With the start of the holiday shopping season creeping up on us, you may have heard these questions once or twice “What can we buy your little ones for Christmas?” “What do they want for Christmas?”
If you’re stumped for ideas for yourself or to give others, this may be the opportunity to take your child’s toys to the next level,
using play time to incorporate a geometry, physics, or art lesson. Stores and online retailers are stocking up this year on toys that promote STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Round out your family’s holiday wish list with some of the best STEAM Christmas toys for children.
Best STEAM Toys: Infant & Toddlers
It’s never too early to introduce STEAM concepts, even to one- and two-year-olds. They are using their hands and bodies to explore the world around them and these STEAM toys are not only fun but also aid in their physical and mental development.
Go beyond basic primary colors with crazy crayons. Teach your budding artist what happens when different colors mix and layer. Thick crayons are easier for smaller hands to grip and the double pointed sides mean the crayons last longer.
Wimzle Ball is a bright, fun-colored sensory toy full of spinning, textured, squishy features little hands (and mouths) will love to explore. Featuring textured spheres with uniquely shaped silicone rings, this toy encourages sensory learning, hand-eye coordination, and fine-motor skills.
A classic child’s toy never goes out of style. This wooden sorting cube features a variety of bright colored blocks. Sorting cubes introduce the concepts of colors and numbers, while helping to develop hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and persistence.
Best STEAM Toys: Preschoolers
Preschool minds are very curious and they have lots of questions. “How does this work?” “What does that look like?” “What happens next?” Our suggestions for the best STEAM Christmas toys in this age group offer hands-on activities that let them discover all of the answers.
Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar™
Code-a-Pillar helps your preschooler understand the basic concepts of coding. Every time they rearrange the caterpillar’s “segments,” they are changing the path he will travel (forward, left, right, reverse). Code-a-Pillar encourages trial-and-error experimentation while developing skills like problem solving, planning and sequencing, and critical thinking.
These building tiles work through magnetics, allowing children to not only create flat designs but also make 3-D creations as they build upward. Magna-Tiles allow preschoolers to explore the concepts of geometry, magnets, architecture, and color, while honing their skills in spatial relationships, critical thinking, and creative play.
Tumble Trax Marble Run™
Engineering and problem solving have never been this fun! Follow the Activity Cards to create different marble run paths using long, short, and curved magnetic pieces. Guess how different designs make the marbles speed up, slow down, stop, or change direction when you rearrange the pieces. Easy to use on a white board or any other magnetic surface.
Best STEAM Toys: School Age Children
School-age children may be looking for ways to expand upon the math, science, and art concepts they are learning in school. Here are several ideas for STEAM Christmas toys that they can complete themselves by following step-by-step instructions or with your supervision.
Goldie Blox integrates storytelling and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to create products that empower girls to build their confidence, dreams, and, ultimately, their futures.
They offer a variety of “craft-struction” kits and builder sets that build spatial skills, engineering principles, and confidence in problem-solving. They also aim to challenge gender stereotypes by introducing the first girl engineer characters, Goldie Blox and Ruby Rails, through action figures and books.
Kiwi Crate is a subscription box service that delivers a monthly activity crate right to your home. Inspiring the next generation of builders, artists, and creators there are multiple interest options to appeal to every child. Kiwi Crate is great for young innovators (5-8 years), Doodle Crate appeals to art and design lovers (9 years+), and Tinker Crate challenges future scientists and engineers (9 years+).
Crystal Growing Kit
Open up your young scientists to the worlds of chemistry, geometry, and geology all in one box. Grow dazzling crystals and conduct 15 experiments with this classic science kit. Experiment with chemical properties, mixing dyes, the energy of crystallization, and crystal structures while growing a rainbow of custom colored and custom shaped crystals.
Interested in learning more about STEAM and finding hands-on learning activities you can do at home? Visit the STEAM Activities board on U-GRO’s Pinterest Page.