Looking to add STEM toys for kids into your mix?
Look no further! Here are my favorite STEM toys for kids that you can add to your collection. Embed math and science in your every day!
Did you know that early math practice is linked to later success?
And lucky us!
We have the chance to take full advantage of this discovery with our early learners by providing intentional math toys to help prompt learning through play.
What are STEM Toys?
STEM learning stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. There is a similar acronym that is STEAM, where the A stands for Art. Together, they inspire meaningful learning opportunities.
Inviting children to explore the best math toys will help them discover a deeper understanding of STEM learning.
Don’t be fooled into believing that toys that light up and include the latest technology are necessarily better for our children.
You can read the Guiding Principles for the Use of Technology by the Department of Education here. Let’s start early learners with these math toys that promote inquiry-based learning.
What we are looking for in Math toys:
Allow the early learner to touch and move the object in a variety of ways.
Permit discoveries each time the manipulative is played with.
Offer problem-solving opportunities.
Allow children to practice making a plan and using the math toy to test their thinking.
Generate conversations and increase vocabulary.
Create connections to previously learned skills.
Support number sense.
Provide opportunities to learn by doing.
Let’s introduce this thinking in the early years!
Remember, these are not math toys being suggested by the latest toy company. These are the best math toys suggested by an educator and mom to three.
I have seen these toys help children connect important math concepts and deepen inquiry-based learning.
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I really do love these little bears for our 3+ crowd! These bears can be counted, sorted, used for measuring, and even pretend play. See our full list of counting bear play ideas.
We first discovered Plus Plus a couple of years ago, and my boys have been attached ever since. We have used them to measure lines, color sort, and transform them into the most creative objects. Every time my boys pick up this math toy, the execution is different. – A HUGE perk of open-ended play.
The older two kids tinker and discuss how to put the robot together. My seven-year-old reads the directions, and my five-year-old helps to assemble the parts and pieces. My boys play with this for hours! This is a great STEM activity for big kids.
These Picasso Tiles are a true gem!. We consistently play with them at home, along with taking them on road trips. Picasso Tiles are treasured at our house for manipulating shapes and forming creative sculptures during imaginary play.
Wow, this was super exciting for my boys to make and observe. Begin by mixing the solution in hot water, then wait and watch your crystals grow. Such a thrilling STEM activity for home!
It is important to mention that my five and seven-year-old dove right into Plus Plus Go. As an avid fan of Plus Plus BIG, we decided to try out the smaller size for some STEM play. If your child enjoys LEGOS, they will love this new toy.
This was on my son’s Christmas list last year, and they help support conversations about what makes a three-dimensional shape. Examine these on the light table or in your hand. The best part? The box reminds you of all of the formal names so you can correctly share without a frantic Google search as your child asks.
Cheers to the famous Grimm’s rainbow! The colors are extremely vibrant. During play, the rainbow instantly becomes boats or ramps for the race car – a great way to test out force and motion. When not in use, this rainbow also makes a beautiful display.
The light table is an investment that will be used for years to come. This particular light table is high-quality and fits all three of my boys around it as they work together at the same time. Using this light table is a great way to promote collaboration as they all work on an idea.
What we use on the light table:
Get creative and paint these geometric shapes as you talk about the sides and corners. Try and see which shapes stack and which shapes will roll. This is a classic assortment that will go with your neutral home. Great looking option for minimalists!
What I appreciate most about this set is that you can use the pattern blocks with or without the picture cards. We love to read the book Mouse Shapes or The Perfect Square to inspire what these pattern blocks can do!
These pattern blocks have smaller picture cards. They are great for children that have played around with pattern blocks in the past and already have an understanding of how the shapes fit together.
Try ramping up the math play with a wooden hundred board. Although not a traditional “toy,” this math board is a hit with my two older sons.
This collection has 72 pieces and 12 different puzzles perfect for teaching problem solving and patterning activities. This is also an excellent math brain game for spatial awareness and great for kids 6+.
A big math conversation in grade school centers on identifying sides and vertices (corners). Here, your child can spend time building the shapes they already have in the geometric sets shown above or creating their own. This is an excellent math toy to discover straight and curved lines and how they come together to make a completely closed shape. The Math Common Core also asks children to model shapes in the world by building shapes from components. You can begin to practice this skill at home with this math toy!
Show me some cubes, and I will help you create 10+ activities using them. Have your child use these one-inch cubes for color sorting, measuring tape lines, or even imaginary free play. You will be so impressed with the buildings they create to explore inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning is active learning that begins by asking questions and requiring thinking skills to continue. Children create questions on their own as they stack the cubes and see how they can come together as one structure.
How many triangles can fit into one giant octagon? Here, it seems to be 72! This Fat Brain math toy will allow your child to play, create, and discover how to place the different triangles together. Encourages spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, planning, and creativity.
I am never disappointed with Grimm’s. The blocks are always so well-made and come in bright, vibrant colors. This is a fantastic math toy for measurement, counting, addition, even multiplication & division in the years to come!
Classic home-school connection right here. Unifix Cubes are something your child uses at school and can help them continue to practice number sense at home. Help your preschooler better understand what a “group of ten” actually looks like, and help your kindergartener combine two groups to make a total amount. Hands down, Unifix Cubes help build a solid foundation to number sense.
These tracks help promote teamwork as children work together to make different tracks. This set is compatible with other major train tracks.
Flashcards have a place for reinforcing math facts in an instant. This set is well made and perfect for practice!
Remember, having high quality, open-ended STEM toys inspire thinking in self-guided play.
Let’s let our early learners explore the concepts before reading about them in a textbook or worksheet!
Search for math toys that your child can touch, move, and manipulate.