We love toys that we can feel good about – like ones that foster learning in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. They spark creativity, inquiry, discovery, and exploration. Some are robotic, some are natural, and some have all sorts of gears or circuits. All of them are cool. And it’s not about labeling or pushing the kiddos into a specific field. It’s about asking questions, trying new things, and discussing it all together – yep, parents can (and are encouraged!) to get in on the fun.
So check out these STEM picks – from preschool Einstein to middle school science fair, there’s something for everyone.
Thames and Kosmos Intro to Engineering
This awesome set allows young engineers-to-be to try their hands and brains at 21 experiments and builds, from a paddleboat to a carousel. The kit also provides projects to look at engineering in your own home in high-use items like the TV and phone. For ages 5-7.
$58, available at well.ca
Nancy B’s Science Club
It’s chem time! Time to do some cool chemistry experiments, seeing colours change and potions froth and bubble, all from clear test tubes in a convenient stand-up rack. Ages 8+.
Pretty great quality for a super sweet price. This microscope is small enough to take to the backyard, on walks and to anywhere with stuff that could use a closer look. With a light and batteries included, they’ll see things in a brand new way.
$18.50, available at leevalley.com
Secret Message Writing Set
Write a secret message in invisible ink and then use a cool UV light, conveniently located in the pen cap, to be able to see what it says. Be a team of spies who use science to help figure out the code.
14 in 1 Educational Solar Robot Kit
What do we love more than robots? Fourteen different kinds of robots, including a surfer, tail-wagging dog, and a crab! Plus, this kit is solar-powered so we won’t have to worry about batteries. Ages 10+, but we’re sure the parents might be as excited as their kids in building the zombie-chaser robot, for example….
K’Nex STEM EXPLORATIONS: Levers & PULLEYS Building Set Kit
We have long been big, BIG fans of K’Nex, so we were really excited to see this set take on the principles of levers and pulleys. Build a balance, sailboat or wheelbarrow with high-quality K’Nex pieces – building and engineering, all in one! Ages 8+, but younger kids familiar with K’Nex could probably handle the build.
4m Crystal Growing Kit
When the outdoor growing season is done we can try our hand at growing crystals and learn how they are formed. It’s super interesting and the kids will think it’s magical, plus the kit comes with three different colours to (hopefully) make everyone happy.
$13, available at well.ca
Just Add Milk Science + Art Kit
For the kids who are convinced they prefer art to science, this kit provides both. Learn about surface tension by creating designs (and experiments) with milk, dye, and other ingredients. Save the creations as artwork, sun catchers or even a mouse pad. Perfect for a play date or a party. Ages 5-14.
Hydraulic Robot Arm
What kid doesn’t want to create a robot arm? It’s like having Ironman in their very own playroom. They’ll be enjoying creative play while also learning about directions of movement at joints (perfect for budding medical professionals), grip and suction, and levers. Ages 10+ (but we think the parental interest in this one will be high so try with younger ages too).
4M Lemon Clock
Even the littles get to learn about how science (specifically, the citric acid in a lemon) can power a clock! They’ll think it’s so cool and will want to include this inexpensive STEM wonder in their next loot bags. Ages 5+
Elenco Snap Circuits Jr
There is simply SO much to do with this amazing kit, with literally a hundred different projects. End results range from games, alarms, sounds and more. Parts snap together and teach about electricity and connections. Perfect for ages 8+.
We think that the human body is the coolest scientific marvel of them all. This book and amazing accompanying 3D images reveal cool facts about the whole body, from head to toe, in an engaging way that even young doctors will love. It’s a great book for the whole family to answer questions about why, how and more.