Toys are the ultimate playmates of children. There isn’t a single child on this planet who wouldn’t love to mess around with those pesky little objects. And though they might appear pesky to us, they are a haven for children. A lot of parents consider toys be a perfect opportunity for some time away from their toddlers. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Parents often fail to realize the potential that toys have in building their child’s future. With the right set of toys, parents can set their children towards a career path which they feel might be suitable for their children. However, they will require the right sort of toys to do so. One such category of toys which can perform all of the aforementioned are engineering toys.
Engineering toys are the ideal toys for children if you want them to acquire an aptitude for the sciences. Apart from being highly enjoyable, these toys also bestow children with important skills, such as problem-solving, analysis, critical thinking. Also referred to as STEM toys, these toys can generate, perpetuate, and retain the ingenuity of a child.
Importance of Engineering Toys For Girls
In the fast-paced lives of today, engineering toys have become more important than ever. Today the engineering workforce suffers from a gender inequality like none other. The vast difference between the proportion of girls to that of boys is outrightly outrageous. And the major cause behind this is the discouragement that girls encounter while choosing engineering as their desired career path.
Since forever, girls have been guided towards the field of arts and culture. While this may necessarily not be a bad aspect, it is often done on the pretext that girls aren’t good enough to be in the engineering workforce. However, such discrimination affects the workforce vastly in the long term. As time passes, the lack of girls in the workforce leads to a lack of innovation, voracious wage gaps, and such. This creates a gigantic amount of opportunity cost that could have otherwise been used.
Engineering toys can greatly facilitate to prevent such setbacks and obstacles. With their help, you can start to influence your daughter since an early childhood period. Even when the concepts of engineering are unbeknownst to them, your daughter will start to develop an aptitude to comprehend certain paramount engineering skills, required in our practical lives. As she grows, her aptitude will steadily transform into their passion for the field.
Best Engineering Toys for Girls
Although engineering toys are purchased keeping the age of a child, there are certain toys which suit and galvanize girls of all ages. A few such toys are:
This is one of the most innovative STEM toys out there. The Boxels Build Your Own Video Game lets your daughter’s innovation flow freely as she develops games on her own accord. By animating play spaces, characters, and various other objects in the game, the Boxels Build Your Own Video Game transforms your daughter into an artist, a game designer, storyteller, and a programmer. The Boxels set comes with physical components that can be digitized and put on a screen to be played.
The Osmo Genius Kit is an award-winning game system when it comes to fostering creativity within your children. Designed to facilitate problem-solving, the kit provides you with games that your kids can interact via actual hands-on components. The games present within the kit are designed from beginners to expert levels, depending on the ages of children. These games are perfect for teaching about shapes, designs, drawing, counting, spellings, etc.
Another toy appealing to children of all ages, the Build, and Store Block and Activity Table is perfect for girls who want to foster their creativity while learning valuable STEM skills. This toy is perfect for kids who seem intrigued by building and drawing. Being pre-equipped with massive storage spaces and removable blocks, the toy ensures that kids face no limitation while creating their haven.
The Osmo Coding is the most powerful toy when it comes to conjuring the powers of potential programmers. With the help of tangible blocks, children can code patterns and sequences within the game and discover exciting worlds. The kit also features controllable characters which can be controlled with the help of magnetic blocks. A few such movements are walking, jumping, looping, sleeping, and such.
The company Emido truly believes that the learning process was meant to be fun. And it was their belief that propelled them towards launching a STEM toy capable of attracting children, heightening their curiosity, and completely immersing them. Designed for small hands, the 40 Pieces Jumbo Nuts Bolts Toy acts as a fine medium for the development of counting, sorting, mathematics, and even motor development.
Best Engineering Toys For Toddlers
Product Description: Shape Mags are the perfect STEM toys for your child for learning about magnets, geometry, and engineering structures. Developed with patented magnetic technology, these toys teach your various mathematical concepts associated with geometry. Furthermore, the toys also help to elevate your child’s imagination and creativity.
Features: Shape Mags come with a 100-piece set that includes 98 magnetic tiles, 1 car base, 1 stabilizer, and 24 Stile Mags.
- Teaching several STEM concepts such as geometry, structural engineering, magnetic properties, etc.
- The toys contain various small parts. Therefore, your child will require adult supervision while playing.
Product Description: Coding has become a huge part of the technology arena today. Code-a-pillar ensures that your child is a part of this arena by teaching them the basics involved in programming. By programming and arranging the segments of the toy, your child can designate a path for the toy. This helps them to learn skills such as solving, planning, experimentation, etc.
Features: The Code-a-Pillar comes with 8 easy-to-connect segments along with a motorized head that can be programmed to move as decided by your child. As the toy springs to life, all the segments glow up representing a ready mode.
- Cheaper than alternatives.
- Help in teaching a myriad range of skills.
- The lack of volume control for the music.
- Not durable enough.
Product Description: The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars is the best STEM toy that you can gift your budding entomologist daughter. The toy helps children to carefully catch a particular insect, observe it with magnification, study it, and then release it safely again.
