Welcome to the world of learning and exploration! You might have heard about STEM, which includes science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM toys have gained recognition for their ability to engage young minds in critical thinking and problem-solving while promoting a deeper understanding of STEM concepts. But have you ever heard of STEAM toys and wondered what the “A” in STEAM stands for?
In this article, we’ll dive into what the “A” represents and how it can make learning more enjoyable for kids. We’ll explore the meaning of STEAM, explore the world of STEAM toys, share fantastic kits, and get creative with art projects that are perfect for family fun. Our goal is to show you how the artistic side of science, technology, engineering, and math can be a lot of fun. Let’s begin this adventure together!
What Is STEAM?
STEAM is an innovative educational approach that combines science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to spark creativity and critical thinking in children.1 It’s all about making education fun and hands-on and encouraging children to explore, create, and solve problems. One of the key tools in this learning journey is using STEAM toys, which make science, math, and art concepts engaging and accessible for kids. This approach not only equips children with essential skills for the future but also fosters a sense of curiosity and excitement in the learning process.
What Are STEAM Toys?
STEAM toys are educational tools thoughtfully designed to ignite children’s interest and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.2
STEAM toys offer a comprehensive learning experience, fostering problem-solving skills, creativity, and critical thinking. They come in various forms, from building sets and science kits to art supplies and interactive gadgets, all geared toward making learning enjoyable and hands-on. By seamlessly integrating fun and education, STEAM toys encourage children to explore, experiment, and understand complex concepts in an engaging and interactive way, setting a solid foundation for academic and personal growth.
19 STEAM Kits and Toys for Kids
There are many toys out there, and we’ve put together an assortment of 20 STEM toys and STEAM kits that are ideal for offering young learners the opportunity to explore the worlds of STEM and STEAM. These toys and kits also incorporate the artistic and creative aspects of the arts. These educational toys and kits encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deeper connection with these fundamental subjects.
1. The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
This is an interactive building and coding set that combines traditional LEGO brick-building with robotics and programming components. It’s an excellent tool for STEAM education, as it encourages children to explore the concepts in a hands-on and creative way. With the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox, children can construct and program their own robots. This toolbox is an excellent introduction to engineering and coding principles, featuring a simple coding platform. It offers diverse building possibilities and enables technology integration into creative projects. This resource is excellent for children interested in STEAM subjects because it enhances problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and creativity.
2. The Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad
The Osmo Genius Starter Kit is an educational gaming system that transforms the iPad into an interactive learning platform. It promotes creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills by offering a range of games and activities that seamlessly blend technology with hands-on learning. The Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad offers many interactive activities. Using the kit, children can engage in math games, engineering challenges, coding adventures, artistic creations, and educational puzzles. The interface provides instant feedback and adjusts the difficulty of activities based on the child’s progress.
3. Snap Circuits
These toys are a series of electronic building kits that allow children to construct various circuits and electronic projects in a hands-on, safe, and creative manner. These kits foster an understanding of how electronic devices work while encouraging experimentation and problem-solving. Snap circuits toys allow children to build real electronic circuits using snap-together components. This product features clear instructions, a wide range of projects to explore, and a focus on real-world electrical principles. Children can construct functioning circuits while using their problem-solving skills and gaining an understanding of electronics.
4. Botley 2.0
The Botley 2.0 is a programmable robot that provides an engaging introduction to coding and robotics. It teaches kids to code and problem-solve while having fun with a friendly, screen-free robot companion. Botley 2.0 is a great way to introduce fundamental coding principles. The coding interface allows children to program the robot using buttons and commands. Children can use Botley to navigate mazes, solve puzzles, and complete coding challenges. The coding challenges involve creating sequences of commands to instruct the robot to perform specific tasks or navigate through complex scenarios.
5. The Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop
You and your kids will love this educational kit that introduces them to physics principles through hands-on experiments and building projects. Young learners can explore fundamental physics concepts through interactive experimentation and practical application. With the Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop, children can conduct various experiments and explore scientific principles. There are various hands-on experiments included, such as investigating simple machines, exploring light and optics, understanding electricity and circuits, and learning about thermodynamics. The kit consists of detailed instructions and real-world physics equipment.
6. Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards
This creative learning toy combines colorful geometric shapes with pattern boards, encouraging children to explore mathematics and art concepts while developing fine motor skills. It promotes these skills by allowing kids to engage in hands-on activities that foster spatial awareness, critical thinking, and creative design. My 3-year-old son loves these boards, and I’ve noticed an improvement in his spatial awareness due to playing with them. This is a valuable toy for STEAM learning because it encourages early development in mathematics and geometry and enhances cognitive skills.
