Looking for fun ways to encourage a love of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? These STEM toys are the perfect solution. Whether you want them for your classroom, use them as enrichment play at home, or give them as gifts, there are STEM toys for every age, from the littlest learners to teens and adults. We’ve rounded up our favorites picks, which all have the teacher stamp of approval. Get ready to learn while you play!
Best STEM Toys for Preschool
Educational Insights Design and Drill Activity Center
This is a great toy for all the little builders in your life. They will enjoy using the drill to screw in the colorful bolts to the board, and can color-coordinate and count as they build. A great way to work on fine motor and math skills, your child will love the freedom of creating their own design.
Real Teacher Review: “I didn’t know what to expect with this set. I didn’t know if my four-year-old daughter would have trouble getting the screws in or get frustrated because she couldn’t do it, but my girl LOVED this set. … Educational Insights always has such great products. I use them in my home for my kids and in my classroom for my students. Keep up the great work!”
Buy it: Educational Insights Design and Drill Activity Center at Amazon
Playmags 3D Magnetic Tile Building Blocks
This set of 100 colorful blocks will keep your young STEM lover busy for hours. These blocks are strong and sturdy so your builder can build any structure they desire. This kit comes with a one-year warranty and will encourage creativity and learning.
Real Teacher Review: “I love love LOVE this product! I have similar toys in my preschool classroom and they are a huge hit. I was worried this brand would be less reliable and ‘cheap’ compared to the ones in my classroom but they hold their own!! Very pleased!!”
Buy it: PlayMags 3-D Magnetic Tiles at Amazon
CozyBomb Monkey Balance Counting Game
This adorable monkey scale can help kids master concepts like cardinality, math facts, weight measurement, comparing numbers, and so much more!
Real Teacher Review: “I’m a math educator and I appreciate the design of this toy to support creative investigation of numbers and quantities. The balance is sensitive enough and the monkeys and numerals are calibrated well to read out equivalence of equations through 20. I’m surprised by how great the quality is for the price!”
Buy it: CozyBomb Monkey Balance Counting Game at Amazon
ZozoPlay Tube Design Challenge
There are lots of terrific STEM building toys out there, but we love the unique twist this one offers. Kids can design their own Seuss-like musical instruments, experimenting to find different sounds as they make changes. This is sure to be a hit with older kids too.
Real Teacher Review: “I got this for my preschool class. I was looking for something new and different that would interest them. They absolutely love playing, building, and creating. The pieces are sturdy and easy for little hands to use. I also love the sturdy case that comes with them!”
Buy it: ZozoPlay Tube Design Challenge at Amazon
GeoSafari Jr. My First Kids Microscope
Though the magnification isn’t high, the setup of this STEM toy will make kids feel like real scientists. There’s room for all sorts of items beneath the binocular-style scope, so little ones can take an up-close look at the world around them.
Real Teacher Review: “We LOVE this microscope for our classroom (pre-K, 4-year-olds). The magnification is similar to that of a magnifying glass, but the two-eye viewer and focus nob allow the students a different experience that a magnifying glass cannot give. I personally love that it is easy to clean, easy to store, and pretty durable! Highly recommend this product.”
Buy it: GeoSafari Jr. My First Kids Microscope at Amazon
PicassoTiles Bristle Blocks
These retro blocks have been around for years, and they’re especially terrific for little ones who can’t quite manage DUPLO or LEGO blocks yet. They stick together and come apart easily, and texture is a fun sensory experience.
Real Teacher Review: “I bought two sets for my preschool and I was impressed with sturdiness and quality of the pieces. The students love to play with them and I would purchase these again. I’m delighted with them and that kids have used their imagination to build everything from robots, houses and zoo cages to aliens.”
Buy it: PicassoTiles Bristle Blocks at Amazon
Nuby Wacky Waterworks and Splish Splash Cups
At home, you can use these in the tub. In the classroom, make them part of your water table or play station. Kids adore water toys, and this is bound to be a popular pick.
Real Teacher Review: “I’ve been using these and washing them every day in my toddler class for about 2 weeks and they are perfect. Definitely a buy again. I already have 2 sets.”
