By the age of 5, you might be surprised (and impressed!) to see how much your child is learning every day. 5-year-olds are in the beginning stages of counting, math, and even problem-solving.
The best STEM toys for 5-year-olds are ones that help them expand their knowledge and facilitate their curiosity across science, technology, engineering, and math. We’ll have a little more information on this later on, but for now, let’s jump right into our top STEM toys.
7 of the Best STEM Toys for 5yos
- Learning Resources City set integrates engineering and building skills with tons of colors, 89 buildable pieces, and countless ways to create.
- The set promotes critical thinking and problem-solving while encouraging creativity and innovation.
- It stimulates young minds and introduces the design process of: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve.
- The set includes easy-to-read cards that help kids build bridges, towers, cranes, and skyscrapers step by step.
- This engineering and design building set also impacts eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, spatial relationships, and following directions with tangible results they can be proud of.
VIAHART Brain Flakes – Best on a Budget
- This interlocking plastic disc set is a fun, creative alternative to building blocks with stimulating colors and designs.
- The collection includes an instruction booklet to allow children to follow along and create different shapes and coordinate colors.
- All of the components are completely safe, according to ASTM US CPSIA safety regulations, and they are BPA, lead, heavy metal, and phthalate-free.
- Brain Flakes promotes spatial intelligence and more complex thinking for both individual and group activities.
- Excellent product for the very beginning stages of engineering and building.
Top Race Take Apart Toys – Most Durable
- The Take Apart construction truck set introduces the concept of construction and engineering to kids and piques their interest in automobiles and mechanics.
- With easy to read and follow instructions, kids can build their own vehicles step by step using the remote control electric drill, which works up to 100 feet and uses AA batteries.
- You can make three construction trucks using the 44 pieces: a dump truck, a cement truck, and a crane.
- The kit features sturdy, high-quality materials and even includes realistic sound effects to engage your child.
- Take Apart Toys promote hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, problem-solving, and also the use of everyday tools.
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. – Best for Learning Science
- The Education Insights GeoSafari Jr. Microscope is a high-tech toy using AAA batteries for ages 4+ that gives children an early look at science.
- This talking microscope introduces real science using quality images and is voiced by notable wildlife professional Bindi Irwin.
- Interactive and fun learning brings the world of animals and plants to life with over 100 facts and questions, 60 full-color images, and two play modes.
- The toy microscope encourages a love and interest in biology, botany, and the world around us.
- The toy is easy to use and looks like a real microscope with real slides, featuring up to 5x magnification and four different languages.
CoolToys Monkey Balance Math Game – Best for Learning Math
- CoolToys Monkey Balance game is superb for basic counting and beginner-level math skills.
- The stimulating design makes math fun using cards, a monkey-shaped scale, large numbers, and toy monkeys for visual and interactive learning.
- The game includes 65 total pieces and an easy instruction book for individual and family fun.
- The colorful design captures the attention of young children while engaging them to learn their numbers.
- The Monkey Balance game addresses critical skills, including sorting, problem-solving, number recognition, and fine motor skills.
Shifu Plugo Count – Best for Learning Technology Skills
- Shifu Plugo Count is an excellent introduction to technology, using both physical components and an app-based program to bolster math skills.
- Set includes a convenient, foldable gamepad, a count spike, four operator pieces, and two sets of numbers from 0 to 9.
- Connect to the app for free and play as many as 5 STEM games with over 250+ levels, each increasing in difficulty as your child learns.
- The Shifu Plug Count engages your child with interactive games and images that spike auditory, visual, and tactile senses and promote critical thinking, logic, and arithmetics.
- Game is compatible with iOS iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPhone 6 and up, Android devices, and the Kindle Fire.
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar – Best for Basic Coding
- The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar is an adorable and fun way to introduce coding to kids ages 3 to 6, giving them a jump-start on technology and electronics.
- A cute head connects to eight different segments, allowing children to create tons of combinations and cause the code-a-pillar to go left, right, and forward.
- A wide range of character sounds and bright lights stimulate your child and capture their attention for focused fun.
- It challenges kids to reach a target and promotes problem-solving, planning and sequencing, and critical thinking.
Why Purchase STEM Toys?
In the last few years, STEM has become an incredibly important part of not only school curricula, but very early development that starts right in the home. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and although it sounds a lot like school, the toys designed around this concept can be entertaining for kids.
STEM education is critical to the development of children because it’s so prevalent in society today. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce states that STEM occupations have grown by 24.4% in the last decade, while non-STEM occupations only increased by 4%.
In order to compete and succeed in an ever-growing world of technology and knowledge, children need to start developing their STEM skills far earlier than was focused on in the past.
