14 Best Engineering/STEM Toys To Spark Your Kids' Curiosity (2023)

The Engineer's Perspective
The Engineer's Perspective

Table of Contents


In a world with unexpected lockdowns and periods of quarantine, it is more important than ever to know the best ways to keep your kids occupied at home. Engineering toys are STEM related toys that allow children to explore their natural sense of creativity and support their cognitive development, all while having fun! 

This paper from the University of Pennsylvania explains that the more exploration can be nurtured in a personalized way for a child, the better their understanding of the physical world and curiosity for the unknown. 

In this article, we will suggest our favorite engineering/STEM toys that are sure to spark your child’s curiosity while keeping them occupied and learning for hours!

The Engineer's Perspective

Why is engineering important in early childhood?

Engineering is all about teaching problem solving. You know what else needs problem solving skills? Life.

What To Consider When Buying a STEM Toy for your Kid


Safety is always the first priority of any parent buying a gift for their child, as it should be. The biggest thing that parents need to be aware of is the little parts that can become choking hazards for toddlers. It is also important to make sure to inspect toys to check for any defects that result in sharp edges that could harm your child. 


Every child is different, and you start to uncover the unique qualities and interests of your child as they grow and develop. Pay close attention to the direction of their interests, and try to customize your gifts to fit that. 


With STEM toys, the goal is to mentally challenge and stimulate your child, while at the same time keep them engaged and having fun. Children at different ages will require different degrees of challenges to allow them to stay challenged. 


Everyone cannot afford gifts that are $100+ for their toddlers (and lets be real, most children do not have a good understanding of intrinsic value). For this reason, we have split up our gift selection into 4 different price ranges to help accommodate your budget. 

What's Included

It is always important to know all the parts and pieces that are included in your gift. For example, some electronic gifts may require additional batteries, which can be quite annoying when your child excitedly rips open the gift only to find out they can’t play with it right away. But don’t worry, we have added a disclaimer to every gift that requires additional batteries

Our Top 14 Picks For Engineering/STEM Toys

Color Chemistry Lab Set

  • Ages: 7+
  • Prices: $11.19
  • Customer Rating: 4.5/5
  • What’s Included: Instructions for 50 experiments, 47 individual chemistry tools and materials. Adult Supervision recommended

Summary: What better way to get your child excited about chemistry than to bring a little chemistry laboratory to them? With an easy to read instruction book and 50 colorful and fun experiments, this set will help your child understand the basics of the properties and behavior of matter and materials. Take it from a chemical engineer, this is a good one. 

LEGO Gadgets (Klutz Science/STEM Activity Kit)

  • Ages: 8-12
  • Customer Rating:  4.6/5
  • What’s Included: 58 pieces 

Summary: A gravity powered car, or a boxing robot? These are some of the cool things that your little engineer will get the chance to build with this great gift. With 78 pages of colorful instructions, this is the perfect gift to get your child familiar with basic engineering principles such as gears, static and dynamic loading, fulcrums, and much more. Oh, and we know the age is specified at 8+, but we know kids from ages 4+ that had a blast with this gift! 

Archimedes Screw Marble Machine Kit

  •  Ages: 9+
  • Customer Rating: 4.0/5
  • What’s Included: Instruction manual as a graphic novel, precision cut wood, marbles .Note that this kit will require some regular household glue here. 

Summary: Did you know that the archimedes screw, although invented in 250 BC, still has applications as a positive displacement pump today? What better way to introduce your child to the inner workings of a simple pump than through this gift? 

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Anatomy Play Set

  • Ages: 3+
  • Customer Rating: 4.6/5
  • What’s Included: 24 magnetic pieces, anatomically correct male/female magnets, and storage tray

Summary: Think about this. Your child is all grown up and you get the news that she has successfully performed a novel orthopedic surgery. She goes on-air and attributes her success to her humble beginnings with her human anatomy play set that her parents got her when she was a child. Admit it, that would be a killer story!

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

  • Ages: 2-6
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5
  • What’s Included: 25 colourful smooth wooden blocks, 3 rod piece for stacking 

Summary: This geometric stacker is the perfect gift for your toddler to help them explore their creative side in a hands-on way, and get familiar with colors and shapes. We at the engineers perspective personally love Melissa & Doug toys, and really believe that this gift comes with hours of fun and learning for you little one.

Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register

  • Ages: 3+
  • Customer Rating: 4.7/5
  • What’s Included: 73 piece set (30 pretend US bills, 40 plastic coins, pretend credit card), activity guide 

Summary: Pairing traditional STEM disciplines with an understanding of finance and business is a golden combination. This cute little LCD calculator and cash register will help your little ones feel like they are working at their favourite restaurants, while instilling in them critical math and money skills. 

Light-Up Terrarium Kit for Kids

  • Ages: 6+
  • Customer Rating: 4.5/5
  • What’s Included: Terrarium jar with light up lid, charging cable, soil, blue sand, river rocks, wheatgrass and chia seeds, decorations, spray bottle, and an instruction booklet

Summary: You may be asking yourself what a terrarium kit is? It is essentially a mini garden in a transparent container, and a perfect gift for your little aspiring botanist. This STEM authenticated gift is sure to excite your child as they get the freedom to build their own unique base layer, then watch their garden grow. Did we mention it comes with LED lights that glow in the dark?

