Last week, I blogged about STEM Toys and gave a brief explanation. If you don’t feel like reading the full blog here and just want to skip ahead to today’s blog, I’ll remind you what STEM stands for.
S – Science
T – Technology
E – Engineering
M – Maths
So, STEM toys are toys, games, kits and crafts that encourage learning in these areas. Often we don’t know we are learning in these areas as we are not in a classroom with a teacher but pre-school children can grasp the basics of these from free play at home or in their child care setting.
Here are ten great toys that will encourage STEM learning in preschool aged children:
Play Money helps children understand the value of money and how to use it. During play, they will ‘charge’ and get ‘change’. By choosing the euro currency, your child will get familiar with what our money looks like. This play money goes really well with a play cash register. That way, your child can engage in imaginary play too.
This First Mosaic set from Galt Toys is a brilliant STEM activity for pre-school aged children. Your child needs to stick the correct coloured and shaped sticker onto each page. The stickers are raised foam, so they are easy for small hands to manage, and the pictures aren’t too complicated. Not only is this great for their mind, but it’s also great for their fine motor skills, so it’s a win-win activity. This Galt set is recommended for children aged 3+ but I stock an SES Creative Sticking Shapes Set that is recommended for children aged 1+ too.
The challenge from this activity is to find the matching shapes and colours to make the same pattern as on the board. It’s an early introduction to shapes and patterns and again, it’s great for your child’s fine motor skills. This is a gorgeous wooden set from Fiesta Toys.
This is similar to the Magnetic Patterns only instead of having wooden magnetic shapes, you get wooden sticks of different lengths. The aim is to replicate the image on the cards using the right length sticks. It’s great for children who love problem-solving and figuring things out.
Complete the pictures by selecting the right coloured and shaped pegs and slotting them into the peg board.
Learn all about construction with a simple set of wooden building blocks. I stock a brightly coloured set that contains 100 blocks in a bucket with a lid and a linen bag that holds 100 natural wooden blocks
The Three Little Piggies Deluxe Game is a one person game where you choose a challenge and set it up. Then you have to figure out where to put the remaining pieces in order to save the piggies from the wolf! There are 48 different challenges to complete and each one can be done as many times as you wish.
8. Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw Puzzles are great STEM toys are they encourage your child’s mind to figure out what piece fits with another piece. Choose a puzzle with as many pieces as will challenge your child without them becoming disillusioned and give up. You can read about the benefits of jigsaw puzzles for preschool children here. I stock lots of jigsaw puzzles here
You can find the Giant Space Floor Puzzle (featured above) here
Any kind of bead sets make great STEM toys as children decide what patterns of bracelets or necklaces to make. Deciding a pattern and order and figuring out shapes and sizes are great preschool maths activities.
WIth these building blocks you need to figure out which blocks go where to complete the animals.
So, there you have it – 10 fun STEM toys for preschool-aged children. If you haven’t found something in the toys above but you want to keep looking, check out my full range of educational toys for children aged 3-5 years.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Have a great week,
PS. If you have older children too, maybe you’d be interested in this blog – STEM toys for 5-9 year olds.
PPS. Alternatively, if you are more interested in just the engineering side of things, you might enjoy this blog – Engineering Toys for 3 and 4 year olds.