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Top 10 STEM Toys for Toddlers (Best Picks for 2023)

11 minute read

Top 10 STEM Toys for Toddlers in 2022 Article Banner

We live in a world where flying cars and robots no longer feel like an impossibility. The world has drastically changed since the 21st century, and what we then anticipated as massive supercomputers are now mere miniature bricks that sit tightly in our back pockets. 

So if you ask me, knowledge and skills in STEM are not only nice to have — but rather crucial in this era. And there’s no better time to learn STEM than at a young age.

It’s never too early to learn. And STEM toys for toddlers are a great way to integrate curiosity, innovation, and exploration into our budding little scientists.

Toddlers learn best by playing. So we reviewed the top 10 STEM toys for toddlers you should buy to give your child the heads-up they need in this competitive STEM-centric age.


Best STEM Toys for Toddlers 


All STEM toys you’ll find here are analog and manual. Any toy that involves a screen or complicated features is no better in teaching toddlers STEM concepts. What they need at this age is to develop their dexterity, spatial reasoning, and basic problem-solving skills.

That said, here are the STEM toys:


1. Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set

This building block set is an upgrade from the conventional wooden cubes that toddlers have stashed in their playroom. The blocks come in 4 different colors with 9 shape variants to familiarize kids with basic colors and forms while training their motor skills.

The 100 pieces of assorted blocks will ensure endless hours of playtime as your young’un builds structures from their wildest imaginations.

What we like:

• Sturdy and colorful blocks

• Abundant number of pieces

• Hands-on and screen-free play

What we don’t like:

• Clean-up is tedious


2. Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks & Rock-a-Stack

Ring stackers and shape sorters are must-have STEM toys for toddlers. But what if we can get both in one fell swoop? Fisher-Price offers both toys for the price of one.

Ring stackers help foster a child’s motor skills and focus, while shape sorters are effective in shape and color discrimination. Both of which are critical pillars for healthy early development. Plus, the whole set comes with a high-quality box to store all the goodies.

What we like:

• Two sets for the price of one

• Made from high-quality eco-friendly materials

• Free container for all materials

What we don’t like:

• Toys might be too simple for some kids

• Cover lid of the box has no shut/lock


3. Asher and Olivia 3-Pack Wooden Puzzles

Familiarizing toddlers with shapes and colors is one thing, but if they’re ready to take it up a notch, this is the toy to get. The 3-pack set features three different wooden shape-sorter puzzles, including shapes, letters, and numbers. 

So your child can play hours on end deciphering which symbol goes into what while learning the alphabets, mathematics, and some good ol’ geometry. Additionally, the set comes with a clock, but that would be getting ahead of us.

What we like:

• 3 different puzzle sorters

• Free puzzle organizer and clock

• Trains fine motor skills

What we don’t like:

• Choking hazard

• Clock is not as useful


4. Kidzlane Egg Toy for Kids and Toddlers

Kids do love to feel independent and responsible, like their grown-up parents. They might’ve seen you carry a tray of eggs before, so a STEM toy for toddlers mimicking the same appearance would be a great morale booster.

This egg set is like your regular tray of eggs, except each half-an-egg reveals dots and numbers that can only fit if they perfectly match the other half. Watch your toddler’s problem-solving skills flourish as they try to find the egg-xact match!

What we like:

• Eggs come in a tray

• Trains their fine motor skills

• Imparts color and number knowledge

What we don’t like:

• Some eggs are a bit stiff

• Choking hazard


5. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Toy

Not all kids might like STEM, but we can all agree that smashing stuff is a fan favorite. This would seem the least STEM-related among the STEM toys for toddlers, but it can teach children hand-eye coordination and cause-and-effect.

The pounding bench wooden toy is like your game of whack-a-mole, except they pound wooden blocks this time using the free mallet. Kids can learn colors and see what pummeling blocks would do.

What we like:

• Very good for dexterity

• Sturdy construction (blocks can take a beating!)

• Helps understand cause-and-effect

What we don’t like:

• Limited blocks to pound


6. LotFancy Nuts and Bolts Toy

Pretend play is one important playtime pillar in a child’s early development. Experts say that kids will most likely imitate what they see from parents, so if dad spends most of his time tinkering with tools in the garage, here’s a toy your toddler can play with!

Apart from color recognition, this is a STEM toy for toddlers that teaches hand-eye coordination, motor skills, pairing, and concentration. Trust me, twisting the bolt can be frustrating, so kids will also learn to manage their emotions and behavior.

What we like:

• Set comes with a dedicated container

• 24 pieces with assorted shapes and colors

• Teaches fine motor skills to children

What we don’t like:

• Pairing nuts and bolts can be frustrating

• Some report that pairs do not fit


7. Brainspark Digit Builders

Creativity has always been an integral pillar of STEM. Because arts is an inherent aspect within the 4 facets, this Digit Builders set can unleash your child’s imagination like never before. Among the building STEM toys for toddlers mentioned here, Brainspark is the one that uses magnetically enabled shapes that your toddler can use to build any structure they can imagine.

From dogs to space shuttles — You’d be surprised where their imagination can take them.

What we like:

• Abundant 36-piece set for the price

• Kit comes with a free drawstring bag container

• Fosters children’s creativity and engineering skills

What we don’t like:

• Choking hazard

• Not as pretty as Guidecraft Grippies


8. ​LiKee Wooden Pattern Blocks Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are excellent thought-inducing brain teasers that adults love. But it’s not suitable for toddlers just yet. Thankfully, LiKee made this introductory jigsaw puzzle set to help get kids aboard the puzzle-solving craze. 

