8 Awesome STEM Toys for 5-Year-Olds
Five-year-olds are enthusiastic learners and problem solvers.
At this age, they are learning to count, starting basic addition/subtraction, and telling time. This is an age where their enthusiasm for problem-solving should be encouraged!
You can help develop their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) knowledge in a fun way with educational toys for 5 and 6 year-olds.
The secret to building STEM skills to early learners is tapping in their innate curiosity.
They are already developing their engineering and math skills naturally through exploration. The Boston Children’s Museum has put together a great guide about teaching STEM skills to Pre-K children, including easy activities that will encourage them to explore further.
A key point we want to emphasize is that with these activities and toys, it is important to build confidence at this age. Ask “what” questions, instead of “why.” This allows the child to feel more like an expert, instead of their begin a singular correct answer.
For example, asking “What could the magnet pick up?” or “What happened there?” instead of “Why could the magnet only pick up certain things?” Some of those why questions, you may not even know yet! By asking the “what” questions, it is encouraging the child to observe and analyze the situation. Then, they will probably start asking you the “why” questions!
Now, let’s dive into the best STEM toys for 5 and 6 year-olds!
Botley is one of my favorite coding robots! You can start building basic problem-solving skills that you use when coding at an early age. The best part of Botley is that he’s screen-free. You have a remote where you enter Botley’s commands to program him to navigate a maze, move bricks, and more!
This is a great math game! With this game, your kids can work on basic addition, subtraction, and counting. It’s a fun & engaging way to build basic math skills! The numbers do only go up to 19, so you won’t be able to use it for double number arithmetic, which is its biggest drawback.
This science kit comes with everything you need to cast incredible “spells” and then learn the science behind the reaction! And it’s only $14 on Amazon, making it one of the most affordable science kits available. I love the magic theme of this kit! The science experiments will make your kids say, “whoa!” As you pretend you’re a wizard, it doesn’t feel like an educational toy at all!
This kit is great for 5 year-olds but does require adult supervision and help.
This fun kit simulates a real-life crystal hunt and plays on the already active imaginations of 5-year-olds. It is a great way to get children excited about geology and the natural world that surrounds them. It is a great independent gift for a 5-year-old, as they will be able to “excavate” the crystals on their own. Some reviewers recommended wearing goggles.
Now let’s get into some great building toys to develop engineering, creativity, and problem-solving skills!
These are the off-brand (way cheaper) alternative to Magna-tiles, but they are also perfectly compatible with Magna-Tiles! If you have a Magna-tiles lover, you can buy these sets to add to the collection, so your creations can keep growing! These are great as your 5-year-old can really get creative while building STEM skills.
Encourage your child to think about the strength of what they are building by asking those “what” questions. “What is the strongest building?” “What holds together best?”
According to the manufacturer, the recommended age for this K’NEX set is 7+, but we are adding it to the list as it can also be a great option for your 5 or 6-year-old. If you have a 5-year-old already working with building sets, this one is great! Some of the pieces might be more difficult for a 5-year-old to snap together, so you may need to help.
This kit is a part of K’NEX Might Maker series, geared towards encouraging girls towards STEM. If you are looking for a really fun new building kit for a young girl who loves constructing things, plus playing house, this kit is a great option.
You use an included story-based, color-coded building instructions to create a Colonial and Ranch style house. One frustration among reviews was that to build the other two designs, you had to log-on to knex.com for the instructions, so if you do decide on this for a younger child, you will have to help with this too.
Have a LEGO lover in your house? This book explains how to build awesome moving machines. It comes with 30 additional LEGO pieces for you that you’ll need for some of the moving components. You’ll need additional LEGOs to complete many of the projects.
We love Snap Circuits! Most Snap Circuit kits are for kids ages 8+, but they’ve also come out with a beginner kit that is great for 5-year-olds! Explore how electric currents work by putting together your own circuit. Even if the beginner kit, there are over 20 projects for you to explore electricity!
Marble Run sets may not seem like a STEM toy – they’re too cool! But they’re a great toy for developing building and problem-solving skills. It’s a fun toy for a 5 year old, but they’ll keep enjoying it for a few more years to come!
Looking for STEM toys for a different age group? Check out our other STEM reviews here:
What’s your favorite STEM toy for a 5 year-old? Let us know in the comments!