There is a reason why STEM toys are the rage today. The best STEM toys for 3-year-olds and above help develop children’s cognitive abilities. Children learn fundamental concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math, and are encouraged to explore through STEM toys as they play. Today, we have children coding, creating, and constructing. No one wants to be left behind, and developing STEM skills in your children can give them a head start in their learning journey. We hope our reviews of some best-selling and age-appropriate STEM toys for 3-year olds will help you find appropriate toys to build your child’s STEM skills as they play and have fun.
11 Best STEM Toys For 3-Year Olds
Stimulate your little one’s construction skills with this creativity toy for preschoolers. It comes with 163 pieces of blocks, nuts, bolts, wrenches, and moveable wheels that can let your kid’s imagination and creativity run riot. All the parts of this sensory toy for 3-year-olds fit into place with the help of a screwdriver or wrench. It’s big enough for four to six children to play together with 42 designs that they can try out from the tinker toys guide for beginners, intermediate, and advanced builders. This bright and vibrantly-colored educational toy for preschoolers is safe to play with, non-toxic, and free of phthalates, cadmium, lead, and BPA. It’s a great skill-building tool to enhance problem-solving skills, teamwork, social skills, and much more. Check out this review video to learn if this product meets your requirements.
- Has rounded edges with no sharp corners
- Washable and easy to clean
- Includes a clear storage box
- Helps enhance logical thinking capabilities
- Improves color and shape recognition
- Rectangular pieces may be slightly flimsy
- Instructions may not be step-by-step
This 46-piece toy flower playset can be arranged in myriad ways, developing creativity and imagination in toddlers. Each piece is brightly colored to enhance color recognition and stimulate a visual sense. The pieces are interchangeable and allow you to make hundreds of flower arrangements. The pieces of this STEM toy for three-year-olds are child-friendly and non-toxic, keeping your child always safe and are extremely sturdy, durable. This toy is known to boost fine motor skills and help children to recognize the different flower parts like leaves, stems, pistil, stamen, and more than 10 colors.
- Has smooth and soft edges
- Easy to clean
- Made from premium-quality materials
- Some stems may not snap well to the base
- Some flowers may be placed too close to each other
This peg shape sorter and stacker with 36 pegs is perfect for a 3-year old to develop enhanced dexterity and better grip. The critical thinking toy for toddlers comprises 12 different colors and shapes which can be used on a 8 x 8 inches orange foam board. The oversized pegs are just the right size for your three-year-old to grasp and build towers. The geometric shapes can be laced together for building and constructing, and work for the geriatric population suffering from Parkinsons, Alzheimers, autism, or stroke rehabilitation as well.
This tried-and-tested STEM toy for 3-year olds has shown great results in promoting hand-eye coordination, building early math concepts, sorting and color recognition, teamwork, sharing, fine motor skills, developing and strengthening visual perception and pattern recognition skills. Tested and certified for safe use, these STEM toys for 3-5-year-olds are non-toxic and made free of BPA, lead, and phthalates.
- Includes a drawstring storage bag
- Easy to clean
- Ideal for traveling
- Improves focus and concentration
- Enhances language skills
- Peg board may be a bit small for some
- Shapes like triangle may have a bit cornered or sharp edge
A set of 300 vibrantly colored straws and connectors, this STEM toy for 3-year olds encourages creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and color recognition. As children play with these straws and connect them to form various innovative shapes, they won’t even realize they’re learning skills such as construction, engineering, reasoning, critical and logical thinking, science, mathematics, and simple mechanics. Extremely safe, this building toy is easy to clean and made of non-toxic material, being BPA-free as well. The straws and connectors fit snugly together, and children can build anything from a fort, boat, rocket, airplane, tower, robots, bridge, or tunnel. The straws are flexible so building arches and tubes is a breeze.
- Includes a reusable bag
- Straws are flexible
- Enhances pattern recognition skills
- Card groove design for close connect
- Improves social skills
- Some straws may be flimsy
- Connectors may be smaller than expected
An ideal math toy for 3-year-olds, it’s the perfect way for kids to learn how to count. It comprises a monkey balance, two monkey balance pans, 30 double-sided cards, 19 monkeys, and 10 numbers, enhancing learning and retention. It introduces the basic concepts of weight and balance, and is perfect for improving cognitive functions, spatial awareness, visual processing, memory, attention, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. This mathematical concept toy for young children has three difficulty levels — digit recognition, learning to count, and basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
- Multi-level game play
- Easy to set up
- Made from non-toxic plastic
- Has burr-free edges
- Enhances reasoning skills
- Easy to grasp
- Numbers may be too easy to break open
- Paint may peel off slightly
Give your child a chance to experience the mystery of science with 30 exciting experiments to create rainbow rain, rainbow fountains, erupting volcanoes, bottle blowing balloons, and much more. It comes with safe chemicals packed in different bottles, which children can easily open, and the lid can be closed tightly to use again. This science toy for three year olds includes 15 colorful cards with instructions on both sides for the 30 experiments, clearly showing the steps from simple to challenging experiments, boosting the confidence of children.