Using the 32-piece puzzle pieces, kids will mix and match to form 8 cute cartoon animals. Like other puzzle-type STEM toys for toddlers, the kit effectively instills problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and patter-searching skills among kids. 

What we like: 

• High-quality puzzle pieces

• Easy to solve even for toddlers

• Comes with a free solving board

What we don’t like:

• Some images advertised are not in the set



Alas! This STEM toy for toddlers is geared towards the older of the bunch as younger audiences might find it tricky to play. This is an excellent set for honing your child’s creativity and strategy as they replicate the image shown in the cards.

The kit includes 32 blocks and 32 double-sided tower cards for endless stacking fun. Interestingly, the manufacturers advertise Buildzi for people until 96 years old, which means it makes a fun party game for you and your friends once your toddler goes to bed!

What we like:

• Unique game with high-quality pieces

• Playable by 2-4 players

• Builds a child’s creativity, engineering skills, and wit

What we don’t like:

• Too tricky for younger toddlers

• Choking hazard


10. The STEMscope Kids’ MIcroscope

Finally, we save the best STEM toy for toddlers last. Microscopes have proven helpful to children, students, and scientists from time immemorial. But the STEMscope is not your conventional table-top microscope. It’s a lightweight handheld tool for your toddler to explore every surface and specimen they want!

The dedicated non-slip grip ensures a grippy hold for young ’uns’ small hands while the shatter-proof shell screams durability all the way! It’s a great exploration tool for toddlers and preschoolers alike!

What we like:

• Shatter-proof, lightweight, and pocketable build

• Magnificent 40x max magnification

• Comes with free slides and e-books

What we don’t like:

• Incredible quality comes at a price


Buying Guide for Buying Toys for Toddlers

The STEM toy market is saturated with tons of toys that focus on features like lights, speech, or screens that are not even useful for toddlers. Young children with underdeveloped eyesight and unrefined motor skills need simple toys to get their minds and bodies moving, minus the distraction of battery-operated toys.

Here is a simple buying guide when choosing STEM toys for toddlers:


Related: The Ultimate STEM Toys Buying Guide



Toddlers lack the mental capacity and physical dexterity of preschoolers. So choosing toys must be geared towards developing these critical skills relative to their age. Toys must consider the target age range of your toddler. Although STEM learning is not limited to any age, your toys must correspond to a child’s developmental milestones.

• Observe your child and find out which learning you deem they need

• Read the age range written on the toy box


Warnings and hazards

Believe it or not, some toys from unverified sellers don’t go through the same rigorous safety testing process before the sale. And a majority of parents thought that marketplaces like Amazon are free of this. But they are widespread, so be extra careful what toys you buy for your toddler. If they’re not free from:


• Phthalates

• Lead

• Formaldehyde

• Flame retardant chemicals


… don’t buy them.


Build quality

Never sacrifice build quality for the price. Since toddler toys aim to develop sensory-motor skills among the young, most STEM toys for toddlers undergo a lot of wear and tear. The most common materials used to make toys are plastic, and unless the plastic is flexible or made from tough ABS, steer clear from it. Otherwise, kids are bound to break them easily and expose themselves to hazards like the sharp broken edge of the toy.

Anything made from wood is also ideal for kids, provided it’s coated by non-toxic paints like milk paint or craft acrylic.


Educational and entertainment value

STEM toys for toddlers are not mere pastimes. They are meant to be a source of jolly good fun and provide educational value to your little ones. Ideally, you want STEM toys to be 90% child and 10% toy, which means toys are only tools for children’s open-ended play and are not limited to button presses or complicated features.

The most children could learn in their toddler years are the following:

• Letters, colors, numbers, animals

• Spatial skills

• Gross and fine motor skills

• Hand-eye coordination

• Engage in make-believe games

Any STEM toy that promises more is most likely making false claims. As child development experts say, simple retro toys are better because they impart foundational skills that children need.

Related: Top 10 Open-Ended Toys For Kids in 2023



What should a 2-year old know educationally?

A 2-year old should know basic language skills like the alphabet and be able to point at pictures or images when they’re named. Toddlers should increasingly show excitement in the presence of peers while recognizing themselves as independent individuals. Shape-sorting, color recognition, and problem0-solving should also be a breeze at this age. 


What toys should my 2-year-old be playing with?

Toddlers should play with non-toxic, made from durable plastic or wooden materials, easy to use toys that impart essential knowledge in colors, alphabet, and shapes while strengthening their motor skills, spatial recognition, and problem-solving capabilities.


Is STEM important in the early years?

Yes, STEM is vital in the early years. This imparts foundational elements like scientific inquiry, problem-solving, and curiosity that will be relevant as they face higher and more challenging educational milestones in the future, especially with complex subjects like math and science. 


Final Thoughts

Many STEM toys for toddlers are available in the market nowadays, but not every toy is beneficial for children. The above list features some of the best STEM toys to get your toddler, so they can attain the educational value they need to learn during the early years, most importantly, an insatiable curiosity and unquenching hunger for exploration.

Feel free to visit theSTEMkids’ science gadgets to find more products or check TheSTEMkids’ blog collection to read more helpful blogs. 

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