The best STEM toys for your baby or toddler

best-stem-toys (10)

by Lizzie Hutchinson |
Updated on

When looking for a new toy for your baby or toddler, you want to find something that will keep them entertained for hours, is great value for money and ideally teaches them a thing or two. Thankfully, the best STEM toys are not only an affordable option, but they're also educational toys that will entertain them, too.

If you're looking for the best STEM toys and you're wanting a more detailed look into what these toys are and their many benefits, then we've got you. That's why we've rounded up the best STEM toys that we could find, especially for babies and toddlers who are in a crucial state of their learning development.

What are STEM toys?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM toys have been around for a while, but we are seeing an increase in their popularity as the world develops, and there is even more of a focus on these subjects. These toys encourage children to discover more about these subjects through fun and practical learning.

Children learn through play, and there's nothing more fulfilling for them than exploring and figuring out the world through toys. Whether they be science, technology, engineering or maths based, your child can have fun and develop so many skills that will help them in later life.

What to look for in a STEM toy?

When choosing STEM toys for your child, the most important thing is to make sure that your child will enjoy playing with them. It can be easy to focus on the educational aspect of a toy and forget that, fundamentally, toys are meant to be fun.

Interactive toysare great, as your child will be able to learn whilst having fun. Ensuring the toy is age appropriate is also a key factor. If you choose something too advanced, your child won't get the full benefits. Below, we've taken a look at some of the best STEM toys available right now for babies and toddlers.

Best sorting STEM toy

Rrp: $15.00

Price: $10.49
Alternative retailers
Walmart$9.82View offer
Target$10.49View offer
Tractor Supply$14.99View offer
Wayfair$20.11View offer

This cute little hedgehog is the perfect little pal to introduce your toddler to colour recognition, counting and matching skills. It comes with 12 coloured 'spikes' for your little one to push into his back, building their fine motor skills whilst having fun.

Review: "It's great for kids to learn to count and select different colours. My son loves taking the spikes out and putting them back in. A good toy which goes well with our collection."

Age suitability:18 months+

Best first STEM toy
Price: $35.00

One for the babies, this Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks Rock-a-Stack is the perfect way to introduce your baby to the world of STEM. Learning to grasp, stack, and sort shapes is a great way to develop their problem-solving and fine motor skills from an early age.

Review:** "Great for babies to hold and figure out how to get the blocks in the box and the rings on the holder. I had to take the ring holder away tho because baby was trying to eat the top of it and poses a safety risk if she fell forward and it went further down her throat!"

Age suitability:6 months+

Best STEM toy for little scientists
Price: $18.95
Alternative retailers
Walmart$18.95View offer

Introduce your young scientist to the concept of physics using the power of water play. This cute Yookidoo baby bath toy attaches to the side of the bath and is transparent, so your little one can see the water in action. They will watch in amazement as they pour water into the funnel and as it makes its way through the system, turning propellers, sprinkling from the sides, turning the gauge and making the googly eyes spin in excitement. This toy is sure to provide lots of bathtime fun.

Review: "Really fun bath toy. My daughter loves filling and pouring, and her skills have increased massively. Very entertaining for her and very durable. Sticks well to the wall."

Age suitability:12 months+

Best interactive STEM toy

Rrp: $32.98

Price: $29.98
Alternative retailers
Walmart$25.99View offer

This cute mushroom toy is perfect for little ones to learn numbers and colours whilst playing fun games and listening to music. There are eight colourful mushrooms that light up and play fun melodies and a light show when touched. Learn numbers by counting the white dots on the mushrooms and experiment with sounds by pressing the mushrooms like piano keys. There are also fun games to play, such as memory games and finding numbers and colours.

Review: "Bought this for my granddaughter's 1st Birthday. She immediately started pushing the mushrooms and loved the music. It's nice and light for her to hold and probably robust enough, but only time will tell! A good buy."

Age suitability:12 months+

Best STEM toy for little florists

For future green-fingered gardeners, why not teach your little one about different flower parts, colours and gardening with this interactive gardening set? Your toddler can build different flowers, water them, and learn to recognise different colours with this beautiful toy.

Review:** "This toy is colourful and attractive, very sturdy. My three-year-old granddaughter loved building the garden, and it's something she can rebuild again and again, different every time and more sets can be bought so her garden can grow and grow."

Age suitability:3 years+

Best construction STEM toy

Toddlers and children just love building things, and this rainbow building block set will no doubt provide hours of fun. Watch as they build robots, towers and cars with the geometric shapes, promoting their cognitive development. Block play boosts brain development and encourages creativity and imagination.

