The Best STEM Toys For Gifting This Holiday Season!
It’s that time of the year again when you’re worrying about what to gift your kids, your friends’ kids, your nieces, your nephews. You want the gift to be useful, preferably educational, and absolutely minimum hassle for parents while entertaining and delighting the recipient! That’s a lot to ask for but luckily, with the surge in STEM toys these days, there are options that meet all of those criteria.
We’ve talked about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), how STEM toys make learning fun and why our VertiPlay STEM Marble Run is the coolest game right now! From encouraging problem-solving, familiarising kids with basic scientific concepts, honing imagination and creativity to reducing the fear of numbers, STEM toys are capable of a lot. We put together a list of the best kind of STEM toys to give kids and hope it helps you!
Jigsaw puzzles are a great starting point for STEM skill development. They are classic and can involve kids of all ages. Start the little ones off with just finding pieces of the same colour while older ones can work on fitting them in the right places. There is logical thinking and problem solving involved and adults can join in the fun too! Tangram puzzles that come with various geometric shapes to be fitted in multiple ways to create different end results are great for the imagination and understanding angles and measurements. Newer puzzles like magnetic tiles work in a similar way, with coloured tiles in various shapes that can be attached to each other to create all kinds of shapes and structures.
Very little can beat the classic world of LEGO and there is a reason that these blocks remain so popular generation after generation. They are hands-on with endless possibilities and can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Building blocks teach the concepts of engineering, problem-solving, construction and improves spatial awareness. With LEGO and other building blocks as well, children learn to be systematic, while being able to experiment and express themselves. Building blocks can range from basic colourful wooden blocks to more advanced sets to build entire cities. Either way, fitting them on top of one another unlocks a whole world!
Train sets, toy cars, planes, trucks and any other vehicle are a fascinating way to understand how things work. These days there are perfectly designed models to show kids exactly how a plane flies or a train moves along the tracks. Words like ‘propel’ and ‘speed’ come up as they play and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good ‘vroom vroom’ as two cars begin to race! Understanding mechanics opens up curiosity about engineering and physics, two crucial components of STEM.
From the old classic like an abacus and simple card games, giving a child a toy that helps with math skills and reducing the fear of numbers (a common issue with many adults) is a great start. Board games like Monopoly also encourage a little number crunching and even a basic calculator can be fun!
Kits and pretend play:
These days, there are a whole range of kits that children can play with and learn about science. From a more traditional chemistry set to a fun make-your-own-bath-bombs kind of kit, these help them get familiar with chemical reactions and names of different chemicals. A microscope helps little scientists discover more of the world they can’t see otherwise. A doctor’s kit encourages pretend play which is great for the imagination and invites new questions and curiosity. Electrical circuit kits, perfectly and safely built for little hands let children actually build circuits, see how electricity works and some come with LED bulbs that create so much excitement when they light up! Since coding skills are becoming increasingly important in technical workplaces, why not think of gifting a toy that helps with that? They come in more advanced versions like robotic toys or simpler kits (like Kano) that let children draw different patterns or make an object move by tinkering with basic code on a computer.
Each of these categories has a range of brands and prices available within it and the possibilities are endless. STEM toys are really fun and they get more exciting every year! Do your kids have a favourite STEM toy? What do you think are best STEM toys? Tell us in the comments!