Stem toys are a class of educational toys that focus on inspiring or teaching a science skill in one of four main categories: Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.
Stem toys can be educational and fun.
They make great gifts for kids because they help kids develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Here are some of the top categories of STEM toys and examples of each.
What are STEM toys?
A stem toy is a toy that helps children learn about science, technology, engineering, and math.
2. Science Toys
Science is such a broad topic. To me, it fundamentally is a discipline that uses the scientific method.
The scientific method fundamentally includes:
- observe and form a hypothesis
- test and measure results
- analyze and draw conclusions
Toys that fit in the science category might include:
- A tool like a telescope or microscope
- A complete kit (lab in a box)
- A set of experiments to observe laws of physics
There are so many toys to choose from that fall in a spectrum of levels of entertainment and open ended exploration.
3. Technology Toys
Anything with a screen is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of technology toys.
This doesn't always have to be the case. There are lots of technology toys without screens.
Some technology toys include:
- Learning circuits
- basic programming
4. Engineering Toys
Engineering has three broad disciplines:
- Electrical engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
Likewise toys follow these categories and might include:
- building bridges
- designing pulley systems
- how electricity works
5. Math Toys
Mathematical concepts are a natural part of most toys and nearly all games.
Examples of toys and games using math:
- sorting and organizing based on color, shape, or size
- counting and adding
- using money
- critical thinking skills
Do toys have to pass a set standard to be qualified as a stem toy?
No. There is not a set standard for stem toys.
However, many stem toys are designed to help children develop important skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
The industry is self regulated and guided by the consumer opinions.
7. What age is too early for STEM toys?
We've been asked occasionally when is it too early to get STEM toys for for babies or toddlers?
I think it is never too early to introduce toys that inspire and create daily learning activities.
Some of the most fun toys to introduce are those that encourage motor skills to develop hand and eye coordination.
8. Are you ever too old for STEM toys?
9. Choosing Age Appropriate Toys
There are three important things to consider when buying a STEM toy.
- Does the topic align with the child's interests?
- Is the product age appropriate including instructions, size of pieces, and complexity of the steps?
- Is the toy open ended?
When it comes to age appropriate you'll want to follow the guide of the designer, manufacturer or distributor.