Best STEM Toys in 2023
Have you ever had an experience where you get super excited about adding a new toy to your child’s play shelf?
Then the excitement comes tumbling down when it ends up sitting on the shelf, because your child’s uninterested.
We’ve been there. It is hard to know what will really catch their interest and provide hours of play on end. Not only hours of play, but beneficial play. Where they are learning in tandem.
My family has loads of experience with testing out various different STEM toys. This has allowed us to overtime, collect information on what makes a great STEM toy. We have taken the guesswork out for you!
Below is our list of the top STEM toys on the market right now. We have categorized them by age group, from youngest to oldest. Want to do your own research? Be sure to scroll through to check out our STEM Toys Buyers guide below.
Now, Let’s get into the best STEM toys in 2023!
Magna tiles are a hot STEM toy. They’ve been on the market for a while, and we can see their longevity going far. These translucent, magnet-clicking tiles are recommended for ages 3 and up.
They are the perfect gift for your little builders out there. It supports hours of endless play, fosters creativity, and checks the trial-and-error box. Check out our deep-dive article on Magna Tiles for Toddlers.
Why We Love it:
- It’s a well-made product built to last for years.
- The colorful translucent tiles make for beautiful creations!
- A toy that grows with your child. Meaning older kids love Magna Tiles too!
Check out more STEM Toys comparison of Magna Tiles vs Picasso Tiles.
LaraDola Take Apart Dinosaurs
These build and take apart dinosaurs (for ages 4+) have thousands of positive reviews! This toy is one of a kind where your child can build the toy and then play. Usually, a toy that needs to be built requires adult support.
With the Laradola dinosaur, your child gets to practice their building skills with child-friendly screws and an electric drill. Once they’re built you’ve got hours of play and can even take them apart.
Why We Love it
- Durable ABS materials are used so the dinos are built to last.
- We love that this is a STEM toy that is specific for all your dino lovers out there.
- You can mix and match the dino parts. Have you ever seen a tyrannosaurus triceratops?
Check out more STEM Toys recommendations for this age group The Best STEM Toys for 5-6-Year-Olds.
Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
This Code & Go Robot Mouse set is the perfect introduction to coding for your four-year-old (ages 4 and up). Your child uses coding cards to set up a programmable maze for their robot mouse to roam around and find the grand prize – a slice of cheese!
The best activity to watch your work come to life!
Why We Love It
- A simple screen-free, easy-to-follow introduction to coding.
- Double-sided activity cards for hours of maze construction fun.
- Teaches sequential thought, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Our family loves subscription boxes, but especially STEM subscription boxes. Lovevery is a subscription box geared towards children ages 0-4 years old.
It comes with high-quality STEM toys built to last, and challenge your little ones’ thinking. Each piece is for hands on, open ended play.
Why We Love It
- Stage-based play designed for your child’s development
- Helps rotate new and engaging toys every couple of months to keep your child interested.
- The perfect gift for a child and their family in this age group!
Our Lovevery review does a full breakdown of what is included. We can promise you’ll love them as much as we do!
Gravitrax Marble Run
A gravity based marble run with multiple tracks to build! The Gravitrax Marble run is meant for ages 8 and up. This is an open ended concept marble run that includes elements of gravity, magnetism, and kinetics to experiment with the speed of your marble ball.
Why We Love it
- Kids get to experiment with elements of physics!
- They can create marble run designs from scratch.
- Supports key STEM elements of innovation, building, and testing.
Check out more STEM Toys recommendations for this age group The Best STEM Toys for 7-8-Year-Olds.
Fort Building Kits
Remember the days where you’d grab a bunch of blankets and use living room furniture to build the ultimate fort?
Well no furniture is needed with these fort-building kits (ages 4 and up). Kids LOVE to create something that they themselves can fit inside of. A spaceship, a castle, or even a car! The creative options are endless with these fort-building kits.
Why We Love it
- The perfect gift for siblings. Have an older and younger sibling? This is a giant STEM gift that meets a wide age range.
- We love the opportunity for building AND imaginative play.
- Straightforward pieces that are easy to use.
Do your kids love building forts? I know mine do! Please check out our review of Make-a-Fort to see the best kit I’ve found.