7. The Sphero Mini Robot Ball
This robot ball is a small, programmable robotic ball that introduces children to coding and robotics through interactive play. It teaches kids to code and problem-solve while having fun with a responsive and engaging robot. Kids can program the Sphero mini to navigate mazes, complete challenges, and experiment with various driving modes. The user-friendly app features an interface with straightforward controls, making it accessible and enjoyable for children.
8. ThinkFun Gravity Maze
This is a challenging logic and building game that requires players to design and complete marble run puzzles, promoting spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills. The ThinkFun Gravity Maze is designed for interactive STEAM learning, featuring a variety of challenge cards and colorful pieces. Children use these components to build 3D marble-run structures and solve gravity-powered puzzles. The challenges vary in complexity, requiring players to arrange the pieces strategically to achieve the goal.
9. K’NEX Intro to Simple Machines
An educational building set like this enables kids to construct working models of real-world machines, teaching them about the fundamentals of engineering and physics while enhancing their problem-solving and creativity. It’s a fantastic tool for encouraging hands-on experimentation and providing insights into how simple machines function. The K’NEX Intro to Simple Machines comprises a range of K’NEX pieces and provides instructions for constructing models of simple machines, such as levers, pulleys, wheels, and axles. Through building these models, children understand the principles of physics and mechanics, fostering a comprehensive grasp of STEAM subjects through hands-on learning.
10. The Snap Circuits 3D Illumination Electronics Exploration Kit
This kit enables children to build various electronic projects, including circuits with lights and sound. It fosters STEAM skills by offering hands-on experimentation and insight into electronics while also sparking creativity and problem-solving abilities in young learners. The Snap Circuits 3D Illumination Electronics Exploration Kit enables children to construct working electronic circuits, integrating lights and 3D structures. Key features of this kit include the ability to build more than 150 projects, hands-on experimentation, and clear instructions. Children learn about circuitry, electronics, and physics by constructing various functional projects.
11. The Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Experiment Kit
A hands-on science kit is another excellent option. This one offers a wide range of fun experiments that introduce them to basic scientific concepts and spark their curiosity. It engages young minds in interactive and educational experiments that foster critical thinking, creativity, and a passion for discovery. The Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Experiment Kit introduces STEAM concepts by offering experimentation through various simple and safe science experiments. There is a wide range of experiments to explore, like creating volcanic eruptions, growing crystals, and learning about chemical reactions. This would be an excellent tool to instill a love for science in young children!
12. The Playz KABOOM! Explosive Eruptions and Foam Bombs
It can be fun to let kids explore exciting chemical reactions and create safe, colorful “explosions” with foam. This kit is a fantastic resource for STEAM education, as it provides hands-on, engaging experiments that promote scientific understanding, creativity, and problem-solving while making learning fun and memorable. The Playz KABOOM! Explosive Eruptions and Foam Bombs kit focuses on chemical reactions and physics. Children can explore the world of chemistry and physics and conduct various experiments, such as creating volcanic eruptions and foam bombs. This is a valuable kit for introducing young children to experiments and STEAM learning.
13. The Klutz Circuit Clay
This kit combines sculpting with electronic circuitry, allowing kids to create conductive clay projects that light up. It’s a hands-on, creative approach to electronics and circuitry, fostering problem-solving and sparking young imaginations in a fun and engaging way. The Klutz Circuit Clay kit allows children to understand basic electronics and encourages their creativity while enjoying the tactile experience of working with clay. Integrating arts and technology and hands-on creation makes STEAM learning more interactive and engaging.
14. The Learning Resources Coding Critters
This STEAM toy combines interactive, programmable toy animals with coding challenges, offering a playful way for kids to develop coding and problem-solving skills while engaging in imaginative play. It’s a valuable tool for introducing coding principles in a fun and creative context, encouraging young learners to explore the world of technology and critical thinking. With the Learning Resources Coding Critters, kids can program interactive animal figures with coding cards and playlets. Children engage in creative storytelling and coding challenges by using a straightforward coding system. The Coding Critters set is an effective resource for fostering a practical understanding of coding principles and enhancing problem-solving skills.
15. The Geomag Magicube Set
A magnetic building kit like this one allows children to create 3D structures and designs, fostering creativity, spatial understanding, and fine motor skills while also encouraging hands-on exploration and design thinking. The STEAM toy includes magnetic blocks with integrated building concepts. Children create various structures and shapes, promoting spatial awareness, creativity, and problem-solving skills. The Geomag Magicube Set is an engaging resource for parents and educators to teach STEAM subjects through imaginative play and construction.