Features: The Bugnoculars are produced with a clear, plastic bug collection container. There are soft, rubber handles on the sides which support the snap-lock lid with air holes. For observation, the lid contains a 3x magnification setting while the sides are equipped with 2x magnification settings.
- A fun and educational toy that keeps children entertained.
- Teaches kids to be aware of nature’s inhabitants, allows them to study them, and emphatically release them.
- Lack of durability makes it easily susceptible to damage.
- Alternatives are available which are at par.
Keeping in mind the features, skills taught, pros and cons, we have ranked the toys from the best to worst, by:
- Fisher-Price’s Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar
- Shape Mags
Best Engineering Toys For 3-5 Year Olds
Product Description: This is the perfect tool for budding geologists. This kit enables kids to dig up treasures from the ground. With a magnifying provided along with the kit, kids can study their dug up earthen components and set them up for display.
Features: Within the kit, there are several components provided that include a plaster rock and eight individual crystals, a digging tool, a drawstring pouch, and a magnifying glass for storing crystals and examining them.
- A worthy toy for its price.
- The digging tool is perfect.
- The pouch provided is quite small.
- The paintbrush is essentially useless.
Product Description: Circuit-related STEM toys are usually reserved for kids of ages 8 and above. This, however, isn’t the case with the Snap Circuit Beginners. Set for kids within the age of 3-5, the Snap Circuit Beginners provide a deep-dive into the world of problem-solving, the workings of switches and circuits. Additionally, it also comes along with included projects that ensure that the kids are fully occupied with the toy.
Features: The Snap Circuit Beginners come along with easy-to-follow color diagrams. To ensure safety for the younger engineers, there are various safety features provided. Moreover, there are 14 parts for building over 20 projects.
- Easy to follow.
- Detailed illustrations.
- An obnoxious beeping sound is emitted.
Product Description: Referred to as the next generation of STEM toys, Botley is a peculiar coding robot. For it in itself lacks a display. To program the toy, children need to utilize a remote control that is provided along with the toy to tackle challenges and navigate through obstacles. Moreover, children also learn a lot of crucial coding concepts that include the if/else block, looping commands, and such.
Features: Botley The Coding Robot is completely screen-free. It comes with a remote so that your kid will be able to transmit commands to the toy and move it through obstacles. Apart from a robot, Botley also comes along with detachable robot arms, coding cards, double-sided tiles, obstacle building pieces, and a guide.
- Easy to set-up.
- Coding activities are included for children to get started with immediately.
- The toy has a choking hazard warning. Therefore, your child should always be under adult supervision while playing with this.
- Takes a while to learn to program.
Keeping in mind the features, pros and cons, offerings, etc., we rank the above toys in the following order:
- Botley The Coding Robot
- Snap Circuit Beginners
- The Kidz Labs Crystal Mining Science Kit
Best Engineering Toys For 8-9 Year Olds
Product Description: While growing up, children often thirst for more challenging projects. The E-Blox Circuit Blox Builder is a toy which aims to quench such requirements. By designing mildly complex circuits, linkages, and blocks, children can bring various creations to life. This helps to simulate a child’s imagination, creativity, reasoning, and structure creation.
Features: The toy comes along with 120 project ideas for your child to use and build models with the 46 parts provided. Some of these models are radios, magnetic switches, motors, sirens, etc. The toy comes along with wire blocks, lamp switches, press switches, LED, motors, volumes, FM Radio, and such parts.
- Highly innovative project ideas.
- Greatly compatible components within the age group of 8-9.
- The orientation and markings on the body are somewhat difficult to discern.
Product Description: The Crystal Growing Experiment is the perfect toy for middle-aged budding geologists. With this toy, children will be able to visualize the beauty and complexity of crystal growth. Moreover, as the crystals grow, they can be enjoyed by everyone for an indefinite period.
Features: The Crystal Growing Experiment comes along with equipment such as a display case, crystal growing compounds and mixtures, stirring supplies and instructions that are required for observing crystal growth experiments.
- Simple steps for 8-9-year-olds to comprehend.
- A beautiful and simple process for observation.
- The crystals often don’t take shape even when the directions are followed.
Product Description: K’NEX is a perfect, motorized building toy for young engineers. With the help of motors, the toy brings entire models to life and helps you to construct 50 different models ranging from a carousel, rescue chopper, basketball game, and much more.
Features: The K’NEX Power and Play toy come along with 529 pieces of varying sizes that include different sizes of connectors, rods, wheels. Combining all these can help to form a myriad range of 3D configurations. The included motor ensures that all the creations that your child things are brought to life.
- One of the highest-rated motorized working models.
- Inclusion of an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide for easy instruction following.
- Provision of a single motor limits the possibilities that could have been explored with this toy.
Based on the features of the STEM toy, the pros and cons, and the skills propagated by the toy, we rank these toys in the following order:
- 4M Crystal Growing Experiment
- E-Blox Circuit Blox Builder
- K’NEX Imagine
Best Engineering Toys for 10+-Year-Olds
Product Description: The littleBits Base Kit is an award-winning toy which has won numerous awards for its ability to combine coding, electronics, and creativity. Your daughter can integrate the toy alongside various components of her room to produce original and exciting inventions. Moreover, it comes preloaded with 8 different applications and challenges so that your child can provide an exciting makeover to your room.
