As a parent, you might often wonder about the benefits of your children’s toys, but have you ever considered STEM toys? In this article, we go over everything you need to know about STEM toys, including their benefits, and some great examples for different ages.
So, are STEM toys good for kids? Whilst still being fun and enjoyable, STEM toys encourage curiosity, learning, and development from a young age, which can help children as they progress through their school career, and into their working lives.
Read on to learn more about the great benefits of STEM toys.
Are STEM Toys Good for Kids?
STEM toys are an excellent way for children to learn and develop, whilst still having fun and enjoying what they’re doing. Because of this, you probably already own many toys that are STEM toys, including Lego and other building blocks, puzzles, microscopes, and telescopes, and, for very young children, simple shape toys are great. For older children, even Minecraft could be considered a STEM toy as it teaches engineering and construction skills.
What Does STEM Toys Mean?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. As such, STEM toys are typically focused on one or more of these areas and are usually geared towards curiosity, learning, and education. Although, the level of which will depend on the age recommendations on each given toy.
For younger children, STEM toys will be more focused on development, whereas, for older children, STEM toys will support their learning and education. What’s more, children that play with STEM toys from a young age may be encouraged to follow that interest through school, to university, and even as a career.
What are the Benefits of STEM Toys?
Like many children’s toys, STEM toys hold a wide variety of benefits that encourage learning and development. Some of these include:
STEM toys will frequently encourage children to think outside the box with creative ideas and solutions. Divergent thinking often occurs spontaneously, in a free-flowing environment, of which STEM toys are ideal.
STEM toys such as Lego and other building brick-type toys will help to develop children’s hand-eye coordination, which is essential for all manners of learning, hobbies, and careers as they grow.
Similarly, construction play can help to develop spatial skills, which are important for a number of tasks as children get older and move into adulthood. Spatial awareness is essential for some sports, driving, and for a variety of careers.
A key benefit of STEM toys is that they allow children to develop problem-solving skills from an early age, in a way that is fun, creative, and enjoyable. This is a key skill to learn as it will benefit children throughout their school career, and into working life.
STEM toys can encourage children to be creative, and not just in the typical arts and crafts sense (although, that’s great too and arts are now often included in STEM toys making it into STEAM! Read our recent blog on the benefits of arts and crafts). STEM toys teach children to be more creative in their thoughts, ideas, methods, and solutions, and to generally think outside the box.
Breaks the Idea that STEM is Inherently Difficult
Finally, STEM toys break the idea that STEM subjects are inherently difficult. If children grow up playing with such toys, they may develop a genuine interest in one or more STEM subjects, to which they may follow. But, they may also just never develop the idea that maths and science subjects are more difficult. Thus, never placing the mental block on those subjects like so many children do.
STEM toys are for Girls too!
We want all children to enjoy STEM toys, however there is an emphasis on encouraging girls to take an interest in STEM toys, too. A lot of the time when thinking of the recipient for a Science or Engineering kit (as well as other STEM toys), people automatically choose them as a “boy’s gift”. We are hoping to challenge the gender stereotypes attached to these kinds of toys with our “Let Toys be Toys” award. It is also something that both schools and industry are passionate about. Introducing girls to STEM toys when they are young can have such a positive impact that they go on to nurture their love of STEM subjects and advance in a career linked to it.
Research carried out by Women in STEM shows the huge difference in the number of girls in STEM related education and careers. Buying girls STEM toys can encourage a shift in this gender divide.
What are STEM Approved Toys?
STEM-approved toys are those that are focused on science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics, and are usually geared towards curiosity, learning, and education.
We’ve provided a few examples of STEM toys below for different ages to help you get started with appropriate STEM toys for your children.
Best STEM Toys for 3-Year-Olds
Best STEM Toys for 5-Year-Olds
MathLink Cubes Math Fluency Set & Activity Set
Best STEM Toys for 7-Year-Olds
Best STEM Toys for 10-Year-Olds
STEM Toys at The Early Teacher
In addition to the above STEM toys, The Early Teacher stocks a wide range of STEM toys for children of all ages that will encourage their curiosity, and help them to develop key skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Click here to browse our full range of STEM toys.