Best STEM Toys for 2-Year-Olds (Top 8 Picks for 2023)
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Two year olds are natural scientists. They explore and investigate everything they can get their hands on. STEM toys are a great way to put that instinct to good use and help them learn while playing. If you’re looking for the best STEM toys for 2 year olds, then we have some great options for you.
Our top pick is the MagBlock Magnetic Blocks. This 70 piece set encourages kids to learn about magnets, to have fun building, and, of course, knocking down their creations. It’s a great open-ended toy that will remain a favorite for years.
Best overallMagnetic Block
Best Subscription BoxKiwiCo Koala Crate
Budget OptionWooden Block Brain Teaser
Related post: Best Educational Toys for 2 Year Olds
Best STEM Toys For 2 Year Olds
Best Overall – MagBlock Magnetic Blocks
Magnetic Blocks are a great building toy. The magnets allow your child to build shapes that they just can’t with wooden blocks.
This set contains 70 pieces, which allows for some impressive creations. The pieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What’s great about this set is that it has special components for constructing buildings. There are windows, doors, and a gate, which can elevate their creation into something extraordinary.
The only downside to having so many pieces is that you will need to plan for storing them. A cardboard box isn’t going to last long with toddlers.
Playing with magnetic blocks allows your toddler to learn about magnets. If they’ve not come across them before, they will often spend time just sticking and unsticking them in fascination.
These blocks are an excellent option for kids who want to build but get frustrated with other building toys that require more coordination. These blocks hold together as soon as you get them close. It makes them a good toy for encouraging creativity in their constructions.
This toy is so durable that the pieces will stand up to toddlers standing on them, throwing them, or even dropping them in the toilet!
Best Subscription Box – Kiwi Co Koala Crate
Kiwi Co Koala Crate is a subscription box aimed at 2 – 4 year olds. Each month you get a box filled with new activities for you and your little one to enjoy.
Each box has a theme, like music, rainbows, or a doctor’s visit. You’ll get a variety of items in each package, often including a book, something to make, and a toy. There is also a little booklet for the parents with play ideas and suggestions on how to build on the theme of the box.
These boxes are great because they include science, technology, engineering, and art activities. Your child will get to create something they can then play with every month.
The great thing about this subscription box is that someone else has done all the hard work for you. The experts behind the boxes test them out and plan the activities. They use that experience to think up fun and educational STEM activities, so you don’t have to. Instead, you can focus on having fun with your little one.
Budget Option – Wooden Block Brain Teaser
The Wooden Block Brain Teaser is a good STEM toy because there are so many different ways you can play with it. In doing so, your little one can develop their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
The set comes with a large board into which all of the pieces can fit if properly arranged. There are then 40 Tetris-style colorful wooden blocks.
With wooden blocks, you can explore all sorts of building and pattern-making games. Doing so is a great way to introduce a toddler to engineering and math without them, or you, realizing.
With help, even two year olds can attempt to fit the pieces into the frame. It’s also the kind of activity that they will be able to return to as they get older. Helpfully there is a sheet with solutions for the board and some pictures you can make with the shapes.
For a toy that has lots of pieces, it’s nice that this comes with a bag. That way, you can keep everything together.
Best Alternative Building Toy – Brain Flakes
Building toys are great STEM toys for toddlers. They encourage kids to be creative and try new things. Brain Flakes is a building toy that your kids might have never seen before. It offers a lot of new and exciting building opportunities.
The pieces are small plastic disks that can interlock together in lots of different ways. The pieces are small, so it’s best to wait until your toddler is no longer putting everything in their mouth before you give this one a try.
We have a set of these at home. When my son was 2.5, he started wanting to play with these all the time. It took him a while to get the hang of clicking them together, but once he did, he had a ball making the longest line he could. Then he started matching the colors. At three, he is now building pretty impressive towers out of these little plastic disks. There’s no sign he’s getting bored of them any time soon.
This is a good toy for playing with your child. If you’re looking for something they can entertain themselves, this won’t be it, not until they’re older. However, if you want something that you can enjoy together, then this is a great option.
Best Puzzle – Matching Egg Set
This Matching Egg Set is a pretty simple STEM toy, like many of the best ones are. The 12 eggs come in a plastic egg box, which means you have somewhere to store them when they’re not in use.
When you take the eggs apart, you find that they are brightly colored on the inside. They also have interlocking shapes. That means you can only put them back together if you find the right pair of shells.
There are 12 different shapes in 6 different colors. This means your little one can use color to narrow down the options, but they still need to figure out the right shape and orientation.
Twisting the eggs to get them to fit is useful for developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Finding methods to get the right pair is great for teaching problem-solving.
Egg-shaped toys for toddlers are great. They are a perfect size and shape for them to manipulate. The smooth edges also mean that they’re less likely to hurt themselves while playing.
Best Math Toy – Monkey Balance Game
This Monkey Balance Game is pretty nifty. It’s a STEM toy that little ones can enjoy and that you can still get learning out of right the way up through elementary school.
The game comes with a two pan balancing scale, 19 little toy monkeys, 3D models of the numbers 1-10, and some question cards.
