Many parents like to give their children toys which they think could shape their learning in the future and to see what sorts of skills their child may be good at.
Most parents often seek to mold their children into STEM subjects by buying them toys which can encourage learning in these subjects.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM jobs are often the more high paying jobs out there and can contain anything from being a civil engineer, a chemist, a dietician, a dentist, to a woodworker, mathematician, or data analyst.
There are a whole host of jobs that your child may have access to when they can fine tune their interest to STEM from an early age.
You can garner this interest, or at least put the feelers out for this interest, by buying them toys which are STEM related.
You quickly find out if their knack is in STEM or if it lies elsewhere.
Here’s our guide to the best STEM toys that start with the letter U. Read on to learn about STEM toys.
STEM Toys That Start With U
OUR TOP PICK
UNO is a classic card game that can help your child get to grips with simple mathematical equations.
The rules are quite simple, yet addictive, UNO is an ideal gift for a child 7 or above who is into their math.
We’ve even seen parents playing this game without any kids around, as well as the game being commonly used in math class at schools across the country.
UNO is really simple and great for kids, they love to shout ‘UNO!’ as the rules dictate you must when you win.
UNO can take up hours of fun and is an easy game that is to clear up, take wherever you want and to play with multiple people.
Another great thing about UNO is how portable it is, just like a pack of cards you can take UNO basically anywhere in your handbag or rucksack without taking much space.
If your kid is into UNO you could take it on longer journeys or to play with grandparents.
You will get endless fun from this cheap and cheerful, but expertly designed, game.
What they can learn:
- Mental Math
Jigsaws, or puzzles, are another classic toy that kids love regardless of their generation.
One way to engage their brains while they create a jigsaw is to buy them jigsaws which create a map.
They may enjoy the expansive nature of the image, if they are a little older you can explain this is the US and they may enjoy slowly making the jigsaw and learning about where places are.
You can show them where other family members live, where the White House is, all sorts of fun geography.
Geography is not really a well taught subject in the US, many struggle with their own countries geography, let alone international geography.
It may also be a fun idea to buy them a world map jigsaw. If they like the US map jigsaw, then they can equally learn loads about the world’s geography.
Moreover, this kind of awareness of the world can encourage STEM subjects such as geography, geology, oceanography, as well as a whole host of non STEM subjects such as international law, federal operations, as well as other cultures.
What they can learn:
- International Awareness
- Logistical Thinking
- Multi tasking
Getting kids to learn the value of growing their own food and veg as well as other flowers and plants is becoming more and more important as climate change becomes a bigger issue.
At the end of the day any conservation we do is for our kids sake anyway so why not start at the source and get them interested in gardening and sustainability along with it.
With this kit, your child, most likely a girl, although other terrariums can be found here, can learn about planting seeds, watching flowers grow, and they can do this totally independently.
Here are some more male related terrariums.
Trying to get kids into gardening can be harder if they aren’t an outdoors kid.
These kits let them do it themselves and see the value and satisfaction gained from growing plants.
The fact they can do them on their own is really helpful, as well as the fact most terrariums can show growth early on, keeping them engaged.
If a child shows particular interest in this toy they may feel more inclined in the future to indulge in topics such as gardening, conservatism, sustainable agriculture, horticulture, botany, medicine, and a whole host of other subjects that are STEM related.
What they can learn:
There are many different toys that involve maps of the universe, or just space.
Kids are already super into space anyway, in most cases, so providing them with resources to compound their interest will undoubtedly lead to further interest in the subject down the line, hopefully leading them to STEM jobs in meteorology, astronomy, and all space related science subjects.
One way to enact this interest is with a poster, younger kids love just looking at these things and as their interest and knowledge increases they can learn more and more from one map, this is a great resource to compound their interest in the solar system.
Another great poster to consider is a map of the stars, this one glows in the dark too - if they like this then a telescope is a good step up when they are a little older.
You could even read them the myths behind the stars, not very sciency but can compound their interest and make for some fun bedtime stories.
What They Can Learn:
- NASA-related subjects
While we have covered the ocean of stars that are above us, there's a world of aquatic life below us too, that your child may be interested in as well.
