Play to Learn: The Best STEM Toys for Kids Ages 3-12

by Briana Marie
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Do you like using playtime as an opportunity for your children to learn something new? If so, these STEM toys for kids would be an absolutely fantastic addition to your child’s play space.

These innovative and educational toys are designed to teach kids the foundational concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in a fun and interactive way.

Not sure which toys should make the cut?

Well, from building blocks to interactive kits, Major League Mommy has got you covered.

Let’s discuss some of the best STEM toys for kids ages 3-12 that can help your child develop critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills that will set them up for future success.

stem toys for kids

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Many of us parents are already quite familiar with Magna-Tiles.

My kids have always loved playing with Magna-Tiles, and the high ratings on Amazon tell me that many other families enjoy these magnetic tiles as well!

Magna-Tiles are a fantastic way to introduce STEM concepts to kids in a fun and educational way.

These magnetic tiles allow children to build their own structures and experiment with different designs. (You might just find yourself with a future architect on your hands).

And not only do Magna-Tiles help kids develop their spatial reasoning skills, but they also encourage them to think creatively and problem-solve.

Another thing that’s great about Magna-Tiles is that they can actually be used by children of all ages. As a matter of fact, I even enjoy playing with these magnetic tiles as a parent.

Younger children can focus on building basic structures and exploring the properties of magnets, while older children can use Magna-Tiles to build more complex designs and explore mathematical concepts like symmetry and angles.

In addition to being a great STEM toy, Magna-Tiles are also a great way to encourage imaginative play.

Children can build everything from castles to spaceships to trains, and the possibilities are endless!

Magna tiles stem toy for kids
Magna-Tiles Building Set

32- Piece Clear Colors Set

Building Blocks

Similar to the Magna-Tiles, building blocks are a fantastic STEM toy option for kids.

Not only do building blocks help develop fine motor skills, but they also teach basic engineering principles such as balance, stability, and symmetry.

LEGO is a classic building block option that has definitely stood the test of time. Many schools and communities have now introduced LEGO clubs for the youth because of their popularity.

With LEGO sets designed for all ages, children can start with simple structures and work their way up to more complex designs.

And while building blocks may seem like a solo activity, they can also be used for collaborative play.

Children can work together to build a structure or even compete to see who can build the tallest tower.


Puzzles are another fantastic way to incorporate STEM learning into playtime.

This type of activity allows children to develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and hand-eye coordination.

Puzzles, for instance, challenge kids to figure out how different pieces fit together to create a whole (honestly, a great life lesson in general).

They can also be used to teach basic concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers, and letters.

Jigsaw puzzles are an excellent option for kids of all ages, from simple ones with large pieces for younger children to complex ones with smaller pieces for older kids.

Educational Board Games

Board games are another great way to make STEM learning exciting and engaging. Games like chess, checkers, and Connect 4 teach strategy and planning, while also teaching children to think ahead and consider the consequences of their actions.

In addition to traditional board games, there are also many STEM-specific games available that teach kids about science, engineering, and technology.

These games challenge children to solve problems, complete missions, and learn about various STEM concepts in a fun and interactive way.

One popular STEM board game for kids is the Rush Hour Brain Game. This game challenges players to move a single red car through a grid of other cars and obstacles by shifting them up, down, left, or right.

I thought it sounded simple at first too, but as the game progresses, the puzzle becomes more challenging and requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Another great game for STEM learning is Gravity Maze, which uses marbles and a maze board to teach players about physics and engineering.

By creating their own mazes and testing different combinations of pieces, children can experiment with gravity, motion, and engineering concepts.

In a nutshell, educational board games are an excellent way to make STEM learning fun and interactive for children.

Snap Circuits Electronics Exploration Kit

If your child enjoys building and creating with Magna-Tiles or other construction toys, the Snap Circuits Electronics Exploration Kit is an excellent addition to their playtime.

This particular STEM toy allows children to learn about circuits, resistance, and other basic principles of electricity while building their own electronic projects.

With over 300 projects to choose from, kids will never run out of ideas for their next invention!

One of the best things about the Snap Circuits kit is that it is designed for children as young as 8 years old, so even younger siblings can join in the fun.

There are no tools or soldering required, so parents can rest easy knowing their child is safe while playing with electricity.

The kit also includes a colorful instruction manual that makes it easy for kids to follow along and build their projects step by step.

As an added bonus, the Snap Circuits Electronics Exploration Kit can also help develop your child’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

As they experiment with different circuits and components, they’ll learn how to troubleshoot and make adjustments to get their project working just right.

snap circuits
Snap Circuits Jr.

30 Pieces

Tinkertoy Building Set

Another great STEM toy option for kids who enjoy building and experimenting is the Tinkertoy Building Set.

This classic toy has been around for over 100 years and allows children to use their imaginations and problem-solving skills to construct a variety of structures.

The Tinkertoy Building Set comes with rods, connectors, and spools that can be combined in endless ways to create different shapes and designs.

Kids can follow the included instructions to build specific models, or they can let their creativity run wild and come up with their own unique creations.

Like the Snap Circuits kit, the Tinkertoy set can help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as kids work to figure out how to create their desired structure.

It also promotes spatial awareness and fine motor skills as children manipulate the rods and connectors to build their designs.

Solar Robot Kit

The perfect complement to the Snap Circuits and Tinkertoy sets, the Solar Robot Kit is a fantastic STEM toy for kids who are ready to explore the wonders of robotics.

What makes this toy unique is that it is powered entirely by solar energy, which teaches kids about renewable energy sources and sustainability. (This is actually one of my personal favorite features).

With a range of building options, kids can create multiple robots and learn about different robotic movements, including rolling, walking, and climbing.

The kit’s instructions are easy to follow, and the pieces snap together easily, making it an ideal choice for younger children who are just starting to explore STEM concepts.

Through the process of building and experimenting with the Solar Robot Kit, children develop crucial skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and spatial awareness.

Plus, they get to see firsthand how science and technology can work together to create something exciting and fun.

Overall, the Solar Robot Kit is a win-win: kids get to engage in hands-on play while learning about renewable energy and robotics.

It really is an excellent investment for parents who want to give their children the gift of STEM education while encouraging their natural curiosity and creativity.

solar robot
Solar Robot Creation STEM Science Kit

190 Pieces

Essentially, STEM toys are more than just playthings. They’re valuable tools for fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in young minds.

From interactive kits to building blocks to board games, the options for STEM toys are endless.

By introducing these toys to our children, we’re giving them the gift of education and development.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research.”

So, let’s encourage our children to play, learn, and explore with some exciting and educational STEM toys!

Feel free to share some of your favorite STEM toys for kids in the comments below.


  • Briana Marie

    Briana Marie is a mental health and financial literacy advocate, and founder of Major League Mommy. In her spare time, Briana enjoys yoga, travel, and spending time with her Husband and two daughters.

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