16. E-Blox Circuit Blox Builder Electronic Building Blocks
This STEAM toy combines traditional building blocks with electronic components. It offers an interactive way for children to learn about circuits and electronics while enhancing their creativity and problem-solving abilities. The E-Blox Circuit Blox Builder Electronic Building Blocks incorporate electronic components, allowing kids to create working circuits and electronic devices. Key features of the kit include hands-on experimentation, clear instructions, and a focus on real-world electronic principles. Children gain a practical understanding of engineering, circuitry, and creativity by building functional electronic projects.
17. The Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
This programmable robot enables kids to learn coding, problem-solving, and robotics while having a blast! It’s a valuable asset for teaching children to code, think critically, and experiment with technology in an interactive and engaging way. The Wonder Workshop Dash Robot features programmable capabilities and a user-friendly interface, enabling children to code and control the robot to complete tasks and challenges. It introduces robotics and programming and includes hands-on coding experience and problem-solving skills development. Children can create interactive games, navigate mazes, and explore coding principles.
18. The 4M Magnet Science Kit
Designed to introduce kids to the fascinating world of magnetism, this science kit has engaging experiments and activities. The STEAM toy encourages young learners to conduct real experiments, understand magnetic principles, and develop their problem-solving abilities. The 4M Magnet Science kit features various magnet-related experiments so that children can explore the principles of magnetism and learn about the applications of magnets in everyday life. One of the experiments included in the kit involves demonstrating magnetic attraction and repulsion by using different types of magnets and observing how they interact with one another. With the 4M Magnet Science Kit, children gain a practical understanding of science and physics while enhancing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
19. The National Geographic Marble Run
This STEAM toy enables children to design and build intricate marble raceways, fostering creativity, problem-solving, and an understanding of physics principles. It gives children a valuable opportunity to explore concepts related to gravity, engineering, and spatial design. The National Geographic Marble Run includes various building components that allow kids to construct marble runs. Children engage in designing and building complex marble-run structures, gaining an understanding of physics while enjoying the process of creating their marble races. This kit is a great tool for learning spatial awareness, logic, thinking, and problem-solving skills.
5 STEAM Art Projects
STEAM art projects are creative activities that blend science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Children can express themselves artistically, gain problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and develop an appreciation for STEAM subjects.
1. Robot Art With Recycled Materials
Children can unleash their inner engineers and artists by building simple robots from recycled materials like cardboard, plastic bottles, and old toys. After assembling their robotic creations, they can paint and decorate them, combining hands-on engineering with artistic expression. This project encourages kids to repurpose everyday materials to create artistic robots. Through the process, children learn about engineering, design, and problem-solving while exploring the joining of art and technology. This activity provides a hands-on way for children to understand how recycled materials can be transformed into functional and artistic creations.
2. Sculpting With Playdough Circuits
This project combines sculpture and technology. Kids create sculptures using conductive playdough and attach LED lights and batteries to make artwork glow. It’s an interactive way for young artists to explore basic electronics and develop sculpting skills. This project has numerous benefits, such as teaching kids basic electrical concepts and circuitry.
3. Rainbow Slime Chemistry
Mixing science and art, this project allows kids to create colorful, stretchy slime. They learn about chemical reactions and color mixing while customizing their slime with different hues. This activity helps children develop an understanding of basic chemistry concepts. Children create colorful and stretchy slime while learning about chemical reactions, polymer formation, and the scientific method. Through this activity, children mix and explore different substances, observing the chemical reactions that result in the formation of slime with rainbow-like colors.
4. Papier-Mâché Solar System
Young astronomers and artists can construct a papier-mâché model of the solar system. They learn about the planets’ order and characteristics while honing their sculpting and painting abilities. This project fosters a love for both science and art. Children construct models of the planets from paper and other materials while learning about planetary characteristics and relative sizes. They can paint, sculpt, and assemble their solar system models according to their appearance in our solar system. Children gain an appreciation for the arts and learn facts about our solar system.
5. Kinetic Art Mobiles
Kids can design and construct kinetic art mobiles using lightweight materials like paper, string, and cardboard. This project introduces them to concepts of balance, movement, and design while allowing them to create captivating, moving art pieces. This project encourages an understanding of engineering concepts, promotes artistic expression, and enhances fine motor skills. By observing the movement of their mobiles, children develop an appreciation for both the creative and scientific aspects of kinetic art.
From engaging art projects to the best STEAM toys, art enriches learning experiences for both children and adults. This creative element enhances our understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Let’s continue nurturing curiosity and fostering innovation as we journey through the world of STEAM!