Within this underwater world there is much for a child to explore as well as many STEM related subjects which come up.
Even if you are simply buying them some underwater animal figurines, this could easily garner a love for these marine creatures which could encourage the study of zoology, marine chemistry, as well as general biology.
The figurines to look for are the detailed and biologically accurate ones such as this set.
This large underwater play mat with figurines is also a cool idea with multiple children or for a school.
This can encourage the interest in marine life that will lead to oceanography, marine studies, and other STEM subjects.
A collaborative, imaginative, set like this can really be good for compounding interest through the affirmation of others as well as simply talking about it.
For older kids, as well as younger ones, they will love to read and hear about the real animals that live under the sea and will love looking at pictures as well as hearing you read to them.
A book like this with interactive activities as well as accurate information is best for compounding interest.
What They Can Learn:
- Marine Biology
Kids love microscopes, while they seem like a specialized bit of kit, kids seem to love the idea of a microbial world we can’t access and they love these microcosmic environments they can learn about.
This microscope is great as it talks to the kids and explains what they are seeing with each slide. The good thing about this toy is that it will be obvious if they are into the sciency stuff or not, telling you clearly if they are a STEM kid or otherwise.
There are some more complicated and complex microscopes such as this one for the older children. They will really feel like a scientist using this and it makes a real experience as these kits get pretty close to what you might do in a lab giving them some real experience.
Your child will feel like a real scientist presenting how to use a microscope during their show and tell or just to their friends!
What They Will Learn:
- Micro Biology
- Applied Science
- Lab Operations
No, it’s not what you think, but it's a great toy that kids love regardless if they are into science or not.
But this specific product comes direct from our science guys at National Geographic, the pack comes with some STEM based explanations of what is happening with the rocket.
The kid can simply press on the pump and send the rockets high into the sky.
The explanations explain a bunch about physics, and if your kid is into space exploration or even just vehicles, this could be a great choice.
A great addition is that they light up so you could even have a cool party where you can do experiments in the night, have a party, and your kid can explain their scientific discoveries to their friends and family.
You could even use these on firework night in place of fireworks.
What They Can Learn:
- Team Work
Sometimes we have an older, quieter child who isn’t big on toys or play, but enjoys reading and learning more than usual.
For these kids, there is nothing better you can do for them than offer them access to unlimited amounts of resources and knowledge through literature.
We’re sure that a few of the world's most notable scientists may suggest that their time in the library was the main encouragement in terms of getting into STEM subjects.
Libraries are becoming less and less common, and the internet is gaining popularity.
You can bridge this gap easily with an Amazon Kindle for your kid.
Access to an Amazon Kindle can be really good for kids, they get the knowledge and academia from books like they would a library, and have access to what they want to read within that, this keeps them away from potential misinformation on the internet as well as simple procrastination.
Buy a Kindle and for a mere fee extra you can subscribe to Amazon Kindle Kids, giving your child access to thousands upon thousands of fictional and nonfiction books they can choose and read at their own leisure and anywhere they want.
Kids will love the independence and agency the Kindle gives them, as well as learning good practice with electronic devices.
What They Can Learn:
- Anything they want!
As you can see, the list of STEM toys for you to buy your child is endless, even when restricted to the letter U.
We are sure that any of the items that are listed would be great for a child who is interested in STEM related subjects.
Beyond this, we feel these toys could also be great to see if your kids are into STEM or not.
Getting a gauge of what your kid is into and what they aren’t can be really good to do from the early doors.
This means that you don't have to waste money on gifts or toys that you know they won’t play with, but moreover you can actually buy focused toys that can help them in their pursuit of knowledge, and simply just toys they will enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my child is not into STEM?
There is no need to worry! If your child is not into STEM subjects, this is fine.
The idea is that these toys can help you and your child gauge their interest in these subjects.
It should be clear when they are into the actual concept the toy encourages, or if they just like the colors, etc.
If your child is not into these STEM related subjects, simply branch out into the humanities - who knows, they could be a writer, artist, historian, lawyer, or be into business, marketing, economics, there are so many different things your child may or may not be good at which aren’t STEM related!
Other Show N Tell Ideas:
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