The importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education cannot be understated, and starting early is a wonderful way to engage your child.
STEM toys encourage your children to play and explore their curiosity. They encourage problem solving, exploration, and analytical skills before your child even knows what those words mean.
Encouraging your child to explore and discover the world around them sets them up for a lifetime of learning. You can’t start too early when it comes to scientific curiosity and STEM learning, so we developed this list of the best science kits for toddlers.
Top Science Kits for Toddlers
We did a lot of research to create this list, and that means less work for you! Whatever your budget or family needs, we’ve got a science kit to get your kids into the STEM groove.
1. Best Overall Science Kit – Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set
- The 45-piece kit includes two test tubes with a stand, a dropper, two funnels, two connector tubes, three stoppers, a sensory tube with two lids, ViewScope with case, safety glasses, and 20 activity cards.
- A write-and-wipe journal allows your child to document findings, wipe it away, and repeat at a later date.
- Guide your child through fun activities made for toddlers and younger children
- Each piece is lightweight and large enough for toddler hands, but they also challenge kids to work on fine motor skills.
- Suggested for kids ages three and up.
There isn’t much to complain about with this product because it includes so much. However, it’s not ideal for kids under three, and adult supervision is required to avoid messy mishaps.
2. Best Budget Option – Learning Resources Splashology! Water Lab Science Kit
- Carry out these experiments in the kitchen, in a sink, or in the bathtub.
- Contains 19 pieces, including floaters, flasks, and waterproof activity cards.
- Pieces are durable plastic, so you don’t have to worry about glass if something slips and falls.
- Recommended for kids three and up
Adult supervision is strongly recommended, and you need to supply ingredients for some of the experiments.
3. Best Outdoor Science Kit – Joyjoz Adventure Kit
- The 12-piece kit includes binoculars, a compass, flashlight, butterfly net, magnifying glass, child-sized tweezers, a bug catcher, whistle, trap, headlamp, fake spider, reflective stickers, and a backpack to hold everything.
- Explore outdoor safety with the compass, LED lights, and more.
- From binoculars to a magnifying glass, this kit allows your child to explore nature from afar or get up close and personal.
- Best for kids three and up.
Though many of the pieces are safe to use unsupervised, it’s best to monitor kids engaging with nature.
4. Best for Builders – 163-piece STEM Toy Kit
- Available in 101-piece or 163-piece sets with a storage box for easy transport.
- Includes a book with more than forty possible designs, or your child can create their own inventions.
- Non-toxic, lead-free, cadmium-free, phthalate-free pieces.
- Each bullet point highlights what makes the product stand out
- Improves hand-eye coordination, develops fine motor skills, encourages logical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and social skills.
- Recommended for kids ages three and up.
Since this kit includes smaller pieces, it’s not suggested for younger toddlers. However, since the kit includes plans for easy, intermediate, and advanced designs, your child can enjoy it for several years.
5. Best Science Kit for Dinosaur Fans – National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit
- Follow the 16-page guide to excavate fossils, shark teeth, and more with a chisel, brush, and magnifying glass.
- You and your child can experience what it’s like to be a paleontologist or archaeologist.
- Designed for kids ages three and older.
- There is also a Mega Gem and Fossil Kit for a bigger challenge.
This kit is not recommended for kids under three and requires adult supervision. The tools are large enough for toddler hands and help develop fine motor skills.
6. Best Activity Table – Little Tikes STEM Jr. Wonder Lab
- Includes 20 hands-on STEM experiments that use common ingredients.
- Sounds and lights make the table feel like a real laboratory.
- Accessories include maze pieces, maze balls, test tubes, stirring spoons, an eyedropper, lab goggles, and experiment cards.
- Best for kids ages three and up.
It’s easy to clean, but some of the experiments may be too complex for younger toddlers.
7. Best Building Set for Younger Toddlers – Goobi Junior Construction Set
- This set includes 40 jumbo-sized pieces that are perfect for younger toddler hands.
- Goobi Junior offers larger sets for even more fun (up to 110 pieces)
- The colorful plastic rods contain embedded magnets at the ends which attach to sturdy iron balls.
- Store and transport the building set in the carrying case.
- BPA-free, non-toxic pieces are safe for children ages one year and older.
