As a teacher mom, I am always looking for ways to make learning fun and engaging for my daughter. Exploring her interests has been such a great way for me to revisit some of my favorite topics again! Since I have always loved science, I really enjoy bringing STEM toys and activities into our home that help to develop her curiosity about the way things work. If this sounds like you, check out some of my STEM favorites here.
Each time we take these out, there are always some great discussions. If you are as old as I am, you probably remember the originals (called view masters) from back in the day. Lakeshore Learning has some really amazing learning toys and this is one of my favorites. These Science Viewers (check them out here) come in all different categories, so there is something for everyone. Everything from the Life Sciences to weather, kids just love to look at the pictures on these. Make no mistake, these aren’t just pictures. My daughter really enjoys asking questions and learning more about what she sees. Because our brains love pictures, it’s easy for kids (and parents) to become instantly engaged about the sciences. The pictures on these are really great quality and we always use the photos as an opportunity to discuss some new STEM vocabulary and ideas.
I absolutely love this talking microscope (check it out here) by Educational Insights! This is a very durable microscope for little hands. The slides are fairly easy to snap in and with a few buttons, your child can hear more about what is on the platform. The descriptions and information are easy for little ones. Like many of the other toys on this list, the toy itself is a starting point for kids to gain interest and beging exploring topics of interest on their own. The slides are stored in a neat little drawer right in the microscope so that parents don’t have to worry about pieces going missing.
Rock Identification Kit
Our girl is obsessed with rocks and shells, so this was a no-brainer. Instead of bringing all of the rocks from outside into our home, this kit (find it here) has been a really great compromise. The kit comes with a variety of rocks with varying textures and colors. There is a sheet that your child can use to help match each of the rocks according to their pictures. This is a great opportunity to talk about the characteristics of each of the rocks or even ask your child to sort them into different categories according to a particular feature. Kids love tactile learning so get ready for some hands-on learning.We keep the rocks stored inside the box for easy cleanup.
My daughter loves building and creating new shapes with these (link for purchase here) cool tiles. While these aren’t inexpensive, they definitely provide hours of fun for your future engineer or builder. My daughter was never a fan of blocks, but these she really enjoys. They are super colorful and engaging. They are small and easy to manipulate for the little ones, but as your child grows the building can and will become more sophisticated and complex. I love them because they grow with your child and allow for hours of creative fun.
Mini Muffin Match up
This game (purchase here) is so simple and so much fun. We have played it in so many ways and even made up some of our own rules. This game can be used with even the youngest toddlers as a tool for sorting and color identification. As your child develops more skills, you can use it for sorting, counting and even math. I love that this game can grow with your child and can be adapted for virtually any age.
Finding new activities that deliver fun and learning in one package is always a winning combination for me. I would love to hear some of your favorite STEM toys. What are some games or toys you would recommend?
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.