This tried-and-trusted STEM toy for three-year-olds enhances critical thinking and hands-on skills in children as they explore and discover. This 47-piece set comprises a pair of goggles, eight bottles of chemicals, seven measuring cups, six balloons, five measuring spoons, four large test tubes with scales, three droppers, a funnel, a table tennis, and a candle— everything made with environmentally-friendly material.
- Water- and moisture-proof bottles
- Enhances problem-solving skills
- Boosts curiosity to learn
- Easy to use
- May not come with a lab coat
- Instructions may not be clear
Make your child’s screen time educational by bringing home the Osmo Little Genius starter kit, which includes costume pieces, silicone sticks, rings, a game playmat, a base, and a reflector to set up the Fire tablet. The tablet showcases the shapes and structures of the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and more, giving your child a visual example that they can recreate on the playmat. Your child can also create new structures with the flexible sticks and rings to hone their imagination, creativity, and logical thinking skills.
The tablet of this technology toy for early learners gives your child instant feedback and virtual rewards for completing a creation or task, which further boosts their interest and confidence. The set is compatible with 8th and 10th Gen Fire tablets and is suitable for children aged three years and above.
- Made of BPA-free material
- Promotes motor and spatial reasoning skills
- Stackable storage boxes
- May be a bit complicated for younger children
- Reflector may not work in dark areas
A blue tyrannosaurus rex, a green triceratops, and a brown velociraptor are the 3 dinosaurs that this DIY building kit includes. The realistic and multi-color design of this hands-on activity kit holds the attention of kids and enhances their fine motor skills, critical thinking, creativity, and imagination while developing their brain. The dinosaurs have joints around at the head, hands, and feet, and they can swing their body in different poses as well.
Children can even mix and match dinosaur parts to create a special dinosaur. This entertaining set includes a low-speed electric drill with two kinds of drill bits, three manual screwdrivers, and comes in neat packaging, making it easier to assemble it into a gift box. The dinosaurs of this STEM toy for three-year olds are crafted with non-toxic and durable material.
- Made of ABS plastic
- Features smooth edges
- Easy to assemble
- Ideal for gifting
- Some parts may be flimsy
- May contain tiny parts that may be choking hazards
Comprising five pull back vehicles—a truck, mixer, crane, excavator, and bulldozer—these toys can be assembled into five different vehicles or combined to make one huge robot. Children can use their imagination and explore different possibilities, as well as improve motor skills, while greatly reducing their screen time.
The tried-and-tested toy vehicles are made of non-toxic sturdy, durable, and thick ABS plastic with a smooth surface so that they don’t hurt the hands. Each part can be magnetically attached, making the assembly more convenient and simpler. This early science and discovery toy also has light and sound functions that makes it all the more interesting for kids. This toy offers never ending fun to kids as they learn problem-solving skills while playing.
- Enhances hand-eye coordination
- Attaches magnetically
- Washable and easy to clean
- Doesn’t require batteries
- Some parts may not hold together
- Does not come with clear instructions
Containing 102 different-sized blocks, the Soyee Magnetic tiles set can be used to make different-sized structures. Each block of this safe construction toy for early learners is made of burr-free ABS plastic and comes in vibrant and shiny colors such as blue, pink, red, orange, and purple, to attract children’s attention. Constructing new structures using this building toy for young children can help improve a child’s confidence, hand-eye coordination, and imagination.
Additionally, the tiles have round and magnet-enclosed edges, making them ideal for children aged three years and above. You can also join your child during playtime and help them create imaginary houses, castles, and forts for a fun bonding session.
- Made of toxin-free materials
- Improves spatial awareness
- Enhances fine motor skills
- Includes a storage bag
- Easy to build
- Some may find it a bit small
- Magnets may weaken over time
Encourage your child to connect with everyday life through 30 interesting experiments, and make science projects more real for them with hands-on activities. It includes 30 simple instruction cards that inculcate the spirit of discovery and exploration in young children as they engage in interesting activities and create fantastic things like a rain rainbow, colorful fountain, volcanic eruption, underwater flower, candle absorbs water, and milk animation to name a few.
