Gift Guide

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25 STEAM Toys For Kids Who Love A Fun Challenge

Fun and educational? Win-Win.

If your home is anything like mine, you have way too many toys laying around, and many of them have very little educational value. But, you can stealthily sneak some in with some STEM and STEAM toys for kids, because not only do they require exploration and critical thinking, they're also a lot of fun. Plus, they'll definitely keep your kids' attention for longer than 10 minutes.

Kids who enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together, building, coding, and creating will really get into these kinds of toys. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, while STEAM includes art in the mix. These kinds of toys have kids working with their hands, experimenting with how things work, and spark curiosity.

So, where can you find STEM and STEAM toys? All over, actually! They don't always look 'sciencey,' which, honestly, is a good thing for kids who turn their nose up at the mere thought of an educational product. There are even toys that are age-appropriate for younger kids who seem to be drawn to these areas. But, if you're not in the mood to do a deep internet dive to find them, here are some of the best STEM and STEAM toys available right now.

1
A Robot That Has Something Exciting To Say

Codi is an adorable little robot that is safe for kids as young as 12 months old. It can be programmed to tell stories, play games and music, and even help kids create and stick to routines. Parents can have a little control over how their kids play with it, too, because they can set limits using the Codi app, which also lets them send voice messages to their kids through Codi.

2
An Epic Art Set

Aspiring artists 6 years old and up can test out just about every medium in nearly every color with this art set. It includes colored pencils, washable markers, watercolors, acrylic paint, sketching pencils, canvases, paper pads, and more, all in a little box with a handle so they can take it anywhere they want to go.

3
Gears, Wheels, & Blocks For Endless Creations

With this kit, you get 109 little pieces that can connect together to build little robots, cars, towers, and whatever else your little one can think up. It has blocks, gears, wheels, and different connectors so the possibilities are basically endless. All the pieces come packed in a little carrying box so your kid can bring them on the go or keep them safely stored in the playroom.

4
A (Safe) Intro To Electric Circuits

Little engineers 8 years old and up can use this toy to build 125 different projects. The set comes with 31 kid-safe parts and an instruction manual that will give them all the information they need to build lights, sounds, and other engineering wonders. This toy will spark creativity and requires a bit of critical thinking.

5
Kids' First Coding Robot

Botley is designed for kids as young as 5 who are interested in learning the basics of coding. It has 16 different interactions that allow kids to transform him into new shapes, move, change colors, and more. It comes with coding cards to help teach kids how to use the screen-free remote programmer as well as all the parts necessary for all kinds of fun play.

6
A Calculator Cash Register, Complete With Realistic Money

Kids 3 and up can start learning about money, how to use a calculator, and the basics of adding and subtracting with this cash register. It comes with 30 life-size bills, 40 coins, a pretend credit card, a notepad, and some recommended activities. The register itself is set up as a working calculator but is a little more fun with lights and sounds. This toy is perfect for playing and learning at the same time.

7
LEGOS With A Physics Twist

Little LEGO fans 8 years old and up can take their building to the next level with this 33-piece kit. It comes with everything they need to build 10 different moving projects, which they can make using the guided step-by-step instructions book. Then, once they've completed all of those projects, they can put together whatever they can dream up.

8
An Adorable Science Project

Not only will your kiddo flex their science muscles by growing crystals, but they will do it on the back of an adorable hedgehog. This crystal growing kit is made for kids 10 and up, is available in five different colors, and comes with everything they need to grow a colorful crystal in only 24 hours.

9
A Fun Splash Of Color

With this machine, kids as young as 6 years old can make colorful creations and experiment with how motion affects their final product. You get the spinning machine, paper, five paints, and four white crayons which can be used to repel the paint for even more creative designs. Your kids will make some serious masterpieces, but just make sure they're in paint-safe clothes (it's not a messy machine, but accidents happen, after all).

10
Age-Appropriate & Inclusive Coding Kit

Instead of a one-time gift, you can set your kiddo up with a recurring monthly subscription for a coding and gaming box that will be delivered right to your doorstep. You can customize it to ensure it's age-appropriate (between ages 4-12) and it comes with "a book on a Black trailblazer, a hand's on activity, a toy and other fun content that brings the specific STEAM theme to life while highlighting Black excellence and giving children the opportunity to confidently experiment and learn about the theme."

11
Dozens Of Fun Engineering Experiments

Kids as young as 5 can start learning about engineering with this introduction kit. It includes everything they need to perform 25 experiments and building projects, which are broken up into five sections so they can master one before moving on to the next. They'll get to learn about water physics, air movement, and more using this fun kit. Grown-ups may have to help with some of the projects, but at least they'll have fun in the process!

12
Creative Combo Of Math & Art

This set comes with design paper, fine-line pens, 19 wheels, 2 rings, a precision rack, reusable "Spiro-Putty," and a guide book, all of which fit nicely into a little storage case. Kids 8 and up can create intricate designs using the gear-like wheels and rings and can differentiate the designs based on how many degrees they turn each piece with their pen. It's basically a beautiful alternative way to use math tools.

