One of the biggest reasons we chose public school for our kids is because of the STEM opportunities. Our neighborhood school is fantastic about providing STEM-based curriculum throughout the day as well as in the dedicated STEAM lab. So I knew that after we chose to school at home this year, I wanted to round out our curriculum with some terrific STEM homeschool toys.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m pretty toy-averse. I HATE buying random toys, especially plastic ones and MOST especially ones that make noise. But I have a soft spot for educational toys and STEM toys that teach strategy, coding, engineering, and science.
STEM Toys for Homeschool or After School
Most of these STEM toys are ones we already have and love in our home, and have used for years. A few of them are ones that I’ve considered purchasing before, and doing homeschool helped me decide to bite the bullet. Whatever your schooling situation, these are fantastic and educational games and toys to have around for homeschool, after school, or just playing on the weekends.
I’m really hoping to mostly spend four days a week with our academic homeschool curricula, and have one day to focus on STEAM activities. This may include experiments, art projects, going on nature walks, using coding toys, and more. I’m excited we’ll have the flexibility to change things up as we go! I already shared a bunch of math games, activities, and resources that we’ll include, so I’ll focus this mostly on science, technology, and engineering.
I hope this list of our favorite STEM homeschool toys is helpful to you, as well!
This post on our favorite STEM homeschool toys contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own. That means I earn a small commission if you purchase through my link, but doesn’t change your price.
Our Favorite STEM Homeschool Toys: STEM Gifts for Kids
As I mentioned, I tend to really not like toys. This might be the only toy of which we have not just one set, but TWO! My parents gifted us our first set four years ago for Christmas, and they’ve been played with almost every single day since. When they were recently visiting, my mom noticed that with more kiddos around now, it would be helpful to have a bigger collection, so she sent us a second set. We’ve loved having the extra pieces!
The first set we had were the original Magna Tiles. As I mentioned, we’ve had them for 4 years and they’re in perfect condition. This time, we got this brand of magnetic tiles, and so far, they seem pretty sturdy (although one magnet did come loose). I’ve also heard terrific things about Picasso Tiles and their durability (and this is an amazing price on them).
This is another toy we’ve had for several years and has stood the test of time. I love this amazing engineering toy that teaches kids to follow certain pathways to assemble circuits and make things run (like turn on a light or power a mini fan). It’s so cool to me that it creates real electrical circuits, in a way that’s completely safe for kids.
These little building toys are inexpensive, creative, and open-ended. There are instructions for a few specific creations, but then kids can build plenty on their own. Somehow, they’re just addictive and all my kids love them and have spent hours on them.
The one downside is that cleanup isn’t super quick with them (they need to all be pulled apart to go back in the container). But that also means they stay together well if you want to work on them for a longer period of time.
Does it get more classic than K’Nex? I love that these provide some direction but are still open-ended enough to get those creative juices flowing.
These are such great tools to have around to observe the world around us – the most important part of elementary science. We’ve had this magnifying glass for several years and I love how big, sturdy, and durable it is. I’m excited to add a microscope into our resources!
We recently started using this little coding robot, and it is so fun!! I love that it allows kids to start from the very beginning with a few pre-programmed codes, but then advances with them into more complex coding languages. It’s fantastic for a tactile tool (instead of just on the computer) to see how code comes to life.
I LOVE the engineering version of this book, and I’m excited to add in the science experiment one, as well. It’s such a great opportunity to allow kids to experiment and discover on their own with household objects and resources without needing to direct a whole activity. There are also a bunch of other science experiment books right here!
We love this dinosaur soap making kit. It’s so cute and fun to mix colors and experiment with creating soap. Plus, you can use the result in the bath!
Speaking of science experiments, I’m super excited to get this space experiment kit for one of my space-loving kiddos. And honestly, it looks super fun for me, too!
These little planks seem so basic but are AMAZING for creating all kinds of cool structures. Since all the blocks are exactly the same size, it creates a lot of possibilities for building structurally sound creations. Great for a variety of ages.
LEGOs 100% count for STEM time. Kids learn through play!! They’re such a classic toy for a reason, and the basic set provides so much open-ended, creative and strategic play. If you want a set, though, I’m partial to this Women of NASA one!
This is one I’m super excited to add to our arsenal. It’s a coding kit that turns everyday objects (bananas! stuffed animals!) into touchpads. Super fun way to practice coding skills.
My kids are getting this in 2023 and I’m super excited about it. I think the whole family will love it and it will be exciting for a variety of ages.
Especially after the recent Space-X launch, my kids have been super into the ideas of rockets. This rocket launch kit looks so fun!
I’m really looking forward to adding this telescope in to learn a bit about astronomy. This one has fantastic reviews, and tons of them. It looks solid and functional for more than just playing around without breaking the bank, which is perfect for us.
This brand has a whole bunch of different engineering toys – robots to build, science kits, space explorers, etc. I’m planning to add this robotic arms kit to our STEM homeschool toy collection!
These robotic wooden models are definitely not for younger children, but they’re great for older kids and even adults. My 9 year old who loves to tinker really enjoyed putting one of these together (away from the toddler) and watching the gears come together.
We got a set of these last year and put one in each kid’s stocking for Christmas. It was so fun breaking them open and looking inside each rock.
Our 9 year old just got this for his birthday and he was already loving it by that night. Super fun gift for kids who love to figure out cause and effect.
STEM Toys for Preschoolers
With my toddler home as I homeschool my older kids, I knew I needed to add a few preschool STEM toys to our collection. He LOVES Magna Tiles, but I wanted him to feel included with a few other choices. Here what our options will look like:
- Castle Logix – this is one of my FAVORITE games for preschoolers. So great for logic skills, and the later ones get really challenging!
- First microscope – great to play along with the big kids!
- Colored counting bears – I’ve been wanting these for a while and I’m excited to add them in!
- Outdoor explorer set – my 5 year old LOVES this set – it’s perfect for building those observational science skills
- Dinosaur building kit – this little set is such a hit with the preschool crowd. Perfect for kids who love to tinker and use a screwdriver.
- Lincoln Logs – another classic building toy
- Break open dinosaur eggs – similar to the geodes above, but with a little dino inside. These were a big hit at our house.
- First science experiment kit – I love that pretty much everything you need is contained within the box
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