Buy it: Nuby Wacky Waterworks and Splish Splash Cups at Amazon
Yeebay Flower Garden Building Kit
Combine the engineering fun of building blocks with the creative imagination of growing a flower garden, and you get this cool STEM toy. It’s terrific for toddlers, but older students enjoy it too, so it’s a toy that kids will play with for years to come.
Real Teacher Review: “I’m a preschool teacher, and I was looking for a fun interactive toy to introduce to my class for spring. When it came, I played with it myself for half an hour. I brought it to school the next day and it was a big hit.”
Buy it: Yeebay Flower Garden Building Toy at Amazon
Stomp Rocket Original Jr.
This is a classic kids toy, with science fun built right in! One of our favorite features is that you can buy replacement rockets if you lose or play the original ones past their prime.
Real Teacher Review: “Who knew such a simple design could provide hours of fun and entertainment! Put together in no time, the stomp rocket junior had my little ones enjoying and giggling instantly. What’s more, as a science teacher I love the physics lesson this provides. The rockets are more robust than some I have seen and are cut from one continuous piece of foam—others I have tried with a plastic body and red foam head become useless when the glue keeping the foam head on disintegrates and re-gluing proves fruitless. These do not suffer from that effect and what’s more—they glow in the dark! Who wouldn’t like that? I would thoroughly recommend these stomp rockets.”
Buy it: Stomp Rocket Original Jr. at Amazon
Curious 2 Learn Building Blocks
The unusual design of these building toys draws kids in, and they can get really creative when assembling patterns and other structures. This is another one of those STEM toys that older kids will want to get in on too.
Real Teacher Review: “I was a STEM teacher for a year and a half, and I still have a children’s STEM event at my current place of work. I use LEGO-style blocks, big-blocks, marble-runs, and all kinds of assorted building blocks and toys at the events. These went over very well. In fact, one table of children pushed the LEGO-style blocks aside in favor of these. They are very easy to construct 3D shapes with. The pieces also hold together well, so kids are less likely to become frustrated when creating a structure.”
Buy it: Curious 2 Learn Building Blocks at Amazon
Best STEM Toys for Elementary Kids
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run
STEM toys that help kids think ahead are always a good idea. This marble run has lots of built-in puzzle challenges, and they can be a lot more challenging than you think!
Real Teacher Review: “Fourth graders and engineers love this toy. Follow the cards, create your own, make it big, make it long—it’s all fun. It is the most sought-after game in my classroom and it engaged two very serious young adults until they were told to put it away.”
Buy it: ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run at Amazon
Snap Circuits Jr. 100
Your little engineer will stay busy while trying out all 100 projects they can build with components that simply snap together to make working circuit boards—no tools required. Each piece is color-coded and numbered, so your child can feel independent as they build away.
Real Teacher Review: “I use Snap Circuits Jr SC-100 in my K–6 technology classroom in a public school. My students absolutely LOVE them! The directions are simple enough for my first graders to follow after a short demonstration, and the projects range in difficulty to keep even the sixth graders excited.”
Buy it: Snap Circuits Jr. 100 at Amazon
SmartsToy Solar-Powered Wooden Car
Your child can build (and paint) their own car without tools or batteries (yes!) and watch it zip away in the sun. Have peace of mind knowing your child is developing their fine motor skills with toxic-free material and real wood. And did we mention no batteries required?
Real Teacher Review: “So many of my kids were building these and bringing them into school, I decided to buy a couple for the classroom. The instructions are easy to follow, there are no tiny tools or plastic pieces to worry about. I found I liked building them even more than my students did.”
Buy it: Wooden Model Solar Car Kit at Amazon
Klutz LEGO Gadget Science Activity Kit
Your child will be deep in concentration while playing with this LEGO set. They can build their own powered car, robot, and nine other machines, not to mention all of their own creations.
Real Teacher Review: “I love all the LEGO products as I grew up playing with them. Now, I love buying them for my 3rd grade classroom. They are always the most popular toy and the kids enjoy this one especially.”
Buy it: Klutz LEGO Gadget Science Activity Kit at Amazon
Aokesi Remote-Control Robot Building Blocks
For kids ready for a bigger challenge, this 350-piece set of building blocks to create their own 360-degree rotating robot will keep them busy. It’s a great project that will hone problem-solving skills and help with hand-eye coordination. The kit comes with rechargeable batteries that last for 40 minutes of playing time.
