11 fantastic toys and books to foster STEM skills – Let Toys Be Toys gift guide

As well as being fun, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) toys, are a great way to build skills such as problem solving, spatial awareness and critical thinking.

Of course we all know science is for everyone, but gender bias means STEM toys are often targeted squarely at boys, (or else given a dusting of pink glitter and lipstick as if that’s the only way to get girls interested). We’ve chosen eleven toys and books to help curious children everywhere develop an interest in science and discovery.

All shops featured on this page have received the Let Toys Be Toys “Toymark award” – our good practice award for the stores that are getting it right.

Automaton Dragon Kit

Automaton Dragon KitA classic wooden self-assembly kit, this automaton dragon kit is perfect for older children to show off their creativity and construction skills. With everything you need included in the set, this is a fantastic introduction to the mechanics and construction. Kids will be thrilled by their moving creation!

Recommended 9+

£20.00 from RAAR Emporium

Geomag Colour Construction Sets

Geomag ColourA fantastic way to learn about magnetic forces and fields, this Geomag colour construction set allows children to use their creativity and combine magnetic bars and steel balls to design and build structures. Children will be amazed by the endless possibilities of magnetism.

Recommended 3+

Available In Store at Pandemonium

Time Tunnel

Sierra Exif JPEG

Perfect for all science and nature-loving kids, this fantastic novelty book will take young minds back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Children will learn about the major geological developments and establish an early understanding of the earth’s geological history.

Recommended 5+

£6.00 from Child’s Play

Astronaut Costume

Astronaut CostumeGet ready for take off with this astronaut suit from Melissa & Doug. Complete with gloves and soft helmet for safe and comfortable play. Great for all budding astronauts. Machine washable.

Sized to fit children ages 3-6

£24.99 from Buttercup

Large Blocks – Natural

Large BlocksSTEM toys don’t need to be complex, qualities like simplicity and open endedness are great paths to creative thinking. Basic building blocks such as these allow younger children to experiment and explore in a way that helps to promote problem solving and mathematical thinking.

Recommended age: 6m+

£22.95 from The Little Land

Geo Stacking Board

Geo Stacking BoardEach of 4 shapes have a certain number of holes to be fitted on matching pegs. This cheerful stacking puzzle helps to develop first counting skills and encourages colour and shape recognition.

Recommended age: 18m+

£22.95 from Petit Chou

Outdoor Explorer Kit

Outdoor Explorer KitA great gift for children who love to go on adventures and explore nature, bugs and insects. From the tiny world of the ant, to the power of our weather and the miracle of the caterpillar, it’s all in your own backyard. Includes A4 Sketch pad, coloured pencils, canvas carry bag, magnifying glass, LED headlamp, bug checklist and tips on keeping a nature journal.

Recommended age: 5+

£24.50 from Gifts for Little Ones

Train Set

Train SetPerfect for any budding engineer, this colourful, charming and classic train set includes tracks, bridges, buildings, trees, signs and vehicles. Little ones can design and assemble their own tracks with the simple peg and hole system.

£34.95 from Wood and Wonder

10 Things I Can Do To Help My World

10 ThingsA great way to introduce science issues that affect everyone, this bright and lively book highlights some crucial but simple environmental actions we can take to help improve the world we live in. Oodles of child-appeal!

Age 3-6

£6.99 Letterbox Library

Build Your Own Human Body

Build Your Own BodyThis excellent descriptive book contains all you need to build a 77 cm tall human skeleton. The model does not need any glueing or sticking and can be made and unmade over and over again.

Recommended age – 7+

£14.99 Whirligig Toys

Crazy Bubbles

Crazy BubblesThere’s some great bubble fun to be had when you start to experiment with this set. What shapes can you make? Discover a whole new world of bubble-making, tons of fun for the whole family!

£15 The Learning Partnership Wales

Let Toys Be Toys gift guides

For more stereotype-free shopping, check out our Toymark directory of great inclusive retailers, read our other Gift guides, or come on over to Pinterest to see over 100 more brilliant, stereotype-free toys.

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