As we approach the final week of Christmas shopping, I plan spend a few minutes to make sure that I’m buying toys and games that will feed my kids’ brains as much as their need for play. And while “math toys” has never appeared on any of my kids’ lists to Santa as a general category, as a homeschooling mom, I’ve learned that there are so many fun ways to incorporate math into play using games and toys that engage and teach. So, I’ve rounded up five new STEM toys that I’m really excited about, and I think a lot of kids kids will love as much as I do.
STEM toys for kids that focus on math: Ages 3-5
They look like fun little skinny wooden animals, but Inchimals, which we recently featured in our top educational toys gift post, are actually number blocks that teach kids about measurement in a way that is interactive and fun. Can they build a DUPLO tower that is exactly as tall as one ostrich block? And if they stack the frog on the koala, will they be as tall as the bunny or the tiger? An idea-packed, wipe-off booklet includes 100 puzzles too so that your kids will find even more ways to play with these colorful toys.
STEM toys for kids that focus on math: Ages 3-7
Get your very youngest kids interested in math games with the cleverly designed and super fun Tiggly Math toy. (You might have known it by its original name, Tiggly Counts.) We have loved how this educational company combines colorful, interactive manipulatives with three free downloadable apps. Like Tiggly Chef, which has kids using their thinking cap in a virtual kitchen as they mix up recipes. The games help teach basic number skills as well as problem solving, all in an environment that is so entertaining and playful, you may find yourself trying out the apps when the kids are done.
STEM toys for kids that focus on math: Ages 4+
More than just wooden blocks, Sumblox are really clever number-shaped blocks, each with a height that relates to the value of the number. Kids can quickly see that a “3” placed on top of a “2” does, in fact, equal the “5.” They can even learn some basic multiplication when they stack three 3’s and see how it measures up to the 9 block. But what’s even cooler are all the ways your kids will find to play with these beautiful number blocks on their own.
STEM toys for kids that focus on math: Ages 7+
We love educational toys that you can take and play wherever you go, which is one reason the Möbi Numerical Tile Game makes such a great gift for kids. With 162 tiles that zip right up into the whale carrying pouch it’s the kind of game you can play while waiting for lunch at the diner, when you have a few minutes before bedtime, or while visiting relatives over the holidays. Played like the super-popular word game, Bananagrams, Möbi can have up to six adults and kids adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers to create their own numerical crossword puzzle. Such a neat way to practice math facts and problem solving without feeling anything like drill.
STEM toys for kids that focus on math: Ages 10+
With its beautiful, simple design, the Prime Climb family board game makes it easy for kids to practice their math facts to advance to the center of the board. . .if someone doesn’t bump you back to the start to begin again. Even kids who don’t consider themselves “mathletes” can play without too much trouble, while kids who love math will see even more beauty in the numbers as they play.