STEM or STEAM Toys provide hours of creative, playful learning experiences for all ages. You can probably find a STEM or STEAM Toy in every toy store, and many craft stores in your area. Most STEM Toy Kits are priced higher than any other toy you will buy and many are worth every penny. I use STEM Toy Kits all the time. Some STEM Toy Kits that I have purchased really disappointed me and others I was rather surprised by how much fun and learning was packaged in the box. I have also learned that buying an expensive STEM Toy does not necessarily mean that it will live up to the expectations that was being sold to me. I love it when a STEM Toy is inexpensive and can be used over and over again. I always tinker with the STEM toys before including them as part of our Signature Babysitting Service: The Case For Play before the babysitters signs them out to take with them to the family that they will be babysitting for. I love tinkering with STEM Toys, but I also do this to ensure that the STEM Toys are actually engaging and developmentally appropriate for the child who will be playing with it. I want to make sure that the babysitter and the children are set up for success for their playing time together.
I am everywhere STEM Toys are sold and I often find the inexpensive STEM Toys and grab them up. Today, I wanted to share with you 5 STEM Toys that are budget friendly and approved by yours truly the Geeky Nanny. Also, this is an unsolicited review. I was not paid, or offered anything for my opinion on these STEM Toys. Again, I love STEM Toys so I am sharing this with you, because I know you love STEM Toys too and saving money.
Our local Children's Science Museum, IMPRESSION5 recently hosted a STEM Market showcasing their newly remodeled gift shop that is jam packed with STEM awesomeness. When I finally got a chance to go visit Mad Mattr was in the shop calling my name.
Mad Mattr is also referred to as Smart Dough, and it is the coolest thing to play with. It comes with a brick maker that is so easy to use and the pictorial directions on the bottom of the Brick Maker were clear and precise. Recommended age is 3 yrs and up. You can build again and again with the smart dough that also comes in different size kits and colors. This kit was only $12.99
Good gracious! In Rube Goldberg fashion this STEM Kit uses an innovative way to really understand how simple machines come together to perform the task at hand, in this case to move the car. The gadgets that are included are wonderful conversation pieces and inspire laughter. The directions are illustrated and in color which makes this STEM Kit the bomb diggity. I brought it on sale at Target for $6.99, normally it is $9.99. The Speeding Car Challenge is just one kit in the Rube Goldberg toy collection you can collect and connect them all to create a huge crazy nonsense contraption. The recommended age is 8 years and up.
There is just so much STEM going on in this kit that makes it too irresistible to pass up. The cost of this Sewable Circuit kit is $9.95, which doesn't include shipping costs. I still think it is cheap seeing that everything is included except for two paper clips, measuring tape, and scissors. Tinker Crate recommended ages are 9-16+ for this particular STEM Toy. This kit involves making circuits with conductive thread and LEDS that will make a Teddy Bear Backpack Chain. The heart of the bear lights up when the circuits are sewn correctly. I had planned to show a picture of the finished project, but I forgot to take a picture when the 12 year old I was tinkering with completed this project. This adorable Sewable Circuit Teddy Bear is probably hanging on their backpack as I type this. Pop over to Tinker Crate to see pictures of the finished project. Don't be surprised when the tween in your life starts requesting conductive thread, fabric, etc. to complete projects on their own after they have learned how to sew a circuit. Fun Stuff!
Learning Resources is my go to for a lot of hands on fun. I got really excited when I saw this at Toys"R"Us for just $14.98. This is one kit that is jam packed with a resource guide that has printable materials, experiment cards and toys that are open ended that will provide an opportunity for a 5 year old to play with physics (maybe even younger) in a natural way. Build car ramps, knock blocks down you name it. Learn about friction by switching the slides surfaces from smooth to bumpy. Guaranteed hours of STEM Fun with this kit!
Got a Dinosaur Lover in your life? Their observation skills will grow as they estimate and guess what type of dinosaur will hatch and how big it will become. This Ginormous Hatchin Grow Dino kit is so different from many growing dinosaur egg kits that I have seen. This dinosaur in the egg grows over and over again. Say what? Throw in some non standard measurement units like yarn, pencils or paper clips to help the youngest one measure their dinosaur daily or explore using a measuring tape. There is an awesome store in a shopping mall called tinkrLab. I got the Ginormous Hatchin Grow Dino there for just 5 bucks! Yep, cheap and the place is amazing for finding even more STEM Toys. They also have a Tinker Space to host parties and classes for kids of all ages. Just submerge your egg in water and let the playing begin effortlessly. I'll update on our Facebook page the growth of our baby dinosaur, so stay tuned!
STEM Toy Kits inspire and spark curiosity allowing us to just open a box and get right to it. Most kits have everything included, which makes it easier to do if your wanting STEM at your fingertips, or looking for ways to foster problem solving and a growth mindset. You can always make your own STEM Kit by using household materials and creating challenges, like the Egg Drop Challenge.
We promote STEM by providing these types of activities with our babysitting services. It is our goal to share our passion for STEM with many children in our community.
What STEM Toys have you used that made you say "Wow" in a good way? Let me know in the comments I would love to try it out.