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Keep Them Busy Until Dinner Time With These STEM-based Toys

They'll be too busy having fun to notice they're learning. Or hungry. (When IS dinner anyway?)

Margo Gothelf and Sarah Burns



Just because the school day is over doesn't mean the learning has to stop. Keep the (educational) fun going until dinner time and pick up a STEM-based toy for after-school. These self-led toys are perfect for solo play, or discovering with a group of friends. They'll be having too much fun to realize they might be learning along the way.

4M Doodling Robot

Sure, you've heard of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse, but have you ever heard of the Doodling Robot? This little mechanical gadget is about to be your new favorite creative tool. The Doodling Robot uses the vibration from its machine to make one-of-a-kind patterns while it spins and moves around a piece of paper. As it spins, you can adjust its arms to different heights and angles to personalize the creations. 

Kinetic Sand Dig & Demolish Truck Playset

It's never been easier for kids to test out their designs, thanks to the Kinetic Sand Dig & Demolish Truck Playset. They cam pull out the blueprints and get started by flattening the land with the 2-in-1 truck. When the foundation is all set, they'll need the mold to shape, sculpt, and stack bricks and watch their structure come alive. And if they're not thrilled with how it turned out, it's no problem. They can just pull out the bulldozer tool and start over from scratch.

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Science Kit

For building enthusiasts nothing's better than finishing a LEGO set, but once it's done, what can they do with all of the finished pieces? Instead of throwing them back in the box, kids can give them a second life with the Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Science Kit. The chain reactions kit takes their used LEGOs and teaches them how to connect all of the dots to turn their old blocks into chain reaction machines. It will make them see their LEGO bricks in a whole new light.

Mindware Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Ultimate Stunt Set

While the M in STEM technically stands for "math," it might as well stand for "maze," especially when the Mindware Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Ultimate Stunt Set is in the picture. This maze was meant for big thinkers — the possible combinations to create are unlimited. Kids can test out their engineering skills and see how high they can stack the cubes, or watch the marbles in motion and race them down an endless track.  

4M Tin Can Robot

Your kid is about to start seeing their soda cans in a whole new light, thanks to the 4M Tin Can Robot. The robotics kit shows them how to take a recycled soda can and bring it to life as a robot. As they build the robot, not only will they get an inside look at how their robot's engineering comes together, but they'll also get the opportunity to customize some of the features. They can keep it silly, make it scary, or give it a few traits of each.

Educational Insights Artie 3000 The Coding Robot

Introduce your kid to Artie, a STEAM robot who loves to create art. Artie has a secret, though — he isn't the master behind the designs. Artie gets all of his ideas from different lines of code, which is all written by your creative kiddo! Artie comes with basic instructions to show them how to write simple code that will result in one-of-a-kind works of art. They can write the code and test it out on the simulator before sending it to Artie. When they're happy with it, they can send it over to their robot BFF and watch Artie at work. 

Kano Disney Frozen 2 Coding Kit

"Let it code, let it code!" That's how the song goes, right? With the Kano Disney Frozen 2 Coding Kit, your kid can take their STEM skills on a journey through Arendelle to learn how to construct their own sensor that will help them control the elements. When they wave their hands just like Elsa, they can bring blizzards to life and control the snow pattern. The more they code, the bigger their ice palace can become.

Snap Circuits Jr. Electronic Projects Kit

Does your kid wonder what the inside of the television looks like? Or maybe they wonder about the details of their phone, and how the pieces all come together. Now they can stop wondering and get an inside look at what’s going on with the Snap Circuits Jr. Electronic Projects Kit. The STEM-based activity kit will teach them the very basics of building circuit boards to power electronics. With 100 projects to master, they'll quickly learn what's going on behind the battery flaps of their favorite gadgets.

Updated June 2022