Eight-year olds are the perfect age for exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics. They're getting old enough to experiment and understand more sophisticated scientific concepts, yet are still young enough to have a sense of wonder about the world. This age is a great time to support their curiosity.
We have chosen some of our favorite STEM toys for eight-year olds to help develop skills in all areas of STEM. Our top choice is the ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run. It's a fun game that develops kids' logic and engineering skills with multiple levels of difficulty to grow with kids.
Related post: Best Educational Toys for 8 Year Olds
- Best STEM Toys for 8-Year Olds
- Best Overall – ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run
- Best for Robotics Enthusiasts – LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
- Best Budget Option – Poraxy Set of 5 STEM Assembly Kit
- Best for Chemistry – Ben Franklin Toys Chemistry Lab Pad Science Kit
- Best for Computer Science – Playz My First Coding and Computer Science Kit
- Best for Advanced Computer Science – Piper Computer Kit
- Best for Mathematics Skills – ThinkFun Cat Crimes Brain Game
- Best Microscope – AmScope 120X-1200X 52-Piece Kids Beginner Microscope
- Best for Learning Circuitry – Snap Circuits Beginner Kit
- Best for Learning Physics – Engino Discovering STEM Newton's Laws Construction Kit
- What to Consider When Buying a STEM Toy for 8-Year-Olds
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best STEM Toys for 8-Year Olds
Best Overall – ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run
The ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run is our top pick because it covers multiple STEM topics like engineering, planning, experimentation, logic, and more. Kids who like marble runs will love this game. The player chooses a card and uses it as a guide to set up a challenge. Your child must then use the towers to build a path, so the marble travels from the starting block to the ending block.
This game is fun and gives kids a challenge to get their brains working. The cards range in level from beginner to expert so that the game can grow with your child. Players can also make up their own challenges, adding another dimension to the game. This marble run maze is sure to hold your kid's attention for quite some time.
Best for Robotics Enthusiasts – LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox is an excellent pick for young roboticists who are not quite ready for the more sophisticated LEGO Mindstorms. Kids can build five different robot iterations, including Vernie the robot, a cat, a guitar, a rover, and an auto builder. Each of the models completes other functions. Your child will need a tablet or smartphone to download the LEGO programming app.
We love the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox because it lets kids experiment with programming and robotics in a challenging but age-appropriate way. Kids can explore through open-ended play or can unlock more skills by playing through levels. The app is still updated with new challenges, making this a toy that will last your child for years to come.
Best Budget Option – Poraxy Set of 5 STEM Assembly Kit
This Poraxy Set of 5 STEM Assembly Kit contains an erector set to build five different sets: a wind-powered vehicle, a double-layer car, a balance car, a motor-generator, and a bubble machine. Kids can develop several STEM skills while working on these kits, including engineering and technology. Once each kit is assembled, a battery powers it.
One of the best things about this kit is that it's a great value. You get five sets in one kit. While other kits may require you to use one set of parts to build each model, this kit lets you make each model separately to be used with multiple kids at one time. These kits help kids learn how machines work and develop fine motor skills through the construction process.
Best for Chemistry – Ben Franklin Toys Chemistry Lab Pad Science Kit
The Ben Franklin Toys Chemistry Lab Pad Science Kit has everything you need to perform over 12 experiments. Chemistry is one of the best ways to get a child engaged in science. An 8-year old has a good grasp of cause and effect, making it the perfect age to learn about various chemical reactions. While everything in the kit is safe for kids, your child will appreciate working with real science equipment and materials.
The set includes over 50 pieces and enough materials to do over 12 experiments. The experiments are detailed on 12 activity cards, and there is also a dry-erase clipboard to keep track of. Kids can perform these experiments on their own. Plus, if you're worried about a mess, there is a lab pad to keep everything contained and off your table or counter.
Best for Computer Science – Playz My First Coding and Computer Science Kit
The Playz My First Coding and Computer Science Kit help computer science come alive for young learners. Computer science and coding can be challenging for kids because the concepts are abstract. This kit uses hands-on activities to make the ideas concrete and get kids thinking like coders. It's a great way to get your kids learning computer science away from a screen.
The set includes over 30 pieces, all of the materials your kid will need to complete several activities. Your child will learn concepts like binary, encryption, algorithms, machine learning, and more through fun activities. Activities include making a binary necklace, pixelated pictures, and an ancient encryption device.
Best for Advanced Computer Science – Piper Computer Kit
The Piper Computer Kit is perfect for kids who have mastered computer science and coding basics and are ready to move onto more challenging tasks. The Piper Computer Kit lets kids build their own computer and then work through a series of increasingly difficult challenges that will teach them about programming and more.
