The Best STEM Toys For 3 Year Olds

STEM toys stimulate children’s skills, intelligence, imagination, and values.

Such toys have been used by parents and teachers all around the world to engage children and stimulate their creativity, build character, and teach valuable critical thinking skills through play.

Below are some of the best STEM toys for children aged three:

Magna Tiles Metropolis Magnetic Building Tiles

Let your child engage in imaginative play that infuses science, math, and creativity with magnetic building tiles.

The 110-piece metropolis set is perfect for building just about anything from forts and castles to vehicles and creative structures.

It effectively engages your child’s creativity and abstract reasoning with fun color and spatial concepts where their imagination is the limit -and we all know how imaginative children can be.

Pros:

  • Magna Tiles is made of the best grade material that is both safe and durable.
  • It should last your kid a long time and it might even be handed down to siblings.
  • It is so versatile and limitless that your kids won’t ever get tired of it.
  • You can even add to your existing set to increase the fun.

Cons:

  • The magnet might not be able to support very large structures.
  • Your adventurous little builder might get frustrated with this limitation.
  • One parent said that her kids to eventually got tired of it once they’ve built everything they could think of.

Leapfrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

It is never too early to play pretend with your little ones.

This shapes and sharing picnic basket is the perfect indoor-outdoor imaginative play that you can share with your kids.

If you have multiple little ones, or if you’re hosting a play date among toddlers and preschoolers, they will surely enjoy this picnic basket set. Learn about sharing, manners, and values while also discovering shapes and colors with this fun STEM approved toy for little kids.

Pros:

  • It is a complete pretend play picnic set, so your kids can really have a good feel of how it is in a picnic.
  • It is interactive so little hands can discover and maneuver with every piece, and each item is specifically thought of to stimulate learning and logic.

Cons:

  • One parent review said that the music was too loud for her liking.
  • You cannot expect each picnic material to be life-sized as they are made to be easily grasped by tiny hands. There were several reviews saying that the sizes were a bit “off”
  • The set is created purely for pretend purposes. This might mean that the forks and spoons might not work as intended.
  • One parent was disappointed because his kid was not be able to fill the little cups with liquid since they have holes at the bottom for easy stacking.

Wood Blocks Set

Wooden blocks are a timeless addition to any nursery or playroom. There is good reason that they have been around for generations of babies on end.

It is undeniable that they teach little children a lot about creativity and logic at a level that they easily understand. Wood blocks are usually baby-safe, non-toxic, and can be used by almost any age group of any gender.

Pros:

  • If you get a 100 piece wood block set, it’s an automatic bang for your buck.
  • The parents love wood blocks because they are usually sturdy enough to be handed down to younger siblings. If they are well-maintained and regularly cleaned, your children may even pass them down to their own children.
  • The sky is the limit as to what you can make with wooden blocks. You can easily create an entire city, a kingdom, or a little replica of your neighborhood with your child.
  • Not only is it a learning tool, but it also is a great bonding experience for parents and their kids.

Cons:

  • With wooden blocks, you would want to look for quality above all else.
  • According to one parent, the wood blocks she bought chipped and cracked which may pose some physical hazard to your child such as splinter wounds and choking.
  • Some blocks are also made too small for younger kids. If you have a kid who still likes putting things in their mouths, little 1-inch blocks might not be a good idea.

Wooden Pounding Bench

If you still remember playing whack-a-mole at the arcade as a kid, this pounding bench might send you down memory lane.

Watch your child have fun while developing his fine and gross motor skills as he pounds the colorful little smiling peg figures with the little mallet that comes with the pounding bench.

Pros:

  • All parents loved how each set comes with its own wooden mallet that is child-sized and easy to grasp.
  • The wooden material will not easily break, unlike plastic.
  • At the same time, it won’t make as much noise compared to if it was made with metal.
  • It is a hardy toy that effectively develops motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and decision-making skills at an early age.

Cons:

  • One parent warns that if your child is a thrower or loves to hit things, the hammer might pose as a problem.
  • Makes sure to have your child supervised while using the toy to avoid injury or damage to other things in the house.
  • You have to watch out if your child sucks on or bites the parts because these are coated in paint and may have adverse effects on your child’s health.

