Amazon is my favorite website to order…well…just about everything, especially STEM supplies for my classroom! If I need a giant pack of rubber bands, pipe cleaners, or popsicle sticks later in the school week, I’d MUCH rather it show up on my doorstep in two days to save me a trip to Walmart or Hobby Lobby. Not to mention, you can very often score great deals on some of my favorite STEM toys.
10 Amazon Must-Haves for the Elementary STEM Classroom
You know those toys that you actually don’t mind playing with your kids? That’s exactly what Magformers are for me! Whether we use the magnetic polygons to build a creation from the idea book or create our own designs, my students’ imaginations and engagement always soar with these blocks. During free choice time, these are always a favorite for elementary level students. An added bonus to Magformers,…There are no “tiny” pieces and clean up is a snap!
By far, one of my students’ favorite STEM toys is Goldiblox! These award-winning construction kits were designed with young girls in mind, hoping to inspire the next generation of female engineers and step outside the box of more stereotypical “girly girl” toys. All kits include blueprints and “Blox” for each of her zany inventions, with the “Survival Kit” including the largest collections of blox and designs. What’s awesome about Goldiblox is that my boys love them just as much as my girls, and their favorite thing to do with them is to create their own unique inventions.
Osmo is hot on the scene for the past two years or so, and has already won several tech toy awards during it’s short time on the market. You’ll need an iPad on hand to utilize with this toy because the mirrored technology clips onto the top of the screen, corresponding with the Osmo apps. What I love most about Osmo is that it encourages so many different intelligences: visual-spatial, kinesthetic, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, intrapersonal, you name it! Many different activities/materials are provided to correspond with Osmo: words, tangrams, numbers, Newton, and all new coding options where students can create their own music and so much more. Students use the mirrored camera to manipulate objects on the surface in front of the iPad and the possibilities are limitless!
I absolutely LOVE KEVA Planks because they’re so easy to incorporate with STEM Challenges. This year alone, we used them for mazes, leprechaun traps, train bridges, and so much more! KEVA planks are fantastic for encouraging imaginative thinking and the engineering process. The Brain Builders packs are easy to start with because they come in small, portable bags with a set of 40 challenge cards and construction ideas. The “Junior” set is ideal for first grade and younger, while the regular Brain Builders are great for second grade and up. My students always get excited when we have time to use these, and they’re a go-to favorite if we have any extra time. Stop by their website to see all of their packages, including kits that encourage movable parts and contraptions.
And because I love KEVA planks oh-so-much, I had to throw this one in too because it was my kiddos’ favorite new “toy” we added to our classroom this past year. In these KEVA Maker Bot Mazes, students construct their own mazes with KEVA planks and joints, then dream up all sorts of tricks and obstacles like bumper balls, pin wheels, tunnels, and more. Their discussions with small groups and creative thinking are truly incredible to watch. Their favorite part is that then they get to use one of the two included “Bristle Bots” to navigate their mazes!
If you’re looking for an easy addition to your STEM Bins or a new favorite literacy center, you’re gonna love these LEGO Classic Kits! They come in four color sets (sold separately or in a money-saving bundle) with three creations and instructions in each box, although students can also use the pieces to build creatively. My little ones work in partners to build one of the creations in a STEM Bin, then write words and sentences to describe it. It’s a fabulous way to motivate those reluctant writers because they get to create AND play while they write!
The Code and Go Robot Mouse is the perfect introduction to coding for little ones that won’t break the bank! Many robotics toys on the market carry a higher price tag, and this one is more affordable, allowing students to practice basic block sequence coding by programming their mouse to navigate a maze. I also love how this set allows them to create their own maze design with obstacles…A fabulous opportunity for collaborative learning!
Snap Circuits are currently my daughter’s new favorite toy and her favorite thing to work on with dad after her little brother goes to bed. Simple, guided instructions in this Snap Circuits, Jr. kit allow kids to build circuit models of more than 100 projects, including a photo sensor, fan, flashing light, doorbell, and even water circuit! The electronic pieces simply “snap” together on top of the clear grid and are just right for little hands.
Cubelets are a pricier technology option, which make them a great option for grant opportunities. They provide an amazing introduction to robotics in second grade and up. Each cubelet has a special function: Drive, Flashlight, Distance, Brightness, Passive, and Battery, that when combined create amazing movable machines. This particular kit also comes with brick adaptors that allow you to connect to other construction systems such as LEGO. My older students could play with these for HOURS if given the time.
These little guys are SO. MUCH. FUN. Winner of “Best Robot” in both 2014 and 2015, Ozobots are controlled by patterns of colored codes on included cards OR by the marker designs that you create. When you draw a colored path on paper using the coding instructions, Ozobots will move along the path, speed up, or slow down based on the patterns. A free Ozobot app is also included for additional game options.
Looking for more of my favorite STEM Toys and books? Click below!
MORE FAVORITE STEM TOYSBrooke Brown is a National Board Certified Gifted and Talented teacher for Kindergarten through 2nd grade. She was named District Teacher of the Year in 2013, and is a presenter for SDE’s I Teach 1st and Get Your Teach On. She is the author of the website “Teach Outside the Box” and has a passion for early childhood STEM and play-based learning. You can find her original STEM resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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