Review: "The kids love this to play with, they can play for ages. The Ferris wheel is easy to put together and really fun to spin! You can make loads of different things with all the suggested shapes in the booklet. Comes with a nice bag to keep it all neat and tidy. Will definitely buy more to keep adding to the collection."

Age suitability:3 years+

Best inquisitive STEM toy

Rrp: $24.99

Price: $19.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$19.99View offer
Kohl's$24.99View offer
Macy's$24.99View offer
Tractor Supply$24.99View offer

Your inquisitive tot will just love getting a closer look at their favourite things with their very own microscope. This fully functional microscope has two large eyepieces so that your child doesn't have to close one eye, and it has a focus adjuster so that they can focus on smaller objects. It even has an LED light so that they are sure not to miss any details.

Review: "I bought this for my grandson, whose 4yrs old, he absolutely loves it and uses it a lot. It's great value for money and sturdy for little hands to use. He also found it simple to use straight away, overall a great purchase."

Age suitability:3 years+

Best transport STEM toy

Rrp: $24.99

Price: $17.28
Alternative retailers
Target$17.29View offer
Kohl's$19.99View offer
Tractor Supply$24.99View offer
QVC$24.99View offer

Trains, rockets and helicopters - a toddlers' dream trio! Give your child an early introduction to the basics of engineering with this fab toy. It has chunky pieces, perfect for little hands to build either a space rocket, a helicopter or a train. It even comes with a little screwdriver to tighten up the bolts at the same time as building your little one's fine motor skills.

Review: "My nephew absolutely loved this. It is sturdy, excellent quality and great value for money. He never stops playing with it. Would highly recommend it for any child who likes to build etc."

Age suitability:2 years+

Best STEM toy for little mathematicians

Help your toddler learn to recognise numbers, count, and eventually learn basic maths with this bright and colourful Balance Math Game. It comes with 19 small frogs, 30 double-sided cards, 10 number models, one balance, one base, two weighing plates and an instruction manual. Your toddler will just love this interactive toy that promotes independent learning.

Review: "Fantastic for my toddler learning to count. The weight is equal to that of the frogs, so it's super visual in children understanding what a number represents."

Age suitability:3 years+

Best coding STEM toy

Introduce your little one to the world of beginner's coding with this snazzy little caterpillar. It comes with eight segments that can be easily rearranged to make it go forwards, left, and right and play music and sounds. Your little love will have tons of fun whilst experimenting and developing important skills like critical thinking, planning and sequencing, and problem-solving.

Review: "The four-year-old loves it – and so does her little brother! While I'd like for it to have a volume control (it really is very loud), the sounds it makes are fun and engaging for the kids. They love watching this little guy wiggle his way across the room, and the four-year-old is already starting to understand the cause and effect of which codes she inputs and which obstacles are in the way."

Age suitability:3-6 years

Best STEM toy for little mechanics

Teach your little one about mechanics with this lovely, colourful wooden shape sorter. They will learn shape and pattern recognition and how gears work whilst exploring through play.

Review: "Beautifully boxed, attention to detail regarding presentation is excellent. Can't comment on the lookout quality of the items as I wrapped them for Christmas presents. However, I've been told the children loved the gifts. Would recommend these as a former teaching assistant as they teach hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, colour recognition, counting, and so much more."

Age suitability:2 years+

Best robot building STEM toy
Price: $14.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$14.99View offer
Macy's$14.99View offer
Tractor Supply$14.99View offer

Help your toddler to build their own robot with this lovely Sparklebot. It comes with 15 coloured bolts and a screwdriver, and once completed, they can unscrew them all and play again. It also comes with sparkly stickers to jazz up their robot after.

Review: "As described, brilliant toy and educational too. My daughter, aged 4 years old, plays with this for hours."

Age suitability:3 years+

The best STEM toys: our verdict

In our opinion, the best STEM toy would have to be the Yookidoo Baby Bath Toy. Despite the fact its age suitability is from one to three years old, we believe even older kids could have fun with this STEM toy. Encourage their curious minds by incorporating this laboratory kit during bathtime to make the occasion fun!


Why are STEM toys important?

The world as we know it is dominated by technology and science, so teaching our children about these areas from an early age through fun and engaging play will set them up for success in later life, should they choose to go into one of these industries in the future.

STEM toys are a fun way to encourage a child's curiosity and creativity, as well as being crucial for their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. They also help with critical thinking and problem-solving.

If your child becomes familiar with STEM from an early age, it will become the norm. Introducing STEM subjects to them in early childhood may also rule out the gender bias that is often associated with these subjects.

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