Abacus

Who ever said that it’s too early for a preschooler to learn math? The high-quality and well-built frame is stringed with 100 brightly colored balls that teach young ones early counting and logic.

This classic playroom toy has ancient roots and has not changed much since its invention. That’s because it has been proven effective for generations now.

Pros:

  • The bright colors of the abacus can easily entice any little child. They will have a fuss-free, fun, and attractive introduction to math and logic.
  • One parent swears that it is a great gateway for your child to develop a love for math.
  • Another parent stated that the abacus extended its use until her child reached school age. She even uses it to help with Math homework.
  • It can help with calculation with the aid of visual stimulus.

Cons:

  • Although the wooden construction is sturdy and trustworthy, some parents worry about paint chipping off. This can be easily remedied, but it’s a hassle nonetheless.
  • Moreover, don’t expect too much from a toy abacus. While it may be similar, it is not exactly comparable to a classic abacus.

Nature Exploration Set

If you have an adventurous little explorer who shows some keen interest in nature (bugs, to be specific), then a nature exploration set might just be what your little one needs.

Such a set usually comes with a magnifying glass, a bug catcher, a critter container, and a manual of bugs for reference. Some sets may come with more, while some may only contain the basics.

Pros:

  • This STEM toy set is a great way for kids to learn about nature in action and first-hand.
  • They will come face-to-face with actual bugs that they have the opportunity to catch for themselves.
  • They can make their own actual observations without having to rely on screens to feed them information. It’s like being an actual little bug biologist.

Cons:

  • Since such exploration sets are only toys, you can’t expect superb quality with each piece. For example, a parent noted that the magnifying glass got blurry and scratched easily.
  • The materials might also be a bit flimsy and won’t last very long since they are usually made out of plastic.
  • It would be good for a couple of experiences with bugs, and then if your child wants to explore repeatedly, you might have to get a new set, or invest in specialty parts that would outlast the toy parts.

Kidnoculars Kid Binoculars

Kids are natural explorers. They need tools to learn more about things near and far. Binoculars are great for exploring the great big world around us.

There are so many things kids can explore with a good pair of binoculars such as views, people, and animals.

You can take your little one bird watching with you, and it could be a whole educational experience for you both.

Pros:

  • Kidnoculars are made with larger focus-free eye pieces that are built to comfortably fit a little kid’s face. Adult binoculars might be too large, too heavy, and too complicated for little kids to control.
  • A Kidnocular gives you all of the functionalities of a regular binocular while being lightweight, easy to use, and kid-friendly. It even comes in attractive colors that kids will surely love.

Cons:

  • Since it still is considered a toy, the magnification and clarity is not that superb according to several parent reviews.
  • It might pass for a kid for fun, but if your child is seriously into hobbies like bird-watching, you might want to get a clearer and more durable piece.

Pretend Play Cash Register

Playing pretend while learning about math and economics is a great way to engage and stimulate your child’s imagination and math skills.

Cash register toys have been popular among so many households for so many decades. Learning the basics about how money works is a good introduction for your child to the real world.

Pros:

  • Toy cash registers usually come with their own contents -play money in the form of paper bills and plastic coins.
  • The buttons on the calculator are fully functional to really get a feel of the experience.
  • The calculator itself is also fully functional. Your kid can use the calculator to help out with homework and math assignments.
  • The set is so interactive that it even comes with a dinging sound as you open and close the register.

Cons:

  • If your child is fairly young, you might have to take care or even hide the coins until you are absolutely sure that it won’t pose as a choking hazard.
  • Paper bills might also get torn if your child still doesn’t know how to handle paper properly.
  • The calculator itself is solar-powered and may drain out of power if not exposed to direct light regularly.

Conclusion

I hope you found some great STEM toy resources for your little one from this post! Please post below if you have any questions or bought a different STEM toy that you can share with others.

Vanessa is a freelance writer and a two-time certified boy mom to a toddler and a preschooler. She believes that raising happy kids is a delicate balance between doing your best as a parent and seeking help when you need it.

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