drop code blocks, children learn how to code easily.
With 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles, kids can learn coding basics like sequencing, looping, and conditional coding. Unfortunately, the toy isn’t suitable for three-year-old kids, but children aged four upwards are permitted to have as much fun with this creative coding experience.
These stem-related toys, suitable for preschoolers, are bound to have a long-lasting impact on their learning ability when they become elementary schooler and their overall thought process and critical thinking ability.
Additionally, having your children interact with stem toys early in their lives is a good way to encourage them to take up an interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths, and perhaps even pursue careers in these fields when they grow older.
And even if your children may not necessarily end up pursuing STEM careers, the critical thinking skills gained are a trait that many employers seek from potential employees before deciding to hire them. However you look at it, there is always a benefit to having your child experience play-based learning.