Features: The toy comes along with circuits that your kid can customize and combine to build creations as far as they can imagine. Moreover, the kit also comes with a step-by-step instruction manual that can help your child to ease into the world of the projects.
- The kit is highly versatile.
- There can be limitless creativity with the kit.
- Certain parts are fragile in nature.
- Parental guidance is required.
Product Description: The Wonder Workshop Dash Robot is another great tool for learning programming. The robot can be coded via the means of a smartphone. With the help of innumerous built-in challenges, the robot can easily teach your kids how to code while they are playing with it.
Features: The robot comes in a preassembled manner. Therefore, you will not have to spend hours assembling the robot. All that you will need to do is charge it via the means of a USB cable. The robot is equipped with several coding challenges that can help your child to design complex routes and challenges for the robot.
- Durability owing to its preassembled nature.
- Controlled through smartphone applications.
- Limited scope for kids who have the basic idea of coding.
Product Description: The Lego Mindstorms EV3 is a perfect toy for those kids who know the basics of programming and would like to gain more knowledge by learning somewhat complex skills. Being somewhat complex, you will be required to build the robot and instruct them on the tasks that you want to be done. Once your child solves all the programming challenges provided with the toy, she can move on to bigger challenges.
Features: The robot comes with various infrared sensors via which it can be easily controlled. To code the robot, you can use the coding interface offered by LEGO which is available on Macs and PCs or you can also use apps for Android and iOS.
- Suitable for children who have basic skills in advanced programming.
- Unique projects which are available within one set.
- There are no storage boxes provided.
Based on the features of the STEM toy, the pros and cons, and the skills propagated by the toy, we rank these toys in the following order:
- Lego Mindstorms EV3
- littleBits Base Kit
- Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
Best Robotic Engineering Toy
Our choice for the best robotic engineering would certainly be the 4M Tin Can Robot. It is the ideal gift for bringing out a child’s creative side. Filled to the brim with motors and components, all it requires is for an empty soft drink that will serve as the robot’s body. Moreover, to work on the robot, your child won’t require any prior knowledge in robotic engineering. The kit provided will include a soda can, a Phillips head screwdriver, and a single AA battery. Know more about the 4M Tin Can Robot here.
Best Coding Engineering Toys
For the best coding engineering toy, our choice would be the Anki Cosmo Coding Toy. This is one toy that comes with the feature of Artificial Intelligence, justifying the steep price. With this feature, it can generate various emotions that will ensure that your child is constantly around it. Being equipped with a code lab, Cozmo is an ideal platform for programmers to unlock their potential and become familiar with the field of technology and bring the toy to life.
You can know more about the toy at: Anki Cosmo Coding Toy
Factors To Consider While Buying Engineering Toys
It is important that engineering toys can truly serve their purpose and propagate the exact skills required for your daughter. To do so, you need to buy the right toy as well. This is easily done simply by considering certain factors, such as:
- The skills that the toy is capable of teaching
Engineering is a vast field. There are various departments in its confinements, of which, you can choose one for your daughter. To ensure that your daughter drifts towards this particular department, you need to choose a toy accordingly as well. There is a vast range of toys that you can choose-out from such as, board games, robotic equipment, coding apparatus for models, etc. With your reasoning, you can deduce the perfect toy that can teach your child the skills required. Additionally, you should make it a point to keep away from toys that lack accessories or those which are useless in teaching your daughter the valuable skills.
- Toys with a perennial nature
Once you have figured out the category of toys that you need, choose those toys that can teach your daughter for a long period. As your child grows, it is natural that their mindset will change and so will their problem-solving abilities. With the help of a perennial toy, you can keep your daughter engrossed with a single toy for numerous months, sometimes even years. And they would still keep on learning new concepts from it. Furthermore, choosing a perennial toy will also help you save a fortune on the toys that you would have otherwise required to buy.
- Whether the toy is compliant with your daughter’s age
In the case of traditional toys, it is easy to choose those toys which fall beyond the age range of your daughter. The same, however, cannot be said for engineering toys. Engineering toys are devised, keeping in mind, various factors such as the age of the child, their mentality, etc. Pick a toy that is too complex and your daughter will become frustrated and discard it before she learns any skills. Conversely, if you pick a toy that is too easy you will be robbing your daughter of her valuable time. As a result, all that you will be doing is wasting their time.
- Pay attention to the creative nature of the child
Engineering is often misunderstood to be a stone-cold machine from whom all traces of creativity have been completely eradicated. However, this statement couldn’t be more wrong. Engineering and creativity are akin to yin and yang; they go hand-in-hand with each other. The foundational requirement for any engineering project is the need for something to be built. Creativity is what decides what is to be built and how it is to be built. Engineering further implements processes that bring creativity to life.
Be it codebases, structures, electronics, etc. every project originating in the engineering department needs to be built. And this is what requires a lot of creativity. By choosing toys that require children to conjure up their creative side, you will be offering them the means to understand engineering problems. In doing so, you will be providing them with the opportunity of building creative solutions that facilitate problem-solving abilities.