Whether constructing obstacle courses, setting off chemical reactions, or identifying rocks, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toys invite kids to get curious, ask questions, and deepen their understanding of the world around them.
What’s more, they help kids develop their creative thinking, logical reasoning, and fine motor skills–all while having fun and spending quality time with a parent or older sibling.
Perhaps the only downside of STEM toys is that there are so many out there. How do you know which ones to choose? Instead of spending countless hours looking online, check out this article for a quick overview of our best STEM toys for 5-year-olds.
1. Doctor Jupiter – My First Science Kit
Designed for kids ages 4 to 8, Doctor Jupiter’s My First Science Kit is filled with 20 different science experiments that can keep your little one occupied for hours.
The activities invite kids to make a lava lamp, create bath bombs, and explore how chemical reactions work. To aid them in their scientific discoveries, the science kit comes with chemistry tools, including a beaker and lab flask.
Younger kids will definitely need help from an adult in order to make the most of this kit, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a family activity. Luckily, the step-by-step instructions are detailed and easy to follow.
It’s worth mentioning that you might need to use common items from your home to complete some of the activities.
2. Botley The Coding Robot Activity Set
This robot kit allows budding programmers to code their very own robot. Botley comes complete with a remote control, coding cards, obstacle-building pieces, and robot arms.
By following the included guide, kids partake in coding challenges and watch as Botley navigates paths, avoids obstacles, and plays with balls.
What we like about Botley is that, unlike other coding games, it’s an excellent screen-free coding activity. That means your child can learn valuable problem-solving skills without the need for a computer or tablet.
Another excellent feature is its complexity. Botley is able to learn codes up to 120 steps, so your child won’t run out of things to program for it anytime soon.
3. Dan&Darci Light-Up Terrarium Kit
If you’ve got a budding naturalist in the family, then Dan&Darci’s Light-Up Terrarium Kit is the perfect toy for kids ages 5+. You can help them explore the great outdoors while having to leave the house.
This set includes everything you need to grow indoor plants, including a terrarium jar, soil, sand, rocks, and wheatgrass seeds.
Once your child has assembled all of the ingredients inside the terrarium, they can decorate the jar with the included stickers and miniature figurines.
Then, they can watch their seeds grow. At night, the lid turns into an LED light, allowing kids to keep an eye on their creation, even in the dark.
4. IQ BUILDER
This 164-piece set is one of the most versatile educational toys. It comes with a mixture of geometric shapes, connecting balls, connector sticks, and wheels that can be used to build just about anything your 5-year-old can dream up.
If your kiddo needs some inspiration, the IQ BUILDER set comes with instructional eBooks for creations of all skill levels. These books provide guidance on building cars, animals, and even a Ferris Wheel.
With so many things to build, your child can stay occupied for hours! We appreciate the creativity this set sparks, and we’re also thrilled to find a STEM toy that doesn’t require any screens or additional electronics.
It’s also a good choice if you have older children up to 10 years.
5. National Geographic Glowing Marble Run
Leave it to National Geographic to create one of the most fun STEM toys. You build and test your own marble run with the added fun of using light-up glass marbles.
It comes with bases, action pieces, and tubes that can be assembled in hundreds of different ways. There’s also a learning guide where kids can complete time trials and use their math and STEM skills to practice solving problems.
Not only is this toy tons of fun, but it also teaches basic physics concepts like motion, gravity, and aerodynamics in an accessible and engaging way.
6. Peace Defender Robot
Five-year-old boys can enjoy using this robot kit to build vehicles complete with flashing lights and robot sounds.
Using their tools, you can take apart five vehicles to assemble them all into one massive robot or vice versa. This is a good option if you’re looking for a screen-free activity that provides hands-on learning.
Your kids will need to exercise their brains to figure out how things go together and connect with one another. It’s pretty durable and provides endless entertainment.
7. Lego Chain Reactions
The LEGO Chain Reactions challenge you to design and construct chain reaction machines. It comes included with a giant book that features all types of projects you can build.
To that end, the kit includes everything you need to build one, like plastic balls, string, and ramps. Combining these pieces together with the Legos in the box, there are several different machines that can be built.
Chain Reactions teaches you how to follow steps and provides insights into motion and gravity.
More than anything, it can challenge students to think creatively, experiment, and feel confident while completing a challenging task.
8. 4M Kidzlabs Crystal Mining Kit
If your kiddo is into geology, the 4M Kidzlabs Crystal Mining Kit is a great gift. Complete with a digging tool, brush, magnifying glass, and pouch, it invites children to find and identify all kinds of crystals.
Using the included digging tool, kids chip away at the rock containing the crystals. Each time you find one, you can clean it up using the brush before examining it with the magnifying glass.
Afterward, display the crystals in the display case and fill in the gem fact sheet with information about the crystal’s name and date of discovery.
On top of being super fun, the science set can inspire curiosity and get them to start learning about the wonders of science. It provides an experience where children can use their imagination to become real-life geologists.
9. Marom Play a Lot The Engineer
If your youngster loves building and engineering, challenge them with The Engineer set. You can build a plane, helicopter, race car, and more.
While it sounds complicated, the step-by-step instruction manual breaks down complex projects into manageable steps that can keep kids busy and introduce them to STEM learning.
On top of that, it helps your child develop hand-eye coordination, tunes their fine motor skills, and improve other skills that are helpful for school.
When play is done, stick the pieces into the included plastic tub for easy access in the future.
10. Marble Genius Marble Run Super Set
If you’re sick of toys that lie about the number of pieces included, then look no further than Marble Genius’ Marble Run Super Set. Unlike other companies that count parts as pieces, this kit contains 150 exact complete pieces.
This includes translucent building pieces, bases, action pieces, and glass marbles. Using these handy items, kids can experiment with the fastest and slowest marble run designs.
For more inspiration, you can download the free Marble Genius App. It walks you through building guides and provides some new ideas to try. Plus, the content is frequently updated, so your child will never run out of things to create.