So how do we do that? Introducing your child to STEM toys as early as a toddler is an excellent way to start off on the right foot. These toys make learning fun and help your child learn – even if they don’t realize it.
What to Look For in STEM Toys
If you’re looking to find the best STEM toys for 5-year-olds, you should check out this guide to help you choose the most educational and beneficial products.
In terms of buying a STEM toy that’s age-appropriate, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Most companies label their toys with the correct age range, so a lot of the time, you get your answer right away on the packaging or product description.
For example, the CoolToys Monkey Balance math game we talked about earlier lets you know on the box and in the product description that it was designed for children ages 5+.
That being said, it is essential to remember that every child is different, and as the parent, you see what areas are their strengths, what areas are their weaknesses, and what they enjoy to do.
If your child isn’t quite 5-years-old yet but demonstrates abilities in simple math, they might be ready for the 5+ toys. However, even a 5-year-old who is good at reading for his age probably isn’t prepared for a 10+ reading game.
Make a list of things you’d like to see improve and skills your child seems to have an aptitude for and use that to decide which toys to get her. You can then use age recommendations as a guiding force for the types of toys you check out.
Safety comes directly after age appropriateness for a reason – the two go hand-in-hand. Safety should be the primary concern for your child in all areas, but it’s something crucial to consider when buying toys.
By the age of 5, it’s generally pretty safe to assume that your child won’t be sticking toys in their mouths anymore. However, at such a young age, choking hazards might still play a role in the toys you let your children play with.
Some STEM toys come with many separate and moving parts. If you’ve noticed that your child hasn’t entirely moved on from the potential swallowing phase, then try to steer clear of STEM toys with small components.
Likewise, you should always make sure your child’s toys are made with safe, quality materials. Mostly, this means no dangerous paints or dyes and plastic that doesn’t come with sharp, hard edges.
The reason behind buying the best STEM toys is so your children can get a jump start on their development and education before they even step foot in a school. Therefore, it’s critical that your STEM toys have beneficial educational uses to them.
If you’re reviewing toys and can’t find one possible way that the toy might be aiding in their STEM development, then they probably aren’t a very good choice.
Each STEM toy should have some level of challenge to them – something that makes your kid think and pushes them to figure something out. While a regular doll or action figure might promote some level of creativity, it’s not truly an educational toy because it’s not inherently challenging or teaching them something.
With that in mind, it’s also key that the toy stimulates your child. In other words, it should be able to spark different areas of your child’s mind and force them to make decisions. A stimulating toy captures their attention and holds it, requiring an absolute focus for success.
In an ever-evolving world, it can be tough to keep up. New research is always forthcoming, and new toys are always being created.
When you’re looking for the best STEM toys, you have to consider that newer is most likely better. You may have discovered a cool coding toy from two years ago, but it’s almost definite that someone has improved upon the technology now.
Luckily, your child is growing and learning so fast that by the time the next best thing comes out, they will have probably moved onto more advanced levels by then anyway.
With that in mind, remember what STEM stands for: science, technology, electronics, and math. Stick to those subjects and keep an eye on the release date, and you should be fine.
Finally, the one topic no one ever wants to talk about: money. Some of us may have the opportunity to buy only the best, no matter the cost, for our kids. On the other side, some of us have strict budgets – especially when it comes to toys.
If you’re on a budget, keep in mind that you don’t have to get every toy on our list in order for your child to succeed. Many toys these days are multi-purpose and innovative. They allow for hours and hours of learning across the entirety of STEM.
There are also typically cheaper, more simple versions of toys if you look hard enough. Big brand names may look flashy and, therefore, more education, but generic brands can have just as significant an impact.
Toys are constantly changing, and that can make it extremely hard for parents to keep up. Some toys may touch on one STEM subject or skill, but it can be challenging to find one that’s all-inclusive.
That’s why we love the Learning Resources City Engineering and Design Building Set. With over 100 pieces at an entirely affordable price, parents can ensure their child practices engineering basics, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and more.
Not only is this toy budget-friendly, but it touches on many important STEM skills. While many of the toys on our list are excellent in certain areas, such as math, this toy integrates multiple components critical to overall development.
With fun colors, safe pieces, and easy-to-follow instructions, kids will have a blast learning and playing with this toy. At the end of each project, they’ll enjoy seeing the results of their hard word.
We also wanted to mention the Shifu Plugo Count as an excellent option to integrate technology with basic math skills. It’s a great way to let your child use your tablet or phone that’s safe and productive.
Additionally, the Viahart Brain Flakes introduces tons of colors and lets your child build beautiful creations while following instructions and learning to sort. It’s also a super budget-friendly option at an affordable price.