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If you are looking for a gift for a girl who already loves science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or you want to help them delve into STEM, a toy geared toward these interests is a great way to combine education and play.
From robotic toys to building kits to chemistry sets, there are tons of STEM-based options out there designed that'll encourage girls to explore the world and use their imagination.
Here, the best STEM toys and gifts for girls of all ages.
LEGO Women of Nasa LEGO Set
Celebrate the woman of NASA with this iconic LEGO set. It features three LEGO builds and four mini figures highlighting the areas of expertise of four women in science: Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison. With 231 pieces, this set is aimed at kids ages 10 and up and would be a great bonding activity as you learn all about some of the smartest and most notable women at NASA.
National Smithsonian Institute Smithsonian Super Dig
Excavate gemstones and minerals at your very own dig site. Simply use the included mallet and dowel to chip away at the blocks and see what you find. Then you can inspect your findings, which also include a a T-rex skeleton, with the included magnifying glass and goggles.
Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit
Young girls will love becoming a scientist in their own home with this accessible and multifunctional science kit. Little scientists receive 20 pieces including test tubes, measuring spoons, cotton swabs, and more. It also comes with everything you need to complete 11 educational and mind-blowing experiments that double as a bonding activity.
Guidecraft Grippies Builders
Little girls are never too young to start learning about STEM concepts! The award-winning Guidecraft Grippies Builders set is an open-ended activity for toddlers 18 months and older. The 20-piece set comes with a variety of oversized soft plastic rods and balls with four unique textures. The pieces snap together using magnets, allowing toddlers to create a huge variety of shapes as they engage in a little tactile exploration.
Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Build & Bloom Building Set
This set comes with 116 colorful pieces shaped like gears, cranks, flowers, garden critters, stems, and more. The parts are all interchangeable, so young girls can create complex garden designs then use the cranks to put their creativity in motion. Buyers love that there are endless ways to put this set together, and many note young girls love learning about mechanical concepts as they create fun, colorful garden designs.
VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam
For the kids who are a bit too small for an expensive camera, this VTech camera is a great option for creative kids. It’s durable, and it features a wrist strap for easy carrying and a handy tripod stand. The camera shoots HD video and even has built-in editing capabilities. Kids will get a kick out of the more than 20 animated backgrounds.
Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Exploration Kit
The Snap Circuits kit includes more than 30 pieces that easily snap together—no soldering necessary. Kids ages 8 and up can use this kit to create real, working electrical circuits, completing projects like powering a flashing light or a siren. The manual includes instructions for more than 100 projects, and parents say it’s the perfect balance of fun and challenging.
Crayola Build A Beast Craft Kits
This toy is great for kids who love animals or those who just love building. Instead of a set of blocks, the kit allows kids to essentially build and mold, animals. The kit comes with three animal frames (shark, chameleon, and alligator), and they have to connect the parts and use the clay to mold the figures. The animals’ tails even wiggle and shake.
HEXBUG JUNKBOTS Dumpster Kit
This Hexbug Junkbot is full of surprises. The dumpster comes full of a range of mysterious parts and kids have to assemble them to create their own mini motorized bots or figures. Parents will love watching kids get creative and flex their imagination using the more than 50 pieces in the box to create mystery critters.
3Doodler Start Make Your Own HEXBUG Creature 3D Pen Set
If she’s old enough to hold a pen or pencil, then this will be a great gift. The 3Doodler operates like a pen but instead of ink, it creates fun appendages like wings and legs for the included bug molds. Kids can get really creative with colors and designs to create the bug of their dreams. The creepy crawlers even have motors and can buzz and move about.
YELLOW SCOPE Foundation Chemistry Kit
This chemistry kit is specifically designed for ages 8 to 12. The Foundation Chemistry Kit includes real lab equipment, including everything girls need to learn about chemical reactions, molecular motion, and more. The lab notebook also contains fun facts, quizzes, and room for kids to create their own experiments! The kit keeps young girls busy for hours, and the supplies are high-quality and worth the price.
Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set
The Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot will introduce young girls to coding concepts without the need for a smartphone or other device. The 77-piece set includes a remote programmer that you use to control the robot, as well as 40 coding cards, obstacle-building pieces, a starter guide, and more. Kids will learn about concepts like looping commands as they drive Botley around using the screen-free remote.
Osmo Genius Kit
What’s unique about the Osmo Genius Kit is it combines on-screen activities with physical puzzle and game pieces, helping kids exercise both spatial and visual problem-solving skills. The games teach math, spelling, drawing, and more. Plus, it’s a great way to encourage kids to make screen time more educational—while still being fun.
Spin Master Rubik’s Perplexus Hybrid 2 x 2 Game
Challenging games and puzzles can build skills and encourage curiosity. The Rubik’s Perplexus combines two games so kids have to wind the steel ball through the maze. There are 100 challenge barriers along the way that make the task more difficult but also make it so satisfying to finally solve it. This is a great option for older kids (and even adults) as the game is designed for ages 8 and up.
What to Look for in STEM Toys for Girls
It’s important to make sure that the toy or activity that you are considering is geared toward your child’s age. If it is too simple, they could get bored. A toy that is above their level could discourage them from STEM. Look for a toy that will challenge her mind and allow her to experience the pride of creating, achieving, and exploring.
STEM toys are great for all children, regardless of gender. “Girls and boys both love STEM,” says Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia. “They have the same interests, and there’s no need to meet a certain marketing palette." We agree—any choices on this list make great options for both boys and girls.
Always follow the safety instructions included with a STEM toy. Many of our favorite STEM toys include small pieces, chemicals, or mechanical parts that could pose a safety hazard, especially for young children. If you are unsure, keep the toy or activity for times that you can supervise and play together.
STEM toys and activities are a great way to incorporate learning into your play. Look for a toy that teaches your child about something new or allows them to explore problems to create their own solutions. Building toys, chemistry sets, and other interactive toys are a great way to do this.
One of the principles of STEM is to allow children to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, and math. Toys that allow for open-ended play get kids to use their imaginations and can offer hours of fun, coming up with a different path every time.
Why are STEM toys important?
STEM toys are important because they help to build skills related to creative thinking, building, math, and sciences. For girls especially, these toys are important to foster higher-level thinking in industries that tend to be male-dominated.
When did STEM toys begin?
The term "STEM" has been around for years, but it officially because an academic concept in the 1990s. Nowadays, STEM and STEM-based toys are more prevalent to encourage hands-on learning in (primarily) the math and sciences at an earlier age.
Why Trust The Spruce
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets as well as appearing on air for The Today Show, WEtv, and she was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City. Additional reporting was done by Julia Fields, lifestyle writer and assistant editor at The Spruce who regularly covers toy, gift, and holiday product roundups.