Snap Circuits Junior
The STEM toy for your little engineers out there and beyond. My son loves these and plays with them for hours. Snap Circuits are a classic electronic circuit toy.
It teaches the basics of how electricity works. How cool is that? This Snap Circuit kit is recommended for ages 8 and up.
Why We Love it
- You can create hundreds of snap circuit projects.
- Another grow-as-you-go toy. The projects can be more challenging and complex the older your child gets.
- Offers an easy-to-follow project manual that educates you on all the parts.
- You can follow the guides to get started before making your own projects.
Check out more STEM Toys recommendations for this age group The Best STEM Toys for 9-10-Year-Olds.
If your kids are into circuits and electronics, make sure to take a look at our article, where we compare the two best circuit kits, Snap Circuits vs. LittleBits – What’s the Best Electronics Kit?
STEM Solar Robot Kit
This robot kit is for kids ages 8 and up. It’s a comprehensive robot kit where you can make up to 12 different robots. Best of all you can make your own from scratch.
From an autobot to a surfbot, the robot world comes to life with this hands-on robot kit. With easy-to-follow instructions, your child will challenge their skills to engineer a fully working robot.
Why We Love it
- It is a solar powered robot operated by the sun with no batteries required.
- High quality, BPA free parts that are safe and easy to build with.
- A great individual activity or collaborative activity to do with a friend or family member.
Huaker Engineering STEM Building Kit
This is not your typical STEM building block kit. This building kit (for ages 3 and up) promotes fine motor development with their clickable, moveable pieces.
This set includes 125 different shaped pieces that actually allow their visions to come to life as they can move and roll. Similar to Magna Tiles, this building kit can grow with your child and never get old.
Why We Love it
- Promotes vision building that can come to life!
- From action figures to vehicles, the options are wide when it comes to building.
- The way the pieces click together requires focus and patience. Great skills to practice!
MakeBlock Coding Robot
Have a child who wants to learn more about robotics and coding? This MakeBlock coding robot is the perfect toy for them (ages 8 and up).
The MakeBlock coding robot introduces programming and electronic robot building in a step-by-step way. It includes interactive block and text-based programming software, which allows kids to explore the different movements, lights, sounds, and sensors. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with it, you can remote-control your new robot for hours!
Why We Love it
- This is my number one recommended coding robot. My kids and I have tried about a dozen so far.
- The robot can be built in multiple ways!
- This toy incorporates technology in a purposeful way.
- Your child can easily assemble this on their own.
My son loves this robot and uses it all the time to help him get started coding. Please take a look at our full review of mBot Neo here.
STEM Toy Buyers Guide
First, you might ask, “why a STEM Toy versus a traditional educational toy?” The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The foundation of STEM is supporting child development and learning by creating spaces for them to engage with the world around them.
They aren’t sitting at a desk listening to a lecture or reading textbooks to memorize rote concepts. They are in a group engaging, discussing, problem-solving, and managing mistakes as they come.
That same visual is true when it comes to STEM Toys. Here are a few tips to follow that will help create this visual in your home or the one you are buying for!
This one might be a given, but does the product specifically state that it is a STEM promoting toy?
Or does it fall into one of the STEM subjects or categories we list below? Then you know you are on the right track. It is also helpful to think of the one you are buying for and what subjects might peak their interest.
STEM is all about hands-on open-ended exploration. There are no predetermined end goals or final creations. This allows children to build, explore, create, and do it all over again with a new idea.
Trial and Error
Can it fall? Be re-built? Are there a variety of ways it can operate? When the toy has built in opportunities for trial and error, it allows the child to regulate any frustration and find a new solution. This requires time and patience, but are essential life skills.
It may need initial support from a caregiver or questions to help them through stuck points. A majority of it should support the child’s ability to play and explore using their own choices.
In this day and age it has become increasingly more difficult to encourage screen free play. While there are many benefits to technology (ex. coding), finding a STEM toy that will support your child’s learning is priceless. We hope this article guides you in the direction of finding the perfect toy for the child you are shopping for, for endless screen free play!
If you need some more gift ideas or want a breakdown of STEM toys for age and categories, then take a look at our STEM toy buyers guide.