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Combining playtime with education is a fun way for kids to learn. So what better way to do that than with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toys? These hands-on games are perfect for kids of all ages and are a surefire entertaining way to encourage learning.
Below are the perfect STEM toys for the youngster in your life.
Kids can complete more than 100 electronics projects with the Snap Circuits Jr. Kit. It includes more than 30 pieces that you snap together, creating real electrical circuits without any soldering or tools. This kit is best for kids ages 8 and up, and if they love it, you can expand it with one of the several upgrade kits.
"Our kids tinkered away for an hour straight after we opened the box, then later requested even more playtime—and there was plenty to do! Because kids can create their own designs after they’ve gone through all of the experiments, there’s more to do beyond the pages of the manual, which adds a lot of value to this kit."—Sarah Wassner Flynn, Product Tester
This highly-rated building set is designed for kids 3 and up, and they’ll use the magnetic pieces to build all sorts of amazing structures. This set comes with 100 pieces in different shapes, sizes, and colors, which encourage open-ended play while kids work on spatial and tactile skills.
"The magnets snap together easily, making it effortless for younger kids who are still developing their motor skills."—Danielle Directo-Meston, Product Tester
Gravity Maze is a super fun logic game that kids will want to play again and again. It comes with 60 challenges of increasing difficulty, where you have to build mazes for marbles to roll down. It’s won a number of awards, including Toy of the Year, and makes a great gift for children 8 and up.
The Osmo Genius Kit is an incredibly unique set of learning games that kids ages 6 to 10 can play on their iPads. There are five hands-on learning games included, each of which includes physical game pieces and teaches concepts like problem-solving, spelling, counting, and creative drawing.
"The Osmo Genius Kit combines digital learning with hands-on activities—the combination of which keeps tactile learners fully engaged. After observing our 7-year-old nephew playing a few games (and partaking in a few ourselves) we saw how he was able to build social, emotional, and spatial skills."—The Spruce Product Tester
The best STEM toys teach children science, technology, engineering, and math skills in a fun and immersive way. This toy perfect for children ages 6 will have them learning real coding skills with Bit, the coding robot. There are two different ways to play with this cool robot: using markers to draw out commands for him, or with the OzoBlockly programming editor, which lets kids write real code. It’s the perfect way to introduce children to this valuable skill.
"While right out of the box the Ozobot is ideal for a 6-year-old, you can beef up the gadget with additional visual programming simply by downloading a free corresponding app called Ozoblocky. The app allows the Ozobot to grow with your child, transforming them from a beginner coder to Google-ready engineers (ok maybe not quite that advanced)."—The Spruce Product Tester
Though this is a perfect gift for older kids and tweens, parents may be tempted to tinker around with this as well. The laser cut pieces, cranks, and gears need to be assembled to form a galloping horse. This item teaches children about engineering and motor skills, and the final product is an absolute masterpiece anyone can be proud to display.
For young scientists, this spy-themed kit will be the ultimate present. They’ll be able to solve two exciting mysteries by matching fingerprints, learning about DNA, testing powders, and decoding secret messages. It’s best for kids 8 and up, and the kit includes all the ingredients needed to complete eight activities.
"Our 8-year-old tester was able to manipulate the materials without any adult assistance. It was a bit messy, but I’m of the school that if you’re not making a mess, you’re not having nearly enough fun."—The Spruce Product Tester
You’re never too young to start learning STEM skills! This adorable caterpillar-inspired toy teaches children ages 3 to 6 coding basics, as each segment of the bug is programmed to turn the critter in a different direction. Kids can rearrange the pieces to send the toy on unique paths, learning as they have a blast!
For those kids who love video games, why not give them the tools to make their very own game? With the Bloxels kit, kids ages 8 to 13 can build real game settings using the game board and colored blocks, then play with their creations in the Bloxels Builder app.
This set puts a fun twist on a classic childhood activity. The Hape Dynamo Kid’s Wooden Domino Set includes more than 100 pieces that kids can line up and knock down creating a domino effect. There are even special features, such as a bridge, bell, and other various tricks.
This sand isn’t anything like the stuff you find at the beach. Kinetic Sand stimulates kid’s creative and sensory skills, as it oozes and melts through your fingers, yet holds its shape when pressed together. It will keep kids ages 3 and up engaged for hours—and it’s fun for adults, too.
Your curious tot will have fun with this toy for hours on end. The puzzle comes with 10 shapes and they have to fit the appropriate block into the right space. The piece are large enough so small hands (ages two and up) can easily grip them and the toy encourages problem-solving and motor skills.
Giving your kids tools can be scary, but a kid-safe tool, like the one in this Educational Insights toy, is safe and educational. Children ages three and up can use the drill to operate the pickup truck's lift arm and other functions. If you're into sustainability, you'll be happy to know the packaging is actually a part of the play set.