Real Teacher Review: “This is adorable! I actually got this to use in my classroom and we were able to use it today. It was a lot of fun to put together and easy to use.”
Buy it: Aokesi Remote Control Robot Building Blocks at Amazon
ThinkFun Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game
This is quoted as being “one of the most popular logic games ever made” with over 10 million being sold. Your kids will love it, and you might get hooked too, as there are many challenges in this game, ranging from beginner to expert. It even comes with a great storage bag, which makes it an easy game to travel with.
Real Teacher Review: “One of the best logic games I have ever played. I use this game in my class to get their brains thinking. It’s such a popular game in my classroom that I needed to set up a checkout for it. Also, this game is not just for children, even adults will get hooked!”
Buy it: ThinkFun Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game at Amazon
Playz My First Coding and Computer Science Kit
This kit is great for younger and older kids alike, allowing them to learn about coding without actually needing a computer. The logical-thinking activities included build preliminary coding skills kids can build on as they grow.
Real Teacher Review: “I will be using this in my middle school computer classes. I love that my students who are a little more intimidated doing coding on computers can begin learning the concepts of coding in meaningful ways that are more familiar to them.”
Buy it: Playz My First Coding and Computer Science Kit at Amazon
Osmo Genius Starter Kit
Osmo’s coding activities are among the top STEM toys on the market today. This starter kit is available for iPhone and iPad as well as Kindle Fire. Once you have the starter kit, you can add on all kinds of other coding games and toys, expanding the learning opportunities.
Real Teacher Review: “I can’t explain how amazing Osmo is! I have used the Osmo system in my classroom for three years. The kids in my class never get tired of it and it makes an amazing center. Anyone who comes into my classroom and has never seen how it works is amazed!”
Buy it: Osmo Genius Starter Kit at Amazon
Yellow Scope Foundation Chemistry Kit
This award-winning kit comes with a 32-page book that explains chemical reactions, temperature, and molecular motion. With 19 experiments, this kit will keep young scientists busy (but also safe!).
Real Teacher Review: “As a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom, I love this kit … I have two girls who love nature, asking questions, and are little scientists. This is a great kit to fill the gaps in of their passion and what is lacking at school.”
Buy it: Yellow Scope Foundation Chemistry Kit at Amazon
National Geographic Break Open Geodes Kit
There’s nothing like the magic of cracking open a dull rock to find sparkling crystals inside. This set comes with 10 stones, so classroom kids can work in groups and get a piece to keep. It’s such a fun intro to geology (and adults love it too!).
Real Teacher Review: “I bought this for … a special education teacher. She wanted something fun for her class to help them learn earth science. They each got to take a piece home to show the family. HUGE HIT. Good for young and old alike.”
Buy it National Geographic Break Open Geodes Kit at Amazon
Best STEM Toys for Middle School and High School
National Geographic Dual LED Microscope
Older kids are ready to step up to a more powerful microscope, but they still need one that’s easy to use. This one has two sets of lenses to provide multiple levels of magnification. Plus, it comes with tools like prepared slides, a petri dish, and more.
Real Teacher Review: “I am a science teacher and purchased this for my granddaughter to inspire her curiosity. Quality is excellent and perfect for a beginner scientist. Great selection of slides and very user-friendly. Super happy with this purchase.”
Buy it: National Geographic Dual LED Microscope at Amazon
Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Set
Teens who are fascinated by chemistry and physics will enjoy this molecular modeling set. After they build models, they can scan them using an app on their tablet or phone to learn more about the molecule they’ve created.
Real Teacher Review: “This product worked great for my students. They really enjoyed synthesizing molecules. Really enjoyed the product and wrote a grant hoping to get more for the classroom.”
Buy it: Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Set at Amazon
Snap Circuits Pro Electronics Exploration Kit
Snap Circuits kits are perfect for kids who love electronics and tinkering with new creations. This set gives them lots of pieces and parts they can use to make just about anything they can dream up. The project manual offers multiple ideas, but this set is really meant to encourage teens to experiment and explore the world of electronics on their own.
Real Teacher Review: “As a former teacher, I really notice when products have actual educational value. A lot of products try, but fail, because they are flawed or because they are not interesting enough to attract or keep the attention of the user. This is not one of those products. We ordered this for my nephew (whom I was homeschooling), as part of the hands-on science program I designed for him. He absolutely loved it & learned from it. It also helped him to realize the importance of science & that it could be fun.”
