10 STEM Toys to Inspire Little Engineers

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Kids learn the best through play! Read about 10 STEM toys my 3 sons have played with and explored Engineering!

In the year and a half I’ve taught preschool, I have learned play is essential to learning. Instead of flash cards and worksheets, kids learn the best when lessons are incorporated into play. When it comes to STEM education, toys do not always need to be an official STEM toys for kids to learn STEM concepts! While watching my sons play with their toys, I’ve realized they are exploring various STEM concepts while they play with them. From an RC car to hot wheels, and many popular toys, my sons have been exposed to mechanical engineering, energy concepts, and electrical engineering. While not all of them are classified as STEM toys, they have all provided hours of entertainment and education through play for my boys!


10 STEM Toys to Inspire Little Engineers

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1. Cozmo, the coding robot

With Cozmo, my oldest learned about block coding, one of the common coding languages. The STEM toy also provided some great brother bonding time for all 3 of my boys, watching biggest brother make Cozmo do other funny things! Learn more about our experience with Cozmo in this post.

2. Create a Dino Building Sets

We gave my oldest son the Dino Building set a few years ago, and all 3 of my sons have enjoyed taking apart and buiding a dinosaur. They’ve learned what a screw is, how it works, and how to loosen and tighten a screw. You can read about the other critical engineering skill my oldest learned when first playing with his the Dino Building STEM toy, in this post.

3. Hot Wheels

All 3 of my boys LOVE toy cars. As a mom who used to be an engineer, I love their cars because they’re a great way to experiment with energy! Using my son’s Hot Wheels track, I created a quick science experiment to explore potential energy and kinetic energy.

4. Hot Wheels Bulldoze Blast Trackset Vehicle

Another great Hot Wheels STEM toy was a track set where a car changes directions twice. Potential energy of a rubber band releases the car, then sets the car off down the track! And while kids are playing with their cars, they’ll also be exploring Newton’s First Law of Motion!

5. Star Wars Escape from Jakku Play Set

Star Wars is BIG in our house. We’ve watched all the movies, and worn the costumes. So ofcourse kids get a lot of Star Wars gifts. One year my son got this TIE Fighter and Millennium Falcon toy. He learned about circular motion while playing with his toy, which I’m sure was unintentional by the toy maker.

6. Fidget Spinners

Fidget spinners were really big in our house for awhile. But did you know that the little spinning toys were actually STEM toys? Reverse engineer one, and figure out all the parts (components) that make up a fidget spinner. Once you know what a fidget spinner is made from, make your own! Fidget spinners are also great to learn about physics! Experiment with inertia and center of mass by adding and removing weight from the spinning toy!

7. Jarrby STEM Toys

If you’re looking for a building toy for your preschooler, then Jarrby STEM toys is the perfect solution. My 4 year old is not comfortable with Legos yet, but the Jarrby building toy was great for his little hands. Read all about his experience in this post!

8. Beyblades Spinning Toy

Are your kids into Beyblades? All 3 of my boys are. Infact, all they’re all in my oldest son’s room right now playing beyblades. My son bought his first one earlier this year with his birthday money, and the spinning toy has been big in our house ever since. I’ve also found ways to teach my son physics concepts, including newton’s law of motion, translation of motion, and angular momentum.

9. Traxxas Remote Control Cars

Hobby grade remote control cars are surprisingly THE best STEM my son has had. From playing with his favorite toy he’s learned how to be a mechanical engineer, materials engineer, and a reliability engineer. Plus, my husband and son have spent some great quality time together racing and fixing their RC cars!

10. Tinker Crate

Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription box I’ve gifted my oldest each year for Christmas. Throughout the years he has learned about electrical circuits, simple machines, and many other fantastic engineering concepts. What I love about a subscription box is that it isn’t a toy your kid just plays with for a few weeks, and then gets bored with. Instead, each month they get build something with their own hands, building their self-confidence. Plus, they get hands on experience, instead of just book knowledge. I’ve loved watching my son’s knowledge in circuits, for example. His first box with circuits required my help, but now he is able to build simple circuits all on his own! I think its pretty neat, considering he’s only 8!

Looking for other STEM toy ideas? Here are some other posts you’ll like!

25 Dollar Tree Toys for Exploring STEM!
Toys that Teach Engineering
15 Unexpected STEM Gifts for Toddlers

Also try some of my hands-on STEM activities!

Painting Pumpkins with Paintballs: A Quick STEAM Activity
Levitating Pumpkin Experiment
Paintball Forces Science Experiment
Wind Energy STEM Activity: Building your own model Windmill
Solar Energy for Kids: Reverse Engineering a Solar Toy!
How to Make Ice Cream Quicker using Heat Transfer!
Making the Layers of the Ocean-A Density Activity