13
Colorful Blocks For Building & Counting

Remember playing with these little math cubes when you were younger? This kit is great for kids 5+ and up who are starting to explore math. The set includes 100 brightly colored blocks that can be stacked together to create all kinds of shapes and figures. You can let them create on their own, or the kit also comes with 10 guided activities that will have your child thinking critically as they work through the challenges.

14
A Colorful Coding Robot For Preschoolers

If you're looking to get your toddler interested in coding, this little robot designed for kids 3-6. It comes with everything parents need to help introduce their kids to the world of codes, teaching the basics through free coding, "secret coding," and learning activities. The flashing lights, functionality and overall colorful design will keep little ones engaged.

15
A Gear Set To Create Something 'Sweet'

Gears are just a little more fun to play with when they look like candy, right? This building set comes with 82-pieces, including gears, building blocks, and all the little sweet treat accessories a kiddo could ask for. Plus, if your little one has other 'Gears! Gears! Gears!' toys, this set is compatible with them.

16
30 Dino Projects In One Box

Preschoolers between 3 and 5 can start learning how to build more complicated designs using this 100-piece set. It has everything they need to create 30 different dinosaur projects, not to mention whatever else they can imagine on their own. In addition to the engineering aspect, this set will also help to further develop your preschooler's fine motor skills.

17
DIY Light-Up Dog House (Complete With A Toy Dog)

Little kids as young as 6 who have a love of science and dogs will have a ton of fun with set. It comes with a little toy dog and everything they need to build a miniature house that's equipped with working LED lights. There are little wires, lights, a battery pack, and all of the other basics your kiddo needs to make their own electricity. It's an experiment and a toy!

18
A Colorful Game Of Stacking & Stragegy

With these blocks, kids can learn about balancing weight while stacking them into a structure. It comes with a curved owl base, 17 blocks, and a die so they can turn the stacking into a more challenging game. The whole set is made from wood an covered in brightly colored paints and is best for kids 3 years old and up.

19
A Slimey DIY Kit

Whether you love it or hate it, slime is still a child favorite, and kids 6 and up can make their own using this kit. It comes with glue, slime making powder, mixing equipment, and everything else needed to make neon-colored, glowing slime. It's a fun chemistry challenge with an end result they can continue to enjoy long after they've cleaned up their experiment mess.

20
The Perfect Blend Of Slime, Glitter, & Candles

With this kit, kids can make their own one-of-a-kind flameless with sparkles, beads, and all kinds of other fun accents. The kit comes with four flameless candle bases that are attached to cups where your child can pour in their home-made candle-goo and then seal on top. Then, they just turn on the candle and it lights up their slime to showcase all the glittery magic. The recommended age is 6+

21
A Free-Play Pulleys Set For The Imaginative Kid

Available with either 77 or 90 pieces, this set is packed with materials for kids to create working machines using different pulley systems. Parents can download age-appropriate lessons, too, so kids are required to think a little harder with more challenging designs. This kit is great for children as young as 7 years old.

22
Geometry Building Challenges (That Are Actually Fun)

When you think "fun toy," geometry probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but this set comes with all the pieces to make the subject a lot more interesting. It's made for kids 6 years old and up and comes with more than 100 pieces that they can use to create all kinds of 2D and 3D shapes, either on their own or with help from the 15 different activity cards that are included.

23
A Game That Calls For A Steady Hand

This toy is great for the whole family because it can be played with anywhere from one to four players as young as 8. It comes with a tabletop tree with branches that players slowly hang pieces from, shifting the balance along the way. It requires a lot of critical thinking, steady hands, and a good competitive attitude.

24
Fun Math Quiz Game For Kids Who Enjoy A Challenge

This toy is definitely more on the educational side, but it presents a lot of math challenges for first graders and up who enjoy a little self-competition. It has eight different skill levels, and each one has to be mastered before they move on to the next. The game is packed with fun lights and sounds and it teaches different levels of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. If your kid just wants to play around with numbers, they can turn off game mode to turn the device into a fully functioning calculator instead.

25
One-Of-A-Kind T-Rex Creation Kit

With this kit, your kiddo gets a pre-made paper mache t-rex, and all the materials they need to decorate it to their heart's content. It comes with glue, pipe cleaners, paints, glitter, sequins and gems, googly eyes, a paintbrush, and more. It's perfect for kids ages 6+ who love a good art project, and who think dinosaurs could stand to be a little more flashy.

Educational toys don't have to be boring, as clearly evidenced by all of these STEM and STEAM toys. Kids will have so much fun learning how to code their own robots, building complex systems, and learning more and more about their favorite subjects. Any curious kid will be thrilled to find one of these great toys under their tree this year.