This kit includes everything needed to build a functioning computer, including a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. There are 11 challenges using PiperCode in a fun story mode that makes learning fun. After mastering the challenges, the sky's the limit as your child can take on new open-ended challenges as he or she grows as a programmer.
Best for Mathematics Skills – ThinkFun Cat Crimes Brain Game
The ThinkFun Cat Crimes Brain Game is an excellent way to sneakily develop kids' mathematics skills. Kids will have so much fun solving the crimes that they won't even realize they are learning. This game lets kids work on mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills, which are transferable to more advanced math subjects like algebra and calculus.
The game comes with a game board, six cat pieces, and crime tokens, and 40 challenge cards. The cards range in skill level from beginner to expert, making the game more challenging as your kid gets older and more advanced. The game is fun and challenging enough that older kids and adults will enjoy playing, too.
Best Microscope – AmScope 120X-1200X 52-Piece Kids Beginner Microscope
The AmScope 120X-1200X 52-Piece Kids Beginner Microscope is a suitable microscope for beginners. A microscope is an excellent way for curious kids to begin exploring the world. The set comes with a few specimens for viewing, which is a good starting point. After your kid has the hang of it, the real discovery begins. He or she can collect samples and specimens from just about anywhere to view on a microscopic level.
This compound microscope allows for six different magnification levels between 120X and 1200X. The set comes with over 50 accessories, including samples of brine shrimp. It also has blank slides and other materials needed to create your own specimens for viewing.
Best for Learning Circuitry – Snap Circuits Beginner Kit
The Snap Circuits Beginner Kit is one of the best stem toys for kids to introduce your youngster to electronics and circuits. Since so much of our technological world runs on circuits, learning about circuitry is one of the best STEM skills for an 8-year old to learn. Children learn how electronics work as well as develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
This set comes with 14 parts to build over 20 projects. It also includes detailed instructions for each of the 20 projects, allowing your child to work and learn independently. Since this project is intended for younger engineers, there are several extra safety features to prevent injury.
Best for Learning Physics – Engino Discovering STEM Newton's Laws Construction Kit
The Engino Discovering STEM Newton's Laws Construction Kit is one of our favorite stem toys for kids. It's great to build a physics foundation for budding scientists and engineers. Kids will often learn about Newton's Laws of Motion in school, but having a hands-on demonstration can help them to understand the concepts better.
The kit comes with the materials needed to make eight working models, like a catapult, balloon-powered plane, drag racer, etc. The set also comes with detailed instructions and additional information about Newton's Laws. There's also an app available for iOS and Android that gives an illustrated view of the builds.
What to Consider When Buying a STEM Toy for 8-Year-Olds
Target Skill Development
STEM encompasses a wide range of skills and topics. While some toys are more versatile than others, no one toy will help kids develop all of the necessary STEM skills. Instead, kids need various toys and activities to help them build competence in all of the STEM areas.
The toys you choose will often be based on the skill you want to develop. Chemistry skills and computer science skills will require two different toys. We have provided a range of toys in this review to help meet your child's needs.
You always want to consider the difficulty level when choosing STEM kids toys. Many toys will have a range of ages 5-8 or 8-12. Eight-year-olds tend to be right on the cusp between easier and intermediate toys.
You will want to consider your child's ability level when choosing toys. Some eight year olds may be ready for intermediate toys. The best STEM toys are challenging enough to keep your child interested but not so difficult that your child gets frustrated.
Range of Use
Some toys will give your child a lot more mileage than others. Many toys will grow with your child, increasing in difficulty as your child gets older. While some toys are one-and-done, meaning you get one use, other toys can be used over and over for a variety of types of play. Additionally, some toys help develop multiple skills at once, such as a computer that your child can build and program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a STEM toy?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM toys help to develop skills in these fields. The toys may include robots, engineering and construction kits, math and logic games, computers, coding games, etc.
What ages are best for STEM toys?
One of the most incredible things about STEM toys is that there are various options for all ages. Your child is never too young to start developing STEM skills. There are toys made specifically for babies. Your child is also never too old to play with STEM toys. Many are played with by teens and even adults.
Why are STEM toys important?
STEM toys develop skills that are critical in our ever-changing technological world. All children need these skills, regardless of the career path they choose. The effects are often far-reaching, developing abilities in areas like motor skills and problem-solving.
- Best Science Gifts for Toddlers [Our Top 8 Picks for 2021] - December 9, 2020
- Best Train Sets for Preschoolers (Top 8 in 2021) - November 26, 2020
- Best Chemistry Set for 5-Year-Old Kids [Top 11 Picks for 2021] - November 3, 2020
Last update on 2021-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API