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STEM and Science Toys That Will Turn Your Kid Into Some Kind of Super Genius

The best science toys will open up new worlds of learning through play. Here’s a list of great ones.

Tanner Greenring and Jack Shepherd


It may not seem like it when your kids are hitting a sibling with a pool noodle or “decorating” your wall with permanent markers or just screaming nonsense while they chase the cat around the living room, but children actually learn through play. The real trick is to find constructive outlets for play that are just as fun as all of the above, and fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of genuinely engaging books, STEAM toys, and interactive technology products that will help find the sweet spot between kids’ love of play and their desire for learning. And it’ll give the cat a break in the meantime. 

1. Chronicle Little Scientist Board Book Set

If the scientists featured in this set were anywhere near as adorable as they look in the books, they’d never have gotten any work done because of the long lines of people waiting to snuggle them and pinch their cheeks. That said, this is a lovely little collection to get little ones started learning about the wonders of science. 

2. Educational Insights Artie 3000 The Coding Robot

Why choose art or technology when you can combine them both? That’s what the Artie 3000 Coding Robot thinks, anyway, and he’s got a point. This awesome STEAM toy will teach kids to code while they make their next masterpiece. 

3. Mukikim Tracerbot

Create routes for Tracerbot with a marker and Tracerbot has no choice but to follow where they lead! This toy encourages creativity and strategy, but also, you know, trust and responsibility … an evil scientist could really make things miserable for Tracerbot with that kind of power.  

4. Open the Joy STEAM Kit

This is such a cool gift that the hardest thing about it will be avoiding the temptation to just hide out in a room somewhere and build it for yourself. But once you manage to get it into your kids' hands, they can use STEAM techniques to create and paint a wooden model excavator with working hydraulic controls.

5. Snap Circuits Jr. Electronic Projects Kit

Kids can use this amazing electronic projects kit to build AM/FM radios, digital voice recorders, burglar alarms, doorbells, and even a powerful laser that will destroy the moon! OK, that last one comes later, but this’ll provide a great foundation if that’s your eventual goal. 

6. Sphero Specdrums

Use app-enabled rings to tap colors and make music like a cool future DJ in a cyberpunk novel. This extremely cool tech lets kids make the entire world their instrument.  

7. Thames & Kosmos Kids First Science Laboratory

A cute, colorful, and safe science lab for young kids with lots of different scientific equipment and 10 experiment cards, so little ones can practice being a mad scientist at home.  

8. Mindware Slime Lab Science Academy

Sliiiiiiime. It’s gooey; it’s goopy; it’s everywhere; and kids absolutely love it. If your kids are into it, why not embrace it? This kit will help them learn about the chemistry behind different kinds of slime and make tons of different slimes of their very own.

9. Blockaroo 10-Piece Robot Set

When the robots eventually take over, don’t you want your kid to be seen as a robot-friend who helped to nurture and build them in the early days? This super-cute and super-fun foam-and-magnet robot kit is a great way to do just that. This one’s great for budding artists and junior engineers! 

10. Kano Disney "Frozen 2" Coding Kit

Want to bring the magic of Frozen 2 into your home? No, we wouldn’t either — it’s a movie about elemental spirits that force an entire kingdom to evacuate. Fortunately, that’s not going to happen with this kit, but it will encourage young Frozen fans to experience the magic and wonder of coding. 

11. Mukikim Rock & Roll It Code Drum

This award-winning portable drum has professional demos, accompaniment tracks, record and playback, and it even connects to mp3. More importantly than all of that, it comes with headphones, so parents can be proud of their pint-sized Ringo Starr in magical, peaceful silence

12. Mindware Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Ultimate Stunt Set

This gloriously creative maze encourages STEAM skills and imaginative thinking, which is all well and good, but it is also an epic and endlessly changing marble run and why would anyone ever want to do anything else when they could be building one of these? 

13. Think Fun Laser Maze

Laser Maze is technically a game, but kids also learn a little bit about how lasers work and a lot of a bit about reasoning and logic as they play. Kids can place lasers and mirrors to reflect beams around the board to activate beacons and overcome challenges. The play is a bit more structured, but that’s probably for the best when you’re dealing with lasers.

14. The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab

Mrs. Frizzle wants your kid to learn chemical, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering skills in a fun and engaging way. And who are you to argue with Mrs. Frizzle? It’s never a good idea to cross Mrs. Frizzle. She’s far too powerful. 

15. Pop Bottle Science

It’s a miniature science lab in a bottle with 79 different experiments that kids can try at home! This kit comes with so many experiments, it'll keep the kids sciencing well into next year. Don’t let 'em get so excited that they neglect their grammar classes, though — it's too late for me, but “sciencing” is definitely not a word.

16. Rainbow Gummy Candy Lab

This is where candy meets science experiment...which sounds alarming until you remember that popsicles and potato chips were invented totally by accident. What new delicious creations will your kiddos dream up with this gummy candy-making kit?

17. LEGO Chain Reactions Kit

With the stuff in this kit and a pile of ordinary LEGO bricks, kids can build 10 awesome machines that can be combined to make dozens of different chain reactions that use many steps to do...a whole lot of nothing (or maybe something vaguely useful). It's a Rube Goldberg afternoon in a box!

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