Best STEM toys ages 3 to 5
Created for young learners, 2011 Golden Apple Awards winners masterfully lay a (fun) foundation for science, math, and technology.
By GreatSchools Staff
Appeals to age 3-6
What it teaches: small-motor skills, fluid intelligence, engineering fundamentals about interconnected parts
Little hands need activities that satisfy the need to move and think simultaneously and Gears is a toy that helps kids do both while still seeming like a real toy – not a piece of curriculum. Its bright gears fit together in any number of ways to allow kids to explore how interconnected parts can create different effects. For children who are obsessed with mechanical and transportation toys, this one allows for a close-up look at how gears and wheels work in an open ended, playful way. For the visual child, the multi-colored parts can inspire mini-design projects about how colors fit and mesh together.
Some of our parents were concerned that the small pieces holding gears in place might be choking hazards for children under age three, but the toy engaged our little testers and inspired a lot of curious quiet play, something no doubt many parents would welcome!
Bottom line: A hands-on STEM toy that helps with fine-motor skills and interactive mechanical exploration.