Snap Circuits Beginner Electronics Exploration Kit

  • Ages: 8+
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5
  • What’s Included: 14 pieces. Note this product will require 2 AA batteries than you can buy here

Summary: Most adults don’t even know how circuits work, so how impressive would it be if your child is able to understand the basics of electricity and circuit design? This beginners set is a safe and fun way to introduce your child to these engineering concepts, and build up to 20 projects with an easy to follow, colourful manual. 

Take Apart Dinosaur Toys for Kids with Electric Drill

  • Ages: 3-6
  • Customer Rating: 4.4/5
  • What’s Included: 4 dinosaurs, 1 toy electric drill, 2 drill bits, and 4 screwdrivers. Note this product will require 2 AAA batteries than you can buy here

Summary: What’s your child’s favourite dinosaur? A Triceratops? Velociraptor? Oh we know, it’s the Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Well, all these dinosaurs and more are a part of this beautiful kit that will not only teach your child about dinosaurs using a colored educational manual, but how to use simple hand tools to build them. Note that this toy will require additional AA batteries for the little drill that is provided (don’t worry, it’s super safe for kids). 

Talking Microscope

  • Ages: 4+
  • Customer Rating: 4.6/5
  • What’s Included: 1 metal talking microscope, 20 prepared slides. Note this product will require 3 AAA batteries than you can buy here

Summary: This is one of our personal favourite choices to introduce your child to one of the most important laboratory tools used in many STEM disciplines. With a 5X magnification, preschoolers can comfortably view plants, animals and any household items. There are also 20 prepared slides with over 100 questions and facts that can be used in 2 play modes: Fact mode or Quiz mode. 

Artie 3000 The Coding Robot

  • Ages: 7+
  • Customer Rating: 4.1/5
  • What’s Included: 1 drawing robot, quick start guide, 3 activity cards alignment tool, 4 color markers. Note this product will require 4 AA batteries than you can buy here

Summary: This is an excellent introduction to basic coding for kids from 5 years old up to 12. Simply connect your computer or tablet to the program described, and allow your child’s creativity to run wild as they code a simple program that will tell the robot what to draw. Once the code has been tested with the simple drag and drop interface, the robot will create the drawing! 

Construction Kit with Puzzles (App Based)

  • Ages: 4-10
  • Customer Rating: 4.6/5
  • What’s Included: 1 foldable gamepad, 15 hexagonal building blocks, instruction manual. Make sure you have a tablet, IPad or phone that you can use with this. Laptops will not work. 

Summary: Remember, engineering is all about efficiently generating solutions to problems.

This simple but fun filled game allows your little engineer to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while advancing through 250+ puzzles in 5 different games. Simply download the free app on your device, attach to the play pad, and start playing! 

Augmented Reality Interactive Globe For Kids (App Based)

  • Ages: 4-12
  • Customer Rating: 4.4/5
  • What’s Included: 1 globe, and 1 travel kit including a passport, stamp and lots of stickers. Make sure you have a tablet, IPad or phone that you can use with this.

Summary: Connect to the free app, and watch your child explore the world with over 400 highlights and 1000 amazing facts across 6 unique categories. WIth mysteries, quizzes, and rewards, this STEM toy is sure to keep your child engaged while testing and growing their aptitude in geography. 

Engino-Stem Toys, Educational Toys for Kids

  • Ages: 9+
  • Customer Rating: 4.5/5
  • What’s Included: 12 pages of theory and facts with fun experiments to test newly acquired knowledge. A 3 page quiz section is also included.

Summary: Ah the Eiffel Tower. A wondrous feat of complex civil and mechanical engineering. If only there was a way to recreate it…

Your little engineer will be ecstatic to be able to build not only the Eiffel tower, but the sydney bridge with this STEM award winning set. With a clear colorful instruction manual, this gift is so much fun while giving kids a basic understanding of component interaction and structures. 

Concluding Thoughts

There are numerous toys out there for little engineers to play with. One way to encourage your child’s love of engineering is by exposing them to a variety of toys that will spark their imagination and creativity. By choosing a few of these great toys, not only can you help them develop a passion for building, but you will also be encouraging critical thinking skills as they design and create new things.

We hope these toys have given you some ideas for the kids on your shopping list. If there are any other engineering toys that you feel deserve a mention, let us know in the comments below.


What is considered a STEM toy?

A STEM toy is a children’s toy that is designed with the intention of helping the child understand critical principles from science, technology, engineering or medicine. Some examples would be a children’s chemistry set, basic circuit games, or an anatomy play set. 

What are the benefits of STEM toys?

One of the major benefits of STEM toys is their focus on divergent thinking. This means that children have the opportunity to be creative in finding multiple solutions to the problems they are facing, which is a critical skill in engineering. Furthermore, the focus on hands on building helps develop hand-eye coordination and other spatial skills. But most importantly, the kids are being exposed to the basics of STEM concepts and principles which will help them get excited about what they enjoy and want to pursue as they get older. 

Are STEM Toys more expensive?

There are large ranges of prices when it comes to STEM toys. Many newer toys connect to apps, and have fancy hardware that propose to accelerate learning and cognitive development in kids. Although the research on this is divided, one fact that remains is that you don’t need fancy toys to teach children simple STEM principles.

And that is why we have compiled this list for you! 

3 Responses

  1. I am parent of inquisitive child. He is running, jumping, curious about spacecraft, cars, animals, many things. He will become engineer with these toys. Thank you.

  2. Toys R Lagos Learning Center (TLC) provides learning and tools for teachers to help children using STEM toys and kids learning apps. Building Children For Christ LUKE 1:37

    In Lagos Nigeria, there are different types of STEM toys for kids of all ages.

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