Though the embedded magnets are safe for young toddlers, it’s safest to monitor play with this construction set.
8. Best Puzzle Set for Younger Toddlers – Revanak Wooden Pattern Blocks
- Block set includes 36 wooden pieces and 60 pattern cards to teach your child shapes and colors.
- The wood pieces are non-toxic.
- Pattern cards vary in difficulty from easy to difficult, so you can challenge your child based on their needs.
These blocks may not work well for older toddlers because they may not offer enough of a challenge. However, younger toddlers interested in learning colors, shapes, sorting, and some words will love this kit.
Buyer’s Guide: Purchasing the Best Science Kit for Your Toddler
It sounds easy enough to pick a science kit, but there are so many to choose from. How do you know what to look for in a kit? We compiled a list of common questions to help you narrow down your choices and find the best science kit for your toddler.
Why Do Toddlers Need STEM toys?
Have you ever noticed how curious kids are? From plucking crumbs off the floor to toppling block towers, toddlers get into everything. Encouraging that natural curiosity is critical, and it’s easier for parents to exercise some control over their natural inclination to experiment.
When you choose to feed your child’s curiosity in a healthy way, you show them that you understand their needs and can help them explore further in a safe way. It is possible to introduce the scientific method to young children.
What Should I Look for in a STEM Kit?
Start with your child’s age and capabilities. Younger toddlers (ages one and two) may not handle some equipment, like tweezers or wrenches, if they lack the motor skills necessary. You don’t want your child to grow too frustrated, or they may give up altogether.
Look for products that are non-toxic and BPA-free. The product pages should list the information or reach out to the company directly if you’re not sure. It’s better to be safe.
Choose kits that allow your child to use all five senses. You want to encourage them to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste then report to you what they observe. Naturally, not every activity appeals to all five senses, but it helps to address all five.
Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics, How Do I Choose the Right Kit?
The great thing about most STEM kits is that they address more than one aspect of STEM learning. While some kits clearly appeal to builders and future engineers, they still address mathematics, technology, and even creativity.
When it comes to STEM, choose a kit that appeals to your child’s interests or what works with your lifestyle. If you like to (or need to) spend more time outside, try an outdoor kit that allows you and your child to investigate nature.
As the weather turns, indoor experiments may help you pass the time more productively. A chemistry set or botany kit may allow you to connect what you learned outside with something different.
Can I Let My Child Do a Kit Alone?
Most science kits encourage adult supervision. Further, much of the STEM experience involves discussion of observations to arrive at conclusions, so playing alongside your child as they explore is important
Double-check the instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer before purchasing a product, especially if you intend to let your child play alone. Most kits include explicit warnings about small items and safety issues.
How Do I Use a Science Kit with My Toddler?
To get the most out of your science kit, you want to make sure you touch on your toddler’s curiosity.
Encourage them to ask questions, make observations, and draw conclusions on their own. There are plenty of ways to enhance the lessons learned in a kit.
- Expand your field of exploration to things around your house, neighborhood, and community to make connections on a larger scale.
- Read about the subject you’re investigating, like bugs or dinosaurs.
- Use different tools and materials to expand their skill set and encourage new interests.
- Ask your child to make predictions and then explain results.
- Explore cause and effect relationships.
- Teach sorting and classification of items.
- Start exploring more complex experiments with multiple steps and different materials.
When it comes to STEM kits and scientific activities, there is no wrong answer. These kits provide an opportunity for you to connect with your toddler and foster their natural curiosity. The important part is encouraging them to ask questions and learn about the world around them.
The Best Science Kit for Toddlers
It’s challenging to choose the best science kit with so many options available, but the Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set is tough to beat. For the price, it provides an opportunity to conduct several different experiments and learn to use a variety of tools.
If the lab set doesn’t appeal to you, the Joyjoz Adventure Kit is a great option to get your child outside and exploring nature. It’s a safe way to study bugs and plants while encouraging their natural curiosity.
For younger toddlers, the Goobi Junior Construction Set is an excellent starting point for STEM study. It encourages creativity and problem-solving skills while developing fine motor skills.
You can’t go wrong with any of these sets. They provide an opportunity to encourage your toddler’s natural curiosity about the world around them while developing skills and a love of learning.