Buy it: Snap Circuits Pro Kit at Amazon
ToyerBee 70mm Aperture Astronomical Refractor Telescope
Gaze at the stars without breaking the bank! This beginner-level telescope is high quality but easy to use, perfect for amateurs. It comes with its own tripod, as well as a smartphone adapter and wireless remote to make it easier to see what’s visible.
Real Teacher Review: “As a former science school teacher, I have had my share of dealing with telescopes. This one really delivers on ease of setting it up and its use. The assembly directions are very straightforward. I wish I had had one of these for the last 35 years.”
Buy it: ToyerBee 70mm Aperture Astronomical Refractor Telescope at Amazon
Dan&Darci Professional Rock Tumbler Kit
Future geologists, take note: This rock tumbler turns rough rocks into polished gems worthy of display. You’ll need patience, as it usually takes many weeks for the tumbler to do its work, but that just gives you time to research the various rocks and minerals included in this set. (The tumbler can be a little noisy, so plan to keep it in a garage or basement. Teachers can run it at night if they’re using it in the classroom.)
Real Teacher Review: “This unit was purchased for a classroom experience. Thus far, it has stood up well to curious minds and hands. The instructions are clear and specific—well written so that classroom use was smooth and efficient.”
Buy it: Dan&Darci Professional Rock Tumbler Kit at Amazon
National Geographic Mega Science Lab Chemistry Set
For many kids, experiments are the best part of science. That’s why STEM toys like chemistry sets have been popular for so long. This one is ideal for younger teens who are just dipping their toe in the water. It includes 75 experiments to try, with lots of lab equipment and supplies.
Real Teacher Review: “I’m a teacher and I always like to get fun and educational gifts for my nephews. This was perfect! They absolutely loved it and they were so excited when they first opened it they wanted to get started right away. I especially like that it includes nonfiction texts for them to read along with the experiments.”
Buy it: National Geographic Mega Science Lab Chemistry Set at Amazon
Discovering STEM Physics Laws Set
Learn about important physics concepts like inertia, friction, circular motion, and energy conversion with this physics set. Kids can build six working models including a rocket launcher and a crash test rig. The instruction book provides lots of information on each project, and even has a quiz at the end for those who like to test themselves.
Real Teacher Review: “I bought this for my STEM middle school students. … They really enjoyed putting the sets together, the activities, and I liked the quiz at the end. Overall great value for the money and one of the more fun things I’ve purchased for my STEM class.”
Buy it: Discovering STEM Physics Laws Set at Amazon
4M Clean Water Science Kit
Teens with an interest in ecology or environmental science can use this kit to learn more about creating clean water solutions. After building the mini water filtration plant, they can come up with more ideas for helping to clean up the planet.
Real Teacher Review: “I’m a science teacher and got this to show my class, but when a group of students did not have a project for the science fair, I gave this to them. The group did their research well and used the product individually and then put it all together to show how one item works independently and how well they all work together.”
Buy it: 4M Clean Water Science Kit at Amazon
Organ Attack! Card Game
Using the same hilarious organs featured in his clever comics, author and artist Nick Seluk (“The Awkward Yeti”) invented this raucous organ-harvesting game. Fun as it is, it’s actually full of useful anatomical information, so you can’t help but learn while you play.
Real Teacher Review: “A teacher I know has this game for her MS/HS science classroom and the kids love it! It’s a fun way to learn about different organs of the body as well as diseases and sickness they can end up with. It’s a great way for students to interact with each other while learning. Also a fun game for home!”
Buy it: Organ Attack! Card Game at Amazon
Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game
Kids who love strategic board games will really get into this one, working to collect the resources and complete the tasks they need to make their human cell stronger than all the rest. Those fascinated by human biology can spend time reading the informational booklet that explains all the science behind the strategy.
Real Teacher Review: “As a biologist and a teacher, I love this game as a teaching tool. The processes are spot-on for an introductory level to cell biology. The currency used in the game is the same chemical used in the cell to transfer energy from site to site, and as an added design bonus, a simplified version of the chemical structure is on each of the currency pieces, a great primer for further learning.”
Buy it: Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game at Amazon