Giving children a strong STEM education at a young age is vital to their future success. Even if they don’t grow up to become scientists or engineers, kids develop certain skill sets in childhood. Our goal as parents and educators is to create a love of learning in children. Inspire them to have a growth mindset and for them to learn to be critical thinkers.
Toys are fun. If your kids play with the best educational toys, they will learn to think of STEM as a game or puzzle. These positive experiences will translate to achievement in the classroom later on. And that positive reinforcement will make your kids more successful adults.
Best educational toys
It all begins in early childhood, and toys are some of the best ways to start that process. What seems like playtime to us is actually important learning for kids.
Learning Resources Science Lab
These activity kits from Learning Resources let your child experience a lab right at home. They will love having tools of the trade, including test tubes, beakers and goggles. This can be fun to set up in the kitchen, on a table or outside. Let your kids mix, create and experiment.
This set recreates the thrill of laboratory experimentation for kids. They will learn science is fun, and the lab is a great playground.
Skills they’ll learn
This toy teaches actual experimentation, instead of just providing a set of rules for your kids to follow. While this obviously isn’t the same as giving your children free range over a chemistry lab, it is a great way to introduce these skills to your children from a young age.
In addition, the science lab kit teaches children valuable chemistry and lab safety skills. This set will even teach your kids science terms. Finally, this is one of the best educational toys for teaching chemistry.
Goldie Blox and the Builder’s Survival Kit
Combining a story, a toy, and a game, Goldie Blox is one of the most fun all-around toys you can find.
It comes with a story book, in which your kids will help a young woman named Goldie Blox solve various problems. They’ll choose between difficulties and either build simple or complex inventions. This is a toy that exercises both the intellect and imagination.
This is a great choice for anybody who has a child who’s been prone to get lost in their daydreams or a good book!
What kids will learn
The most obvious skill your kids will learn here is physics. While this is a construction toy, your kids will be learning while creating and imagining.
This is also among the best educational toys out there for teaching problem-solving. When your child plays with Goldie Blox, they use construction and engineering to help her with the trials and tribulations of her fictional life.
SpaceRail is a roller coaster toy that features 9 increasingly difficult levels. You should start by purchasing the Level 1, to introduce your kids to the toy and constructing it.
If your kid likes construction toys, marble runs, or roller coasters, they’ll love this one. It works by allowing players to build a track and then roll a steel ball down the track — success requires a firm knowledge of STEM skills.
One of the other benefits of SpaceRail is that there’s are increasingly difficult sets. After you’ve accomplished setting up level one, there are eight more levels for you and your child to learn with. As children get older, it’s more difficult to find toys that will engage them. SpaceRail is a toy that even older teens will find challenging. It’s also a great way for parents and children to spend time together.
Skills they’ll learn
This is one of the best educational toys for teaching construction and engineering skills at a young age. On top of that, the SpaceRail is a physics toy. Getting an early start on physics can be good news for ensuring success in high school and college.
In both cases, you’ll help your children develop an interest in practical sciences from a young age. They will learn to follow directions and organize pieces. They’ll have fun setting it up and then testing it when they’ve finished.
From baseball cards to Magic: The Gathering, trading cards are some of the best toys for teaching STEM skills to children.
You should choose trading cards based on your child’s interests. If your son or daughter likes Pokemon, get them Pokemon cards. Maybe they’re interested in sports, then get them baseball or football cards.
If you get your kids trading cards they’re genuinely interested, you’ll be using the one of the best educational toys out there. One of the primary advantages of trading cards is that while kids may not think of learning as fun, they’ll be learning through play with these innovative cards.
What kids will learn
Perhaps the most important skills kids can gain from these cards is the ability to learn a set of rules. Even relatively simple games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh have intricate rule sets, and learning those as a child will translate to stronger analytical and rule-following skills later in life.
Beyond that, these games are highly effective at teaching math skills. Most of the games use statistics in the form of attack and defense points. This is a great way to make math and statistics fun from a young age!
Learn about the best educational toys
The best educational toys help us parents to help our children succeed. There are so many incredible resources available. Choosing STEM-based toys are a great start. Developmental toys, even magnetic toys and other science sets, all work to increase your child’s awareness of STEM principles.
If you want to test the cognitive abilities of your children, check out our sections on the CogAT test. If you want to learn more about toys, we have a section on that. And if you want to stay up to date on preparing your children for a STEM-based world, read our blog.
Hands-on education with manipulatives is critical. Give your kids a head start.