For two years olds, this is a fun toy because they can investigate ideas of weight and balance using the scale.
Once they are starting to recognize numbers, then this gets even more interesting. The 3D number models are the same weight as the number of monkeys they represent. In other words, if you put the three in one pan and three monkeys in the other, it balances.
The cards are probably not going to be of interest until they are ready to start thinking about basic addition. They encourage your child to put two numbers in the pan and then figure out how many monkeys balance it.
What makes this a good STEM toy is that it is teaching kids about quantity as well and numbers. They learn what the numbers mean, which is essential for learning math. It’s also just fun to play with the balance scale even before you understand what’s going on with the numbers.
Best Remote Control Toy – Holy Stone RC Cartoon Race Car
The Holy Stone RC Cartoon Race Car is a pretty neat little STEM toy. The race car and driver are remotely controlled. The controller is in the shape of a steering wheel. It’s operated using two buttons: one to go forward, and one to reverse in an arc. The simple controls make it easy for a two year old to get the hang of.
There are three buttons that make music and flash the lights. The two on the car make engine sounds or play a tune, and the one on the controller causes the lights to flash, and the man to shout.
Do be aware that this toy takes a lot of batteries. You’ll need a total of five AA batteries between the controller and the car.
The car is a good size. It’s big enough that it won’t get stuck under the furniture too easily. All the edges on the car are rounded. So, when the car crashes, either into feet of furniture, it won’t do much harm.
This cool little car is a great way to introduce toddlers to technology and, in particular, robotics. They can also learn more about cause and effect. There’s no reason why they should think that pressing a button on the controller would make the car move.
If you have only carpets in your home, this car might struggle a little. It works best on tile, wood, or laminate flooring.
Best Bath Toy – Spin and Sprinkle Water Lab
Bath time is a great opportunity for kids to experiment with water. They are often fascinated by. The Spin and Sprinkle Water Lab is the perfect STEM toy to encourage your little one to keep experimenting in the bath.
They can pour the water into different funnels and watch what happens. They can watch as the funnels empty out, and they get sprinkled with water from lots of different points. The see-through measuring cylinder even introduces the idea of measuring quantities.
This toy sticks to your bath or tiles, using suction cups that stick well. The only downside to bath toys is the challenge of keeping them clean. However, if you rinse them through with a 1:1 mix of water and vinegar, that will stop anything nasty from growing.
What to Consider When Buying STEM Toys for 2 Year Olds
When you’re looking at the suggested ages on STEM toys, it can be confusing. What seems like a good toy for your 2 year old might be labeled as a toy for 5+. At the same time, some baby toys are still played by preschoolers.
You need to be aware that age suggestions on toys are often determined by safety standards rather than an indication of the age children will need to be to enjoy the toy. They are useful as guides but don’t need to be rigidly stuck too.
You know your child. If your 2 year old is still a young toddler, then you’ll want to avoid toys with small parts that they may still try to eat. If your 2 year old is past that phase, then you should be okay with many toys that are aimed at older children.
Ultimately it’s a matter of judgment. If you’re worried, just make sure to monitor your child while they are using the toy, until you’re confident it’s safe.
Buying STEM toys for toddlers can be challenging. You want a toy that they will enjoy playing with now. You also want a toy that will last. It’s demoralizing to have to throw out or donate a toy after only a few months because they just don’t get anything out of it anymore.
A good way to avoid this is to look for toys that are open-ended. If they can be played in many different ways, then they will probably last a lot longer.
If I could spend some time playing with a toy, I usually take that as a good sign that it should last my kids a while.
Toddlers are not gentle. When picking toys for two-year-olds, you need to look for ones that can survive a lot of abuse. If a toy won’t survive being knocked off a table, then it is definitely one to avoid.
Suppose your little one is going through a throwing phase. First, don’t worry, all two year olds go through it. Secondly, keep that in mind when you’re assessing durability.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can toddlers learn about STEM?
It might seem optimistic to talk about toddlers learning STEM skills. However, there are lots of STEM skills that they can begin to develop even from 2 years old. Some skills and idea that STEM toys can introduce to toddler include:
- Cause and effect
- Spatial awareness
- Problem Solving
They can learn all of these STEM skills through play, exploration, and copying.
Do STEM toys really work?
There have been a lot of studies that have looked into this very question. They’ve shown that the right sorts of toys really can help kids to learn STEM concepts.
For instance, a study from the Journal of Early Childhood Research found that playing with complex building blocks improved math skills. Another example is from Trends in Neuroscience and Education. They found that there is a link between playing with puzzles, blocks, and shape games and school readiness.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that playing with certain types of toys can improve our kids’ skills. After all, we’re designed to learn through play.
What are the features of a good STEM toy?
The best STEM toys for toddlers are the ones that allow them to explore new ideas. Toys that let them develop their motor skills and spatial awareness are great. For toddlers, STEM toys can be things that illustrate the idea of cause and effect, as they are still coming to grips with this idea. Toys that encourage problem-solving are also fundamental STEM toys.
Basically, you’re looking for toys that encourage open-ended play through which your child can explore shapes and spaces.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API