STEM Toys for Girls and Boys
My daughter (age 8) and son (age 3) are really into playing with Legos lately. In fact, building and playing with Lego bricks is an activity where they both have interests so they end up spending quite a bit of time playing together. The best part is that they are not only building houses, firehouses, bat caves, and space hospitals. They also spend a fair amount of time playing pretend with them once their structures are complete. Although Legos will definitely be on their holiday lists, I wanted to seek out other building and science toys that will not only engage them but also build their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. Here are a few STEM toys that I have found that look like a lot of fun – for mom and dad too. I think a few of these will definitely be on my holiday shopping list this year…
Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids: STEM Toys for Boys and Girls
Magnetic Builders: My son absolutely loves to play Magna-tiles at his Bright Horizons preschool. He builds firehouses and uses the firemen from the pretend play area as the occupants. His teachers tell me he could spend all day playing with these. Some other options for magnetic builders include Arx which are half circle builders and Davinci Block Sets which has different sets, such as gears, aircraft and automobile.
Marble Mazes: There are many marble maze toys available for all levels of play. What I like most about the marble mazes on my list is that you really don’t need the marbles if you have a young child and are concerned with them as a potential choking hazard. The stacking and building structures look fun as is. Here are my favorite ones: Q-BA-Maze are 120 colorful cubes that can be built into elaborate buildings, animals, geometric shapes, and more. Mega Marble Run is a 215-piece classic marble building set complete with tracks, funnels, wheels, and more. Marble Runaround is 45 colorful wooden blocks and ramps if you’re looking for a smaller set.
Gears and Drills: Owen is very mechanical and always constructing – and deconstructing – toys and other household items. So to save all my flashlights and pens from attack, here are a few gears and drill toys that have made it to my toy list: Design & Drill Activity Center, Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set, and Wonder Gears Magnetic Board.
Roominate: I’ve seen Roominate pop up on social media recently as a great STEM toy for girls. My son loves to play with Polly Pockets with his sister and this building set makes me think we’ve found a perfect pairing.
Connectagons: Connectagons are a unique spin on building sets in that kids can build in many different directions – taller, wider, rounder, more square – and they come in a variety of shapes and patterns. I really like the glow-in-the-dark outer space one because it has a great secondary science connection.
Domino Race Set: I loved building with dominoes when I was little and this Domino Race Set is so much more fun and colorful than the traditional ones I grew up with. The cool thing about dominoes is that not only can kids learn basic engineering concepts but you can also encourage children to count the tiles or to make estimates on how many they’ll need in the structure – great for building math skills!
Science & Nature Kits: My kids spend a lot of time outside and love learning about the natural world. Here are a couple of science and nature educational kits: Root-Vue Farm where kids can plant and track the growth of different vegetables, Terrarium Domes allows kids to get a 360 degree view of the growing cycle, and this Butterfly Garden is a fun way for kids to learn about the insect lifecycle.
Finally, I stumbled upon this cool STEM book that older children and their parents will enjoy reading. The Art of Tinkering profiles 150+ makers who share the stories behind their work. Maybe someday my kids will be among that group. In the meantime, I’m off to ponder which of these STEM toys for boys and girls to buy my kids this year. Do you or your kids have any favorites? Share them in the comments area below.
- Kindergarten Prep STEM Activity: Watch children learn about the effects of ramp height on speed with this classroom STEM activity.
- Growing Scientists at Bright Horizons: Activities and ideas to encourage scientific curiosity at home
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Science TV Shows for Kids
- Read more posts about math and science and posts about children’s toys from the Family Room bloggers