The toys children are playing with can have a fundamental role in shaping their futures. Research has shown that the first three years of a child’s life are crucial when it comes to early brain development. This is because the brains basic architecture is laid out during this time, something that is greatly influenced by the surrounding environment and early experiences. Furthermore, how a child develops learning and social skills is directly related to this early period. You can find out more about your child’s early brain development here.

Parents often underestimate the role that toys play in promoting physical, social and cognitive development. Toys help build critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills, as well as encouraging the development of gross and fine motor skills. They provide mental stimulation during those first three years which, along with love and nurture, is the key to healthy brain growth. However, with so many toys on the market these days it can be hard to know what is best for your child. Luckily we specialize in identifying toys for building Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) skills in kids of all ages. So read on for our recommendation of the top 5 educational toys for toddlers!

1. Duplo Building Blocks

STEM Toy Expert Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Fine Motor Skills, Problem Solving, Math.

  • Recommended Age: 18 months +

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Duplo is a classic STEM toy for toddlers which develops creativity

Duplo building blocks from Lego are a great toy for developing creativity and fine motor skills in toddlers. Through trial and error kids learn how to manipulate the bricks and build what their imagination tells them too. This is great for promoting problem solving skills and is a fantastic early engineering toy for toddlers. Whats more, the bricks are colorful and easy to fit together which helps to keep kids engaged. Watch your child’s creativity flourish with this great value, 95 brick set.

We chose this particular set because it features numbered bricks which can be matched with the corresponding picture bricks. So it’s also a fun way to learn basic counting. Lego has been a classic learning toy since the 1930s, and we still think they are one of the best STEM toys for toddlers in 2017! This set is a great foundation for more complex engineering STEM toys.

2. VTech Brilliant Baby Laptop

STEM Toy Expert Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Cause & Effect, Sensory Perception.

  • Recommended Age: 6 months – 3 years.

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the vtech baby laptop is one of the best stem toys for toddlers in 2017 for learning about computer basics

When it comes to the best STEM toys for toddlers in 2017, we had to include VTech. The VTech learning laptop for toddlers and babies is designed to introduce kids to computers from an early age. With a light up screen and chunky keys, it resembles the shape and basic functionality of the real thing, but is super easy to use and perfect for tiny hands.

Lights and sounds respond to your little ones actions when pressing the keys which is great for developing sensory perception. It’s also a great educational toy for teaching toddlers about cause and effect. With over 115 songs, sounds and fun phrases, the Brilliant Baby Laptop is great value for money. Some parents complain that the songs get annoying, so do be aware of this before you buy!

3. Leapfrog Leaptop

STEM Toy Expert Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Computer Literacy, Co-ordination.

  • Recommended Age: 2+ years.

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Leapfrogs laptop is a more advanced STEM toy for toddlers to learn computing skills

If your kid gets along well with the VTech Laptop, or you are looking for something more advanced, the LeapTop laptop for toddlers is a great step up. With a more complex alphabetical keyboard it’s a great way to learn letters and spelling. This will also get your toddler even more accustomed to the real thing.

The LeapTop features 4 interactive learning modes including music, ABCs and games. Furthermore, bright colors, animals and animations help keep kids engaged. This toy is great for developing basic computer skills, as well as the alphabet and simple vocabulary. It’s a good learning aide and has certainly earned our recommendation as one of the best STEM toys for toddlers 2017.

 4. Boon Bath Building Pipes

STEM Toy Expert Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Cause & Effect, Basic Engineering.

  • Recommended Age: 1+ years.

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Boon bath building pipes are an innovative stem toy for teaching toddlers about cause and effect

This innovative little Boon Bath Pipes set had to make our list of the best STEM toys for toddlers 2017. The idea is simple, different shaped pipes stick to the tub with suction cups whilst your little one pours water through them. Some of the pipes also have watermills in them which are great for learning about cause and effect. Your toddler can explore different combinations and work out how to make water flow between them. Developing problem solving skills like this can really help your kid to start to understand the basics of engineering. As such, this is a great engineering toy for toddlers.

toddler plays with boon bath pipes

 5. B. Dr. Doctor Play Set 

STEM Toy Expert Rating:

  • Best for Learning: Basic Science Principles.

  • Recommended Age: 18+ months.

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This doctor play set is a great science toy for toddlers

Our list of the best STEM toys for toddlers in 2017 would not provide a rounded curriculum for your little one without a science based toy. However, finding science toys for toddlers can be a hard task because they are often to complex or fiddly. That said, whilst not strictly a science toy the B. Dr. Doctor play set is a great way to learn some basic scientific principles through play.

The set includes a safe syringe, thermometer and forceps, as well as various other medical replicas. Therefore, playing with this will get your toddler familiar with basic scientific equipment, as well as developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It also has the added benefit of helping to alleviate anxiety over doctor visits!

Summary of the Best STEM Toys for Toddlers in 2017

The toys featured on this list were all picked because they help build the foundations for more complex STEM concepts. However, if you think your toddler is already too advanced for the toys here, see our list of the best STEM toys for preschoolers. Conversely, take a step back with the best STEM toys for infants.

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