This logic and reasoning toy for young children comprises eight bottles of chemicals in high-quality packaging bottles, seven measuring cups, six balloons, five measuring spoons, four large test tubes with scales, three droppers, a table tennis, a funnel, and a candle. This learning resource helps children familiarize themselves with fundamental concepts of chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and cultivate thinking skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, imagination, patience while boosting hands-on abilities.
- Easy-to-store bottles
- Helps improve math skills
- Made of high-quality and safe materials
- Encourages parent-child interaction
- Includes a pair of goggles to safeguard the eyes
- Instructions may not be clear for some
How To Choose The Right STEM Toys For 3-Year Olds?
Here are a few factors you should consider when choosing a STEM toy for your precious toddler so that they thoroughly enjoy it and it’s a great educational tool for them.
- Age appropriate: It’s rather common for parents to buy their kids toys which are designed for older kids as they feel it saves money as children can play with it for longer. This unfortunately doesn’t work for STEM toys as the age recommendations on the toy let you know whether it’s safe for your 3-year old to play with, and if it’s appropriate for their stage of development.
- Interesting and interactive: It’s very important that a STEM toy should stimulate your child’s interest, otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose. You will notice if your child has a tendency of gravitating towards a particular kind of toy, so let your kid take the lead when it comes to choosing a STEM toy for better learning. Also, choose a STEM toy that can be used in several different ways by your child as that boosts maturation and development.
- Magnetic construction toys: These toys which are available in colorful and beautiful sets are the best if you are trying to enhance your child’s motor skills and problem-solving skills. It hones creativity in children as it’s a combination of creating, building, thinking critically, and piques their curiosity.
- Cash register toys: These toys are a combination of make-believe and basic math as kids practice counting money and items. This not only boosts their imagination, but is also educational as they learn about honesty as a value, and about spending money.
- Block sets: This is again a simple STEM toy that teaches basic engineering concepts to children while enhancing their problem-solving skills. Children can design structures as they choose and discover for themselves how some foundations are stable and some are not. It also teaches them about numbers and measurements, and basic math concepts like shapes, arithmetics, and counting. They can also figure out similarities and differences as they combine and sort out figures.
- Science kits: Science kits are the perfect STEM toys to enhance kids’ curiosity and inquisitiveness, and develop critical thinking. These kits or interactive science toys for three year olds lay the foundation for them to ask key questions through observation. Though all children don’t grow up to be scientists, it teaches them to follow their instincts and boosts their naturally curious nature.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Priti Bose, our experienced writer and reviewer of toys and gifts for children, has scoured through numerous trusted websites and user reviews to compile this list of the best STEM toys for your 3-year-olds. She has explained each product in detail using her in-depth knowledge of children’s products and keeping your requirements in mind. Moreover, she has provided a helpful purchasing guide comprising all the primary factors to consider before choosing the right STEM toy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What makes a good STEM toy?
Good STEM toys help develop cognitive skills, fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities, color and shape recognition, imagination, and exploration.
2. Do STEM toys work?
STEM toys such as jigsaw puzzles, building blocks, stacking toys, and construction toys, help spark children’s imagination, observation, and analytical skills. These toys also help children hone their hand-eye coordination.
3. How should I introduce my child to STEM?
A fine and engaging way of introducing your child to STEM is to get them games and toys. These could include DIY projects, mini toy-lab kits, and construction toys.
4. Do children like STEM toys?
Most three-year-olds are naturally curious and drawn toward toys or games that they find visually attractive or ones that make them wonder about the “why” and “how” of a phenomenon and challenge them to solve problems (1).
STEM toys are not only fun to play with, but also help develop your little one’s fine motor, visual coordination, and problem-solving skills, encourage cooperation, sharing, and teamwork, and stimulate the senses. They are scientifically designed, keeping in mind the needs and wants of children spread across different age groups. When choosing a STEM toy for 3-year-olds, factor in their tastes and preferences and ensure the toys are always safe to play with. From building blocks to stacking toys and science kits, the options are endless. With the right toy, your little one is set to embark on a journey of learning filled with fun.
Infographic: Benefits Of Playing With STEM Toys For Toddlers
Toys with properties that can teach children science, technology, engineering, and math concepts are called STEM toys. The complexity of STEM toys differs based on a child’s age and skills. Read the infographic to know how STEM toys can benefit your children.
- Development Milestones For Your 3-Year-Old Child: