Top STEM Toys for Toddlers: Sparking Early Innovation and Learning

Krystal DeVille

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puzzle wheel

Looking for educational STEM toys for toddlers that are both fun and enlightening? We have found some great toys for 3-year-olds that combine entertainment with learning.

We have found some great STEM toys for 3-year-olds! These toys focus on developing a young learner’s counting, building, and creative skills. They make the perfect toy for a preschool or at home. While these toys are perfect for 3-year-olds or younger kids, they are also suitable for older kids who are starting to explore the world of STEM.

12 Best STEM Toys for 3 to 4-Year-Olds for Fun Learning

1. Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Building Set

Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Building Set in a Box.

This Melissa and Doug wooden construction set is perfect for small children, and can be used in different ways! It comes with 43 pieces that are larger for little hands to use. What can they build with these wooden blocks? While working on their fine motor skills, they will be building cranes, cars, planes, and other construction vehicles.

We love that it’s a hands-on play experience with no screen. Your toddler can just use their imagination, and build to their heart’s content.

You can find the Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Building set here.

2. Koala Crate 

This suggestion is a bit different from some of our favorite STEM toys above!

Consider a subscription box for kids as a great gift. Children receive a new learning activity every single month! One of our favorites for 3 to 5-year-olds is Koala Crate. These are hands-on activities in each box that focus on different science themes, from oceans to doctor visits.

You can find our full hands-on review I did with my kids in our KiwiCo review here

3. Code & Go Mouse Set

The Code & Go Mouse set is a fun way to introduce an early introduction STEM concepts to 4-year-olds, making learning enjoyable and engaging. This set is my favorite STEM toy for 4-year-olds! Kids will learn problem-solving skills to help them “think like a programmer.” The program” their mouse using the buttons on top of their mouse to help their mouse navigate around the maze. There are different challenge cards, so they won’t get bored with this toy.

You can see the current price of the Code & Go Mouse Set here.

For 5-year-olds (or if you’re looking for something a little more advanced), we also love Learning Resource’s other beginner coding bot – Botley.

4. ETI 100 Piece Engineering & Construction Kit

This awesome construction kit will get your child’s imagination and engineering skills going! The ETI 100 Piece Engineering & Construction Kit not only engages kids in building but also helps them recognize different shapes, which is essential for their cognitive development. It’s designed for 3, 4, & 5-year-olds. I love K’Nex for older children, but this construction set is my favorite for this age group. The pieces are large enough while still allowing them to work on fine motor skills.  

You can see if this construction kit for toddlers is still available here. 

5. Gears


Gears! Gears! Gears! These colorful, spinning gears will build your child’s fine motor skills as they work to fit gears together. Toys such as Gears! Gears! Gears! are not only fun but also come in different colors, which are great for teaching children about color recognition and encouraging visual perception skills. This 96-piece set is the winner of four awards and is guaranteed to promote early STEM skills.

Check out the current price of these gears here.

6. Lovevery

Toddler solving puzzle wheel

Lovevery is an educational subscription to help your child develop their brain through stage-based play. These kits are designed by experts for young children.

You’ll receive a box full of stimulating toys and activities every other month. These are specifically made for brain development. Think about how much fun your toddler will have with this Lovevery kit!

You can check out all of their subscription kits for toddlers right here

I also have a full review with my toddler, where we open the box up and see how he interacts with all the toys. You can find my review of Lovevery here. 

Lovevery hands-on review

7. Kidnoculars


These are plastic and durable binoculars designed for little ones! They are focus-free, 2x Magnification, and have a strap to go around the neck. Your child will enjoy looking at nature with these. Encourage them to go bird-watching! A great learning opportunity awaits!

You can click here to see if these Kidnoculars are still available here.

8. Flower Power Studio


This is a cool and colorful design studio for your little one, likely appealing to a young girl. The Flower Power Studio is more than just a toy; it’s a complete play set that encourages creativity and fine motor skills in kids, especially in younger girls.

It has a “power drill” and plates and bolts that can be made into designs. It encourages creativity and grows kids’ hand-eye coordination, patterning, and problem-solving. (PS. If you’re looking specifically for a STEM toy for girls, check out this post.)

You can find the current price of this Flower Power Studio here.

9. Marble Run by Mindware

This Marble Run is for ages 4 & up! It’s a new toy, and another one of my favorite building toys. Kids work on problem-solving as they build their marble run to make sure the marble ends at the bottom of their creation. You can find this Marble Run here.

10. Number Train Building Set


Now let’s get into some math toys to put that “M” in STEM!

The Number Train Building Set is not just about fun; it’s also a great tool for developing math skills in young children. This is a great toy by LEGO DUPLO that teaches counting up to 10. It is fun, educational, and young ones can construct their own train in the correct order. It certainly fits the ‘M’ in STEM.

Building blocks like the LEGO DUPLO Number Train Building Set are not just toys; they’re tools for young minds to explore, learn, and grow.

You can see the current price here. 

11. Melissa and Doug Stack and Count Parking Garage


Another great counting game! Kids have to stack these different colored cars in the right order, numbered one to ten. Check out all the cards in this set here.

In addition to these high-tech options, don’t forget about classic educational card games that are also excellent for developing cognitive skills and memory in young children.

12. Pretend and Play Calculator Register


It’s never too early to start getting your child comfortable with handling money as they grow older. They might not understand it right away, but it is good to have this as they grow older.

Toys like the Pretend And Play Calculator Register provide children with a fun and interactive way to learn about real world concepts like money handling and basic arithmetic.

It includes 30 pretend US bills and 40 plastic coins. I know I used to love playing store, so this is a great way to combine playtime and learning. They will love the “cha-ching” sound their register makes when the cash drawer opens. 

You can find this Play Calculator Register here.

The Importance of Play in Child Development

When it comes to a child’s development, the importance of play is immense. More than just entertainment, play is a foundational component of a child’s growth. It’s through play that children gain insights into their own identities and understand the world they inhabit. Here’s a look at how the appropriate toys can aid in different areas of a child’s growth:

Cognitive Growth: Educational toys, particularly those focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), are instrumental in developing critical and creative thinking skills. Take, for instance, the ETI 100 Piece Engineering & Construction Kit, which promotes spatial understanding and logical analysis.

Physical Growth: Toys that involve hands-on interaction, such as the Flower Power Studio or the Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Building Set, are key in improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This kind of physical engagement is crucial for acquiring dexterity and control.

Emotional Growth: Playtime is a window for children to explore and express their feelings and to comprehend others’ emotions. Engaging in role-play with toys like the Pretend And Play Calculator Register is effective in cultivating empathy and emotional awareness.

Social Growth: Numerous toys are designed to encourage sharing and collaborative play, which are vital for social development. Engaging in group games teaches children about teamwork, fairness, and effective communication. Family-oriented games like card games can also reinforce social connections.

Language Development: Interaction with toys and narrating play activities are excellent ways for children to enhance their language abilities. Toys and games that involve naming, action description, or story progression are particularly useful in this respect.

Fostering Exploration and Curiosity: Toys that allow for experimentation and discovery, such as the Code & Go Mouse Set, ignite curiosity and a passion for learning. These toys offer a secure environment for children to try new things and learn from their interactions.

Do you have a favorite STEM toy for your toddler? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out the best subscription boxes for toddlers in our article here. We also have a link to all of our hands-on reviews of each box.

The Best Subscription Boxes for Toddlers

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